Martha Serpas

we steal water when we make rain, the way

everything I have is from somewhere else,

from someone else, what I am

the riverbed looks scalded

but the wound is full thickness

and elsewhere

in a variegated field or on a lawn

of grass named for a saint

or a saint once removed

we can’t walk on it

eventually it comes up

dry and tired

the way we wear everything out

especially each other

listening with heavy feet

unlike the river which never tires

whose pocket we pick

down to the lint

Martha SerpasMartha Serpas has published three collections of poetry, Côte BlancheThe Dirty Side of the Storm, and, most recently, The Diener. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Image, and Southwest Review. A native of Southern Louisiana’s wetlands, she co-produced Veins in the Gulf, a documentary about coastal erosion. She teaches at the University of Houston and serves as a hospital trauma chaplain. More information about her work can be found at

Volume 2.1 Fall 2015

Cover of the Yale ISM Review Volume 2.1 Fall 2015

In this Issue

On the Cover

A Blessing Over Waters

The Water Worlds of John Muir

Praying for Rain in the California Drought

Ten Fathom Ledge

Walking on Water-Azurite


Water in the Book of Common Prayer

Why We Need an Altar Call to the Font

A ‘Saguaro Church’ at Worship

The Rain: A Funeral Story

Stormy Weather: A Homiletic Essay

Hope Travels Below Sea Level

Water and the Spirit