Art by Catherine Kay Greenup

By Shawna Ervin
Published in Issue 114, June 2024


In a narrow vestibule between

alley and home, I kneel

to a soil vacancy, tap seeds

into the cold. Brittle lattice grows

against the back of garage bricks, glows

in leftover moonlight. Remnants of white paint

and last summer’s sweet-pea tendrils falter

toward dust; I wonder

if it can withstand the weight

of another year’s growth. A bee hurries pollen

from purple lily’s stamen to orange culottes

while over the pink horizon, blue insists on day.

Although reticent, wind admits

the creak of the gate’s locked latch,

rests its longing in empty bed. 

Art by Elena Mozhvilo


Cockroaches scuttle

after dark. In closed

cupboards, legs 


on cracks in old China. 

From clasped 

regrets, confess your cheap 

faith to circles 


in plaster ceiling. 

Caress the stale crust 

of courage. Commit 

to capture, 


your creation. 

Shawna Ervin has an MFA from Rainier Writers Workshop through Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State. She studied nonfiction and poetry and was a recipient of the Carol Houck and Linda Bierds scholarship. She is a poetry reader for Adroit Journal and an alum of Bread Loaf and Tin House conferences and will attend the Kenyon Review Teacher’s Workshop this summer. She is a member of faculty of the Tupelo Press Teen Writing Center.

Shawna attended the Mineral School residency thanks to a fellowship from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Recent publications include poetry in Bangalore Review, Cagibi, American Literary Review, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, and Rappahannock Review; and prose in The Delmarva Review, The Maine Review, Sonora Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and elsewhere. Shawna was a finalist in Ruminate’s 2021 flash essay contest and a semi-finalist in their 2022 poetry contest. Check out more work on her site.

This Shawna’s debut with Birdy. Keep your eyes peeled for more work by this talented writer.