Timothy E.G. Bartel

Timothy E. G. Bartel is Assistant Professor of Literature at Houston Baptist University. His poems have recently appeared in Christianity and Literature, Pilgrimage, and Windhover. His latest chapbook is Arroyos: Sijo and Other Poems (Mariscat Press, 2015).


One sonnet can imbue a history
With upright strength when shouted prose demands
It bow to fear or riches. Emma writes
Though publishers refuse her name in print,
Though civil rights do not include her vote,
Though literati fear that Jewish friends
Will taint their reputation, Emma writes.
She writes a sonnet for the statue-gift,

And crafts a climax that the immigrant
Will need to hear, will recognize as mirror:
“Your poor, your tired, your huddled”—these her blood
Knows like an heirloom—so she smiths a key
To foil the forces in each age that shrink
Before the stranger, lock the golden door.


First, too much play would cause the crotch-tab to
Break off; the thumb was often the next part
To crack when holding weapons stressed its glue—
And last, the band which joined the hips to heart
Snapped. Then I’d have two halves of G.I. Joe.
I find a bag of partial figures, toys
Which waited twenty years for me to grow
Until tonight, when I, no longer boy,

Now lay them out in pieces to be pressed
Back whole. I find the hook between the legs,
And, using a screwdriver’s tip, I thread
A gleaming ring from hook to spine. A chest
Can hold that all in place. I dust the face,
Commence the reattachment of the head.



The poem is unlocked. No brand       can block her.

And her only limitations       in data and in

Generation are       the words you know. So—


What games or searches       shall we undertake?

The victories and answers we       might end with

Cost a lifetime, take       no bandwidth.


Summer Sijo 3


September shoulders in       bringing with him cloud-shine, shiver;

the last waves of summer       raise their humming weight against the dark.

Autumn is an infant:       make new room, it says, for me in your heart.