“Chickens without End” by Julia Jeffrey

When I stand up on resurrection day, will I be able to walk, or will there be too many chickens? Will they crowd around me, their plush feathers brushing against my shins, their eyes blinking and their strawberry-red combs wobbling, as they scratch briskly at the ground?

What? You’ve never wondered that before?

I’m staggered by the number of chickens around the globe. Over 25 billion on Earth right now. Each one a creation of God with a spirit. Each (hopefully) thrilled to fulfill the measure of their creation and nourish the children of God. Won’t these obedient creatures be resurrected too? They’ll have to be put somewhere. Will we all wade through a sea of chickens eternally?

“If you want to talk numbers,” you may say, “why worry about chickens? Think of how many resurrected ants and spiders there will be.”

No, thank you. Pondering on the eternal destiny of chickens is less likely to give me nightmares.

People testify of occasions they sensed a deceased pet checking in on them or offering comfort. Personally, I have never been aware of any visits from chicken spirits. I do hope to be reunited with my departed birdies in the eternities. I will cherish the opportunity to carry them under my arm again, smooth their silky backs and necks, and exchange soft bawks and buh-gawks.

I suppose not all of them will be happy to see me, particularly the ones I loved and then ate. I’ll understand if those prefer to keep their celestial distance from me.

Perhaps the near-infinite chickens will have a perfect world all their own. (The ants and spiders would receive similar treatment I suppose, but let’s not dwell on that.) Can you imagine chicken heaven? Valleys, forests, and mountains all with chickens standing beak to tail, like a multi-hued, feathered carpet that jerks and starts and squawks. Birds without end!

When I stand up on resurrection day, I’m definitely going to visit chicken paradise.

“Tower of Babel” by Darlene Young

We didn’t really nowtice what was happening at first. It was so gradual. The dropping of a word’s inding, the slurring, a slanted accent. We crocked our heads, asked each other to ropeat things. You don’t believe me, but think of the wry a tree rots slowly form the inside, the way it pits out fewer and fywer leaves but still seems to preside over the yard. A body slawly curls in on idself over thirty years, bud so many good days and bad dais pile up you don’t see the prend until you find yourself avolding stairs. A marriage is busy, then a business, and than islands skrifting into patches on the holizon. Things dicay.

Soneone finarry asked the question, pointed out that we were sorking at crocc-purposes. There were neetings. There were tantruns. Peopre denanded nore wages, began circurating peditions, then resumes. One tay we noticet that the bik bosses were apsent, having retiret ant novet out to Nartha’s Vineyart. Nittle nanagepent nanaget varialtry to keep up abborances, cawwing in temps, but by Judae nost peopwe hat seed the writhing on the waw. After arr the union trateworkers hat novet on, the wast to heave was a ninor poritician with big dreans ant his pur secretary he hat proniset to norry as soon as his tivorce went thraw. No one locket the toor.

What wo woarnot was nothing I court oxprain to you, nothing you court ovor untorstant, unross first I court tako you to tho top ank thow you that fiow, hom lo tky skrotchot tro gworioutry uroink ut, hom chnuw our unniveng in-wuyt wookb. Ip hounkt ny dring gtiw.

Mormon Lit Blitz 2022 Finalists

From 30 May through 11 June, we’ll post the finalists in this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz here on lit.mormonartist.net. Join us for a daily poem, essay, or short story and vote for your favorites at the end.

Here are the twelve pieces you can look forward to:

30 May: Darlene Young, “Tower of Babel”
31 May: Julia Jeffrey, “Chickens without End”
1 June: Jared Forsyth, “2 Coats”
2 June: Alixa Brobbey, “Through a Glass”
3 June: Whitney Hemsath, “Blood in the Garden”
4 June: Gabriel González Núñez, “Cristo en el huerto de Getsemaní” 

6 June: Jeanine Bee, “Grafted Branches”
7 June: Kevin Klein, “The Fourth Ward Filibuster”
8 June: Selina Forsyth, “Every Member a Missionary”
9 June: Cesar Fortes, “O Caixão de Nhô Jon Anton
10 June: Siviano Stalon Fortes, “O Homem e a Terra”
11 June: Merrijane Rice, “Leah at the Edges”

Congratulations to the finalists! We are thankful for what you do each year to engage our imaginations and widen our sense of what is possible in Mormon Literature.

Following this Lit Blitz, our next contest will be a focused effort this fall to bring together writers working in many languages. If you are comfortable in more than one language and would like to help read submissions, translate finalists, or spread the word, please volunteer through this form.

Note: the initial published schedule listed Alixa Brobbey’s “Through a Glass” on 10 June and Siviano Stalon Fortes’ “O Homem e a Terra” on 2 June. The dates have been changed.


11th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz: Longlist

Thank you to everyone who submitted to this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz!

After our initial review of these pieces, we’re excited to share our long list of twenty-four semi-finalist pieces (listed alphabetically by author’s last name):

J.S. Absher “Until You Come”
Lee Allred “The Giant Chicken Heart That Ate Nauvoo”
Jeanine Bee “Grafted Branches”
Alixa Brobbey “Through a Glass”
Jared Forsyth “2 Coats”
Selina Forsyth “Role Play in Family Therapy Class”
Selina Forsyth “Every Member a Missionary”
César Augusto Medina Fortes “O Caixão de Nhô Jon Anton”
Elizabeth Garcia “Safety Coffin”
Gabriel González Núñez “Christ in Gethsemane”
Marianne Hales “Pandemic Epiphragm”
Whitney Hemsath “Blood in the Garden”
Julia Jeffrey “Chickens without End”
Kevin Klein “The Fourth Ward Filibuster”
Annaliese Lemmon “I Did Obey the Voice of the Spirit”
Timothy Merrill “Sign”
Rowena Palmer “Rhapsody on Hymn 193”
Steven Peck “My mother became chatty at St. Marks Hospital and it didn’t sound like the Alzheimer’s talking”
Steven Peck “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?”
Merrijane Rice “Leah at the Edges”
Merrijane Rice “Cain”
Siviano Stalon Fortes “O Homem e a Terra”
Darlene Young “A Plan of Salvation”
Darlene Young “Tower of Babel”

We will announce the twelve finalists next Monday (May 23).
The finalists will then be published, one per day, from May 30 to June 11, with voting taking place afterward.