“Keepsakes” & “The Returning” by Sam Campbell

	a shadowbox, after Fred Chappell

Over 30,000 emails inundate my inbox and I cannot bring myself to delete
most—just in case. I might need it someday, I think, of the conversation
between my boss and I. Keep it forever, I say, of the Bed, Bath and Beyond
coupon. I keep the scraps and bits of nothing most people would trash
on impulse, without a second thought. Those people—the empty-inbox
people—how nice it must be, to be whole all on your own. To not need
to save everything you get, hoping that something will fit what’s been missing.

         "The Returning"

There has always existed                  Following, beneath the alternating stripes
a pond down the hill,                     of sunshine and shadow, he leads
and beside it, across a bridge            away from his grandparent’s manor
barely there, succumbing                  down to the water where a swan couple
to lily pads and carp                     paddles alongside the shore. Ripples
twice the size: a swing                   sparkle and beckon; I desire to throw
of fraying rope and board.                off my clothes, grab him, and swim.

Like a forgotten cathedral                My footfalls slow, sensing sacred ground.
In a secluded meadow                      I watch the wind fray his brown hair,
Where there is nowhere left               playful, like a childhood friend
to go, I think this                       and no longer is he here with me;
Is where I will return.                   I think, this is where he belongs.

Sam Campbell is a writer and teacher from Tennessee. She earned her English M.A. from East Tennessee State University, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of The Mockingbird. She currently serves Arkansas International as Managing Editor and she is the fiction editor and co-founder of Black Moon. She publishes across all genres; her work appears in October Hill, Tennessee’s Emerging Poets Anthology, Another Chicago Magazine, and elsewhere. Her awards include, but are not limited to, the 2019 James Still Prize for Short Fiction and 2022 Jesse Stuart Prize for Young Adult Writing. Visit her at samiamwrites.com Follow her on IG: sam_i_am_awesome or Twitter: samiamawesome72 or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sam.campbell.186