Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen & Trish Hopkinson

Three atheists and a Mormon walk into a café


The Bloody Mary mix is running low and they don’t serve decaf.
We consider the things we must live without.


The lull of morning dissipates as caffeine seeps in

and conversation swells to lift the heavy fog of last evening.


We settle on vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and turn topics, lost
loves, lost sleep, directionless paths and longing for eureka or salvaged salvation.


We realize, we are all black sheep in our own right,

bleating and sheering our wool into soft piles on our laps.


From the discarded wolfishness we spin soft in-between spaces—
shared room, spooled experience, heathered aprons of human nature.


As the lunch rush clanks and rumbles we hardly take notice–

tuned in and pulled close, gathered like a sheaf of lamb’s ear.


We enfold ourselves, unheard and unflustered by the bustling in-and-out crowd,
and culture our crooked necks in the attitude of attentive oblation.


If She does exist, at least one of us is certain She is listening

and can feel the warmth of Her breath as if we all just fell from her womb.


If She doesn’t, knowing the shared breath of our awkward flock is enough
to call truth, and we go on braiding umbilical bonds to each other.


We inherit our ancient feminine divinity,

connected like a cat’s cradle by the woolen threads of grace.


Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen is a poly-artist and humanitarian living and working at craft in Provo. Her work is published or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, new bourgeois, Rust+Moth, Touchstones, Outlet, & the anthologies Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands, & Dovesong.


Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. A Pushcart nominated poet, she is author of three chapbooks and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Stirring, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Chagrin River Review. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow Hopkinson on her blog where she shares information on how to write, publish, and participate in the greater poetry community at

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