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Welcome Flame, Castilleja’s  middle  school  literary  magazine,  features  the  creative  writing,   art,  and  photography  of  students  from  grades  6-­‐8.  Members  of  Flame  have  been   meeting  since  September  to  write  poems  and  short  stories,  give  each  other   constructive  feedback,  gather  and  evaluate  submissions,  and  lay  out  the   magazine.  We  hope  you  enjoy  this  year’s  collection  of  creative  work! Katie  Sauvain  and  Jole  Seroff,  faculty  advisors

Flame Members  2011-­‐2012 Megan  Andersen Mitra  Assaderaghi Natasha  Balogh Riya  Berry Kiana  Borjian Lexi  Burdon Emily  Burnette Niki  Flamen Karina  Fonstad Pooja  Goel Ericka  Goodman Nicole  Goodman Heejin  Hahn Isabella  Henig Greer  Hoffmann Fia  Jones Indigo  Jones Jessie  Karan Annie  Kim Grace  Lee Kathleen  Mhatre Chloe  Middler Katie  Mishra Karly  Quadros Robin  Sandell Zoe  Sarrazin Katja  Teichmann Kavya  Tewari Claire  Traum Alex  Volpi Vanessa  Woo

front and  back  cover  by  Nancy  Lopez


Advice It's good  to  write late  at  night when  your  lonely  hands  are  cold You  may  type  the  wrong  letter but  your  thoughts  will  be  better for  choosing  the  words  that  you  yourself  mold. While  you're  building  an  arc alone  in  dark Reading  your  writing  aloud The  others  are  sleeping And  there's  no  way  of  keeping the  raindrops  inside  of  the  clouds.

photo by  Emma  Glickman

The sun  will  soon  rise and  you'll  shut  tight  your  eyes and  your  stories  will  dance  in  your  dreams Until  that  alarm or  that  poke  in  the  arm comes  to  burst  your  balloon  at  its  seams.   And  through  the  next  day while  you're  slogging  away you'll  remember  that  evening  as  fateful for  you  passed  three  o'clock and  you  beat  writer’s  block and  your  journal  will  always  be  grateful. -­‐-­‐Kiana  Borjian


Imagination the spills  of  rain linger  upon  my  chin to  soon  end  their  journey to  collect  at  the  tip peering  down  from  the  edge amidst  the  battered  wind the  final  gaze   the  content  sigh the  melancholy  smile of  what  awaits beneath  their  hearts that  hides  from  time  to  time their  holding  grasp not  letting  go they  cannot  trust  what  is  beneath for  if  they  do the  betrayed  will  rise and  eat  those  underneath -­‐-­‐Mitra  Assaderaghi

art by  Arushi  Gupta

Meaning Imagine perfection. The  grayness  of  the  word, a  clear  glass  surface. Dulled  by  its  boundaries, a  tasteless  place. Imagine  happiness. The  innocence  of  the  thought, a  careful  cover. Lasts  only  for  a  moment, then  an  empty  feeling. Imagine  paradise. The  brightness  of  a  dream, no  imperfections. A  world  so  cliché, a  sugared  reality.

photo by  Kiana  Borjian

Imagine love. The  warmness  of  the  concept, a  grand  feeling. When  broken, nothing  can  repair  it. -­‐-­‐Nancy  Lopez


Pink All boys  love  pink they  have  that  feeling  deep  down how  it  brings  them  bliss they  deny  it,  but  never  tell it’s  the  secret  of  a  lifetime

art by  Lucy  Carlson

All therapists  love  pink how  just  one  simple  color can  cause  a  sensational  feeling a  feeling  of  happiness,  warmth,  and  comfort   though  one  is  proud  or  ashamed of  their  undeniable  true  love  for  the  color it  brings  peace,  love,  and  laughter  wherever  it  hides   or  even  covers All  grown  men  love  pink flashes  back  to  the  time  when  they  and  their  first   partner  met the  times  and  feelings  when  with  loved  ones Oddly,  yet  truthfully... All  girls  hate  pink since  it  is  associated  with  girls  and  makeup it  ruins  them  from  ever  loving  pink prejudiced  thoughts  make  it  even  unthinkable teasing  and  laughter  is  what  they  hide  from some  like  to  show  their  feminine  side,   but  just  a  single  like  for  it   can  get  smashed  into  billions  of pieces  or  purely  and  truly  pink

photo by  Katie  Jo  Shuman

Pink is  not  just  a  color it  is  much  more you  need  to  discover  your  identity  of  pink -­‐-­‐Jordan  Jackson

art by  Katie  Mishra


Mail on  Sunday Last  night  I  sat  under  your  window  sill   I  ignored  the  wet  grass  that  was  slowly  soaking  the  seat  of  my  pants the  wind  biting  me  down  to  the  bone the  knotted  floorboards  pressing  into  my  spine All  I  could  feel  was  the  pounding  in  my  head and  the  dizziness  of  your  perfume The  faintest  scent  was  wafting  outside  of  your  room the  clock  was  ticking  softly  then  loudly  then  softly  again tik  tok  tik  tok  tik  tok each  second  was  the  eternity  of  an  unbearable  silence you  hesitated  and  I  waited you  declined  and  I  waited  still he  told  you  he  loved  you  with  abbreviations  powered  by  battery it  was  10:11  pm when  I  told  you  I  loved  you  I  took  you  to  the  back  parking  lot of  the  Tuesday  evening  old  post  office it  was  quiet  there  and  the  road  was  cracked I  thought  about  all  the  people  sending  love  letters and  you  thought  about  all  the  second  hand  smoke  and    garbage  cans after  you  left  you  didn’t  let  me  drive  you  home the  engine  was  too  loud on  Valentine’s  day  he  gave  you  a  bracelet chocolates and  flowers to  him  it  meant  money  and  to  you  it  meant  a  gift

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver

on Valentine’s  day  I  gave  you  the  stump  of  my  first  Christmas  tree, the  earring  backing  of  my  deceased  mother,   the  ticket  stump  of  my  first  Green  Day  concert, to  me  it  meant  when  I  felt  joy  for  the  first  time, felt  pain  for  the  first  time, felt  infinite  for  the  first  time. who  else  could  I  give  it  to  but  to  my  first  love the  person  where  I  felt  all  three  at  the  same  time to  you  it  meant  nothing   I  found  it  in  your  trash  pick-­‐up  the  next  day first  I  wanted  to  take  them  back but  I  couldn’t they  were  ruined  now because  the  day  when  you  will have  the  courage  to  love  me  back is  when  people  will  dance  in  the  rain when  families  will  all  come  home   when  the  Caltrain  will  take  me  at  3am when  everyone  would  stay  in  the  theatre  to  see  the  credits when  I  go  the  ballot  next  Wednesday  this  November it’s  when  in  my  world,  you’ll  send  me  love  letters  back in  the  mail  on  Sunday -­‐-­‐Heejin  Hahn

art by  Kat  Lyseggen


The Countdown She  has  lived  in  an  underground  cave Forbidden  to  the  mere  eyes  of  mortals Gone,  Secret,  New. She  has  shined  in  the  sun Nuclear  fusion  lighting  the  fires  of  her  soul Burning  down  the  walls  of  the  forgotten. Dining  with  everyone  in  the  last  feast before  the  date  of  the  end  of  the  world Then  causing  demise  to  the  meteorite  12  seconds  too  late. She  has  conquered  death. Straining  chemicals,  boiling  life  until she,  the  last  human  alive,  brought  them  all  back  from  the  dead. A  last  spark  of  life  and  love, A  seamstress  she  has  been. Weaving  the  threads  of  life  into  the  ragdoll  of  humanity. At  the  last  moment,  I  must  devise a  list  of  accomplishments. A  chemist,  a  mother. An  eclipse,  a  daughter  of  the  sun.   The  savior  of  the  forgotten  earth And  the  lifebringer  of  lost  souls. She  is  us.  The  human  race. We  run  towards  death. -­‐-­‐Emily  Burnette Mirrors You Look And  See Universe A  different  one Look  and  see  a  new  universe -­‐-­‐Maggie  Gray

photo by  Maddie  Goldberg


A New  Way  of  Thinking   As  I  walk  down  the  street  with  my  mom  and  sister,  I  start  to  feel  a  bit  hungry.  I  start  to  tug  on  her  jacket  and   say,  “Mommy  I  want  some  food!”  My  mom  bends  down  and  says  to  me  in  a  calm  tone,  “We  are  two  blocks  from  the   store,  you  can  get  something  there.”  Content  with  her  decision,  I  wait  till  we  get  to  the  store.  She  lets  me  get  a  piece   of  fruit.  I  say  to  her,  “No,  I  want  a  cookie!”  My  mom  says,  “How  about  you  and  our  sister  share  a  cookie  and  an  apple.”   I  say  okay  to  that  because  I  know  that  is  the  only  way  she  will  let  me  get  a  cookie.   A  few  months  later  we  were  on  a  plane.  On  a  plane  to  South  Africa!  I  had  just  turned  six  and  was  really   excited.  On  the  plane  ride  we  got  a  choice  of  dinner.  I  chose  mac  and  cheese.  My  sister,  who  was  eight  years  old,  got   pasta  with  pesto  sauce.  I  had  eaten  about  half  the  mac  and  cheese  when  I  started  to  get  full,  so  the  flight  attendants   took  away  my  plate  and  threw  the  other  half  away.   When  we  landed  in  Johannesburg,  we  took  a  taxi  to  our  hotel.  On  the  drive  there  I  noticed  that  there  were   lots  of  little  kids  that  looked  about  my  age.  I  can  make  a  new  friend!  Maybe  they  have  some  cool  dolls  we  can  play   with!     When  we  got  to  the  hotel,  I  noticed  that  a  lot  of  the  kids  had  followed  the  car  all  the  way  to  the  hotel.  When   the  car  stopped,  all  the  kids  started  to  crowd  around  us  and  kept  asking  for  some  food  or  money.  I  saw  that  some  of   these  kids  were  my  age  or  younger.  They  looked  at  my  parents  with  hungry  and  pleading  eyes.  My  parents  gave  one   little  girl  a  banana  that  they  had  had  in  their  bag.  The  little  girl’s  face  lit  up  like  a  lightbulb  when  she  saw  the  yellow   fruit  in  her  hand.  She  ran  away  yelling  and  screaming  with  happiness.  After  that  we  walked  into  our  hotel  and  were   escorted  to  our  room.   In  the  room  I  asked  my  mom  why  all  those  kids  were  following  us.  She  said  that  because  the  kids  were  hungry   they  came  to  see  if  we  had  any  extra  food  that  we  could  give  them.  I  said,  “Why  can’t  they  just  go  to  the  store?”  My   mom  said  that  they  couldn’t  just  go  to  the  store  because  they  were  poor  and  lived  in  small  houses  made  of  reeds  and   mud.  If  they  lived  like  that,  they  wouldn’t  be  able  to  afford  a  snack  at  the  store,  let  alone  ingredients  for  a  meal  at  the   store.   The  next  day  at  breakfast,  after  I  had  eaten,  I  secretly  made  a  breakfast  sandwich.  Later  in  the  day  when  we   were  walking  around  a  local  market  I  saw  a  little  boy  of  about  five  asking  for  food.  While  my  mom  was  talking  with  a   vendor,  I  ran  over  to  the  boy  and  gave  him  the  sandwich  I  had  made.  I  had  made  this  sandwich  for  this  very  purpose!   The  next  day  I  made  the  same  thing  and  gave  it  to  a  girl  about  nine  years  old.  She  was  standing  in  a  dark  alleyway.   We  stayed  for  about  one  more  week  and  every  day  I  would  do  the  same  thing.  It  gave  me  a  great  feeling  inside  to   know  that  I  was  helping  these  kids  get  a  small  bit  of  food  in  the  day  to  keep  them  going.   Sadly,  it  was  the  day  I  had  wished  would  never  come.  The  day  I  would  cry  to  leave  this  place.  Yes,  today  we   were  packing  up  to  go  back  to  California.  Our  flight  left  at  5:00  PM.  That  morning  I  had  made  a  sandwich  just  like   usual,  but  today  I  included  a  muffin  because  it  was  my  last  day  and  I  needed  to  make  it  count.  We  went  out  on  one   last  walk.  On  the  walk  I  saw  a  girl  of  about  four  with  her  mom  and  her  baby  brother.  They  were  sitting  under  a   battered  overhang  with  about  10-­‐12  giant  holes  in  it.  I  thought  that  this  would  be  the  perfect  family  to  give  this  small   meal  to.  I  quickly  walked  over  to  them  and  handed  them  the  package.  The  little  girl  smiled  at  the  smell  of  the  fresh   muffin.  I  smiled  at  the  thought  of  her  eating  it!  That  moment  made  me  feel  like  the  happiest  person  on  earth.   On  the  plane,  we  got  to  order  dinner  again.  My  sister  and  I  both  ordered  grilled  cheese.  As  we  ate  them  I  was   thinking  about  how  on  the  last  flight;  the  flight  attendants  just  threw  our  food  that  we  didn’t  eat  away.  That  made   me  feel  strange  because  I  was  throwing  food  away  when  there  are  kids  10,244  miles  away  that  don’t  even  have  food  to   throw  away.  I  suddenly  made  sure  that  my  sister,  mom  and  I  ate  all  of  our  food  so  that  none  of  it  went  to  waste.   The  first  day  back  at  school  was  really  fun!  I  got  to  see  my  friends  and  learn  new  things.  At  lunchtime  my   friend  had  a  peanut  butter  and  jelly  sandwich.  She  ate  half  and  was  about  to  throw  the  other  half  away  when  I   stopped  her.  She  couldn’t  just  throw  half  of  a  good  sandwich  away!  I  said  to  her,  “You  shouldn’t  just  throw  that  away   because  there  are  kids  in  South  Africa  that  don’t  even  have  food  to  throw  away!”  Then  I  said,  “If  you  don’t  want  to  eat   it,  give  it  to  someone  who  will  and  will  not  waste  it!”  Then  she  stood  up  and  gave  it  to  a  girl  who  was  five  tables  away.   Then  she  came  back  and  said  to  me,  “Thanks  for  what  you  just  did,  it  makes  me  want  to  be  more  careful  and  caring!”   That  was  the  best  thing  that  anyone  could  have  said  to  me  at  that  very  moment.  

           -­‐-­‐Talia  Kertsman


Raolonian Faith   The  church  was  crowded  with  hundreds  of  Falstristhans,  all  with  unique  abilities,  like  flight,  loud   voices,  or  even  hair  that  could  change  color.  Cantre’s  was  invisibility.  “Never  walk  on  top  of  a  building.   Never  go  anywhere  near  a  high  place.  Never  go  on  a  plane.  Never  fly  on  a  spaceship.  AND  NEVER  GO   AWAY  FROM  FALSTRISTHA,  OR  EVEN  WORSE,  RAOLONIA!!!!!”  Why  were  Raolonian  faith-­‐keepers,  or   priests,  so  strict?  Cantre  longed  to  go  on  a  vacation,  just  maybe  somewhere  near,  like  the  capital  city  of   Raolonia,  Rennen.  Every  time  he  asked  the  Falstristhan  elders  to  leave,  faking  that  his  family  member  was   there,  or  he  had  an  appointment  with  the  governer,  they  said  no. Cantre  walked  to  his  friend  Rina’s  house.  He  looked  at  her  and  sighed.  The  laws  were  so  strict!  If   someone  was  found  using  their  abilities  against  the  government,  they  would  be  sentenced  to  jail.  Rina  was   built  like  an  eagle.  She  had  sharp  talons  on  her  feet,  and  large  wings  that  could  fly  the  two  easily  out  of   Falstristha,  but  again,  the  law  was  there.  He  saw  her  mouth  twist  into  a  mischievous  smile,  and  then,  she   laid  out  her  plan.  She  would  fly  so  high  that  nobody  could  distinguish  between  her  and  an  eagle,  and   Cantre  would  disguise  himself  and  become  invisible,  so  that  when  he  arrived  at  Rennen,  no  one  would   know  he  was  Falstristhan. Cantre  was  walking  home  as  Rina  picked  him  up  in  her  talons  and  flew  him  the  rest  of  the  way.  She   had  that  grin  on  her  face  that  told  Cantre  he  was  going  to  Rennen.  “We  might  make  it  to  Cantonia  if  we   tried;  but  meanwhile,  you  get  a  good  night’s  sleep  and  find  a  way  to  say  goodbye  to  Falstristha  without   telling  the  authorities  or  your  parents  about  our  plan.”  The  two  friends  turned  on  their  heels  with  a  new   hope  on  their  minds.  They  both  knew  that  they  could  never  return,  and  that  all  of  their  friends  and  family   would  miss  them  for  eternity,  but  their  obsession  with  travel  drew  them  to  follow  their  plan. The  next  day,  Cantre  told  his  mother,  “Mom,  I  know  you  won’t  like  what  I  will  do...  but  I  won’t...  be   back  from  this  trip...  away.”  Rina  said  pretty  much  the  same  thing,  but  with  boldness  and  without  the   stuttering.   After  their  difficult  goodbyes,  Cantre   snuck  onto  the  plane,  and  Rina  took  flight.  Using   her  eagle-­‐sharp  eyes,  she  kept  watch  over  the   plane.  When  they  arrived  in  their  disguise,  the   Rennenians  eyed  the  two  children  suspiciously,   but  Rina  saved  the  day.  She  smiled  at  them  and   said  in  a  Cantonian  accent,  “We’re  tourists  from   Cantonia’s  earth.  We  are  planning  to  immigrate.   Cantonians,  as  you  know,  appear  younger  and   smaller.”   The  guards  let  the  friends  in,  and  they   were  free.  They  could  take  the  Rennenian  portal   to  Cantonia,  or  Brantonia.  Cantre  held  Rina’s   hand.  Their  choice  was  one  of  freedom  and   independence.  Their  parents,  were  it  not  for  their   strict  beliefs  in  the  Raolonian  faith,  would  have   been  proud.  

-­‐-­‐Vanessa Woo

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver


Strawberry

photo by  Katherine  Greatwood

Shining in  the  summer  light, Its  sweetness  as  yet  untold, Anticipating  the  first  bite, For  its  secrets  to  unfold. Encased  in  armor  of  shining  red, Enclosing  the  pink  inside, Fronds  top  its  crimson  head, Seeds  dot  its  smooth  outside. Its  scarlet  casing  shows  the  days, It  spent  dozing  among  the  leaves, Watching  the  brown  cows  mill  and  graze, Hearing  sparrows  in  the  eaves. -­‐-­‐Maddie  Goldberg

Spring i looked  out  my  window  in  the  morning the  sky  was  blue there  were  no  clouds  in  sight i  heard  birds  chirping and  saw  bunnies  hopping the  trees  swayed in  the  morning  breeze i  walked  outside i  felt  the  warm  air  rushing  against  me the  wind  blew  my  hair  back finally after  months  of  rain  and  snow it  was  spring -­‐-­‐Kenzie  Macdonald

art by  Ellen  Howard


Time Time is  everything it  goes  by it  surrounds  you it  engulfs  you it’s  irrepressible  and  mysterious the  essence  of  the  world -­‐-­‐Kathleen  Mhatre

photo by  Rosie  Crisman Ice  Monster: The  cold  water  seeps  through  the  raft,  as  my  metal  angel   sinks  into  the  cold  unforgiving  sea,  as  the  monster  of  ice  stands  over  me.  Fear  and  hate   run  through  my  veins  for  ice.  My  tears  seem  as  cold  as  the  heart  of  the  earth.  As  I  float   along  getting  farther  and  farther  away  from  my  horror,  that  once  used  to  be  my  heaven.   Before  it  turned  into  an  icy  cold  nightmare. Ice  Monster  2: The  ice  monster,  the  ice  monster,  the  ice  monster  is  coming.  Its  scaly  cold  skin   haunting  your  soul.  You  hide,  jump,  sink  but  it  will  get  you.  Run  you  think,  but  it  runs   faster.  You  wake  up  from  screams  and  you  know  that  its  coming.  Save  my  soul,  you  plead   for  your  life  but  the  ice  monster  has  no  sympathy,  it  is  earth’s  bane.  The  ice  monster  you   will  remember  forever.   -­‐-­‐Fia  Jones

Fireflies Dance, Dance  with  the  fireflies,   roll  down  the  hill  with  their  lights,     grab  some  in  a  box  and  let  them  go  by  the  lake,   swim,  swim  with  them, you  float  in  water,  they  float  in  the  air.   -­‐-­‐Serena  Rivera-­‐K0rver

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver


Perfection Candles on  the  water A  silence Not  a  ripple,  not  a  wave,  not  a  flicker All  is  calm All  is  quiet All  is  beautiful But  nothing  is  perfect -­‐-­‐Natalie  Barch

That Place  I  Call  Home You  close  your  eyes Standing Your  hand  shoots  forward  to  touch   the  familiar  fabric Velvet. The  hot  light Illuminates  you You  smooth  your  dress. You  are  home. -­‐-­‐Freya  Forstall

photo by  Nayanika  Kapoor


art by  Robin  Sandell


Fireflies So many  stars  up  in  the  sky, they  shine  and  gleam  up  there  so  high making  shapes  and  images  to  my  naked  eye their  beauty  is  so  rare  and  cannot  say  goodbye as  I  lay  on  this  grassy  meadow  and  stare  up these  stars  start  to  move  before  me like  a  kaleidoscope  with  its  graceful  moves as  they  fly  through  the  air  and  surround  me like  caressing  me  through  their  warm  and  glimmering  eyes I  hugged  back  and  before  me  they  touched  my  very  skin I  was  like  a  God  observing  nature  through  my  immortal  soul My  naked  eye  was  envisioning  wonders  of  hope  and  joy just  think  what  one  spark  in  the  sky  can  do... -­‐-­‐Jordan  Jackson

photo by  Aditi  Satyavrath photo  by  Grace  Stephenson

In the  Zoo   well  here  come  the  people  again now  it  is  time  for  me  to  just  do  trick  after  trick  to  please  them i  wish  they  would  just  stop  tapping  on  the  glass oh  well here  we  go i  guess  i  will  start  with  a  double  front  flip like  every  day and  yes  the  little  bratty  kids  go  wild great  for  them how  do  they  think  i  feel  here doing  the  same  thing  day  after  day behind  glass you  know  i  have  never  even  been  to  antarctica i  was  born  in  captivity it  is  so  boring  here  behind  the  glass if  only  something  would  happen... -­‐-­‐Maggie  Gray


The Flute,  the  Heart,  and  the  Necklace I  was  walking  down   two  paths  at  once whistling  my  father's  heart playing  my  mother's  flute.   A  man  walked  up  to  me and  cried,  "Your  mother  is  gone, you  see,  she  has  died!"   I  stared  back  and  whispered "She  has  not  gone,  she  is  here,  standing  next  to  me.” And  off  the  man  went,  weeping  tears  of  silver.   I  continued  down  my  paths,   holding  my  mother's  flute,  whistling  my  father's  heart,   When  a  woman  holding  her  young  children  cried,  "Your  father  is  gone,   you  see,  he  has  died."   I  stared  back  and  whispered "He  has  not  gone,  he  is   here,  standing  next  to  me."   And  off  the  woman  and  her  child  went,  weeping  tears  of  silver.   I  continued  down  my  paths,   Holding  my  father's  heart Holding  my  mother's  flute Singing  my  child's  song.   When  my  child  walked  up  and  cried,   "Mama,  you  are  fading,  you  see,  you  have  died."   I  stared  back  and  whispered "I  have  not  gone,  I  am here,  standing  next  to  you."   And  I  stood,  stopping  my  walk To  play  my  own  flute To  whistle  my  own  heart To  sing  my  own  song.   And  after  I  had  finished,  my  child  took  my  mother's  flute,   he  took  my  father's  heart And  finally,  I  gave  him  my  necklace,   before  walking  into  the  sun's  warm  arms.   -­‐-­‐Natalie  Barch

Vain Clocks

How I  long  to  be  loved! To  be  admired,  to  be  gazed  at,  to  be  worshipped! To  be  needed  by  people To  be  revered To  be  wanted! How  I  long  to  be  loved! My  fame  evident  in  all  places Myself  on  people’s  wrists On  the  walls  of  their  houses Or  even  simply  sitting  on  their  desks! -­‐-­‐Greer  Hoffmann


The Little  Red  Wallet

photo by  Adele  Bloch,  Nicole  Goodman,  Sam  Jensen,   Tova  Korman  &  Molly  Ledwith

I was  born  in  a  little  factory then,  they  moved  me  to  a  little  shop I  was  bought  on  my  very  first  day by  a  little  girl she  loved  me  so  much but  only  for  a  while then she  forgot  about  me she  put  me  in  a  drawer and  in  that  drawer  I  stayed I  waited for  my  little  girl  to  return to  her  little  red  wallet All  I  could  see  was  darkness and  all  the  other  objects  in  the  drawer they  were  all  dead.

I felt  close  to  my  death I  am  so  old  now I  wonder  what  my  little  girl  had  grown  up  to  look  like I  wonder  where  my  drawer  is I  wonder  whether  I  am  mad I  wonder  how  much  longer  I  will  be  in  the  darkness one  day my  little  girl  came  back she  wasn’t  so  little  anymore in  fact she  could  put  her  whole  hand  around  me but  I  was  so  old she  didn’t  love  me  anymore

she opened  that  drawer  twice I  couldn’t  see  her but  I  longed  for  her  to  dig  me  up and  find  me  again

I went  into  a  black  plastic  bag where  I  stayed  for  the  rest  of  my  life which  didn’t  last  very  long.

but she  didn’t.  

-­‐-­‐Isabella Wang


The Box  Lights  Up the  box  lights  up the  mechanics  whirr the  fortune  teller  blinks  its  eyes the  lights  go  red the  coin  is  in   and  soon  your  fortune  shall  begin the  card  spits  out you  pick  it  up now  realizing  one  crucial  thing the  box  was  never  plugged  in -­‐-­‐Noor  Hanafi

art by  Zoe  Sarrazin


The Little  Bird for  Anne  Frank Out  for  little   birds      

the tigers darkness the  storm eight  little  birds different  shapes  and  sizes feel  the  storm frightened  by  danger into  a  tree never  to  be  seen two  years the  storm  never  left one  more  special  than  the  rest the  smallest a  girl with  a  talent  for  singing   the  little  bird sang  a  song a  beautiful  song a  song  of  her  life many  verses every  day it  seemed   never  to  stop the  little  bird   from  behind  a  leaf saw  other  birds all  doomed birds   just  like  her just  like  the  eight in  the  tree eight  little  birds were  safe unlike  others or  so  it  seemed

art by  Katie  Look patience fear happiness sadness as  the  little  bird grew so  did  her  song she  loved  her  song then the  storm   came to  the  eight  little  birds goodbye little  bird there  is  nothing to  be  done all   was  gone all for  nothing only  one  thing remains of  the  little  bird: her  song.   -­‐-­‐Isabella  Wang


The Vibrants   Imagine that the day you turned 14, you might be picked to be an evil villain’s minion. What if you were  sucked of all emotion and were only kept around to do the dirty work, disposable and replaceable? What if  you could never see your family and friends ever again, only blank and emotionless people?   It was a dark, damp, rainy Wednesday morning and all the children were at school and the adults were  at work. Natalia Smith, or Ally, was at home, sitting on the windowsill and staring out the window at the rain.  Today was her 14th birthday and she was about to undergo the surgery that only a select few 14‐year‐olds go  through. Her appearance and mind would be changed forever. She was to become a Vibrant.   A Vibrant. The name itself was a misnomer, implying that the person would become full of energy and  emotion, but in fact, the transformation would make you the complete opposite. Your emotions would be  gone, sucked in to the black vortex of the woman called Dr. Brightstar. You would become her minion, her  pawn, disposable and replaceable. The beauty you got from this operation was a sort of payment for your  emotions, but even your payment was used at Dr. Brightstar’s advantage. People tend to trust beautiful people  rather than people who look ugly.   Not many people had ever heard about this information, but Ally knew everything. She knew the  teachers spread lies and did their best to smother the truth. Little children sit on their beds dreaming of a  chance to become one of the Vibrants.

A few hours later, Ally was shaken from her idle daydreaming by a booming echo only she could hear. It  was time. Ally reluctantly slid off the windowsill and pulled her backpack of necessities on her shoulders.  Eventually, Ally would dispose of the necessities. She would not need it anymore when she was a Vibrant. The  items were from the Averages, too ordinary for her. She put on her old, worn out Converse and walked out the  door, making sure to lock it one last time.    She stood in the cold rain for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and walking to the car. Her  entire body was wet and she was miserable. All of the 14‐year‐olds that had received this call should have been  honored, but Ally was dreading the operation. She would never see her family or friends again after this. In  fact, she would probably never see her Average town ever again. Ally would be a Vibrant, too special to be  tainted by the ordinariness of the Averages.    The long, dark limousine was cold. Ally shivered and sighed, closing her eyes and drifted off in to a  deep sleep.     Soon, the car pulled up to a huge building, polished in glass and metal. The silent officers that escorted  Ally to the mansion woke her up. As soon as she was awake, Ally’s face was unreadable and showed no  emotion. The powerful aura around her stunned the officers and they were shocked, chills going down their  spines. Ally stepped out of the car, taking everything in. Her poker face remained on her young features, but  the officers could detect a hint of awe.    Then, Dr. Brightstar walked out of the central building, heels clacking along the ground. Her face  turned up in to a cruel smile as soon as she saw Ally.    “Ah good, you’re here,” she said, throwing her hands in the air. “Bill and Tom, take Natalia here to the  waiting room. Let’s get started.”   The officers escorted her to the waiting room and closed the door behind them, their faces emotionless.  Their emotions had been stolen from them a long time ago, so they felt nothing. Then, they heard Ella walking  into the operating room with the receptionist. After that, Bill and Tom heard an ear‐splitting shriek that made  them cringe from the sheer volume of it. Had they still felt emotion, they would have rallied to her cause, or  simply felt sorry for the small girl.

Five hours later, Ally walked out of the operating room. She was intercepted by Bill and Tom, who were  astonished by her cruelly pretty face. The only person they knew who looked exactly like that was Dr.  Brightstar herself. They knew what she went through. After all, they had been through it also, when they were 


fourteen.   After endless corridors, they stepped in to Dr. Brightstar’s office.   “Natalia, dear, how do you feel?” she addressed the expressionless girl. Ally didn’t answer. “Natalia?” She remained silent. Ally could feel the power radiating from Dr. Brightstar, but she didn’t waver. She  could also feel Dr. Brightstar getting more annoyed. Ally glared at her and didn’t flinch from Dr. Brightstar’s  obvious influence.   “Ally, sweetie. Please answer me,” Dr. Brightstar said in a deadly calm voice. The two officers squirmed  uneasily from the authority oozing from her voice, but Ally  stood strong. Ally didn’t say a word. The two  officers were now sensing the tiny girl was a new threat. She didn’t respond to Dr. Brightstar. She didn’t  immediately follow her orders. She was actually defying the master herself!   “Well, as you know, your body has been changed. Your bones are light as a bird’s but harder than  diamonds. You have better reflexes. Your senses have been heightened. And, you have been cured of the  disease,” Dr. Brightstar started, after composing herself.   Ally cocked an eyebrow. “Disease?” she said for the first time.   Dr. Brightstar laughed nervously. “Yes, of course. The disease is emotion.”   “Oh really?” Ally said, a cruel smirk on her face. “You took away all of my emotion.”   “Yes, dear,” Dr. Brightstar said, a little bit irritated. “I just said that.”   “Alright,” Ally replied, playing along. Her smirk disappeared and her face cleared, leaving a calm  expression. Dr. Brightstar looked at Ally, satisfied that the girl wasn’t about to defy her again. “What do you  want me to do?” Ally asked.    “First, you should go to your room. There you will find a wristwatch. Put that on and you will receive  your first order through the mind chip we implanted in your head. The watch has all of the materials you need  for that mission,” Dr. Brightstar explained.   “Okay, but where is my room?” Ally asked.   “It’s up the front stairs to the left,” Dr. Brightstar said. “Room Number 58.”   Ally walked up the stairs, making sure to hide her disgust with a mask of serenity and innocence, as if  she didn’t know what she was walking into. The room key she had received from Dr.  Brightstar burned in her  hand, a reminder of what she had to do.    A few years ago, Ally had read the Book of Myths that she had gotten from the secret archives of the  library. The book had stated that the person with the mark of a star on the back of their neck would be the one  to end all of this cruelty. She had believed it was a myth until she had reached back to scratch her neck the  following day in the bathroom and felt a slightly raised patch of skin in the shape of a star. Afraid now, she ran  back to her room and pulled the book from under her carpet. She read on, and the book went on to say that  she was the daughter of Dr. Brightstar and would overthrow her to end all of the operations.    Soon, Ally put two and two together and figured out that the book was not, in fact, a book of myths, but  a book of truth. The people who had made the book named it The Book of Myths so that whoever read it  would not believe it.    Ally was shaken from her daydream to find that she was in front of her room. Quivering slightly, she  unlocked the door and stepped inside. After searching for the watch, she found it and put it on. Since Dr.  Brightstar didn’t specify what to do afterward, she started plotting her escape. It was near the end of the day  when Ally was finally able to come up with a plan. All she needed was an ally, and she would be out of here. 

A year later, Ally finally had her chance. After the past 12 months of waiting, watching, and planning,  her chance had finally come. There was a 15‐year‐old who was about to undergo an operation. Supposedly, he  was a genius and a great athlete. He was almost 16 and didn’t go through the operation when he was 14  because Dr. Brightstar didn’t need more minions. Now, there was a shortage of reproduction and she needed  more pawns. Ally herself had just turned 15 a week ago, and she knew she was ready. As one of Dr. Brightstar’s  most trusted minions, she had access to all of the archives and rooms. Though Dr. Brightstar kept close tabs 


on her, she knew she could pull off her genius scheme. All she needed to do was to grab the boy just after the  operation and explain the plan. He would not get a choice in whether he wanted to participate or not.  Through her year with Dr. Brightstar, Ally had learned that she needed to be ruthless and demanding  sometimes.    A few hours later, Ally was all ready to go. She had her watch ready, which was all she needed. Ally had  learned that the boy’s name was Aiden. He would be done with the operation at precisely 6:00 PM, which was  perfect because she would have the advantage of the darkness.    At 5:55, Ally was outside of the operation room window, ready to sneak Aiden out. At 6:01, he walked  out the doors. When he set foot inside of the waiting room, Ally gasped. She had recognized Aiden from when  they were little kids. At the time, she was bullied and made fun of because of her weight and appearance.  She  considered turning back and waiting for someone else, but decided that she had waited too long. She would  have to put aside all personal issues for the greater good of society. And there was also the chance that Aiden  wouldn’t recognize her.    She activated the watch and used the invisible rope to pull him out the window and towards her. He,  luckily, decided not to scream as he was being yanked away by some unseen force.    As soon as he regained his footing, he whipped around to face her.    “I recognize you from somewhere,” Aiden said, his eyes narrowing.   “Wait, you have emotion too?” Ally asked. “They didn’t take it away?”   “Yeah,” Aiden replied. “Can you feel emotion also?”   “Yup,” Ally said back. “We need to escape. This operation... is wrong. Trust me. I’ve been on the field  before. They don’t care about you, no matter what you’ve heard. We need to stop Dr. Brightstar.”   “How do you know Dr. Brightstar?” Aiden asked. “I’ve only met her once and she seems like a nice  lady.”   “Well, have you ever read The Book of Myths?” Ally asked.    “Yeah, I stole it from the library,” he answered.   “Okay, so, long story short, I’m the girl in the prophecy, Dr. Brightstar’s daughter. I can show you the  mark at a later time. Dr. Brightstar doesn’t know that I’m the girl, so I’m still one of her most trusted minions,”  Ally explained.   Aiden let out a low whistle. “Wow, and how old are you?”   “I’m fifteen,” Ally said, now fiddling with her watch to let out the grappling hook. After releasing it, she  pulled out a spare watch from her pocket and gave it to Aiden.   “Here, take this,” Ally said. “It can do pretty much anything, and you’ll need it.”   Aiden put on the watch. “Wait, what’s your name?”   “Natalia. And I already know that you’re Aiden, so let’s go.”   They pulled to the top of the control center, and Ally drew a hole in the roof with the laser in her  watch.    “Wait, Natalia,” Aiden said. “I remember you now. You were the fat, ugly kid with the sparkly purple  glasses at The Preparatory School.”   Ally sighed. “Yeah, that was me. You weren’t the nicest to me, but I don’t care anymore,” she said,  flicking her light brown hair over her black sweater. It was dark and form‐fitting, showing off her thin, athletic  body.   Ally again pressed a button on her watch and a tool that emerged from it pulled the piece of roof off  and set it lightly on the side. She peered down and found that she was looking right at the Emotion Keeper.  Perfect. Squinting slightly, she calculated her chances and made her watch produce a match. She lit it against  the rough texture of the roof and threw it off in to the trees to create a distraction. Then, she jumped in to the 


dark abyss of the hole in the roof.   After hearing nothing, she looked up to see Aiden still on the roof, emotions flicking across his features.  “Come on!” she whisper‐yelled. “We have to hurry!”     She then darted to the Emotion Keeper and motioned him over. He leaped into the hole, landing on the  balls of his feet.   “Hit the lock with this hammer and then open the door. I need to go do something really quick,” she  said, tossing him the hammer, about to turn around.    “Wait!” Aiden said.   “What?!” Ally said, irritated.    “I know I haven’t been the nicest to you, but I want to apologize for what I did back then and what I am  about to do now,” he said. “That’s it.”   “What?” Ally asked as he threw the hammer at her head. She caught it just before it hit her head and  narrowed her eyes at him. “What did you do that for? Are you trying to get yourself killed? Do not forget I am  much more experienced than you are.”   Aiden’s eyes opened widely as Ally lunged toward him. Instead of killing him in a fit of rage, she hit the  door of the Emotion Keeper.   “Guards!” Aiden yelled loudly. “Guards!”   “Shut up!” Ally said, but it was too late. She had already been betrayed by the one person she thought she  could trust. The guards burst in and shot her in the leg, then in the stomach. With her last ounce of strength,  she pulled open the door of the Emotion Keeper and let all of the emotion free. The guards gasped as the  emotion filled them again. They fell to the floor, weeping for what they did to the innocent girl who was trying  to help them.    Aiden’s eyes widened as Ally’s eyes dimmed. She was about to die.    He ran to her side after grabbing the gun and tried desperately to staunch the flow of blood, but it was  too late. Ally’s breath grew shorter and shorter as he whispered sorry over and over again.   Before she died, she whispered, “I forgive you.”   Then, her eyes closed and she slipped away.

Meanwhile, Dr. Brightstar watched all of this from the door, a smirk on her cruel, twisted face. After Ally  died, she walked over to pat Aiden on his head.    “Well done, my son,” she said. “You did exactly as we had planned. You did listen to me after all.”   “S‐son?” he whispered, more to himself than to his mother. “How could Ally be so wrong?”   “We put that mark on her neck to make her think she was the One, but in truth it was you. Feel the back  of your neck. Back when she was 13 and you were 14, we did a scan over the whole city to see who was  powerful, and who wasn’t. Natalia was... very strong. I needed that power, so instead of killing her immediately  and letting her power go to waste, I turned her in to an assistant. But, all along I was going to kill her anyway,  when the time came,” she explained. “We made you think you had emotion but you didn’t, it was me  controlling you.”   As he reached back, he could feel the star mark pulsing against his fingertips. His eyes widened in horror.  Aiden picked up the gun from its spot on the floor and stood up. Dr. Brightstar smiled, unaware of what he  was about to do. Instead of following her, a smirk took over his features. He raised the gun and brought it  down on Dr. Brightstar’s head, instantly killing her. Dr. Brightstar’s eyes widened before she slumped to the  floor.   “Goodbye, mother,” Aiden said, smiling sadly. Then, he walked out of the room, out of the building, and  out of the world of the Vibrants.  

‐‐Gwen Cusing


If a  roller  coaster  could  feel, it  would  feel  the  roughness  of  denim as  hundreds  of  jeans  shuffle  on and  off, and  on  again. It  would  feel  the  bored  vibrations of  ignored  calls. If  a  roller  coaster  had  lungs, its  breath  would  be  constantly  blown  away, wind  whipping  at  its    throat, too  much  wispy  air  to  withhold. If  this  roller  coaster  had  a  voice, it  would  groan and  yell  about  the  weight  it  carries. It  would  complain  about  its  boredom. But  doing  the  same  track  every  day, every  three  minutes, same  loops  and  twirls  and  backwards  parts, who  can  blame  it? If  that  roller  coaster  could  hear, it  would  just  laugh  at  the  repetition we  humans  bring  to  it. Screams  and  laughs  and  hugs  and  yells. Oh,  oh  so  boring. If  this  roller  coaster  was  alive, breathing heart  beating it  would  stop. And  stand. And  say, “I’m  sorry.  This  is  fun  for  you,  but  not  for  me. That’s  not  the  way  my  life  should  be.” -­‐-­‐Indigo  Jones

photo by  Jenna  Kotcher


Ms. Eyre’s  Simile Our  little  black  tree  has  broken Like  yesterday’s  corset  laced  up  high Tethering  at  the  ends extremities  fluttering  down  silently Fraying  at  the  seams burnt  ends  crushed They  will  never  weave  themselves  together as  close  or  as  tight but  together  they  will  be -­‐-­‐Heejin  Hahn

photo by  Noor  Hanafi

starting with  a  line   from  “Why  Poetry  Cannot   Be  Skimmed”  by  Jessica  Jopp the  spills  of  rain linger  upon  my  chin to  soon  end  their  journey to  collect  at  the  tip peering  down  from  the  edge amidst  the  battered  wind the  final  gaze the  content  sigh the  melancholy  smile of  what  awaits beneath  their  hearts that  hides  from  time  to  time their  holding  grasp not  letting  go they  cannot  trust  what  is   beneath for  if  they  do the  betrayed  will  rise and  eat  those  underneath photo  by  Riya  Berry

-­‐-­‐Mitra Assaderaghi


Outer Space The  Dark,  twisting,  seemingly  endless  nothing   stretching  all  around vast,  and  empty. Cold. So  cold. Freezing,  shuddering,  biting,  scratching. Cold. And  then-­‐-­‐ Hot. sweltering,  fiery,  unimaginable. Lights,  like  fairies,  but  get  too  close,  and  they’ll  bite. Such  a  pretty  thing,   so  helpful,  so  hopeful,  like  a  soul  gone. Such  a  beautiful  being  in  such  a  cold,  empty  space. -­‐-­‐Noel  Peng

photo by  Katja  Teichmann


Always Love Abby 

“The cycle of birth and death is called life,” says Ms. Hendrick. She swirls her black chair around to face me. What a  coincidence; the same color as her heart.    “We live and then we die. Sometimes our loved ones die, like Abby. The best things you can do are to have hope,  and keep on going. There’s always tragedy, but soon the sun will come out.” She places a manicured hand on me. “I’m here  for you”.     “Don’t TOUCH me.” My words crunch into her like ice. She narrows her eyes, and then takes a deep breath. She  wants to say something, she wants to take her pudgy finger and wring it around me, but she can’t. No one has ever spoken to  her like this; they wouldn’t dare stand up to the world‐renowned child psychiatrist who gets paid thousands of bucks by  their parents.   I did. Because what does Bianca Hendrick know  about Abigail Columbus Trulong? Nothing.  °°°  

I loved her. I loved Abigail so much.  I loved the way she loved porcupines so much, I  loved the way she hated Justin Bieber, I loved the way she  had a phobia of Cheerleaders (Cheerlaphobia). I loved the  way she snuck out on every full moon with a bag of sour  gummy chews, how we both sat and spread our arms  under the sky and watched the stars, our Sunday trip to  Roosevelt’s. I loved the way she smiled, and the way she  lived. She made me believe that life was something worth  living for. She made me believe that even though my  Mother had cancer and my Dad never wanted a girl, that I  photo by Katherine Greatwood was special.  She meant the whole world to me.    The only thing Abby ever did wrong was love light. I hate it. It’s too bright, too full of sunshine. I hate the way it  streams down showing off its tan, the way people fuss over it like it’s Aphrodite’s last gift. The way it struts around, demanding attention, like one of those high‐class snobby brats who spend an Ivy‐League tuition payment on facials. Its  brightness kills my eyes. And it killed Abby. But then I remember. Abby loved sunshine, even though she died from it.    It all started that Sunday morning.

°°° I glance at my watch. 8 A.M. I look outside the window and smile. Today feels like one of those beautiful, feel‐good  summer days that I love so much. I hear a knock on my door, a smack, and then another knock.  Of course. Typical Abby.  Pulling on my purple pajama robe, I jump up and open the door. “Hey girl!” Abby comes in, and I wrap my tired arms around  her. We do our handshake; two high fives and two low fives, a clap, a twirl, then snap our hands and end with a fist bump.    “Ready for the park, sweet heart?” Abby drawls in a fake posh southern accent.   “You bet, cow girl!” I fake lasso her, and grab a pillow. I pretend‐walk to the bathroom, then do a U‐turn when  Abby’s not looking and shove the pillow in her face. She screams and then pays me back with a good tickle right under my  knees. I giggle violently, which turns into hiccups, and jump on her. Soon it becomes a full‐fledged pillow fight and we both  end up laughing so hard we fall off the bed. She shoves me into the bathroom, still laughing, and says to meet her in the  garage.   In the bathroom while changing, I play “The One That Got Away” on my phone and dance, the thought never  crossing my mind that I would lose something precious of my own someday. °°°


“Ahhhh. Feel the nice breeze.” Abby sighs.   I nod. Pressing my hands carefully around the tree, I climb some feet higher and spread my arms out, admiring the  sun. “Well done, Roosevelt.” Abby looks up at the sun. “It looks so golden and beautiful. Imagine what it would be like to  touch it, Bailey. Just imagine. THAT is what true beauty is.” I squeeze her hand. “Abby, that’s lightyears away. And don’t  look. You can get blinded. Then how will you see porcupines?”   Abby shakes her head and smiles sadly. She stares out, looking under the fur of the sycamore tree. Suddenly her eyes  twinkle brightly.   “Omigod! It’s a tree house!!! The view from there would be amazing.”   The next thing I know, Abby is grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the tree house. She covers her hand from  the sunlight and looks up, then looks at me in perfect harmony and nods.   I shake my head. “This is really dangerous, Abby. I don’t think we should do this”.   “Oh come on, you worry wart! We’ll be fine. And it will be an experience you’ll NEVER forget.” I frown, still  unconvinced. She squeezes my hand and pulls me towards the ladder.   “Do it for me, Bailey. Do it because you love me”.   I sigh, and climb up, holding on so tightly my knuckles turn white. I hoist myself onto the platform and give her  hand. She smiles at me and wipes dirt off her shirt.                                                                  “Beautiful, isn’t it?” I smile, and take her hand and mine; looking up at the beauty her eyes see. Streaks of  watermelon‐red and fire‐lit marmalade orange criss‐cross the sky, falling like snowflakes against the Hawaiian sea. It looks  like Van Gogh had taken his paintbrush and painted the sky. Abby steps forward. Then she takes another step. The  floorboards creak, and my heart races. Abby reaches forward for the sun, and then steps too far.    She falls and falls, and for one second I think this is all a dream. I hear a thud, and that’s when I know. She’s gone.  °°°  

Today the sun is shining. But my heart’s not. Some things never change. Except for one thing: I will always love Abby. 

phot

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‐‐Riya Berry


Gone My vague,  indefinite  images  of  maturity,  wisdom,  and  beauty  had  been  bludgeoned, Cut  down  with  a  club  and  beaten  senseless. The  glimmering  images  I  had  conjured  up  and  made  appear   Had  faded  into  the  background. With  marvelous  delicacy  my  soul  was  ripped  open  and  torn  away For  the  entire  world  to  see. My  heart  lay  brittle  and  damaged  in  my  chest,  playing  discordant  hymns  of  comfort That  were  hopeless  and  useless. My  impromptu  soliloquy  and  elocution  of  my  thoughts  had  been  showed  to  the  world, My  façade  had  ripped,  and  my  illusions  had  been  torn  away  to  reveal  the  truth. My  frivolous  thoughts  showed  that  I  was  but  a  child,   Flitting  from  one  idea  to  the  next,  like  a  butterfly  on  a  flower. This  fiasco,  this  mistake. Had  ostracized  me,  removed  me,  and  taken  me  away  from  a  society   That  I  had  never  really  belonged  to. A  trammel,  a  hindrance,  had  been  placed  upon  me  and  stopped  me  in  my  tracks. I  was  now  an  outcast. A  farce  of  my  life,  Ha!   A  light  play,  to  make  spectators  laugh,  using  my  mistake  as  entertainment.   I  laugh  bitterly,  for  I  now  know, I  am  an  outcast,  gone  forever. -­‐-­‐Grace  Stephenson

photo by  Jenna  Kotcher


words from  Phyllis  Levin’s  “End  of  April”

art by  Gwen  Cusing


Riddle Poem A  swish,  a  rustle,  a  movement. The  paper  is  plopped  down  on  a  table  old  and  cracked. But  then  the  paper  comes  to  life. I  push,  and  shove,  myself  onto  the  paper. My  silky  hair  being  torn  up  in  the  musings  of  my  master. His  thoughts,  deep  and  dark,  swirling  in  the  current. A  current  of  colors, Purple,  blue,  black,  and  brown. But  I  am  just  the  vessel,  so  who  dares  oppose  me? It  is  the  mastermind  behind  my  subtle  movements Who  is  the  puppeteer  to  my  strings, Who  you  can  dare  to  criticize. For  I  can  create,  and  compose  the  meditation  of  a  madman. And  bring  to  life  both  good  and  bad. You  may  dissect  me To  find  meanings,  but  I  am  just A  tool,  an  instrument,  used  at  will,   Used  without  my  will,  my  silky  hair  torn  out  and  dead. -­‐-­‐Grace  Stephenson

art by  Chloe  Middler


You see  in  front  of  you  is  one  of  your  kittens,  silvery  white   with  gorgeous  yellow-­‐green  eyes.  She  slithers  like  a  serpent,  while   being  graceful  and  maintaining  a  watchful  stance.  Behind  you  is  your   bulkier  smoky  gray  kitten.  He  is  leaping  after  a  butterfly,  and  then   falls  to  the  ground,  his  watery  blue  eyes  shining  with  pleasure.  You   quickly  swivel  your  head  around  to  realize  that  your  proud  kitten  has   vanished.  But  with  a  glimpse  of  your  narrow  and  exquisite  blue  eyes   you  catch  her  on  the  other  side  of  the  six-­‐foot  fence,  leaping   aimlessly  as  a  large,  fluffy  Siamese  cat  is  trying  to  rip  at  her  with  his   menacing  razor  claws.  You  leap,  knowing  in  a  matter  of  seconds  you   will  have  only  one  kitten  to  call  your  own.  You  slash  at  this  terrible   tomcat,  he  has  no  right  to  hurt  your  kitten.  You  hiss  at  your  kit,  and   she  swiftly  understands  you,  scrambling  back  over  the  fence  to  her   brother,  and  they  go  to  hide.  You  turn  back  to  the  tom,  and  you  see   him  screech  over  his  shoulder.  Blood  trickles  into  your  eye.  You  lash   your  tail,  and  after  knocking  the  cat  to  the  ground,  you  try  to  race   away.  But  the  giant  dog  he  signaled  to  has  you  in  a  grip,  with  its   powerful  jaw  poised  around  your  neck.  You  bite  at  her  leg,  only  to   realize  that  you’d  felt  no  pain  when  the  dog  broke  through  your   spine.  The  dog  and  cat  retreat  into  the  house.  You  lie  on  the  ground,   not  able  to  move.  You  call  for  your  kittens.   They  never  come.   You’re  swept  up  by  large,  meaty  human  hands  and  all  the   sudden  you’re  in  the  car,  moving.  The  last  things  you  see  are  the   teary  brown  eyes  of  your  human,  as  she  kisses  you  goodnight.    

-­‐-­‐Jessie Karan

photo by  Maddie  Goldberg


Swallowed

A Wish  Gone  Wrong

Blue water  calmly  sitting  between  my  fingers. i  needed  one  wish  to  change  everything so  i  wished  to  own  the  sky Peaceful.  Tranquil. but  nothing  changed  at  all Undisturbed  and  afloat. I  open  my  eyes,  I  see  the  boat -­‐-­‐Kiana  Borjian where  my  family  looks  at  me  in  awe. Me,  the  brave  child. Me,  willing  to  jump  in, cold  but  happy. I  close  my  eyes. The  serenity  returns. Then,  a  thump. photo  by  Isabella  Wang A  thump  knocking  me out  of  my  zone and  out  of  my  senses. I  turn,  see  nothing. Again,  nothing. The Beach I  make  my  way  to  the  boat, startled  and  frightened, moving  slowly  from  shock. When I’m standing on the highway But  too  slowly. Across from the beach Another,  less  powerful  bump. I’m at a crossroads. I  turn. There’s sweet salt and motor oil in the air I  see  grey. And the sound of waves and world beneath tires I  realize,  and  shoot  myself  forward towards  safety, I contemplate the sand and then the roaming road so  close  yet  so  far. And somehow I still cannot decide Too  late. If I want to stay or go. Consumed  by  the  fear, confused  by  this  disturbance, --Karly Quadros I  am  devoured. The  next  thing  I  know, nothing.  I  cannot  think, I  cannot  breathe, I  do  not  live. The  last  thing  I  see, red.  Flashes  of  grey  zoom  by. Screams  of  my  family disappear  with  me into  the  darkness. -­‐-­‐Valerie  Hammer photo  by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver


don’t tell  me  that  you  know  how  it  feels you  don’t  know  how  it  feels because  i’m  always  there  for  you  

would it  hurt  you  to  care  about  someone someone  who  cares  about  you always  there  to  ask  what’s  wrong and  waiting  for  you  to  ask  her  that  

sometimes i  wonder   should  i  keep  wiping  your  tears  away but  when  you  love  someone   you  can’t  help  it

fine, it’ll  stay  the  way  it  is i’ll  stay  by  your  side just  one  thing don’t  ever  say  you  know  how  it  feels

because you  don’t   art  by  Megan  Carter

-­‐-­‐Nayanika Kapoor


photo by  Isabella  Wang

Like Colored  Glass

They  rushed  past  her,  like  colored  glass  in  a  sea  of  clear  water.   No   one   stopped  to   look   at  her,  the   unimportant   little   girl,   dirty  and  on   the   sidewalk;   they   swept   past   her   without  a   second   glance.  Whoever  did  spot  the  unfortunate  minor  shook  their  head,  either  in  disgust  or  pity,  and  continued  on  their  journey.         Their   colorful  journey,  with   the  future  like   an   iridescent  shimmering   beacon  of  hope,  rising   out  of   the  surface  of  the   Earth  to   claim  its  destiny.  With  the  twists  and  turns  in  between  each  journey,  each  one  ending,  and  the  other  starting  with  a  burst  of  life,  and   a  spark  of  imagination.         It   was   heart-­‐achingly   beautiful.  Their   lives,   so   full  of   wonder   and   amazement,  while   the   only   joy   she   ever  found   was   in   the   people's   faces   as   they   discovered   something   miraculous.  Something  wonderful  and  grand.   It  was   like  watching   a  rainbow   misting   into  the  sky  after  an  interminable  storm,  its  arcs  of  color  peeking  out  slowly  at  first,  as  if  in  caution.  Then  coming  out  and  out,  until   the  whole  is  shown  in   its  immense  beauty,  as  it  shines  down  onto   the  well-­‐watered  Earth  as  if  saying  “we've  won.”  Yes,  it  was  just  like   that.  The  joy  etched  so  clearly  on  their  faces  it  almost  hurt  her  to  look  at.     Their  lives  were  so  full  of  color,  so  full  of  radiance.       But  then  their  world  turned  colorless.       Invisible.       A  place  just  to  inhabit  the  lives  of  those  who  would  always  take,  but  never  give.       Their  world  had  disappeared  to  them,  lost  in  the  places  where  people  stopped  caring,  and  stopped  watching.       Tick  Tock.         Like  a  stopwatch,  their  attention   stopped  from  that  beautiful  place,  and  shifted   elsewhere.  And  they  indulged  in  it.  Feeding  off   its  deceiving  words  like  lions  to  its  prey.         Eventually,  their   world  faded  from   importance,   retreating   to   the   back   of   their   minds   like   a   vulnerable   child   cowers   in   dark   corners.  And  inside  their  mind,  it  grew,  it  grew  and  it  grew  and  it  grew  until  no  one  could  stop  it.         And   it   kept   coming.   They   were   tricked,   manipulated   into   believing   it,   and   it   took   over   their   minds.   Flowing   over   their   consciousness  like  water  over  rocks  and  pebbles.  Filling  every  dark  corner.         But  she  still   saw,  and  her  world  was  beautiful.  Like  the  sun  that  shone   onto  the  water,  causing  light  into  even  the  darkest  places,   her  world  was  light.  And  her  life  was  dark.         The  others  ran,  ran  from  everything  around  them,  not  once  looking.       Looking.       Day  by  day,  she  wanted  to   cry   out,  see?   The   world  is  beautiful,  don't  you  see?  But  they  turned  their  deaf   ears  towards  her,  and   refused  to  see.       They  didn't  want  to  see.       But  they  continued  to   run,  faster  and   faster  and   faster,   until   they  were  merely  blurs  of  color,  streaking   through  their  colorless   world,  but  it  remained  uncolored.         They  were  restless,  searching,  searching,  searching.       Waiting  for  the  answer  to  everything.         They  wanted  to  know  about  it,  they  wanted  to  see  it.  


But how  could  they  see  without  seeing?       She  walked,  but  they  told  her  to  run.       She  slept,  but  they  told  her  to  wake  up.       She  saw  everything,  and  feared  for  her  world.       High  up  above,  the  world  began  to  stop  spinning,  shooting  stars  fell  across  the  land,  water  shot  up  in  arcs.         Still,  no  one  looked.       Leaves  danced  and  spun  in  the  air,  causing  a  rain  of  red,  brown,  and  orange.       A  cry  pierced  the  night  air.  A  new  life.       The  girl  stared  at  the  stars  and  saw  the  stories  and  legends  of  the  people  who  never  faded  from  existence.         Still,  no  one  looked.     The  girl  became  desperate.  She  wanted  someone  to  care.  She  needed  someone  to  care.         But  no  one  had  ever  really  cared  about  her.       Her  mind  sickened  with  grief,  and  she  began  to  run.         Run,  run,  run,  forget,  forget,  forget.         Run.       Forget.       She  ran  and  ran.  She  ran  across  the   world  and  through  the  valleys.  Up  the  mountains  and  down  the  hills.  She  sped   through  the   meadows,  and  swept  across  the  grassy  fields.       Everywhere  she  went,  she  brought  her  grief.  She  carried  the  burden  with  her.       And  for  the  longest  time,  the  world  was  on  her  shoulders.         Slowly,  she  began  to  slip  away  from  existence.  And  the  last  thread  of  color  in  the  world  disappeared.         And  still,  they  ran,  they  ran  to  forget  and  they  ran  because  of  the  fear  that  it  would  interfere  with  everything  they  had.         Everything  they  knew.       They  were  fear,  and  they  were  ignorance.       And  they  never  knew.       Then  the  world  began  to  disappear.  Slowly,  its  light  faded  first.     The  brightness  and  cheerfulness  gone.         And  then  all  its  magnificent  beauty,  all  its  sounds  and  its  sights.       And  in  its  place  stood  a  dead  world.  A  world  devoid  of  color.  A  world  devoid  of  laughter,  of  imagination,  or  light.       But  the  color  was  still  there.       It  was  always  there.  Waiting.         They  were  the  color,  they   were  its  light,  but  they  kept  on  running  and  running,  it  blurred  into  a  a  mixed  heap,  a  jumbled  mess  of   color  and  more  color.       It  kept  spinning,  and  it  couldn't  stop,  about  to   spin  out  of  existence,  about  to   turn  muddled  and  muddy.  It  was  losing  its  fight   against  the  darkness.  It  was  seeping  into  the  void  of  nothing.  It  was  sinking,  leaving,  disappearing.         And  then,  it  happened  all  of  a  sudden.       A  boy  stopped  running,  and  looked.       Click.       A  piece  of  colored  glass  fell  into  place.         They  stopped  running.       And  looked.       A  million  pieces  of  colored  glass  all  clicked  into  place  as  one.       And  then,  light  burst  forth  across  their  world  like  a  flower  opens  up  to  the  spring.       It  spilled  over   the  trees   and  the  fields,  and  exploded   into   a  million   pieces   into   the  air.  Shining   specks   of   light  glittered  in  the   atmosphere   like   crystals,   and  it  spread  across   the   world   like   a  tsunami,  crashing   down   on  everything   and   everyone.  It  filled   the   darkest   spaces,  and  churned  in  the  caves.  It  sang  through  the  wind  like  knives,  slicing  through  the  darkness.  Cutting  away  shards  of   sorrow,  and  fear.       Then,  the  color  sprang  forth  from  the  ground,  and  erupted,  creating  an  arc  of  unimaginable   glowing  pigmentation.  It  spilled  all   over  ground,  crept  up  walls,  filled  holes,  and  danced  through  the  world  on  light  feet.       They  saw  everything.       And  as  their  wonder-­‐filled  eyes  gazed  at  the   scene  before  them,  their  spirits  rose  with  the  light,  singing  and  dancing   in  the  air  on   wingless  backs.         High  above  the  world,  a  creation  of  colored  glass  pieces  stuck  together  created  an  image  so  beautiful,  a  girl  smiled  in  pure  joy.    

-­‐-­‐Noel Peng


Where I'm  From I  am  from  haggis with  gravy and  mushy  peas I  am  from  Toad-­‐in-­‐the-­‐Hole with  British  bangers and  carrots I  am  from  Spotted  Dick with  custard I  am  from  fish  and  chips crispy from  a  proper  English  pub I  am  from  boxes and  long  airplane  rides I  am  from  SeaLife and  the  column  of  fish I  am  from  the  canal visiting  Uncle  Len on  his  long  canal  boat I  am  from  Ruby chasing  Sandy  around  the  garden I  am  from  mouse  poop and  cleaning  it  out  of  the  cage I  am  from  fish  tanks growing  with  me I  am  from  soccer  balls playing  with  friends to  playing  with  more I  am  from  the  park in  the  cement  circle falling  off  my  little  blue  bike I  am  from  paint in  my  hair and  on  the  floor I  am  from  stationery a  favorite  time  of  year I  am  from  books my  family’s  favorite  store

I am  from  desert  training if  it  is  not  good  quality don’t  waste  your  time I  am  from  dog  toys throwing  them  into  the  garden a  squeak  every  step I  am  from  walking to  the  park along  the  path  at  reserves I  am  from  from  jump  roping a  dangerous  sport I  am  from  Cadbury and  complaining  about  the  lack  of  good  dessert I  am  from  West  Midlands  Safari  Park with  giant  giraffes  licking  your  hand and  closing  your  windows  at  the  lions I  am  from  Black  Country  Museum with  tears  when  the  light  are  turned  off in  that  coal  mine I  am  from  Postman  Pat and  his  many  parcels with  his  black  and  white  cat I  am  from  the  Teletubbies and  assigning  each  one  to  my  family I  am  from  The  Muppets and  watching  the  VCRs The  boxes  under  the  bed the  stuff trying  to  get  the  lids  to  stay  on a  whirl  of  kindergarten a  drop  of  the  rest missing  the  days when  I  had  time to  look  at  everything  in  that  box and  remember -­‐-­‐Katherine  Greatwood


Somewhere In-­‐between   Not  the  past nor  the  future   the  fine  line   in  mid-­‐air   where  she  stands   between  yesterday and  tomorrow next  to  time  and  space Always  there Everywhere -­‐-­‐Aimee  An

photo by  Katja  Teichmann Sunday  Afternoon Sitting  with  a  mug  of  tea  in  my  hand It’s  relaxing,  I  suppose Catching  up  on  my  reading Perhaps  watching  a  movie Basking  in  the  sunlight. I  think,  in  a  previous  life,  I  was  a  cat Because  I  love  the  feeling  of  warm  sun   How  it  heats  you  up  almost  to  the  point  of  discomfort But  it  never  reaches. It’s  the  best  feeling Sitting  there,  on  the  couch In  the  warm  sun With  a  nice  book And  a  mug  of  tea. Thinking  that  if  I  stay  still  long  enough I’ll  turn  into  a  potato. -­‐-­‐Emily  Burnette

photo by  Grace  Stephenson I  am  eating  a  sunset.  I  can  taste  the  brightness  in  my  mouth,  soon  shrouded  by  the  darkness  when   the  bite  is  gone,  and  the  longing  for  more.  The  emptiness  in  my  stomach,  as  if  I  couldn’t  live  without   another  bite.  My  tongue  wraps  around  the  piece  of  sun  in  my  mouth,  tasting  first  the  sweet  and  then   the  sour  as  I  get  to  the  skin.  My  ears  hear  the  crunch  of  the  flesh  while  I  have  the  first  bite  of  sunset,   and  keep  on  hearing  it  until  only  the  skin  and  the  darkness  remain.  The  taste  remains,  lingering  on   my  taste  buds  as  my  tongue  licks  the  top  of  my  mouth  as  a  substitute  for  the  piece  of  sun  that  is  no   longer  there.  I  can  remember  the  moon,  shining  brightly  as  I  take  a  swallow  of  tea  and  wash  down   the  ever  present  darkness,  but  the  last  taste  of  black  still  remains,  sour  in  my  mouth.  The  residue  of   juice  remains  on  my  teeth,  and  I  can  taste  it,  so  strong.  With  my  next  bite,  the  sun  remains  brightly   and  the  crickets  chirp  as  my  teeth  crush  the  last  full  bite  of  apple. -­‐-­‐Emily  Burnette


photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver

How I  Feel  About  Wednesday I’m  sure  Wednesday  has  some   nice  qualities, but  it  is  a  navy  blue  day.   The  color  of  boredom,   and  well-­‐worn  polo  shirts and  the  dog’s  bed.   All  painfully  familiar  and  close,   and  annoyingly  loyal.   -­‐-­‐Indigo  Jones


I Wrote  a  Stupid  Little  Poem  for  You,  I  Hope  You  Like  It Let’s  hitch  a  ride  to  the  ocean And  paint  the  Golden  Gate  Bridge  blue And  sleep  in  parking  lots And  strangers’  lumpy  couches Let’s  live  on  banana  splits Because  they’re  yummy  and  also  a  good  source  of  potassium And  probably  a  lot  of  other  heath-­‐related  stuff Neither  of  us  really  cares  about And  can  we  write  secret  love  notes  to  each  other On  the  butts  of  our  pants? Oh,  and  start  a  collection  of  straw  wrappers  tied  into  knots And  ridiculous  ironic  coffee  mugs We  could  start  a  band  if  you  want You  can  sing  and  I’ll  tap  my  feet Or  maybe  we  could  write  stories  on  napkins And  sell  them  to  lonely  old  ladies I’d  do  just  about  anything  with  you If  you’re  up  for  it,  that  is Except  maybe  sit  still Because  we’ve  both  got  two  legs  and  ten  fingers  and  ten  toes  and  twenty-­‐four  teeth  and  two   eyes  and  one  mouth So  let’s  go  out  and  use  them Because  there’s  so  much  for  us  to  do  together. -­‐-­‐Karly  Quadros

photo by  Kiana  Borjian


A swirling  mist in  the  early  morning   floating  above  the  mountains   like  islands  of  the  sky   dangling  among  the  trees  and  flowers hiding  in  the  darkness  and  the  shadows hints  of  the  future but  no  more only  until  the  tiniest  glimmer  of  light   the  sliver  of  hope the  golden,  warm  beam shines  through before  it  rises  and  melts  away   -­‐-­‐Aimee  An

photo by  Katie  Jo  Shuman


A Flashlight Light,  light  illuminating  the  cracks. Cracks  that  hold  unspeakable  treasures, If  only  you  could  touch  them. Touch,  holding  down  your  center, To  watch  your  own  sun  come  out. But,  if  only  your  sun  could  stay. Stay,  and  illuminate  those  hidden  cracks, Maybe,  I  don’t  know,  you’d  find  treasure! Or  a  lost  love  poem, Or  maybe  just  that  chewed-­‐up  old  tennis  ball   that  your  dog  lost. The  dog  who  passed  away  years  ago. Who  knows? Not  I,  not  she,  not  even  you. For  until  your  fragile  self, Connected  to  life,  through  a  battery, Opens  up, Your  light  is  lost  to  us, Lost  to  the  world. -­‐-­‐Grace  Stephenson  

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver

art and  poem  by  Isabella  Wang


Not just  a  silver  key,  but  the  wonders  it  awaits A  silver  key up  its  spine  swivels,  curves,  and  shapes connect  to  each  other  through  seared  metal Oh  of  the  secrets  that  these  mysterious  spaces  withhold the  treasures  that  it  may  unlock the  journeys  of  uncovering  its  hidden  magical  spell interlocked  with  curses  or  peace? does  it  unlock  a  heart,  a  crime,  a  treasure,  artifact,  or  hidden  passageways? oh  the  things  you  can  discover  about  one  single  shining  key will  it  guide  me  to  its  match? will  I  ever  find  the  x  that  will  hopefully  match  the  spot? years  and  years  of  searching  and  no  luck  comes instead  of  searching  for  it,  I  need  to  let  it  come  to  me unfortunately  my  ancestors  only  hold  its  secrets buried  underground  and  their  souls  up  in  heaven it  was  my  grandmother  who  treasured  this  item only  at  her  death  was  it  taken  from  her will  she  send  me  a  clue  forever  in  my  lifetime? I  guess  I  will  wait  in  the  dark  mists  of  the  sky until  the  sun  rays  hit  me  with  a  burst  of  happiness Please,  I  hope,  I  need  to  know,  it  is  my  destiny... -­‐-­‐Jordan  Jackson

photo by  Isabella  Wang


Incomprehensible

Poetry Remix from  Pablo  Neruda’s  “Ode  to  a  Lemon” The  world  and  its  path,  surrounded  with  blossoms Your  waters  gently  rock  with  birds Blue  daylight, Source  of  freshness

What am  I? Simply  a  thing? Does  life  have  meaning? Have  you  no  heart As  a  human  being? Splitting  families  apart The  rights  as  a  human Children  and  elderly No  one  to  spare The  right  to  live Family  and  friends Rewards  and  betrayal Blinded  by  power  and   greed -­‐-­‐Aimee  An

The sun The  orange  planet,  fanning  out Born  of  electric  fire The  perfect  one  of  yellow  hair,  like  gold -­‐-­‐Brenda  Cachay

art by  Camille  Vais Ode  to  Pecan  Pie I  love  you,  pecan  pie with  your  nutty  outer  shell your  sweetness  and  sugar  crystals   that  engulf  my  mouth  with  warmth like  the  light  airy  rays  of  sun  that  cast  down  below amidst  an  autumn  afternoon the  dewy  grass  that  prickles  the  skin that  cools  the  life  around the  soft  checkered  blanket a  patch  of  cloud to  let  me  lie  upon you  are  like  a  warm  hazelnut-­‐hued  throw the  velvety  touch that  cuddles  the  skin when  it  is  cold  outside

you capture  the  warmth   to  hug  the  cold you  taste  so  good and  this  is  my  ode to  you  my  beloved  pecan  pie cannot  be  replaced  by  the  apple  or  pumpkin a  close  tie   yet  no  one  can  defeat  you Monsieur  Pecan  Pie -­‐-­‐Mitra  Assaderaghi


art by  Brooke  Weller


Mine Chapter 1                       “Mom,  I  am  not  going  to  drop  out  of  middle  school  two-­‐thirds  of  the  way  through  just  to  attend  some  stupid   boarding  school  in  Nebraska!”  I  said  for  about  the  one-­‐millionth  time.                        “Sweetie,  when  I  was  researching  schools  for  next  year  I  came  across  this  one.  It  seems  perfect  for  you!  It  has   advanced  classes,  no  boys,  great  facilities…”  And  that  was  the  way  it  went.  For  some  reason  my  mom  thought  I  should   not  finish  8th  grade  at  the  local  public  school.  I  mean,  except  for  the  fact  that  the  classes  were  super  easy  and  I  aced  them   all,  it  was  a  good  school,  and  I  didn’t  see  why  I  shouldn’t  go  back  to  it  for  8th  grade.  All  my  friends  were  there  (more  like   my  sort-­‐of  friends)  and  I  couldn’t  just  leave.  Actually,  they  might  not  be  that  upset  about  my  not  being  there…but  I   pushed  that  thought  out  of  my  mind.                        “Mom,”  I  whined,  “I  do  not  want  to  go  to  this  dumb  boarding  school  out  in  the  boonies  of  Nebraska!  We  won’t   see  each  other  except  on  breaks!  I’ll  miss  all  my  friends!  I  won’t-­‐“                        “Is  that  true  Miss  Amanda  Rose  Jones?  Just  last  night  you  were  complaining  about  how  easy  classes  were  for  you.   And  how  all  your  friends  deserted  you  at  lunch.”  My  mom  can  be  very  convincing  sometimes.  But  I  was  clever  too.  I   decided  to  make  her  happy  now  and  gave  her  a  non-­‐promising  answer. “I’ll  think  about  it,  mom.  I  need  time  some  time  to  think.”  Luckily  for  me,  my  mom  understands  that  a  12-­‐year-­‐ old  who  is  almost  a  13-­‐year-­‐old  does  need  some  time  to  consider  her  options  and  let  the  issue  drop  for  now. “Well  Amanda,  that’s  fine,  I’m  letting  you  off  the  hook  temporarily.  But  you  will  need  to  start  thinking  about   what  you’re  going  to  write  on  the  application.  They  only  accept  one  out  of  every  ten  girls  who  apply,  you  know.  And-­‐”   Then  the  phone  rang  and  she  ran  to  go  get  it.  I  sighed,  and  walked  slowly  towards  my  room.  How  weird,  I  thought  to   myself,  that  this  school  starts  in  the  middle  of  November.  Do  they  just  expect  girls  to  drop  out  of  school  one  day  and  say   they’re  never  coming  back?  I  collapsed  on  my  bed  and  grimly  thought  of  how  I  could  be  the  laughingstock  of  the  8th   grade,  the  girl  who  ditches  school  in  the  middle  of  the  year.  It’s  not  like  anyone  would  notice  though,  I  realized,  I’m  that   unpopular.  Why  is  that  I  of  all  people  have  to  be  the  most  ignored,  most  weird  and  most  smart  girl  at  Francis  Rivers   Middle  School?  I  just  wanted  to  be  normal,  to  fit  in  like  anyone  else.  Would  this  boarding  school  give  me  a  second   chance  at  a  better  reputation?  I  had  no  clue.  If  I  applied  and  got  in,  there  was  no  going  back.  I  had  no  idea  what  to  do.   All  of  a  sudden  my  cell  phone  rang.  I  picked  it  up.  Looked  like  my  dad  was  calling.  My  father  was  always  traveling,  on   business  he  said.  Well,  apart  from  one  week  during  the  summer  and  another  during  the  winter,  he  was  never  home.  I   can’t  exactly  say  I  miss  him  though.  I  guess  I  barely  know  him  is  more  like  it.   “Hi  Dad,”  I  said  emotionlessly  into  the  phone. “Hi  honey!”  he  said,  always  trying  to  sound  as  upbeat  and  as  excited  to  talk  to  me  as  possible.  “How  was  your  first   day  of  school?” “My  school  started  a  month  ago,  Dad,”  I  said  trying  not  to  sound  amused. “Oh  sorry  sweet  pea.  Guess  I  got  it  confused  with…”  He  trailed  off,  not  knowing  what  to  say.  This  was  how  our   conversations  were,  plain  awkward.  He  was  always  trying  to  say  something  nice  and  fatherly  while  I  listened  dumbly.  I’ve   always  wondered  why  mom  hasn’t  divorced  him  or  anything.  While  she  works  from  home  and  supposedly  gets  paid   somehow,  I’m  pretty  sure  she’s  waiting  to  give  him  an  ultimatum  until  I  hopefully  get  into  this  boarding  school  and  he   pays  the  tuition  for  me.  Then  he  cut  through  my  thoughts: “So  honey,  are  you  excited  for  my  annual  winter  visit?  I  can’t  wait!  We  could  go  fishing,  eat  out…  um,  you  know,   spend  some  time  together?” “Yeah  Dad,  I  can’t  wait,”  I  said,  trying  to  sound  enthusiastic  about  it  all.  “Uh,  Dad”  I  lied,  because  all  this   weirdness  couldn’t  go  on  for  much  longer,  “Mom’s  calling  me.  I  need  to  finish  my  homework  too…” “It’s  okay  sweetie.  Just  remember,  I’ll  always  be  here  for  you.  Call  whenever.”  Yeah  right.  When  I  was  eight  I   actually  fell  for  it  and  tried  calling  him  every  day.  He  never  answered  or  called  back  when  I  left  a  message.  By  the  way,   this  call  was  the  first  he  had  made  since  his  visit  in  summer. “Sure  Dad.  Whatever  you  say.  Bye.”  And  I  hung  up  and  tucked  my  phone  away.  As  I  sat  down  at  my  desk  all  I   could  think  was  WHY  IS  MY  LIFE  SO  MESSED  UP???   Chapter  2                          I  woke  up  the  next  morning  feeling  as  sick  as  a  dog.  No  details  are  necessary,  but  let’s  just  say  I  felt  miserable.   Mom  made  it  a  point  to  wait  on  me  hand  and  foot.  I  think  it  was  probably  because  she  wanted  me  to  feel  obliged  to   apply  to  that  dumb  school  on  account  of  how  nice  and  helpful  she  had  been  to  me.  Guess  I  was  somewhat  right,  as  Mom   spent  the  day  showing  me  flyers  and  clips  of  the  application  for  the  boarding  school  while  I  lay  in  bed  sucking  a  lollipop.  


“Look Amanda!  How  great!  It  has  two  pools,  one  for  doing  laps  and  the  swim  team  and  one  for  recreation  that   even  has  a  slide!  Wouldn’t  that  be  so  much  fun!  Oh  and  also,  no  boys  or  any  added  distractions!  You  know  what,  the  fine   young  ladies  have  such  high  GPAs  that  they  even  top  records!  Amanda,  this  is  perfect  for  you!”                        “Sure  Mom,”  I  said,  hacking  after  the  word  mom.  “It’s  sounds  okay.”                        “Okay?”  My  mom  demanded.  “This  place  has  everything.  Would  you  like  me  to  sign  you  up  for  a  visit  there?  It’s   only  a  two-­‐and-­‐a-­‐half-­‐hour  plane  ride  from  San  Francisco  to  the  closest  airport  to  the  school.  I  could  go  with  you-­‐  oh   how  fun!  We  can  have  stay  an  extra  night  and  hang  out!  I’ll  go  book  the  flights  right  now!  It  will  be  the  best  trip  ever!”   With  that  she  ran  out  of  the  room  to  her  office  without  taking  the  flyers  or  application  with  her.  I  stared  down  at  the   flyer.  The  perfect  school,  it  read,  for  girls  with  a  magic  touch!  It  showed  a  picture  of  a  fairy  next  to  the  motto.  I  snorted  at   the  thought  of  the  mascot  being  a  fairy.  Laughable!  What  were  they  called,  the  Fluttering  Fairies?  It  was  a  girl’s  school,  so   it  could  be  a  girly  environment.  But  something  about  the  school  seemed  appealing,  so  I  searched  NFS  on  the  computer   in  my  room  (I  assumed  it  stood  for  Nebraska  Female  School),  and  their  website  came  up.  It  was  lit  up  with  fairies  and   their  motto.  It  had  pictures  of  girls  in  their  uniforms  smiling,  eating,  playing  and  sleeping.  Interesting  enough.  I  clicked   on  the  Applying  to  NFS  button  and  I  read  about  why  it  was  such  a  great  school  etc,  etc.  At  the  bottom  it  explained  how   to  apply.  I  was  surprised  that  only  an  interview  and  answering  two  essay  questions  were  required  to  apply.  (I  wasn’t   really  listening  when  my  mom  told  me  about  this.)  Usually  you  need  to  take  a  test  or  do  a  lot  more  to  get  in,  I  thought.  I   searched  the  site  and  didn’t  find  a  lot  more  information.  They  didn’t  give  a  sample  schedule  or  anything  like  that.  There   was  nothing  about  the  teachers  except  for  how  they  were  only  the  best  at  what  they  teach  and  all  that  stuff.  I  wondered   if  these  people  actually  knew  how  to  make  a  website  and  put  information  on  it,  the  site  was  so  empty  of  information.   Guess  you  just  wait  until  your  visit,  I  thought.  It  seemed  cool  though.  I  sort  of  wanted  to  apply  there.  I  needed  to  know   more  about  it  before  I  made  up  my  mind  though.  I  truly  hoped  NFS  would  give  me  a  chance  to  fit  in.   Chapter  3                          I  opened  my  eyes  and  let  out  a  huge  yawn.  Ah,  I  thought,  I  love  Saturdays.  Suddenly  my  mother  burst  into  my   room  with  a  thermometer  in  her  hand. “Time  to  take  your  temperature,”  she  said.  I  groaned  as  she  stuck  the  piece  of  plastic  in  my  mouth. “Ouch,  be  careful!”  I  winced.  After  my  mother  took  my  temperature  she  decided  I  was  well  enough  to  go  get  a   manicure  and  pedicure  with  her.                        “Uh  Mom?”  I  asked  as  she  pulled  on  her  jacket  and  got  out  her  keys,  “I’m  sick  remember?  Shouldn’t  I  be  in  bed,   resting?”                        “Honey,”  she  replied,  “your  fever  has  gone  away  and  you  look  fine.  So  come  on,  let’s  go  to  the  salon.”  I  sighed.  I   had  to  agree,  I  felt  fine.  As  I  pulled  open  the  door  to  the  passenger  seat  of  the  car  I  made  a  mental  observation  on  how  I   never  am  sick  for  more  than  a  day.  I  beamed  and  could  help  given  myself  an  imaginary  pat  on  the  back;  wow,  that’s  one   strong  immune  system  you  have  Amanda.                          “Puh-­‐lease  Mom,  why  are  even  going  to  get  our  nails  done  anyway?  You  know  how  long  it  takes.”                        “I  know  dear,  I  just  thought  we  should  look  our  best  for  your  on-­‐campus  visit  at  NFS.  I  mean  you  do  want  to   impress  them,  don’t  you?  You’ve  got  to  look  your  best  for  the  interview  too,  honey.”                        “What?”  I  practically  yelled  as  the  car  took  a  sharp  left  at  an  intersection  all  of  a  sudden.  “What  do  you  mean  the   interview  takes  place  during  the  visit?  I  thought  that  it  would  be  later…”  I  trailed  off,  realizing  I  had  no  clue  when  the   interview  would  take  place.  My  mother  sighed  as  we  pulled  into  the  salon  parking  lot.                        “You  are  ready  for  it,  right?”  she  said,  ignoring  my  disbelief.                        “What  are  they  even  going  to  ask  me?”  I  screeched.  A  few  people  who  were  leaving  the  salon  stared  at  me.  I   blushed  and  turned  my  head  away  from  them.  My  mother  gave  them  an  I’m-­‐sorry-­‐about-­‐her  smile  and  pulled  open  the   door.  A  chime  rung  as  it  swung  open.                          “Hi  Mary!”  the  woman  behind  the  front  desk  greeted  my  mother.                          “Hi  Faith!”  My  mother  replied,  “How  are  you  these  days?”                        “Fine  Mary,  really  I’ve  never  been  better.  Can  you  believe  that  Julie  just  went  off  to  high  school?”                          “Really?  She’s  grown  up  so  fast,  your  little  Julie.  I  remember  her  just  as  a  baby  still,”  my  mom  said.  Faith  smiled   fondly,  probably  remembering  the  good  old  days  of  early  parenthood  as  her  eyes  flicked  to  me.                        “Oh  Mary!”  She  exclaimed.  “Is  this  Amanda?  She’s  so  big!  I  can’t  believe  it!  Come  here  and  give  Faith  a  hug,  dear.”   I  walked  behind  the  front  desk  and  gave  the  woman  I  supposedly  knew  well  a  hug  just  to  be  polite.  I  semi-­‐smiled  at  her   and  scurried  back  to  my  mother’s  side  after  our  brief  reunion  was  done.                          “Well  Mary,”  Faith  said,  her  tone  more  business-­‐like,  “What  will  you  be  wanting  today?”                        “Both  Amanda  and  I  are  getting  manicures  and  pedicures.  How  much  will  that  be?”  My  mother  opened  her  wallet   and  gave  Faith  the  money  as  two  fairly  young  women  emerged  from  the  back  room.                        “Alright  ladies,”  Faith  said,  “These  are  Donna  and  Sally.  They  will  be  working  on  you  today.”  I  quickly  grabbed  a   random  magazine  as  we  were  whisked  from  the  lobby  into  the  back  room.  It  was  more  than  a  room,  I  realized  as  soon  as  


I stepped  through  the  entryway.  It  was  painted  silky  yellow  and  had  various  paintings  along  it,  each  one  unique.   Soothing  music  played  as  we  were  lead  to  two  cotton  candy  colored  salon  chairs.  I  couldn’t  help  but  let  out  a  little  sigh   of  tension  as  I  sat  down.  Donna,  who  would  be  tending  to  me,  let  me  pick  from  a  selection  of  nail  polish  colors.  After  I   chose,  she  let  me  pick  what  flower  design  to  put  on  top.  As  she  started,  I  pulled  out  the  magazine  I  got  in  the  lobby.  Ugh,   Teen  Vogue.  It  would  have  to  do,  though.  Then  another  stylist,  who  looked  a  bit  older  than  Donna  and  Sally,  came  in   with  the  person  she  was  tending  to.                        “Hey  girls!”  she  said  as  she  sat  down.                        “Hey  Claire!”  Donna  said  as  she  looked  up  from  my  nails.  “What’s  up?”                        “Oh,  nothing  much,”  she  replied.  For  a  forty-­‐year-­‐old,  she  sure  knew  how  to  talk  like  she  was  twenty.  “I  was  just   having  lunch  with  my  daughter.  She  only  visits  on  weekends  and  I  cherish  the  little  time  I  have  with  her.”                        “Oh,  is  she  in  college?  Which  one?  I  would  love  to  know!”  Sally  said  eagerly.                          “No,  she’s  only  in  9th  grade.  She  attends  boarding  school,  NFS  to  be  specific.” At  that  moment  both  my  mother  and  I  perked  up.  I  didn’t  want  to  be  rude,  so  I  pretended  I  was  reading  my   magazine  while  I  was  really  listening.                        “How  is  it  there?  I’ve  heard  of  NFS  but  nothing  more  than  that,”  Donna  gushed  earnestly.                          “She  loves  it  there.  Funny  thing  is,  I  can’t  tell  you  more  than  that.  It’s  weird;  she  never  talks  about  her  day  or  life   there  to  me.  All  I’ve  ever  seen  from  that  school  is  one  of  her  new  friends  who  stayed  at  our  place  for  the  weekend.”  Claire   looked  awfully  perplexed  and  I  felt  sorry  for  her.                        “Oh.”  Sally  said.  “I  heard  it’s  really  exclusive,  like  only  one  out  of  every  ten  girls  get  in.  Is  that  true?”  Claire  still   looked  confused,  like  she  had  just  realized  the  truth  of  what  she  had  just  said.                          “What?  Oh  yeah,  it’s  exclusive,  very  hard  to  get  into,”  Claire  said,  regaining  her  cool  again.  “This  was  my   daughter’s  third  visit  since  the  start  of  school.  Because  the  school  is  located  in  Nebraska,  it  would  be  hard  and  expensive   for  her  to  fly  here  every  weekend,  even  though  they  have  permission  to  leave  then.”  Sally  and  Donna  must  have  suddenly   become  uninterested  in  the  conversation,  because  they  turned  back  to  the  nails  they  were  painting  and  didn’t  say  a   word.  Claire  did  the  same,  and  once  again  the  salon  was  peaceful  and  quiet.  But  inside  my  head  things  were  the   opposite;  it  was  hammering  with  questions.  What  was  NFS  really?  

-­‐-­‐Jolie Kemp

photo by  Karina  Fonstad


photo by  Katja  Teichmann

Where I  Am  From I  am  from  the  smell  of  sunscreen from  the  wet  towels  and  bathing  suits  thrown   on  the  floor. From  the  gurgling  window  air  conditioner   blasting  frosty  air  during  humid  nights and  the  outdoor  showers. I  am  from  the  white  burning  sand and  the  salt  warm  water I  am  from  the  Jersey  tomatoes the  cheese  steaks  and  the  ice  cream I  am  from  the  gooey  messy s’more  on  a  starry  summer  night to  the  dinner  at  8:30 I  am  from  the  bathing  suits  under  your   clothes  no  matter  what  the  occasion

I am  from  the  Ed’s  and  the  Mary’s from  the  yellers  and  the  talkers from  the  “Put  your  sunscreen  on!” and  “Bugs  and  Bears!” From  the  long  family  talks   to  the  warm  embrace I  am  from  the  sight  of  Wawa and  the  thought  of  memory to  the  taste  of  a  TastyKake   and  the  thought  of  Papa I  am  from  the  Skypes  and  the  phone  calls and  the  long  summer  days just  spent  together. -­‐-­‐Molly  Ledwith


Just Wish  for  It “Just  wish  for  it,  Haily,”  my  best  friend  Jane  said.  But  I  didn’t  want  to;  I  wanted  to  become  the  best  soccer  player  ever  by   working  hard  and  earning  it  myself.   At  the  same  time  I  wanted  to  wish  for  it  because  everyone  could  wish  for  anything,  and  there  were  so  many  people  who  had   wished  to  become  great  soccer  players  that  their  was  no  way  I  could  get  that  good  without  wishing  for  it.   “I  can’t,”  I  told  her.  “I  need  to  work  hard  to  achieve  my  goal,  not  just  wish  for  it.”   “That’s  what  everyone  does,”  she  replied.  “Why  do  you  want  to  be  different?”   I  didn’t  want  to  be  different.  I  just  wanted  life  to  have  some  meaning  and  if  I  just  wished  for  everything  and  got  whatever  I   wanted  without  having  to  work  for  it,  what  would  be  the  point  of  wishing  for  anything?  No  one  seemed  to  understand  this,   especially  not  Jane.  She  was  always  talking  about  how  she  could  not  imagine  what  people  had  done  a  bazillion  years  ago  before  we   all  had  three  wishes.   “Never  mind,”  I  said,  “I’ve  got  to  get  going.  See  you  tomorrow.”   “Yeah,  okay,”  Jane  said  exasperatedly.   I  picked  up  my  bag  and  started  walking  home.  I  just  didn’t  understand  why  no  one  could  see  where  I  was  coming  from.  They   don’t  get  why  I  don’t  just  want  to  wish  for  things  and  have  them  happen  like  everyone  else  on  the  planet.  Sometimes  I  wish  that   everyone  didn’t  have  three  wishes.  One  time  I  told  my  mom  that  one  thing  I  wanted  to  wish  for  was  that  no  one  had  any  wishes.   When  I  said  that  though  she  started  to  freak  out  and  said  that  if  I  ever  repeated  that,  I  would  never  see  the  light  of  day  again.   Once  I  got  home,  I  changed  into  my  soccer  stuff  and  went  into  my  backyard.  My  backyard  was  nothing  like  you  have  ever   seen  before;  it  is  a  huge  luscious  forest  with  meadows  and  daisies  and  all  those  sorts  of  things,  and  of  course  my  Mom  had  wished  for   it.  I  did  love  my  backyard  but  I  would  have  loved  it  more  if  my  mom  hadn’t  wished  for  it.   I  walked  to  my  favorite  meadow,  about  a  15  minute  walk  (yes  I  had  literally  a  whole  forest  in  my  backyard)  and  started   juggling  with  my  soccer  ball.  Juggling  always  calmed  me  down.  Something  about  kicking  the  ball  and  having  it  come  back  to  my  feet   over  and  over  again  was  really  relaxing.  My  juggling  record  was  132.  It  wasn’t  that  great,  but  I  was  getting  better.   After  about  an  hour  I  went  back  to  my  house,  showered,  and  got  ready  for  dinner.  Everyone  who  eats  my  mom’s  cooking  can   never  stop  talking  about  it,  because  she  wished  to  be  an  excellent  cook.  Most  people  think  that  I  am  going  to  wish  to  be  on  the   woman's  national  soccer  team,  but  I  don’t  see  how  I  can.  Everyone  acts  like  this  wishing  thing  is  normal,  but  I  find  it  weird  and   unsettling  that  anyone  can  have  whatever  they  want.   After  eating  dinner,  I  went  to  soccer  practice.  My  team  is  a  class  one  premier  bracket  team,  which  means  that  it  is  in  the  best   division  in  our  age  group  for  CYSA.  About  half  the  people  on  my  team  wished  their  way  on,  but  me  and  a  few  other  girls  didn’t.  We   have  to  work  extra  hard  because  for  everyone  else  the  new  things  we  learn  come  naturally  to  them  and  they  rarely  have  to  practice.   Even  though  we  lose  some  of  our  games,  I  still  really  love  my  team  and  think  it  is  a  great  group  of  girls.   At  practice  we  worked  on  controlling  the  ball  off  of  throw-­‐ins.  Most  people  got  it  immediately,  but  it  took  Tashi  and  me   longer  to  pick  up  on  it.  Tashi  is  another  girl  who  didn’t  wish  to  be  on  the  team,  not  because  she  believes  the  same  things  I  do,  but   because  she  is  a  little  paranoid  about  her  wishes  and  is  too  freaked  out  to  wish  for  anything.   After  soccer  practice  I  went  home,  and  finished  my  homework.  All  I  had  left  was  science  homework,  which  was  not  that   hard.  It  was  just  a  review  for  a  test  we  were  taking  tomorrow.  Science  is  by  far  my  favorite  class  because  I  sit  right  next  to  Nick.  Nick   is  the  sweetest,  cutest,  and  funniest  guy  you  will  ever  meet.  He  has  the  most  inviting  brown  eyes,  and  when  they  lock  onto  you,  you   just  can’t  look  away.  His  chestnut  brown  hair  has  just  the  slightest  wave  to  it,  and  he  is  super  buff.  Oh,  and  did  I  mention  I  might   have  just  the  tiniest  crush  on  him?  Jane  said  that  I  should  stop  being  a  wimp  and  just  ask  him  out,  but  to  tell  you  the  truth,  the   thought  of  putting  myself  out  there  like  that  really  scares  me.   When  I  was  done  with  my  homework,  I  got  into  my  pajamas,  watched  a  little  of  my  favorite  TV  show  “Modern  Family,”  then   went  to  bed.  

At 6:30  in  the  morning,  my  alarm  went  off.  I  slowly  opened  my  eyes  and  pulled  myself  out  of  bed.  I  quickly  got  ready  but   didn’t  end  up  leaving  the  house  till  7:30.  I  walked  to  school,  and  when  I  got  there  Jane  was  waiting  by  my  locker.   “Guess  what?”  she  said  enthusiastically.   “What?”  I  replied,  still  half  asleep  (I  am  so  not  a  morning  person).   “Nick  Anderson  just  got  switched  to  our  first  period  history  class.”   It  took  me  a  minute  to  process  that,  but  when  I  finally  did  I  was  so  excited  I  started  packing  my  bag  so  I  could  get  to  class   early  and  get  a  seat  next  to  him.  Me  getting  to  class  early  never  happened;  I  usually  walked  in  right  as  the  bell  rang,  which  was  why  I   wasn’t  surprised  when  Jane  said,  “You’re  going  to  class  now?  I  left  my  bag  by  my  locker  because  I  never  thought  that  you  would  go  to   class  early!”  Jane’s  locker  is  on  the  other  side  of  the  school.   “I’ll  race  you,”  I  said,  and  we  took  off  sprinting  down  the  hallways  as  fast  as  we  could.  Just  as  I  was  running  around  a  corner  I   ran  right  into  Ms.  Ames,  the  principal.  Ms.  Ames  already  didn’t  like  me,  probably  because  I  spent  a  lot  of  time  in  her  office,  but   running  into  her  didn’t  make  her  like  me  any  more.  


“Sorry,” I  called  back,  but  I  kept  on  sprinting.  Jane  ended  up  beating  me  to  her  locker  because  of  the  little  run-­‐in  with  Ms.   Ames.  She  quickly  grabbed  her  bag  and  we  ran  to  class.  I  got  to  class  just  in  time  to  get  a  seat  next  to  Nick.  I  was  in  class  for  about   five  minutes  before  my  name  came  out  of  the  loud  speaker.   “Haily  Foster,  please  come  to  the  principal’s  office  immediately.”   Ms.  Ames  must  want  to  give  me  detention  for  running  into  her,  I  thought  as  I  trudged  over  to  the  principal’s  office.  When  I   got  to  the  office,  I  knocked  on  Ms.  Ames’  door.   “Come  in,”  she  said.  She  sounded  mad,  but  not  as  mad  as  I  thought  she  would  be.  I  walked  into  the  office.  “Sit  down,”  Ms.   Ames  said.  I  did.  Ms.  Ames  gave  me  one  of  those  scary  disapproving  looks  that  only  a  teacher  can  give  and  then  said,  “I’m  sorry   Haily,  but  running  through  school  and  pushing  me  over  is  the  last  straw.  I  have  threatened  you  with  suspension  over  and  over,  but   you  don’t  listen.  You  have  been  nothing  but  trouble  since  the  start  of  this  year,  and  you  have  over  20  detentions.  I  have  no  other   option  but  to  suspend  you  for  two  weeks.  I  have  called  your  mother,  and  she  will  be  here  to  pick  you  up  any  minute.”   My  mom  drove  me  home,  the  whole  time  lecturing  me  about  how  being  suspended  was  not  okay  and  that  there  were  going   to  be  major  consequences,  but  all  I  could  think  was:  I  got  suspended,  I  really  got  suspended,  Ms.  Ames  actually  suspended  me.   Once  I  got  home,  I  spent  all  day  in  my  room.  (According  to  my  mother  I  was  supposed  to  be  thinking  about  what  I  had   done.)  At  7:30  pm,  I  left  the  house  to  go  to  soccer  practice.  When  I  got  to  soccer  practice  my  whole  team  was  waiting  for  me,  and   my  soccer  coach  said,  “Haily,  we  need  to  talk.”   She  took  me  off  to  the  side  and  said,  “I  heard  you  got  suspended  from  school,  is  that  true?”   “Yes  it  is,”  I  replied,  scarcely  saying  the  words  above  a  whisper.   “I’m  sorry,  then,”  my  soccer  coach  said,  “but  if  you  are  or  have  been  suspended  you  are  not  allowed  to  be  on  this  team.  You   are  a  great  asset  to  this  team,  but  I  can  no  longer  allow  you  to  play  for  this  team.”   “I  understand,”  I  replied,  barely  able  to  control  my  tears.   I  ran  back  to  my  house,  crying  all  the  way.  Once  I  got  home,  I  went  straight  up  to  my  room  and  locked  the  door.  I  sat  on  my   bed,  crying  as  I  watched  my  life  fall  apart  around  me.   To  top  it  all  off,  my  16th  birthday  was  tomorrow.  Normally,  a  birthday  would  be  a  happy  thing  and  cause  for  celebration.  I   don’t  know  why,  but  on  the  morning  of  your  16th  birthday,  you  are  supposed  to  make  one  of  your  wishes.   I  had  always  promised  myself  that  on  my  16th  birthday,  even  though  I  wasn’t  supposed  to,  I  would  wish  that  nobody  had  any   wishes.  I  know  it  seems  cruel,  but  that’s  what  I  thought  would  benefit  our  world.   But  now  that  my  life  was  falling  apart,  I  wanted  to  wish  for  me  to  have  never  been  suspended,  to  have  Nick  as  my  boyfriend,   to  have  my  place  back  on  my  soccer  team,  and  to  be  the  best  soccer  player  ever.  I  knew  I  shouldn’t  wish  for  those  things,  but  I  really   wanted  to.  I  fell  asleep  that  night  thinking  about  what  I  should  do  in  the  morning.   In  the  morning,  my  mom  and  dad  came  in  holding  a  cake  and  singing  happy  birthday.  When  they  were  done  singing,  they   told  me  to  blow  out  the  candles  and  then  make  my  wish.  I  closed  my  eyes  and  blew  out  the  candles  one  by  one.  I  still  hadn’t  decided   what  to  do.  Apparently,  sleeping  on  it  doesn’t  always  give  you  the  answer.  All  my  different  options  were  floating  around  my  head   when  I  got  to  the  last  candle.  I  looked  into  my  parents’  eyes,  and  then  I  did  it.   Something  I  never  thought  I  would  be  able  to  do,  but  I  did  it.  

-­‐-­‐Kathleen Mhatre art  by  Nancy  Lopez


Roses and  Thorns Why  does  a  rose  have  thorns? They  seem  frustrating, Especially  when  you’re  digging In  the  soft  soil, And  receive  a  jolt. It  seems  that  your  finger, Upon  further  examination, Has  gotten  scratched, And  a  single  drop  of  blood Oozes  from  the  cut. Soon  you  can  easily  become Disgruntled,  determined  to Figure  out  just  which  thorn Pricked  you. You  focus  so  much  on  the  thorns, That  you  don’t  look  up To  see  the  flower. You  don’t  see  the  petals, Splashed  with  color, Fluttering  in  the  summer  breeze. You  don’t  even  see  the  leaves, Emerald  and  shining, Although  they’re  right Above  your  gaze. You  can’t  think  of  the  fact That  these  thorns  actually Protect  the  rose. You  only  know  that  they Pricked  you. But  you  have  to  tear  your  eyes From  the  thorns. You  have  to  pay  attention  to  the Sunlit  rose,  stretching To  the  sky. It’s  true  for  many  things... You’ll  never  see  the  beauty If  you  can’t  look  past  the  thorns. -­‐-­‐Maddie  Goldberg

photo by  Jordan  Jackson


Letters from  the  Sky   The  ship  plunged  into  the  swells  of  the  night  furiously,  intent  on  breaking  through  the  harsh  sea  like  a   horse  through  a  starting  gate.  Waves  around  the  vessel  crashed  down  on  the  hull  in  raw  tonnage,  bringing  a   fury  that  could  only  be  compared  to  a  raging  bull.  But  the  ship  was  large,  the  beating  waves  having  no  effect   on  the  iron  structure.  It  continued,  rising  and  falling  with  the  ocean,  the  propellers  trying  fruitlessly  to  push   the  ship  onward.  The  Atlantic  Ocean  had   almost  been  conquered;  only  mere  miles   stood  between  the  ship  and  the  New  York   harbor.   Two  abrupt  gunshots  pierced  into   the  night  air,  scaring  the  unlucky   passengers  awake  on  the  deck  for  a  night   stroll.  A  man  came  bursting  out  of  the   door  onto  the  deck,  pausing  for  only  a   brief  moment  to  clutch  the  rail,  the  other   hand  grasping  his  stomach.  He  started  off   towards  the  stern,  holding  the  rail  for   support,  still  clutching  his  abdomen. The  other  man  was  not  even  close  to  as   frenzied  as  the  first.  He  knew  that  he  had   not  missed,  just  like  he  had  been  trained.   All  he  had  left  to  do  was  to  finish  the  job   that  had  been  started,  and  he  was  not  in   the  least  bit  worried  about  failing.  The   first  man  gave  him  a  pleading  glance,  as  if   asking  the  pursuer  to  finish  what  he  had   started  while  he  trudged  on.  Those,   however,  were  not  his  orders.  Kill  him,   Lovejoy,  and  make  it  as  painful  as   possible.  He  smiled  wickedly  at  the  man. Slowly,  monotonously,  he  moved  closer   to  the  unlucky  victim,  never  once   flinching  or  lowering  his  gun.  He  wasn’t   going  to  shoot.  Not  yet.  Nor  would  he   make  the  final  shot  immediately  fatal. Satisfied  with  the  pain  the  man  had   endured  moments  later,  he  fired  again.   art  by  Megan  Andersen And  again,  making  sure  his  bullet  wounds   wouldn’t  kill.   The  ship  lurched  once  more,  the  waves  becoming  even  larger  than  before.  It  was  like  they  matched  the   moods  on  the  ship:  anger  and  fear.  The  shooter  was  forced  back  into  the  cabin’s  door  with  the  full  onslaught  of   force  coming  from  the  rocking  motion,  another  shot  firing  wildly  into  the  distance.  He  lost  his  balance,  and   fell  to  the  floor,  gun  wrenched  from  his  grasp.  The  wounded  man  screamed,  having  lost  his  grip  on  the  railing.   Blood  and  the  salty  sea  air  blinded  him  as  his  arms  flashed  around,  searching  for  something  to  hold  onto.  He   found  nothing,  except  the  rail  one  last  time,  and  made  the  instinctive  decision  to  fling  him  self  into  the  vast   abyss  below  him. ~~~   He  wasn’t  dead  yet,  as  he  felt  cold  rushing  water  envelop  his  skin.  It  tore  him  down  into  the  depths,   swirled  him  around,  and  propelled  him  to  the  surface.  He  gasped  and  took  a  short  breath,  only  to  be  sucked   below  again.   Still,  he  was  a  fighter  and  not  prone  to  give  up  quickly  if  there  was  but  even  a  small  hope  of  living.  An   odd  heat  burned  through  him  in  the  coldness,  the  opposite  sensation  from  the  numbness  that  had  taken  over  


him. One  part  of  him  just  wanted  to  descend  to  the  icy  depths  to  be  rid  of  the  pain,  but  the  other  dominant   part  told  him  that  he  had  to  get  out  of  this.  He  did  not  fail.  At  least  he  wasn’t  supposed  to.   His  feet  clawed  at  the  nothingness  below  him.  He  had  to  climb!  Climb  up!  The  quick  breath  that  he   took  only  a  few  seconds  ago  was  wrenched  from  his  lungs,  making  the  need  to  break  the  surface  even  more   urgent.   For  now,  he  had  done  it.  After  finally  breaking  the  surface,  the  breath  he  gulped  fueled  him  with   enough  energy  to  stay  afloat  until  he  could  breathe  again.  He  was  strong.  He  was  trained  to  be  strong.  And  yet   the  inevitable  blackout  came,  right  as  something  banged  against  his  head. ~~~   The  bright  eastern  sun  broke  through  the  clouds,  the  iridescent  rays  casting  a  gleam  on  the  much   calmer  North  Atlantic  water.  A  light  breeze  flowed  through  the  air,  reminiscing  the  lingering  effects  of  the   harsh  storm  the  night  before.  The  waves  had  calmed  considerably,  to  the  great  joy  of  the  passengers  on  the   small  fishing  trawler.  The  skipper  gazed  into  the  endless  distance,  still  trying  to  make  sense  of  the  events  from   the  night  before.  They  were  lucky  to  still  be  alive;  more  than  once  the  boat  had  threatened  to  capsize.  Neither   he  nor  his  small,  clumsy  brother  had  yet  to  figure  out  why  the  storm  had  ensued.  Weather  reports  from   Trenton  had  promised  bright  skies  for  ample  fishing,  and  the  storm  had  taken  away  their  sanity  for  a  night  as   well  as  the  fish.   He  gripped  the  rope  tighter,  the  raw  rope  burns  forgotten.  The  fact  that  he  was  only  one  in  the  family   who  really  had  any  experience  sailing,  and  the  storm  had  proven  to  be  one  conquered  by  only  the  best  of   sailors  had  made  him  weary.  But  who  else  could  take  his  position  with  waters  like  the  ones  there  had  been?   His  bloodshot  eyes  closed  briefly,  but  he  jerked  himself  awake  before  he  could  doze  off.  A  snort  sounded  from   behind  him,  meaning  his  idiot  of  a  brother  was  finally  awake,  and  causing  trouble  at  that.   The  skipper  glanced  back  precariously  and  almost  in  slow  motion,  dreading  the  excuse  for  the  nonsense   that  he  would  hear.  But  the  sight  before  him  was  not  that  of  a  stunned  brother  fearful  of  his  brother’s   punishments.  He  and  his  just  as  dumb  Italian  friend  were  toying  with  the  throttle,  jerking  it  forward  and  then   back,  causing  waves  to  be  left  in  the  wake.  The  skipper  had  been  so  preoccupied  with  his  thinking  that  he  did   not  notice  the  methodical  rocking  of  the  boat.   “Stop  that,  won’t  you!”  the  skipper  jabbed.   The  two  boys  pretended  to  ignore  the  warning  yell  and  pushed  the  throttle  forward  even  faster.  He  was   about  to  yell  something  else,  but  he  decided  against  it,  his  mouth  hung  open  loosely.  They  were  not  worth  the   trouble,  and  he  would  think  of  a  way  to  get  back  at  them  eventually.   His  eyes  made  their  way  back  to  the  sea  ahead.  Why  he  watched  the  ocean  was  a  mystery  to  him.  The   sea  had  always  held  a  special  part  inside  his  soul,  and  he  could  just  gaze  at  it  endlessly,  unlike  the  two  drifters   whom  he  had  the  unlucky  chance  of  bringing  along.   “D’ya  see  that  Tommy?”  the  other  boy  cried.   “See  what?  There’s  nothin  to  see!  All  this  water  just  makes  me  want  to  be  sick.”   “No,  over  there!”  The  skipper  sighed  at  the  stupidity.  They  were  only  supposed  to  be  out  for  a  day,  but   the  storm  had  kept  the  three  out  at  sea  overnight.  His  tiredness  and  just  the  presence  of  the  two  imbeciles  was   enough  to  make  him  go  crazy,  but  he  would  not  let  the  sea  conquer  him.   “Fabri,  you  have  barnacles  in  your  brain.  All  I  see  is  waves  and  the  back  of  my  brother’s  ugly  face.”   That  was  enough  to  make  the  skipper  jerk  his  head  around  angrily.  His  brother  just  snickered  back.   “No,  you  bozo!”  Fabrizio  tugged  on  Tommy’s  arm.  “To  the  left-­‐erm,  the  starboard.”  He  glanced  up  at   the  skipper,  who  returned  an  annoyed  glance.  “I  mean  the  port.  Look  to  the  port!”   “I  still  don’t  see  anything,”  Tommy  interjected.  His  eyes  were  untrained,  missing  the  obvious  man  in  the   water.  The  skipper’s  eyes  were  well  adjusted.   “Port  bow!  There’s  a  man  in  the  water,  holding  on  to  something.  Looks  to  be  a  piece  of  driftwood,   debris,  or  some  kind  of  plank.”  The  two  boys  stood  unmoving.  “Well,  get  on  with  it!  We  can’t  just  leave  him   there.” ~~~  

The man  looked  to  be  in  a  situation  where  any  type  of  movement  could  send  him  tumbling  down  into  


the depths  which  he  had  already  narrowly  avoided.  His  hands  were  white  now  not  only  from  the  cold,  but  also   from  the  tightly  clenched  position  they  were  in  on  the  corners  of  the  piece  of  driftwood.  The  rest  of  his  body   was  limp,  the  heaving  breaths  having  long  left  him  along  with  his  consciousness.   The  skipper  had  to  make  the  quick  decision  about  whether  to  trust  his  brother  (after  all,  they  really   should  trust  each  other)  not  to  endanger  the  man’s  life.  The  job  of  lifting  him  and  prying  him  away  from  the   water  would  not  be  an  easy  one.  He  glanced  quietly  at  his  brother,  who  now  had  a  serious  aura  to  him.  “Loop   the  ropes!”       The  skipper  yelled.  “Around  his  feet,  steady  now.”   Quickly  becoming  experts  at  the  ship’s  equipment,  a  feat  which  greatly  amused  the  skipper,  Tommy   and  Fabri  did  as  they  were  told.   “Pull  up  towards  his  waist,  and  be  easy  about  it!  That’s  right.”   “His  hands  won’t  let  go  of  the  wood!  Do  I  take  the  whole  thing?  I  don’t  know  if  I  can  lift  that  much!”   Tommy  said.   “I’ll  help  you,”  Fabrizio  put  in.  With  the  combined  strength  of  the  two  would-­‐be  sailors,  the  task  of   lifting  the  mystery  man  proved  to  not  be  too  hard.  Once  poked  at  enough,  his  hands  even  let  go  of  the  death   grip  they  had  on  the  driftwood.  “We  can  lift  him  by  the  shoulders  now.”   “Don’t  drop  him  now,”  the  skipper  warned.  He  was  now  genuinely  curious  as  to  who  this  man  was  and   why  he  was  left  alone  in  the  Atlantic  Ocean  with...bullet  holes?   “Mother  of  God!”  Tommy  cried.  “Look  at  his  head!  He  must’ve  hit  it  hard  on  the  wood  or  something;  I   think  it  knocked  him  unconscious  too.”   Eying  the  wound,  and  with  the  slight  knowledge  that  he  possessed,  the  skipper  knew  that  it  wasn’t  a   wound  from  hitting  a  piece  of  wood.  He  had  seen  it  once  before,  on  the  corpse  of  his  father  who  had  been  shot   to  death.  “No,  that’s  not  it,”  he  said,  mostly  to  himself  though.   “Look!  He  has  a  bullet  wound-­‐no,  two!  Right  on  his  back!  He’s  going  to  need  some  help.  We’ll  need  to   go  back  ashore  and  find  the  doctor,  that  is  if  he  hasn’t  drunk  himself  to  death.”   Tommy  gave  Fabrizio  a  dumbstruck  look.  “Him?  The  Californian?”   "Do  we  know  anyone  else  who  could  do  something?  I'd  be  surprised  if  he's  even  still  alive  when  we  get   back.  I  mean  just  look  at  him."  A  faint  heartbeat  flowed  through  his  body,  but  the  loss  of  blood  and  frigid   temperatures  had  brought  him  to  a  state  of  near  death.  His  hair  was  encrusted  with  half-­‐frozen  water  and  his   face  had  a  gaunt  look  to  it,  like  he  was  a  pale  zombie  risen  from  the  dead.  If  it  wasn't  for  his  tan  complexion,   then  Fabrizio  would  have  surely  thought  that  he  was  one.  

 ~~~

The  endless  hollering  of  seamen  and  the  screeches  from  overhead  gulls  signified  that  without  a  doubt   the  harbor  was  near.  Small  children  hurried  by  the  stalls  with  fresh  fish,  overwhelmed  by  the  smell  and   determined  to  be  rid  of  it,  while  everyday  shoppers  looked  on  with  pure  bemusement  at  their  antics.  It  was   warm,  for  an  April  in  New  Jersey  at  least.  The  sun  beat  down  through  a  cloudless  sky,  and  people  were  out  and   about  taking  a  stroll,  making  use  of  the  heat  that  was  sure  to  go  away  soon.   They  were  all  out  except  for  one  man,  a  man  who  had  a  problem  on  his  hands  ever  since  his  trip  back   from  Southampton.  Sure,  he  was  a  doctor  and  a  mighty  fine  one  at  that,  but  the  combination  of  his  wife   leaving  him  and  his  dismissal  from  one  of  London’s  best  hospitals  had  dulled  his  medical  senses.  He  tried  not   to  care.  How  could  they  kick  out  their  top  surgeon  for  accidentally  killing  two  people  who  had  close  to  no   chance  of  living  anyway?  The  one  thing  he  was  grateful  for  was  the  red-­‐haired  girl  that  had  enough  sense  to   bring  him  a  bottle  of  scotch  every  Saturday  night  to  drive  away  his  demons.   In  fact,  Thomas  Andrews  had  met  her  on  the  ship;  one  of  the  only  people  who  seemed  to  take  a   drunken  doctor  seriously.  She  was  one  of  the  richest  people  on-­‐board,  engaged  to  a  rich  English  politician.  But   her  heart  was  different  than  the  rest  of  them.  After  they  had  met  and  become  close,  they  even  struck  a  deal.   Thomas  would  alert  the  ship  that  she  had  jumped  overboard  in  order  for  her  to  get  away  from  her  locked-­‐up   life  as  long  as  she  would  help  him  find  his  way  back  in  New  York.  As  it  turned  out,  she  had  no  place  to  stay   after  evading  her  fiancé,  and  he  let  her  stay  with  him.  She  had  an  obvious  secret  she  was  hiding,  but  he  didn’t   mean  to  pester  her.  She  had  gotten  a  job  at  a  boarding  school,  meaning  she  mostly  didn’t  stay  with  him   anymore,  which  might  have  been  for  the  better  with  the  new  patient  that  was  giving  the  seasoned  expert  a  run   for  his  money.


The two  full  bottles  sat  on  top  of  his  mantelpiece.  It  really  was  a  serious  conundrum  he  faced,  and  the   fact  that  he  was  in  somewhat  of  a  withdrawal  did  not  help  his  case.  The  man  had  been  dropped  two  weeks  ago,   and  after  a  careful  removal  of  the  three  bullets  and  the  other  stuff  he  found  inside  of  him,  he  was  nowhere   closer  to  leaving  his  coma  than  he  was  before  he  came.  The  three  men,  boys  even,  who  dropped  him  off   obviously  knew  nothing  except  for  the  obvious  wounds  that  were  killing  the  man  through  body  and  mind.  He   wasn’t  sure  how  they  knew  that  he  was  there  and  a  doctor,  a  fact  he  deep  down  didn’t  really  want  to  know. At  first  the  wounds  had  seemed  normal,  well  maybe  not  normal,  but  they  were  at  least  to  Dr.  Thomas   Andrews.  The  doctor  concluded  that  the  man  was  lucky  to  still  be  alive.  Whoever  had  shot  him  had  either   been  a  stunning  marksman  and  not  going  for  the  kill,  or  the  current  of  the  salty  ocean  had  cleansed  the   wounds  enough  to  keep  him  alive.  Millimeter  by  millimeter,  he  pried  the  four  bullets  from  the  man’s  back.  But   that  wasn’t  the  hard  part.   Andrews  examined  the  cranial  wound  once  more.  The  bullet  was  perfectly  lodged,  again,  not  for  the   kill.  He  was  hesitant  to  try  the  most  delicate  procedure  of  his  entire  life,  but  not  doing  anything  would  just   ensure  the  poor  man’s  death.  And  he  had  endured  enough.  With  that,  he  picked  up  the  needle,  brush,  clamp,   and  other  instruments  that  he  had  long  since  forgotten  the  name  of.  At  least  the  knowledge  of  how  to  use   them  came  naturally.   Why  he  cared  about  the  life  of  the  man  was  still  one  of  the  mysteries  to  him.  He  had  pondered  the   thought  for  the  past  few  weeks,  and  he  couldn’t  decide  whether  it  was  a  genuine  curiosity  for  the  man’s   identity  and  why  he  wasn’t  dead,  or  just  a  matter  of  it  being  one  of  his  hardest  projects  yet.   He  looked  longingly  at  the  bottles  resting  not  ten  feet  from  him.  He  had  finished  his  job,  so  he  had  a   right  to  treat  himself.  Right?   He  would  be  awake  any  day  now.  Any  minute.   Even  any  moment. ~~~    

First came  a  question,  piercing  the  musty  cool  morning  air.  “Who  am  I?” He  did  not  know,  nor  would  he  ever  know.

-­‐-­‐Megan Andersen

photo by  Noor  Hanafi


Conscious Eating The  chocolate  is  a  sweet,  slow,  smooth  melody  humming  in  my  mouth. The  caramel  is  a  bright,  crisp  song  singing  in  my  mouth. The  nuts,  the  rough,  rigid  rocks  tumbling  in  my  mouth. And  down  the  tunnel  they  go. Racing,  racing. Who  won,  I’ll  never  know. Chocolate,  caramel,  and  nuts a  sweet,  slow  melody a  bright,  crisp,  song and  many  rough,  rigid  rocks Racing  down  the  tunnel Going  down,  down,  down. Who  won,  I  will  never  know. -­‐-­‐Greer  Hoffmann

art by  Grace  Lee

Eating a  Piece  of  Toffee The  world  is  vast,  a  warm  light  brown  yet  crackly  bottom  layer,  the  crust  of   the  planet.  It  is  rough  along  the  edges,  sides  jutting  out,  some  dipping  in.  The   bottom  layer  rests  along  the  side  of  your  mouth  as  you  take  a  small  bite  in;  small   slivers  crack  off  onto  the  tip  of  your  tongue  while  the  next  layer,  the  surface  which   melts  the  moment  it  hits  your  mouth;  tasting  the  bittersweet,  rich  decadence  of   chocolate.  There  are  mountains  of  nuts;  some  small  chunks,  some  larger,  some  half   sunken  into  the  surface,  some  laying  right  on  top.  They  come  in  last,  the  final  chip   and  crunch.  

-­‐-­‐Mitra Assaderaghi


Waiting for  Darkness  

photo by  Pooja  Goel

A  cool  wind  swept   through  the  hollow,  a  warning  that   there  was  but  little  time.  Shivers   continually  crept  throughout  my   body,  shaking  the  precious  cargo   tucked  inside  the  smooth  lining  of   my  purple  jacket.  I  knew  that  this   was  not  where  I  should  be  right   now,  but  it  was  too  late  to  run   home.   I  waited.  I  waited  for  what   I  knew  would  soon  be  coming,  but   the  anxiety  built  up  inside  of  me   made  time  move  like  molasses.  The   winter  moon  shone  bright  above   me,  but  through  the  thick  fir  trees   I  could  see  the  clouds  of  a  storm   rolling  in.  

It  seemed  like  forever  before  I  finally  just  gave  up  and  went  to  wait  inside  the  little  shack  located  at  the   edge  of  our  place.  From  what  I  could  tell,  no  one  had  been  in  there  since  summer;  there  was  the  distinct   smell  of  rats  and  the  crisp  pine  trees  it  was  nestled  between.   I  flipped  the  light  switch  on  the  side  wall,  and  waited  a  while  watching  it  flicker  on  and  off.  But  then   it  stopped-­‐-­‐just  my  luck.  Since  the  lightbulb  was  burned  out,  I  carefully  felt  my  way  through  the  darkness  to   the  small  table  in  the  middle  of  the  room.  I  slipped  the  package  out  of  my  jacket  and  onto  the  table,  mindful   not  to  make  a  sound.  And  then  I  sat  down  next  to  the  table  set  for  one;  and  I  waited. -­‐-­‐Katie  Jo  Shuman

photo by  Maddie  Goldberg


Everything Possible

Tick, tick, tick, tick. The clock on the wall seemed to be moving twice as slow as it was supposed to. The noise echoed through the quiet room, competing with the scratching of pencils for resident obnoxious sound. Not a single student seemed bothered by its insistent ticking, though, except for one tall raven-haired girl in the back row. While the rest of the class was bent low over their papers, scribbling away, her chin was perched alertly on her hands, and her feet were tapping at the murky brown carpet.            “Five minutes!” called her teacher uninterestedly from the front of the room. The girl jumped, knocking her pencil case off the desk. It clattered loudly to the floor, and several people looked around, glaring at her.             “Caroline?” said her teacher wearily, squinting at her.             “Sorry,” mouthed Caroline, scooping up her things and glancing down at her test. She had only answered six questions and didn’t think she would have time to respond to the remaining four. Not that she cared. There was a drum pounding where her heart should have been, and her stomach was clenched impatiently. She looked at the clock again. Three minutes. Three minutes until she would sprint out of here, three minutes until she would be happier than she had been in a year.             Knowing that any hope of doing well on the test had evaporated twenty minutes ago, she carried it to the front of the room and dropped it on her teacher’s desk. She marched wordlessly back to her seat, staring at the clock. Two minutes.             As the rest of the class began to finish off the test, Caroline crammed her books into her backpack and zipped it. Swinging it onto her back, she spun around and glared up at the slower-than-slow clock on the wall. Only thirty seconds left now. Caroline ignored the sound of her classmates packing their bags, and they ignored her just as easily. No one had a glance to spare for the impatient girl in the corner.             20 seconds…Caroline’s heart was pounding wildly, she thought everybody could see it…10 seconds…she half-rose from her chair, breathing quickly…5 seconds…a smile slipped onto her dark features…3 seconds…2…1! The bell rang loudly and Caroline threw herself towards the door. She was half-way out of it when–“Caroline!” came her teacher’s sharp voice from behind her.             Slowly, she pivoted back around, clutching the doorframe. The sight of her teacher beckoning imperiously was bad on any day, but today? Today it was like the devil himself was pulling strings.             Caroline slouched back into the room. “Yes?” she asked less-than-politely. She was painfully aware that the room was slowly emptying, that her class was exiting, the one thing she wanted to be doing.             “Caroline, I think you must have missed a few pages on the test. Your answers are blank. Here, why don’t you just fill them out now? I won’t even take off points,” said her teacher, holding out the test to Caroline.             “No, I–I can’t. Um, I really have to go, Mr. Bront. I…”             “Do you know that if you don’t get at least a B+ on this test, your grade will drop even lower, Ms. Witte?”             “Yes, Mr. Bront, but–”             “Then, please. I can see that you’re impatient, but just take five minutes to finish the last few questions. I know your father would appreciate you taking the time to improve your grade.”             Another five minutes in the stuffy classroom sounded like a nightmare to Caroline. “Please, Mr. Bront, can I please come in during lunch tomorrow and finish it? Please?” she begged. Something about the desperate look in her eye must have convinced him, because he stared calculatingly at her for a moment, but nodded. “Thank you!” she gasped, turning to run for the door, whipping out of it.             And finally she was out. Free and so close. Caroline sprinted to the front of the school and veered right, dodging students on bikes and skateboards as she hurtled along the edge of the campus. Right at the edge of school, she took a sharp right turn onto her street, thanking her lucky stars that she lived so close to school.             Her street had never seemed longer, though, as she careened along it. Caroline’s house was at the very end, almost on another street. About halfway down, her legs started to burn, but the thought of what was waiting for her at home filled her mind, and she barely slowed for a second before putting on another burst of speed.             And now she could see her house! Caroline sped up the driveway and dashed towards the front door, flinging it open. Her backpack fell with a clunk as her eyes locked on the green-clad figure waiting for her. She let out a scream and flew at her mother, finally, after all this time, wrapping her arms around her. Her mom lifted her up and swung her around just like she had when she was little.             Wrapped in her mom’s strong arms after more than a year, Caroline began to cry, her tears dripping down onto her mom’s camouflage army uniform. “I missed you so much, Mommy,” she whispered into the tough material.             Her mom pulled away and held Caroline at arms length, smiling. “I missed you, too, sweetie.” And they embraced again. At that moment, the previous year’s struggles and problems seemed to vanish. Everything Caroline had tried to cope with on her own, like bad grades and the terrible loneliness she had felt without her mother, was gone. She could do anything now. Anything was possible–no, everything was possible.

--Allison Zanolli


An Ode  to  Water  (inspired  by  Global  Week  2012) Water Cool,  clear,  and  shinning Like  liquid  glass You  slide  between  my  fingers  and  slip  away   before  I  can  catch  you.    One  sliver  of  silver  is   left,  reflecting  the  sunlight  on  my  open  palm.     Slowly,  it  to  trickles  down  the  side  of  my  hand.     “Do  not  go,”  I  whisper,  but  it  is  too  late.    It  is   gone.    “Come  back,”  I  say,  “I  need  you.” Water Plump,  gentle  drops  fall  from  the  grey  sky,   splotching  the  leaves.    Slowly,  you  sink  into  the   moist,  brown  soil. The  next  day  the  world  is  fresh  and  green.     Luscious  green  leaves,  still  splotched  in   droplets,  wave  gently  in  the  morning  breeze.       Little  pale  green  sprouts  have  poked  their   heads  from  the  soil,  seeing  daylight  for  the  first   time.    Misty  green  lichen  curls  around  tree   trunks  and  branches. Life  follows  you  wherever  you  go. Water Slippery,  soft,  and  soothing You  trickle  down  my  tongue.    You  swirl  in  my  mouth,  clean  and   refreshing.    You  slip  down  my  throat,  leaving  my  mouth  damp  and   satisfied. Water  is  the  breath  of  life. -­‐-­‐Robin  Sandell

art by  Robin  Sandell


When the  Road  Slows It  can  be  very  strange  how  life  breaks  into  pieces,  but  fits  together  so  snugly. As  a  great  birthday  present  for  your  special  someone,  buy  this  gift  set  including  a  new  bottle  of  Wow   shampoo  and  conditioner.    We’ll  include  a  free  sample  of  our  hair  tangling  spray. We  drove  by  in  the  old  station  wagon  while  orchards  ran  past  us.    Set  up  in  their  perfect  rows  they  sat   patiently  in  the  ground,  rooted  into  the  earth. But  if  you  go  to  Taco  Bell  today  you  will  discover  the  new  99  cent  Supreme  Melt  Burrito.    Drop  on  in  today! The  road  was  flat  and  the  sun  was  hot.    My  mind  was  driven  by  torpid  thoughts  of  why  I  was  here.  I  was   sweating  through  my  tights  and  fanning  my  head  with  a  magazine  from  2007. At  Sleep  Train  you  have  a  wide  selection  of  the  best  quality  mattresses.  Call  the  number  1-­‐800-­‐686-­‐9837.     That  is  1-­‐800-­‐686-­‐9837.    Sleep  train,  your  ticket  to  a  better  night’s  sleep! Mama,  sitting  in  the  seat  next  to  me,  never  lets  us  open  the  windows.    She  doesn’t  have  to  tell  us  anymore   because  we  all  know.    Whether  she’s  in  the  Arctic  circle  or  Sahara  desert,  she  is  always  cold.      Perhaps  it  was   because  she  had  frozen  inside  herself  long  long  ago.     A  long  long  time  ago  I  can  still  remember  how  That  music  used  to  make  me  smile  And  I  knew  if  I  had  my   chance  That  I  could  make  those  people  dance  And  maybe  they'd  be  happy  for  a  while.   I  always  hated  this  song.    But  Michael  was  driving,  which  meant  that  he  had  dictatorship  over  the  radio.    It   was  a  miracle  that  there  was  any  music  playing  since  ads  had  been  going  on  for  the  past  seven  minutes.    Music   seems  to  be  fading  more  and  more  everyday. Are  you  hungry?    So  hungry  that  the  steering  wheel  looks  like  a  giant  pretzel?    It  sounds  like  you  need  to   go  to  Subway!    Try  Subway’s  new  menu  for  meatballs,  nachos,  and  munchies!    Subway.    Eat  fresh. Michael,  with  his  fickle  radio  habits,  had  changed  stations  again.    As  he  furrowed  his  brow  and  clicked   buttons,  I  could  see  perspiration  through  the  shirt  of  his  suit.    He  looked  like    a  monkey  in  tuxedo.    It  was  the   same  idea  really.    Stuffing  a  wild  animal  into  a  human  clothing. Right  now  we  have  a  large  selection  of  great  vehicles  on  sale.    We  even  have  a  line  of  ground-­‐breaking   hybrids.    So  stop  by  the  Lexus  60-­‐0  certified  pre-­‐owned  sale.    Where  the  one  you  want  is  the  one  on  sale.    See   your  California  Lexus  dealer. I  pulled  back  a  curtain  of  my  damping  hair.    Wearing  heavy  black  clothing  in  the  middle  of  Southern   California  during  the  summer  is  not  normal.    Even  if  there’s  a  funeral.        When  it  first  came  out,  the  granola  bar  wasn’t  a  bad  idea.    But  then  when  we  started  coating  it  in  caramel,   dousing  it  in  chocolate,  and  sticking  gummy  bears  on  it,  we  realized  something  was  wrong.    What  started  out   as  a  good  idea  went  rogue.    We  can  help.    Partners  in  Health. My  first  memory  of  a  funeral  wasn’t  a  funeral  at  all.  It  was  when  I  was  7  and  my  Papa  didn’t  come  home   one  night.  I  was  so  confused.  Why  didn’t  Papa  come  to  give  me  a  goodnight  kiss?  Why  wasn't  Papa  driving  me   to  school  in  the  morning?  Why  was  Papa  not  sweeping  me  into  the  air  as  soon  as  he  came  home  from  work?     These  days,  my  dollar  just  doesn’t  go  as  far.    In  my  car  and  on  my  phone,  it  barely  lasts.    But  at  McDonalds,   with  the  dollar  menu,  I  get  just  where  I  want  to  be.    Satisfied. Mama  told  me  he  was  dead.    That  night  I  cried  myself  to  sleep.  But  then,  day  after  day,  I  realized   something.    “Mama  why  are  we  not  having  a  funeral  for  Papa?    Why  doesn’t  he  get  one?”    It  was  Mama’s  turn   to  cry.      It  wasn’t  until  two  years  later  that  Michael  finally  confessed  to  me  that  Papa  wasn’t  dead.    He  had  left   us  all  one  night  with  no  intention  of  ever  coming  back.    And  that  he  did  not. Depression  is  a  serious  medical  condition  that  can  take  so  much  out  of  you.      I  feel  like  I  have  to  wind   myself  up,  just  to  get  out  of  bed.    Then  I  have  to  keep  winding  myself  up  with  the  sadness  and  the  loss  of   interest.    Don’  let  depression  own  you,  though.    Ask  your  doctor  about  Pristiq  today. My  legs  were  cramping  from  the  three  hours  we  had  already  spent  in  the  car.    There  would  still  be  another   three  if  we  wanted  to  make  it  to  Orange  County  by  night. Discounts  right  under  my  arm,  get  your  better  state,  State  Farm.    This  guys  answers  late  and  helps  me  to   relax.    Get  your  better  state,  State  Farm. I  don’t  know  why  my  great  uncle  George  wanted  to  live,  let  alone  die  here.    He  had  lived  his  whole  life  in   the  quiet  reserves  of  Kansas.    I  never  knew  my  great  uncle  George  so  I  couldn’t  care  less.    I  know  that  makes   me  sound  heartless,  but  it’s  not  because  I’m  mean  or  cruel.    I  just  don’t  know  him  like  my  mother  does.    She   lived  her  entire  childhood  with  him.


Only AT&T  can  let  you  record  up  to  four  shows  on  any  TV.      Switch  your  cable.    Get  almost  $200  back  with   a  promotion  card.    Click  AT&T.com/TVdeals  or  visit  an  AT&T  store  today. Despite  the  weather  and  the  mood,  I  will  enjoy  attending  this  family  gathering.    On  holidays,  birthdays,   celebrations,  and  even  days  of  mourning,  the  family  always  met. The  healthy  chocolate  lifestyle  invites  you  to  experience  luxuries  all  about.    From  cookies,  brownies,  and   bars,  you  can  get  nutrients  and  anti-­‐oxidants.    All  made  with  real  dark  chocolate.    Go  to  healthylifestyle.com. When  family  meets  everyone  puts  on  a  heavy  mask.    We’re  getting  along  quite  well,  thank  you.    No,   Michael  won’t  be  attending  college  this  fall  because  of  the...incident.    Darling,  the  new  apartment  is  quite  fine,   almost  better  than  the  last  one. 1931  wasn’t  the  best  time  to  start  a  business.    But  Allstate  did.      When  you  go  back  to  basics,  people  start   enjoying  simple  things  in  life.    Home-­‐cooked  meals,  time  with  loved  ones,  gratitude,  all  the  things  we  can   count  on,  and  all  the  small  things  need  to  be  protected.    Put  them  in  good  hands.    Allstate. On  family  occasions  there  are  no  problems.    Everyone  is  happy.    The  money  is  not  running  out  because   everything  is  a  lie.   Coca-­‐Cola.    Open  Happiness.   We  all  know.    But  that’s  what  keeps  us  moving  I  suppose.    We’ll  stick  together  and  pretend  nothing   happened. This  is  the  traffic  report.    An  accident  on  the  interstate  highway  just  occurred  a  few  minutes  ago.    While   authorities  take  care  of  the  situation,  avoid  the  interstate... There’s  no  way  we’ll  make  it  to  Uncle  George’s...well,  I  guess  it’s  Aunt  Stella’s  now.    We’ll  never  make  it   there  by  nightfall. Thinking  we  can  see  what  we  can  be  if  we  press  press  forward,  Just  one  more  round  and  you’re  down  I   know  it,  You  don’t  even  care  now  I  was  unaware,  Blame  it  on  the...   “Michael?”   “What,  Mom?”   “Michael  what  is  this?”   “What’s  what?”   “This  music.”   “It’s  just  a  song,  Mom.”   “It’s  trash.”   “Mom,  I  told  you,  it’s  just  a  song.”   “I  suppose  this  is  how  you  got  mixed  up  with  them.”          It  there’s  one  thing  you  cannot  say  to  Michael,  it’s  about  what  happened  last  winter.       “Mom,  I  told  you,  it  wasn’t  my  fault.”           His  voice  was  rising.   “Michael,  don’t  lie  to  me.”           Her  voice  was  rising.   “I  never...”           He  looked  at  me  through  the  mirror.   “I’ll  change  the  station,  OK,  Mom?    Let’s  not  fight.”           That  was  Vivaldi’s  Concerto  in  G  minor.    Don’t  go  away,  after  these  commercials  we’ll  play  Beethoven’s   Ninth  Symphony  next...   “You’re  just  like  your  father.”   “What  did  you  say,  Mom?”           If  there’s  one  thing  you  cannot  say  in  the  household,  it  is  about  my  father.   “Lying.    Deceiving.    Tricking.”   “Mom,  I  don’t  know  what  you’re  talking  about.”   “He  lied  to  people.    Now  you  lied  to  people!”           She  was  crying  now.   “Ria,  has  she  taken  them  yet  today?”           This  time  he  was  talking  to  me.       “I  told  you  to  stop  callling  me  Ria.”   “So?”   “So  don’t!”


“OK, fine,  Jeez.”           The  last  person  who  had  called  me  Ria  was...   “She  didn’t  take  them  yet.”   “Can  you  get  them?”   “They’re  in  the  trunk.”   “I’ll  pull  over.”   “Forget  it.  She’ll  freak  out.”   “I  think  she  already  did.”       She  was  laying  her  head  on  the  glass  of  the  car  window,  choking  her  sobs  silently.   “Michael,  turn  the  radio  off.”   “Why?”   “Just  do  it.”   Michael  turned  the  radio  off.   She  stopped.   I  didn’t  know  how  we  were  going  to  face  everyone  this  year.    Mama  was  getting  worse  and  worse.    This   year,  I  didn’t  think  about  how  we’d  be  able  to  pull  it  off.    Great  Aunt  Frankie  would  ask  and  cousin  Violet   would  stare.    And  what  would  we  tell  them?   It  was  getting  really  stuffy  now.    I  thought  I  could  see  condensation  on  the  windows,  but  that  may  have  just   been  the  clouds.   No,  it  wasn’t  OK.    Mama  was  fired  and  her  medical  bills  are  just  shooting  up.    Michael  isn’t  going  to  college   because  he  has  to  work.    No  one  would  even  take  him  because  he  was  framed  for  robbery.    I  was  skipping   school  because  Mama  wouldn’t  get  out  of  bed.    The  new  place  isn’t  an  apartment,  it’s  a  box  compared  to  our   old  house.   Michael  loosened  his  tie  and  pressed  on  the  gas  pedal.    When  I  looked  at  Mama,  she  was  sitting  upright   again,  staring  at  the  space  between  her  knees,  breathing  softly.   Papa  wasn’t  coming  back.    He  never  would  have  and  he  never  will.      No  one  was  going  to  save  us.    But  at   the  same  time,  no  one  was  trying  to  hurt  us  either.    We  were   drowning  in  our  own  minds.  I  should  have  admitted  that   long  ago,  when  it  would  have  hurt  less.    Wouldn’t  it?     Wouldn’t  it?   There  weren’t  any  more  orchards  now.    It  was  just  row   after  row  of  farmed  fields.       “Michael,  what  are  we  going  to  do?”   “What  do  you  mean?”   “Well,  in  the  first  place,  we’re  running  out  of  gas.”   “So  what?    We’ll  just  fill  up  at  the  next  station  we  see.”   “Michael,  there’s  not  enough.    I  checked.”   “Oh,  we’ll  be  fine.”   “We  still  have  at  least  three  more  hours  to  go!”   “It’ll  be  ok.”   “It  won’t  be!    It  won’t  be,  Michael!    Why  can’t  you  get  it?!”           Mama  was  about  at  her  wits’  end  again.   “Stop  the  car.”           I  was  totally  flabbergasted  by  her.    What  was  she   thinking?   “What?”   “Stop  the  car  right  now,  Michael.    Hit  the  brakes.”   “Mama,  what’s  wrong?    Do  you  feel  sick?”   “Let  me  out.    I’m  going.”   “Mama,  are  you  crazy?    What’s  up  with  you?”   “He’s  over  there,  Andria,  he’s  over  there.” photo  by  Natalie  Barch           Now  I  was  worried.   “Michael,  this  hasn’t  happened  before.    What  do  we  do?”   “Well,  you  know  what  Andria?    We  keep  going.    We  keep  going  until  we  run  out  of  gas.  And  then  we  keep    


driving until  the  car  breaks  down  and  we  have  to  hitchhike  to  Uncle  George’s.    If  no  one  takes  us  we’ll  walk.     We’ll  walk  until  our  feet  fall  off.    We’ll  go  until  we  see  Uncle  George’s  grave.”       I  was  gawking  at  my  brother.   “The  only  way  we’re  going  to  make  it  is  if  we  don’t  give  up.”           That’s  what  he  said.           I  thought  I  saw  Mama’s  cheeks  wet.   “Michael,  stop  the  car.”           Michael  didn’t.   “Did  you  hear  me?”   Michael  didn’t.   “Michael,  just  let  me  go.”   Michael  didn’t.   “Let  me  get  out  of  here.”           Michael  didn’t.           Mama  slouched  back  into  her  chair.    She  was  breathing  heavily  now  and  heaving  her  chest.    I  thought  she   looked  like  she  was  about  implode  any  minute,  but  then  she  stopped.    She  didn’t  move.    I  was  tempted  to  feel   her  pulse.               The  car  was  silent.   “Thank  you.”           Mama,  you  did  it.   “Hey,  Michael?”   “Yeah,  Ria?”           This  time  I  didn’t  stop  him.   “Turn  the  radio  back  on.”   Michael  did.  

-­‐-­‐Heejin Hahn

photo by  Katie  Jo  Shuman


photo by  Pooja  Goel

Five Questions The  bomb-­‐streaked  sky,  filled  with  the  blood  of  the  innocent A  scream  rings  out,  nobody  hears  anything How  is  this  done? The  stench  of  the  killing  gasses  invades  the  air  and  everyone  is  suffering,  even  the  oppressors From  the  shattered  glass  to  the  death  marches,  pain  etched  on  their  faces And  who  said  this  was  meant  to  be  done? The  fear  of  the  different  was  the  main  igniting  fire And  the  desire  for  change  starting  from  a  single  man Where  do  these  murders  happen? From  the  cold  desolate  basements  to  the  overcrowded  Auschwitz  the  answer  would  be  everywhere Or  just  the  streets,  you  never  know  where  a  bloodbath  could  occur When  did  these  massacres  take  place? These  hatreds  had  been  buried  deep,  woven  within  the  fabrics  of  self-­‐belief It  took  a  small  push  to  pop  the  bottle  and  spill  it  out And  the  final  question,  the  one  that  no  one  could  answer: Why? -­‐-­‐Megan  Andersen


we can  keep  in  touch  and  everything but  we  both  know   that  those  things  usually  don’t  work  out   you  taught  me  so  much how  to  think   how  to  listen   how  to  laugh   if  i  sometimes  feel  lonely  now   when  you’re  right  there  next  to  me what’s  gonna  happen? when  you’re  not  around   but  please  don’t  forget  me   and  always  remember   that  you  have  something  of  mine you’re  taking  a  piece  of  my  heart  as  you  leave -­‐-­‐Nayanika  Kapoor

Cow Days The  last  days  of  summer  are  cow  days The  cows  go  into  their  shed  and  mourn  the  loss  of  the  heat. The  sun  sits  low  on  the  horizon  while  the  cows  moo  their  sad  songs. Moo,  Moo,  Moooooooo A  gentle  wind  blows Soft  as  snow But  there  is  no  snow. It  is  still  the  last  day  of  summer. -­‐-­‐Natalie  Sands,  Tara  Thakurta,  &  Niki  Flamen

photo by  Rosie  Crisman

well i’ve  spent  enough  time  with  you   to  know  that  you’re  not  going  to  listen  to  me and  you’re  going  to  leave  anyways


Rhymes Rhyming  is  a  challenge, but  it  is  one  I  will  take, because  nothing  rhymes  with  orange, not  now,  not  any  day. When  I  think  of  a  “poem”, I  think  of  “deep  stuff  that people  think  up”, and  not  so  much a  Dr.  Seuss  book. All  you  need  is  one  look, to  find  they  will  not meet  your  expectations. Some  will  fall  flat, others  will  exceed, but  nothing  will  rhyme the  way  professionals  did. A  twist  in  time will  seem  to  occur when  someone  will  try to  rhyme  like  her. She  is  the  poet, the  gifted  one. To  her  we  owe  it, the  few  worthy  ones. I’m  afraid  I  have  failed  her, yet  somewhere  deep  down, I  have  faith  in  my  rhymes, that  will  surely  be  drowned. For  I  am  speaking  gibberish, partly  in  poem, but  a  very  full  dish, of  quite  silly  sounds. Not  impossible, but  good  rhymes  surround  me.     We  cannot  understand, and  neither  can  I, but  as  I  type, the  words  just  fly  by. It  is  uncontrolled, so  I  will  not  try to  hold  back  my  fingers, and  let  them  fly  to  the  sky. -­‐-­‐Valerie  Hammer

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver


One day  I  was  in  class  waiting  for  school  to  start.  We  were   all  sitting  there,  just  staring  at  that  old  math  chart.  But  then   I  saw  the  new  markers  up  on  the  teacher’s  desk,  so  I  decided   to  end  this  weariness,  and  make  it  into  a  wave  of  cheeriness.   I  gave  a  marker  to  everyone,  and  said,  “Come  on!  Lets  have   some  fun.”  We  all  drew  on  the  whiteboards;  all  different   designs.  Mine  was  tree  with  thorns.  Someone  even  drew  a   unicorn!  They  also  drew  a  Justin  Bieber  (though  his  hair   looked  like  a  beaver).  Then  the  teacher  unlocked  the  door.   She  came  in.  Her  face  was  shocked.  “Girls...”  Her  voice  gave   us  the  memo.  “Didn’t  you  notice?!  Those  are  sharpies  not   Expo.” Sorry  about  my  rhymes,  I  was  running  out  of  time. -­‐-­‐Zoe  Jinishian

art by  Isabella  Wang


Fun

photo by  Serena  Rivera-­‐Korver  

We swam  all  day  and  got  bathing   suit  marks  and  canoed  and  paddle   boarded  all  around  the  lake  and  fell   in  at  least  five  times  and  then   explored  islands  with  bare  feet  on   the  moss  and  pine  needles  and  read   books  in  the  hammock  with  the   birches  tinkling  with  every  burst  of   breeze  and  went  on  evening  boat   rides  with  wind  that  beat  my  face   and  slapped  my  hair  back  across   my  cheek  and  water  exploded  on   both  sides  of  us  and  the  islands   were  blurred  and  when  we  slowed  I   could  hear  a  loon  call  echoing   across  the  water  and  see  the  sunset  spilling  colors  across  the  sky  that  reflected  on  the  lake   and  we  all  talked  about  the  day’s  adventures  and  ate  chocolate  under  the  rising  moon   with  the  boat  rocking  gentling  beneath  us  and  the  rhythm  made  me  relax  as  my  horse   walked  calmly  into  a  field  of  golden  grass  and  one  by  one  we  took  off  at  a  lope  and  I  felt   so  free  and  happy  and  the  sun  beat  down  on  my  horse’s  chestnut  coat  making  it  gleam   and  the  mountains  sped  by  me  like  someone  waving  a  patched  quilt  of  aspens  and  pines   and  rocky  slopes  and  I  felt  like  I  was  flying  and  I  landed  as  the  audience  cheered  and  I   poised  my  arms  above  my  head  and  gently  looked  down  as  the  dance  ended  and  the   clapping  resounded  again  and  again  in  my  ears  and  I  felt  so  energized  and  graceful  even   though  it  was  terribly  late  and  I  could  not  believe  it  was  over  and  after  the  curtains  closed   I  hugged  my  friends  again  and  again  and  we  laughed  and  we  could  not  go  to  sleep  like   sleep  overs  with  your  friends  always  are  and  it  did  not  help  that  we  were  sleeping  in  a  tree   house  and  that  we  had  just  had  ice  cream  and  homemade  burgers  and  my  sleeping  bag   was  so  warm  and  cozy  and   there  were  so  may  stars  above   us  that  were  shinning  through   the  branches  and  so  many   things  to  talk  about  on  the   crisp  night  and  when  I  finally   went  to  sleep  I  dreamed  of  the   island  that  we  visit  every   summer  where  we  swim  all   day  and  explore  the  islands   and  at  night  we  go  on  evening   boat  rides  and  watch  the  sun   set  and  eat  chocolate  under   the  moon.   photo  by  Kiana  Borjian

-­‐-­‐Robin Sandell


Finding Papa Section 1 Maria looked at her little room in the attic, the tranquil and tidy place she called her own private get away. Her childhood house, which she lived in while her parents were in Florida, hadn’t changed since she left for college and returned an adult. Then she looked out of the paint-splattered window to the peaceful countryside. Since Papa had died a month ago Maria hadn’t felt the same, the connection between her and her grandfather was stronger than the connection between her and her parents. Papa was just special. She slowly took down all her pictures and put them in one of her bags. Maria lingered at the picture of her as a small child on Papa’s lap, when Jalen had “accidentally” pushed her off a chair and her parents weren’t home, so Papa was the only one who could comfort her. Maria put the photograph away, just the thought of all her special moments with Papa made her want to cry. ‘Ding dong ding dong screech scratch zing dong ding dong dong!’ the faulty doorbell shrieked. Jalen and Alex stood at Maria’s door in fake mustaches. “Uh, hello Ms. Cummings. Your dear brother Alex wishes you his best regards in New York City.” Alex mumbled. “Your handsome and modest brother would like to collect his puppy.” Jalen said. Maria had almost forgotten that Indigo (Jalen’s yellow lab) was there. “Well, hello kind sirs won’t you come in. May I take your fur coats, or anything else with fuzzy texture?” Maria asked. Jalen and Alex promptly took off their mustaches and gave Maria a hug. Indigo jumped on top of Jalen and gave him a big, sloppy, wet, kiss on the side of his cheek. Alex quickly sang a little tune to ‘Oh, Christmas Tree’: “Oh, Indigo! Oh, Indigo! You are so very pleasing! You give Jalen a giant kiss and make him look like a doo-fus!” Jalen then remarked, “If you want to become a famous country singer one day, you might not want to call your brother/manager who is a lawyer with an amazing sense of humor a doofus.” “You two never get old,” laughed Maria heartily. “Come on in.”

Maria made her brothers a cup of coffee and sat down with them. “How are you both?” “Same old, same old,” said Alex. “I am just fantastic! As you should know I was voted most handsome man on Earth,” said Jalen with a sarcastic tone. “How about you?” asked Alex. “I’m getting ready to move to the city.” “How’s that going for you?” asked Alex. Jalen didn’t seem to be paying attention as he was puppy-talking to Indigo. “It’s going to be hard. Papa just loved this place and I don’t want to let his memory go.” “Come on sis. Give me a hug.”

Maria gave Alex a hug. Later Jalen joined in on their conversation, until both of them had to leave. Maria waved good-bye and trudged up the stairs to finish packing. Maria sat on her bed wondering what she was going to do in New York City. It was such an unexpected move; she didn’t really know why she was going. Maria just had to do something for Papa, even if he wasn’t here, she just had to do something for him in his honor. Maria paced back and forth, up and down the stairs, all around the house, until she didn’t know where she was. It was a dark and dusty room, Maria felt her way around, until she found a lamp.


Section 2 Maria had only been in this room once before. It was Papa’s private study. She, Jalen, and Alex were playing hide and seek when they were little and Maria stumbled upon this room. Papa was in there working on something and he tried to tell Maria it was his little place, where he spent his quiet time. Maria didn’t understand, she was so little, and that was the only time Papa ever raised his voice, ever. Maria never dared to enter this room, it just gave her bad memories. Maria looked around the little workshop and found Papa’s leather-bound notebook. It was covered in spider webs and dust and had the most delicate rotting pages that were just beautiful. Maria skimmed Papa’s notebook until she found something that caught her eye. Taped in the book was an old black and white photo of a young Mama in the Bahamas. She wore a flowing dress and an orchid lei. She was on the beach and the wind was tossing her hair around, and Mama was just smiling with all the joy in the world. Maria knew Papa was a photographer. Papa was a well-known photographer; he took pictures of landscapes that people would have bidding wars over at auctions. Maria always thought his best picture was of the seagulls flying just above his head. She always thought Papa wanted to be photographer, but from the writing in the notebook and the canvas just a few feet away, Maria knew just what she was going to do for Papa. She was going to finish his portrait of Mama and have it hanging in a museum, just like it said in his special notebook. The first thing Maria did was cancel her plans to move to the city. She told Jalen and Alex that her little house in the country was where she belonged. Then she headed into town for some art supplies. When she returned home, Maria took a look at what Papa had already accomplished. Papa had almost finished his sketch of Mama, he just couldn’t get her eyes right. He’d tried perfectly round eyes, cat eyes, tiny eyes, large eyes, and the eyes of a dying fish. Maria sat there looking at the picture of Mama and studied her eyes. They were scrunched up and intense, but still loving. Maria tried to draw the eyes on a separate piece of paper but she just couldn’t get it. Maria was determined to do this; she sat down on a chair and just drew until she could no longer take it. It was nighttime and she decided that tomorrow she would try to draw the eyes again. Maria woke up that morning and ran down to Papa’s private study. She comprehended that Papa’s study was more of a studio. It had dark room in it, paint cans on the floor, dusty old tarps, and a little brown desk with a little brown chair just off in the corner. Papa must have loved this little room so much; this really was his own secret world. Section 3 Maria tried the eyes again after getting inspiration from Sandy, Luna, Apolline the 5th , Xander, Qwerty, Billy Collin-Bob Martens, and Joe (her canaries). They had such beady eyes and still so much joy that they partially resembled Mama. Mama’s eyes were more human than the canaries’ but they had the same aspects to them: the way their eyes twinkled with mystery and excitement. The way they seem to hold a secret and dangle it above your head. The way they seem to smile and laugh at everything that is good. Maria remembered her first canaries, Morgan and Apolline the 1st. Papa gave them to her. He smiled


when he handed over the golden cage with the little birds in it, saying to Mama “They sing the way you do.” Then he said to Maria’s mother, “They laugh the way you do.” Finally he said to Maria, “They smile like you do.” Later on he whispered in Maria’s ear “Do you see the way they act when they’re around you? The canaries think you are the most lovable and courageous. They don’t act that way around your mother or Mama--not anybody except you.” Maria seemed to find all the good in the world in her canaries so she channeled that into Mama’s eyes. Her eyes were soft but still piercing and full of energy. They were sharp but still curved with compassion. Maria saw Mama in a whole new light, actually through her eyes. Then she saw Jalen in a whole to light, then Alex, mother, father, and lastly Papa. His eyes were sensitive but not enough to keep him from being stern. His eyes were old and wise. He had seen much, and his eyes were tired and he wanted to close them and forget some of the things he had seen. His eyes were happy when the sun reached him and the little rays danced upon his eyelids, but his eyes were sad because he never became the Papa he wanted to be. Maria finished Mama’s eyes after 2 hours; this time they were perfect. She was so proud of herself, but Maria didn’t show it. She didn’t tell Jalen, she didn’t tell Alex, and she didn’t even tell her canaries! Maria was about to touch the tip of her brush to the canvas when she realized she didn’t know what she was about to paint. She didn’t even know what color was on the tip of her brush! Maria was very absentminded at that moment. She lazily walked up the stairs to the attic where she lay on her bed. Maria stared as the peeling ceiling trying to figure out what her problem was. Not the fact that she was so absentminded but her next predicament in finishing Papa’s painting. Maria just couldn’t concentrate. Her brain turned to mush and she fell asleep. Section 4 When Maria woke up from her nap it was nightfall and in her subconscious mind she figured out what was wrong. Not with her concentration but with the painting. The photo of Mama was in black and white! Maria raced to Mama’s nursing home to talk to her. Maria shivered as she walked through the creepy baby blue nursing home that had old nurses who should be in nursing homes themselves at every corner who yelled at you if you made the slightest noise, which was typically the sound of breathing or a creaking floor boards. Maria didn’t come here very often. Mama had cancer and was slowly going deaf. Although Maria loved Mama she just couldn’t stand to see her sad. Mama loved Papa even more than she did. “Mama?” “What?” “Mama?” “WHAT?” “Mama, it’s me Maria.” “Who’s there?” “It’s me, Maria. I want to…” “No! Go away I don’t want your car insurance!” “Mama!” “Oh, hello who is this?” “It’s Maria your grand daughter.” “Oh, come on in Maria. What were you saying?” “I found something Papa was working on.” “Probably one of his scenic photo collages wasn’t it?” “No, not this time.” “Was it the bird photo book he always wanted to finish?” “Not this time.” Mama remember he stopped that when he couldn’t find the falcon. “Was it one of those fancy high tech color cameras that don’t need film?” “Papa was a photographer not an engineer.” “Oh, what was it then?” “He took a picture a long time ago.” “So it is one of those…” “Mama please listen.” “Ok, I’ll try.” “A long time ago, you and Papa went to the Bahamas.” “Maria, there is no such place as the


Bananas.” “Bahamas, Mama.” “Oh yes! We did go to the Bahamas once!” “While you were there Papa took a picture of you.” “He did? I never thought I was one of his photography subjects. It was always the trees or the car or the birds.” “Well, one day you were on the beach and the wind was blowing hard, the he snapped his picture. Do you remember that day?” “I do. He had his camera with him and was taking pictures of the ocean, he said the wind made it more interesting.” “While you were there Papa took a picture of you.” “You already said that, dear.” “I know that Mama I’m just telling you again.” “Oh, thank you Maria. You’re so kind.” “What were you wearing on the beach?” “Well, I wore an orchid lei and the orchids were a purple-ish pink-ish color. I wore a white sundress and brown sandals. The sandals had sand all over them.” “I think that’s what they’re meant for, Mama.” “Oh, really? I never knew that.” Section 5 Maria said goodbye to Mama and started heading back home in her rusty old minty green pick up truck. It was Papa’s and Maria loved it when she was a little girl but now it was just a nuisance. When Maria arrived at her house she toiled down the stairs to Papa’s studio where she began to paint. Soon it was getting dark and Maria was getting tired. She walked back up the stairs, took care of the canaries, and then toppled on to her bed in the attic. Maria slowly opened her eyes to her ceiling, then little by little she turned her head to the alarm clock on her nightstand. Her vision was hazy and Maria was just so tired. She slowly rotated her head so it faced the sky. Just above her head Maria saw something. “Boo!” “Aaah! Who is it?!” “I’m the exotic princess from the 4th moon of Jupiter and I demand you take me to your leader! No, it’s me Rachel! Your best friend since like, uh, I don’t know, forever!” Rachel Letterman was indeed Maria’s best friend. She had been for a very long time. She was a bit crazy and a bit too spontaneous but she could always make someone laugh. “Rachel! Why did you scare me like that! Wait a minute! Why are you here?! You live in California!” “I was bored so I decided to take a road trip to New York and visit my most awesome friend. Is there anything wrong with that? Plus your door was unlocked.” “I’m your only awesome friend, and you should have figured that out by now.” “What? Sorry I wasn’t listing. I thought you were going to say I’m you’re most awesome friend too.” “Fine, you are my most awesome friend.” “Say it like you mean it.” “What more is there to say? You are my most awesome friend.” Then Rachel sing-songed, “Thank you.” Maria led Rachel down the 2 flights of stairs to Papa’s studio. “Don’t touch anything Rachel.” “Why not?” “You break everything.” “I do not!” Just as she said that Rachel pulled the doorknob off. “Oops. So explain to me again what you’re doing with your grandfather’s art studio?” “I told you, I stumbled upon this place a few days ago.” “Yup.” “Then I was skimming through Papa’s notebook and found this picture.” “Got it.” “I read through his notes and figured out he wanted to turn it into a painting. So I finished the sketch and I started painting so I’m going to…” “Wait, let me see if I understand. Your grandfather, Max Cummings the most well-known scenic photographer in Hudson Valley and a little bit of New York wanted to turn one of his black and white photos into a colored painting and have it in a museum?” “You forgot the most important part.” “What?” “Mama is the photo subject.” “Your grandmother?” “My grandmother was once a very beautiful lady.” “I know but it’s just your grandfather never took pictures of people.” “Or did he?”


Section 6 Maria took out the picture of Mama and showed it to Rachel. “Isn’t it pretty?” “Pretty? Maria this isn’t pretty this is the best photo your grandfather’s ever taken!” “Really?” “Totally! You’re turning it into a painting too! That is going to be beautiful!” “Why do you think so? I’m just fulfilling Papa’s dream.” “Your dream has always been his dream: whatever your grandfather wanted you set out to do. Because this is Papa’s dream it’s yours and I’m glad you actually enjoy it. Plus you are kind of an amazing artist.” “What makes you say that?” Maria was more than just a good artist, but she was very modest. She loved to sketch and the world was her canvas, literally. The walls of the house had many simple sketches on them. Most of the windows and window frames upstairs were covered with paint. The kitchen was always a mess whether just dirty in general or because there was an art project going on. “Rachel.” “Yea.” “I’m going to live out my dream.” “Do it.” Rachel left the next day and Maria was on her own again. Actually it was just Maria and the canaries but you couldn’t hold a conversation with them. Maria decided she would tell Alex and Jalen when she finished painting, so she could keep it a mystery until it was done. Maria woke up early that morning, took care of the canaries, and rapidly ate a small bowl of cereal. She ran down to Papa’s studio and began to paint. At lunchtime she didn’t come back up. At dinnertime she didn’t come back up. She didn’t come back up until 9 the next morning. She fed the canaries and ate a banana. She bolted back down stairs and didn’t come up until 2:15 for a drink of water. Maria was in love with that painting and it was coming together quite nicely. Maria slowly finished up the major pigments then added the shadows and details. She gave it depth too. It really was a masterpiece when she finished it. Maria spent a very short amount of time on Papa’s painting and it still turned out beautiful. It took 1 month and 4 days working on it. Even though she felt rushed Maria knew that it was worth it. She’d spent so much of her time painting and perfecting it. Papa would have been proud. Section 7

Maria was about to call Jalen when she looked out her window and saw Alex’s car pulling up. “Alex! Jalen! You’ll never believe what I did!” Maria ran outside and without a single pause told them everything. “Wow, Sis, we’re really happy for you, but something just happened.” Said Alex “What?” asked Maria. Jalen responded “Mama died.”

--Grace Frome


The Last  Note The  last  note  ends Breath  flows Bows  drop The  spell  breaks A  magician  releasing  its  audience From  a  wondering  trance The  last  note  fades hovering  poignantly  in  the  air And  drops A  wavering  sound Into  nothingness The  last  note  falls The  final  drop  in  a  sea  of  sound The  final  testament  to  a  composer's  passion To  a  player's  industry   To  an  orchestra's  will To  music -­‐-­‐Kylie  Holland

photo by  Emma  Glickman

Flame 2012  

Flame is an annual publication of poetry, prose and art by Castilleja Middle School students.

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