The Chiseled Man

Vegetation, unmoving, leaden yet, formidably alive.  

Writing by Julie Allyn Johnson
Art by Andy Mancha

The Chiseled Man


Dense thicket of encroaching elms —

their crowns bent toward 

light from a distant clearing — 

lies deep within a silent wood.  

Birdsong punctuates forest air:  nightingale, nuthatch, jay.

Vegetation, unmoving, leaden yet, formidably alive.  

Orchestrations of green complement and contrast. 

Myriad shades blend and meld into painterly monotones.

Amidst the shadows, unrestrained growth 

hints at the unseen, the unwelcome, the unknown.

We fear too much.


Nearly hidden, looking past us, there stands a man.  

Age and ethnicity, indiscernible.  

Musculature, he’s a siren of virility.

Manner, serene and aware.  

His body is naked, its vulnerabilities obscured from view.

Copper-streaked, unkempt hair lies heavy 

along a rippled expanse of broadened shoulders.

Scent of the man permeates the alpine air.

He inhabits these woodland spaces 

not as intruder or marauder, 

not as tentative, weak or lost.

Neither does he convey 

ambivalence or unease.

The man seeks no absolution.  

The woods are his dispensation. 

About the Author

photo of moon on a dark sky

Julie Allyn Johnson is a sawyer’s daughter from the American Midwest whose current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting and the accumulation of fabric.  Her poetry can be found in Star*Line, The Briar Cliff Review, Phantom Kangaroo, Haven Speculative, Penumbric Speculative Fiction, Coffin Bell, The Lake, Chestnut Review and other journals

About the Artist

lighted candle

Andy Mancha is a multimedia artist

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