is the middle school literary magazine of Castilleja School
Published once each year, this magazine brings together the work of dozens of young writers, artists, and photographers. Anyone in grades 6-‐8 is welcome to submit. Students in the Flame elective work on their creative writing in the fall, then gather submissions and lay out the magazine in the spring. During the 2012-‐2013 school year, so many students have been involved in Flame that we cannot name them all here. We are thrilled to be part of such a vibrant artistic community. We hope you ﬁnd something in these pages that catches your fancy, sparks your imagination, and inspires you to create something of your own. Katie Sauvain and Jole Seroﬀ, faculty advisors
“Flame” leaf art above by Reese Ketsdever front cover photo by Gwen Cusing back cover photo by Grace Lee
If We Are To Really Look If we are to really look Inside of ourselves There is a forest Deep, Dense, Desolate But yet immaculate A forest of ever growing thoughts and dreams and desires and ideas and feelings all lurking in this crepuscular woods. Don’t cut down your forest keep it there, put on your red hood, get your bag of treats for grandma, and explore. -‐-‐Teddy Horangic
photo by Katie Mishra
photo by Alexia Romani
Don’t Recognize Her When I look there is a girl in the mirror You don’t recognize her for who she really is because only she can tell you that But as the world comes into focus and the fuzziness fades away the world is sharper harsher harder and you still can’t recognize her for who she really is I wrote this for you so you could really see I’m not the one to be loved -‐-‐Makee Anderson
photo by Maggie Gray
Rising from Underneath the Water Through this tranquil, turquoise world I see a sun ray, penetrating the water in a misty beam. Then another and another. The far reaching tendrils of the upper world. As thin as paper, ﬂipping through a book. As misty as a waterfall, a waterfall of light. Now I see a silvery surface, like liquid silver churning, the partition between this world and theirs. As I get closer, blurry shapes appear: a green patch here and a brown patch there. Like gazing into a crystal ball, they become clear: a large catalpa tree and the second story of a house. I reach to touch this magical surface, and suddenly my hand is free and heavy. I ﬂex my ﬁngers in the cool breeze. I can now see my hand beyond the silvery surface, a pale blob of me on the other side. My face slips through after my hand. I hear laughter, and feel the breeze. I shake the water from my hair, and tiptoe, soaking and dripping, into the house for a towel. -‐-‐Robin Sandell
photo by Jessa Mellea
Inﬁnity Inﬁnity is the sign on your palm drawn in thin trails of marker before bed two loops following the simplest eternity of you endless path Inﬁnity is forever it is the endless days unknown and unimaginable Inﬁnity is in the tired smiles of elderly couples bound to each other ﬁrst by parents’ dreams then by love The darkness of inﬁnity laughs its evil laugh at 3 am when the weight in your stomach bolts you like lead to your fears of the night Inﬁnity is when the heavy shackles are broken and you are young and agile again Inﬁnity is the ﬁeld in the sun where you can lay with nobody watching and truly be free -‐-‐Sophia Nevle Levoy
photo by Brooke Weller
Aurora I wonder what comes to mind when someone reads that word. Sleeping Beauty, perhaps the aurora borealis itself? The thoughts that come to mind when I hear that lovely vowel-‐stuﬀed word are almost too embarrassing to share. But that is what they want me to think. Aurora, to me, is a sad-‐looking stuﬀed tiger with short orange (now brown) fur that sticks up at odd angles, but for the most part wilts down into an uneven clump of thread. Her tail is short and feeble at the base, and always sticks up, no matter how you bend it. Her legs are fairly short as well, but ﬁlled with little beans that make slight noises when you shift them. It always annoyed me how her face is cocked to the left, but I’ve grown to love having her perch on my shoulder and always look at me with her round, amber eyes. They are a tad cross-‐eyed due to a small tuft of fur that dangles precariously over the left eye’s part of the iris. They never quite focus on you, as though she is modest with her unblinking stare, and doesn’t want to creep you out or anything. She was the best Christmas present I could have asked for on December 18th, 2010. It wasn’t Christmas, of course, but my family loves to move around Christmas every year depending on vacation plans, and I hate it. I awoke the earliest I think I’ve ever gotten up-‐-‐four AM, maybe-‐-‐and snuck down the hall on my tiptoes in my new peace-‐sign PJs. My socked feet danced rather delicately down the stairs and emerged into the gorgeous living room. A tree nearly suﬀocating in ornaments, the naked statues of the ladies dancing (I’d always wanted to get rid of them, but they are great things to hold the stockings up), and most importantly the warm air of Christmas. And cookies. Aurora shyly peeked up from my green-‐knit stocking, but in a playful way, as though she was laughing and saying, ‘Peek-‐a-‐boo!’ As cheesy as it sounds, a warm, Christmassy feel came from Aurora when I carefully placed my ﬁngers on her soft back. She was mine, and I was hers. It’s funny-‐-‐if you ask any of my friends, they’d say Aurora’s been with me for ﬁve to ten years. I chide them and tell them that I’m not that old, and nor is she. Her coat has become well-‐worn over the nearly three years, and she’s gotten plenty of “love marks” along the way. Within the ﬁrst month of getting Aurora, I went nowhere without her. Her paw was in my hand on the way to any room in the house, waiting on my bed when I got home from school, and patiently sitting beside me while I tackled the elite opposition of math homework. That night, my sister teasingly stole her from me. I sat across the table, pouring enough Ranch onto my lettuce to drown it. I threatened her with something I forget now, but Aurora came ﬂying through the air, and into my hands. Well, that’s what would have happened if my sister had a tiny milligram of hand-‐eye coordination. She landed stomach-‐down into the dressing. The stain went from a pinkish color to a now dark brown patch that covers most of her formerly soft white fur. I once tried to give her a bath in some cleaning stuﬀ, and so I started with her paws. My mom conveniently forgot to mention that the cleaning stuﬀ leaves stains. Her right front paw has a small patch of something or other that has never gone away either. It might be gross to some people, but that is the paw that I always hold her with. And even now, at thirteen years old, I proudly boast about Aurora. Society has taught me that it is childish to have stuﬀed animals, to love them, to even name them. I have 107, and I am a proud stuﬀed-‐animal obsessed child who still comes home from school to my best friend waiting for me atop my pillow. I am still the ridiculously untalented mathematician that has a little tiger perching on my shoulder, whispering homework advice in my ear. I am still the weird kid who walks to the family room on Wednesday night to watch Modern Family in full-‐out kid PJs and a tiger’s paw in my hand. And most importantly, I am still the little eleven year old who reached into that green-‐knit stocking and fell in love with an entirely inanimate object.
Sunset Every night I cover the land like a patchwork quilt. My colors are blended together like fruits in a smoothie. I cover everything like a cage put over the earth each night. As my end draws near the sun melts into the water like marshmallows in hot chocolate. -‐-‐Naira Mirza
photo by Alexia Romani
You must face it.
You must go through it.
You can no longer think.
You can no longer see.
It swallows you up.
It paralyzes you with the chill.
It burns you to the core.
It’s bright and dark, all at the same time.
It hurts to look at it.
art by Isabella Wang
art by Ella Henn Arthia It was a great sensation being in a diﬀerent world. Leaving Arthia felt like a ton of bricks was lifted from me. I was in a world with the Ordines, or humans. Suddenly, my closet made a noise that almost blasted my ears. Cautiously, I tiptoed towards the door. Nobody could’ve made more of a mistake than I. A blast of wind blew knocked me out. The last thing I remembered was seeing Maria. I woke up to the sound of angelic music. It was beautiful, soft and peaceful. But the voice was too familiar. A teenage girl sat beside me in an…inﬁrmary? She was stroking my long, but messy brown hair. I looked up. She had soft brown hair and startling grey eyes. “Gwen,” I growled, my eyes judging her. Gwen’s smile instantly vanished. It was replaced by despair and guilt. There was something else too, an emotion I couldn’t quite make out. “Look, Izzy,” she started. “Don’t call me that,” I snapped. I felt a little bit mean talking to her that way, but she deserved it. either.”
“Look Isabelle, I never tried to hurt you, and the citizens of Arthia didn’t mean to
“Interesting. If you really think I’d believe that, you must really not have a brain. Like I said a year ago, after you attacked me, may I add, I will never, ever forgive you or the people of Arthia for what you did.” Gwen’s eyes narrowed. “So be it,” she whispered. “Izz-‐,” she caught herself at her own mistake. “Isabelle, you don’t understand how much Maria and I missed you. She even nursed you while you were out.” Her grey eyes pierced me like a thousand knives.
First, my best friends make everyone else betray me, brainwash my family so they think they hate me, and then they leave me all by myself to feel miserable, and this is what my former best friend tells me? “We all vowed to be best friends forever, you, Maria and I. We promised to go up to the tree house every Wednesday. Unfortunately, fate had it that you and Maria tricked Arthia into ﬁghting me, just because of something that I was framed for doing. The only thing that you and Maria can do for me is to get OUT of my presence.” I angrily stormed out of the hospital , leaving a puzzled Gwen alone. I walked down the street, hoping not to draw attention. Apparently, everyone recognized me by my bushy brown hair and caramel eyes. Everyone I’d passed gave me sympathetic looks, most of whom I had been close to. To my displeasure, Maria was one of them. Maria’s electric blue eyes met mine, and her eyes widened. Maria was dressed in a dark brown cloak with a hood covering her long, gold, and wispy hair. Her face, which was naturally pale, if I remember correctly, was paler than I’ve ever seen it before. “Isabelle!” she called. Suddenly aware that Maria was going to follow me, I scurried over to the old tree house where I used to spend all my Wednesdays. The inside was a wreck. Spider webs hung from every corner, but the outside was still gorgeous with the blueberry bushes that wrapped around the edges. It was obvious that the tree house was abandoned. The wooden sign (“Girls Only”) dangled from the branches. A welcoming brown door was already open, as if it were waiting for someone. As I looked around, I saw that on a sturdy brown desk was an envelope. The envelope had the famous Arthenian cherry stamp-‐-‐the picture of all the people of Arthia chasing after… me. Fumbling, I opened the envelope. The handwriting on the letter was surprisingly neat, even though the person writing it was clearly in a hurry. Dear Isabelle Irathy, Maria Norwen, and Gwen Quary, I completely understand you might not want to ﬁnish the mission I have started. But, only the three of you can stop them-‐-‐the twelve men (as in twelve ways to kill you). I hope you all are able to succeed in this mission. If you are willing to save the world, or try at the very least, please just go to the main square of Arthia by three on Saturday. Maria and Gwen, I trust you will tell Ms. Irathy about this mission. Isabelle, I know you will not be willing to work with Ms. Norwen and Ms. Quary, for what happened, but without you or anyone of this trio, your troop will not succeed. All of you are important for this expedition to stop the twelve men from taking over the world. I hope to see you soon. Safe traveling Sir Brandon Lethro I read the letter a couple more times. Who is Sir Brandon Lethro, and how come Maria and Gwen knew about him, and I didn’t? I had a billion more questions, but I knew one thing for sure. We had to save the world.
LOL i h8 txtng lingo exponential growth of its populariT silly minds w/o thot they speek cot in a vortex speed w/o a sec to think 2M2handle OMG Not @ the CAPaCT of my real thots -‐-‐Greer Hoﬀmann
photo by Natalie Barch
photo by Alexia Romani
do not reply foggy windows and foggy minds, all too soon you close the blinds.
Terror Terror wears a bloodstained white shirt and dark jeans. His black sneakers are sloppy, but none of his clothing is necessarily scary. His skin is pale as a ghost, and carries a sickly green tint. His eyes have sagging dark circles below them, and are hideous and bloodshot. They are wide open, as though he never sleeps. His tiny pupils bore into you across the yard, across the globe and attack your heart rate. His long nails click together when he moves his hands, chills racing up your spine. Terror follows you. He follows you, only you, and no one else can see him. -‐-‐Jessie Karan
photo by Alexia Romani
photo by Natalie Tuck
Before You Eat, Think Before you eat, think. Try to connect with that piece of something that you are consuming. Imagine its life. The hands that have caressed it, the ﬂowers and seeds it bore, the colorful life it led. Think about its story and appreciate its being. It is not a wonder there is a peel to protect the orange fruit. Things as sweet and fragrant as it Cannot come so easily As just its picking. -‐-‐Teddy Horangic
photo by Natalie Barch
Every Movement Every movement has a story Be it a tale of daring or drama Or tragedy and perseverance An overview of a dozen years and a million people Or a day with one Every story is worth telling Every narrative deserves a thousand eyes Every movement has a victim A casualty Of mind Of heart Of soul Of body Whose dead eyes watch as the world passes by Bright and shining In the distance Every movement has a reason Years, decades, centuries of oppression Systemic and all encompassing Smothering not only them, But their sons Their daughters Every movement has a hero Great and small
Remembered And forgotten Nelson Mandela Malcolm X Martin Luther King Jr. The masses of people Descending upon Washington D.C. Soweto New York Cities across the country To stand up, speak out To ﬁght for themselves Every movement has a result The 19th Amendment The Voting Rights Act The downfall of an apartheid government Legislative, economic, and social changes Raising them up Lighting the way to that bright and shining world That no longer seems so far away Every movement leaves a legacy Of tolerance Of freedom Of choice and chance And that is what matters More than anything else A man presses a kiss to his partner’s cheek, Then enters the federal oﬃce building where he works A man in a white house hands a report to his secretary His skin closer to the black of his suit than the white of the house in which he resides A woman stands before the nation And before every nation, speaking for the American people and government And somewhere A child With skin like night or dusk With a strange feeling in their chest as they behold one of their same gender friends Or perhaps with a pair of navy blue pants, a collared shirt, and a spot at an all girls school Looks up and thinks I can -‐-‐Kylie Holland
The Name Jordan Jordan. My name. In Spain, my name refers to a high-‐quality almond that is grown in southeastern Spain. It means a hard irritable crunch on your rigid teeth. It means foolishness. Almonds are so high in calories and fat that you end up pounding down on many before you realize what you’re doing. It means trickery, deceiving. A bright red color. The color of a cherry shining with its plastic skin in glimpse of sunlight, an overwhelming feeling of too much sweetness, a maraschino cherry. A bright red snickering smile. Grinning at you wherever you stand. Now an awareness of the gloomy truth...a realization of a deepening sadness. Sadness that was once sunlight bliss. It’s that group of people in Paris dressed all in dull black like the evening shadows, when they all bumped into my mom leaving her with nothing. No money. No wallet. No purse. Empty. Empty like the soul of a once loving woman who has faced a darkening loss. Empty after a bomb strike a beloved family’s treasured home. Empty as the beehive after toxins overwhelm their homes of life and honey. In English my name is inﬂuenced by Nike’s line of Air Jordan athletic shoes. The ones who do all the dirty work. Rubbed against gruesome ﬂoors with grey dust, bubble gum covered with dry dirt, and who know what slimy things live down there. They are the ones soaked in your sweat. Piercing sharp stubborn rocks on your demand. Skinned when you make a decisive stop. Cut on the court in seconds of a screech. Transport your heavy and paining weight through each loud step. These shoes just do as they are told and have no say in the matter. The taste of bitter, salty sweat quickly dripping down your tired face. Those toxins that were just ﬂushed out of your body, coming back in again. A cloudy yellow and dark unsatisfying green color. The color of the mucus crawling down your scratchy throat, oozing out your delicate nose, or out your mouth after a shakening cough. A person getting worse, more sick by the hour. Greener and more pale by the minute. And closer to death by the second. Tortured slaves. In Hebrew my name means ﬂowing downwards because it refers to the Jordan river. In Christian religion, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Having this name means you’re Christian. I am not Christian. I am not even religious. All of the unknown colors. Ranging from salmon, turquoise, magenta, maroon, and all the way to spindrift. The unknown colors. The colors that no one really knows which primary colors they originate from. Many people identify these colors diﬀerently. The unknown colors...the ones that cannot be identiﬁed. It’s the taste and feeling when you receive a “Mystery Dum Dum” lollipop. When just looking at the wrapper, you don’t know what’s inside. It’s like looking at the big or small Christmas presents under the grand green Christmas tree that eagers you for Christmas day...when you can open them. When you take oﬀ the wrapper, you see the color of it and you take a guess. But...when you put the delicious lollipop in your mouth, that’s when you ﬁnd out the real truth. What ﬂavor it really is. I am that Mystery Dum Dum. Reveal the ﬂavor to ﬁnd the real me. A Mystery Dum Dum. Nike Shoes. Thieves. Sweat. Jordan. My name. inspired by House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -‐-‐Jordan Jackson
Red The color of ﬁre rage and fear. The glint in your eyes, the reﬂection of ﬂames. Red represents the mad anger and hopelessness in the world. Red blocks us from positivity creates boundaries and limits. It seals us within and doesn’t let us out. Red restricts movement, ﬂow, substance. Red. -‐-‐Aditi Satyavrath
photo by Alexia Romani
Buried in the Past if you were buried in the past would you wear an old faded t shirt and tattered sweatpants that were made ten years ago would you have old leather-‐bound books that belonged to father listen to mother’s favorite old records would you be sentimental sometimes nostalgic eat home-‐made comfort food mother’s applesauce, hot fudge or that pot roast that takes hours to make but you only take minutes to eat it would you cuddle your long lost teddy whisper childhood memories into its chewed up ear while stroking its matted fur if you were buried in the past would you be lost in the ﬂood of time unable to make heads or tails of the future or would you have your head in the present no time for lamenting only to dream and think of what’s to come -‐-‐Kaitlin Rhee
photo by Nicole Orsak
A Piece Of Glass A piece of glass. Not just any piece of glass, a very large piece of glass. A substantial, huge, immense, enormous piece of glass that was twelve feet thick, ﬁve miles wide, and ten miles long. It separated the two worlds, and kept the infection out. Attachaphobialusterosa was the correct term. Love. They thought there must be no love to infect the world, nothing to slowly eat at the hearts of lovers and drive them to madness. The women and men were separated, one in the sky, and one on land. Above in the City of Glass were the males. Below, in the grass huts and houses of sticks were the females. The men sat ﬁfty feet high in the air, and they worked. They were in oﬃces, but made no money. They looked at their electronics all day, their faces blank from the lack of doing anything important or exciting. They wore expensive suits, and walked around drinking coﬀee. They sat in their glass chairs eating their chemical food, and talked about their newest invention. The women lived below on the ground. They had babies and raised their children. At the age of ten, the boys were taken away to the City of Glass, their memories wiped of their life on the ground. The girls followed in their mothers’ footsteps. They wore rags, and their skin burned in the blistering heat, the city above them acting as a sauna. Nothing grew. There was no water. Everything was from the city. Every step burnt their feet; every lungfull tortured their body until they died around the age of twenty-‐ﬁve. No one ever lived past thirty in the City of Dust. Grime and dirt coated their faces, and they never bathed. They were thin to the bone, and vultures picked oﬀ multiple women each day, and ate them as they squirmed on the dirt roads in agony. But no one complained, because the City of Glass was in charge, and they would kill mercilessly, so life continued, just as life should. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Below, looking up the City of Glass, was a girl. She was ﬁfteen, and her birthday was in three days. On her birthday, she would be held in charge of having her ﬁrst baby. She couldn’t decide if she wanted a boy or a girl. Of course she had no option to choose, but she wished she could anyways. If she had a boy, she couldn't bear to leave him. Of course she wouldn’t actually love him, that is forbidden. She would never catch Attachaphobialusterosa, and if she did, she would be killed, hanged actually. But if she had a girl, the girl would have to grow up in the heat and hunger, and she couldn’t bear to think of that. The girl decided that in fact, she did not want a baby, because she wouldn’t want them to grow up in a world like this. Lately, the city had been upping its birth rate. Instead of six babies per lifetime, they were demanding seven, even eight because for some reason in the last ten years, more baby girls had been born than boys. Statistics from the City of Glass showed that 90% of all babies born were girls, and they blamed the women. A scream ripped down the dirt road, snapping the girl out of her thoughts. Three girls came sprinting down the dirt road, a ten-‐foot tall vulture tracking them from overhead. The girl stood there in shock. “Adelina!” One of the girls running screamed. “Take cover!” Adelina took oﬀ, and scrambled into a hut on the side of the road. She beckoned franticly to the three girls running. “In here!” Adelina yelled. Two girls scrambled in, but it was too late for the third. The girl screamed, and the bird dropped. The screams were instantly cut oﬀ. Adelina slammed the broken door closed, or as hard as she could close it without the door falling oﬀ its rusty hinges, and collapsed on the ﬂoor, not daring to lean against any of the walls, in fright the whole structure might topple over. A few minutes later, the bird gave an awful scream, and they heard it spread its great wings and ﬂy away. Their friend had died. No one cried, screamed, or dropped on the ﬂoor giving up on the world. They did not show any signs of Attachaphobialusterosa, because love was forbidden. Many of their friends had died one way or another. In fact, when Adelina had tried to count her friends that had died, she had
lost track and given up. The possibilities were endless. Contaminated food, heat stroke, dehydration, starvation, childbirth, sickness, sand storms, being hung for diﬀerent punishments, and of course, being killed by vultures or other wild animals. Adelina looked at the two girls. She happened to recognize both the girls. Probably from one of her long trudges to get water. One was from Sector 5, her name was Carmela. She came from a better part of the City of Dust than most, and was spoiled with water without dirt mixed into it ﬁrst. The other was Zeneta. She was from Sector 27. She had brothers, and all were taken away from her and her mother. Adelina always thought she was tough, because all of her siblings had been taken away from her or died when she was very young. All three girls looked at each other, shrinking away and drawing into themselves, afraid of some unknown force. Adelina took this as a chance to inspect both the girls, as Adelina was a very curious girl. Carmela must have been named after her skin color, the exact color of caramel, something Adelina had never actually tasted. Her face was cleaner than most, because Adelina could actually make out her lips and nose. Her eyes were a dull brown the color of mud, and they had this squinty look to them that made Adelina nervous. Her hair was long and black; it swooped down her back, and softly tangled at the tips. Zeneta was pale, actually the palest person that Adelina had ever seen in a city where the sun shone eighteen hours a day. Her eyes were pale blue, almost translucent, but they darted around like a deer being caught in the headlights of a car from the City of Glass. She was short, and a gash ran from the tip of her eye to her lip. Her hair must be blond, but it was hard to tell with the dirt and mud coating it. A bang of a gunshot erupted somewhere near the three girls, and Adelina jumped to her feet. Zeneta looked around frantically, then collapsed to the ﬂoor in a heap of rags. Her frail body shook, and silent tears dripped down her face leaving trails in the dirt. She gasped as her lungs heaved in the hot air. Her whole face scrunched up in a big knot, causing the scab on her face to break, blood pouring down her face. She touched her hand to the cut, then looked at her bloodied ﬁngers. She shook like a leaf in the wind, and curled into a ball and sobbed. Adelina and Carmela looked at each other at the same time, then turned away. Zeneta was showing obvious signs of Attachaphobialusterosa, but she was so small and weak. Adelina took a step towards Zeneta, then another, until she was kneeling before the crying girl. She carefully took Zeneta in her arms, and hugged her ﬁercely. “It’s going to be okay.” Adelina whispered, “It’s going to be okay.” “How do you know?” Zeneta whispered back, wiping her eyes trying to stop crying. “Because.” Carmela piped in, “Because someday, someone will change the world, and then it will be okay.” Zeneta looked up at Adelina with doe eyes, then at Carmela. She stood up, and they hugged, sharing that one forbidden moment of compassion. The next day Zeneta was hanged. Adelina’s mother always used to tell her that her name meant noble, that she was her noble little girl, but Adelina couldn’t take it. She ran out into the desert, until the City of Dust was just a distant memory, and sat down and cried, she cried until she could no longer cry, and was dehydrated. She knew she should get back to the city, but she didn’t have the heart or the energy to stand. Something small glistened in the dirt to the side, so she crawled over to it. A piece of glass. A piece of glass from the City of Glass. Why should she live if there is nothing to live for? She knew she would die anyways, there could be no joy in life. Mad with not only anger, and delusional with dehydration, she trusted the piece of glass into her side. “So here I will die,” she murmured to herself.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ She woke to the sound of an engine, something Adelina rarely heard, so assuming it was a dream, she promptly rolled over and fell back asleep. Suddenly hands were grabbing at Adelina, and she screamed and struggled. Punching and kicking at whatever was trying to pick her up. She hit the person hard in the stomach with her foot, and with a grunt, they dropped her to the ground. Adelina hit her head hard against the hard packed dirt, and she moaned. As her eyes adjusted, she saw a man bending over in the dirt, coughing. He looked at her, and his eyes went wide, scanning her whole body and turning away in disgust. Adelina knew she must look like a monster now. She could even feel the fever coursing through her body. She had high prominent cheekbones, and tanned ﬂawless skin. Her lips were plump, her nose a button, and her eyes green as an emerald. She was tall and thin, and her brown hair gently fell down her back. It had wonderful blond streaks that sparkled in the sun. Well, that’s how Adelina imagined what she would look like if the sun didn’t shine 14 hours a day, and if she had one meal a day and had enough water to wash her face with, let alone drink. It seemed as if Adelina wore her skin as someone would wear a too-‐small shirt. Her skinny legs and arms showed not the slightest bit of fat, it was as if anyone who lived in the City of Dust’s skin clung to their bones. The man was tall, and muscular. His blond hair swept across his forehead, and his blue eyes pierced hers with an unmistakable pride that anyone who lived in the City of Glass had. He looked down at her as if she was a piece of dirt, and grimaced when he saw her burnt hands. She scuttled away from the man, knowing the price of hurting a man from the City of Glass was whipping, which just leads to a long, painful death. Adelina considered running, but she didn’t know which was her home, so she cowered on the ground, shivering in the hot heat. She looked away from the man in shame, and squeaked, “Please don’t hurt me.” Her voice was dry and caked with dirt, and she ﬂinched at the sound of it. The man bent down and raised Adelina’s chin until she was forced to look him in the eye. “What a poor little thing.” The man whispered to himself. Then speaking to Adelina, he asked, “Is this how everyone is treated down here in the City of Dust?” Adelina nodded pitifully, and ripped her gaze from his bright blue eyes. “I, I...” Adelina stuttered oﬀ, looking at the sunbaked ground. “I must be going home.” She scurried to her feet, but pain ripped down her side, and then noticed the red blood seeping through her shirt. She remembered the piece of glass from the City of Glass. Adelina grasped her side, and stumbled, crumbling into a heap on the cracked ﬂoor. She sucked in a breath, her hands sticky with blood. The pain of breathing came upon her, and she folded in on herself like a wounded dove. Adelina swore quite viciously to herself as the blackness of night enfolded around her vision and cuddled her into a painless sleep. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Adelina woke to white. Light, bright, white. She giggled to herself. Those three words rhyme. Light. Bright. White. White? There is no such thing as white in the City of Dust. Adelina wanted to sit up, but her head was a jumble of words and images ﬂashing before her eyes. She opened her mouth to speak, but her tongue was as rough as sandpaper. Her muscles didn’t seem to be responding to her brain’s commands. “Oh, you’re up.” A man’s voice drifted across the room like how Adelina imagined honey dripping down her throat would feel. She had heard stories of some women who had found a bee’s nest after a dust storm.
The boy she had seen before in the wasteland came over to Adelina, his eyes brighter than ever. Adelina tried to swivel her head around, but a sharp pain in the back of her eyes kept her from moving. “Where am I?” Adelina asked, sharp red fear ﬂashing across her body, energy collecting in her ﬁngertips. The boy avoided her question, and rummaged with something out of Adelina’s sight. “Where. Am. I?” She asked again, anger and frustration building in her gut. She clenched her hands at her sides, and glared at the ceiling. The mans voice suddenly got very, very small. “Well, you were going to die, you know, if not from your wound becoming infected, but then from dehydration. In fact, I was surprised a bird hadn’t come and taken you oﬀ.” That may have been better, Adelina thought to herself. Instead, she just nodded. “So, my only option was to take you to the City of Glass to get you proper medical treatment.” “What?” Adelina screamed, her world, her life ﬂashing before her eyes. She knew exactly how this would end. In death. “I can’t be here! I don’t belong here! This is punishable by death!” Adelina started to frantically break at the grasps holding her hands the her sides. “Would you just please be quiet?” the boy pleaded with her.
art by Naira Mirza
My Daily Ritual First, the darkness set in A low mist hung in the trees, swirling above omnipresent I touched but the dark mud, and felt myself sinking A cold breeze touched my face And every move I made drew me further to cold, damp, mud And yet I was still sinking! No longer did the starry night sky hang above me, no longer did the birds call. And I sank further, and the wetness caught hold of my face Asphyxiated And then I was able to turn over and I was in a grave, the walls of the coﬃn dried mud which I sank through And the starry night sky staring at me through the omnipresent clouds And I had a revelation Something, I decided Lying on top of me was an exquisite silver and as I put it to my skin I saw a creek It trickled gently and melodiously. The sound of the placid gush was music, a sweet aria in D major, opus 1 that sang in my body and soul My soul. A beautiful red rose melting down my skin. And when the music was over, there was a sharp pain where it stopped. And thus opus 1 ended. Darkness overtook, while a maniacal joy coursed within. I woke up I had sunk further, and as the day progressed, I drifted down the layers of mud As night came, the rain from above chilled me The snails and worms of my habitation shared my body with me And as the day wore on in such miserable desolation, I longed for the surging music The powerful opus that could revitalize my broken body Presently, I found the silver that I had used the other day And this time around, I pressed it to my wrist And a bright opus in E major played in the river that ﬂowed The trumpets sounded, and to a three beat menuette I found myself dancing With a most daunting and daring young man Whose dark stare bore into the inaccessible crevices of my soul And then he faded And I was stuck with myself In a mess of pain, confusion,
art by Riona Yoshida do not reply
and in desolation, through my tears, I cried, “more!” And I pressed the silver to my wrist again, harder And a torrent of horrible sounding notes caught my surprise. They spelled out enough And blackness once again stole my consciousness As the days wore on as such, they passed as if they were hazy summer dreams. I had many visitors inquiring of me, but I hardly remember them. I remember they all came and left, phases of the moon. Some perhaps lingered longer than others, but my present disposition surely bored them. My greatest comfort in such days was the silver. I learned I myself could compose a piece. When I wished for the music to be louder, I pressed harder When I wished for tranquility, I pressed less. When I touched it to my face, the violins would be heard best When I took the pains to touch it lower, the base lines, the darker colors would show themselves. It was always with the most excruciating pain that I would force myself away from my private world of music. And if I were to ever forget what I had composed, the score remained with me. Dried music notes caked to my body. Dried puddles of rushing rivers. Though they washed oﬀ, the scars stayed. At last, these tasks became thankless and mundane. What used to have an eﬀect on me no longer moved me. What I wanted was a symphony, the greatest symphony to date. Something raging and powerful that even the late Beethoven could have never conceived. Fearful of the power I was to embrace, I trembled. I took the silver to my neck and as it felt it pass each layer the music crescendoed the audience petriﬁed deafening the drum beats the violins the crashing Niagara falls all over the place a mess the noise the light the dark the end When I woke up, I was in a bed Tubes were coming out of me An ECG and funny little waves My parents stood by my sides Weeping I lacked the understanding of human emotions and as they wept I was puzzled by their remorse for such a being as myself As time progressed, they moved closer and closer to me Touching my hands kissing me Soon, their words became sounds Features became but colors
Feelings became sensations And I felt a sharp jab from somewhere within And for a single moment my senses were regathered “She is not...” -‐-‐Greer Hoﬀmann
photo by Maggie Gray
Shut Oﬀ Your 5:32 Alarm art by Katie Fearon Shut oﬀ your 5:32 am alarm and watch the morning sky as it turns into pink and splatters itself with blue. Sit there silently and wrap yourself up in the absence of noise. In approximately 28 minutes you will be back to real life. Pippa will shriek with laughter at her cartoons and Alﬁe will break something else while juggling his football. Hiding in your room will not get you away from the noise, unless you manage to dig up earplugs and nick Alﬁe’s noise-‐ cancelling headphones. The trapdoor will creak open and the ﬂuorescent light from the second ﬂoor will ﬂood into the attic. Squeeze your eyes shut, and then open them slowly as you get used to the bright lights. Your mother’s voice will outscream the noise cancelling ability of the headphones and earplugs altogether. IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP, IMOGEN! Fold down a corner of your comforter and slide out of bed, then refold the corner and follow your mother down the ladder—the only entrance and exit in the attic. Follow your mother down the rickety stairs and to the kitchen. See the counter. See the porcelain plates and the bacon and eggs thrown onto them. Grab Alﬁe’s ear and drag him to his seat, and make sure Pippa follows. Get oﬀ, Immy, you hear Alﬁe growl, yanking his head back and tucking into his breakfast. Being a boy, he will devour his meal in two minutes and then begin to take food from your and Pippa’s plates. You will twist his ear again, and he will back down. Get your own food. He will obey and give you a vulgar hand gesture. You shield it away from Pippa’s innocent ﬁve year old eyes and shake your head at Alﬁe. According to everyone else, he will outgrow this behavior soon enough. Glance at your watch every few minutes. You can’t wait to get away from your mother’s tiny house and visit Grandma and Grandad’s seaside mansion in Scotland. You decide it will be nice to get away from the noise of the city, the cramped house, and broken windows (and of course, from Alﬁe’s football work).
-‐-‐Sof Khu to read the rest of the story, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it my fault? Or did you go because you wanted me to suﬀer Wanted to see if I cared enough to cry And as you see me now are you happy with the way you and the world are? A thousand miles away but a centimeter in distance from me yet you still manage to make me feel like this is all my fault but who takes the blame when there is only one who committed the crime? And now, ask yourself Are you happy with the way you and the world are?
If You Stopped To Notice
-‐-‐Teddy Horangic If You Stopped To Notice
photo by Lauren Traum
If you stopped to notice the cherry blossom tree
photo by Jessa Mellea
Are You Happy With the Way You and the World Are?
in your backyard during a bright spring day with white clouds dotting the sky and the lark calling to it’s mate then you have seen and you have felt and you have let for just a moment mother nature brush your heart.
If You Stopped To Notice If you stopped to notice the cherry blossom tree in your backyard during a bright spring day with white clouds dotting the sky and the lark calling to its mate then you have seen and you have felt and you have let for just a moment mother nature brush your heart. -‐-‐Teddy Horangic
My Name My name means star, or Princess of the Stars, or woman with star face, or Morning Star, or Morning Light in the Nahuatl language. I like the meaning estrella. It’s crackly, and sweet. It reminds me of a quinceanera ball gown that glitters in the moonlight, or the moment you put the whole bag of pop rocks in your mouth. My name reminds me of the number 1. It has very few curves expect the ﬁrst letter. The big C in my name especially reminds me of a pink concha. My name means a big concha with chocolate de abuelita on a Sunday morning. My name is a tropical red color, kinda like the color of your tongue after drinking too much Hawaiian Punch. My name was Mama’s idea. She told me she always wanted to name her child an Aztec name to preserve our culture. My name used to belong to an Aztec Princess. I was ecstatic that someone else had my name until I read her story. She was enslaved by a Spaniard who killed the rest of her family. Like my mama, I was born in the year of the rabbit. The year of the rabbit is supposed be the lucky year. Luck does not run in my family. I guess Princess Citlalli didn’t have luck either. I loved my name. The way my mama would say it. Citlalli. She said it as if I were the only Citlalli in the whole world. It sounded like a waterfall of words. I wore my name proudly like a new pair of white shoes. When I went to school everyone didn’t say my name like my mama would. The way they said my name hurt my ears. It sounded like someone trying to talk with those things the doctor puts in your mouth to take x-‐rays. I tried to correct them, but no one ever got it right. Whenever a new teacher would do the attendance they would stop at one particular name. I knew it was mine because they would squint their eyes into small ﬁsts as if it would help them say my name. Everyone would look at me, they knew too. My face looked like a bright red tomato. This was the worst part. I would have to shamefully raise up my hand and say that I am the owner of that name, and say it correctly. The teacher, to make up for the embarrassment, would usually say “Oh! What a beautiful name.” My little sister Montserrat has a name worse than mine. Saying it is like try to talk with a mouth ﬁlled with sticky caramel. If I would rename myself I would name myself Abril. It sounds pretty in both Spanish, and English. It smells like the air after it rains, and looks like the calm before the storm. Abril is like the ﬂower No Me Olvides. Soft blue, like the color of the sky, or like the Downy detergent my mama used to put in my clothes. The ﬂower has a little golden ring in the middle that reminds me of the ring my mama used to wear. It sounds like the Cuban records my papa plays when he is mowing the lawn on Saturday mornings. It feels like jumping in the Arroyo Seco on a hot July afternoon. It sounds more like me. Citlalli is a name for a loud, crazy person. It is not a name for me. The hurt in my ears eventually faded away, and I gave up trying to correct people. My shiny white shoes I used to wear so proudly by then were grey, and dirty. Some would say “Am I saying it right?” I would say yes, it’s perfect, when really it was nowhere close. There are some people who actually want to say my name right. They would try unsuccessfully, but it would make me feel better that they cared enough to try. Is that my name now? The ugly sticky name people call me everyday? When my name was said the right way it would even sound strange to me. It was as if it wasn’t my name anymore. But there I am. In a sea of Katherine’s, Natalie’s, and Lauren’s. I am the huge, bright orange ﬁsh, and sometimes I like that.
-‐-‐Citlalli Contreras photo by Elizabeth Foster
photo by Alexia Romani
photo by Jordan Jackson
A Future Untold a large gaping hole. the starry fabric of time stretching out between you and your future. it surrounds you, rising around your feet. meeting your ankles, yawning over your hips. engulﬁng your shoulders. a sigh escapes your lips. at last, it sinks into the earth, swallowing you. taking you with it to the depths beneath. the bright dawn of the future seems so far away to you, beyond your reach. beyond your lilac-‐scented time fabric. lilacs. they bring dreams. you feel dreamy, light as a cloud. it is midnight, and the sun never comes out of the shadows. darkness dominates. time halts, ceasing to exist. it hangs, suspended like bubbles trapped in a sea of blown glass too late, it is gone, slipping away with a rustle of silk the early dawn seems so far away, too far. just out of your reach, waiting. waiting, just over the horizon, beyond your lilac-‐scented time fabric. -‐-‐Kaitlin Rhee
art by Robin Sandell
Friends of the Flawed friends of the ﬂawed, says september’s child, where have you gone? did you escape to the east where the fourth son won’t be able to drown out your mind? or did you ﬂee to the west where the seventh daughter can’t sing you to shreds? must you hide from us? we are all one, despite the blustery air of the third, or the shivering nights of the eleventh friends of the ﬂawed, she called, come home. -‐-‐Gwen Cusing
art by Alexa Miller
Alone poetry, are you alone? are you ﬁlled with our sadness and weariness? no poem wants to be bound in chains left for years to gather dust on an old bookshelf read in a boring, monotone voice. most poems I know want to be read with expression, feeling, passion they do not want to be mistreated, misunderstood, inspected, poked, prodded like a scientiﬁc experiment gone wrong they want to give ideas, to make people think they do not want to be written for school assignments, homework they need to have inspiration, and cannot stand to be ﬂat sentences just written for the sake of a good grade, or business poetry, do you feel desolate, used, tossed aside like a shiny new book, read in great excitement only to be put away next month to gather dust on that bookshelf? or do you, perhaps, feel loved, treasured like an old worn book with yellowing pages, a faded blue cover but no dust gathering still read with great care, deep thoughts? and when the reader turns the pages, does she turn them carefully, so she does not rip your spine so she does not crease the corners of your pages? surely you want to evoke emotion have the reader experience your words explore the meaning further. poetry, are you alone? -‐-‐Kaitlin Rhee
photo by Nicole Orsak
photo by Natalie Tuck
December 3rd, 1847 The wind speaks to me on days like these. These days, when the grass is a dead brown and the sky is as grey as old Rufus’ fur. On these days, mother tells us not to go outside for fear of the winter’s chill and the bog swamp demons. But Ophelia and me, we are much too old for tales of monsters and creatures. It doesn’t work on us anymore. Yet, mother continues.
Sometimes, I think she misses the way we were when we were children. Oh, but if you had heard the way the wind danced and spun in the air: truly it was magical. Mother says many things these days and one of them is to not fraternize with the things I cannot possibly fathom. But I can fathom what the wind says . . . if Ophelia does. Ophelia knows many things, and I love her for it. I would gladly follow her anywhere. But then again, what more would you expect from a sister? -‐From the Journal of Elodie Fairchild The graveyard is silent when I arrive there on Christmas Day. Perhaps the people don’t want to spend too much time mourning for their loved ones on such a holiday as this: with carolers, festive lights and Father Christmas. What more could we want? Yet I feel a slight chill run down my spin from being here alone. It’s the single cross on the family of graves that alerts me to their presence. I ﬁnger the tiny trinkets in my hand and make my way across the frosty ground, being careful not to step too loudly. Even the graveyard would like its peace every once in a while. I kneel down at the nearest tombstone: the smallest one with the smallest inscription. “Here, sister,” I whisper, placing down the smallest item I hold in my hand. It is a small raven pendant: not unlike the one I was given for my 17th. “Elodie Fairchild,” I run my hands down the tiny words that are inscribed along the stone. “Beloved daughter and sister.” I leave the raven at the foot of her grave, only stopping to take one look at it before moving onto mother and father. For them I leave a small bracelet and an old stopwatch. My parents were not lovers of material happiness. But it is the ﬁnal grave I avoid with all costs. It stands alone in the center of the three, as if it is a king waiting to be coronated. No words are inscribed on its cold exterior, yet it makes me feel sick every time I so much as lay my eyes on its body. “Who are you?” I ask, “why are you here?” It is near sundown when I return home. December 6th 1849 Ophelia told me this morning of mother’s plan for her and me. There is a man coming today; a man of great stature. Whether he is a gentleman or not is a mystery to everyone in the house, but father insists that we give him a chance.
“Your future lies with him,” he told us. “And whether he accepts you or not.” If the former is the case, then what will happen? Father has allowed him to court both Ophelia and me but surely he will take Ophelia’s hand? I am young – too young to grow up under the hand of someone I couldn’t possibly know. And Ophelia doesn’t want him either. -‐From the Journal of Elodie Fairchild Nurse waits for me when I get home. “Mistress Ophelia,” she greets me, her voice tired and hoarse. “Won’t you sit down and comfort your old nursie, dear? She’s had a long day.” I look at her closely. Her skin is sallow and pale and her cheeks have sunken in from hunger. Her hands are as thin as spider’s legs and her gaze is unfocused and glassy. I shiver at her cold and childlike demeanor. There has been something oﬀ with Nurse ever since she came. I sigh, looking out into the dying garden of my home. “Not now, nurse. What’s happened to my garden?” She looks up, curiosity crowding her otherwise dead face. “Why, what garden, mistress Ophelia?” I tap my foot impatiently. “My garden, nurse. Right outside. You were instructed to tend to it daily.” When her eyes resume their glazed and far-‐oﬀ expression, I shake my head and head into the lounge. The windows are large and rectangular: meant to let in the bright sunshine, but today they only show the grey darkness of the sky. The empty, empty sky. I frown as I run my ﬁngers over the dusty couches and the broken portraits. It has been so long since I’ve been into town, but Nurse doesn’t like it when I leave the house unless it is to go to the graveyard. She speaks of dangers and the cruelty of society; as if she knows so much about life. How long has it been since I have seen another face? Long enough to feel as if I will go mad. December 15th, 1850 Ophelia tells me that I shouldn’t be nervous. But how can I stop the jitters that seize me so? The man who came last year, and the year before were all terrible. They had horrible manners, and arrogant natures that I just could not stand! How can father expect me to spend and devote my life to someone like this? It is impossible to ask me such a thing. Nevertheless, another man is coming. This one, I presume will be much worse than the years before. I am dreading that moment. Yet, there is one thing that is keeping me going: Ophelia, dear sister. She promised that she will stay by my side until the end – no matter how terrible that man is. Oh, how did I ever deserve such a sister? She is truly a blessing. Truly. I just hope she never leaves me. -‐From the Journal of Elodie Fairchild I return to the graveyard the following morning due to Nurse’s increasingly strange behavior. I like to avoid her when she’s like that. Bending down amidst the roses that grow along the circle of tombstones, I pick one up daintily and lay it across the unknown headstone. Unlike the others, it is as cold as arctic ice and I pull my hand away in shock. “Who are you?” I ask again, my voice echoing strangely in the open atmosphere. It is strange to be buried amidst my family without permission and a rush of foreboding seizes my heart. I gasp and sink to the ground, staring at its cold empty surface. The mystery of the body that lies under this rock is as unfathomable as ever. As I did not oversee the death of my family, I never saw them being buried or lowered into their tomb. We did not have many family friends either . . . just close relatives. Yet all had died ages ago and I never saw their faces even as a child.
I reach out slowly, brushing my hand against the tombstone again as the sensation of ice rushes through my ﬁngers again. A light shuﬄing of feet close by alert me to a new presence and I freeze. “Oh, lady, lady,” Nurse whimpers, limping forward to the family graves. I take a step back as I see her eyes: blank. “Nurse?” I whisper. I tug on her sleeve lightly, but she does not react. She merely shuﬄes forward and falls ﬂat on her face in front of the unnamed grave. “Oh, lady, lady,” she repeats, mumbling into the ground. “So sad, so sad.” She takes out a long keychain – my keychain – and lays it on the stone. “Mistress Ophelia,” she whispers, scratching my name onto the cold surface. Her nails make horrible screeching sounds as she digs them deep into the tombstone. My blood runs cold as my name appears on the gray memorial. Ophelia Fairchild. Beloved daughter and sister. 1837 – 1855 “No!” my mind screams at me to move, to yell to shout – anything – but I cannot make my feet budge. “No,” I repeat. “This cannot be. This cannot be!” I turn around and seize Nurse’s shoulders, shaking her hard. They are bony and frail – as thin as a bird’s – but I do not relent. “Nurse!” I yell, “Nurse, wake up and tell me what’s going on!” but her eyes remain as lifeless as always. I slap her hard in the face and she tumbles to the ground. Her very form disintegrates in front of my eyes. “What –” I sit hard upon the ground in silence. The blood is rushing through my ears, screaming and shouting. My hand reaches up to tug the hair from my face and encounters tears. I wipe my face angrily, picking myself up from the ground. As the wind howls around my ears, I scream into the graveyard, covering my face angrily. And there is no one there. No one in the graveyard, or the town. No one in the houses by the stream . . . no one in the small tea shop that I used to visit with my mother. No, there is no one there. Not one single person. December 25th, 1855 Believe me when I say it was an accident. She was going to leave me. She was going to run oﬀ into the distance and never come back. Never see my face again. Oh, how selﬁsh! To think of just herself and run oﬀ, leaving me with that horrible man. I would have never forgiven her. And when she told me the news, believe me I screamed. I screamed and I begged, I threw myself onto the ground. At her feet. But she would not relent. And when it was time for her to go, I grabbed her and twisted so ferociously it happened all so sudden. Believe me when I say it was an accident. Oh, how can I live with myself now? The shame is overbearing and it tears at my heart constantly. Mother and father, oh how they grieve. They found her in the kitchen, her body lying limp on the ﬂoor. I’m so sorry, Ophelia. I can only hope that you are happy where you are. -‐From the Journal of Elodie Fairchild ~Fin~
photo by Gwen Cusing
Pouring silver ink Over luscious land Over rolling waves Or over barren sand In a little circle I slowly turn around And face another land And hear another sound But you don’t see me turning Instead you see me grow And once I reach the maximum I turn around to go And that’s when my twin Turns to shine your way Her warm heat and shine Are there throughout the day -‐-‐Simran Sandhu
photo by Jolie Kemp
photo by Emi Sears
And pat him with the very kindest touch, For Ely we do love so very much.
At night with the coyotes he does howl. At day he chases squirrels and rabbits far And comes back with a smell that’s rather foul. We still let him sit with us in the car
His eyes they are a lovely, dark, deep blue, And soft white ruﬄes sit upon his neck. A long pink tongue is hanging out with goo. Fur tangled up with burrs is such a wreck.
Sweet Ely is the nicest dog I know. He licks my face and curls up in a ball And lifts me up when I am feeling low. He comes a running at the slightest call.
Sonnet About My Dog
Fur Romeo’s fur is straight and short, more like hair than the others. It is smooth and oily, almost slippery on the surface. It is wild, too. Romeo with the fur that ﬂies. When he runs, you can see it ﬂying oﬀ, almost as excited as he is. While he looks black, the individual hairs are all gray. They just have black tips-‐-‐he looks big and dark and black, but underneath all that is the ﬂuﬀy gray, that nobody ever sees unless they live with him and get it all over their clothes. It clings to them like plastic wrap. I never walk out of the house without not-‐black hairs sticking to my pants. Roxie is the beauty queen. Her fur is long and sleek, a nice chestnut-‐coppery color that almost shines when the sun hits it. It hangs down in ways that would make other dogs look shaggy, but it just makes her look like royalty. She has black highlights that glide through her fur like a river, and you don’t even notice them until you get to her tail, where the black takes over. But it is not Romeo’s surface obsidian black, hers is more like a subtle ash black. Even her ears are beautiful, with the fur coming down like a waterfall, a small cascade of black on the side. When you pet her, the copper is smooth, but not smooth like Romeo, who is a fast smooth that slides oﬀ your hands-‐-‐it is a soft feeling, a warm kind of smooth. Neither of them have fur like Riley’s, though. Riley was the best. He had a great big crown of golden fur, like a lion, that rose up around his neck. His fur was like a sheep’s, thick and wooly and never ending. When you hugged him, you would sink into it. You could bury your entire face in his fur, and never come up. It smelled warm, and safe, like the ﬁreplace that he would lay near or the Christmas tree that he rubbed against. His fur was a sleepy kind of golden-‐-‐my sisters would say yellow sometimes, but I always corrected them, golden. He had a river in his fur, too, but not like Roxie’s. His river was swirling and curly, with diﬀerent hues of gold woven in with the creamy white of his snout and paws. Riley had that soft, safe golden that you could disappear into and know that it would always, always be there, even though one day it wouldn’t.
-‐-‐Kate Dreyfus photo by Elizabeth Foster
The Children The people. They walked through the thickening fog Of fear-‐birthed answers To the questions of The world
“We are on the move now” They said, their eyes ﬁlled With the bright hope Of an end “We are on the move now. Like an idea whose time has come.” (King)
And in doing so Their voices, raised to the sky, Pleading Came a great many answers All lies. All truths.
And the people Who cherish their liberty Who dream of justice Who cry out for liberation Do not sit and wait. Oh no.
“Help,” they begged the sky, “Help. . . For my child who’s lost within the drowning words That your ancestors so willingly badgered their hearts with Is In the free spirit of this country My home, my home America.”
In the silent hours of the night A child dreams. Dreams of laughter and brightness Dreams of happy days and carefree hours Dreams of dreams that cannot possibly come true Oh no.
And the children Who so willingly fell prey . . . Listened. Listened with their tiny hearts. To the propaganda Of a thousand hateful souls Gathered near the center of life itself Which poisoned nearly a thousand minds. Yet the people continued.
For a child’s dreams are a child’s dreams And child’s dreams are lost to the world From the very hearts of the people Who stand together In perfect, military lines. And campaign For something so much bigger . . . a child’s dream is all they have. -‐-‐Noel Peng
photo by Isabella Wang
photo by Jordan Jackson
Magic Chalk Art The chalk ﬂew into my hand the dusty tails of colored sticks paved a trail down my arm. The sunset gold dripped out, ﬂowering a smiling sun seeds panned out in a single stroke growing taller into trees. A forest surrounded me, frothy branches layering across the sky. I swept the chalk across my legs Thin bands of leaves circleted the air weaving into a sheet. They twirled around my stomach surrounding me with an earthbound blanket. -‐-‐Sophia Nevle Levoy
photo by Elyse Garreau Firework First, the sky lights up A poisonous green Then an electric red Flaring, then dying The crowd is lost in its beauty The waterfall of sparks pour from the bridge They ooh and ahh The loud pops from you Can’t be heard For the cheers And shouts And cries From the crowd. It might not even cross their minds But they are thinking All the same thing. So this is true beauty. -‐-‐Freya Forstall
photo by Christine Cho
The Story of a Girl, a River, a Jump, and a Name The ﬁrst thing you should know about my name is that my father is very afraid of heights. Whenever standing on the edge of a cliﬀ, a balcony, and mountain... he does this oddly choreographed dance. First ﬂinching, a little feminine squeak, and then walking backwards from it with tiny steps. I wonder if he did this when he ﬁrst met the girl by the river. My mother and he were engaged, and were visiting some old friends out in the country. The girl’s name was Jessamine, and she wore no shoes and a wild grin. She was my parent’s friends daughter, only a tiny little thing in my parents’ previous visits. Jessamine did daredevil jumps from the cliﬀs by the river. She grabbed my mother’s hand and they leaped in, screams chasing after them. They climbed back up with diﬃculty and adrenaline, shaking and shivering under the coat of water around them. My mom had so much fun that day. She told me about it twenty years later or so. Anyway, they decided it was time to make my father stop freaking out and ﬂinching each time a drop of water hit his foot. Jessamine scurried to one side of him, mom to the other. And that universal woman thoughts-‐connection allowed them to grab his hands at the same time and jump down into the river, his screaming drowning out theirs. The name, you might ask? An ugly baby swimming in a pool of goo was deposited on a white table. My mother didn’t know what to think, and maybe the hormones were clouding her vision a bit. I’m too afraid to ask her if that was the cause. When she looked at my father, she saw a reﬂection of a river, a girl, and jump in his eyes. From those images, her mind formed a name. “Jessie,” she said. Jessie is a name crafted to be a boulder dowsed in river water. Surrounded by algae and little tadpoles, tall and tawny green trees. Jessie is an odd word to say, stuﬀed with a mouthful of vowels, but yet ﬂows out like a river. Everyone in the English world can pronounce it with ease. Jessie, if it could be a number, would be inﬁnity. You cannot count the drops of water in a river. Jessie, if it were an animal would be a sly one...exotic, daredevilish, full of pools of wisdom and jumps of stupidity. A roaring river like a roaring tiger? Or an aardvark, exotic, stupid-‐ looking...Jessie is undeﬁned. To this day I look back on this ridiculous river of a name, and wonder what Jessamine was like. How cold the water was that day. If one day, I’ll ﬁnd that river, grab my parent’s hands, and jump.
art by Cali Triantis
Domino You don’t think about it until you know of it, You don’t know of it until you learn of it, You don’t learn of it until you can handle it, You don’t handle it until you understand it, You don’t understand it until you experience it, And you hope to never experience it. A feeling of cold, A feeling of darkness, A feeling of hate, A feeling of anger, Cold, dark, hate and anger. And one question. Why? Death is cold, Death is dark, Death is hate Death is anger. It makes you feel lonely, It makes you feel vulnerable, It makes you feel lost, And it makes you feel trapped. You are a domino. Death is what pushes you over. It brings down all those in its path. It’s destructive, And it’s selﬁsh. It needs all for itself, No matter what age. Whether they’ve barely seen the world, Or ﬁnally left it behind. I lost a friend, She barely got a grasp on life, She was young, She was brave. Vulnerability. It takes hold. One domino, Falling. And so do the rest. -‐-‐Jenna Karan
photo by Natalie Barch
Who Am I? Darkness, looking into a mirror I don’t see anything, only fear When they come in it starts to stink If only they knew that I could think It is lonely in this cage When someone comes in, they take center stage I don’t know why I’m afraid Some old woman, she likes to stay with me all day I enjoy hearing her talk and sing Sometimes her laptop she likes to bring I'm treated like a second choice That's why I like to hear her voice Death, pain, crying and sorrow Her daughter's goldﬁsh, she won't see tomorrow They drop something diﬀerent oﬀ each day Eventually it ends up in the bay After they’re with me, less they will weigh When they think of me they laugh and make fun They make jokes about me with a diﬀerent pun But they don't know I have a heart I guess that's a pretty good start. Who am I? -‐-‐Chloe Middler
photo by Zoe Sarrazin
Flame Once there was a man. This man had a family. His child was dying and his wife, as smart as she was, could not cure it. The mother held the child and found it growing cold. The earth at this time was particularly cold so, to feel someone who was colder than the earth was not only unusual but also scary. One night as the family slept the parents dreamt. The father dreamt of a high-‐speed race but, this race took place at night and besides the moon and stars there was a bright light. An unconceivable light. One that looked as though it was from the unimaginable punishment of what was believed to be hell. The mother dreamt of a rainy landscape, which was interrupted by a spark of glowing light. However she was dreaming of the night and a light such as this, which was so small and so faint, could not have existed. This light, as small and faint as it was, glowed softly, which compelled the mother to continue dreaming. The mother looked around within her dream world and recognized the place where she stood. She looked around longer and saw two shadowed ﬁgures creep toward the light. A chill ran down her spine as she looked at one ﬁgure. It was not uncommon for people to have a cold air around them for, the earth was quite cold at this time. However one of the ﬁgures had a particularly cold air about him. Too cold. The mother redirected her focus toward the light. She wondered what it could do whether good or bad, after all it was so small and so faint. As the shadowed ﬁgures made their way to the light the cold man made a grab for it. A thunderstorm echoed in the ears of the little family and it woke them all up. First the father woke up. He saw that outside their little makeshift home it was raining. The mother woke up second. She too looked outside but found no lightning falling from the sky. The baby woke up last and began to cry. A thing it had not done in a long time. The parents rushed to the baby. The father calmed it down and then the mother cradled it back to sleep. Just before the baby’s eyes closed the mother saw a faint glowing twinkle in them. When the baby fell to sleep once more the mother looked outside. She saw the lightning. This lightning was the most powerful lightning she had ever seen. For a moment after the lightning had struck the air around it was covered in a cascading, golden light. It slowly decreased but the mother could still feel its presence. The mother told her husband to go to the place she had seen in her dreams and to ﬁnd the soft glowing light and bring it back home. The husband seemed wary but she continued to push him outside. She told him to go get the light to save their child and before the cold man could reach it. The father went oﬀ in the rain past the places he had seen in his dream, to the place his wife told him to be. When he arrived he saw a soft glowing light. It was golden, like a precious metal.
Not bloody red as he had seen in his dream. It was soft and gentle. Unlike the roaring pyre he had dreamt of. As he crept toward the light he saw another man in the distance. As the father looked at this man, he felt cold. Everyone on the earth at this time was cold but this was too cold. There was something about this man’s cold aura that lead the father to believe this man was selﬁsh and wanted the light to be harbored away and to never see the surface. The two men crept closer and as the selﬁsh man was about to grab the light, the father swooped in, snatched the light up and began to run home. The sky continued to rain and thunder but no lightning, which confused the husband, but he shook it oﬀ for, he was focused on running back home. The light felt warm in his hands. It was something that he had never experienced before but became quickly adjusted to. Then the father had a craving for more heat. He breathed onto the light to see if it could become warmer. It did. However it became less soft and hardened a little. The color changed from a light and precious speck of gold to a hearty yellow like the sun. This alarmed the father and he lost his addiction to the light immediately. He breathed upon it once more to try and cool it down. This did not work. The soft rounded aura became sharper and smaller. The color became orange with a hint of yellow still existing and a hint of red color appearing. This frightened the father so much he dropped the light. The light spread across the ground like liquid. The red was added more and more to the color. Steam began to rise. The father found a log to let the light cling onto but it began to burn the log as well. The light was slowly charring the log, coming closer to the father’s hand when he began to run again. With limited time to get back home the father faced yet another problem. The selﬁsh man began to attack the father. The man had begun to beat the father, prodding at him harshly, and grabbing at the withering log. When the selﬁsh man could not hold on to the log he would let go, allowing the father a chance to reclaim it. The man would yell into the father’s ear to give it to him because it was his. He would yell to give it to him because it belonged to him and no one else. The father continued to run. The father looked at the light once more to see it had turned to the light in his dreams. It was in fact not a light at all but, pure fury. A ﬁre. Then the father let go of the log. The selﬁsh man caught it just in time to grasp it once and then have the wood burn away. The ﬁre engulfed the selﬁsh man and was then no more. The father stood there watching the rain douse the smoke and ashes. He saw that all remained of the log was a splinter that lay in the grass. He stared blankly into the night sky, which thundered once more. Then he remembered that the light was supposed to save his child. The man fell to his knees.
Looked up into the sky and whispered softly one word. Please. Then the second lightning bolt struck the splinter and caused it to emit soft white sparks. The father bent down and held the sparks in his hand. This time he exhaled ever so gently and turned the sparks into the small golden light he had once had a hunger for. He then proceeded home, careful not to breathe upon it any more. When he reached home the father gave the light to the mother who placed in upon a pile of sticks and stones. The father recoiled as the ﬁre materialized but soon relaxed as he found it was not the hellﬁre he had seen before. Nor the heaven descended light he had held only a moment ago. This light was soft and of an ember color. It was warm and inviting. It gave him and his wife hope. The family, including their child, sat by the ﬁre that night. The mother felt her child grow warm. When the child opened its eyes she saw the golden light she had seen once before in it. She saw the ﬁre dance in its eyes. She saw the ﬁre dance in her husband’s eyes. She felt the ﬁre running softly upon her cheeks. She felt the ﬁre running softly around the room. She went outside to see the rain had stopped. The ﬁre was now alive in every area that was once cold. She saw it glimmering in the sky and in the river. She saw it sparkling where people had been born. She saw it softly shining even where the selﬁsh man had died. She could feel it awakening the hearts of all the people and animals. She saw it in her child. Her child that was once more alive and well. She saw it and felt it everywhere. What she felt did not come from the light alone. It had come from something much smaller. Something that could grow with either vanity or aspirations. A ﬂame of hope and love. A ﬂame of desires and wishes. A ﬂame of wonder. One ﬂame had started it all. Flame. -‐-‐Grace Frome
art by Isabella Wang
photo by Alexia Romani
Riverbank You know that my troubles like to overﬂow And the boy who lives down by the river Hates it when they do So he’s helping me build a dam And it’ll beneﬁt both of us That is, if my troubles don’t knock the dam down ﬁrst -‐-‐Natalie Barch
photo by Talia Kertsman A light that is true For you see, the little blind girl does not use her eyes to look for friends, or love. She uses her heart. All she sees is darkness. Yet she lives in a world of light. A world that isn't like mine. Little blind girl, teach me how to see. -‐-‐Isabella Wang
photo by Meg Turnbull
art by Chloe Nicolaou
Too Many, Too Lonely Mary Stanley had so many kids. Yet many feel alone, since they all have no friends. It’s not her fault, you know. Her husband on a full time job and she’s always caring for the three babies at once. She cannot take care of all eight. Too many, too much. Those Stanley kids are bad. But how can they help it when their mother is all alone always taking care of the babies. Mary is constantly changing diapers, breastfeeding and babying, the other boys are ignored. No time to take care of all eight. Their mother never gives any attention to her ﬁve others. We had these neighbors, they were disgusting. They’re like wild, dirty rats. All silent as the dark night sky, lurking around the darkest places ever imaginable, and just waiting for the best time to strike. The best time to sneak into homes for food. Or the best time for tricks. Those boys. The kids’ egg, toilet paper, and spit on houses. Some throw big heavy rocks in their neighbor’s cars. Even my mom’s convertible. Some climb those tall trees like monkeys as if they were born to do so. They never hesitate, they never doubt, they just keep on climbing up, up, and up towards the cloudy sky. Up in those giant trees they wait and wait. Wait till you come outside of your house only for them to drop a big bucket of who knows what all over you. Sometimes it’s sticky as melted caramel against teeth covered in metallic braces. Slimy as a snail’s acidic skin. Wet as a loud thunderstorm of rain, chunky like cooked beans all mushed up together, or even squishy like neon silly putty. Nobody cares about them anymore. We all try to help but they don’t listen, they just keep doing. The youngest went to the public park and pulled his pants down and was showing oﬀ his butt to the girls as they ran away screaming. One of the parents told him to pull up his pants immediately, but he just started peeing on the parent’s shoe while saying, “You’re not the boss of me.” People try to help Mary parent them, but it always backﬁres on the people with an injury, a destroyed house, or a stinky shoe. The kids are like hunters, searching out prey. Their prey being the victims, us. The other neighbors. Destroying each neighbor’s house with eggs or spit or soccer balls. But with lonely eyes gazing out from their laughter and taunts. You can see it the way their eyes droop with sorrow and their pupils grow big. They just want attention. Deep down they are lonely and full of sorrow. The only way to express their feelings is to hurt others for all the emotions that are hurting them inside. They got sensitive hearts, but at the same time callous ones. Sensitive as a baby’s soft and soothing skin. But callused as an experienced guitar player’s tough and rigid thumbs. These neighbors were disgusting. But, very lonely. But, those hunters are too chaotic so others ignore and turn them down. inspired by House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -‐-‐Jordan Jackson
Years of torture, Covered with the words of a nation so cold. Desperate people, Smothered by a standard grown old. Not a voice to be heard, Just a thought called absurd. All looked down on. High-‐ranking folks did not see that they mattered. Striving women, Who fought to keep from being tattered. Ladies waiting for change, Then expanding their range. Segregation, Four heavy syllables that carry such weight. Pigmentation, Written in the stars, it’s called fate. People fought for their rights, Through their words and their ﬁghts. Rainbows waving, Twisting in the ﬁerce crowd of blue cloth and crime. Recognition, “It was all those faces all the time” (Boyce) Didn’t look to be bothered, They worked to be honored. We like to think that it’s over, That we ﬁxed all the holes, All the chips in the wall. Putting our masks on our faces, We erase all the traces Of our making them fall. Although it’s true that we’ve changed, That it’s not as severe, It is not gone for good. We need to face what the truth shows, That there still are those with woes, Part of our nationhood. Humiliation, Just because they looked a certain race to them.
Arizona, The place that passed this biased law, So many blue uniforms, After speciﬁc souls. Pure matrimony, Not given to certain couples, Girl and a boy, The traditional way of love, But love is love, Who are we to judge? Land of freedom, Diﬀerent ideas and varying thoughts. Old legacy. Will we keep what’s been already taught? Or let people with closed minds Open their eyes; not be blind. -‐-‐Nancy Lopez
photo by Jolie Kemp
art by Frannie DiBona They Didn’t Realize What They’d Done They didn’t realize what they’d done until it was over. And even then, it wasn’t clear to them right away. They refused to believe it; they turned away from the cracked streets, caked with debris. They blocked out the sights of the collapsed houses, reduced to mounds of charred rubble. They even ignored the anguished cries of the starving people that rang out from the trees. They ignored all they had done, until they saw her. She couldn’t have been more than seven years old. She was the one they saw, sitting atop the fence, her feet bare and dusty, her lips blue from the cold. They saw her face, shadowed with hunger, bearing the hardness of a youth who has seen too much. But what got to them the most were her eyes. They were engraved with a knowledge, a wisdom that had been forced into her, as her village crumbled before her. Her eyes were narrowed. But not with anger. No tears, either. She had exhausted those emotions long ago, and had found that it was easier to function without them. If she’d let her anger boil over, she wouldn’t have lasted. She would have gone insane. No. Her eyes were narrowed with scrutiny. She was examining them, wondering if they could even be human. She wondered where their values had gone. She wondered if they could see. Oh, she knew they looked. They looked, all right. But that was no great feat. And she knew they weren’t used to seeing such a powerful stare. Why was it so powerful? Because her eyes were diﬀerent. She, who had been through too much, who had watched the destruction of everything she’d known. Of course that penetrating stare of hers made them nervous. Her eyes didn’t just look. They saw. inspired by “Central Park,” composed by James Newton Howard -‐-‐Maddie Goldberg
I Wish I sit on my bed The mattress creaks below my weight I straighten my six pleated skirt and fold my hands across my lap
Because the yelling is louder and the crying is harder and tears are not from me But I know they will be soon I wrestle with my head
My hair is perfectly combed to each side Chapstick on my dry lips Absentmindedly picking oﬀ the skin around my nails
I am back at the beach. I step out of the water Shake my hair The droplets catching the sun
I am imagining myself in a diﬀerent time A diﬀerent skirt In fact, I am wearing a dress
I take oﬀ down the beach, leaving the waves in the distance
I break from the grasps of reality My hair is tangled My lips are dry So I lick them I am running through the wind A bird set free of its cage I am inhaling nature Then I am back to reality My six pleated skirt My folded hands And I hear the yelling The screaming from the kitchen And the skin around my nails bleed And I clench my hands a little bit harder Try a little bit more forcefully I am back I run to the beach And sink deep into the sand Run into the waves Slipping oﬀ my dress I dive head ﬁrst into the ocean The water cooling oﬀ my lips Washing away my bloody hands And I am back into reality
I run I run until my surroundings are a blur of pure speed and color Wherever my feet take me I will be happy Because I want to travel. Travel the world. My feet bring me home To my bed My perfect hair My blood stains on my skirt My chapped lips I start to hum Frantically No, there is nothing horrible happening in my kitchen It is all about his failing grades His “not acceptable” weight And ﬁst ﬁghts in the alleyways Can’t he just be perfect the way he is? But I just can not handle yelling Handle ﬁghts too many memories I would hate to revive Can’t they see that each word they speak Every time they raise their voice It cracks my heart breaks it
just a little
the ﬁsts ready at his sides
Because I know he used your money without permission but can’t he just repay you I know he forgets to turn things in But he was born that way
The tears streaming down my cheeks They are my only meal Because I know there will be no dinner tonight.
I know he lies But don’t you know That he has no friends? Have you noticed he never gets invited anywhere? People call him gay a fag they punch they steal his headphones his bike and leave him notes saying they do so All he wants to do is ﬁt in All he wants to be is accepted All he wants is just one friend And you say the reason he is failing his classes is because he is not trying hard enough Oh no Oh no no no! How can you even think that When you don’t even have the slightest idea So I escape the world the only way I know how Through music I hum louder And I taste my salty tears The words form on my lips Just gonna stand there and watch me burn But that's alright because I like the way it hurts Just gonna stand there and hear me cry But that's alright because I love the way you lie I love the way you lie Because he lies Yes he lies to your face But he does it so you don’t see the hurt boiling in his eyes The tears building in his throat
So I sit there, with my bloody ﬁngers in my lap And I look And notice some glue On my ﬁnger, from art class earlier that day When I had slipped into my skin and plastered on my smile That glue made me think that maybe My life is stuck together by glue it keeps me tight, and together nothing escapes I am caught but then it crumbles peeled layer by layer melts in the heat and I am broken but someone takes the glue thinking it’s for the best and seals my emotions into a wooden box trapped forever thinking it’s for the best but no I cannot settle for just my emotions trapped away so I take the glue and I pour it over myself let it settle on my skin let it dry on my lips let it clot my ears until I can not longer speak a word of revenge no longer taste the bitterness and sick no longer hear the scornful cries of my enemies no longer smell the burning of our souls no longer touch
you and I am stiﬀ as glue but glue is not always a good thing And I know that he Hates glue and that is why he uses lies to cover up
And now when I hear those hateful words in the hallways The pebbles skipping across the surface of the water Until they sink deep into the heart I stand Tall and proud Because every person with every ﬂaw is perfect just perfect to me -‐-‐Brooke Weller
art by Isabella Wang
A Poem to Poetry O Poetry, With your twisted ways Your diabolical simplicity Your vivid tales Of a confused mind Scream of depression And yet also of a happy medium Quietly singing all that is pretty in this world Poetry is a blanket made of gold Weighted but beautiful Like the celebrity with everything implants But poems need no Botox Poems are elegant by themselves People should learn from poems What if Poetry was a religion Would you worship a poetic god? Perhaps not, because you, poetry You are an evil room Dark with no light, Just ink, Suﬀocating any writer It doesn’t matter what language it is in Poetry is a blindfold, Everybody tries to tear you from their eyes But only a few succeed We call them mentally ill All their creativity pulled out until All they have is the dark visions With no way to say what they are thinking Do you see what you have done, Poetry? You have caused arguments And you are the reason I am writing this poem at all -‐-‐Izzi Henig
photo by Gwen Cusing
photo by Alexia Romani
do not reply foggy windows and foggy minds, all too soon you close the blinds. minds are closed and mouths are open, faking smiles with hopes broken. “do not reply” they’ve closed the line, however you seem to be out of time. your tearful eyes are silently pleading, your wrists and heart are slowly bleeding. everything about you they try to break, make everything hard, plastic, and fake. and to think that this might be the end of it all, with no one there to stop your fall -‐-‐Grace Stephenson
Swish, Swash, Swoo!
photo by Yasmine Razzak
It was quite a freezing night that time. I was out camping, setting up a campﬁre. Feeling lonely, for my own cheerfulness, I baked my perfect dream dog out of some spare gingerbread that just happened to be in my knapsack, in my portable oven. Tick-‐tock-‐tick-‐tock. Time ﬂew by, for soon enough, the oven door sprang open, which was really strange. Out bounced the dog of my dreams. She was a bright Yorkshire Terrier, and I named her Shamrock, seeing her sniﬃng at the clovers around her. Peering at me, she suddenly bounded into my lap. “OH, the adventures we’ll have, Shamrock!” I cried out with joy, but also rubbing my eyes sleepily. The dog’s eyelids closed shut, synchronizing
exactly with mine. The next thing I knew, it was morning. I sniﬄed, and decided that Shammie and I would have a cookout. I’d heard that this vast forest served a speciality of the rare plant, minalope. We’d have to have a treasure hunt. I stared down at the brown and black ball of silky fur next to me. “Up, girl, up!” I crooned, coaxing her. No reaction, not a budge from her body, though I thought I had seen an eyelid open, and then swiftly and sneakily close. Lightbulb! (I thanked Thomas A. Edison for the wonderful invention in my mind.) “Squirrel!” I yelled, pointing toward a tree trunk. That did it She leapt up to ﬁnd it. “There wasn’t a single animal in sight, silly. But come on, we’re oﬀ to explore.” Obediently, she hopped ahead of me. We soon halted at a beautiful dazzling, diamond-‐sparkling river. And on the lush riverbank was a cluster of bushes with...emerald-‐green leaves of minalope! What good luck! I swung a sack with tools oﬀ from my back. Then I reached inside and dug out a bucket. Shamrock and I then ripped out tuftfuls of the aromatic, minty-‐smelling plant. When we’d had our bucket ﬁlled, I ruﬄed the cute terrier’s furry head. We were turning around to stroll back, when WHOOSH, SWISH, SWASH!!! A frightening current moving at an alarming with, my goodness, with bluish-‐greenish piercing eyes and a long, white mustache and beard splashed out. Go ﬁgure. “Leave your bucket here! You have taken the sacred herb!” his voice boomed. Who knew? “No! This, this is mine, I-‐I, I picked it with my dog!” my voice trembled as I spoke, hiding the bucket behind my back. Shamrock tried for a brave growl, but what came out was a whimper. “There’s no need for a debate. My goodness, I hate politics and arguments. I’ll give you a deal. You ﬁt one more item in that bucket, you take it, otherwise, give it up.” I tried and tried, but we’d already built a mountain over the top. Every leaf I tried to put on top fell oﬀ. I was despairing. Shamrock, however, scratched her head and rolled around. Suddenly, she halted, perked an ear up, and pitter-‐ pattered toward me. She then gnawed and chewed a tiny hole in the bucket. Then she looked up, with her eyes shining, her tail wagging, her tongue out, panting. Her eyes peered from me to the bucket. “Oh, Shammie! You are the smartest dog in this whole world!” I turned toward the spirit. However, instead of being angry, he watched with a very curious, interested look. “See? Shamrock put another thing in that bucket, a hole!” I waved the bucket in his face, grinning. “Yep, I saw all right.” He had a much younger voice, now. With a swish and a twirl (yeah, I know, very unmanly), he turned into a young boy about my age, with dark brown, sleek but messy hair. “I’ve been watching you and your clever dog so far. And...” he paused shyly. “And...what???” I questioned, dying to know. “And, um, I’d-‐I’d like to be your friend.” “Yolo man. What are you waiting for? C’mon!” His face broke into a wild and mischievous grin. “Last one there is a rotten bone!” Shamrock wrinkled her nose. And we dashed oﬀ.
Where I’m From: I am from plastic pools, from lakes and lanchas. I am from piñatas balanced on string. (Bright, inviting, I couldn’t resist) I am from tres leches, birthday parties that made me a princess even just for a day.
photo by Nancy Lopez
I’m from Chapstick and Mickey, from Barney and Good Night Moon. I’m from the smarty-‐pants and the carefree, from metiche! and no llores! I’m from roses in June, crying with bee stings, in the twinkling sun.
I’m from Denny’s and that Chinese place whose name I can’t recall, Hotcakes and sweet boba. From the kidneys that failed my uncle, to the tears my grandma shed for another son. Up in the closet was a baby bag, bulging with memories, a blur of kind faces to rest forever in my heart. I am from those seconds, captured on paper, To live on as I fade. -‐-‐Nancy Lopez
photo by Grace Douvos
art by Katarina Lyseggen art by Katarina Lyseggen
photo by Elyse Garreau
Imagine a place where being “gay” was normal Where being straight was illegal You love the same sex That is normal Imagine a place where the darker you are the “better” you are The paler you are the more you are discriminated against Being white is bad White skin is a sin Imagine a place where men stay home all day while women work Men take care of the kids Men aren’t useful Women make the money for the family Women do everything Imagine a world where everything is opposite gay not straight black not white women not men “Frustration, years of frustration, Tormented us and ridiculed us Treated us as were subhuman It was those faces all the time We knew there was trouble” (Boyce) How was this equal? How was this allowed? How was this encouraged? People standing up for their equal rights. Not allowed, not accepted Is this who we are? Is this what we stand for? Protests, boycotts, marches Was that not enough for us to realize the harm we were doing? Signs saying “colored” and “white” “no gays” “men only” They stood up for their rights But what if life was still like this? Would you stand up for what you believed in? Or would you just watch in the background, Waiting for a change that would never happen? -‐-‐Wallis Hess
art by Lauren Ashby
Night Walking Sun droplets drip from the sky And scorch the nighttime grass as I Walk along the pool where the stars meet. Funny thing be a weeping girl, with her Back bended over, and her Hair almost kissing the water. Hesitant is the silver, wrapped around my slender Ankle, preventing my every Flaw from escaping. Does the world not seem like Glass tonight? Does the splendor of the woods not feel so Shameful against the pride of the Lion, who roars, asserting himself As the king of it all? King of Glass. All it is, Is glass. Glass that reﬂects Itself upon Itself upon Itself and Me. Me, the girl in white, walking through The emerald, ebony, curled loosely Into ribbons and slices of Connections. Is it good enough? Am I good enough? Will I ever be? -‐-‐Natalie Barch
photo by Jordan Jackson
Tsunami My mind is whirling faster than a hurricane Taking hold of one and then another Just oﬀ the coast of my shores Too close for comfort I swell to the size of a million suns compacted into an enveloping box And jump up so the jumping rope does not skim my knees But instead so that I land upon a terrorized city I do not pity Go forth with beating incessantness Tearing away this and that, Putting it all together in one big mess That will soon be separated into individuals To be risen to the heavens at death By the hands of me Growing in size yet again and beat against their guilty sins I am terror coursing through their veins Destroying all they know And love I do not love Feeding on fear I take back all they have snatched for themselves Taken from us From me From my brethren that go globally Universally a force knocking on their door And shooting them straight through the heart In one quick motion Sinking to the depths of the earth and bouncing back up to the sky Cruel and forgiving in one bundled package Delivered by a man with a curling mustache So thin he would be transparent if he turned sideways But stretching in all directions when facing forwards You do not see him coming Not me, nor him Until we are upon you, us, we Invisible death dealers -‐-‐Katie Mishra
photo by Gwen Cusing
A single technicolor sash falling from the sky As it falls it stains with white Until it becomes invisible The brilliance of the blues, reds, greens, and purples Choked out so much that they can no longer speak Only left with the bitter taste of hate Hate The daughter of Ignorance and Fear It was Hate along with her daughters Oppression and Segregation who put up the signs Whites Only No Blacks, Mexicans, or Dogs But it was Equality that led people to march from Selma to Montgomery 320 people Both black, and white 320 people all shouting “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested." (Sister Pollard) 320 walking the 54 mile journey of equality, and justice Two Great Nations separated by a river The cruel unforgiving river A small girl only the age of three crossed this river to a land called America America: the only home she ever knew Yet a voice still taunts No you are not American No you cannot go to college No you cannot get Health Care Just go back I’ve seen a man choose between his health, and his work. I’ve seen a young woman be denied what she deserves just because she is missing some numbers Even though I have seen all this injustice I still hear a choir of “Yes Sir’s” in my head The work is not done yet The ﬁght is not over Not until a daughter can be reunited with her mother Not until women are truly equal to men Not until anybody can proudly show their true colors without the fear The fear of being diﬀerent Only then the war with Hate will be over -‐-‐Citalli Contreras
photo by Zoe Sarrazin
I Will Never Forget That Day I will never forget that day as long as I live. I could see it rushing towards us, steam billowing out like a great ﬁery monster. I heard a whistle pierce the air. A ﬂash of light. A scream. Sirens. Then darkness. Total darkness. I opened my eyes to a fuzzy scene. There was a woman who I didn’t recognize standing next to a little blonde girl in a wheelchair. To my right was a doctor in a white coat, and two nurses standing beside him. I blinked and the picture came into focus. I tried to sit up, but was immediately forced down by a sharp pain in my head. The room swirled around me. I leaned back onto the stack of soft pillows, wishing this was just a dream. The man in the white coat leaned down towards me and whispered my name. “Cleo?” I stared up at him, my green eyes penetrating into his dark ones. He pulled a stool over and sat down. The woman wheeled my sister to the other side of my bed. I could see that her arm and leg were both bandaged. “Aleta. What happened?” Talking required strength. Strength that I did not have. The doctor put a hand on her shoulder. “Cleo, your family’s car got hit by a train. Both of your parents were killed. When we found you, you were on top of Aleta, shielding her from the train. She only broke her arm and leg, she will recover soon. You undoubtedly saved her life.” Aleta clutched the blanket that was covering her, her tiny face crumpling, pushing into the folds of soft cloth. “You however, were not so lucky. Both of your legs were crushed and your arm is broken, you also had several cuts on your back and arms.” After that, there was just silence. The two nurses left, beckoning at the woman, indicating for her to leave. She left, reluctantly. Slowly, Aleta put down the blanket, smoothing it on her lap, her head down. The doctor looked at them for a moment, and headed out too. “It’s all my fault!” Aleta cried, throwing her good arm around my waist, and putting her head on the bed. “No. Aleta, don’t go beating yourself up, it wasn’t your fault.” My body quaked, though of emotion or exertion, I wasn’t sure. We stayed there for a while, Aleta resting her head on me as I stroked her hair. “Who was she?” “Who?” “The lady that was pushing your wheelchair.” “Oh. That’s Ms. Pickett, a social worker.” The nurses returned. One of them wheeled Aleta out of the room. The other was carrying a plate of food. Putting on the side table, she produced a small table that she placed over my legs. She then set the tray on the table. Leaning forward, I took a sip of water, and picked up the fork. I dropped the fork on the blanket and leaned back on the pillows, tilting my head back and closing my eyes. The next days went by slowly, yet in a blur. I often woke up, and found myself nearly hoarse. When asking the nurses about it, they told me that I had been screaming, from nightmares, they presumed. In an eternity and a blink of an eye Aleta had her casts taken oﬀ and started to regain her strength. My condition had improved, but not much. Finally, the doctor decided that we were strong enough to be taken home. We would gather our belongings, go to Scotland to sort out some matters, and then go to live with our aunt in France. She was very nice, but I didn’t want to leave my old life behind.
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Cages You're a piece of sharp silver Ready to cut everything you've made to shreds And though you have your needle and thread, Sewing everything together Won't make it the way it used to be You're a bird little one Fly away before you get hurt You're a bird little one And your wings will only ever cover you in dirt Kiss away the tears of dawn, as you Run through the seas You see you're a beard Trapped in their throats And though you remove yourself They'll always feel the burn You're a bird little one Fly away before you get hurt You're a bird little one And your wings will only ever cover you in dirt do not reply
art by Riona Yoshida
And when yaou the chance you foggy windows nd realize foggy m inds, wasted all too soon you close the blinds. ird are open, minds are closed Little and mbouths heart bw ill faking smiles wYour ith hopes roken. Break “do not reply” they’ve closed the line, however you seem at b o ird be loittle ut oof ne time. You're your tearful yes abre silently leading, Fly aeway efore you gpet hurt your You're wrists aa nd h eart a re s lowly b leeding. bird little one And your wings will only ever cover you in dirt everything about you they try to break, make everything hard, plastic, and fake. -‐-‐Natalie Barch and to think that this might be the end of it all, with no one there to stop your fall -‐-‐Grace Stephenson
Beautiful What is that? What is that word that came from your tongue It's foreign to me As foreign to me as French is to German What is it? What is beauty? A skinny waist? I want a skinny waist A big bust? I will never have a big bust A perfect shape? How I need that
photo by Alexia Romani
All of these things All of these things that make up beauty I don’t have I don’t have any of them Why are they beautiful? I don’t know But what I do know What I know deep down That I must be them But is it truly beautiful? -‐-‐Meg Turnbull
photo by Yasmine Razzak
The Garments Worn in Flying Dreams The garments worn in ﬂying dreams, their voices -‐-‐ sun kissed and ageless though passed us with a silent hour smiling frost-‐bright in the evening morning They, who whisper deafening wishes, who seek to ﬁnd the truth in colors of endless wind-‐sung lies and wish for eternity in the death-‐hold of life I see the matchmaker, heavy with loss, who speaks the future and sings the past through hourglass words that dance through the night I call on the heaviness of wonder and dream of the words that bind us The glorious, and the magical with the façade of perfect imperfection and the whimpering truth of dark deception they hang up on the speckled-‐leaves their stories, spun with the gold of their wealthy spirit.
I wait for the moment and seeing the new light of dawn, I fall once again, into that world of spoken dream. -‐-‐Noel Peng
photo by Grace Lee
And with the wind in the ears of many they search on with their heads, dipped in the bright light of the new morning and spotted with the mark of night’s whispered legacy