Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017


by Shaindel Beers

for Okla Elliott

Somewhere, a sperm is fertilizing an egg—
a comet is crashing into a planet.

What I am saying is, these are the same event,
only a difference of distance, camera angle, scale.

We are the unstable particles of the universe
appearing and disappearing at whim.

While we were in bed becoming synapse charge
and endorphin rush, the tired machinery

of my friend’s heart chugged to a stop.
Everything is chance. To the rocks that we climbed

you and I are mayflies madly mating for our 
one month on the earth; to the wildflowers

we are gods, trampling some, sparing others,
not thinking—just footfall, dumb luck.

You open the wide-angle lens to take in
the cliffs, the chasm that separates two states.

I lean in so close to the honey bee that I feel
the breeze from her wings, her buzz thrums

my fingers. I thank her for saving us.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Shaindel Beers

serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary. Her own writing (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. A Brief History of Time, her first full-length collection of poetry, was released by Salt Publishing in 2009. Her second collection, The Children’s War and Other Poems, was released in February of 2013.

Her awards include: First place Karen Fredericks and Frances Willitts Poetry Prize (2008); Grand Prize Co-winner Trellis Magazine sestina contest (2008); First place Dylan Days Poetry Competition (2007); Award-winning poem published, Eleventh Muse (2006); Honorable mention, Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Awards (2005); Honorable mention, Juniper Creek/Unnamed Writers Award (2005); and the title poem from A Brief History of Time was nominated for a Pushcart prize (2004).

Beers studied literature at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama (BA), and at the University of Chicago (MA) before earning her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught at colleges and universities in Illinois and Florida but feels settled in the eastern Oregon high-desert town of Pendleton, where she teaches English at Blue Mountain College.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury