Kit Carlson

Night Mares

I like it dark, deep enough to sink
into dark, thick curtains drawn for bed,

dark like a womb where I stretch,
turn, dark as chocolate bark in a tin box.

At 3 a.m., a train sings. I wake
to a major chord, chorus of horns,

choir of voices rising over the farms.
Under clouds, the sea hangs in shadow,

hurling streaks of white foam out of midnight
onto sand. Above clouds, a plane slides forward

through starlessness. In the barn, dark eyes
of horses gleam wet and roll, they mutter

and heave against the stalls, thump, rustle,
breathe dark, dark night, and sleep.


Sursum Corda

I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed.

—Annie Dillard

step into place shoeless flesh to floor

in peril        power

remove burse unveil chalice lift square white pall and silver paten with a single host set all upon the corporal

unshroud the corpus

and begin

to speak along a dangerous edge of the dark knife       set a line here balance on brink

to dare     (lift up your hearts)

describe deadly voltages like symbols        (we lift them up unto the Lord)

and love means maybe they pray

all ancients drew borders around ineffability

instead of naming gods        name the place

you meet them corral contain holiness use

boundary stones altar rails iconostases

designate a space to enter and not die

call it


(sanctuary call it sanctuary)


Theophany on Emily Lake Road

I want one. Of Biblical proportions—
bushes blaze
angels unfurl three sets of Technicolor
wings, volcanic voices roar

I want to be afraid
by the mystery—
crying “Woe! Woe!”

So I climb this hill like Sinai
with a gray gravel flank
to empty flat straight long
no sign no sound nor
susurration of wings—
just a stone, solid enough
round ochre dull as a pillow,
a feather undusted
shows black white blue.

A truck roars past in a cloud
pours dust upon my head.
The radio sings out
“Whoa, whoa, baby. Whoa, whoa.”


Kit Carlson

Contemplative Practice: Most days, I spend half an hour or so in "quiet time" in my study, with the dog on the sofa beside me. I light a candle, say a prayer, then, depending on the season and the practice I feel I need to stand within, I either meditate, study scripture, or pray the daily office of Morning Prayer. But my spirit is also deeply fed by sitting in nature in silence, finding a "sit spot" and simply spending some time listening, looking, and be-ing in the midst of God's creation.

Brief Bio: Kit Carlson is an Episcopal priest and a life-long writer with work appearing in publications as diverse as Seventeen Magazine and Anglican Theological Review. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has recently been published in Ponder Review, Bending Genres, and DaCunha. She is author of Speaking Our Faith (Church Publishing, 2018). She lives in East Lansing, Michigan, with her husband Wendell, and Lola, a nervous rescue dog.

More on Kit Carlson's work can be found on our Links page.

Kit Carlson 500x500.jpg