the whole tree 2016
Abington Friends School Literary Magazine 2016 Editor
Associate Editor Evan Steinberg
Staff Emma Bisbee Kaiya Case Leila El-Dada Serafina Fleming Zoe Gold Lev Greenstein the whole goddamn tree Christina Juste Hannah Kaplan yup all of it Kerry LeCure Corey Naitove Anna Nicolais Saria Rosenhaj Danny Rothberg
Faculty Advisor Mary Lynn Ellis
Special Thanks Jenny Burkholder Amy Diaz-Newman Gabrielle Giddings Gene Gilbert Donna Russo
Table of Contents - Writing Driving by Ella Pokrifka / 4
What You Need by Corey Naitove / 33
Stethoscope by Anne Silbaugh / 6
Maple Ave by Alex Graul / 34
The Body and the Soul by Hannah Kaplan / 9
Honda Odyssey: Story of a Car by Lucy Silbaugh / 37- 38
Chessboard by Will Durbin / 11
In between Quiet and Day by Lucia Finney / 39
Preserves by Lucia Finney / 12 Waking up in June by Kaiya Case / 12 Brothers by Mia Panzak / 15 Macho Penguin by Kate Welhoffer / 16 For Glory by Kerry LeCure / 18 -19 Raw Garlic by Shoshi Greenberg / 20 What I Know by Heart by Anne Silbaugh / 23 The Cat by Katie Botak / 24 A Wave of Courage by Anni Campbell / 25 How to Walk Your Dog, Jackson by Hannah Kaplan / 26 -27 To the Wawa on 611 by Matthew Sessa / 28 I Must by Carly Shanken / 29 Summertime by Lucia Finney / 30 After the Storm by Saria Rosenhaj / 31
~ Lauren Bloom â€˜16 ~
Table of Contents - Art Painting by Amara Malik / Front Cover
Drawing by Khadijah Hickson / 28
Drawing by Lauren Bloom / 2 Photograph by Alyssa DeNofa / 29 Drawing by Ruhi Roy / 3 Photograph by Rebecca Macey / 30 Painting by Jillian Wray / 5 Drawing by Tamsin Longenberger / 31 Painting by Martin Han Dong / 7 Painting by Anne Silbaugh / 8 Drawings Tamsin Longenberger / 10
Photograph by Scotty Chhay / 32 Photograph by Paige Osborne / 34- 35 Photograph by Alyssa De Nofa / 36
Tesselation by Cierra Jenkins / 11 Print by Emma Bisbee / 12 Drawing by Amara Malik / 13 Drawing by Aviva Gordon / 14 Mixed Media by Nina Harrod / 17 Print by Helen Li / 18
Painting by Emma Bisbee / 38 Painting by Elena Moreno / 39 Photograph by Carly Shanken / 40 Back Cover Drawing by Leila El-Dada
Mixed Media by Katie Botak / 20 Print by Nina Harrod / 21 Print by Amara Malik / 22 Photograph by Gabrielle Ford / 24 Photograph by Lizzie Bolger / 26 -27
~ Ruhi Roy â€˜17 ~
after Elaine Terranova’s “Vertical” ~ Ella Pokrifka ‘17 ~ Why think of death? The possum on the road, poor thing, reminds you. But you were made upright so cars can see you, though this leaves you prey to lightning and the vertigo of honeysuckle. Gravity, in fact, plays its same trick on you as on the possum, letting your own weight hold you down. Still, your hands are free. They aren’t climbing the earth’s surface. You can catch a sneeze in a handkerchief. And you are high enough to be exposed to the percussion of birds. Also to the flutes they hold in their throats, the songbirds who don’t even know they are singing.
~ Jillian Wray â€˜17 ~
~ Anne Silbaugh ‘16 ~ When we were younger, Grandpa gave us his old stethoscope to play with. A professional navy blue, it sat in the center of our doctor kit, the prize of our collection. Whenever we had guests, we brought it out so we could listen. We heard hearts of all kinds — old hearts, young hearts, nervous hearts, beating fast and erratically, and slow hearts that Grandpa would say were the hearts of runners. We heard blissful hearts, hearts in love, hearts full of warmth and joy, and we heard sad hearts, hearts that were broken, hearts that had lost and were searching, hearts that had given up. The lives that shuffled through our living room one by one, allowing us to listen, are lives that we will soon forget, that crossed our paths for merely an instant before parting to trace entirely different stories. But we are grateful that before they did, they stopped and let us press our small hands to their backs, chests, saying deep breath…and another..and another… These are the lives of the heart, the many beautiful, treasured, individual beatings, and we heard them. We heard them, unmasked and known.
~ Martin Han Dong â€˜16 ~ ~7~
~Anne ~AnneSilbaugh Silbaugh‘16 ‘16~~ ~8~
The Body and The Soul ~ Hannah Kaplan ‘16 ~
The blood is blue, it climbs up to the surface of your skin, then jumps back down so that I can no longer trace its trail. I think about where it goes. I imagine how beautiful you must be inside. Not your soul, I mean your body. The red, pinks, browns. Other colors too, colors I haven’t thought of at this point. How incomprehensible is the slime of your brain. Your brain is a planet and I am an inhabitant there among the pink and white sliding through veins, dancing on nerves. And the soul must sit near the stomach Pressing up on the diaphragm, sharing the blood used by the body like fuel. Hiding from the doctors and scientists almost like Peter Pan’s shadow. Your soul is its own. I know it is dark blue, with eyes made to see in the dark. Made to see through your tissue and skin. Made to see me.
~ Tamsin Longenberger â€˜19 ~
~ Will Durbin â€˜17 ~ There is something about the unmatching symmetry and the marble that swirls back and forth underneath the feet of the king that feels soothing. To only look at the wrinkled fingers shuffling royalty across a stone board and wonder what the queen was telling her husband when she was so rudely and promptly interrupted and placed as bait..
Cierra Jenkins, â€˜17
~ Emma Bisbee â€˜16 ~
~ Amara Malik ‘16 ~
~ Lucia Finney ‘16 ~ My mother laid peaches in boiling water like she was putting them to sleep— I pulled them out, their skin warm and loose like it had softened in my palms. A knife in one hand and the cooling ache of peach in the other, I split the skin and pushed yellow summer into the knife — dark edge, slicing sunsets of tendriled pink and cautious orange— my hands, and my mother’s hands, cradled sunlight.
Waking up in June
~ Kaiya Case ‘18 ~
It all passes in one blurry morning. There is the drowsy sunrise that slides silently by as the alarm sleeps with her. Feet through slippers, hands through hair, and the click of flint and the whoosh of flame. Dark eyes find the teapot’s stem, and it is placed on the stove. She smiles, blinking as the sun floods the windows and the birds and kettle sing in unison. Tea bag already waiting in its cup, the hot water pours over it as she swings up the news and shakes the paper open. Sitting down with a sigh of relief, a few words are read before she brings the cup to her lips. But the porcelain is cold and the drink lukewarm and the sky clouds over as the leaves begin to fall all over again. to fall all ovtoer again. ~13~
~ Aviva Gordon â€˜19 ~ ~14~
~ Mia Panzak ‘17 ~ every day after school i sit in my closet. my mom told me that my brother came out of the closet but i don’t get it. nothing ever happens. sometimes i pray about it before bed. i want god to give me answers. my family goes to church every sunday and my dad serves before the altar. we pray before every meal too. and we celebrate all the holidays. even the little ones. we’re very devoted. i asked my mom about my brother when she first told me he came out of the closet. but she wouldn’t say anything. the first time i came out of the closet my mom asked me why i was in there. and i told her because i wanted to see what it was like. the second time she told me that it only works if you don’t believe in god’s word. which of course i do. the third time she sat down on the floor and cried. i haven’t seen my brother since church. maybe he’s still in the closet. i waited up for him that night but i never saw him come home. our neighbors keep bringing over casseroles and saying they’re sorry. i don’t get it. i’ll ask my brother. when he comes home, i’m gonna ask him.
Macho Penguin ~ Kate Wellhofer â€˜16 ~
When we were little you had bright red hair which you teased up so that it looked like a giant red tomato had planted itself on your head, and that is how I found you in crowds We would lie on the ground like Olympic gymnasts and drink soda that no one had ever heard of before but us Our bodies were decorated with jewelry we had made ourselves, little penguins with macho arms made from offensively red and yellow and pink beads Our favorite person was a worm we named Rebecca and one day found shriveled up from the sun and crushed beneath some careless childâ€™s foot We took yoga and knitting and painting and you always drew the best narwhals, their horns glimmering under the sun you painted in the top corner Beside each other we were fearlessly ourselves, me the girl who refused to grow up and you the girl growing up too fast I never could figure out why, or even how we became friends, but one day I found you woven into my knitting and painting the sun in the top corner of my drawing
Nina Harrod, ‘16
~ Nina Harrod ‘16 ~
~ Helen Li ‘18 ~
For Glory ~ Kerry LeCure ‘16 ~
i. the lust consider: a girl with a smile like starshine, who straightens her hair with shinbones, has teeth like ivory. she drags her fingers across her clavicles leaving pale red streaks, her voice is whisper-soft, wonderful, even—or is it full of wonder? i don’t know, anymore—but it leaves tiny earthquakes in its wake. she is quicksilver in the marrow of my bones, but it’s difficult to breathe when she’s murmuring words into my thighs. i think that she paints her lips with blood, that her organs are made of pure surgical-grade steel, but it becomes so hard to tell when she’s got one hand in my hair and the other under his shirt. she ate my heart on a wednesday. i never got it back. ii. the sloth he traced words along your spine when he thought i wasn’t looking, languidly, wanted to eat you whole when your clothes were paint-splattered. i never told him that i’d noticed, that i didn’t care, because the way he reached for you was nauseating. instead i breathed lazy smirks and half-hearted sighs, hummed along with the bark in your voice, leaned into the callouses on his fingertips. i loved him, too, but it was the way that his heartstrings tangled around themselves for you that kept me quiet. ~18~
iii. the greed we let ourselves be consumed, or maybe—we consumed you, endosymbiosis. you love the blood and grit of the bandages between your fingers, he loves the way sweat slides down his chin, i love the sound of change hitting cement, and we’re the mob, now, knocking down doors. or rather—you’re the mob and you’re knocking down your own doors, forget about who you were, who you are, who you will become. you try so hard that i forget, too, even when his hands are on your hips, even when i’m reminding you to breathe, breathe, breathe. iv. the gluttony you wrapped your fingers around his shoulder blades. i’ve heard they were knobby and cold and i would know them in death. you were all teeth, bite anyone who got too close (kiss anyone who got too close). his tongue was wicked, sharp, paper cuts against bruised knuckles, globs of blood rolling down fits and chins and you savored every moment of that, soaked it up, because it reminded you of yourself, because you’re always wanting more: breathe in, breathe out, remember that to take a step forward, you’re supposed to take five back. or something like that. it’s been so long. v. the envy i missed you like a limb, he missed you like he’d miss his own heart. it’s quiet these days with only the rain to keep us company. sometimes when the moon is halfway across the sky i catch him with your paintbrushes, his eyes running mad. sometimes i wish i was as selfish as you, sometimes i wish he’d cling to my hand the way he clung to yours. vi. the wrath he wakes up sometimes and won’t talk for hours, only paces and tries to work through the white-knuckled frustration, and when i say he needs to get over it, he’ll tell me that we’re the same, he and i. we’re the same, we share the tension in our fists, our jaws, our shoulders. we’re bruising touches, clashing teeth, blinding smiles, keep it all bottled up until it’s too late, because we’re all a little selfish, we all wanted until we couldn’t take anymore, except now you’re gone and he pulsates red-hot rage and i’m only made of quiet fury. i don’t miss you anymore, but i’ve heard he does. you forgot to call. vii. the pride i do not forgive you for filling up all the spaces of my heart, but sometimes i forget that you didn’t ask me to— forgive you, that is. and when i kiss you, you taste of the stars and the sun and the moon, but you murmur into my skin that i am bruised knees and crinkled paper shoved into pockets. you remind me that it takes two to tango. that my toes are just as bloody as yours. my bones creak in the evenings, sharp pops and blurry cracks. they feel so old these days, but i let you pretend they sing songs for you.
~ Shoshi Greenberg, â€˜16 ~ I always marveled at the smooth curves of a peeled garlic clove wondered if I would ever have curves so smooth to the touch if I would ever master the sensuality that comes in the act of peeling and chopping those waves of bitter and sour with a touch of sweet that emanate from a single cut shocking and drawing you in closer. The need I feel to cut it small and neat and place it in hot oil listen to the sizzle fast and then all of a sudden slow.
~ Katie Botak â€˜16 ~ ~20~
~ Nina Harrod â€˜16 ~
~ Amara Malik â€˜16 ~
What I Know By Heart ~ Anne Silbaugh ‘16 ~ 267 302 0526 a clunky black box of plastic, totally ours, was a key to adulthood, a thick rectangle pressed into the back pocket of our grown-up skinny jeans we learned, together, how to memorize the number writing it over and over again until we could recite it in our sleep, passing our triumphant maturity back and forth in whispers across the shared hallway from your bedroom to mine, or mine to yours, just like always sharing a womb, a birthday, a household, a lifestyle of course it made sense that we would share this together, at least until 267 302 0526 retired we are not receiving calls at this time I am now 0762 and you 5260 that’s permanent, that’s how it’ll be and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad, ecstatic to have something entirely mine, and mine alone, still don’t you think it’s interesting that even now, when that old phone’s screen is black, buttons clogged, minutes expired I would still be able to start a poem with a line I know by heart 267 302 0526 ~23~
~Gabrielle Ford â€˜17~
~ Katie Botak â€˜16 ~
The cat is never vulgar, with a see in the cards the cat leans into anticipation the tables they reek of it of the hammering of perfect nails one by one and repeated again lust sunken butterscotch eyes her canine is her sweet tooth the cat pays dirt now to the weak knees before her she bites the dog no longer out of greed but out of sympathy
A Wave of Courage ~ Anni Campbell ‘16 ~ The next time she sees him, it won’t be any different. An ocean miles long and 10 feet deep between them, and she still won’t be able to say how she feels. The words are on the tip of the wave of her tongue - just a second longer. But they get caught in the riptide. The next time she sees him, it could be different. There are only 6, well, maybe 7 feet between them, and the water is not too deep to swim in. She opens her mouth to speak, about to break the crest... but no sound. Her words are drowned out by the crashing of the waves. The next time she sees him, it might be different. There’s a pool about 3 feet wide separating them now, and it’s just shallow enough that she can wade in the clear water. She finally finds the confidence to say those submerged words, but they only come out as the hush of the sea. The next time she sees him, it will be different. She pulls on her bright yellow rain boots, the ones with the white stripes going up the side. She splashes through the puddles, one by one, until she has made it across. The words tumble out - they are in no particular order, and in no way said gracefully but they are hers. She watches as her words create ripples across the water’s surface.
How to Walk Your Dog, Jackson ~ Hannah Kaplan ‘16 ~ Once you come home around 3:35, Jackson can tell that he will be going on a walk as you hover at the door. He will force his big, black Labrador body past you and sit between you and the door. So that you have no choice but to take him on a walk. You will grab his metal collar and leather leash from the hook on the wall in the doorway and lock the spikes of the collar in place around his thick neck. Jackson will have to wait for you to choose your song, push your earbuds in your ears, and grab two plastic bags you hope to bring home unused. You will wear a scarf and Jackson will wear his worn red collar and his metal spike collar. He’ll pull you out the door, but your hand will jump back to grab the doorknob, so that the door will slam shut. When Jackson is on a walk, he will move his hips hurriedly and you will follow in pursuit. He will bounce and trot and look back at you with his mouth open and his teeth showing, his version of a smile. He will move with enough force that the loose black hairs ready to be shed will fall from his lower back. The cold air won’t bother him and it won’t bother you in ten or twenty minutes. Jackson will lead you through the sparse grass in the front yard and start heading down Mill Road, stopping to pee in the big piles of collected dead leaves sitting under the pine trees at the edge of your property. You’ll wait for him and let him take his time sniffing. Once you reach the part of Mill Road where Glenwood Road flows into Mill and disappears, you’ll need to wrap the leather leash tightly in circles around your right hand. So that Jackson will be closer to you. So that when you pull on his leash it will hurt him more. Do it fast, otherwise he’ll get the jump on you. He will tell you when he knows another dog is close by with the tensing of his legs and the way he bares his fang-like teeth. There is a dog waiting behind a fence to the left growling at Jackson who is twice that little dog’s size, but just as aggressive and angry. You’ll both be ready for that small dog to push his nose out through the fence. Jackson will be silent, pulling on the leash, but you’ll pull back. You will have to yank fast and force your sneakers into the concrete. Once you have pulled him far enough, he will forget that small dog and jog to the front again. School will be out at Myers Elementary School and cars will clog up Mill Road, but Jackson will find his way around to the children and their parents and will sniff. You will hit the pause button on your earbuds so that you can hear the hellos and small talk coming at you. At the same time you will have to smile at the friendly people and tug Jackson back into the solitude of your walk. Turn off Mill onto the quiet Surrey Road. Now you will feel the plastic bags in the waistband of your pants sticking to your skin. This is Jackson’s poop spot. If you’re unlucky he’ll start ~26~
walking in the grass, then start trotting in the grass, then start pooping. He moves while he poops. You will have to count the stools so that you don’t miss one. Peel a bag from your skin and put the leash in your left hand. Wrap your right hand in the plastic bag and roll your eyes as you bend down and make contact with the warm poop, tie up this bag and shoot Jackson a look. Now you will transfer the poop bag to your left hand and Jackson’s leash to your right. You’ll look around feverishly for some kind of trash can and smile when you see one up the street. Take a deep breath once you drop the poop in the can. Now you will be able to enjoy the walk again even though you feel the sweat beading on the back of your neck. You’ll guide Jackson across the street away from that ginkgo tree. If either of you stepped in all of those smelly pods, the whole walk would be ruined by face-contorting smell. You will keep walking and turn your music up, so that you will be able to retreat deeper into the comfort of the walk. You and Jackson will go three blocks down Surrey. This is when Jackson will start panting because he will be getting tired. He might slow down a little, but he will still be smiling. Now you will be on your way back, heading up Windsor. Jackson will be walking beside you and his hips won’t sway the same way as they did twenty minutes ago. The leash will no longer be taut because Jackson is too tired to pull on it. It will hang loose between the two of you. You will cross back over onto Mill and this time you’ll walk on the same side of the street as the school. This is where Jackson will really want to take his time, sniffing stray chips and trash. Even though he is tired, he will need to smell the snack bags and napkins. You’ll have to tug him forward to make the walk end a little sooner because you will have already listened to this song five times. You will be getting tired of it. Jackson will be walking slightly behind you. You’ll notice this and you will place your hand on the top of his head. He will lean into your thigh because he has grown sweeter in his older age. You will turn into your driveway and stop in front of the door and Jackson will stop, too, waiting for you to open it for him. He won’t run because he will be ready to lie down in the cool basement. He will stand in front of you and you will bend down and remove the metal spiked collar. You will both jump inside and you will go upstairs and he will go to the basement. Both of you tired and both of you loved.
~Lizzie Bolger 16~
to the wawa on 611 ~ Matthew Sessa ‘16 ~
rushing into the store without thinking about anything but the cheddar chex mix i’m so close to buying then deciding at the last minute I can go without it and putting it back onto the shelf and the man standing next to me yes with the hands of a hard worker calloused and blistered his dirty boots and torn light blue jean pants reminding me of fall weather picking pumpkins out of the field and to the woman just behind him in her fitted black suit yes her hands are soft and clean no calluses and no sign of hard work yet she too works to pay off the bills and when someone dares ask an employee
where the restroom is she rolls her eyes as if in disbelief that the person does not know they are in the back corner next to the f ’real smoothie milkshake machine where the teenage boys sweaty and tired can grab a sweet cold refreshing drink and order a famous 4.79 hoagiefest classic 10 inch hoagie wrapped in the white paper stamped with wawa like a signature on a piece of art
~ Khadijah Hickson ‘17 ~
after Louise Erdrich’s “Fooling God” ~Carly Shanken ‘17~
I must be the width of a board and length of a highway. I must be careless as a hare running across a busy road not aware of the sounds of the red car coming toward my tail. I must be a snake coiling into shapes of structured dresses. I must be a tightrope walker taking weary steps fear in the vibrations of a single string. I must become an empty vase, a residue of murky water. Perhaps if I embody my mother. Perhaps if I become the pictures in the photo books where my father is clenching her hip. ~ Alyssa DeNofa ‘17 ~
~ Lucia Finney ‘16 ~
In day cast by headlights, shadows stumble over skin— butterfly-thin. At the end of the street— where the moon lands— under parasol arboreal, a flower with root under dirt tongue, rises on an exhale and yellow petals open.
~ Rebecca Macey ‘17 ~
after the storm ~ Saria Rosenhaj ‘17 ~
come in, old soul, and rest your head upon my softest cushions. I won’t ask who you have been, or who you will be next, only whether you prefer honey or sugar stirred into china cups of tea. because you deserve a place to be loved, unconditionally. allow your scabbed wrists to be kissed and wrapped up in a duvet coverlet. I can offer you the soft gap of time before the church bells chime, or perhaps they never will again.
blanket the rattling tremor of the teacup. the saucer is already heartsick as a milky storm gathers in its bottom. enameled roses kiss each other gently. they do not have to beat their fists to soft stumps to know this, too, will pass.
we tightrope on the glinting flip-side of the razor’s edge, where the pills line up perpendicular, a parliament of post-it notes gathers around, each claiming a space on the cold marble counter. they command from up high: take me... take me…eat me…drink me Alice and I grip the same rigid doorknob. unlocking requires a certain condensing, containing. one slip and the world will slice open along the neat line of the wrist: its throat exposed, open and gasping. so, dear one, honored one let the cascade of cream cool our warm cheeks, and the murmur of rustling napkins ~ Tamsin Longenberger ‘18 ~ ~31~
~ Scotty Chhay, â€˜16 ~
What You Need ~ Corey Goulden Naitove, ‘16 ~ The first time I heard the song that would change my life was on the way home from school one afternoon in seventh grade. My brother and I were in the car with Matt Applebaum, a college student our mother paid to watch us after school. It was April, the roof of his car down, the wind blowing through our hair in that way it does on a really still day if you’re moving fast enough. Now, normally Applebaum preferred The Dropkick Murphys or The White Rabbits on the radio, punk music that fit his giant frame, long hair, and swaggering presence. But that day he was playing country. As I listened, the chorus of one song caught my attention. She said you’re a ramblin’ man,/and you ain’t ever gonna change,/you got a gypsy soul to blame,/and you were born for leavin’. I don’t know what I liked so much. Maybe it was the exotic idea of a “gypsy soul,” or the beautiful harmonies; maybe it was just the raw emotion I felt behind the song. “You know, you guys should try country,” Applebaum remarked as the song ended, “because sometimes this is what you need.” “Sometimes this is what you need.” That was all–cryptic, short, and beyond my understanding. I ignored it, then. Throughout Middle School, I listened to showtunes with my theater-loving family and pop and rap with my friends who were into the latest artists. In the family minivan on a roadtrip, crammed in with bags of food and luggage, so different from the openness of Applebaum’s convertible, I could understand the emotion behind, songs like “I Dreamed a Dream.” Because the lyrics and notes were used to enhance a moment within the story, I could understand Fantine’s pain as she sang about her broken dreams. Pop music, on the other hand, lacked the depth of showtunes, and rap felt like random words and phrases held together by an anger I didn’t feel. I felt like an outcast because everyone around me, even my twin brother, loved this music, to which I felt no connection. That summer I spent a month at URJ Camp Harlam. I was surrounded by the music of nature–whispering wind through pine trees, the beat of rain on a cabin roof, the harmonies of crickets and cicadas in the evening–and the music of Judaism. There was something exceptionally beautiful about that music that was about more than just the way it sounded. It was about the way it made everyone at Harlam feel–as if the music were about each of us individually, and by extension, about the community created through the common experience of music. My return home was a culture shock. My experiences at camp made me feel even further separated from the music that all of my friends were listening to. Because I had been so deeply immersed in the power of the music at camp, almost any music felt paltry in comparison. Whenever my friends mentioned songs and artists that were popular, I was reminded of the fact that I just couldn’t identify. Then, I remembered Applebaum’s comment. I figured that maybe I could find his “this”‒the elusive feeling that he had been talking about that day. I locked myself in my room, turned on the radio, sat on my bed, and scrolled through the static until I came to 92.5 WXTU, “Philly’s Country Station.” As soon as I turned it on, I heard, She said you’re a ramblin’ man,/and you ain’t ever gonna change,/you got a gypsy soul to blame,/and you were born for leavin’. Again I was hit with the emotion in that song, and everything I had been feeling–the frustration, the loneliness–all were cathartically drawn out of me, allowing me to feel the same way I had at Harlam, that I did have a place in the larger world. ~33~
~ Alex Graul â€˜16 ~
Dim room fumes of gasoline in the air the skin on my face the only exposed Warm breath cold doorknob opens to a cold bright white world Shovel in hand I walk out to the buried cars the icy tomb 3 feet on either side the task almost impossible or so it seemed 3 cars 3 shovels 2 hard working 1 lazy 1 old 2 young One leaves and now
only 2 remain his English broken We communicate with gestures working hard in silence like the thousands other people in Philadelphia doing the same He stops working on his car and helps with mine We finish I move on to my next car and I finish He does not I think body hot tired and sore I am only getting paid for 2 cars But I start the third We work together until the cars are freed then without saying a word we walk to opposite sides of Maple Ave ~34~
~ Paige Osborne â€˜1930 ~
~ Alyssa DeNofa â€˜17 ~
Honda Odyssey, 2001: Story of a Car ~ Lucy Silbaugh ‘16 ~
I. It is 2002, and Anne and I sit together in the driver’s seat of our parents’ new car. We are four, twins with big foreheads and chittering laughs, and Mom has permitted us to play “car racers” in the parked minivan. “Hey,” I say to Anne. “I have an idea.” My fingers, small and sticky, pinch pennies from the center console and stick them into the cassette player. We swing our feet, happy and occupied, until there are no more coins and the cassette player, sufficiently jammed, will never work again. “Why would you do that?” Dad asks me later. I shrug and look down. “I thought it would be fun.” This is not a story yet, but it will become one — a family favorite, when passengers ask why only the radio works. My parents will look at each other and laugh. “Well, when the girls were little...” II. For five summers in grade school, we take the car cross-country. From our house in Denver to my grandparents’ in Pennsylvania, our route is almost two thousand miles, a firm crayon-line across the Plains states. While Mom drives, Dad entertains, twisting in the passenger seat to manipulate two finger-puppets, frogs he dubs Frieda and Freddy. At road stops, while my parents squint at the map, I claim the puppets. “You forgot my birthday?” I make Frieda say to Freddy. At eight, I have a gravitation towards plot and problem, for something to “happen” in the lives of these amiable amphibians. The frog pond is infiltrated by hostile toads. Although unmarried, Frieda is expecting a tadpole. Is Freddy the father? (At this point, my parents say, “That’s enough, Lucy,” and take the puppets back.) Later, I’ll remember storytelling and story-listening in this car, in the comfort of my booster seat, as the fields of Kansas unspooled slowly out the window. III. In eighth grade, I master the art of eating in the car. Orchestra on Tuesdays, Chamber on Thursdays and Fridays — Mom and I spend hours driving. En route, we share hastily-plated leftovers; I learn to cut bites at red lights and brace my plate at turns. In the forced closeness of the car, I tell Mom things. He doesn’t like me back. She doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Hassan just got raped in The Kite Runner and I can’t get that out of my mind, that black blood on the white snow. Mom talks, too, about marriage, motherhood, growing up. She looks out the windshield instead of at me, and her stories are nuanced and true. In the car with Mom, eating as we drive, I learn it’s worth it to listen hard. IV. When we take our driver’s tests, Anne passes and I fail. Trying to charm the examiner with questions about his kids, I am perhaps too interested in his responses and not interested enough in the orange cones. And I learn there’s a sacrifice in being a storyteller. You may have to give things up for the sake of a story, left behind as ~37~
others head for the future. Weeks later, I do get my license. However, what at first feels victorious mellows with melancholy as I first drive myself to a cello lesson, alone in the car Iâ€™ve grown up with. I find myself overwhelmed by stories, surrounded by the ghosts of four-year-old Lucy and eight-year-old Lucy and thirteen-year-old Lucy. Would any of these past selves believe that I am behind the wheel of this worn van, this witness to the stories of a childhood? Adulthood does not fit me yet, but for the first time, driving, I feel it might. I relish the details of traveling: road, tires, wheel shifting back and forth beneath my palms. Maybe someday I will use these in my writing, but for now, I relish what it feels like to be mid-story.
~ Emma Bisbee â€˜16 ~ ~38~
~ Elena Moreno ‘16 ~
In Between Quiet and Day
~ Lucia Finney ‘16 ~
I’m twelve years old the night is quiet and dark invades my nostrils ripe with warmth it is fruit in my chest. The window is open and wind sneaks with cricket sounds into my lungs filling me with moonlight. The bed is cool and against the white sheets my body is a darkness.
~ Carly Shanken â€˜17 ~ 39
abington friends school
The annual edition of the Abington Friends Upper School literary magazine.