Who could know the depth

Of what is not spoken here,

Between the shaky breaths

And tightening throat?


Through eyes squeezed shut,

They escape:

Telltale stains that prophesy

Of the storm within.


I wince,

And then sigh

In relief

Like desert in rain.




Growing Up


My cloudless eyes discern

The bleeding lines of charcoal grey—

A sober awakening

To a world I always believed

Confined to black and white.

Liquid salt mingles

With the once innocent skin

Captured by knowledge.


“What then?” the mocking birds

Jeer. “Rainbows in shades of grey?

Huh!” They scoff at my

Trite disillusionment.

But I—I crumble under the loss of

Oblivion to unbrushed hair

And the simple comfort in the



Afternoon tea and Christopher Robin

Perhaps are naïve,

And yet, do they not beckon of

What is to become?

Six-year-old sized

Glimpses of freedom,

Served alongside the tea sandwiches

With pompous glee.


Alas! My withering eyes must perceive,

But please, please…let the children be.






If I had one word

To curl around a

Swirling thought

Left unspoken,

What would be?


How could it be?

To close a gap of

Engulfing lack.

There are things in me

Too deep for a collection of syllables

To capture in fleshy metaphors.



Pella: A Hometown Profile


Here, in the cherry red booths

Where the tween-agers slurp down

Malts with boisterous delight

Giddy at the un-chaperoned outing.

Or that tall table in the

Frosted window where you sat

Across from your best friend

Straining to block out snippets

Of local gossip and messy break ups

From the neighboring booths while

Shouting above the roar of the

Espresso machines.


Those brick laid streets you

Always tripped over in front

Of the red hat society tourists

Drooling over the ‘adorable’ European architecture

On their way to the bakery.

The bakeries—

The infamous trademark of the

Town, filled with mouth-watering

Dutch delicacies—the popular one for

Sweets, the other for breads and out-of-towners.


And here, the town square

With the Tulip Torren—

The massive cement structure

Where the Tulip Queen is crowned

Each year, a handful of jittery

High school girls who pined to

Grace the descending steps with

The tiara, the whole town

And others for miles around

A captive audience.


And the houses—gingerbreads!

Brick and cheery and groomed


Dutch fronts and fixed smiles.

But the ally ways bleed

True—sagging shutters

And a two-wheeled tricycle,

Like eyes, speak volumes

More than vocal pleasantries

In this little town.


Sometimes you can only

Breathe by the water,

Perched on the jutting rocks

That compose the dam a few miles outside city limits,

Gazing off into the red rock cliffs,

Only then realizing that

This well-to-do little pocket

Possesses the average grime

Under its fingernails—

It’s just that…they’re painted.




Reasons To Live


When I raise my eyes from this mug of foam

And catch the shadows of scum riding on

Smokey light,

Or gaze into the terraces that line my mother’s face,

Overwhelmed and apathetic to those specks of blue—

The color of hope—


I flounder;

Broken, between the gaps of

Unanswered questions.

For what is breath and lungs and

Blood-pumping ventricles? And what does it have to do

With me? Must I breathe?


But breathing—the conscious act that chooses

To see the ember in the soot

And fan it into flame. Like

The day you learned to read,

Which more aptly seemed

The day you

Unlocked the world.


Or that sweet flood of value

When eyes lock across a room and

You are sifted like gold from rock.

And you know and are known,

Beyond word, thought, or act,

Casual and wonderful: unconditional.


That dull ache like emerging hunger

At the back of your throat

From the quiet release of tears

Which seems at first a plausible card

For sympathy, until age argues otherwise,

In the emancipation of emotions perceived.


In the same way, laughter,

Bipolar as a wave crashes and crumbles

At the everyday dust injustice brings—

Singing in the rain;


A mystery undefined as grief—

Stuff you cannot chart—but you try to anyway

Because you belong to humanity.

But out of all this, this thing, perhaps,

Is the force that drives me forward:



Beyond comprehension,

Extravagance nailed to a twisted tree.






Biographical Note for Emalea Diehl


Emalea Diehl was raised among the cornfields and small towns of Iowa and is currently attending Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she is double-majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Reconciliation Studies, minoring in Creative Writing.  A few of her favorite things include late-night conversations, steamy cups of tea, traveling to new places, and all things homemade. She has a passion to voice the stories of those around her.