Private Opera

by Michael Dearman

Is it right
To question the singing of a bird
The sweet looping melodies
That ears might have heard
In the bright morning sun
With leaves dripped dew
The bird sings in tree tops
A concert just for you
But the little one doesn’t know you’re watching
It thinks it is alone
You’re still enjoying the music
Just there, on your own
To announce your presence
To break out in applause
Cheering for this opera
Is akin to opening your claws
With bird frightened
In the tops of that tree
It will fly away
That’s how it is for me.

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The Cliff’s End

by Ben Franco

Here he stands, at Cliff’s End.
Ground goes no further now,
plunging south into hell’s mouth.
And the rocky maw clashes
with the sweet Sea air.
The waves below scheme to fly
crashing waves of water
against obstinate sky
“No further you go”Land says to the Sea. “Be content in your
duty. Happy, as the Sea”
The waves regress, as the sun sinks to set
And still the man stands, at Cliff’s End.
At the very tip, a step further is a foot
on the sky, two steps – the shortest flight.
He looks over the edge, the rocks run
down like razors, and the wind howls in
The Sea has retreated,
baring teeth mighty and unforgiving
Salivating at the sight of the man,
the man standing at Cliff’s End.
He leans over the edge, that Bellows in anticipation, a spray of Sea’s breath
Beckons. The sleepy sun has gone, swallowed by Sea, and Star’s eyes are closed,
there is no light, only the black sky, and
the drowsy Sea.
The man leans further, further still.
Peering over the edge of Earth
into the maw of Sea
and reaches down into
the slumbering Blue
to grab the sun trapped
in It’s deepest depths.
But Earth falters, and the man falls
to the other side where
breathing the air has no meaning
and to drink is to dream.
But he reaches out and
grabs at the last of Cliff’s End,
holding the sun
in the palm of the other
and climbs up the rock
Up, beyond
the clutching of Sea.
Risen back up with the sun in
his hand, here the man stands,
at Cliff’s End.

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Kingdom Come

by Landon Banister

Love and Hate:
both camps collide
at the weather-worn gate –
“whosoever enters here
abandon your hope,
shed not a tear.”

just angels fight
on Satan’s side
with scales to weigh and wrongs to right –
“these men have sight
but cannot hide;
our just scales must weigh out right.”

here in the end, His glory rendered:
from a rope
hang righteous suspended
by those who lost dear love’s embrace,
the Devil and his sons,
an evil race.

after all what’s left but Fear?
Hate prevails
and no one’s near.

is there any reason
dear father shuns
his believers in the final season?
perhaps some high treason:
a heretic clergy or blasphemous nuns?
or simply for that killing season
when on the cross
hung dead from nails
the only death he found a loss?

now in every ear
from north to south
echoes the victorious jeer –
“there’s Hell on earth with sword and rapier;
deaf ears don’t hear mute mouths
nor cries for saviour.”

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Fantasy in Minor Sharp

by Dante Silva

The bloom of burning leaves borne on the breeze
Of blustered breath and memories of the fire –
The cooling embers of the vaporous ease
With which the cigarette calm does inspire;
These wisps you kiss insipidly that grasp
Your skin and fingertips, and lungs
That burble as they fly up with a rasp
To sing to me in darkly honeyed tongues
Of smoke that smacked of paper, ash, and crumb
And dance of zephyrs, whorls in eddied air
That, though I came after the cloud of numb
Pirouette between the breaths you spare:
The taste is of the deep, distant, sublime
That speaks of sand, you, me, and No. 9

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Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor

Hello and Happy Fall – Lauren Smart


Winter – by Clay Zelbst (.pdf)

A Wall of Water – by Simon Raad (.pdf)


Untitled – by Michael Dearman

Private Opera – by Michael Dearman

This Never-ending Cycle – by Michael Dearman

The Cliff’s End – by Ben Franco

Kingdom Come – by Landon Banister

Fantasy in Minor Sharp – by Dante Silva

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This Never-ending Cycle

by Michael Dearman

Midst the Charles Dickens streets of this town
Sleep the myriad bums and bruisers vomited from
Factories, homes, and lives like pollution from smoke stacks
Cliche news papers and cardboard boxes are the only embrace
These poor crumples of humanity will ever feel.
They don’t even turn their shit-streaked faces
To the heavens as acid rain pours
From black, lightning-streaked clouds
Akin to the bursting of puss-filled nodules
On the diseased bodies of plague victims
Why, I ask, would the dregs of society turn their
Cataract eyes to the heavens when all
That meets them is the face of Hell?
The deluge of passersby carries on its face
Neither eyes to see nor ears to hear
Just a mouth
A tongue
And a nose
Spitting, screaming, smelling of feces
All linked in a cycle of never-ending crushing
Of toes, hands, and heads of the rags
On the side of the road
Hurrying through rain,
Excrement is the bane of the eyeless and deaf
Stepping in such toxic, bacterial cesspools would mean
Certain damnation from the mouths of the blind-deaf
The soggy and shredding newspaper cries out
“Save me! Please, take me away from this place!”
No one to see or hear
No one with eyes or ears
Because rags do not become riches
Riches dwindle and die
Steeped in the foulest refuse of the men under the heaven-hell
Burning in acid rain, suffocating on black smoke
Being tossed into meat grinders to feed the masses of the Dickens town
These are the escapes
Through the nondescript door to what?
Another industrial nightmare?
Bah, the homeless will drown
Face first
In their own urine and the blind-deaf will rape everything
For what it’s worth
Because eyes no longer grace the face of beings
Unfit for such a gift
Or such a responsibility
To actually see is too much for the minds of
Weak demons with selfish strides and crushing heels
What is the power that sets apart
The destitute in their corners,
Crying nothing out of blank faces,
Covered in decay and disease
From the arrogance that skates by above
Glancing at their faces, it’s hard to tell
If creatures without eyes
Will ever cry.

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Letter from the Editor

Hello and happy fall!

If you’ve been lucky enough to spend any part of the last week outside, you’ve noticed the crisp breeze in the air and perhaps you’ve even crunched a leaf or two under your feet.

I love the fall semester for many reasons, but one of the most obvious is the beautiful change of pace that nature brings as she prepares for winter. There’s something brave about the trees giving up their leaves, trusting that this won’t be their last winter.

Inspiration seems to be falling with the leaves and I hope that each and every one of you takes a moment to reach out, grab it and hold onto it. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, you should know that you create poetry every day when you speak and when you think, you are using words to express yourself – take the opportunity to write it down.

Espejo is back on campus and our editorial staff is excited to see what the creative students of SMU have to offer – that means you!

Our next deadline is nearly two months away, which gives you plenty of time to write edit, and then submit. I hope that you put a little bit of faith in yourself and your talent, and acknowledge your need as a human being to express yourself. Believe that letting your leaves fall by letting your guard down will be worth it. Create – put yourself out there – and you just might find the world will allow you to bloom even more beautiful then before.

I’m looking forward to all the things that are to come and am grateful for all that has already arrived.

All the best,

Lauren Smart
Editor in Chief

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M.R. Anderson – Managing Editor, Webmaster


Matthew Anderson is a senior Creative Writing major and film minor. He is a member of the Southern Methodist University Student Film Association and the SMU Writers Group. He also has an inexplicable love of fedoras.

You can email Matt at

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Lauren Smart – Editor in Chief


Lauren Smart is a senior Creative Writing and Journalism double major. A passionate advocate for the arts, she works for The Daily Campus as the Arts & Entertainment Editor as well as working in development for the brand new experimental, non-profit orchestra Sound and Silence. When she is not working or studying, she likes to ride her bike, eat good food or dance with her friends.

You can email Lauren at

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Sarah Bennett – Fiction Editor

Sarah Bennett is a senior Creative Writing major with a minor in history. In addition to working on the Espejo staff, she currently serves as the SMU Lit Fest chair. When she is not gathering new ideas for historical fiction stories, Sarah likes to indulge her obsession with English culture by hosting tea parties with friends.

Email Sarah at

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