The Elixir

The Literature and Arts Magazine of Brenau University


Free Verse


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”

Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics by Nina Siso

Crack! Pop. Crunch,

for fifteen minutes,

till I get to leave the chiropractor

hands walk across my aches, Continue reading “Back to the Basics”

To My Daughter Penelope

To My Daughter Penelope, Age One by Kate Rochford-Price

The things I want to tell you and

hope for you and fear for you could

probably cover approximately three

thousand two hundred and sixty-two Continue reading “To My Daughter Penelope”

Home (Away From)

Home (Away From) by Taylor Bennett

(3rd place poetry winner)

  1. the mixed smell of mothballs and freshly baked blueberry muffins
  2. warm air flowing through the cracked window sill above the sink
  3. the soft, aged hands on the table
  4. puzzle pieces scattered about on the carpet
  5. toys line the dining room wall as I sit and play with each, one at a time
  6. strong arms lifting me into the air, hold tight
  7. feet pitter-patter throughout the rooms and down the short hall
  8. delicate china in the old oak cabinet
  9. gently a kiss on my cheek. The transfer of pink from my skin to my sleeve
  10. a forbidden steep staircase (lacking rails) leading to the dingy basement fills me with curiosity
  11. her makeup bag sits upon the duvet with a tube of bright red lipstick missing
  12. his deep laugh fills my own chest: smile

-Originally published in The Elixir’s 2016-17 print edition

What I Never Got to Tell You

What I Never Got to Tell You by Melanie Lauren Raper

That it shocked me

Even though I knew the cancer was in your brain


That when I found out you had three months to live

My first thought was that you weren’t going to be alive for my birthday

Continue reading “What I Never Got to Tell You”

Tertio Fascinum

Tertio Fascinum by Shana N. Toney

Their souls drop from the dark vault of heaven

as they fly above the branches

of night like black angels

dancing in the moonlight. Continue reading “Tertio Fascinum”

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