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Pillars of Salt


Editors: Capucine Berney Moira Johnston Staff: Grace Bannon Lauren David Frances Field Maria Gelabert Isabelle Kantz Arden Kelley Isabella Nalle Lulu Shamberg Jenna Speiser Faculty Advisor: Mr. Russo


Pillars of Salt Literary Magazine The Archer School for Girls Winter 2013


Table of Contents Cover, Harris Hartsfield..................................................................................................cover Malibu, Daniella Morrison......................................................................... ......................... 4 The Coast, Isabelle Kantz.................................................................................................... 5 Summer Swelter, Rebecca Samuelson.................................................................................. 6 Cherry Blossoms, Mayra Castaneda..................................................................................... 7 Election Day, Dianne Lugo................................................................................................. 8 Are We in the Right Galaxy Because I Think You Took a Wrong Turn at Orion’s Belt, Athena Schlereth............................................................................................................... 10 Rain in Los Angeles, Emily Piccard................................................................................... 11 Christmas Time in the Mall, Arden Kelley........................................................................ 13 New York, Isabelle Kantz................................................................................................... 14 Frank, Isabella Nalle.......................................................................................................... 15 An Ordinary Man, Beatrix Rowland.................................................................................. 17 I Was Submerged, Daniella Morrison................................................................................ 21 The Hand, Cairo Dwek..................................................................................................... 22 Hikikomori, Daniella Morrison......................................................................................... 23 Half-Credit, Jenna Speiser................................................................................................. 24 The Stranger, Shishi Shomloo............................................................................................ 25 Come Help Me Find My Really Cute Puppy That Ran Away and in Return I’ll Let You Keep Her, Athena Schlereth....................................................................................................... 26 Rotten at the Produce Check-Out, Capucine Berney........................................................ 27 Sunday Afternoon, Lulu Shamberg.................................................................................... 29 Shay, Daniella Morrison.................................................................................................... 32 Closet, Shishi Shomloo..................................................................................................... 33


The Dream of Perpetual Motion, Athena Schlereth........................................................... 36 Fifty, Gabriella Lamm....................................................................................................... 38 Stranger, Daniella Morrison.............................................................................................. 39 Working it Out, Ava-Rose Beech....................................................................................... 40 I Am An Aristocratic Socialite With No Notion of Poverty But I Have Feelings, Too, Athena Schlereth.............................................................................................................. 43 Want/Need, Sara Seaman................................................................................................. 44 Prospect Park, Emily Ward............................................................................................... 46 Heartache, Lauren David................................................................................................. 50 The Norm, Moira Johnston.............................................................................................. 51 Linear, Daniella Morrison................................................................................................ 53 Cecilia, Kayla Burney....................................................................................................... 54 17, Daniella Morrison...................................................................................................... 55 The Dream of Disembodied Birds, Carly Winat............................................................... 56 Occulation, Daniella Morrison......................................................................................... 58 The Chase (Moves in Mysterious Ways)*, Maria Gelabert................................................ 59 Status Quo Antebellum, Grace Piccard............................................................................. 61 Portland, Daniella Morrison............................................................................................. 63 The Dream of Perpetual Motion, Courtney Urbancsik..................................................... 64 A Note., Frances Field...................................................................................................... 66 Jess, Daniella Morrison..................................................................................................... 67 Inaniloquent, The Creative Writing Class......................................................................... 68 Fear and Loathing in Venice Beach, Athena Schlereth...................................................... 69 Harts, Daniella Morrison.... .............................................................................................70 Dedication, The Creative Writing Class............................................................................ 71

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Malibu

Daniella Morrison ’13 4 Pillars of Salt


The Coast The waves roll onto the sand and barely reach the tips of my toes. I close my eyes and take in the smell of salt and seaweed, reopening them as I look out into the deep indigo sea. I gaze down and wiggle my toes in the slightly crunchy sand, and a small sand crab scuttles out of a hole. A warm breeze blows my hair in all different directions as a sensation of relaxation and purity flows throughout my body. Almost too far into the water for me to see, a small sailboat bobs along the horizon line with dolphins playfully chasing after it. I take a few steps forward and the chill of the water rushes over my feet. The wave comes in and goes well over my ankles, then pulls back out, leaving a few grains of sand on the top of my skin. Isabelle Kantz ’16

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Summer Swelter Think not of Summer as a simple season but months to learn with every splash and squeal; Minds undulating, knowing not the reason. we lose ourselves, forgetting truths too real. Our pores pool sweat to wash away our salty sins of hands with fingers locked by false forever, of faces red from rays revealing fears within, of barefoot soles for walking on together. As Summer calls, we free our beachy hair and spirits too to clear a conscience filled with silent sorrow that winter’s tempests bitter feelings brew for August always has a bright tomorrow. Think not of Summer’s people, plans, or place but pain of joy and joy of pain we face. Rebecca Samuelson ’13

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Cherry Blossoms Springing from a small dismal seed, You contrast against nature with your dark wood Your tiny pink offspring that showers the world with color. When the wind blows, Your petals sing your beauty By dancing with each other to form emotions. You take away that experience from the world With your absence. And with your presence, You make dull scenery revive. Your wood, So very still, Hypnotizes creatures with your natural beauty. Originating from such a beautiful place, You represent your native home. Sakura, your sweet sounding native name, Cherry blossoms all the same. Mayra Castaneda ’15

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Election Day Such a monumental moment when the whole world watches to see who will be named the next President of the United States. No one speaks of anything else the weeks prior. Essays are written and debates are aired. Late night show parodies fill the screen. And then there’s the day of: a riot of people each hoping for their favorite to win and the other to lose. People pray people cry people hardly breathe long lines fill the streets as all of those over eighteen vote. And then people are glued to their seats as they watch the results come in. People gasp as they think it’s over. He or she has won! But then there comes another state and it all starts again. Hours of anxiety until the results are final

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And then there’s the winner. Some people jump with joy and scream their thanks to whoever is responsible. Some people cry and yell in fury. Everyone talks about it for a day or two. And then it’s over. The lawn signs come down. The commercials aren’t aired. The bumper stickers will one day fade away or be scratched off. Everyone goes back to their normal routine waiting four more years when there will be another Election Day. Dianne Lugo ’15

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Are We in the Right Galaxy Because I Think You Took a Wrong Turn at Orion’s Belt Athena Schlereth ’14 10 Pillars of Salt


Rain in Los Angeles I feel the swell of rain beneath my skin. In a city like this, where buildings and streets are bleached white animal bones beneath the sun, rain is an entity, a deity privately worshipped, mentioned in passing, in wistful tones. And when it does rain, people forget themselves. Two Februarys ago, when the skies were like smudged charcoal for weeks, the scream of sirens kept me awake at night. People forgot how to drive; it might have been scrims of black ice slicking our roads—for all of our sullenness, the hollow feeling behind ones’ breastbone, we might have been Alpine villagers mired in an endless winter. There is neither promise nor suggestion of rain now; noon, and the sun is a scalded dime dropped at its zenith. Restless twitches beneath the bones of my feet and I walk, am propelled outside and down the boulevard to the street. Men and women and their sad-eyed children slump on plastic benches outside the Family Clinic on the corner. As I pass, a fresh-faced nurse in blue scrubs—eyes shining; she hasn’t seen too much yet—materializes in the dim doorway and beckons. Teen mother rising from the bench, skinny infant limp in her arms, and I wonder where the father is now. How did she feel when she turned her eyes downward and saw the thin blue line? Did she feel a jolt of sick shock—the realization that there was something infinitely growing within her? Was she standing alone? Was there a boy hanging over her shoulder, praying, fingers maybe finding the rosary or cross under his shirt and then dropping it, letting the worn beads slide from forefinger and thumb, fighting off the numbing washes of shock, maybe encroaching hopelessness. She disappears into the antiseptic-scented gloom with the baby crying weakly in her arms, and I am already moving off, down the street. I could walk five blocks down, to the pier, and watch the dark shapes of surfers dip and bob against the green swell of waves, or catch the 12:15 Blue Line north to Santa Monica, a haven of green parks and quiet streets,

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or east—downtown, maybe, and walk among the loom of skyscrapers in a glittering evening, all of those lights spinning above your head, the heartbeat of the city is dizzying. A homeless man on the corner of 4th and Main waves me over to the bus bench. I don’t move. —You’re stepping on the cracks. —What cracks? —The sidewalk cracks. You’re stepping on them. I say, oh, and I walk quickly to the drug store. Last week, the girl in the neighboring building was knifed at the bus station on Wilshire, coming home from summer school. In this city, there’s always the urban legend: the boy who was kidnapped on the Venice boardwalk and sold into child slavery, the college student who, wildly, unabashedly drunk, got George Clooney’s name tattooed across her forehead, and there’s always the friend-of-a-friend who got raped in the bathrooms at Griffith Park. At the counter, I pay for a can of ice tea and a pack of mint gum. This sun is too blinding, bright, close. Sky burned white and blue and white again, stretched tight across the horizon like Saran wrap over the top of a cooking bowl, and the space behind my eyes aches from all of this brightness; I am the first man—the first girl—to stagger from my Stone Age cave, squinting, into the sunlight. I need the rain; I need gray days when the sky drops down to brush the rooftops, days when headlights and taillights slant through curtains of rain, days when my heart will lighten as alleyways flood, when the apartment will be warm and dry and the outside world a stark contrast. I need to breathe in rain clouds and exhale all of this city’s smog. Emily Piccard ’14

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Christmas Time in the Mall Christmas starts at exactly 12:00 a.m. The bustling, the faint aroma of waxy cinnamon candles that we associate with Christmas cheer that seemingly cling to every piece of clothing you own for people to smell for months. And at that time exactly, people working in shops for the holiday stand ready for the procrastinating present buyers, resentful as they wind themselves up like toy soldiers to brace the crowds. It is also exactly the time that groggy people roll out of their beds to squeeze into itchy, wool elf costumes, drive or take the bus over to shopping centers, outdoor celebrations and restaurants with coffee in their hands. I am a “snowflake”. I tried to be Santa but I didn’t have the credentials. My first day of work was on the first day of December at 6:00 in the morning. The lot of us were interviewed and given our costumes. I got the job of a snowflake. Not Santa and definitely not an elf. I got the part of a piece of snow. Pointy molded ears might have actually been good to conceal the overly excited chatter of the people at the mall. Why would anyone come to see an adult dressed in a life-sized flake costume? It’s no better than seeing adults in their mid 50s dressed up as witches on Halloween. I was then handed a piece of paper with my job description. My job was to stand at the entrance and wave. About two days in, I had to go buy an arm brace. Even then, I kept going. I enjoy the holiday season filled with family calls previously avoided throughout the year and watching elves with screaming children who are dismayed and resistant to sit on a strange man’s lap for a picture. I love watching the hurried, careless, last minute buyers because I think it shows just how unimportant you think giving a gift to that person is. In addition to the immediate shock when snow starts to come and you realize everything you forgot outside is now soggy, full of mildew, sticky and frozen. Frankly, I think I may be better off dressing as Scrooge. Arden Kelley ’15

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New York The faded white light descending from the lone street lamp glows onto the hill of snow lining the alley way, the shards of ice twinkling in the glare like Christmas lights— flickering in a fluid pattern. A stray cat meowing and a muffled argument involving yelling and door slams hangs throughout the air, partnered with a gentle hum of an apartment heater. An icy wind blows stranded pieces of trash into an unknown darkness and a smell of rum and hard liquor loiters between the buildings. The sense of solitude urges and lurks near your ankles, crawling up your spine. Isabelle Kantz ’16

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Frank He had everything he needed in that 26x24 foot room. It was filled with once-used wonders that were of no use to anyone anymore; anyone except for Frank. Underneath his pillow laid an old toothbrush, and to the side of that was a box of jigsaw puzzles that never ceased to entertain him. The room had once served as a sanctuary for playtime, but as the children grew older, the once vivid walls of pinks and violets began to fade. And as that chapter passed, the walls were repainted to compliment the beautiful black cars that were comfortably settled there, although seldom used. One day there was no longer a need for the room, so two beautiful cars turned into one, and the excess space lingered for something to fill it. Frank had watched the family for years, feeling like they were his own. From pampers to PHD’s, they were his family; but that family didn’t know he existed. Above the two-car garage was a large loft; its only contents were molding steamer trunks from past travels, a rocking horse with a balding mane, and spider webs that weren’t relegated to just Halloween. Frank slept in amongst these forgotten memories every night after the family had turned in. During the day, he would stand at the bottom of the freeway ramp with the sign he handwrote on the back of a discarded Fedex envelope that read “Vietnam Vet: Will Work For Food.” At the end of each day he would begin his loop past the closing bakery to ask for any scraps they may be throwing away. The proprietor knew Frank and always gave him a weather-appropriate drink. If he were lucky, there would be some oranges to pick from. Frank would take his hard-earned pennies and nature’s pantry up the outside ladder to the loft. He would then scan the property to ensure that his family had gone to bed; his family that didn’t know him. The kids were gone now, and the aging parents lived in the main house alone. It was a cold October night; he made an effort not to step on the squeaky rungs of the ladder as he made his way up to his quarters. Settling into his bed made up of moth-eaten blankets, horsehair pillows, and a discarded prom dress,

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he tucked in his 70-year old body and said his nightly prayers for the people who lived in the main house, thanking them for what they didn’t know they had given him. Frank awoke to an unfamiliar beeping sound coming from outside. He sat up groggily and cocked his head at the noise. Ever so slowly, he got up to peek out of the window. It was the tumult of a large van backing up in the driveway below him. He watched with confusion as box after box, and possession after possession was loaded into the Pantechnicon. He hid in his layer for the 6 hours that the loading took. As the van and family car disappeared down the driveway from view, Frank dared to quietly descend his rotting ladder. Shadowing the hedgerow, he made his way to the front of the property, where he saw a man hammering in a post that said “Coldwell Banker: For Sale.” Isabella Nalle ’13

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An Ordinary Man Steve did all of his thinking in the shower. Sadly for him, he preferred taking baths so he rarely got much thinking done. His life was one of an ordinary man. He wasn’t very smart but he wasn’t quite the idiot. The great blue marble that he lived on did not care very much for him, nor he it. Such was the life of this ordinary man. He lived in a house of a moderate size with a wife of a moderate size. She was the sort of woman who reminded Steve of a cheese grater: big, boxy, and possessing the uncanny ability to grate on his nerves. Her name was Helen and her two hobbies were vacuuming in the middle of the night and improving the self-esteem of plants. Steve called her a gardener but she preferred “plant therapist” because she thought it had more class. Now Steve and Helen had been married for five years and during that time each realized how boring their partner was. One day, after Steve saw the water bill, he decided to forgo his customary fourth bath of the day and take a shower. And during that shower he started to think, as he could not help but do, and he thought about his marriage. When thinking of his blessed union the image of an open fridge appeared and brought up memories of the only thing he and his wife had in common: food. His fridge always seemed to be fully stocked on Monday with enough food for a week but then Sunday would roll around and she would have to go grocery shopping. How odd was it that the food would magically run out by Saturday night? Steve wondered, while reaching for the soap. What could she possibly be doing at the grocery store once a week? Shopping? But that didn’t make any sense! Steve let out an exasperated sigh and said out loud, “A person doesn’t just go to a grocery store to shop! She must be doing something else while she is there!” Now Steve hadn’t been to the grocery store in months and as he wracked his brain trying to think of what his wife was doing there, he suddenly remembered something. His wife had thanked the bag boy after getting her groceries! As he rinsed the soap from his hair, Steve had two thoughts: either his wife was

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eating all the food and getting fat or she was having an affair. He hadn’t yet decided which was worse. He reached for the shower knobs and turned the water off. He braced himself for the cold as he stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. He heard the clatter of keys and the footsteps of his wife arriving home from work. A sudden image of her at the grocery store smiling and coyly waving fruits at the bag boy appeared in his mind. As he got dressed he became angrier and angrier. Steve was so upset that it took him twenty minutes to find the appropriate outfit to wear downstairs. As he marched into the kitchen he saw her, dressed in brown from head to toe and surrounded by foliage. His wife always wore brown because she said it had a more soothing effect on the plants. She was also convinced that it would help them grow because it reminded them of their origins. Helen was a plant therapist deluded about the power she had over her plants. She would tell Steve when he asked why the plants weren’t placed in the sunlight that, “she was the only light they needed to live.” Unsurprisingly, most of her plants were dead. Steve was living in a forest of dead plants. “Steve, do you think you can water the plants while I go to the dentist?” she called over her shoulder as she walked out the door. “I’ll be back at eight.” “What?” asked Steve. “Oh sure.” Steve opened the cabinet and pulled out a glass as he thought about his wife’s terrible teeth. Some of the worst ever seen according to his wife’s dentist. So bad that Helen had to go see him six times a week. Steve would never understand the world of medicine. What seemed like a perfectly normal set of teeth to him was in fact a hidden minefield. Now how would he handle Helen’s affair with the bag boy? He could confront her but then his wife would be given the chance to prove him wrong. He couldn’t take that risk. But Steve couldn’t focus. He needed to get away from this house filled with foliage and the images of his wife with bad teeth. He sulked around the house glaring for a full minute at every single

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potted plant. The thought of killing the plants flashed in his mind but since they were already halfway there, he decided a slow painful death under his wife’s care would be a better revenge. A gardening rake with a green handle caught his eye. It was the one he had given Helen just last Christmas. He could picture scratching the bag boy’s face while Helen watched in horror. He smiled, grabbed the miniature rake and ran towards the door, slamming it behind him but then slowed to a walk as soon as he saw his car. It was old, and rusty but he loved it. The bumper was half off the back and made a moaning noise as it dragged on the road behind him. He started the car and stomped the gas pedal to the floor, roaring away from his house at the breakneck speed of ten miles per hour which happened to be faster than Steve had ever driven before. He didn’t care about anything as he careened like a turtle through town thinking only of his wife with the bag boy until he saw it: the grocery store! That was where all his problems started but that was also where they would end. With its awful chirpy music and pastel colors that were aesthetically pleasing to the eye. How he hated those colors that were so pleasant. And the level of service reminded him of the perfect waiter: always ready to assist but not overbearing and constantly hovering. He hated that! Who else had quality service like that! He was turning into the neat, clean parking lot when he saw the automatic doors parting for his wife and her dentist. Perfect timing he thought as he clanked into a parking spot. I can follow her into the grocery store and collect all the evidence I need to convict her of her affair with the bag boy. He strutted confidently through the icy blast of grocery store air that drove into him. There she was, standing at the cheese display, sniffing the Camembert like a pro. A cheese grater would know best in the matters of cheese, he sneered. He scurried towards the oranges, ducking behind them but poking his head out every few seconds to see what she was buying. A thought suddenly occurred to him, would she flirt with her bag boy if her

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dentist were there? Was the dentist in on it? Were they close enough that she would tell him all of the sordid details of her love affair? He had to wait and see. “Ahem!” A sudden noise came from above as he saw a young woman looking down her nose at him. “Oh,” he gasped, “um…these oranges are top notch. Can’t you smell the ripe scent of…top notch?” Steve trailed off as he hurried away. He turned into a tiger on the hunt. As he rounded a diaper display he saw her buying wine at the cash register. With him. The Bag Boy. A song on the overhead speakers came on with a pounding base line and steady beat. His hands shook as he walked toward the cash register. He was ready for what was to come. He grabbed a bag of chips at the last minute and with his other hand felt in his pocket for the rake. “Hello Helen! Doctor Steinberg! I see you are in good health.” Steve smiled graciously at the dentist and gave an accusing glare to his wife. “Steve! What are you doing here?” Helen asked frantically. He knew it! He clearly had her in a fluster over the bag boy. She was backed up against the People Magazines, right where he wanted her. “I am just here to buy some chips,” Steve said, “I’m hungry.” “Oh, good” Helen spoke almost in a whisper, looking at the ground and refusing to meet his gaze while the dentist stood behind her looking solemn. He cut them in line just as the teller called “Next!” “Just these chips for me today” Steve replied. “Great. That will be $4:58.” Steve handed over the money and looked at the bag boy’s nametag. “Your name is Steve?” Steve asked. “Yes…that’s what the tag says,” the bag boy replied in a mocking tone as he dropped the chips into a paper bag. “Steve,” Steve said to himself whipping the rake out, “what a stupid name.” Beatrix Rowland ’16

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I Was Submerged Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 21


The Hand I am the hand. Always reaching for perfection. I am the long protracted fingers Extending out into a strain To trap what fulfills its needs. I am willing to rip tendons, Get cut and bruised To provide safety for my loved ones. I am the paths on ones palms Scared in various directions, But some how they all seem to cross in the center And collide. Every lengthy day I grow and gradually mature Like smooth fingernails, Experiencing different heights and widths in-between. I am the knuckles, The rocky, mountainous road when fisted And the tranquil rout when calm. I am the hypothenar muscle Remembering life, Like how it memorizes the placement of the keyboard One jab at a time. I am the tool to provide aid, But I am not the foot to guide you where you desire. Cairo Dwek ’16

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Hikikomori

Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 23


Half Credit? As I walk down the endless corridors I can slowly feel them closing in They begin to smother me with late assignments, tests, up coming deadlines that keep building up leaving me short of breath Panic paralyzes my body, the walls coming down Crushing my every last bone Until there is nothing left to break. Jenna Speiser ’13

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The Stranger There’s a book on my shelf (L’etranger by Albert Camus) (it’s in French) The pages are brown (delicate too, like leaves) Someone has written in it (blue ink, sometimes in French, sometimes in English) And highlighted sentences (pink and orange, like a strange, neon sunset) There’s a name written on the inside cover (Sophie. I don’t remember her last name) I couldn’t finish the book (it was kind of boring and hard to read) But I know Sophie did (I think because of school) (I hope she enjoyed it) Shishi Shomloo ’15

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Come Help Me Find My Really Cute Puppy That Ran Away and in Return I’ll Let You Keep Her Athena Schlereth ’14 26 Pillars of Salt


Rotten at the Produce Check-Out I’m standing in line at the Whole Foods on the corner of Barrington and San Vicente. You know, the one with the Starbucks outside, and the unmoving meter that says “look how much money we’ve raised for the environment”? That’s the one. So, I’m standing in line, minding my own business, about to pay for my organically-grown-low-calorie-freeze-dried-strawberries-that-are-still-raw. In line. Like a normal person. And then they’re there. It’s like she teleported right in front of my face: this amazing, juicy, well-rounded, ripe girl, and she’s carrying apples— the apples. The ones on sale. From Fiji. I know. Why didn’t I get the apples? I love apples. I am an apple person. Apples are my life. Literally, my entire life has been shaped so that I could be here, right now, presented with the plump fruit and I pick the freeze-dried strawberries. I’m an idiot. Who am I? “Pounce, Andie, pounce,” I tell myself, “jump on it!” But I can’t. You know why? I know why. You know that girl? That one with the ripeness and the luscious mane? She looks like my dad. Chick looks like my dad. My dad looks like a chick. He’s got this new thing going, okay? He calls it the “Beachy Bob.” That’s his name: Bob. That’s what he wants his hair to look like: the beach. What’s a guy like Bob doing with a three-foot, shimmering, grayed at the roots, platinum blonde extension of his scalp? I couldn’t tell you. Why are we related? Genetic mishap. What the heck, Bob? Dad. Father. Person. He’s all: “I’m not having a midlife crisis, I’m just trying to live.” And then I notice his mustache, and he’s all “It’s not a mustache, it’s a butch-stache.” I’m watching the little filaments on my father’s butch-stache ride up and down as he convinces me that he isn’t scared of death, and then he returns to his online poker game.

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I’m like: “Dad, that’s where you go when you hit your midlife and you think you’re seeing little demons of death. You go to online poker.” “Hang on,” he tells me, “I’m about to beat Jeff from North Carolina, and we have to beat the Confederates. Andie, our nation is in a Civil War—a war of the people. It’s online. Cyber Monday. Facebook popularity. I have sixteen friends, your mother has twelve. Who’s winning that one? I am. If poker Jeff from North Carolina thinks he and his slave-holding people are going to beat me, a strong, Union, Vermont-loving, esteemed online poker player, husband and father, well he’s wrong. He’s just wrong.” So, I can’t buy the apples, because my father probably buys apples. Capucine Berney ’13

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Sunday Afternoon “She comes here often,” the man said, motioning to the older woman standing across from them. “Why?” Julia also came to get a bite in the park often, but she had never seen this lady before. No one else seemed to notice the woman, so she figured she might ask the hot dog man whose cart had been stationed in the same spot since Julia could remember. “Dunno,” the hot dog vendor walked away, but Julia couldn’t help but stare at the woman. Amidst the mélange of people that constantly strolled through Central Park, this woman’s serenity and calm juxtaposed the constant bustle of the crowd. Her outfit was pristine and well-matched. She looked as if she was going to have her portrait taken. She was staring longingly into the reservoir, her pose just perfect to be photographed. The longer Julia stared, the more she could penetrate this woman’s façade of perfection. Although her focus clearly resided into the reservoir, her eyes seemed disengaged from the rest of her body. Julia recognized this because it was something she tended to do when she dealt with pain of her own. Her face was expressionless and blanketed with wrinkles emerging from her collar and crawling up until they disappeared into her flurry of white hair. She remained extremely still except for occasionally reaching to adjust her collar to a perfect angle. Julia felt compelled to talk to the women, and without knowing why, began walking towards her. She was a few steps back when she stopped directly behind the woman. She had no idea what she was going to say to her. She seemed like she didn’t want to be bothered. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” The woman said suddenly. Julia took a step backwards. How did the woman know she was there? “You know, it’s funny how people act when they think you can’t seem them.” Unsure of how to respond, Julia took another step forward. “This used to be my favorite place to come. My mom would bring me every Sunday afternoon.”

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“You’re the first person in three years who has noticed me.” The women said, turning to face Julia. “You just look so peaceful. I think people would think it cruel to interrupt.” Julia offered. “Then why did you?” The woman inquired. “I don’t know, to be honest. You looked so beautiful. Your whole image reminded me of a photograph I saw when I was little.” “Diane,” the woman said, turning to completely face Julia “Julia, pleasure.” “What you said about your mom. Why did you stop coming?” Diane inquired. “I don’t speak to her anymore. We got in a fight a while back and haven’t talked ever since.” Julia said, avoiding eye contact. She began to fumble with the house keys she had in her hand. “That’s a mistake!” The woman exclaimed suddenly. “Don’t forsake the time you have with your mother. It’s precious.” Julia didn’t know how to respond. Why did this woman care so much? “Look, I know its probably not my business. I obviously know nothing about what happened to you or your mom. But let me tell you from a mother’s perspective, I loved my daughter every minute of every day. I know it’s hard to believe, but I still loved her when we fought.” Dianne remarked wistfully. “Yes, I know. She said that all the time. Things just got really complicated and it was just easier to stop fighting and stop talking all together.” Julia replied. “Again, I know it’s really not my place... my daughter and I fought a lot too. Sometimes it was so bad we would go without speaking for months, but I would give anything for my Josie. A few weeks before her accident, we had a huge falling out and I never got the chance to tell her that. Now it’s too late.” Dianne’s voice had conviction in it, but was beginning to be muddled

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by tears. “This was her favorite place. That’s why I come here, you know? I try and find solace. I try to forgive myself, but I can’t.” The two women fell silent. They spoke without words. It was the first time in ages that Julia had thought about her mom. She suddenly realized how much she missed her. Dianne looked as if a huge weight had been lifted off her chest, and a vibrancy returned to her eyes. Both women fell still and stared into the reservoir, finding comfort in each other’s quiet. Lulu Shamberg ’14

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Shay

Daniella Morrison ’13 32 Pillars of Salt


Closet I have never heard two people breathe the same way in my life. I swear I haven’t. Oh sure, people may sound similar, but it’s the subtleties that are different. How they inhale, how they exhale, if they do that funny thing with their nose when they’re out of breath, etc. It’s always different. But I swear to god I’ve never heard anyone breathe remotely similarly to Iris Marney. Iris Marney breathed like the early morning sea. She was quiet, letting the waves roll in and out, quietly, rhythmically, lulling you to sleep. She hardly moved when she breathed. I’ve never experienced anything so calming before. There was this one time we were sitting in a park. I had my head on her chest, feeling the slow rolling of it as she took drags of her cigarette. She smoked like she talked, all quiet and sexy. I swear it drove me wild. So anyway, we were sitting in this park, chatting away about the merits of soft serve vs. ice cream (I thought soft serve had much better texture personally, but I wasn’t about to say so) and I swear I couldn’t stop getting lost in her face. If you asked anyone else, she wasn’t particularly pretty. Anybody else would say she was just average. Average color hair, average color eyes, average height, average body type. Except she wasn’t. She was all soft curves and creme colored skin. I swear I’ve never met anyone who looked at the world as beautifully as she did through those brown eyes of hers. God, she was really beautiful. But anyway so we’re sitting in this park, wasting away our lives, when this young couple and their kid walk to the jungle gym. This kid went onto the slide and I swear you’d have thought he’d discovered Jesus or something. Every time he slid down, he would scream, clap his hands, and dash back up the metal stairs. Iris and I couldn’t stop laughing about that kid. It was a good day.

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But all that’s over now. She broke up with me. Goddammit. And now I’m sitting like some loser in the Young Adult section at some Barnes and Noble. You know what’s the problem with the Young Adult section? You never know where the hell it is. Because sometimes it’s in the children’s section and you feel like a baby and are always trying to get out of there as fast as you can. Or it’s right outside the children’s section, which I think is exactly where it should be because you can make a nice transition out from children’s to young adult to adult. But sometimes it’s on the other side of the bookstore, like they want you to go hunt for it. I swear, I hate asking them where it is. Like you need the Barnes and Noble employees or something. This bookstore keeps its YA section as far away as possible from the kid’s section. Too far away. But anyway, yeah she broke up with me. I mean it’s not like she was the light of my life or the only thing that made me happy. And no, my parents didn’t know that I had a girlfriend. My mom thinks I’m in a bad mood because of period cramps. Hah. No Mom, actually it’s because I’m heartbroken over this girl I’m still completely in love with and she made me feel not so different and she made me happy and she was the only thing that kept me sane in this vile excuse of a life and I’m sorry that I haven’t told you mom and I love you but I don’t know if this is a phase or what but mom I LIKE GIRLS and f*ck I just miss her so much Jesus Christ. Although I think my mom knows something. She’s already given me the Aspen-you-know-Ilove-you-and-you-know-you-can-always-talk-to-me-and-I-love-you-a-lotokay talk. But whatever. The few friends who knew about her keep texting me to see if I’m okay but you couldn’t pay me to reply. I hate talking about my feelings. It just makes me feel worse. I swear I don’t even know what time it is. I think it’s somewhere around 10:30, but I can’t be sure.

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I hate her. I hate Iris. I really do. It’s not fair. She shouldn’t have left me like that. She shouldn’t have left me with her pretty brown eyes and her adorable little button nose and the way she leans all her weight on her left hip when she stands and how she bites her lip when she’s thinking. She’s a terrible person and I hate her. I HATE IRIS MARNEY. Bzzzz... Iris: Um hi. You probably hate me right now but I’m sorry about what I said earlier and I regret it and I just really want to be with you again and I love you. Sh*t. Shishi Shomloo ’15

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The Dream of Perpetual Motion We are in a fantasy. We are uneasy because we can never recognize when this is true. But we do not recognize our discomfort for what it is. We believe it to be a mere case of indigestion. we are in the tunnel we are hearing the music of gunfire outside; on the downbeat we know that there is dying there is suffering we do nothing we are stuck. oh we would have married you won’t you tell us what’s going on we’ve got cricks in our backs and we wouldn’t dare to walk in all this black oil while you tease us with rhythms we can’t decipher don’t you dare let us die here who lit that match it must’ve been you now the flames become flesh become energy the tar drains away and we have left. A lilting symphony in its first movement comforts us, and we safely perch ourselves on the highest note, watching the music below us rise and set. With the stars cascading in a fugue, like the snow in a Russian winter, we are buoyant and pure. We can see in forty-two dimensions and we comprehend the function of each. We know why we must only live awake in four dimensions, why our bodies would thrash and then shrivel because we were not born for five. We play patty-cake with the long hand of the clock and its Mother Time keeps us in line. We do not hear a voice but we are listening. And we learn what we already knew. No being created all those inert rocks and noncorporeal stars. So logical, so systematic and decisive. How sterile the suns are. How meaningless it would be to create such things. But there is a limit between the fragmented atoms in the rock dust, analyzed to its quarks. Where the soulless comes infinitely close to the animate but never intersects. What makes up the gap between atoms and cells? We seek to understand the rift between dust and sentience. This is what we call God.

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The pinprick of our lovers’ illicit gaze on our tobacco stained hearts, the ginger root and whiskey voice of a certain human who can’t stop haunting you hunting you and the vestige of a memory you cherish so much that you’ve changed what really happened. And we can see it. We want you to see how we are who we are because we know you can understand. We want you to understand us. We will walk from you until we cannot remember. This is the genesis of our time. Home should be like this. We awaken with only a faint remembrance of the murmuring galaxy and gray dust on our faces. Athena Schlereth ’14

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Fifty When on the edge of the abyss they stand, the wild beating drums inside beat on relentless, chased from thresholds by the hand imprisoning the harmless, fading gun; They plunge down deep into the waiting gulf, consumed by hopes of hailing hopeful lights; To looming ends scurries the growing pulse propelled by trained, intrinsic matchèd flight. A wall, emerged, obstructs the studied path— With nowhere left but the forsaken course, despair abuses undervalued breath but expectations do conclusion force. Unbending will attacks the final wall; triumphant sprinters, pleased, rejoice the call. Gabriella Lamm ’13

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Stranger

Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 39


Working it Out It began to rain— a midsummer New York storm— as a tall, lanky, forlorn figure walked out of an industrial building. Robert Johnson had just been turned down for another job opportunity, the third one this week. This would have been a well paying elite office job. But of course he didn’t get it, in retrospective it was almost foolish of Johnson have tried. He thought of Mr. Smith, his would-have-been boss staring at him with disgust, “I can’t give you this job, that’s the end of it…” He had said He pulled his thin coat around his body; it didn’t offer much protection. Office workers in well-cut suits gave him dirty looks as he walked down the busy street. Johnson quickened his pace and headed for the subway to catch the A train and go home. He grabbed a damp discarded newspaper off the station floor from that morning. At 125th street he got off the train and walked slowly for a couple blocks. He came up to a dark, depressing apartment building. Inside that building his family was waiting in apprehension, hoping he would come home with good news: a new job that paid reasonable money. They would have heating, food and new clothes. Johnson stopped for a minute, staring with an expressionless face at the front of the rundown building, and then walked on. He reached the local park, sat down and sighed. A tear rolled down his handsome but careworn features as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a cheap bottle of bourbon. The liquid burnt his throat, it was like drinking fire. He closed his eyes, leaning against the plastic bench as the rain persisted to pour down. Robert glanced down at a sodden piece of paper in a puddle on the ground. He picked it up; Dr.Martin Luther King speaking at the Antioch Baptist Church 125th street: Sunday August 16th, 1967. A large picture of Dr. King’s inspirational and familiar face was blown up in black and white. Johnson felt a surge of joy in his heart. A man walked by, his young daughter tugging on his pant leg. The stranger scooped the child up into his arms,

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tickling her under the chin. Johnson sharply looked away, a few more tears stinging his eyes. He composed himself, got up and wandered back along the street to his apartment. He slowly climbed the steps to the third floor, Apartment D. Inside, Linda Johnson was nursing a small baby girl while the couple’s ten year-old twin sons, Stephen and Jerome, wrestled each other. Johnson smiling shakily. “Hello!” he exclaimed in a falsely cheery voice. “Daddy! Daddy!” High-pitched voices yelled and the two boys came bounding over, shaking the rickety floorboards. Stephen jumped up and hugged his father, holding him tight, Jerome held back. “What’s up son?” “Nothin’ Pa,” the small, skinny child answered. “What’s wrong with your face, let me see that,” Robert looked over to his wife, lifting his son’s chin, and then examined a swollen lip. “Some boys on the bus were givin’ him trouble,” she answered quietly, “He says he won’t take the bus tomorrow.” “Your gonna have to, sorry boy, you’ll be all right,” his father reassured him softly. Linda looked over at her husband. A flash of worry crossed her face, the happy façade she maintained for the children momentarily broken. The young boys demanded their father’s attention. Linda looked away, her face unreadable now. Johnson sighed. “Time for bed, boys,” he smiled. “No, no Daddy no!” They scrambled around the room. “Yes now,” said their father, sternly. Later in the privacy of the couple’s darkened bedroom, Johnson began to peel off his clothes, ridding himself of the wearisome day he had experienced

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yet again. He sat on the narrow bed, staring at the blank yellow-stained wall, desperately wondering what to tell his wife. Linda walked in, tears welling up in her huge dark eyes. Johnson turned his body to face her, slowly shaking his head. “Okay, okay it’s okay,” Linda repeated again and again, as though she was reassuring herself more than him. “I. I’m…” Johnson mumbled “Shhh.” Linda walked over and kissed her husband on the forehead. She opened the closet and took out his only suit shirt, dress pants and jacket, wrinkled from the day. She went to the sink and washed the shirt, then carefully ironed the jacket and pants. Johnson took a bottle of polish from the closet and rubbed his shoes intensely until they were shining. Diligently, he shaved the dark stubble off his chin. He took the morning’s paper and turned to the situations wanted section, circling possible options half-heartedly. Doorman age 25-45, married, neat in appearance and at least 5’11. Full time position, salary: $125 a week. Driver (truck) for trash routes needed. Must have excellent driving record. Salesman, salary: $150 a week. For ambitious reliable male. Robert folded the paper neatly, turned the light off, shut his eyes and lay down on the bed next to his wife, starting over. Ava-Rose Beech ’16

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I Am An Aristocratic Socialite With No Notion of Poverty But I Have Feelings, Too Athena Schlereth ’14 Pillars of Salt 43


Want/Need I’m all alone And I can’t remember All the places Your hands sunk into mine Soon forgotten The light flickering out Just barely there Faded but never gone I watch as you break And everything shatters I watch as you break As if nothing matters What do you want? Watching from the water Dare to come in Dare to let your mind wander The glow seeps through As it frames your shadow What do you need To survive through the cracks

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I watch as you break And everything shatters I watch as you break As if nothing matters I watch as you break And everything shatters I watch as you break Does anything matter? Sara Seaman ’16

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Prospect Park You’re never gonna believe me, but I was actually named after an old Prophet who basically wrote the Old Testament. I know, right? What the hell were my parents thinking? They must have seen the similarity, since both me and the old guy were diagnosed with epilepsy. Yeah, it’s not too much fun having epilepsy. You get the whole shebang: a heart-gripping seizure and a freaky-as-hell “vision,” not to mention the splitting headaches and bloody noses. Yeah, it’s a real bundle of laughs. And then, of course, because the Universe is a freaking b*tch, the “vision” comes true. The poor prophet— he probably didn’t know what to think all those years ago. I shook my head and brought myself out of a dusty old tale and back to the balcony, watching the light fade on the Plaza. My empty stomach growled like a caged animal. You’re never gonna believe me, but this was the first year I had fasted for more than six hours. Crazy, right? But the rabbi said that since my Bar-Mitzvah was only three months away, I should start practicing my fasting, like it’s some kind of twisted hobby. Twenty-two hours so far, two more to go. So anyway, I was aware of the sluggish evening traffic while I watched them. My family was cutting its way down to the sidewalk, on their way to Temple. I was skipping the services. They thought I had left with Solomon hours earlier, but I was sitting up on our balcony, watching them from ten stories up. Slid right under their noses. They never even noticed that the French doors in the parlor were unlocked and cracked open. It was Yom Kippur, October 5, 1957. We had spent the whole day in Temple, had come home for a brief rest, and after pondering my hiding place realities, I decided that I did not want to go back. The service restarted at 6, in no less than 10 minutes, and I did feel a little guilty, but it was nicer up here than some stuffy, body-odor-ridden synagogue with far too many wailing children. However, I did have a good reason to skip: I didn’t want to

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have one of my times in the middle of service, because they always got worse while I was fasting. Plus, our rabbi wasn’t the nicest guy— he never was very understanding about a bleeding nose and a seizing kid. Only a few moments had passed, and I glanced down at my family. David (my elder brother of five years) was having a heated, strident conversation with my mother, who was nodding in agreement; my father was walking meekly along, his gaze on the ground; Eliza (five years old) was skipping down the sidewalk next to them, not watching where she was going. They came to the street light on the corner, and everyone paused to wait, except for Eliza. She ran out into traffic, eager to get to the car. I gasped aloud and almost threw myself over the balcony of number 1050, 46 Plaza St. East, but my mother got to her first. The cars were screeching and honking, but my mother’s slap rang out true. Head pounding, I watched them get into the car and drive away, my mother and David haranguing my sister. I could see their angry, twisted faces from the balcony. Someone always had to hold Eliza’s hand, or else she ran. And she never stopped. I swore and shook my head, a piercing headache forming in my left temple. Oh, stop it, came a snide voice from the corner of my brain. It’s your own fault, you senseless bastard. You weren’t there to hold her hand. That’s right. Blame Ezekiel, the kid who can’t wrap his head around anything, the kid with the funny brain and “visions” and bloody noses. Despite my inheritance, I could never be a prophet. Who would listen? Who would pay attention? Who would be there to agree? What more could I possibly do? Pray harder? Wish more? Beg? Please, God, if you are up there and listening, please... Our family could be called rich, if you could believe it. We lived around the corner from Prospect Park, right in the upper part of

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Brooklyn. There was a Grand Army Plaza directly across from our apartment, surrounded by trees and all sorts of green. The northern corner of the park was perfectly visible, and we had grown up watching the park shift and bloom. The Park was big, and you’re never gonna believe how many people were there on Fourth of July. Masses. Flocks. It was disgusting. All those people grouped together so tight they can’t even breathe, shoving food down their throats like simplistic pigs, gazing up in rapture at the exploding lights. Eugh. I tell you, I don’t even know how I survive those things. Solitude is an under- appreciated novelty. The Park was nice during the spring, though. Lots of cherry blossoms and children screaming. Oh, and ice cream, too. There’s always an ice cream truck there or a guy with a barrel full of sour, juicy pickles. It’s not so nice during the winter, though. Too much fog. Wow. I’d been up here for over two hours. I couldn’t even see the stars anymore. Suddenly, I jerked back against the doorway, my grip digging into the cement of the landing. I felt my thumbnail split and tear, digging into my skin. I shuddered, begging for it to be a quick seizure, every fiber of my being vibrating and splitting. My head cracked in two, and I was surrounded by a bright, whitish-blue light that carried me like a wave across the ocean. You’re never gonna believe me, but I swear to God, next thing I knew I was standing outside our temple, and I could see the building and the road clear as day. There were crowds of people spilling out of the door, and I quickly picked my family out from among them. My mother was walking with David, Eliza trailing from her too-firm grip, my father following as usual. The voices around me were muted and I couldn’t believe how strange the laughter sounded. My family continued down the block as the street flooded with cars.

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But Mother was careless. They loitered, talking to a new family. She didn’t notice when Eliza slipped out of her grip and took one too many steps towards the road. The picture became muddy and black, but I heard a piercing screech, a thud, something shattering, and a loud, high, keening wail. Then came sobs. I was pulled out of the vision like a fish pulled out of water, and I came back to Earth with a thundering headache and blood dripping onto my shirt. God only knows how long I was out. I cursed and wiped my nose. Every single time I seized... dammit. God, that was a stupid vision. It wouldn’t even come true. But then again... I stared out into the sky, my heart throbbing painfully. I heard a distant ambulance siren find its voice and screech with urgency, its cries growing louder and louder. Huh. I wonder what’s happened. Emily Ward ’15

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Heartache He hurtles toward you Like a high speed train running off the tracks Electrified Flashing and galloping with blistering speed Quite unexpected And his wave crashes down on you Exploding into infinitesimal shards of glass His microscopic crystals piercing your skin Intractable and relentless She is progressive, systematic Sangfroid and cocky Her inky body slithers up your spine Leaching onto you Sucking you dry Paralyzing sensations with her venom She tests your limits Tampers with your boundaries And wonders what magnitude of Numbness You can endure Lauren David ’14

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The Norm His house was the envy of the neighborhood. A massive seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and a sprawling green yard greeted him each day after school. Today however, he was quickly ushered to the patio and forced to sit on the marble bench. It was mid-December, which meant feigning happiness for family portraits. He hated taking pictures. They still gazed at each other with that sickeningly love struck stare made famous by archetypal lovers in corny movies. Joey was sick of it. For his seventh birthday, all Joey asked for was for his parents to separate. “Why can’t you just be normal?” He tried to ask them. “But don’t you like having mommy and daddy living in the same house?” They really weren’t that bright. If his parents separated, Joey would get two Christmas’ just like Timothy. He could even get another summer house on the Cape, if his parents felt really guilty. Joey knew his father would be the one to immediately resort to buying Joey’s affection, so he would only have to work on his mother. She was more righteous than his father. When given the opportunity, she always made him share toys and snacks at school. It made him sick to his stomach. He could finally join the ranks of the divorce-greats. No longer could Claire taunt him with her two puppies – one at each house. He could have three if he really threw a fit. Jordon wouldn’t be able to tease him with the garage his father converted to a game room. Joey could easily have two game room, plus one in the summer house. So Joey sat as far away from his parents and the photographer as possible. He hated this time of year. The holidays meant family portraits. His parents insisted on taking a new family photo every year to go on the Christmas card. They picked out matching sweaters and forced him to sit, smiling in front of the gazebo in the backyard. Joey couldn’t take it anymore.

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But sadly, when he told his idiot parents he wanted them to divorce for his eighth birthday, they just laughed and tussled his hair, messing it up right before the photographer arrived. He hated taking the stupid family portraits. His hair was all he had going for him and they ruined it. “Honey,” they chuckled, “if mommy and daddy divorce, mommy and daddy won’t be happy! Don’t you want mommy and daddy to be happy?” Why did they keep asking? They should know the answer by now. He’d just have to wait a few more years. Five at the very least. In five years, he’d be thirteen, the start of his teenage years and what would shape up to be a very long relationship with a therapist. Ten years might be pushing it. In ten years from now, he would be eighteen and a legal adult, and all his hard work would be for nothing. By then his parents might even have another child. God forbid they have a second son. Joey would have to share his toys, and even his room. It’s not that Joey didn’t like to share, he was just never taught properly. His parents taught him always go for what he wanted most in life. Joey was simply doing what he was told. His parents held hands the whole time at his birthday party that year. He hated them for it. Please try and be normal, he pleaded to no avail. “Joey, we have a surprise for you,” they said in unison, “come into the living room.” He went, reluctantly, and was greeted by the dirty paws of a Golden Retriever. The same kind of dog Anna had. It was a very nice dog, but Joey wished for better. “Come take a picture for us, Honey! Show us how happy you are about your new puppy!” Joey trudged over, and tried to find the good in his gift as he plastered on a fake smile for his mom’s camera. Moira Johnston ’13

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Linear

Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 53


Cecilia The roots of a darkening elm tree grow slowly in the mind. Forming stories of a harsh reality hidden behind blue eyes. How does one emerge from darkness without going blind? When sunrise has taunted you and scarred you with its lies. The ruthless voices grow in darkness And drown you beneath a starry sheet of cries. Yet still, the evasive light shines just within reach. Know there’s still hope for you little dreaming girl; And that you shouldn’t worry the elm tree is just fine. I know you love it, but it always makes you cry. Look out of the window through which the twilight shines. From under its evasive trunk your body I will pry. Kayla Burney ’13

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17

Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 55


The Dream of Disembodied Birds I dreamed of a great transformation last night. I dreamt that a small, faint-hearted girl became a courageous, tenacious hunter. With a freshly sharpened spear in each hand, she patiently waited for the golden sunlight to be hidden by the ominous night sky; that’s when she would attack. After years of keeping her rage hostage, like a prisoner of war, she was ready to take down her eternal enemy, her archrival. Magically, her veins no longer coursed with blood, but with valor. She locked eyes with her first victim; a pigeon. A wave of adrenaline pulsated through her veins, exploding like a river of crashing rapids and pushed her towards the disgusting pigeon. She quickly took one of her spears and plunged into the heart of the useless creature. As the sky continued to darken, her breaths continued to deepen. Her eyes widened when she spotted victim number two; a parrot. With a running start, bombarded the vial thing. The parrot squawked and squealed with terror, but was brought to the floor with the slash of a razor sharp spear as if sliced with the clean efficient precision of a surgeon. Hours had passed. Bird after bird was slaughtered, butchered, hacked to death in a graceful dance of red death. Suddenly, dusk was arising. A faded denim color broke over the horizon, as midnight black was slowly on its way to an early morning blue. She had though it was over, but it wasn’t. I could see it in her eyes that she had a pit in her stomach. She felt she wasn’t alone yet. Silence. The uneasy quietness was quickly disrupted by a fowl beast soaring above her head; an eagle. There was no time to waste. Using her blood-spattered shirt, she wiped off her only weapon and went in pursuit of her target, chasing the eagle down. She pushed through bushes, leaves, trees, and all that got in her way. She never spent a split second looking anywhere but wherever her final victim was. The chase went on until the creature suddenly led her to the top of a mountain. With the strength of every muscle in her body she pounced forward and caught the eagle by his wings. She successfully pinned him to the ground and raised her spear above her head.

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The now helpless eagle looked at her and weakly uttered, “Why?” And she firmly replied with nothing but three words, “You know why.” And then he was gone. She dusted herself off and gazed at the view over the mountaintop; fields upon fields of disembodied birds as far as the eye could see. She had done it. Every last bird was dead and gone. There was only last thing to do. Using what was left of her spear, she carved out words into the rocky surface of the mountain. When she stepped away from it, it clearly read “For the girl back home who is terrified of birds. They can’t hurt you anymore.” I smiled upon seeing that. Carly Winat ’14

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Occulation

Daniella Morrison ’13 58 Pillars of Salt


The Chase (Moves in Mysterious Ways)* Cars flash by, just-waxed and gleaming too harshly against the lackluster sea across the road. Frank doesn’t notice, though. Doesn’t notice the static salt air, doesn’t notice the windows safely showcasing the latest designs and jewels behind glass, doesn’t notice the people mingling around. Just as they never noticed him. Frank shoulders through the crowds, one hand firmly gripping a necklace in his pocket and the other curled in a fist as he elbows people aside. Where was Rak? He’d promised he’d be here, slapping Frank’s shoulder as he said, “Don’t worry about it Franky, I got your back,” and tossing him a smirk before striding away. But Rak wasn’t here. Rak was late, Rak was late, Rak was late. Christ, where was he? Stumbling into an alley, he scrambles behind a rusting dumpster that reeks of rotting meat and prays for a miracle as one hand taps a rapid onetwothreefouronetwothreefour into his thigh. Frank shakily crouches and risks a glance around the dumpster to see the street he’d run from. He spots the same three men from before and Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. He spots them and jerks back, stuffing a fist into his mouth as he tries not to scream. Where was Rak? He should be here, he should— A hand yanks on his shoulder, dragging him backwards as a voice hisses, “Idiot! What the hell did you do?” He nearly cries in relief. Rak drags him through the nearest open door and climbs the stairs two at a time, ignoring Frank’s babble as he tries to explain what happened. Rak cuts him off. “I thought I told you to ditch them. God, are you that stupid? No,” he snaps when Frank tries to interject. “Shut up. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got a plan.” Rak rams into a door and yanks Frank through. Pushing him across the roof garden until he’s pressed against the railing, Rak says, “Jump.”

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Frank stares at him, wide-eyed with shock and wondering if he heard wrong. Why would Rak say that? Why would Rak tell him to do that? Why A door bangs open and Frank flinches, panic tightening his chest when he sees the men. He turns to Rak and… And Rak’s not there. He can still hear him, hear Rak’s voice whispering Just jump, Franky. I swear we’ll be okay. Don’t you trust me, Franky? After all I’ve done for us? You got us into this mess, now I’m getting us out. So jump. But it wasn’t his fault. Rak had told him to grab the necklace. Rak had told him to get rid of those people. Rak had told him everything was going to be okay while the red from Frank’s hands settled at the bottom of the drain. “But it wasn’t my fault!” The men only cock their guns. But, God, oh God. Where was Rak? It isn’t fair. It wasn’t his fault, wasn’t his fault, wasn’t his fau— Maria Gelabert ’15

*Title taken from RU Mine by Arctic Monkeys

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Status Quo Antebellum This is the way things were before the war. It was a sun-drenched square, a silent spring shifting in our bones, quiet hymns sinking into our skin. The smell of rain on the pavement and the intoxication of the city at night. -I want to be everywhere at once, I said. -You are too young to know what you want, he said. And I was ashamed of my sweet drunken youth, my honeycomb dreams with everything falling through like sand running through the holes in a colander. -I want it to rain, I told him. I want a hurricane. At night I used to dream: I dream of the sky bleeding into the sea, the dark tumultuous waters beyond the dike. An infinity of vast blue-grey nothingness, seeping away to the knife-sharp horizon. In my dreams I stand at the edge of the seawall, inhale the heavy, clean scent of the ocean. In my dreams the sky is dark, pressing down, folding up against the world, draping heavy across the rooftops and steeples and the bare branches of trees waiting silently for spring. In my dreams, I close my eyes and I fall, and in my dreams I do not hit the water and sink. But these days I am mostly awake, and the sky is far away, a ragged patchwork of grays, and the horizon is a scrim of black out far across the sea, like the Promised Land. Yes, these days I am no longer dreaming, I am instead waiting-waiting-waiting for something to happen, as if I have already fallen and I am waiting to hit the water. I am waiting for my hurricane.

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-I’m going away to fight, he told me, and he sounded hollow. -Why? -Because I have to. -Why? -It’s for the country. It’s a good thing. -Who says? -They say. -Oh. And I ask him what if you die, what happens then? and he doesn’t answer so I ask again, and he doesn’t say anything, just turns away, and I can see the sadness and the fear in his eyes, like the endless dark sea, restless. And then I understand that he can’t answer because he doesn’t know. That night I dream like I am drowning, a heavy, damp, oppressive dreaming. I dream of a thousand corpses in a field by the sea, ten thousand tangled fingers reaching for me, two thousand with eyes like muddy coins. I dream of silent screaming ricocheting inside my skull, a thousand shining splinters of noise. And when I wake up I am still falling, and I am waiting to hit the water. Grace Piccard ’14

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Portland

Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 63


The Dream of Perpetual Motion This dream keeps recurring in my mangled mind. It seems to spring up every full moon. Just as I am ensnared by the moon’s entrancing glow, I doze off and am transported to a foreboding blackness that evaporates as I zoom in – as if through a telescope – on a book that rests closed on a table in a house identical to the others on its street. The book has no title and yet its worn, leather covers evoke a sense of nostalgia as if I have read its story a thousand times before. I open the book at its exact center. I do not know why I do this, but I always open it to the chapter with the title of my many names, under which it reads “Sired in 1977”. As I flip through the chapter, I find subchapters: Violence, Carnality, Lament, and Choice. I soon notice that it is my life story. I relive my childhood in Violence, and how my father would beat me until I fought back, for he did not allow any mark of weakness from his son. In Carnality, I read about how I would play the part of an experienced hero, tutoring Little Igor in smutty magazines and boasting about my many girls just so I appeared as a premium person. Then I reach Lament. My story retells the momentous last days with Grandfather as if it was only yesterday. I again watch with utter confusion as Grandfather secures Augustine’s hand in his and kisses her. And then follows his death note. I absorb each stinging word but always pause before his last sentence: “I will walk without noise, and I will open the door in the darkness, and I will” (275). The words build in a crescendo, reaching, reaching, reaching towards a climax, but the last note holds on, and I am crushed by the weight of not knowing. Only Choice remains. Will my final chapter be as abrupt as Grandfather’s? Will I ever find closure? From here, my paper-thin future is infinitely heavy (89). I turn the page.

64 Pillars of Salt


But all that lies in Choice are the foreboding words “I will” and then blankness. Anxiety races through me as I feverishly flip the page for a conclusion. But instead I find: Alex Perchov, “Grandfather” Sired in 1918 and then a reprint of my life story, with the subchapters: Violence, Carnality, Lament, and Choice. I find no difference. In Choice, I again am haunted by the words “I will” hanging. The next chapter is titled: Alex Perchov, “Father” Sired in 1948 Searching, fumbling for any sign of difference in our stories. I flip the pages past my thumb as if they were in an unending series, cycling through a spiral binding without covers. The same words appear under the same headings: Violence, Carnality, Lament, Choice. Theyareallthesame. Weareallthesame. WhoamIthen? AmImyfather? I drop the book and shield my face with shuddering hands. I peak through my fingers and see the book sprawled on the dusty wooden floor and with it, my future: Choice You will I suddenly wake, abruptly sitting up, gasping, staring through my window. The moon has crossed the sky and now only a sliver of its iridescence shines through. Courtney Urbancsik ’14

Pillars of Salt 65


A Note. Mother, I have gone to find the beach. I have gone to find the seagulls, the salt, and the sand. I have gone to find the faces that are mine, the ones that say hello on the edge of the water at night. I have gone to find a kiss that waits behind the old house on the the lane between Nowhere and Someday. I have gone to see the seals, as they crawl from the ocean to the sand, finding their beginning and their end on this rocky shore. I have gone to spread the ashes of yesterday onto the paths I will follow tomorrow. I have gone to find me. Don’t worry. I’ll be back soon. Love, Your Daughter Frances Field ’15

66 Pillars of Salt


Jess Daniella Morrison ’13 Pillars of Salt 67


Inaniloquent \In a ‘nil o quent\ v. throwing leaves into the ocean— meticulously— then paying a person of lesser status to fetch them after a period of time n. a child between the ages of seven and thirteen who has been thrown into a trash can filled with articles by the New Yorker n. one who spends his or her life searching for aliens n. the inability to speak to ones own subconscious n. a woman who once possessed class and poise but has lost it to a lack of judgment and alcohol adj. of or pertaining to something that was important and highly valued, but is now forgotten adj. not being able to be categorized as small or tiny; too big to be called small adj. offensively disgusting social manners adj. firm or instructive in tone or manner n. someone who is only able to speak using inappropriate or offensive language adj. full of empty or idle talk The Creative Writing Class

68 Pillars of Salt


Fear and Loathing in Venice Beach

Athena Schlereth ’13 Pillars of Salt 69


Harts 70 Pillars of Salt

Daniella Morrison ’13


Dedicated in loving memory of Harris Hartsfield: Beloved teacher, husband, mentor and friend. Your devotion and passion touched the hearts and minds of everyone in the Archer community, students and teachers alike. You are deeply missed and will never be forgotten.

Pillars of Salt 71


The Creative Writing Class would like to thank and commend Ms. McIntosh and Mr. Wogensen for their advice and counsel. We would also like to thank Ms. Coyne-Donnel, Ms. Warner and the Archer English Department for their support. Finally, we would like to thank, hail and praise our fearless leader, Mr. Russo, without whom Pillars of Salt would not have been made possible.

72 Pillars of Salt


Pillars of Salt  

Upper School Lit Mag 2012-2013 The Archer School for Girls

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