What We Know In Part & Other Poems

by Rachel Watson

with illustration by Ruth Allen


These poems are dedicated to my dear friend, Miriam Blankenship Boone, who wept with me through so many of these moments, who kept my confidence and who continues to be an example to me of grace and strength.

"Everything sad is going to come untrue." 



When you suddenly have to

start over

you end up Googling places

you never considered living before.

Salinas, California.


Maybe I just want to

touch the earth

Steinbeck wrote about

with twisted admiration

as if it was worth



and waiting for the drought to end.


Maybe it’s the kind of dirt

that has fresh potato potential,

because of the small living things


that are willing to take shallow breaths

until the day they feel


trickle down their backs again.


Maybe there is life

under the cracked surface

of things.



Catching Lizards in the Summer

Their scaly chests pump up and down

and I try to calm them

by holding still

and staying quiet.

I notice their eyes

begin to close

and I think, childishly,

that they are asleep

or at least,

that they have finally relaxed.

But the tiny heart doesn't slow down;

despite closed eyes,

I can feel its beat against my palm.


Did you expect me to stay,


in the shape of your hand?


Did you think my heart was excited

to be captured

then released?


Summer has taught me

that the safest place

is not rock tops

but between stone and earth,

hidden from flesh

and blood.



What We Know In Part

When we finally learn to find beauty in the broken

it becomes hard to walk away from shadows,

dull mirrors

and the sad boys

who hold us in their arms.


We glue together all the parts

of what we know in part

hoping to form something


in the right-now,



This hole demonstrates

our lack of wholeness.

This hole

is empty

like the tomb you left

to fulfill all your promises.


Was it cold that morning?

Did you feel some warmth from heaven

on your back?

Some excitement-shivers

at the thought

that you would be home soon? 



You Left


it’s time to buy

a weighted blanket


the kind


competes with my heaviness


and wins. 


Rachel Watson

Rachel Watson is a theology student at The University of St. Andrews, pursuing an M.Litt. in Bible and the Contemporary World. She is also a high school English teacher who strives to show her students how to think, build discernment, and enjoy great literature. She writes at The Bible is Relevant and is an occasional contributor for The Gospel Coalition and Relevant Magazine. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter


Ruth Allen

I am a UK-based freelance illustrator and artist, obsessed with mountains and mindful adventure. Though truthfully, I'm not really one thing or another; preferring these days to divide my time between the many different worlds that make me happy, including farming, writing, educational work and study. 

Find Ruth on Instagram & her website, www.blueeggsandtea.com