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Table of Contents The Writers Tsehaye, Special Hell Jake, My Grandfather’s Church Meta, Love Can Wait Karina, A Question and an Answer Ashlee, Kestrel Zoe, Encounter Tsehaye, Inspired by Rumi Will, Midnight Jake, Highway Mia, Perfection Parker, The English Language Wendy, The Innermost Part of My Heart Hannah, There She Was Isabel, City of Lost Things Mia, Three Haiku Anonymous, On the Beach Tsehaye, Woman

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The Artists Elly Jackson Simon Helen Elise Liana Liam Willow Morgan Haley Meta Jasmine Yousef Luke Audrey Charlotte Lukas Liam Mia Jack Camilla

Editors: Isabel, Jake, Tsehaye




Special Hell Laid like ceramics in a kiln My special hell guided me To earth Here I am, the dew circles around me Shaping a ceremonious Remembrance of my heritage My special hell is wrapped up in Every pore. An entire university of fire Layered like the letters ahead of my psyche’s Name My special hell is airborne Flaky similar to that of Water that makes up more than half of My body. With air it breathes through me, With fire it ignites me, with water it Gives me a rush To earth it privatizes the effects of My special hell. Clash and crashing between Blood and bone The weeping of my special hell Is muffled through the Walls of my DNA. -Tsehaye





My Grandfather’s Church Firstly I don’t know why churches have roofs, other than to keep the pews from rotting in the rain and cracking under the weight of sixty elbow macaroni and pulled pork stuffed bellies (what I learned from hymns, psalms, prayers, sermons, and the bible I can’t say, but at my grandfather’s church I learned all there is to know -- there’s nothing that can’t be learned at the church’s barbeque and mac n’ cheese dinners, first Sunday of every month). I don’t believe I’ve gotten good enough at praying yet to be able to push my words through three feet of concrete and shingles. But in the summers when the sun signs off for the day and takes the air that feels like a cup of boiling water when it hits your lungs with it, and we’re left with a dusk made up of a soft warmth and a swarm of flies, we had the dinners outside on folding tables and chairs. It was the only chore around the church my grandfather didn’t have to ask me to do twice -- bringing out the tables and chairs -because I knew it meant dinner outside, it meant beginning the meal with a prayer that only had to pass through air to get to God, it meant looking up at the sky and seeing how vast it was, how infinite, and knowing that there was enough room for everyone’s prayers. That’s the beautiful thing about the sky, it has room for all of God’s children and it has room for everything anybody could ever think or feel and then some. A lot of the regulars at the dinners had been told by other places in the world, more than once, that there was no room for them there. Even been told that by other churches. But other churches didn’t have my grandfather as the minister. Now, he wasn’t a messiah, he wasn’t the second coming, he wasn’t a miracle of God more than anyone else is. In fact, just thirty years ago he was a high-up insurance executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Tampa. Then, and I’ve never asked him exactly when and why, my grandfather cut out the Lacoste emblems from all of his collared shirts and left Tampa for seminary in Georgia, where he was gonna cut the Lacoste emblems out of his soul. He was gonna vacuum the ceiling and suck up all the cigarette smoke that was spread thick across it, that was like the storm clouds gathering every afternoon at 4:30 for God’s marriage counseling with the Earth. He was gonna pick up my father out of the pile of fur coats that he always jumped into and buried his face in during his dad’s parties, lift him out of the warm soft darkness as if delivering him during his rebirth, and his rebirth. He was gonna walk out into the jungle and sculpt foxes and leopards and bears out of mud, and wrap them in the fur coats and breathe them to life. He was gonna get rid of the money and fill his pockets with The Word, he was gonna go up to Atlanta and preach The Word, he was gonna make them gather around The Word. The Word to bring God to this house. The Word to bring this house to the ground. The Word that tells you the ground is all you need. Else it’s all you got. Else the Lord gathered up fistfuls of the ruddy clay that dissolves any plant who dares to make a home of it, clay burning red with life all-the-same, gathered it up and shaped you and wrapped you in his love and breathed you to life. Let you run wild for a while. Let you be a small-town Indiana boy, let you go to the theater every Saturday, let you meet your wife at college, let you not wait until marriage, let you be dragged off to Korea in the name of someone else’s violence, let you be an actuary no a lawyer no an insurance executive, let you have the cocktail parties and the chain


smoking and the fur coats, and even then you knew. You knew. No matter the color and if it’s hiding behind a shield, that cross is reminding you. Reminding you that one day he’s gonna come back. Lord he comes back. Else you gotta be ready. Else you gotta go get the damn scissors. And that’s what my Grandfather did. Picked up the scissors, cut his life into two parts, left the wealthy times behind and dedicated himself to God. He still uses scissors to cut up the pork into pieces that can be shredded by me and my friends, a long fork in each of our hands. I’d like to think it means something, but it’s only one of those coincidences. He says that’s how they cut up meat in Korea. One of my friends asked my grandfather if he killed anyone in Korea. He said if you want war stories go on and sit with Joe. That was his response to everything. We said when’s the first time you fell in love? He said go on and sit with Sally. Tell us a ghost story. Go on and sit with uncle Jeff. Won’t you at least tell us a story about God? Go on and sit in the woods. And I was too scared to ever ask my grandfather to tell a story about himself. But that’s what I wanted to know more than anything. More than anything I wanted to know what my grandfather looked like when he stood in front of the rows of pews crammed into the first church he ever gave a sermon at, what the faces of the people who listened to him looked like when he picked The Word out of the light passing through the one stained-glass window, the light that seemed to move a little slower once it passed through, like everybody moved in church, the light bending into his hands and making his back sweat like hell. I wanted to know what the church looked like with my mom and dad standing at the altar and flowers growing out of the walls and three generations of my family in the same place for hours on end, what my grandfather felt when he extended that holy light of marriage between the heart of his son and the heart of his daughter in-law who would grow to call him dad, what he felt the night before the wedding when my mother had told him “I can’t do it. I don’t know how to love like this.” And my grandfather told her, “You can. You choose to put love into your relationship every day. Everyday you choose to love.” (A story I only knew from my mother.) I wonder what my grandfather felt when the flowers receded back into the walls and come out again and receded for other couples with other generations of families washed into the church, like tidal pools, then beckoned back out into the ocean by the tugging of the moon. And even though I once saw it with my own eyes, or maybe because of that, because I had the memory in my hands and lost it, I wanted to know, more than anything, how my grandfather smiled when he held me over a basin of holy water, drew some of it onto his fingers, and sent it dribbling over my forehead. But I didn’t know any of that. All I knew was the church and the woods around it and waiting for the cherry blossoms to fall, the trees that God lights on fire to wake up the rest of the world for Spring, that burn so damn bright in the last few moments of the sunsets that they can’t last more than a week before scattering their little pink petals all over the ground. And when they were all done jumping off the branches my grandfather would look me in the eyes and I saw blood filling up all the tangled wiry mess of veins under the skin of his cheeks and turning them and his bumpy nose a shining red and his smile forced my mouth into a grin that threatened to snap all the muscles in my face which only made him smile more which only made me smile more until laughter overflowed from our lungs and I know God could hear it, even through the roof. And when the blood trickled back into his


heart and our breathing slowed he reached into his pocket and placed the key to the basement in the palm of my hand, and I took off for the back of the church while he closed his eyes and reclined against the pew we had been sitting on. The walls reverberated with the warm touch of the light they hadn’t felt all winter, and the folding tables and chairs were all stacked and leaning neatly, exactly as we’d left them in the fall. Every year in the seconds between when I flipped the lightswitch on and when the lightbulb hanging in the middle of the room remembered what it was supposed to do when I did that, I prayed that I would find all of the tables set up and the chairs around them and the decks of cards and gallon of sweet tea (that I had hid in the corner) dealt in front of each chair and poured into glasses (that I stole from my house). I liked to believe that the souls of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents (and uncles and aunts and cousins etc. etc.) would come back and fill the basement with laughter and the lightness of their hearts and heckle each other over their poker games and sip sweet tea all-the-while. And though when the lightbulb finally sputtered to life I always found the room undisturbed, I still believed they had been there. It was just a rule in my family to leave things better than you found them. And that was the whole point of the dinners. Come hungry, leave not realizing how full my grandmother has gotten you until the moment you try to stand up from your chair and only succeed on the third try. Come alone, leave with more than enough stories to keep you company for the next month. Come however you are, leave with a hug from my grandfather as tight as he can manage given how round your belly has gotten in the last few hours and how round his has been for the last twenty years, and a hug from my grandmother who is exhausted from hosting but will still get up out of her chair if you don’t wave her down and bend over to put your arms around her before she can try, and she’ll apologize for not standing but knows that she’s teaching you that it’s important to bend over sometimes, to make yourself small, and you’ll leave feeling the warmth of their prayers wrapped around you and patting your back. I remember the first time Ella came with me to one of the dinners. My grandfather said that he knew right away, that he saw all her love for me displayed right across the surface of her eyes, and I told him that she wore contacts, and he said he could have seen the love even if she were wearing sunglasses, that he could see it dancing across her skin and making her hairs stick straight out, and he looked around to make sure no one was within earshot and he leaned in and cupped his hand around my ear and whispered, “Do not [my sincerest apologies for the profanity] fuck this up!” I swear to God, he said that. I swear it. To God. And I know God can hear me now. Even through this roof. And I wonder what his face looked like when he married us in that same church, how he smiled when he told me I could kiss you. I don’t know because I couldn’t look away from you.


And it wasn’t until you came along that I knew that smile. And I look at you and I feel it baptise my lips, the corners pulled upwards by the flowers growing inside of my mouth, that crescent moon shape tugging at the tides of blood in your veins and pushing your heart to the very front of your chest so I can feel it beating and vibrating the droplets of the words I poured over your head, and I know that I love you, and I know that this is how he smiled. But back then I didn’t know you. - Jake



Love Can Wait Love is the hopeless, menacing thing – That takes more than it gives – Though they say her voice is honeyed, She holds but a shiv I have heard her call before – But I decline her effects, I know this type of love forbidden – For I am bound by bed and sex Love’s caress may beckon – And her touch assuage – But – I know that without fail or fade, Death comes for all – so Love – alas – can wait. -Meta



A Question and an Answer “Well, what happened? I want the details.” That was the first thing I was asked the second I entered the house. It had been six months since I left, so of course I expected this question. I had thought of how I would answer this multiple times, and each time I couldn’t think of the perfect excuse. The first answer I thought of was, “I went where I told you I was going to go” - a perfect response, but of course the questions would continue - and continue, and continue, and continue - and as I was asked more questions I would have to tell more lies. More and more lies. Maybe I could have left. I could have made a run for it and never come back. But once again, that wouldn’t have answered my problem. I knew they would find me one way or another. They always find me. So, I had absolutely no idea what to do, and I looked like a complete idiot just staring off into the distance. “Hello? Are you going to answer me some time today?” I could feel everyone in the room beginning to become impatient. Honestly, I didn’t blame them; why would they not want an answer? They deserved an answer! I knew they deserved an answer, I knew it, and of course I knew the answer - I was the one who had been gone for six months. I stood there for a good twenty minutes, shifting back and forth. They stared back at me, glaring, their eyes penetrating my very soul, anticipating my response. It was time. Everyone has to face their fears at some point -- it was my time to face my fears. My mom tapped her foot quickly; she always did that, ever since I was young, when she knew I was hiding something from her. Six months ago I had made a promise that I had broken. The plan was for me to go south to meet my cousins in Texas. And the weird thing was that I had always loved my cousins in Texas. They were the kind of people who were easy to love and easy to trust. My cousins and I were like the same exact people: we looked alike, acted alike, and liked all of the same things. “Well, Mom, I went sailing.” The words fell out of my mouth. At this point I couldn’t take back what I said. The truth was out. It was too late to redeem myself now. I had been dreading this moment for six months; I had been thinking about solutions to this problem for six months. That was it. There was no going back now. Everyone in the room began laughing. They almost died of laughter as if I had just told the funniest joke ever. -Karina




Kestrel Kestrel was sick. She had always been sick. Beams of sunlight graced the beige walls, focusing on the bleached longhorn bull’s skull that hung just inches above her head. Her neighbors said that the bull’s skull was a blessing, that it may heal her. She didn’t feel blessed. She didn’t feel healed, either. Her bed was inspired by rituals her neighbors performed. The bedposts were modeled on sprawling oak trees, and creeping from underneath the bed, roots made out of sheep’s wool. Oaks meant durability. There was a modest wooden armchair pulled up to her bedside, but nobody had sat in it in years. Nobody’s eyes had fallen upon her frail frame in a very long time. Her tongue and her lips were long out of practice in the art of speech. Instead, she now only knew how to cough. There was a desk with long-wilted zinnias in it, a gift from someone who had spread their wings and flown to the afterlife a few years ago. She was next. Zinnias were a symbol of endurance and of daily remembrance. They were supposed to be a positive message, but she only twisted those words in her mind. A daily reminder that she would not endure what was afflicting her. Scattered on the floor were the white feathers of a whooping crane. They represented longevity. The feathers only embittered her further. The villagers showered her with these pointless gifts because they felt guilty. She wasn’t ready to fly away. The birds of death could care less whether or not she was ready. They had their beady, soulless eyes set on her. They were ready for her. Her heart stuttered violently, a sharp sensation like a raptor’s talons raking across her chest. Her ears throbbed to the roaring sound of a thousand beating wings. Her entire body spasmed; her mouth parted to try to suck in air, but she could not. It felt as though feathers had been crammed down her throat. She was just a mouse to the ferocious birds. Her final thoughts were of damning the villagers who condemned her to her fate. She could only hope that the birds would soon consume them too. -Ashlee




Encounter You’re walking along a gravelly sidewalk at about midnight near your apartment, going home after a night of drinking. Your mind is a little fuzzy, but you know you’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep. As you walk around a corner on a deserted street, you find a woman lying underneath an unlit streetlamp. She seems to be hurt, but there are no visible marks on her. Assuming she just stumbled and fell, you go to help her up. As you reach her side, she makes eye contact with you for a split second before hurriedly turning away, as if to hide her expression. You ask if she is okay, and she hesitates before nodding once. She seems shy, so you decide to bend down to seem friendlier. As you pull yourself closer to her, she shrinks back just barely, but enough to let you know she doesn’t want you near her. Her hands are behind her back, and her face is hidden by her long hair. As you ponder what to do next, your eyes wander down to her outfit. It’s quite dark outside, and none of the streetlamps on this road are lit, but the moon provides just enough light to see. The woman on the ground is wearing what seems to be a dress or some sort of tunic, but you suddenly find yourself unable to tell where the dress ends and her skin begins. You shake your head quickly and the sensation goes away, but you still can’t help feeling that something’s not right here. The lady notices your movement and goes still and silent. You’re brought back to reality by the scraping of her hands on the pavement, and you conclude that the odd feeling you just had is a side effect of drinking so much. Since the woman has given no indication that she needs help, you decide to get up, and you stand slowly, in order not to startle her. She watches your every move from behind her hair as you get to a standing position, but as you begin to walk away she lets out a piercing shriek. You turn quickly to see sharp teeth and large eyes and the woman looks human but she also doesn’t and you can’t define her outline against the night sky. She glares, and you distinctly remember her having long hair even though she clearly doesn’t, and what is that she’s wearing? Her clothing is no longer a dress, but now something you’ve never seen in any magazine or store. Where is she again? You seem to have lost the woman in the night even though you’re staring right at her. You hear her breathing right in front of you from some unknown height and you perceive the shine in her black eyes, but she’s nowhere to be found. You’re freaked out and near tears, but you’re also very calm, and you can’t remember your name but you remember it again. What time is it again? You turn to run as far away as you can from this madness – maybe you can make it back home in time for breakfast – but you have no choice but to stop and watch, as if in slow motion, as the no-longer-human opens her mouth and lets out a long, ringing scream. The sound resounds in your ears and moves through your body and as you fall out of consciousness, you try to remember what you were doing before you felt so sleepy. You know it was something important...





Inspired by Rumi You had dissociated yourself from the feeling of salty water hitting your tongue You had long let go of the instinctual need for safety, and felt like that of a fish You felt my feelings through a third person Where your hair was dark green with angst And the most valuable part of you didn’t exist. Where your core wasn’t in the sky but rather the deepest roots of the coral – Your heart raced, head swirling Gut churning Knuckles tight and chalk white Your face burned your vision turned red as the blood you wished to shed. – The only reflection you remember is the blush of the pale dead fish in the sandy Grains of my cheeks. You didn’t feel water on you, you felt power. Autumn Spring Winter Summer They had all happened and we were just here in the deep red sea.





Midnight i It’s just another night I stare at the crescent moon that attempts Almost apologetically To light up the lonely night

ii I feel the wind calling Calling a name I should have forgotten But forgetting Is harder than it seems.

iii The grass dances below My tanned feet It dances As if it lost a partner I oblige For I have lost my partner too

iv The moonlight reflects Off dew that came too early And ends the same It tastes of honey and moonshine And reminds me Of how good it used to be


v Fireflies warm my face Oblivious to sorrow Combusting as I smile I despise lying But we all make sacrifices

vi My corner of the park celebrates And I wish I could join But my celebration was cut short For my enchantment towards it left as you did Swiftly And unwavering




Highway On the dashboard there is a bobblehead alligator holding a guitar, a mug that has “kiss my southern sass!” written in bold black letters on both sides, two thin plastic rings that has miniature peaches where diamonds are supposed to be, and Juniper’s tan dirty calloused feet. Her hand hangs limp out the window, red polish beaten dry on her fingernails by the wind. The force of it blows circles of ridges on her nails, so that each looks like a pond caught mid-ripple. She doesn’t notice. She has moved on to her toes. The tumbling roar of the air keeps June from hearing the sounds of Florida. God isn’t hearing them either. God turned his back on that endless river of grass, the everglades, and the gulf and its bathwater and bone white sand and the Cubans drowning off the coast and he turned away from Miami beach and Disney world and Ocala, the retirement city, and Naples, the retirement city for those who didn’t get to retire until 75, God turned his back on all of it and sent the thunder to deafen the ironic screaming of Florida sinking beneath itself. He and Juniper got married with peach rings on I-95 where God wasn’t watching. They knew that meant it didn’t count. All the same the asphalt had hummed a tune for them as they hauled ass down the highway, and a few yards off the highway that night the marriage had been consummated in the backseat. It wasn’t good sex and they weren’t expecting it to be, but it wasn’t bad for what it was. Halfway across the big toe on her left foot, June’s hand had stopped moving. A line of nail polish ran down to her ankle. She flexed her toes and made cracks appear. He realized that this meant she must have been still like that for at least 5 minutes without him noticing, and he looked at her eyes and they were not seeing him or the road or the sky or the wetlands – no, her eyes were seeing something he couldn’t (he didn’t know if he’d see anything besides her or the road or the sky or the wetlands for the rest of his life). Her irises were clear, not the murky snowglobes they became when she was high, and not muted like they were in the morning, as if the color inside was still asleep. Wait until June was back. That was all there was to do. Look at the tall grasses, see if you can track a single seed knocked loose by the leg of a horse-fly all the way to the dirt, look at the segmented white lines of the lane dividers disappearing under your tires, try to count them all, look at the sky, look at the road, look at the wetlands and the road and the sky and the wetlands and the road 86 87 88 89 90 and the sky and the wetlands





Perfection Perfect, you must be completely perfect. There is no try, there is no best effort, there is just perfection. Anything less and ridicule will descend like birds, picking at every mistake or misstep. White birds. White birds that prod at your black hair, your dark eyes, your cocoa skin. White birds that dismiss a mistake made by a fellow but when that same mistake is made by you they screech and cry and jeer. Anything you do that they perceive as out of line becomes the fuel they use to set you aflame. And you have seen them do it, seen them alight those before you so you try to walk like them and talk like them just to shelter yourself from the fire, but even then it is not enough. And they think they are high and mighty because they are able to touch the sky but you are the same, you would be able to touch that same sky had they not broken your wings. So you are a fragment of yourself, broken from trying to blend to fit their mold to be their perfection. But why should you try to be the perfectionistic ideal created by a madman? -Mia




The English Language When considering a poem, written well, Thou canst fall prey and misunderstand How deeply poets may embed their theme, And all the different ways thou canst present The message of a poem. Written by John Milton, classic poet for all time, “At a Vacation Exercise” is one Great work which can convey the meaning of John Milton's past, and his experience In toiling for the British Parliament. Written with meter, and with helpful rhyme, This piece documents his livelihood; He’s admirably addressing to his favorite Mode of all communication: Noble English! This language was not favoured at the time, But John didst prase it, and he penned an ode To his language, of itself, to make him finer At writing his extensive, profound thoughts. Our celebrated poet uses metaphor to show The English language, pushed to all its limits. Instead of “words”, he speaks of them as “clothes”. And summons them to “clothe” his “naked thoughts” That bang around inside his fertile mind. He needs to let them out, to show his love Of grave and wondrous scenes, hard to conceive, But with this help of English, can be harbor’d. As ships with vasty sails traversed the seas, Transporting treasured spice from lands afar, To enrich the tongues of all the commoners Whos virgin palates tasted only salt. It is not just mere Latin that can depict Examples of colossal images; Or the tongue required to create Great poetry, and thus, be thought immortal. “Hail native language” is the firstly line, Which tells of how thy first word spake is best And that to vary from this law is crime, For to reach the full potential of thy skill At writing great and awe inspiring work Thou must call upon this lofty, famous tongue. English is what the common person knows, So its sensible to use it all the time.


Why learn an ancient language, and exclude Those all to Oxford who couldst not afford, To learn a stale, dead language? Just to read The works of antiquated authors old. For this, our poet asks of dear old English To give him all the best it has to offer, So he can use the best communication To write the stunning poems that can compare To visions of the heavens, and of God! His writing digs as deep as one can go, The great extent of which our poet grasps, Describing things that otherwise beyond The bounds of our imaginations wide! As miners underneath our crusty earth, Great jewels extracted from unheard of depths To crown the heads of common folk untouched By riches until now reserved for kings! The theme of Milton's poem is crystal clear: His love for English is quite obvious. As our poet tells profusely of the ways He benefits from English and its words, Attempting to take on the epic job Of talking of the grandiose, and deep. Our poet supersedes all competition. Near the end, we see more metaphor, As John conjur’d a scene so grand, and pure, That no mere mortal could e’er withstand How otherworldly his words couldst show, The best of all portrayals, like a frame For Milton's favorite form of masterpiece! -Parker




The Innermost Part of My Heart In the heart of the sea lived my simple heart, Every drop of water combined with my pure skin, Wearing this blue and waving dress forever and never change. I immerse and extol my spirit, I lie and rest at my most peaceful place of the ocean. My body was created by water, the simplest thing that exist On earth, I feared I will lose it, I suffered from keeping it perfect, How much I dreamed to cease time from elapsing. Along with Innocent and sincere, More flowers on my blue dress, I hold tight, I seek for every piece of myself truly. Mermaid and merman are holding my dress, Bigger and bigger, Eventually turn into an immerse sea. Nothing except ships and ripples exist, All in one meaning, no intervention. One and another, There is finally a rainbow bridge to paradise. One by One, Circle after circle, Until you cannot embrace them. I dance, I laugh, I sing, For those who lived truly inside my heart, Forever and forever.





There she was There she was With cracked, puckered skin glistening in the sun With a toothless smile illuminating the world around her With an old cable knit hat encased her frazzled grey hair Everyday There she was And then she wasn’t Her eyes no longer crinkled with her smile Her laugh no longer carried through the streets of broken cities Her hands no longer protected me There she was Standing before me with a blank stare As if i was a stranger There she was And then again She wasn’t -Hannah



City of Lost Things This city is made of what you throw away. Every stone has nicks and grooves from being tossed by the wayside. Every piece of cloth has rips and tears. They are stained and bleached beyond repair, and yet they are all they have. The roofs are made from ones that flew away in storms, ripped from their foundation. Their food is bountiful. You’d be amazed by the delicacies you can find in any city trash can. Though there’s always the chance of mold. There are plenty of pets to go around. Fish flushed down toilets, dogs let off their leash. Working electronics can be hard to come by, but there is a man who can take almost anything and make something. The trees grow without stumps, the memory of ones carved down for telephone lines and power cables. There is a library made of discarded books. Some have mold and tears, others are practically new, simply unwanted. No matter their shape, they are always ready to tell their story. But physical things aren’t the only things found here. Every emotion tossed to the side. Every tear held in can be found in this city. The citizens can’t stop feeling. They feel the joy you suppressed in fear. They feel the oceans of tears unshed. It can be tiring for these people, feeling so much, but it is also a relief. They are allowed to express every emotion that is forbidden to you. Really, it’s not so bad. Eventually, everything finds its way here. -Isabel





Three Haiku 1 A shimmering queen Embellished in her riddles Fall or flee. Your choice She radiated power. Sparkled like a divine presence, undeniably alluring. She had authority, handed to her by no one but respected by everyone. She had control, influence. A shimmering queen ruling over lies and falsities. She didn’t speak in words, she spoke in challenges, mazes. She was woven from tricks and puzzles, embellished in riddles she wore like jewelry. When she disagreed, she conquered. She would give you two options: fall or flee. Your choice.

2 The golden seas boil Fire yells under the waves Dragging down the ship The falling sun glows in the churning water. The split between sky and sea puzzles the struggling sailors; the water is fierce and stormy while the sky is clear, warm colors luminescent in the sparse clouds. In the water, the sky’s reflection looks metallic and dangerous, like golden flames consuming the strained wood of the ship. The water doesn’t appear to be a direct reflection of the sky either; the colors look more potent with strong hints of bright orange and red not found in the sky. The water reaches up the sides of the ship, forceful tendrils trying to tip it over. As the water floods the deck, cargo and men alike are swept up in the current. Only the seething water and the cries of the men break the silence; there is no wind or rain or clashing of a storm. The seas start to boil and the sailors finally come to the horrified realization that there is a storm, but it is under the surface. Fire yells under the waves in a whirlwind below the water, not above. Currents of flame pass below the sailors, singeing holes in the wood. The resistant ship begins to lose its clutched grip on the surface as the water drags it into the eye of the storm.

3 The hourglass sand Falls over you where you stand Your time’s almost up You can feel it, can’t you? Time slipping through your fingertips like sand slips down an hourglass. And you are inside that hourglass, its streaming sand falling on your head and shoulders, each grain bruising you like rocks pelting your skin. It is my constant reminder to you that you have an


expiration date, one I have chosen for you. The sand burns your eyes, fills your lungs, rises up to your knees, torso, chest, neck, agony to endure. But don’t worry, your wretched existence is close to its end. The last of the sand will soon tumble through that thin opening, the last bruise will burn into your skin, your last choked breath will sputter through your chest. Your time’s almost up. I’ll see to it. -Mia


On the Beach Upon the drifting waves of the sea, a boat emerged silently from the horizon. Still a few miles out, the boat was about the size of an acorn and looked as it could fit in between my fingers. The dark clouds above gave clues as to why the boat was rocking with such force. I looked to my right and saw the harbor that I had visited earlier in the day and I decided to take a walk down the beach and listen to the waves, to think. Behind me the sea villas were imperfectly identical with tourists sitting on their porches, watching the pelicans who were having their daily meal at sunset. Except the usual colors of pink, orange and red were hidden beneath the grave rain clouds that overcame the sky. I looked back towards the boat as it was coming in closer. It was now shallow enough that the motor was off and coasting into the harbor by the green-blue waves. There was something so calming about the rhythm of everything around me‌ almost like nature's song was coming through with the beat of the waves, the instrumental squeaks of the pelicans, the blows of wind that whispered across the sand dunes. -Anonymous



Woman The broad leaf of an olive tree wired her pigmentation and clay hair thick like moss, sledded down her back. Her body had a physique that glistened in mirrors and shaped womanhood with every bath she took. This woman’s voice was fragile and shattered eggshells with every word she let free. Her voice blossomed intelligence and traced mindful expenses during conversations on just the weather. She had hands of a farmer that bled soil from her own arrival on Earth. When she touched the world it shivered and every stroke of her spirit swept the sun to its knees. This woman draped herself in jewels, and her strength stood crystallized beside her. Gold, emerald, and opal punctured her collarbone day and day again. The luxuries that shadowed her wealth lost power when her breath was one grain weaker. She looked down and stared at the sparkle in the sand, unable to believe her eyes. Her eyelashes separated themselves in disbelief, and her jaw was crooked as she looked down and saw the lights of New York. She saw the shadows of Africa, and the controversial bustle of America. She second guessed the muscles that built her as she became more and more aware that she was holding the entire world in her hands.




Upper School Art & Literature Magazine, 2017-18  

A publication of the Carolina Friends Upper School students.

Upper School Art & Literature Magazine, 2017-18  

A publication of the Carolina Friends Upper School students.