The Elixir

The Literature and Arts Magazine of Brenau University



Get Better Soon

Get Better Soon by Laura Burke

When I was a little girl,
I remember my mother
sitting me down in front of
a machine in our living room
after we had finished dinner, the family
settling down around us, ready to relax
for a while before heading to bed.

Now I know that the machine is
called a nebulizer. She said I had
something called “asthma,”
that it was what made me cough all the time,
and that this machine would make me feel better.

She told me not to worry,
it was for the best.

She placed the cold mask around my face,
the hard, unyielding plastic fitting over my
nose, making the sound of my breathing
echo raggedly, reminding me of an astronaut’s.
I would fidget and pull at the straps that
went over my ears, picking at
elastic that might as well have been iron.

She told me not to move,
not to touch it.

She hit a button
and the nebulizer roared
to life like an angry animal.
Then she would join my brother
and my father and put on a movie.

All I could do was sit there,
catching snippets of their conversations
and dialogue from the film.
I sat there in that corner
and told myself it was for the best,

I wanted to get better.
I wanted to get better.

Because I hated when I could
feel those steel bands creep around my chest.
I hated the random attacks, the feel that my heart
would race out of my chest.
Hated drowning on dry land,
flopping about like a fish out of water,
spasming on the cold unforgiving ground.
Of course I hated the cough that made my ribs ache
like a fist had been smashed into them from
the inside, the gagging that interrupted the
cough, like my body could regurgitate that nonexistent
water. The feeling of gray encroaching,
until that blessed pump, my sweet rescue inhaler-
closer to me than any friend-appeared between my lips
and suddenly I could breathe.

Yes, I wanted to be better.
So, I sat in my corner and listened
to those snippets and let the roar
of the machine be my lullaby,
taking comfort in the fact that,
for tonight at least, the monster
asthma would be held at bay.

Originally appeared in The Elixir’s 2017-18 print edition


Lipstick Kills Innocent Humans

Lipstick Kills Innocent Humans by Ashton Stockdale

when i first wore lipstick
it was to impress a boy that i thought
was lovely
it was my mother’s
it was red
an old shade
the ends were hardened from disuse
from misuse
i wiped it off before school began
he wasn’t going to notice

when i first wore lipstick
it was to try to get a priest to see my lips
not my heart
it was my aunt’s
clay brown
i wiped it off before
he came to get me
i couldn’t let him notice

-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2017-18 print edition

Elixir Magazine (2017-18)


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Elixir 2017-18
Featured post

Elixir Magazine (2016-17)

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Elixir 2016-17 (FINAL)

Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets

Congratulations to all Elixir alums who were published in the recent anthology Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets!

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Inside you can find:

Featured post


Tough by Marley Elliott

Now she’s single,

but she never complains

because she knows that sometimes

a girl needs to suck it up.

On her back

is a dragonfly tattoo.

Her heart is harder to get to

than Fort Knox,

they key is buried

under miles of concrete.

Her heart has been stamped on,

tilled battered and barely beating,

she thought it was tough love,

and would cry herself to sleep every night.

Now she flits away from guys

as nimbly as a dragonfly,

and to any guy

who thinks they have a chance with her,

she says,



-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2013-14 print edition

-Photo credit to Tattoo Journal


Velcro by Zoe Scheffrin

I sit here

my gaze fixed on my feet

wondering if I’ll be able to reach

this time,

if the rigid muscles of my back

will release far enough.

They hold me in place,

remind me of

the spasms from charlie horses of my youth

and the mornings after marathons.

I doubt the necessity of shoes anyway

because I won’t be doing much today,

at most walking to the kitchen

just like every other day.

Without my shoes I

“will trip and fall.”

My nurse has instilled this

in my tired mind,

but sometimes I wish

I could ignore her encore of threats;

I think of the simple act

of pulling the strap over,

and wish

it were really

that simple.


-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2013-14 print edition

-Photo credit to Know It All Nanna

a series of seed poems

a series of seed poems by Rebecca Jarrett

This poem is called “things I shouldn’t have bought at the grocery store.”

An orchid that I don’t know how to take care of.

Two spice brooms that give me a headache.

Halloween candy, not for trick-or-treaters, for myself.

Continue reading “a series of seed poems”

Expectations of a Black Girl

Expectations of a Black Girl by Brya Colomb

(1st place poetry winner)

I am expected to:

be docile as you try and take from me my basic rights

be sweet, easier to make me a fetish, a “ Chocolate Queen”

keep in mind what makes you comfortable, no confrontations, no scenes Continue reading “Expectations of a Black Girl”

About New York

About New York by Kory Stringer

I’ll never tell you I hate it,

Everything about it.

16 hours in a civic isn’t fun.

Although… Continue reading “About New York”


Crumbs by Kate Rochford-Price

(2nd place poetry winner)


If this were the last day

of my life, I wouldn’t complain

about the plastic onion wedged

just so Continue reading “Crumbs”

My Home

My Home by Cairistiona Barron


  1. The women talking in the kitchen, men gathered by the T.V., and children running as we played
  2. The rocking chairs around campus at dusk
  3. Her wild tail as she dreams of squirrels and cats to chase
  4. Everyone’s heights on the door frame
  5. Sitting in the dark, oblivious to the world around me as the next episode begins
  6. Spaghetti-o’s on Saturday
  7. Sinking into the couch to join others in mindless chit-chat
  8. The banners that proclaim our three consecutive victories
  9. His firm grasp around my clammy hands
  10. Running back stage to grab a missed prop
  11. Rain clouds every afternoon
  12. My parents holding hands as we enter our 9th hour of driving

Continue reading “My Home”

Which Room?

Which Room? by Nina Siso

I read somewhere

that if one dog is put to

sleep the other should

be brought along. Helps them Continue reading “Which Room?”

A Chronology of Us

A Chronology of Us by Kaleigh McIntyre

You were the sassiest woman I’d ever met;

I wanted to be able to command a room the way you did.


I knew you were a closet-poet;

I snuck into your den once to read your pieces.

Continue reading “A Chronology of Us”

Rain Music

Rain Music by Brianna Prater

I dream of rain on Mondays

when the day is just beginning

and the children in the apartment next door

are just stirring for school and Continue reading “Rain Music”

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