H O E
& ARTS MAGAZINE
GALATEA IN THE CATSINO
WHAT I SAW
O BRETHREN, O CHILDREN
JOHN THE DIVINE
SITTING IN THEIR GARDENS....................
GIRL IS A FLOWER
The doctor dreams that they unwrap his spine like a reel of ribbon. They unpin a heart from his chest as a brooch. The jealous eyes scooped out with soupspoons. His face in a red ceramic bowl, floating. Her head detached on a goose pillow, the patient does not dream. She eyewitnesses disembowelment. Fist’s naked search for a bulb or coil, plug or sprocket, risk of oil, orange peel, withered wire, toothless comb, slashed tire, children’s photo, bloody sock, limp balloon, yellow rock, blister, weapon, darkened shoe, crash of water crushing blue, opened circle, daughter/son, switch or socket to turn on.
Clockwork GirlfriendAnna Sommer
When he showed up at my door, I knew it was that time again.
“Has it really been three months already?” I asked, which was silly, for he wouldn’t have come if it hadn’t been.
“No,” he said, so handsome it hurt. “I just missed you.”
He was lying, of course. I checked the calendar later. It had been twelve weeks exactly, almost to the day.
But there in the doorway of my hallway, he let himself in with a kiss, and I let him. This was how his love manifested: in small ways. A hand on my back when we were biking in the headwind. A pair of socks when I had not noticed that my feet had grown cold. A kiss, maybe two, if I was lucky. This was rarely something I was.
I suspected a case of lovesick amnesia, though I didn’t have an official diagnosis. What made me suspect it, though, was the way I always seemed to forget how good he looked each time he rang my door. This was a terrible indisposition, for it made my knees go so weak that he could catch me in his arms, pretending it was he who had saved me.
Every time, I fell for it.
Though I always knew how long he would be gone for, I never knew how long he would stay. Just a little longer. I tried experimenting with different things. Perhaps if I only dressed in yellow, he would think I was the sun and be happier. Or if I fed him extra sugar in his morning tea, he would become addicted and stay. Last time, he had not done this, had not extended his time with me, though he was now predisposed to diabetes, probably.
We were in bed. It was almost time for me to relearn how to sleep alone again. “She does not wait for me,” he whispered, speaking of the ship that would take him to the end of the world and back again. “Oh, but can’t she? Wait, just a little?”
She could not. It was always the same. Three months at sea, then back to me.
I had never seen the ocean, and yet still, I knew exactly what it would smell like, for he wore its scent like other people do jewellry. It would be fresh, feminine almost, as if dipped in honey diluted to water; a little like strawberry lip gloss, perhaps, but mostly like something I could never get quite right. Like a secret.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
In the morning, the bed was lighter. Empty. I would not mourn this. He would be back again. I just had to wait and see.
Time left me to my solitude. It was always the hardest at first, I had to remind myself. When I forgot about the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, or the precise curve of his Cupid’s bow, it would get easier.
I smelled the sea while grocery shopping. Its scent found me in the baking aisle, and then again at checkout. It was a woman. Most strange. I had only come here for milk.
Time is a machine and I wonder how long the machine will last. Now, father insists upon being asked “will you” instead of “can you” while his wife rests her head on the keyboard. I’m not entirely proud of the woman I’ve come to be — writing sonnets and love poetry. The nights in Harlem are beautiful. They ring in my ears with laughter and when I sleep, I sleep gently lest loneliness wake my dream. An aging love, a timeless love, a heart that persists – what difference is one to another?
Thursday night we write a detailed mouth, but only the rough suggestions of the face, using sore legs to pass through elevator doors and touch the paintings an hour before the museum closes, two before the sidewalk stretches far enough that we can no longer hear conversations thrown across the street.
Someone has put incense in a parking meter on 14th and 3rd and you could have sworn that it was an electrical fire, wires that can see their breath in the 20 degree weather and light when they see you like sparkler at midnight
on the fourth of july, hand frantically covering the flame before the beach air takes it out
as you wonder which of the Rhode Island stars you see trespassing on the city roof.
Sometimes, it feels like the bus runs for only one person, and you wonder if it stops when you get off.
The ten by four yellow restaurant with the egg yolk yellow walls serves a crepe with an entire slice of cheesecake inside, and you glow almost incandescent in the artificial heat, listening to the constant hum of a night that you once thought could never happen again.
Campbell Ives raise race
Galatea Galatea Galatea Galatea
Galatea Galatea Galatea
If Gargi hadn’t named her seminal scientific discovery after a Pokemon, she probably wouldn’t be fucking the 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Literature at the back of a bookstore on a crisp autumn morning.
If she was being honest, she wasn’t complaining. Dr. Jean Harris certainly knew what to do with her hands, and it did help that Gargi had read her book already, and rather liked it despite herself. Gargi wasn’t a reader; growing up, she gravitated more towards the shitty school telescopes than to Catcher in the Rye. She had seen the book in the window of the local bookstore every Saturday on the way to the grocery, but it hadn’t been on her radar until a colleague pointed out that the protagonist of the book was uncannily similar to her. Who else lived in an observatory on a mountain, naming comets after Pikachus and Charmanders? She was almost flattered by how faithful an interpretation it was. Until she thought about an old man with coffee stains on his cotton shirt snooping through her life, looking for fodder for his novel, never even bothering to reach out to her for comment, and it spoiled all good thoughts toward the writer.
So one day, when she passed the bookstore on her weekly trek down from the mountain for groceries and saw a great big chalkboard sign in the window announcing DR. JEAN HARRIS MEET AND GREET, FROM 2-4 PM THIS COMING WEDNESDAY!, she resolved to leave her beloved solitude to meet the man who stole her life story. She ended her observation hours that night a little earlier than usual so that she could get a nap before she had to leave. She told Saturn to wait for her, even though she knew that Saturn, nor the sky, waited for anyone.
The bookstore was more crowded than she had ever seen it. People thronged around her in a wave of warm breath and rustling of paper that made her nauseous, reminding her of why she liked the mountains so much. Her parents still called her twice a week, concerned about how lonely she must be up there, the only permanent resident of Ursa Observatory apart from the occasional grad student and the biweekly visit from the telescope caretaker. But Gargi couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. When NASA offered her the field job after
three years of working a desk in the dim marble labyrinth of Washington DC, she practically jumped at the chance. She was doing good work up here; within the span of seven years she had already helped catalog three previously unknown comets and named two of them. She was so off the grid that she was surprised at how much the book had gotten right about her: there were things about her in there that felt so colossal to her that she had never said them to anyone except the Milky Way. Smaller things, too, like her affinity for Saturn’s rings and tteokbokki. That she used two packets of sugar in her coffee, that she hated small talk unless it was about people’s pets. The more she thought about all the things the novel had stolen from her life, the angrier she got. She was even more angry because she had liked the book so goddamn much, and it would’ve been the best thing she’d ever read if it wasn’t about her. She imagined what she would spit in Dr. Jean Harris’ pink, balding face; something about respecting people’s privacy, about the trivialization of her important work on the mountain, something, anything, except that Dr. Jean Harris was none of the things she had imagined.
The real Dr. Jean Harris was a tall, slender, well-dressed woman of about thirty. Her skin was the same shade of brown as Gargi’s. She spoke carefully and clearly, as if she had learned to give speeches with a pen between her teeth. She caught Gargi’s eye in the middle of Q and A, when a guy in the back of the room was asking about how the protagonist of the book used solitude as a coping mechanism for deep childhood trauma (something that Gargi certainly did not do). She spent the rest of the lecture looking only at Gargi. It was as if they were sitting across from each other at a cafe table, not at a meet and greet with at least fifty other people.
They did grab coffee afterwards. Gargi, despite all the plans she had made to confront Jean about the book, found herself lying about her life. She was actually an engineer for a software company in Silicon Valley. She was just up here to visit family. Then they went back to the bookstore and ended up fucking in the Historical Fiction aisle. Over the next week, and then the next month, they made excuses to see each other, both to others and themselves. When Jean was in town, Gargi found reasons to shorten her observation hours for the week, and Jean created golmaal with the carefully planned dates in her tour
calendar (much to the chagrin of her agent) so she’d be in town every couple months. When she left, they wrote to each other constantly. It was well into the third year of seeing each other, when they were lying in the queen-sized motel bed, that Gargi introduced herself. Properly, this time.
As she spoke, Jean’s eyes were complicated and bright. They said, I dreamed you up. They said, I can’t believe you’re real. On her twenty-seventh birthday, Jean had a dream about a woman living in a tower with her eyes pointed toward the stars, and she woke up that morning feeling like she had seen the face of God, and He had spoken directly into Jean’s ear. She wrote the whole novel in just three weeks. The one thing I couldn’t figure out, Jean said with a small but serious smile, was why you named the comets after Pokemon. Maybe you can answer that for me.
Gargi wasn’t sure she could. She had named them after Pokemon because she liked Pokemon when she was a kid, but after hearing how she sprang fully formed into Jean’s mind like goddess Athena herself, she felt like that was much too simple an answer. So she made up a dumb little metaphorical reply that she thought would befit a carefully crafted fictional character in a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, just to make Jean happy. She hadn’t wanted to make anyone happy before. But there was Jean, looking at her in awe, as if everything in her life had simply clicked into place. Gargi thought, I would like to see her look at me like this for the restofmylife.Gargithought,maybethisiswhatSaturn’sringsfeellikeinmyhands.Gargithought, Intheend,maybelovewasrecreatingyourselfagainandagaininthemindofanotherperson.Shetouched Jean’s face and fell asleep already dreaming.
What I Saw
Today, when you spoke to me of the bombs in Palestine and White Phosphorous and the millions of taxpayer dollars going into government conspiracies, I took your head into my lap played with your hair looked out onto a field and thought I saw a ghost. An apparition. Proof that I lived another lifetime, many lifetimes before this one. Proof that this one is the least painful. This one where someone can hold me and it’s always gentle, and nighttime is for looking out into the darkness and hoping to find proof of magic. Not what lies buried in the ground simmering with the rage of histories past.Beatrice Agbi
At the table I tangle my fingers in the tablecloth tassels and think, they don’t know I dreamt my hand up a girl’s skirt, the thrill in twisting fingers beneath the slide of fabric, and my great aunt takes me back into the closet to try on chunky jewelry and the purse she doesn’t remember how to open. We all eat too much pie and grandpa still knows the face of the man who offered him a handshake and a job when he was my age, but not where we are or who I am. My uncle said his father was one in three hundred who was at the beach on D-Day and survived, playing dead for three days, drinking brine with his eyes closed. He must have taught himself to forget his hunger. The dog pisses on the floor twice and we can’t be mad because she’s shaking and she doesn’t know this house. Like every year, there are people we forget to say goodbye to when we leave.Sylvi Stein
My step-father is dying
I watch him rot And bald
His jeans are sewn to the carpet
His calves so tender
And so blue
His students visit at odd hours
I found your will Prodding his half-opened eyelids
Among grocery lists With clipboards and
And car keys Sharpened pencils
You are a roadblock Crouching over his body
A beached specimen
To label his feeble anatomy
While he whispers
Anoushka Prashanth john the divine
sitting in their gardens Lana Kalfas
My holy trinity came in the form of fruit and flowers sipping at the base of bushes, booths, and heart’s havens.
Three pairs of wrinkled hands–gemstone speckled or perfectly bare which I watched pile cherry pits, peel lychee, and chop melon.
Three pairs of perfect hands–now wrinkled and once tightly sealed which I watched pray beneath patterned bedspreads at different dusks.
Three pairs of hands–tending roses and orchids and gravestones which I watched rub oil down purple paths of varicose veins lined with finger trees that have shed their rings. And over the years I’ve gathered and dispersed them in my own garden, surrounding my stems tightly–clotting wounds at each crease.
The tools which helped me weave my trellis climb through my mind like stubborn summer ivy: They weeded grief with stacks of leather-backed bargain spells; They shoveled water-eyed laughs in the place of stale winces; They ripened wisdom, “we’ve been through things harder than this.”
I tend to these fruits and flowers when water leaks from everywhere now and I’m still learning to sip.
Em Sielergirl is a flower
editors-in-chief Amy Zhang & Ruchi Shah
social media coordinator Anna Garrity
events coordinator MegYoung
arts submissions director Karna Nandakumar
writing submissions director
Arianna Shooshani & Mary BestillustrationsbyAnnaGarrity
Supported in part by the Arts Initiative at Columbia University