Okla Elliott was an assistant professor of English at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. He held a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University and a certificate in legal studies from Purdue University. His work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, Subtropics, and elsewhere, including a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. His books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer's Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Pope Francis: The Essential Guide (non-fiction, forthcoming).
Among these dark ambitions,
I wander, not ready for the light
plain to see everywhere,
eager to be shared here
and with everyone. But my soul
is a cellar dweller, a strange root
vegetable—pale and dirty—
so I'll rest under this thick soot
until the intricate shade
of the future descends
and envelopes everything.