By Hailey Cragun

High Place Phenomenon

Along the red cliff side
with staggering ten story drops
we cling to a chain, silver and black,
its mark worn into the stone.

The August sun warms the sandstone
when my hand, slimed with sweat, collapses
upon it, heat like solid fire enters my palm
and sifts up my arm.

My skin welcomes the flame, the
bursts of wind climbing up the face,
and I dread tomorrow, when we’ll pack
the Honda like kipper snacks and drive back.

Suddenly, a cry from up the chain,
the collected gasps of hiking spectators
as a pair of eleven foot shadows
sail over the crowd.

Right above my head, the condors flap
their black and brown wings.
The whoosh of air not unlike
A young girl propelling herself on a swing.

And being, breathing here
cradled by the orange and red stone
I have the urge to join the condors
and leap from my safe perch by the chain:
High Place Phenomenon.


I’d yet to be persuaded of the virtue of the firearm until he let me hold it, the Czech Mauser. Time stamped with the year 1936, I bounced it in my hands, feeling the weight of its eighty-one-years life.

As if I can claim world history as my history.

I found it difficult to imagine it’s heft in the hands of
A boy who lied about his age so he could fight in the most infamous war. I can’t see his face because he is faceless and nation-less and far away in time and space but I’m holding his walnut wood Mauser and pulling back the bolt to load another round in the chamber.

It left me wanting.

The Dangers of Marrying a Perfectionist

It’s very perceptive the way
you let me cut your hair with silver
clippers knowing full well I have no experience
cutting hair with any clippers but you perch on the oak chair
even when I accidentally shear off a dollop of bronde hair and it
tugs your head back and your eyes tear up and I’m so flustered I want to
dissolve into the bedroom and burrow beneath the cherry blossom duvet but you grab my hand and say it’s alright and ask me to go on.

About the Author:


Hailey Cragun is a Masters student at Utah State University studying Writing and Literature. Her photography has been previously published in the University Magazine Scribendi. She has also served as Assistant Director of the English 1010 Composition program at Utah State University. She currently resides in Layton, Utah.