ad infinitum lit issue 1

Page 1


table of contents: letter from the editor in chief……..……………………………………………………………………………page 3 first star i see tonight………………………………………………………………………………………………page 4 I SKIPPED LUNCH AGAIN AND IT MADE ME THINK OF YOU……………………………....page 5 his orchid…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…page 6-7 happy frangipani…………………………………………………………………………………………………….page 7 [untitled] ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..page 8 third spaces……………………………………………………………………………………………………..……page 9 My Milky Way……………………………………………………………………………………………………....page 10 your garden…………………………………………………………………………………………………….…….page 11 4 photos: “space // loss // nostalgia” ………………………………………………………………………..page 12 heartbeep……………………………………………………………………………………………………...……..page 13-14 box of rejects……………………………………………………………………………………………….……….page 15 hollow…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………page 16 bindweed………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………page 17-18 i see your face when i close my eyes………………………………………………..………………………..page 19-20 thorns and softness………………………………………………………………………………………….……..page 20 gardening…………………………………………………………………………………………..………………...page 21 love me, love me …………………………………………………………………………………………………..page 22 spoiler alert: it’s my fault……………………………………………………………………………….………..page 23-24 we’re coming………………………………………………………………………………………………..……….page 24 the mortifying ordeal of being known / the horrifying concept of not being known..…….page 25-26 pine wave…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……..….page 26 just a bit off………………………………………………………………………………….……….……………….page 27 fish crows………………………………………………………………………………………………….………….page 28 pov: you don't have a point to make in your GCSE philosophy exam and all your brain cells have turned into shopping trolleys …………………………………………page 29 the lives of angels…………………………………………………………………………………………………page 30 untitled photo 1……………………………………………………………………………………………………page 31 the one who remembers [everything; the worst] ……………………………………………………..page 32-33 where am i? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….page 33 stardust in your eyes………………………………………………………………………………………....….page 34 fig. 1 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..page 35 Two Moons…………………………………………………………………………………………………..……page 36-37

contributors: eventide vesper, cameron lebedev, anubis, laura k. brimstone, moss lyndeth, felix cerniglia, pei wen zhao, kal, vi oliver quill, noa jones, cassian amauray, kyle eun, caspar wild, mus aoife, sylvester, kaye amira reese, oona keleher, surya k, cypher ross, leopold crow, sadie daniel, thimble, franzzine delacroix


dear readers, thank you for choosing to read the first issue of ad infinitum lit! it will certainly not be the last. as i reflect on the process of founding and staffing a literary magazine, i am overcome with both awe and immense exhaustion. i founded ad infinitum out of my love of writing, and creating the first issue has only strengthened my love: seeing the talent among young writers has filled me with nothing but joy! this process has been long and tiring: social media posts, web design decisions, submission discussion, tedious formatting, and more. still, it was fulfilling nevertheless, and i wouldn’t trade it for anything. i am so grateful to my editors, social media manager, and web design expertad infinitum would not be possible without this amazing team. we are so proud of the work we have done, and are so excited to present the debut issue of ad infinitum lit, titled “the cosmonaut’s lament”, focusing on the theme “space // loss // nostalgia”. we hope you enjoy! please stay tuned through our instagram @ad.infinitum.litmag for updates concerning the magazine!

- jillian thomas, founder and editor-in-chief

EDITORS: - Moth Skuller - On’lirier - Claire Adler - Sadie Daniel - Sophie Grayek


first star i see tonight we’re moving through the world at 341.754 miles per second and don’t feel a thing. every time a butterfly flaps its wings, a shooting star comets across the sky & a wish is granted. every night hundreds of children utter one phrase & it’s the outline of our thoughts. “star light star bright first star i see tonight. i wish i may i wish i might, have the wish i wish tonight”. and if we’re left behind we don’t mind because every night, every single night, the stars of the past look at us, and ask us “what do you want”. those stars could have exploded hundreds of years ago, they could be dead: we don’t mind, they don’t mind. they could be millions of years old when the world is new. & when the world dies, they’ll be there from the past: when the world dies, they’ll watch, even though they know it will always be out of reach [doesn’t that ring a bell?]. they’re not there -- it’s empty space -- but you can see them.

eventide vesper is a nonbinary author who enjoys writing stories & poems on subjects such as space, philosophy, mental illness, & being queer. you can also find their works in the calypso & calliope litmag.


I SKIPPED LUNCH AGAIN TODAY AND IT MADE ME THINK OF YOU haven’t been able to find you lately i’ve been lost in space again, but you seem to have settled, happily and terrestrially, and i guess you’re done with cosmic affairs. i’m sorry i can’t come down with you i’m trying, but the atmosphere keeps setting me on fire i guess what i’m trying to say is, i guess i’m a thing of the past, now. i guess what i’m trying to say is thanks for all those walks on the moon grief is scrawled across the sky and hope is lost somewhere in the milky way, but i shouldn’t say anything because phobos and deimos have taken up residence in my lungs along with their merry cousin, Guilt nothing is named after her but she orbits mars all the same i’m glad you’re well enough to leave me behind i wish you and your planet all the best i hope gravity treats you kindly i hope you look up sometimes and hope i am looking down you’re my favorite thing the universe ever spat out i know i’m not yours, but i’m glad of that. i know you know just about everything, from quasars to dead stars i hope it was also written in your college textbook that across this empty universe, i will still reach for your hand

cameron lebedev is a teenage poet and astronomy enthusiast from new england. their poetry revolves around outer space, love, loss, and guilt. when not writing, they can be found playing the violin, painting, hiking, and snuggling their cats.


his orchid tw: blood, suicide imagine throwing acrid slurs against your own piece of eye candy, sucking him dry and tearing the wrapper until there's nothing left but brittle bones & pockets of dried blood. imagine burning the softest of oral tissue & lighting bonfires inside his cheeks. your tongue used to plant vanilla pods behind his teeth, & he savored them like saffron oil, but your feeble taste buds couldn't handle the aftertaste. cardamom is too strong for a palette accustomed to cannabis, & he's still your excuse to roll a blunt & get stoned when the regret of living without the silk in his kisses becomes too much. imagine whispering synthetic coquetry into the melting ears of a soul desperate to be wanted, spinning his love 'round your neck while your fingertips evaporated his clavicles, only to turn and abandon his trembling body, still rosy with marks left by your deceiving lips. you grin as he rends his skin to tatters, in a desperate attempt to eliminate every last drop of blood that you brought to the surface for nothing but a quick high. imagine telling the most beautiful person you'd ever touched, "you make me want to die," knowing the dress in his closet still clings to the essence of your cologne & he still grows an orchid in his chest just for you, even if you never watered it or fertilized it with the maple clouds in your hair. he made sure the petals grew to match the color of your eyes, hazel with golden flecks, but your face stretched into grotesque laughter as you plucked the


petals away one by one & whisked yourself away as he crumbled at your feet, begging to be loved one last time, to taste vanilla and saffron just one final time to mask the pungency of heartache. but you gathered his orchid petals & doused them in lithium, & took in the final neon-pink breaths of your second love, dousing the ashes in silver and closing the eyes that no one saw beauty in except him, savoring his screaming cries, & never, ever looking back.

anubis is a teen poet in his sophomore year of high school. when he's not writing free verse poetry, he can be found rehearsing trombone, upright bass, and flute, among many other instruments. his dream is to someday become a band director and a published poet.

laura k brimstone likes writing (although she's getting less and less of it done), photography, music and general shenanigans. She can usually be found writing in her journal (effort that could be used on writing a novel) or playing guitar.


moss lyndeth (they/it) is a being vaguely masquerading as a human. it enjoys writing, drawing, going on bike rides, and conversing with demons (their pet birds). approach at your own risk


third spaces (tw: mentions of death, blood, cancer) & what becomes of the words plucked from the tree before they were ready to be born? & of the beating heart of logical hysteria when they first learned surgery? & the experiments wrought on everything that gave us joy- the hills of our thighs & the estuaries held upon our liminalities? & of the isolation, when it begins in choice, does it end in inevitability & off-pitch notes? & the stickiness bearding our faces, do they call it righteous or bloody or maybe we found ourselves carnal freedom in eating mango to the core & forgetting to be tidy? & what if we feel things wrong? & what of the muddy water iridescent holding our feet? & what of the wires running beneath our chests in time with the fireflies? & the timbre that falls and rises when we move on to somewhere-otherwhere? & of the things they don’t notice living in the grass, entire civilizations thriving and dying while they sit down to eat lunch? & the teratoma, cut off and out for the rest to survive? & what if we are the teratoma & what if we are growing in all the wrong places & what if we deserve to see our tomorrows too? & what will happen to the whale songs humming underneath our sternums? & of the faith we have in their existence since our ears aren’t evolved enough to listen? & of the nurse logs devoured by holy rot? & of the whale fall rendered bioluminescent when the graveyard lamps failed & the bacteria memorialized instead? & what will be left behind to say that we were here? & what will become of us when we are gone? felix cerniglia is a devourer of words and worlds- fictional ones, that is. their work spans mediums and usually focuses on transness, the body, and the wild. he lives in the southern united states with his dog.


My Milky Way Luminous Brilliance perfectly blinding the heart Leaving darkness to wither Clearing the infinitely invisible line That was once insidious Inundation Of tempestuous thoughts fully consumes Frangible by birth Now shattered into fragmented infinities That never was stable Evancescene So palpable yet furtive No longer existing Like prevarication Nyctophilia From the essence of vestige Saudade fills my heart Eternally Yours

Pei Wen Zhao (she/her) is a daughter, a sister, and a friend, who is an avid reader and writer. Whales, with their elegance and simplicity, bring her comfort and hope. "Euphoria" is her favorite word.


your garden your garden is thriving for how little you cared. congratulations, on that! you always hoped it would bloom without command, like your hatred and your love. or so i have heard from a multitude of secondary sources. now it is under my care, which it lacks, for i have not much of the kind of feverish desire you had to build something that would not burn and wither— a friend, a home, a garden. i hope you are doing well, because i inhale the exhales of the dying trees you planted, not knowing that you’re the reason they’re there. if i knew, i wouldn’t blame you, as that would be unreasonable. after all, these bones were your bones once, this flesh as well. but you will never know before it feeds the roots of your oak saplings, and then my favorite lichens. then again, did we ever care about those, really? you’ll have to tell me, if you come back. i’ll cry if i think about it myself. sincerely and signed in bittersweet, your garden [written by] the Kaleidoscope System (Kal for short), specifically Oscar with edits by Marjorie. Kal enjoys walking in circles, reading webcomics, drinking tea, making playlists, and above all, analyzing Rain World lore. While they’re mostly visual artists, Kal enjoys writing poetry and the occasional piece of fiction. You can find some of their artwork on their artfight, ALDULFIN.


Noa Jones is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying English & creative writing and sociology. They cannot go more than 10 hours without taking a photograph, and that’s only because of sleep. Her vibes have been described as just “space” on multiple occasions


heartbeep TW: body horror The woman sits in her little office cubicle and stares at her rusted, unmoving hands. She wonders, stupidly, where the carbon goes. She wonders where she got the metal. She rubs oil into her knuckles, and she does not feel alive. It started with her heart. She didn’t expect that, somehow. Metaphors swirl through her mind, but they jam and they halt and they flee and she can’t quite pull them into the binary. It’s a simple machine, she supposes—quite literally circuitry. Pumping oxygen and oxymorons around a body so desperate to receive them. She knew the moment it happened. Maybe that was odd—maybe she shouldn’t have been able to tell. But she had woken up, and she had felt the metal in her chest. Beating, perhaps, a bit too regularly. A clunk where there should have been a thunk. She didn’t do anything about it. Maybe she knew, even then, that it would have been futile. Or maybe it wasn’t, and she was just spurring it on: cogs in the machine, and she had to get to work. She felt it, too, when her blood turned to electron soup. It was a gradual shift, hand-in-hand with her muscles (now rubber-plastic bundles interwoven with those awful little wires). She felt her movements still, felt the exhaustion as her body wondered where its energy went, then the clicking and clinking as, day by day, it became something else. And maybe she hated it, but maybe on some level it felt right. That was when she stopped talking to her friends. Whenever they met, she could see from the looks on their faces that they knew something had changed. They didn’t know what, of that she was sure. Sometimes she considered telling them, wondered if those expressions would fill with sympathy or with disgust, and she didn’t know which idea she hated more. Eventually, she decided it was better they not see her like this. Better she not see them when she was like this. A few tried to reconnect. Most didn’t. And honestly, she couldn’t blame them. Her bones creaked at the hinges. She thought, with a bitter sort of amusement, of the tin man frozen in his forest, and she became afraid of water. She did miss the rain, though. Everything always felt so alive in the rain. But maybe that was fitting. Once, at the grocery store buying charger cables and extension cords, she glanced at the cover of a magazine. She remembered how she used to laughingly call those photoshopped cover models


plastic people, how real humans didn’t look like that. But now, as her skin shone unnaturally under the fluorescent lighting, it didn’t seem quite so funny. She started getting hungry when she looked at batteries. She tried to shove food down her throat, but it did nothing for her whirring stomach. One day, on the brink of collapse and with a particularly harsh deadline pressing on the edges of her mind, she gave in: placed a triple-a on the tip of her tongue and hoped for the best. The cold cylinder practically slotted into place, and she didn’t even need to swallow before she felt the energy returning to her body. She loved it, and she hated it. She loved it, and she hated herself. But none of that mattered, not really. Because even as the blood turned to bronze and the numbers took over, there was one thing she would not let herself think about. She banished it from her thoughts when she could, endured the awful sweatless nightmares when she couldn’t. Until, inevitably, it happened. It was like her thoughts ran into corners, like her neurons had simply forgotten what to do. And there was nothing she could do to stop it. Now she is lying alone in the dark. She thinks of sharp corners and hard lines and neat borders and binary code. She thinks of curves and blurry edges and grey spaces and messy systems that have slowly but surely designed themselves. She doesn’t see much overlap. The angles hurt her when she tries to think. She screams, and her voice comes out at volume level 88%. She cries, and her tear ducts drip oil down her unfeeling cheeks. And she gets out of bed, and she goes to work.

Vi Oliver Quill is a writer & student from Washington state. When not reading or writing, they can be found playing double bass, drinking alarming amounts of tea, or playing with his cats.


BOX OF REJECTS lessons learned from stories unsung i cried stars at midnight my blood running sap you boiled me with your heated words slapped briars instead of berries on my plate ceramic dreams split a voice unheard in legends untold i walked through the rain 3 am, alone when i asked you how you'd been you fed me lies of sugar and rot stone cold heart, lying eyes an oh, i ebbed, in the forest that night. tasted moonwater, salt, and light elixir of the gods, sweet tea at sunset, velvet jackets in bed, islands in an ocean some miles away i wait there for love visit me, a summer's day written by cassian amauray, a nonbinary skeleton who periodically surfaces to write nonsensical poetry and stories about their relationships, mental issues, relationships, and whatever strikes their fancy.


kyle eun is a teen artist from South Korea. They've been drawing constantly since the moment they could hold a crayon. When they are not creating digital illustrations, they can be found writing poems and listening to indie pop artists.


bindweed i. you grow in my lungs, in my chest. in my throat, when i breathe, your fingers claw at my tongue, there's a rawness to my throat from where your nails have torn it. how did you get here? your spores in the poisoned honey from a blackthom crown that leaves cuts leaking ichor into my eyes, you set root in the pit of my stomach & your bones wrap themselves around my brain, a stray knuckle is set in my trachea bindweed grown in a summer sun, they say, is hard to be rid of (& oh god the herbicides do nothing: chemicals with longer names & longer poisons & longer side-effects, there's ichor in my mouth too.) ii. to choke is a slow-acting death. the motions of life are all here: nebulae in my eyes & a cosmic drumbeat in my heart & golden dust flowing through my veins, but it's tainted with a clock ticking to oblivion. the stars claim me whole but your roots sink deeper & deeper into the earth below. did the trails of a shooting star fade out before your sprouting? with leaves in my eyes, it's hard to remember there are vines around my wrists & in my hair, burrs like bullets & goosegrass around my ankles. the moon stopped spinning last night. (& oh god we swore we'd trace a starmap to find our home but the promises snapped like autumn leaves & now you're inside me & we're both dying.) iii. earth & space a fatal combination, icarus plunged from the heavens into burning seas & now we re-enact his demise - each word is another inch of the branch working its way through my our nervous system. i dig my fingers (clawed, knawed to the bone) deep inside my chest (green with chlorophyll) and search for the seed you planted that day by the sea (the day with grass cutting my feet & your words in my mouth like humps of ice & a hot sun). the knotweed shreds & pulls apart & tom leaves scatted the ground & still you grow, faster & faster & faster. we scream to an empty cosmos, I CAN'T BREATHE. (& oh god they aren't listening, are they? it echoes & echoes & echoes & echoes & nobody is listening to it. this star-system was emptied long before our detonation.) iv. choking & choking & choking & choking. flowers like feathers like rotting birds in our mouth, the leaves pile up on our shins day after day & the forest is stark around us. we are buried, rooted, sinking, a winter sun watches, wordless. your spores leak from us & drip down our face-spores like blood like ichor from the stars like sap,


we reach to catch them but we're rooted now & they dribble beyond reach to a muddy forest-floor. fungi sprout between our toes. the sapling is crawling out of our chest now. we can't breathe but co2 will do instead of oxygen. (& oh god we make a monstrosity, a marvel, a machine of melting stars & squirming plants, a decaying statue of a could've-been-king, a mess; a miracle.) v. the cosmos is always changing & blurring & spinning faster than we understand. a collision means the death of planets; of solar systems, it breaks, bleeds, bends, inconsistent incoherent, but herewe cup our hands, watch the rain pool in our palms, watch the stars reflecting in it. watch our skin harden into mossy bark, we watch & we wait & we find we don't mind the silence much after all. aether-song was always too loud, anyway, a whispered birdsong is much easier to follow. there's something calming to the knowledge nothing else matters. (& oh god we could stay here forever. set root, set seed. grow & settle & reconcile ourself with our broken body, leak ichor into a puddle around us. rest, at last.) vi. you grow in my lungs & i in yours. we twist, combine, & let warming winds rock us, we watch stars & watch saplings & watch the world spin to oblivion, we breathe together & it tastes of rain. celandines & exslips & con parsley & eglantine: you teach me their names while the heavens roll over. dog rose & vetch & taflar, the stars crawl past. stichwort, the sun is rising, woodbine, dew on our leaves, mud under our nails. violets by the dozen hand in hand we wait. when the sun comes up it bleeds buttercups into the sky. (& oh god it doesn't matter. the cosmos shifts above us & the angels go to war & we live in the forest more at home than we ever were.)

Caspar Wild (they/he) is a young writer and poet from England. When not procrastinating their maths homework by writing nonsense about plants or space (or both), they can usually be found somewhere wrapped in a blanket with their cat and a good history book while surrounded by their many houseplants.


i see your face when i close my eyes 9/8; cool september night. it's both a blessing and a curse to feel every single thing so deeply; i lay in bed and wrap my own arms around myself wishing they were yours, i have an idea of the person i want to be yet no matter how hard i try, i will never reach it. tranquility isn't in my vocabulary. i ache for calm days on the water, i ache for my mind to be dredged. i have burned for so long, flames engulfing my lungs, weaving in between the bones of my ribcage. i can see your face when i close my eyes, your porcelain skin sprinkled with freckles i know you wondered if i ever loved you back, i did. i do. i don't know who i will be when the sun returns in the morn, i miss your voice, i miss the way your dimples appeared as you grinned. i hope you will find everything you've been searching for, everything you need i didn't know how to release the ghosts and the internal scars of my past. i couldn't love you anymore. i couldn't let you be with someone as hurt as a wounded dog thrown out of a moving car on the highway; you already had burdens, i shouldn't have been one. i hide it pretty well, don't i? you were the only person able to strip my mask off and watch the blue flames curling around my spine with glassed over eyes. i'll always remember you as the person who had taught me what love was: little words, big feeling. holding sweaty hands underneath the table; eyes searching, finding, reading each other like an open book without opening mouths. i hope you know that i would sell my own soul and bones for you. i was tired of masking, i was tired of holding you back.

you deserved the universe and i was only a speck of dust on a rock floating in space, you loved like a child. i wish i could have been what you needed. i hope you know that i still keep the love letters you wrote me in my baby blue ripped jeans and burn holes in my pockets.


9/10; freezing september morning. i saw you in my dreams last night, it felt real. but i won't let you come back. everything feels wrong without your hand in mine, yet it's better this way. it's better this way. in another life, i will let you break my heart instead of letting myself shatter my own into a million shards of glass; in another life, i will let you break my heart so blood will leak onto the floor of my bathroom, pain feels better when it isn't self-inflicted. maybe then when i see a leaf the color of your hair, i will have a reason not to miss you like a little kid

mus aoife is a queer nonbinary poet who spends their free time writing poems, hiding in their hoodie, screaming over music theory, learning cello and playing violin. This is their first published work

by laura k. brimstone


gardening (tw body horror) you yank my heart from my chest as if you are weeding my veins are roots clinging to my granite ribcage, protesting your pull, but there are no thorns to repel you ruby dust drips from heartstrings broken by your foraging i whisper to you before the mushrooms arrive, voice choked by deadnettle “throw my heart in the flames and melt it until the firepit is soaked like a sunset pool. scoop up my blood with your brass spoon, droplets twirling down the handle and onto your soil-covered fingertips. bottle it as the finest ink, scrawling my soul out into a labyrinth of letters that taste of raspberries when read” you fix your gaze upon me and raise my heart to your teeth like a ripe-red apple juice runs down your chin you leave no seeds for regrowth nor do you bury me as food for the forest i am left to the fungi who care for me more than you did sylvester is a genderfluid teen writer. they love tangled the series, marvel, and many other fandoms. their current ambition is to become a zoologist who writes spectacular fantasy novels on the side. they can be found at their tumblr, silverpen-and-paper.


by thimble


spoiler alert: it’s my fault

the pictures switch in my mind like a slideshow.

click. me sitting on our front lawn, sipping my pink lemonade. click. liliana kicking her princess ball in front of me. click. i turn around for a second for who knows what. click. a piercing scream. click. i turn around at the speed of light. click. a car zooming away. click. liliana on the ground still as ever.

••• constant beeping in the hospital room. the words, “your daughter didn’t make it” followed by, “it’s not your fault. i remember opening my mouth waiting for the words to come out.

they didn’t.


it felt like a million pound rock was holding down my tongue.

*** my name is felicity lawson and i haven’t spoken since the day i killed my sister. kaye amira reese is 18. she has a big passion for creative writing, and is currently in the process of writing several novels, which she dreams of getting published. kaye also heavily enjoys reading, as well as hanging out with friends, and she can be found on instagram @layneamirareese.

by laura k. brimstone


the mortifying ordeal of being known / the horrifying concept of not being known you are sixteen staring at yourself in the mirror wondering how you forgot to brush your teeth that morning. how you forgot to eat lunch and how in three years you will no longer be a child. how you will move on. how you used to love asparagus as a child and how five years ago your mother cooked them wrong and made you hate them. how you always remember your father’s coffee recipe. five minutes in the press. push down. ready. how his coffee always tasted so bitter, but you loved it anyways. how your new house is bigger than the last, but your room is much less friendly. how you haven’t talked to them in three summers. how the book you’re reading reminds you of them, reminds you of who you were and who you are. how you hated your hair in the sixth grade and how you miss how easy life was. how you feel bad for hurting people and how maybe making mistakes is okay. how the cold of your fan feels too good whenever you snuggle into your bed. how you’ve always covered your ears with your blanket when you sleep. how you were thirteen and didn’t know how to handle love, so you threw it all away in search of yourself. how you fell in love again a few months later. how you never fathomed you would make it to adulthood and seeing yourself staring in the mirror wondering how you forgot to brush your teeth. i get this strange feeling in my chest whenever i leave a place. in that moment, i remember the people, and i remember the way i was when i was there, because i know, deep down, i might never be that person again. there is so much life in one little world and so little time to see it. there are a lot of things i love and a lot of things i hate. i thought i’d share them: i like coffee and books, but i refuse to read inside of a starbucks. i love collecting, but only the things i love. water bottles. dolls. books. journals. never used, just adored. i smile when i see them. i like my father’s cooking, but i hate asparagus and brussel sprouts. i also dislike creamed spinach (one of my mother’s favorite dishes). i love the south but hate our politics. i’m a southerner at heart, even if i deny it. i love writing, especially poetry, but i’ve always had a hard time writing about myself. i’m learning to love it. i love snuggling up in a blanket, but i hate feeling hot. i love musicals but only when i’m in the mood. i love indie music. maybe i like to feel sad, but i’m not sure. i love being alone, but hate being lonely. i love the way i love my friends. i love the way i feel. i love the way i love. and any love i made you feel is yours to keep. i am sentimental. i sleep a lot. sometimes i cry a little in my car on the way home. when someone tells me they love me, i feel almost as though my heart will burst. i follow a few too many dogs on instagram. i take a lot of photos of the sky and trees. i notice the changing of the seasons, and i get excited. i like fresh fruit, especially blackberries. even more when they’re tart. little things make me happy, and i hope i stay this way. i haven’t always known who i was. i like to think i was obvious about my struggles, but i know that there will always be parts of myself that i hid. if you didn’t know me then, you know me


now. you should know how liberating it is to pursue wholeness instead of perfection. i am going to make a life i love living even if it’s not the one i expected or thought i wanted. and i am going to let myself be proud and grateful of what i do have. i am allowed to be proud of it without other people realizing the gravity of what i have accomplished in scale to my life and abilities. i do not need permission. my childhood is so far away that it’s ancient history but also it was just yesterday. i am both an adult and i just turned 5 years old today. the past is the past but it is also the present and it chokes me with everything i do remember and everything i don’t know. i walk into the bathroom and i see a child staring back and they are crying. i’m crying too. i thought by now i’d feel better, but they’re still staring back at me with teary eyes. they are still wearing their ballet flats. and i am still recovering. i think we start healing by telling the truth. i don’t think life is easy. i think you learn how to live over time. you learn and grow and one day everything will start to piece together. i’m not an advice-giving person, but there are a few things i want you to know before i leave. one, there’s a lot of good in this world. i found a little bit of it in my life. two, you will change. you will always change. oona keleher (she/they) is an emerging nonbinary writer from Florida. She has been previously featured in publications such as Brave Voices Magazine and The Bibliopunk. When she’s not writing, you can find her doodling art for their Instagram, @thimblelini.

by laura k. brimstone


Just a Bit Off (TW: Dissociation) Do you ever have one of those days Where nothing seems real The color is drained from the sky Everything blurs Everything melts together Then after the day The memory just escapes Except for the feeling that all-day You were just going through the motions of what you’re supposed to do Not really feeling Not really thinking Or maybe you are thinking Way. Too. Much Either way Everything is just off You feel fake You feel out of place You aren’t all there The constellations aren't above you But then they come back And twinkle at you with their friendliness Like the blurriness is gone The world looks different to you Almost surreal Still, it's better than it was before The author of this piece is Cypher Ross. He is a student at Strath Haven High School in his junior year. He writes things he sees around him and uses writing to help him process different ideas and emotions.


by oona keleher


fish crows

fish crows are nearly indistinguishable from corvus brachyrhynchos // or maybe their reputation as difficult // only means no one pays plain black birds much attention // just glossy feathers left behind in the marsh // and crooning caws carried away on the wind

in case my stance wasn’t clear enough: // (it’s not a forgivable mistake even in these muddy waters) // fish crows are nothing like their twins // they are reminders of the lowlands // swirling hurricane-flocks in the twisted sabal palms to watch with beady eyes // tethered to saltwater tides // wanderers that never wander far

here’s what they didn’t teach you about estuaries in class: // they are uncanny. powerful. violent when disturbed and disrespected. // isn’t that the way for all liminal spaces? // when the lines are blurred and broken apart, any space and time can fit inside // when the land cries for the sea // and the waves cut through sawgrass channels to reach out in comfort, it might as well be another galaxy // held inside the embrace of a single snail shell

they are always a good place to be found by birds // ardea alba, leucophaeus atricilla, elanoides forficatus, platalea ajaja, pandion haliaetus // corvus ossifragus // fish crow // dark and bittersweet // i said once that they belonged to me, but // they belong to the storm painting the horizon // to the low tide mudflats // to the illusion flock, to the bones left to sink into the delta // they belong to a friend-no-longer-friend // and to a home-no-longer-home // i could’ve painted whirlpool-black feathers on her wrist // given her wings to fly away by felix cerniglia


pov: you don't have a point to make in your GCSE philosophy exam and all your brain cells have turned into shopping trolleys I think I'd make a clumsy God. No spatial awareness, you see, I think I'd get distracted by some pretty glimmer and the planets would all crash into each other like shopping trolleys warring in the meat aisle. Actually, I still dance down the cereal aisle when mum's not looking and pretend I didn't lose her as she moved on whilst I was still staring at all the different types of bread. Easily distractible, apparently. I find that funny, I must be an oxymoron in myself because I've also been told I'm too Obsessed. Fixated on one small thing for hours and hours and days and days. It's a good job that there's a lot of oxymorons in God. I learnt about them in my year nine philosophy class: imminent and transcendent, here and not here. Merciful, but he didn't ask the giants if they wanted forgiveness, did he? Mind you, the giants were eating everything, and Enoch was off playing lawyer for the fallen angels, and according to my notes, God was living in a crystal house in Enoch's subconscious, so I don't think that says a lot. He probably had bigger things on his mind. I wonder which of them I am. Not to be blasphemous, but God didn't make good fashion choices in that Book. Shiny and white is never a good look on anyone, except quite possibly Zendaya, because Zendaya is Zendaya and could effortlessly pull off anything she wanted. If I was God, I'd make better fashion choices. Mind you, looking at my wardrobe, I'm one to talk. We could hire a fashion coordinator. Maybe God was so preoccupied by the giants eating everything and the magic and makeup and the fallen angels fucking the women, he got dressed in the dark and picked the wrong thing off his mystical wardrobe floor. He probably had bigger things on his mind. If God was the same height as me, they'd be 11244 feet and eleven inches bigger.

Leopold Crow (he/they) is a transmasc artist from England who enjoys throwing small knitted jellyfish at people's heads, climbing things he probably shouldn't, and being unable to shut up about Star Wars. More of his work can be found at leopold-crow.carrd.co


“the lives of the angels”, by sadie daniel


the one who remembers [everything; the worst] do you ever look at someone and just pray to god you never lose them? that one day. at some point. after everything. they will come back. maybe you weren’t a terrible person, maybe you were just fifteen. feeling your dreams rotting under your fingernails. feeling too much all the time, or else you feel nothing at all. always hungry. always swallowing. no matter how much goes in, you always end up empty. “this is not a joke,” i mouth. “love me. love me.” and for a second, i doubt whether that’s possible. i was happy three days ago. today, i’m depressed. what happened? i caught you forgetting. some poorly suppressed memory rose to the surface, and i cried. left with this idea that suddenly. i am all alone, left with a body that cannot— will not—love me. and a will that cannot save me. i want to ask you what that feels like, but you aren’t there next to me. i’m scared of opening myself up to someone that isn’t you. someone who doesn’t understand the idiosyncrasies of my being. of who i was. tell me everything about you. everything that has changed since you left. go on for hours, i don’t mind. i know we’re both just messing around pretending to be whole. but look at me. if the train was coming, would you move? if the edge of the building was in front of you, would you jump? am i a monster or is this what it means to be a person? i’m afraid to delete your texts. they’re


the only part of you that i have left. in a parallel universe, maybe the fact that is you leaving is only an idea. a thought

of running away. maybe we are seated across from each other, going over the grocery list. maybe i cry every day all day but. i wake up. i’ve realized with time that i will have to resort to your memory. i’ll have to remember you for longer than i knew you, and i doubt i’ll ever come to terms with that. i don’t want to be the one who mourns everything that everyone else has forgotten. it hurts to be the one who remembers. by oona keleher

by surya k


stardust in your eyes / you were a physicist, to begin with: clawing data in chunks from the fabric of the earth & tearing it into strips / to place in a sewing basket stacked with neatly folded squares & rectangles of / star-spangled cloth. / every action has an equal & opposite reaction, said newton, so you tugged at the planets / set them spinning in their malachite-engraved settings like a clock swung round & around & around by an impatient child (law number one says every object will in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force & you can’t quite bring yourself to stop it). / yes, you were a physicist with a physicist’s joy & a physicist’s loss & a physicist’s burden: / to see it all & understand none; to play god with a galaxy beyond your comprehension. / a toddling deity with a baby’s clumsiness & wanderlust / each nebula your playbox & the rings of saturn your nursery / & cosmic glitter adorning your fingernails. / but physics is objective & you are anything but that - you marvel & delight & take joy in the beauty of the stars / gasp, exult, glory / there are stars in your eyes & interstellar dust in your veins & gold running throughout you. / oh, of course you began as a physicist: of course you ended as an astronomer. /

by caspar wild


by thimble


Two Moons Two moons were a rare sight to see So when I looked up and caught sight of it in the sky, I thought to myself, "Wow, I must be lucky." For I was treading along a path before this, Wandering, aimlessly nonchalant, I contemplated the life I had, engulfed in misery. I haven't had the time to stop and focus my energy elsewhere lately. Chasing who knows what or why, Stressing every day — I was far too busy. That was until they appeared right before me; Two moons illuminating the heavens, Shining bright, in all of their glory. They managed to provide a sense of relief to a certain degree. I found myself in a state I haven't been in, At least not for a very long while now, Basking in solace and pure serenity. The night was still young, and these moons they were free To astonish others, to bedazzle everyone, completely. Yet somehow, it felt as if they chose to chaperone me As I went about my rather meaningless journey. At times, I try my best to ignore them, Out of fear that they might flee ever so suddenly. Though, as the hours passed by, what seemed like months of uncertainty Finally, it turned into satisfaction and glee. I've established that there was a solid connection, An evident chemistry between us three. Yes, to those who would not get it, it may sound silly. Is it a mere illusion that I let myself believe in — our bond? Maybe. Could we go our separate ways, one day, Never to hear from one another ever again? Possibly. Why? Because that's reality! There's nothing in this world that we could permanently guarantee! In lieu of it, we ought to enjoy the moment as we wait and see what is destined to be.


And so, I continue on, walking in the company of the two moons that guide me, Presents sent from above, gifts I've accepted wholeheartedly, Moving along with me at a pace that is nice and steady. In the silence of the night, I sincerely hope and pray; May the bond that we created last for eternity. That way, I wouldn't have to suffer like I did before, Like I expected to, once more — scarred, scared, and lonely. Up to this instant, hope & prayers still have yet to fail me. Therefore, to these two moons, I will proudly say: "Thank you mis lunas, for showering me with love. I couldn't possibly find this in any other celestial body. I promise from here on out that as you beam and traverse great distances, You'll catch me with a smile on my face, admiring thee, accordingly." Now if you've read this far, I'll let you in on a secret, so do bear with me. This piece isn't just about moons, honestly; 'Tis up to you to decide if this poem should be taken literally or metaphorically. Mayhaps you too have moons in your own galaxy; It could be only one, two like mine, or, on occasion, three. So on and so forth, there's no limit to it, really. Just be sure also show them you appreciate their existence; Do it wholeheartedly and with utmost sincerity. Two moons are a rare sight to see; And the privilege to encounter their existence, Indeed is quite mind-boggling, Yet shall remain a blessing to me. Anna, also known as Franzzine "Franzz" Delacroix is a 19 year old college student from the Philippines who has had a passion for writing for over a decade now. She is currently taking up a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language Studies and is a member of her college department's Book Lovers Club and Writers' Circle. College life has opened doors she was too shy to enter beforehand, which is why she is giving her best as she tries to explore what is in store for her behind each and every opportunity she can grab.



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