Chez Nous XXX
In Sacred Heart Academy’s D-24, Led by a teacher so patient and sincere, There is a club filled with creativity galore. Silent talents of writing and art, often easily ignored, So, within these pages there is quite of range Of ideas once stemmed from loose leaf, New like a season signaled by loose leaves’ color change. Months of work and organization Were put in for Chez Nous XXX’s creation. We all hope you enjoy this special edition entitled “Loose Leaf,” Made with an amount of love beyond belief. Chez Nous 2018 Staff Tracie Dinh, Editor ’18 Mia Anthony ’18 Bridget McCabe ’18 Cece Schuller ’18 Brigid Benko ’19 Glenna Gobeil ’19
Artwork by Tracie Dinh ’18 Cover Art by Eileen Piombino ’18 Back Cover Art by Natasha Karnoto ’19
Katherine Belle ’20 Maura Gibson ’20 Emily Gorski ’20 Christina Pippis ’20 Anya McDonnell ’20 Amelia Sharkey ’20 Lauren Tomcavage ’20 Ryleigh Wiemer ’20 Emma Karn ’21
Table of Contents 2
Place of Refuge
Before and After
Lost Until Dusk
I am from the depths of the great blue
I am from black coffee
A Short Stroll Through the Past
I am my own worst enemy
To My Nighttime Home
A Flower in the Snow Artwork by Brigid Benko â€™19
Loose Leaf The confines of the mind Yields all to my skin Though in speech It has been forbidden to tread With arms outstretched, I invite words and imageries unspoken Though my vacuity Threatens many Enmity and companionship I have known both well I lie, crumpled and forgotten I am cherished and held, safe No one has adorned As many a facade as I I am truly infinite untapped realities Waiting to be brought to life By Gwendolyn Fry â€™20 Artwork by Tracie Dinh â€™18
Telling Tales I cannot tell a tale my own Of mountains dark and overgrown Of finding caverns all unknown Or sailing seas while quite alone I’ve never lost my way before Trying to reach a far off shore Nor has great adventure ever bore Me right away from my own door I’m no hero, hobbit, or fay And adventures never come my way Except in what a book will say as it swaps my life and steals my day By Cece Schuller ’18 Artwork by Cece Schuller ’18
A Place of Refuge She forces her reluctant, trembling feet down the sidewalk, in through the double doors. Inside holds a comfortable vestibule, decorated with flyers promoting the parish school garage sale and youth ministry meetings. Just before the door leading to the church, an old, worn sign she has seen countless times before sits comfortably on the floor, “Trust in God, and He will lead you.” The girl walks through the door, her mind pacing back and forth with questions. The homey details of the church she knows so well dull in the shadow of her thoughts. She walks to the door of the choir loft only to find it locked. She tries to sit on the step to wait the few minutes until she can enter, but finds herself wallowing in her anxious fears. In a desperate attempt to distract herself, she walks around the church. Down the aisle, up to the altar, back down the aisle again. The church has always been a place of refuge for her, where she can go to pray her worries away. But why is she finding it so hard to put her trust in God when she is in the place it should be the easiest? She is pulled out of her thoughts by the rattling of keys unlocking the choir loft door. The pianist greets her, excitedly recounting her granddaughter's first steps earlier in the day. Once in the choir loft, the pianist begins searching for her music, the loft squeaking with every step. The girl forces herself to peer over the ledge. The beauty of the ornate pews is highlighted by the stained glass windows overhead, sunlight bleeding into the cracks of the wood. The Crucifix stands tall, the chin of Jesus eye level with the girl. “So, are you nervous?” the pianist asks, organizing her papers on the piano. “A little,” the girl replies with a slight laugh, nervously cracking her fingers. The pianist sends a dismissive laugh in her direction, “You’ll do great, I know it. Do you need to go over the response?” she asks. “Yes, please,” the girl responds. With that, they rehearse, and her heartbeat quickens with every moment. Soon, she hears the sound she has been dreading since she woke this morning. The bells charm their melodic tune, signaling the beginning of Mass. Her mind loops over possible outcomes. Will she forget the lyrics? Will her voice crack? Will she succeed? The bell chimes fade into nothing, and it comes time to open her voice to the world for the first time. She takes a deep breath, and her mind drifts back to the sign she payed little attention to on her way in. She has always trusted God with trivial things, and she decides this is no different. With a burst of courage, she opens her mouth, and lets God lead the way. By Bridget McCabe ’18 Artwork by Amelia Sharkey ’20
Before and After Their words felt like the noose around my neck Their actions felt like the gun against my head Their hatred felt like the blade against my skin I didn’t know what I did wrong to receive their disgust I didn’t realize their thoughts were eating me alive I didn’t notice that I became a glass that wasn’t half full, just empty I couldn’t sleep I couldn’t eat I couldn’t breathe I couldn’t live They say that things have to get worse before they get better But I couldn’t wait that long
Their words feel like I am not alone in this world Their actions feel like I finally belong somewhere Their love feels like I mean something for the first time I know that they are here for me, even when I think I’ve lost it I realized that these people are the greatest I have met, and will ever meet I noticed that I have become a better version of myself, a glass full of life I can sleep I can eat I can breathe I can finally live They say things have to get worse before they get better And it was worth it, worth living
Poems and Artwork by Dana Becker ’18
Picture Perfect Almost drowning in the crowd, I struggled to make my way to the front. I squeezed through the mass of hot, sweaty bodies pressed together all around me, awaiting the headlining act. Excitement electrified my body, replenishing the energy that was drained by the heat. This was no casual event. This was a day I’d been waiting for. I excused myself as I slid past person by person, claiming I was meeting my friend in the front. I received a nasty glare from a girl I accidently knocked into. However, her remarks were the last of my concerns. My only concern was reaching the front as soon as possible. Strenuously, I continued to inch closer in a way that felt like I was cutting through heavy brush in a dense forest. Finally, I stood with my hands resting on the front fence and facing the performer on the stage. My few friends were beside me, but their facial expressions showed that they lacked the same eagerness. I reached my hand around my back to remove my bag and take out my phone. There was no way I could miss getting a video of this moment. I unlocked my phone, opened the camera, and raised it to begin recording. As the headliner walked out, a wave of screams crashed around me. The noise from the audience seemed to take up even more space. After a moment of disbelief, I cheered and flung my arms through the air. My phone, loosely held in my right hand, slipped out and fell to the ground. Quickly, I bent down to inspect my device. As I turned it over, my bliss slowly faded. I sighed and disappointedly put my phone back in my bag. I tried to shift my focus from my phone to the performer, the main reason I was there. For a second, I felt like I was missing a part of me. My phone was an extension of myself, but it had been doing the living for me. Without my phone in my face, my perspective widened from the 2”x 4” screen to everything around me. I pivoted my head to see a sea of phones held as high as possible in an incessant effort to capture the moment. And for that time, I was grateful I had dropped my phone. I looked up into the sky, closed my eyes, and took a long, deep breath as the singer’s voice flowed into my ears. As I opened my eyes, the sky was a beautiful blue, a color that reminded me of cotton candy at a carnival. I no longer worried about getting the perfect video or posting the ideal picture. As I lowered my head to face the stage, my eyes locked with the singer’s in a moment that lasted forever. By Norah Sanoury ’18 Artwork by Isabella Chan ’18
College Application Process of college applications, Why did you cause so many complications? Essays and long forms galore, So much responsibility, too hard to ignore. Procrastination hindered any productivity, Stress dissipated my creativity. Deadlines approached much too quickly, Just remembering them makes me sickly. Common App and Naviance, although not yet forgotten, No longer leaves me feeling so rotten. However, thanks to you, college application, I now know next year’s destination.
By Tracie Dinh ’18 Artwork by Natasha Karnoto ’19
Clear Clear enough to see through, but not see beyond Like the dancing reflections induced by sunshine on pond Along the gentle surface I struggle and strain to see what, compelled by unknown purpose, drifts lazily beneath The more I stare at the glassy plane, there focuses a figure unknown As ripples settle and water comes clear, I find my own eyes rest upon my own With each passing second, I come to the truth, the reality of what I now see All of this time I’d been searching for you and you’ve only been showing me me By Eileen Piombino ’18 Artwork by Brigid Benko ’19
Magic Magic is real in a weird sort of way As the pianist’s fingers remember to play Through hard work and determination. Musical notes are a glorious creation.
The dancer’s step is an art itself Entertaining from a stage instead of a shelf. There’s magic there, and she’s learnt it well And in her motions there’s a story to tell.
Sorcery too, exists without doubt As the poet’s penned word is able to shout. Scribbled on paper, and not a bit cheesy Through practiced skill, she makes it look easy.
The athlete holds a power unique A skill she’s worked for and been right to seek. From muscle memory to a split-second decision She becomes a hero with practiced precision.
Enchantment abounds as an artist draws And a blank page becomes a wolf with jaws. Line after line, and little by little With pencil and eraser, she is able to whittle.
So magic exists in a comfortable way When passion and diligence come into play. From there all sorts of possibilities abound If only one dares to look around. By Cece Schuller ’18 Artwork by Norah Sanoury ’18
His Eyes His is a young face, but already wearied from the things He has seen and suffered in His 33 years. A brown beard curls softly at the chin, hair falls to His shoulders, the forehead is surprisingly smooth for a man who seems to be carrying some deep sorrow. It is only His eyes that show His sadness, but despite the sadness they are beautiful eyes, deep chocolate brown with flecks of gold that sparkle when He smiles. His lips do curl with a smile whenever He is around others, even His closest friends. But perhaps He does not realize that His eyes betray His closely guarded feelings. I have glimpsed it. I am nobody; no one He knows, no one He’s even spoken with. Just an observant stranger who sees things others don’t. Yet sometimes I like to pretend He knows me, and He’s revealing His deepest secrets to me with a glance. I see the look in His eyes whenever He thinks no one’s watching. It’s a look of despair, of resignation. His eyes show a great sadness, but it is a calm sadness, not wild anguish, that marks His features. It is as if He already knows what is to come, and knows He cannot prevent it; He accepts it, but despairs because it will hurt His friends so deeply. He wouldn’t even have to tell them if they could see as I do the sadness in His eyes. But they have grown so accustomed to Him that they do not recognize how He expresses His feelings in that way. His eyes may show the greatest sorrow, but they hold nothing but compassion as He gazes on the ones He loves. How can someone express such grief and such love in just a glance? His eyes hold depths of emotion. To me, His eyes mean everything. To have His gaze on me is to be drowning in an endless love. I have a deep desire to be the recipient of that love. If only it were for me too. Sometimes I wish I had the courage to go up to Him and speak, but I do not. The fear that He would reject me is too great. I’m used to living in the shadows. No one pays attention to me, so what would make Him any different? He carries a great burden on His shoulders; I have glimpsed it. So how can He carry the burdens of so many others? He doesn’t seem to mind the throngs of people who crowd about Him, constantly begging Him to ease their suffering. Yet I am still afraid to approach Him. I almost can’t believe that He would love me. It seems incomprehensible that He could love someone whom He has never met. And yet He seems like someone who defies comprehension. But still, what if I were wrong about Him? His eyes show a deep love, welcoming and unconditional. But couldn’t I simply be imagining that? I don’t trust myself enough to risk it. His friends have a fierce love for Him, one that would tear down walls to keep Him safe. I think I can see now that His grief is not merely for what is to come, but at the way His friends will react when He tells them. He knows they will try to stop the inevitable, and His sorrow is for their heartache when they realize it is inevitable. Even as His own fate may cause him sadness, He thinks only of those He loves. And He loves us all. Suddenly I think that even though I barely know Him, I would die for Him. Without even meeting Him I feel a deep and devoted love for Him. But perhaps He does not want that devotion. Perhaps He realizes it will only make it harder for Him to do what He has to do. I feel His gaze on me and I smile. I may not have ever spoken to Him, and yet, I get the feeling He knows me anyway. His eyes seem to see right through to my soul, and read the deepest thoughts enshrined there. This is no ordinary man. I wonder if His friends really know how remarkable He is. Yet He loves them anyway, for all their faults. He loves the poor, the sinners, even those who hate Him. Could this unconditional love extend even to me? Yes, it seems that His eyes are inviting me to share in His love. I think I will go up and talk to Him after all. By Emma Karn ’21 Artwork by Katherine Belle ’20
Lost Until Dusk She sat beneath a tree, scanning the vista before her. She saw nothing but nature, which retained some intangible quality that drew her back to the same spot every day; perhaps it was the appeal of losing herself in it, or maybe the promise of finding some unknown. It was captivating, addicting even. First, she sat passively and observed the world around her. She watched as geese grazed in the grass beside her, loitering lazily in the overgrown pasture and honking loudly at each other before taking off in formatted flight. She took note of the grass beneath her, the slight prickle of the crisp blades pressed against her resting body, the foreign world of bugs and sod that had lain unperceived beneath her feet for so long. As if trying not to disturb this new world, she gently maneuvered to her feet and tread light-footedly across the field. She was no longer observing; now, she explored. She approached a line of trees, examining the bark. It was thick and coarse and peeling away in several places. She pulled back a section, sending a spider scurrying across the trunk and revealing smooth, light wood. She rounded the base of the tree and crouched to look into a small hole. As she imagined, it was purposefully placed to conceal some uncharted little animal. She rose back up with mud on her knees, a clear indication that it had recently rained. Imagining an animal sloshing gingerly through the mud, she excitedly retreated further into wooded area. She scoured the ground in search of the distinct markings she was looking for, and her heart fluttered when her eyes fell upon the smeared prints of some unknown creature. A deer, she thought, had passed that spot as it scampered through the night, or perhaps a fox had trotted there in search of its prey. A call erupted from beyond the trees that brought her to attention. It was her mother, leaning out of the back door of her house and bellowing into the dusk. Dinner was ready. She, like the creatures she imagined, darted back across the yard, leaving her own tracks as she went. By Eileen Piombino â€™18 Artwork by Amelia Sharkey â€™20
Her Eyes I cannot tell you The color of her eyes. In honesty, I know it not. But I can tell The way they dance When she’s set Her mind to mischief. I’ve seen them sparkle With a joy That a smile Could never convey. I’ve seen them drip With tears of sorrow, And it made my own Heart bleed. I’ve seen them Glitter with determination That any enemy Would be wise to fear. It’s true I cannot Name the hue. They shift with Time and feeling. But to say I know her not Well...that would not be true. By Cece Schuller ’18 Artwork by Katarina Kinslow ’18
His Voice* He speaks boldly in their presence, and they hang on every word His mouth spouts the vibrant wisdoms desired by minds allured But he hides behind expression, and his slyly crooked smirk Telling nothing of the truths that beneath his surface lurk To her, his words are nothing, she stares instead at his mouth, its part And traces the empty syllables spat coldly at her heart Beneath his voice a message, conveyed by unintended tone The indifference laced within his words meant for her alone For his were the lips that had once captivated her, sang of her, gently kissed her But now he is a shout in the night and she is but a whisper
*Third Place Winner in the Edith Garlow Memorial Poetry Contest By Eileen Piombino â€™18 Artwork by Isabella Chan â€™18
I am from the depths of the great blue Mediterranean Sea Dark chocolate hair that floats wild and free With scales of red, blue, gold and silver Gazing in my dark eyes, you may start to shiver For I am not the girl most people see Because they really don’t see the real me Some know me as a girl from Newtown Square Who draws and paints, with family there However, everyone should know things are not always as they appear Since I am at my happiest when a blue ocean is near My dream is to visit every sea and ocean There will lie, in each a different notion Some will hold beauty and some may be old However, in the past I have found artifacts, that glimmer with gold I am happy to say I have friends of two worlds Some from beautiful land, and some among the pearls My friends here I love, cherish and adore Just like my others who swim along the ocean floor While my heart may be there, my life is on land With my loved ones and friends who are not near the sand I am a girl who likes Pitch perfect, shopping, and singing Who also likes her phone that is constantly ringing I sit at my window seat cuddled up in my fleece throw Thinking about my other life I love and know If I had my choice of life, I know not what I would do But I’m happy enough to be amongst all of you By Mary Palumbo ’21 Artwork by Cece Schuller ’18
I am from black coffee, sunny skies Tropical candles, lemonade. I am from the salt in the air, the sand in my toes, A touch of sunburn on my nose. I am from loud music, the speakers blow, Heading to Broadway to see a show. I am from soft pretzels and city skylines, Then to cold pizza and suburban nighttimes. I am from the ones who love me, Keep working harder, so nothing could ever stop me. I am from the random weekends with my grandmom. Sometimes I wish my grandpop wasn’t gone. I am from summer sunsets and sun kissed skin, Broken bones and scraped up knees. I am from wax on my surfboard, And climbing up trees. I am from freckled cheeks and braided hair, And ruthless games of truth or dare. I am from books and board games, And thundering nights. I am from sitting outside under the stars, Looking at the sky from afar. I am from ocean eyes, So don’t let me drown.
By Sofia Corcoran ’21 Artwork by Mary Palumbo ’21
A Short Stroll Through the Past I opened my eyes and had no recollection of what had happened. Trying to get a sense of my location, I looked at my surroundings. The first thing I saw was a brick wall with the letters of my elementary school printed on the top. In front of the wall stood a little girl. She had short black hair pulled into two french braids, stood at about four feet, and had the biggest smile on her face. Though the rest of my surroundings were a bit blurry, what stood out was her bright pink trolley backpack and the sign that said, “Welcome to preschool.” Within a blink of an eye, the scene changed. Now I stood in an empty middle school hallway. As I began to make my way down the wall, memories of my three years spent in this hallway flashed before my very eyes. The first a montage of the cringiest pictures of my friends and me making faces ranging from the classic duckface to the infamous winky face. The next memory was of my teacher showing my class how to properly do a headstand on a desk. This same teacher was also the one who taught the whole class several yoga poses to help de-stress before tests. Looking back on my middle school life, though cringe-worthy at some points, made me smile and think about how fast the time has gone. As the middle school hallway began to fade, the structure of a familiar building started to emerge. Walking cautiously towards the building, I noticed before me a sign that said, “High School Awaits.” I realized what the building was: Sacred Heart. Upon entering the building, the first floor walls were covered in pictures from events such as Freshmen Day, sweet sixteen parties, and district championships. One in particular caught my eye as it captured the essence of true happiness. This picture was a candid of my friends and me laughing and smiling like we had just won the lottery. Looking back on this picture, I honestly do not remember what we were laughing about. All I know is that I felt utmost happiness because I was surrounded by the most unique and caring girls who I am blessed to call my friends. Just as the scene was changing once again, I was pulled out of my fantasy by the sound of a bell. Now back in present time, I was forced to stop scrolling through my camera roll and go to class. However, before I went to my last class of the day, I recalled the reason why I started looking through my camera roll in the first place. As my high school years came to a close, I needed a visual reminder of how far I’ve come from the person I was in preschool to today. To progress in life, I need to look at my past, remind myself of the meaning of happiness, and remember that there is always room to make new memories. Similar to my camera roll, the pictures I have saved are of significant milestones in my everyday life. Though I will not always remember every detail of my life, pictures will be there to capture the best moments of it.
By Rachel Bunado ’18 Artwork by Katarina Kinslow ’18
I am my own worst enemy Arguing against my identity. “You’re great at that” they’ll always say, But I’ll turn my back and look away. I’m flattered, really, you’re very kind, But I cannot see what you see with your eyes. I can only see flaws and the mistakes that I’ve made. When you see beauty, I can only feel shame. A paint stroke too heavy, a phrase fallen flat— You tell me it’s gorgeous, but I can’t see that. I don’t mean to be rude, so I’ll smile, but decline. I can’t see anything in my work that’s sublime. I wish, for a change, I could borrow your sight So that I could one day see my effort with delight. So I stop—I breathe—I step away— I forget about my misshapen array. When time has passed, perhaps I’ll return, To the canvas or loose leaf my peace has earned. I’ll look at my work with an open heart And realize what I have created—art.
By Brigid Benko ’19 Artwork by Dana Becker ’18
To My Nighttime Home
Your mattress provides a home for me all throughout the night. You keep me warm and cozy until the morning light. My head rests gently on the warmth of your pillow, And my feet curl up under the covers like an armadillo. But when the sun has risen, your covers go awry. And I must take the time to put them back where they should lie. You always make me late for school and usually cause delay, Preventing me from starting off my week the right way. Your corners make it hard to walk around without getting a scrape, And your sides are held up by a piece of adhesive tape. You look me in the face and call me when I can’t rest, Instead I have to go and entertain our guest. But your cushions are always there for me when my day has been long. The welcoming warmth of your covers is like a soothing song. And despite all of your treacherous tricks that are difficult to oppose, Your soft and cozy headrest makes the perfect bed I suppose. By Kayleigh Doyle ’20 Artwork by Amelia Sharkey ’20
Deceptive Smile “How hard can it be?” I ask aloud, hoping to deceive Myself and any others About my ability to achieve. It’s a place that I find often, Though I wish that were a joke. There are so many little dreams Already up in smoke. Going into them I know This mess is my own making Just me, my little brain And the confidence I’m faking. I take a deep breath, Certain of failure and a smile. It’s about time anyway, I haven’t been the fool in a while. Is it really even failure If I only try for fun? I hang on to that thought And begin my doomed run. By Cece Schuller ’18 Artwork by Emma Karn ’21
Mother Nature You can find my heart in the middle of the sea Not in the body meant for me You can find my soul deep within the trunk of a tree Because the roots are growing inside me You can find my mind amongst the wildfires that can engulf entire towns Because my ideas create the loudest sounds You can find my voice in the incessant pounding of thunder Because the roar of my breath could tear you asunder You can find me surrounded by a cyclone Because the raw power of nature is all I’ve ever known You won’t find me hunched in a dark corner shrinking myself Because my body is not small enough to contain on a shelf I belong to no one Because my ferocity will not be silenced You cannot stake a claim over my body Because you can’t own something that was never yours in the first place You cannot tear me down Like the mighty sequoia, I will grow again You cannot have me because I am a force of nature Too powerful for you Do not call me weak because I am a woman I was raised by nature herself By Dana Becker ’18 Artwork by Isabella Chan ’18
A Flower in the Snow “Boarding pass please.” My mind is elsewhere, and I had not realized it was my turn in line. I feel embarrassed, because the others have their tickets ready. I awkwardly apologize and search the inside of my purse. I grab the wrinkled ticket, flatten it out the best that I can manage, and hand it to the impatient man. The wheels of my suitcase roll smoothly as I walk across the jet bridge. The soothing sound of the wheels becomes louder as the bridge starts to decline. I walk a bit faster, anxious to find my seat. I arrive to the door where I am greeted by friendly staff. I lift my suitcase onto the plane, and my mind starts to wander again. I walk along the narrow path until I arrive at seat 18F. The edges of my lips curl up into a slight smile, because I love the window seat. My arms are too weak to lift the suitcase above my head into the overhead bin. A strong gentleman with firm features offers to help, and picks up my suitcase with ease. I thank him sincerely and quickly sit in the soft chair. I sink down deeply, letting the fear of the journey belittle me. An entirely new world, thousands of miles from home. My mind cannot imagine what my eyes will later see. Fear creates a world in my head that does not welcome me. I will stand out like a flower growing in the snow. People will stare, immediately knowing that I do not belong. Strangers will see me as a foolish tourist, but I am not simply interested in flashy attractions. I want the surreal experience of an unexplored culture, with foreign smells and exotic faces. I will need generous guidance since I am alone, but my palms become sweaty at the thought of asking for directions. My head spins with worry, and nerves begin to exhaust me. I feel my eyelids become heavy and escape my concerns by falling asleep. Bright light from the window warms my face and seeps through my eyelids. I slowly open my eyes that crusted together from my mascara. My vision is blurred as I see the airplane fold-out table in front of me. I blink a few times and feel as though I might go back to my dreams. However, I catch a glimpse of the view outside of the window. I see the never-ending, pillowy clouds hovering above an unfamiliar landscape. The ground is bright green, and I see glittering water from the sun’s reflection in the distance. The scene looks like heaven, impacting my perspective. The incredible sight brings me back to reality, away from the thoughts that locked me in fear. Perhaps a stranger of this new world will be as generous as the firm-faced man who lifted my luggage. Or maybe I am meant to be a flower in the snow, adding color to a blank space. As the plane flies toward the end of its journey, I begin to embrace the unknown. The unfamiliar landscape intrigues me, and I feel destined to explore it. The serenity of the sparkling water allows me to breathe steadily again. I continue to look outside of the window, patiently waiting for the plane to land. By Mia Anthony ’18 Artwork by Amelia Sharkey ’20
2018 literary magazine of Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr Upper School. Published each spring.