ON THE COVER
Ethan Pistella: Untitled
Naomi Michelle: Identity Scene
Estuaries Editorial Board Managing Editor Andrew Walser
Literature Kanika Bryant Phoebe Lease Julie Long Andrew Walser
Visual Art Kathryn Osgood Christina Weisner
Design & Layout Patrick Detwiler
This magazine is the third annual edition of Estuaries. It features creative contributions from students, faculty and staff. It was produced and printed at College of The Albemarle, Elizabeth City, NC, in 2017. 1
Isabel Beteta: The Sunset I Skipped Class For
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Phoebe Lease: come home Brande N. McCleese: The Vessel Maria Sutton: Yesterday Brande N. McCleese: Edge of Night Cindy Hayes: Ode to the Wetlands Cody Marks: A Traveler’s Boots Autumn S. DeMartino: Winter the Rarity Kathryn Louise Wood: Ghostwriter Phoebe Lease: mortal Kepler Cindy Hayes: A Warning Blair Harris: A Boy in Army Green Brande N. McCleese: Bleeding Words Phoebe Lease: Uncertain Salvation
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Sudeepa Pathak: Far Away in Alisha’s Cupboard Isabel Beteta: The Wedding Andrew Walser: Albania Anastasiia Ovcharuk: A Trip to Dubai
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Ethan Pistella: Untitled Naomi Michelle: Identity Scene Isabel Beteta: The Sunset I Skipped Class For Anna Doll: Poppy Kathy O’Neal-Ringer: Desire Kitty Dough: Flower Yiyi Han: Power Brian Crowson: Untitled 2 Maria Shishova: Untitled 2 Cari Leary: Lonesome Rostyslav Kurtov: Fish Carson Davis: Pendant Natalia Titenkova: Black Ring DeeDee Weatherly Wilkins: Journey and Reflection Lisa LeMair: Communicating with the Void Dorothy Ansell: Leaf Erin Johnson: Untitled Cari Leary: City Reflections Hanna Lebedynska: Reflection Olha Fidyk: Loneliness Kelsey Louise Dozier: Connections Annie Tynch: A Game of Candyland Sabrina Lynn Wartenbee: KAWS Hanna Lebedynska: Memories Shelby Bartley: Memory of Biltmore Gardens Hannah Sahr: Untitled 1 Deloris Samuelson: Sakura Maria Shishova: Untitled 1 Hanna Lebedynska: Flower Hannah Sahr: Untitled 2 Maria Shishova: Splash Olga Blyum: The Elephant
Anna Doll: Poppy
come home Phoebe Lease
Kathy Oâ€™Neal-Ringer: Desire
Kitty Dough: Flower
Persephone stayed as will you for cyclic faith and loathing Hades reaches out you have sympathy for the devil come forth, like a fawn he snaps your neck there is no place for the foolish and docile take pomegranate seeds of pride swallow and taste bruises run back into the road trust the headlights they will hit you they will always hit you.
Brande N. McCleese
You fold into me Blurring the lines between My soul and yours. I am pouring out my emotions Only for you to usurp them Collecting my hurts for later use. We are floating towards infinity Meeting in the same point and place Circling back to each other again and again.
Yiyi Han: Power
You lift your hand, wave a little I smile in reply A silent conversation Before we part ways, take our separate paths You’ve got your life, I’ve got mine We cross but never intertwine That’s not how it used to be
Yesterday Maria Sutton
Oh, how I wish I could go back in time Rewind the clock and Go back to the time when we’re smiling Go back to the time when we’re laughing About that video you showed me Go back to the memories we made All the others would leave but you’d stay Or at least that’s what I thought Is it too late? I want time to go back and for you to stay with me You look at me, smile a little We’re tryin’ to ignore The awkward pause in Our friendship, it’s different, and I don’t like it You’ve got your life, I’ve got mine We’re fallin’ apart and it’s not fine That’s not how we used to be Oh, how I wish I could go back in time Rewind the clock and Go back to the time when we’re smiling Go back to the time when we’re laughing About that video you showed me Go back to the memories we made All the others would leave but you’d stay Or at least that’s what I thought Is it too late? I want time to go back and for you to stay with me Stay with me Why do you have to leave? Please stay with me Or can we Go back to the time when we’re smiling Go back to the time when we’re laughing About that video you showed me Go back to the memories we made All the others would leave but you’d stay Or at least that’s what I thought Is it too late? I want time to go back and for you to stay with me Can we still keep in touch? I know it’s not too late Please don’t say this is goodbye
Brian Crowson: Untitled 2
Far Away in Alisha’s Cupboard Sudeepa Pathak
Days came and days went, moments flew away without even a moment to notice their departure. Alisha the super-busy woman did own a couple of pretty watches, but did not have the time to check them. An entrepreneur running a budding online supply store, the mother of a young fourteen-year-old daughter, and the wife of a well-performing regional manager of the Hilton group, she wore so many amazing hats in a day and played so many roles, much more than found woven into a Shakespearean drama. The drama did get a little break, this week, with her daughter Hannah away at a science camp and Peter, her husband, on an annual conference in Brussels. Alisha was luckily at home on a Friday, thanks to her work (which was not in emergency mode) and a snowstorm (which was pounding the East Coast and bringing the whole area to a halt). Truthfully, in some ways she was really enjoying this forced stay at home: the break had come after a real long run. Sitting at her desktop computer and trying to draft some letters for her future vendors in China, she looked at the wedding ring on her finger. It was a rather big solitaire, a perk of marrying a rich man, but somehow looked a little dull from years of wear and tear. “Where is my engagement ring?” she asked herself. It was, as she remembered, one of her favorite things to wear in the past. Alisha thoughtfully got up and came and stood in front of her cupboard. The locker section of the cupboard housed all her wearable jewelry, old photo albums, some old saved letters, and her departed father’s golf cap. Something – some surfacing sentiments, some random locked-up emotions – made her pick the stuff up and carry it to her table. Gently touching the woolen golf cap, she ran her fingers through its old withered material. It made her think about her crazy golfer father, who managed to grab a quick nine-hole game even on her wedding day . . . “You are kidding me” is all she could say to him when she saw him rush out that morning. Daddy, daada, Dad . . . so many names she called him, a man who was the sunshine of her life, a one-word answer to all her
sorrows, problems, and traumas for so many years of her growing life. A man who was always there. Nothing wrong could ever come her way, because deep within she knew it would all bounce off her father . . . the real man. “I haven’t thought of Dad in so many days now,” her heart said to her. How has time managed to push away Dad as a memory . . . Far away in her cupboard. The letter hiding under the cap was a little pale, but still held on to its silky texture. Grandma and her neatly laid out words – there was no grandchild in the family who did not receive one of these thick parcels once in their lifetime. ”Which year was that? What was the occasion?” Curiously she started to read it again, somewhat in a virgin way. “My little rainbow” is how she would always call Alisha, probably her first grandchild who added extra colors to her life. Granny had taken some extra efforts to congratulate her on winning the eighth-grade debate competition. It was so similar to the extra effort she took in cooking her a tasty meal, or baking her an apple pie, or just sitting on the tree swing, swinging with her for hours together, both humming their favorite tune . . . You could hear the whistle blow a hundred miles away. The last years of granny’s life, Alisha had taken so many weekends off from college to visit her. The sudden smile which played on grandma’s face was priceless and so lively despite her cancer-stricken body. “I haven’t thought of Grandma in so many weeks now,” her heart said to her. How has time managed to push away Grandma as a memory . . . Far away in her cupboard. The fat picture album was overstuffed with pictures; some had no place to be pinned, so she had simply pushed them between folders. Alisha accidently dropped a couple of the pictures on the floor and bent to pick them up. She immediately recognized herself as one of the six giggling, brace-toothed teenagers in the picture. The boy next to her was holding her hand a little overpossessively, but with the cutest boy charm oozing from his face. “Oh my God . . . Jason.” Jason, the boy next door, Jason, the best friend, Jason, the protector at school, and – in some ways – Jason, the first teenage love. Alisha tried to remember all those long bicycle rides and all those hours of nonsense talks about just about every person and every topic in the neighborhood. A couple of years back, she had seen Jason on national television inaugurating his fifth food
Maria Shishova: Untitled 2
chain, The Tasty Goat, which most food critics have labeled as a place to satisfy your soul and gut. Life had pulled both best friends to opposite corners of the land, and somehow Alisha could feel a deep hole somewhere within just holding that picture today. “I haven’t thought of Jason in so many decades now,” her heart said to her. How has time managed to push away Jason as a memory . . . Far away in her cupboard. A beautiful little pearl earring, looking so lost and lonely, caught Alisha’s attention, and she picked it up. “Where is the other piece of the pair?” she tried to remember. A short laugh escaped her lips when she remembered her first date with her husband-to-be, Peter. A newly acquired job as a front desk manager at Hilton Hotel with a low starting salary – she had no idea how much money he spent on buying these pearl trinkets for their first date. After an early dinner, both of them walked for hours together on the sandy beach of Emerald Island till they tired each other out. Alisha, adjusting her hair on the way back home in Peter’s truck, had realized the long-gone earring on her right ear. Guilt, sorrow, sense of loss, and a huge wave of embarrassment hit her hard on realizing the loss. Peter was gracious enough to calm her down and pass it off as no big deal. Alisha had spent so
many nights subsequently in her dreams searching for that lost first gift from the man who loved her immensely and so truly. “I haven’t thought of this incident in so many years now,” her heart said to her. How has time managed to push away Peter’s first gift as a memory . . . Far away in her cupboard. Somewhere in the distance Alisha could hear her phone ring; it shook her up from her tender thoughts, and she walked to her landline telephone. Hannah had a list of things to tell her mom – the food, the friends, all the fun at the science meet. Alisha was somehow not feeling chatty, gave monosyllable replies, told her daughter to be safe and have fun before returning to her table. Remembering the pile of letters she had to write to her vendors, Alisha slowly started packing her little belongings back into a bundle. A, mushy thought somehow forced her to stop before putting them back again into her cupboard. She looked at them fondly; they were not just memories but vital pieces of her life . . . each precious . . . each so dear and loved . . . so close to her aching heart . . . as if calling out to Alisha . . . please don’t let us go again . . . Far away in your cupboard.
Edge of Night Brande N. McCleese Just when you thought You’d never survive All the emotions that Threatened to Eat at you like A great white You are staring into the Sun’s brightness Knowing it’s no match for what You lost But you enjoy it anyway All of a sudden out of nowhere The laughter you thought had abandoned you Bubbles up from your throat Surfacing unbidden Without warning and erupts Threatening to overtake you And sweep you away from The feelings you’d been so Deeply mired in before It is the exact opposite of The bitterness that burned most viciously Threatening to singe your vocal chords Preventing you from screaming in Frustration and grief At that moment you realize that You are feeling Breathing Surviving Living All things that you deemed impossible On that day
Cari Leary: Lonesome
Rostyslav Kurtov: Fish
Ode to the Wetlands Cindy Hayes
Under the canopy of trees Pastel buds twist and twirl in the breeze and Land at my feet somewhat resembling The tiny snowflakes of winter The trail seems alive on this bright sunny day Gray squirrels play chase on the wooden rails A tiny red fox kit lies camouflaged in the brush. Every fallen log is lined with turtles of different sizes. The otters play slip and slide under the boardwalk. One swims alongside me as I walk. She senses my presence and looks at me. Her black eyes shine, her little nose wrinkles, and With her mouth full of twigs and sticks She flips and dives under the water. As the days become warmer the trees Are adorned with every shade of green The swamp roses and water irises are in bloom A fox squirrel leaps from one tree to another A long black snake slithers across the trail in front of me I squeal, step back and laugh nervously
The autumn boardwalk is covered with A multihued pattern of leaves that Remind me of my grandmotherâ€™s favorite quilt As I walk further, the trail opens up A large raccoon snacks on some delectable treat The brightly colored foliage reflects on the water Reminiscent of an October picture on an expensive calendar The stately bald cypress trees rise out of the water Like the sovereign kings of ancient days Each ruling their own little island With their enigmatic knees surrounding them â€“ Subjects gathered resembling ladies in old fashioned dresses, Monks, clerics, monsters, and other creatures On winter days, the chilly wind whips and bites at me The clever animals are hunkered down in their dens Even the birds are perched low in the brush below the path Sometimes the boardwalk and the river are frost-fringed with silver Ice-covered sapling limbs play a symphony in the breeze Elongated shadows are cast by the leaf barren trees As their stark branches reach for the sun The vegetation is so sparse that I can look farther into the woods than ever before So captivating, beautiful, and unforgettable That I can almost see into its soul
Carson Davis: Pendant
The Wedding Isabel Beteta
I stand by the open bar, not necessarily to partake in, but to take in the different fragrances of the wines and liquors that made old men dance and young women cry. I see the bride and groom dancing to “their” song. He looks so happy with his hand on the curve of her waist, a curve I don’t have. He used to look that happy with me. As he gazes at her, he gives her the same stare that he would give me as we woke naked on alabaster sheets. With a different spark, but just as bright. I dare not drink, else I lose my composure. I received the invitation in October. It came as a brutal surprise. Just eight months before, he was at my door drunk, looking for comfort after his first big fight with her. He said that she refused to let him in her bed until she had a ring on her finger. Fortunately for him, I required no ring. As he began to kiss me, I saw his decency leave him, and his lust overtake him. Just like that, she was gone. I should not be here. I take a crystal glass full of bubbly depressant and escape to the patio where the music will be muted. The sun is almost gone. The champagne meets my tongue, and I remember the day he stole a bottle of the same brand on a dare. My dare. He was scared out of his mind. But he did it. We shared it in his car in old plastic water bottles. After several glassfuls, he played a mix tape he made of obscure songs from theater shows, movies, and 1940’s albums. We, sweethearts, had just graduated. He told me he never felt more alive that night. He would call me and have me over. He never really told her about it. Usually, we were friends. Sometimes not. I didn’t like it, but I loved him. He was mine. He never told me why he married her. I never asked.
We almost repeated that night not 24 hours earlier. This time, when I kissed him, he stopped kissing back. He said that he could not do it to her. He said that she makes him a better man. I told him that she wasn’t doing a very good job, since he’s half stripped in my hotel room. He is worse with her than he was when he was with me. When he was with me, he never wanted anything. He pushed me away and wailed that she gives him what he needs, and I snapped back that she obviously isn’t giving him everything. He says he can’t be the way he is with me with her. I tell him that he can’t have both. You can’t feel alive and safe at the same time. At this, he said with his veins straining on his neck that he wished he never kept me in his life. He said that it would be easier to love her if I was not around. She is perfect, he said. She is what I need. You are not. The sun is now gone, and the entire sky is painted with stars and reflected light from the city miles away. The air cools and bristles appear on my arm. I swallow the fizzy alcohol that did nothing to numb my misery and fling the glass off the side of the patio. It lands in a holly bush lining the walkway. I am frustrated that it did not shatter on the concrete. The guests are gathering to send the happy couple away to their honeymoon phase followed by a life-draining commitment to each other that will eventually break but for sake of face, will hold together until one of them dies. I go downstairs to join them. Last night, he told me in the voice he has when he is breaking, but sounds angry, that he wished I were gone. When he made it clear that his pretty wife will be the only love he would accept, I told him in my voice that breaks into desperate sobs when I try to control my anger that he will never see me again. He cannot have both, and I refuse to be the band-aid for his lust. As he turned to leave, I screamed I hated him, that he is a liar, a filthy cowardly scumbag not worthy of his bride. I cried for my hate for his bride, his selfishness, his lies, his manipulations, and my loathing that I ever wanted to
Natalia Titenkova: Black Ring
be loved by him in the way he loves her. I hated that my best days were the ones where he was in them. I hated how I craved his soft breath on the back of my neck as we fell asleep. I hated how I pictured a life with him by my side. But what I hated the most was how, for a moment, I let him make me feel like I was not worthy of him, of marrying him. He said he would always love her, and he would never betray her again. But he had said that before.
DeeDee Weatherly Wilkins: Journey & Reflection
I know he is not strong. I am not either. We say things like never again and always, but they are just words. So I know that if he calls me someday while his pretty wife is sleeping, I will want to answer. I will want to be the arms that hold him when she won’t. I will want to be that woman who clips their marriage in two. The happy couple run out under a shower of rice and confetti. She gives me a beaming smile, and he avoids eye contact with me. Their rental drives off, and the remaining guests wander back to the reception hall to retrieve their coats and dignity. I pass the bush where my champagne glass landed. I could dig through it for that damn glass, and then smash it on the concrete like it was supposed to an hour ago, but I leave it in its final resting place.
I answer my phone at a number I had not seen in almost a year. Hello? I hear his voice. I feel my heart ache, knowing what I am about to do. I could end the call, or end his marriage. I don’t hang up. I’m fine. How about you?
Lisa LaMair: Communicating with the Void
A Travelerâ€™s Boots Cody Marks
Walking about on pavement Carrying a down-trodden man Who wonders of his choices And caresses his cracked hands The boots carry him day and night And comfort his hurting soles As he seeks to wander To soothe his soulâ€™s writhing agony Only these worn boots ever felt His falling tears and dreary sighs His intimate joy and laughter walking Into a red sunset on a country road They know of his deepest regrets His greatest hopes and fading dreams They radiate a varied life at twilight In absorbing his textured character The world may have seen His true potential or not have In all other ways said or not said He was never carried alone
Erin Johnson: Untitled Dorothy Ansell: Leaf
Winter the Rarity Autumn S. DeMartino
I can appreciate the sprightly season of Summer, Its fleet-footed gait, its flighty youthfulness. Summer is all fluorescence and momentary happenings Like vocal tropical birds flitting amid tangled jungle canopies. Yet, while I say I can appreciate Summer, I cannot relate to it. Rather, I have given my soul over to That ancient and reserved season of Winter. Winter is not all sharp frosts and bleakness; it is great age And wisdom, like wizards, if one only pauses to see such. Winter’s unconventional beauty dwells in the blue-shadowed silences Of majestic evergreen woods. It is felt when you walk in solitude ’cross hillsides robed in silver snow. It brings a peace no other season can match When on violet wings twilight ushers out the brief hours of sunlight To make way for night skies of sapphire velvet. “Is Winter not cold and lonely?” cry Summer’s whimsical lovers. Those who long for constant sun And fear shadows may think such, But Old Mystic Winter harbors companions, If you only take the time to know them. Look up to a night sky more infinite than forever, More clear than diamond or crystal, And see Winter’s brilliant host of stellar companions. Perhaps you’ve heard of some, the infamous hunter Orion, glittery Pleiades and their sisters Hyades? Winter is only a time for darkness and fear If you make it such. Can you not hear the joy in the song of The snow-scented wind? Does the brisk air not awaken your mind To a deeper knowledge, an appreciation For the over-looked and undervalued? And how can the season of Christmas be bitter? Candy-bright trinkets and blinking lights, Cinnamon fires and familiar songs, And the laughter of those we love Call back golden memories that sweeten sorrows. So I ask that you be not hasty in calling Winter unwelcomed. My hope is that you at least come to appreciate it If you cannot bring yourself to understand it.
Cari Leary: City Reflections
Hanna Lebedynska: Reflection
Ghostwriter Kathryn Louise Wood
Why are you always reading about ghosts, or watching their hunters on reality TV, or searching for clues on the Internet, or writing them into your stories and books? These are the questions my husband asked me, forehead creased in spousal concern. Well that’s a good question; I’ve given it thought, and wondered, myself, at this strange fascination. So, after some probing and inner reflection, I think I’ve discovered the root of my quest. Two things have always stirred deep in my psyche: the spellbinding thought of a magical world, and life after death where lives never end. I’ve seen too much, and heard even more, to dismiss the existence of bodiless souls, spirits so free of earthly constraints, they pass through walls and visit the living.
That non-corporeal realm seems magic made real. The promise that all that we are is not lost – when days are numbered, some many, some few – lends comfort but also a thrill of intrigue to think we are all so much more than we seem. I salute those who find their Belief is sufficient in resting assured of eternal existence. I find that the Faith of My Fathers is bolstered, renewed, and strengthened, and greatly supported when the stardust of supra-natural beings reminds us, all, we are made of the same.
I set you on fire itâ€™s my fault your flesh flakes off in withering embers an effigy of a supernova cartilage between ribs sets off I become the acrid scent of pretend dissipating smoke and sweat and
suddenly you are like firecrackers i am gone.
Olha Fidyk: Loneliness
A Warning Cindy Hayes Bands of blackbirds in the wind furiously shift Resembling ribbons from an unwanted gift Flying in a frenzy following each other Coming dangerously close as I duck for cover Finally landing on a decaying arbor Purposely perched mocking without falter Scene frequently borrowed from an old horror show Black and white, surreal, suspense continually grows Aviary warning with danger to foretell There’s a hurricane coming, take care, be well Take heed or be lost, seek shelter on high ground Tomorrow half the trees in this town will be down Like giant mushrooms uprooted prepared for a meal Blocking streets destroying homes and automobiles Massive maples, pines, and oaks – it will not look real The trees left standing stripped will look like they were peeled No foliage to change color as the fall unfolds Power poles snapped like toothpicks lying in the roads Roofs off houses, sheds and barns – yards filled with debris Camping out for days without electricity No water left for bathing, flushing or to drink Be sure you fill your milk jugs, bathtub and the sinks The blackbirds cautioned me and I sought comfort from above And when I turned around they had changed into doves.
Kelsey Louise Dozier: Connections
A Boy in Army Green Blair Harris
There once was a girl who fell in love With a boy in army green No greater bond in all of time Was ever to be seen But he had to go and do his job And protect his noble land But he would depart with one last kiss Placed upon her hand But one day he didn’t get to say his goodbyes And you could see the tears hiding in her eyes She had a surprise she would tell him when he rang But time went on, the war bells sang And her belly grew and grew There once was a girl who fell in love With a boy in army green No greater bond in all of time Was ever to be seen But he had to go and do his job And protect his noble land But now he was missing And he didn’t even get to kiss her hand One day the world held its breath As the army men told her the news She threw herself into their arms And cried and cried Though she already knew He was born on a rainy day A baby boy with his daddy’s eyes But now he’s a strapping young man In army green With his head held high And his uniform clean But he had to go and do his job To protect his noble land And so he would depart with one last kiss Placed upon his mother’s hand
Annie Tynch: A Game of Candyland
Sabrina Lynn Wartenbee: KAWS
Albania Andrew Walser
In the late Twenties, my grandfather and his mother spent some time in the Albanian town of Gjirokastër, while his father conducted some business in the capital with the newly-proclaimed King Zog. My grandfather was too young to know the real reasons for this visit, and his memories of the time remain uncharacteristically hazy, almost as if he had sought not to clarify and correct them as he became older and more worldly. I cannot say, then, how much of what I am about to say is factual and how much mythologized, even though concerning most of the stories that my grandfather tells — even the most outlandish among them — I would be willing to swear under threat of torture to their veracity. During the days, while his mother sunned by the pool in their hotel, a troop of nurses would take my grandfather around the city. He remembers cloth merchants and vegetable markets and dark back rooms in taverns into which the women would disappear for an hour at a time. These nurses must have had unusual access to Gjirokastër, perhaps thanks to some order of the King’s: they were even able to take my grandfather up to the top of the clock tower in the Citadel that overlooks the town, and to eat a picnic lunch there while their charge clambered over the brown stones and gazed in childish wonder at the valley and the river below. While they ate, the nurses would amuse themselves by telling tales that my grandfather can still remember vividly. The one that he has retold most often (at least in my presence) is about a farmer from the valley who, back in the days of Ali Pasha, discovered that one of his chickens possessed a miraculous talent. Cracking open one of the bird’s eggs, the farmer found a tiny, perfect diamond, barely the size of a pea. He was both jubilant and, by nature, somewhat paranoid. He brought the bird inside and gave it special treatment, setting a place for it at the dinner table each night and allowing it to sleep in the bed between him and his wife. Within a few days, the chicken laid another egg: this one contained an even larger diamond, almost the size of a cherry. And so it
went on for weeks and weeks, with the eggs coming more and more frequently and the diamonds inside growing larger and larger. Eventually a kind of threshold was crossed. One day the chicken laid a normal-sized egg, the farmer eagerly cracked it open, and out tumbled a diamond that was actually bigger than the egg — the size of a bowling ball or a boulder! This chicken, the farmer thought, was no ordinary chicken. The farmer — the nurse in the clock tower reminded everyone — was quite paranoid, and he did not dare do anything with his new wealth. He felt sure that the authorities would consider it (and him) somehow criminal. And so he simply threw the diamonds in a small storage shed out in the fields, and anyone watching would have seen that, each time the door opened, an amazing light, almost like the birth of a star, came streaming out of the dark space inside. As time passed, and the pile in the shed grew, the farmer’s family became impatient. “Obviously, we are fantastically rich,” his eldest daughter would say, “but what’s the point if we still live in this dreary house, and eat this drab food, and wear these dingy clothes? I can’t even go into town to buy something nice for myself, even though a single one of these diamonds would pay for the whole shop!” And there was another matter, too, that the daughter kept to herself. (My grandfather could never remember the girl’s name, even though the nurse in the clock tower must have mentioned it dozens of times. Each time he told the story, he would call her something different — Clara or Norma or Mabel or Edith — and each time he would expect me to laugh at the gambit, as if he had never made it before). Months earlier, long before the arrival of the chicken, this daughter had given herself to a handsome young man, the scion of one of the oldest families in Gjirokastër. To her surprise, nothing had come of the tryst. The young man continued to ride past their property, and he always saluted her courteously, but he
Hanna Lebedynska: Memories
Shelby Bartley: Memory of Biltmore Gardens
would no longer dismount or even say her name when he greeted her. What astonished and distressed Mabel the most was that she had not become pregnant, even though it had long been an article of faith with her that her first sexual experience with a man would leave her with a child, and that the child would be a boy. It occurred to Mabel that, if she were wealthy beyond compare, the aristocratic young man might begin to find her a more suitable wife. And so one day, without a word to her parents, she grabbed the chicken and a handful of diamonds and set off on the long journey to Ioannina. When she reached the palace of Ali Pasha, which overlooks Lake Pamvotis, she showed her sovereign the diamonds and told him the story of the miraculous chicken. Ali Pasha was — at his core — a rationalist and a skeptic, and so he set up a kind of scientific experiment to try to confirm or disprove the young woman’s claim. The chicken was placed in a secure chamber, and Mabel was restricted to one wing of the palace, where armed guards watched her constantly. A few days later, a trusted advisor came to Ali Pasha with an egg, which Ali Pasha carefully cracked open. The girl had been summoned to watch, and she stood between her guards, trembling. To her horror, what fell out was not a diamond at all — it was a tiny book, small enough to fit in the palm, with a bright red cover, and pages inside covered in characters so minuscule that Ali Pasha, for all his erudition, could not even guess their language, much less what they might say. “I apologize, my lord,” Mabel said. “The chicken has been laying eggs for years now, and every last one has contained a diamond. I do not know who or what is to blame for this terrible disappointment.”
But Ali Pasha was not even slightly disappointed. He was so pleased, in fact, that he presented the girl with jewels and other riches far beyond those she had sought, and bestowed upon her an opulent dwelling not far from his castle, and promised to order the father of the young aristocrat to consent to a match immediately. All he asked in return was the chicken. “You see, the bird had laid the book,” the nurse explained, “because Ali Pasha had a scholarly temperament, and a new masterpiece would please him far more than any diamond. “Years later, when he went into hiding,” she continued, as the others in the clock tower began to gather up tablecloths and picnic baskets, “Ali Pasha gave the chicken to his closest friend. For the friend — who was an unusually nosy man — each egg contained not a diamond or a book, but a tiny yellow pill that, once swallowed, enabled him to become invisible and spy on whomever he wished. He was like Gyges in the old Greek tale. “Then the bird was stolen by a bandit,” she said, “and the eggs changed again. Now every shell held a bountiful meal, each more delicious than the last. The bandit kept the chicken for almost a decade, during which time he grew unprecedentedly fat. His son gave it to a prostitute, and the prostitute — knowing that she was about to die in childbirth — gave it to her mother. Years and years passed in this manner. “Sometimes,” the nurse went on, “the chicken would fall into the wrong hands, and then terrible monstrosities would emerge from its eggs. A huge insect with hooks for legs eviscerated a wealthy merchant. A glob of luminous sludge made a famous poet fall ill and die in the most excruciating way.”
“And now they say that the bird has come into the possession of our beloved King — although the King is, like that nervous farmer back in Ali Pasha’s time, too circumspect to comment. Who knows? Perhaps, as we speak, the King and your father are entering the secret chamber . . .” The nurse stopped suddenly and tousled my grandfather’s hair. The rest of the nurses began to laugh nervously. As they walked through Gjirokastër, the sun was setting in the West, and a few shearwaters were darting in and around the market stalls. You could hear a muezzin singing. At this point in the story, my grandfather would often break off to talk about Enver Hoxha — who had been born in Gjirokastër, but who had left in disgrace a short while before my grandfather’s visit. When the two finally met, decades later, my grandfather found Hoxha a comical figure, one who repudiated Stalin and Mao not for their unspeakable crimes, but because they were moderates, they were pragmatists, they were timid men by his standards. Then my grandfather would begin to pontificate about what real pragmatism was. I remember him saying that each instant was like a universe bursting into being, and that the whole point was to extinguish its possibilities before they could become galaxies, to leave enough room for just one system to grow. “The best of all possible chickens,” he would tell me, “by which I mean the one that lays the fewest nightmares.”
She paused for a long time.
Hannah Sahr: Untitled 1
Deloris Samuelson: Sakura
Brande N. McCleese
“Since this is your job, miserable poet” (A. de Musset) Write these images As if they are as Essential as your next breath Paint lyrics So evocative that they are burned Into retinas, ear canals and brains Write on miserable, lonely poet It’s your job to Tell these tales You know that People love your writing When it’s free They like its beauty And its appearance in journals But don’t acknowledge its value Don’t see the restorative effects Or the healing and soothing properties Those same people think that you chose to be a poet They don’t understand that it’s in your blood Burrowed deep Into your skin, fat, muscle, bones and organs That you were born to Bleed symbolism onto pages, fill sheets with tears, and Exorcise demons with your words See, miserable poet What you know Is that poetry is the human experience It’s our existence lain bare like Bones bleached by the sun The beating heart and soul of life You never stood a chance Poetry was born in you It was your first breath
Maria Shishova: Untitled 1
Hanna Lebedynska: Flower
Uncertain Salvation Phoebe Lease
I Rusted clay envelops milky limbs loosened into water like a cauldron of blood aqua and maroon, red and blue all at once bits of foam clump like white blood cells carrying a piece of each person who has stepped on the shores before through arteries of cold, velvet cream into the veins of each tree for now. II The dentist removes his hand from a trap of pearls and pink tongue, the shell opens and says it hates fishing, hates the bugs, hates the noisy birds, hates the muggy water and the sludgy shores the dentist smiles and looks at his aquarium so bright, so clear, so blue each technicolor fish darts around on cue, a rehearsed dance under florescent lights a computer monitor glows, the animated river on screen cheerfully murmurs a tune a serene spring day in a bottle, in a box, in a crystallized projection of binary numbers the shell comments on how beautiful this world can be pays, hops in its gleaming SUV, and takes the tar river home. III The red cross. a plus. positive. clear tubes, shiny needles take crimson ribbons of blood “it is to help those who cannot find help alone.” it leaks into plastic bags, on a plane to Africa IV A child sits on a riverbed, auburn mud slowly draining over white bone, more protein than plasma his arms and heart are full of new blood his water being spit from a paper cup bits of food and saliva down the swirly drain in a dentist’s office near a man-made river.
Hannah Sahr: Untitled 2
A Trip to Dubai Anastasiia Ovcharuk
There are some dream destinations that are beyond your imagination. To me, Dubai was one of those dreams I couldn’t believe would come true. Only 100 years ago, Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, was a desert, until the ruler Sheikh Al Maktoum started using the revenue from trading to build the country’s infrastructure.1 Today, with everything the city has to offer, Dubai can satisfy even the most capricious tourists. My trip to Dubai remains the most memorable one, because I got to see ultramodern architecture, try out an extreme desert safari, and enjoy the luxury shopping experience. The first couple of days I dedicated to the architectural must-see places. Dubai is the architectural center of the world, breaking records in height, length, depth, and luxury. I started off by visiting the first man-made island – Palm Island. It was constructed in the Persian Gulf two miles lengthwise from the coast.2 Unlike the city of Dubai itself, the island turned out to be very quiet, because the real estate or shopping there are unaffordable for the majority of people, especially tourists. The island contains incredibly luxurious mansions, skyscrapers, and hotels. Hotel Atlantis, the main attraction, stood out in all its beauty at the tip of the island. Designed in the shape of the incoming wave, it is a vivid example of wealthy Arab life. Several hours later, I headed to the largest and most expensive hotel in the world – Burj Al Arab, the symbol of modern Dubai. The hotel’s infrastructure and service are unbeatable. All rooms are two-level, finished in gold and marble. The amenities include spa, personal elevator, movie theater, bar, living room, and kitchen. The hotel even offers a helipad along with golf and tennis courts on the rooftop. Anyone, upon desire, can dine in the opulent restaurant with live music and a panoramic view on the 27th floor.3 Closer to the sunset, I set off to the largest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, to contemplate the view of the city at night. Along with commercial and residential properties, high-profile restaurants, luxurious Armani hotel and observation decks, the
tower’s infrastructure also includes parks, green zones, fountains and a parking lot for over three thousand cars.4 The tower itself reminded me a museum. While I was in the line to get to the observation deck, I had a chance to study the history of the tower, including all the construction challenges that were faced and key figures that contributed to the construction. The fastest elevator took me to the 124th floor in fifteen seconds. The view that opened up from the top is breathtaking. The whole city is spread before your eyes – streets, multileveled highways, the Persian Gulf, and the desert. The most striking feature of the tower is that it even has its own specific smell – a delicate lotus aroma that is spread all over the place due to the special air conditioning system designed specifically for Burj Khalifa. On the third day, after tiring yet educational excursions, I decided to explore a desert safari. The safari takes the entire day, because it also includes a dinner buffet along with dances. We entered the desert around afternoon. The driver was definitely demonstrating miracles by driving the truck up and down the sand dunes at high speed with one hand. Locals rate the professionalism of the drivers by the number of people who get sick during the trip. The driver also has to be professional enough so the truck doesn’t get stuck in the sand. Although our driver had twenty years of experience, we got stuck in the sand after we jumped from a sand dune and the truck landed on the bottom. Since every driver has a walkie-talkie, the truck was towed within minutes. After having a chance to contemplate the sunset, we got to a small camp under the open sky with lots of small tents, where we were about to have an authentic dinner. The tents were all covered with Persian carpets, and small light bulbs were hanging from the roof, creating a Christmas atmosphere. Right in the middle there was a small platform stage for dancers, whose simplicity was traditionally covered with the Persian carpet, making it appealing to the eye. Soon after we arrived, the dinner buffet was set up, and I could smell the hints of coriander and cumin in the air. Arab cuisine can satisfy anyone – from meat lovers to strict vegans. I waited long enough in the line, and that wait was rewarded with a sautéed combination of asparagus, broccoli, carrots, onions, and soy strips well-seasoned with cumin, pepper, and garlic. Brackish, intense, and flavorful, this meal
didn’t leave me indifferent. The food was melting in my mouth and the spice was tickling my nose. The dining experience was completed by Arab belly dances. A combination of quick, slow, and sometimes rough hip movements accompanied by tambourine and drums creates tension as the dance uncovers the story. Full of impressions, I was back to the hotel around midnight. The last day in Dubai was dedicated to shopping. There are lots of places to go, but Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, stands out beyond anything. 5,400,000 square feet of luxury – world famous brands and boutiques, a huge skating rink, a gigantic aquarium, a movie theater, and more.5 One day was certainly not enough to explore even one floor, while Dubai Mall encompasses three. After all my wanderings around, promised-to-friends-and-family souvenirs, and glances through the windows of couturier boutiques, I took one of the exit doors to behold the largest dancing fountain performance. It takes place every thirty minutes, lasts five minutes, and gathers thousands of people outside and in the surrounding buildings. The lights went off, the Arabic tunes went on, and the streams of water rocketed 400 feet up. When the water was coming down, I could smell its crisp aroma. The dancing patterns resembled those of Arab dancers’ movements – nice and slow and then fast and rough. After the performance was over, it took me a while to come back to my senses. I realized that it would be hard to leave this majestic city.
Maria Shishova: Splash
My trip to Dubai remains the most memorable adventure I have had so far. I am glad I had an opportunity to explore the modern Arab fairytale by visiting the most popular architectural sites, trying out an extreme safari along with an unforgettable authentic gourmet dinner, and being a part of the opulent shopping experience. I know there are many spots that were left unseen. Once I have a chance to come back, I gladly will. I am sure no one can ever get tired of this amazing city.
“History.” UAE Culture and Heritage: UAE National Media Council. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. 2 “Palm Island Dubai.” Palm Island Resort. DESTINATION 360, 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. 3 “Burj Al Arab – The World Most Luxurious Hotel.” Burj Al Arab – The World Most Luxurious Hotel. Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. 4 “Burj Khalifa.” Burj Khalifa. Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.,2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. 5 “The Dubai Mall – The World’s Largest Shopping Mall.” The Dubai Mall – The World’s Largest Shopping Mall. Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, 2016. Web. 01 Sept. 2016.
Biographies Dorothy Ansell Dorothy is a student in the College of The Albemarle Professional Crafts Jewelry program. Dorothy specializes in high-quality, one-of-kind fused glass jewelry set in sterling silver. The focal point of each item is created in a glass fusing process that takes place in her kiln at temperatures up to 1500 degrees. Shelby Bartley Shelby is a visual artist who also contributed to last year’s Estuaries. Isabel Beteta Isabel is a student at COA who enjoys expressing herself through painting, writing and photography. Originally from Long Beach, Mississippi, she has lived in Elizabeth City for six years and will graduate with her Associate in Arts degree this spring. Olga Blyum Almost three years ago, Olga came to the United States from the middle of Siberia to get a better education. This spring she will graduate from COA with an Associate in Arts degree and transfer to a four-year university to major in mathematics. In her free time, she likes to find interactions between math and art. Brian Crowson Brian is a former USAF explosives technician. This May, he plans on graduating from COA and pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of North Carolina Wilmington. In addition to painting, he also enjoys reading, writing, mountain biking, fitness, cooking and playing with his cat, Pattycake. Carson Davis Carson is a student in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program at College of The Albemarle. Her artistic interests are varied, including jewelry, art, poetry, music, and dance. Autumn S. DeMartino Autumn is a first-year student at College of The Albemarle, working on her Associate in Arts degree. At some point in the future, she plans to have a New York Times bestseller and then board a plane to somewhere promising an adventure. Anna Doll Anna is a student at College of The Albemarle and a resident of the Outer Banks. She is enrolled in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program. Her work is inspired by her travels and by the natural environment. Kitty Dough Kitty attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and earned a certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the North Carolina Botanical Gardens. She belongs to the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and the Colored Pencil Society of America. Kitty is an artist for the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. 36
Kelsey Louise Dozier Kelsey seeks to understand the world around her, as well as her place in it, through her art. She is currently attending College of The Albemarle for her Associate in Fine Arts degree in hopes of later pursing her master’s in Studio Art. Olha Fidyk Olha is an international student from Ukraine who is pursuing an Associate in Fine Arts degree at College of The Albemarle. She studied computer-aided design in her home country. Olha likes both drawing and painting. Most of her art describes her feelings, expectations and dreams. She also tries to reflect on the things and people she loves and cares about. Yiyi Han Yiyi comes from China and has been living in the United States for four years. She is currently pursuing an Associate in Fine Arts degree at COA. She is interested in painting, sculpture and design. Her goal is getting her bachelor’s degree and traveling all over the world to absorb all different kinds of art. Blair Harris Blair is a student at College of The Albemarle. Cindy Hayes Cindy is an instructor for the Basic and Transitional Studies’ PACE Program. As an artist and writer, she is often inspired by the wonder of nature. She strives to teach her students to look deeply at the world around them and try to capture its nuances through writing, photography, poetry or art. Erin Johnson Erin is a jeweler and student in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program at College of The Albemarle. She creates jewelry from metals and gemstones under the name Erin Nicole Jewelry. Rostyslav Kurtov Rostyslav is a jewelry artist working with chasing and repoussé techniques. He is a student at College of The Albemarle, where he is working on his AAS in Professional Crafts Jewelry. Cari Leary Seeking adventure, Cari returned to college after a 25year gap. Cari thought she was studying to become a nurse when she took her first art class. She instead found her true passion. Creating art has opened her to new experiences and a better understanding of the world. Phoebe Lease Phoebe is a dual-enrolled student and will be graduating with associate degrees in science and art this spring. She plans on studying sociology and public policy at a fouryear university in the fall.
Hanna Lebedynska Hanna is a student at College of The Albemarle. Lisa LeMair Lisa is a wearable art and jewelry artist in Southern Shores, NC. Her work is inspired by a love of texture and the tension found at the edge. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and is pursuing a certificate in jewelry from College of The Albemarle. Cody Marks Cody is currently a sophomore at MACU in Elizabeth City. He is working on his first poetry collection that he hopes to someday publish. Brande N. McCleese Brande is a poet, blogger and adjunct English instructor. When she’s not writing, she also loves to read and drink tea. Naomi Michelle Naomi was born in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1974. She currently is working towards an AFA in Visual Arts. She discovered photography while on cross-country trips with her family, then started painting in 2010. Presently, she is exploring multiple mediums. They are all fascinating and wonderful to her. Kathy O’Neal-Ringer Kathy is a jeweler and student in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program at College of The Albemarle. Anastasiia Ovcharuk Born and raised in Ukraine, Anastasiia obtained her Master of Arts degree from the National Aviation University in Kiev. Continuous growth and improvement is of paramount importance for Anastasiia. In her spare time she enjoys yoga practices, traveling, and photography. Sudeepa Pathak Sudeepa teaches mathematics at College of The Albemarle. Her story “Resonating Lives” appeared in last year’s Estuaries. Ethan Pistella Ethan is a senior at J.P. Knapp Early College High School. He is also dual enrolled in College of The Albemarle, where he is currently working on his Associate in Fine Arts degree. His favorite art medium is digital, but he also enjoys traditional drawing. Hannah Sahr Hannah will be graduating this spring with an Associate in Fine Arts degree from COA, as well as a high school diploma from J.P. Knapp. Her style of work has been inspired by many impressionist artists, including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Hannah is interested in the many ways women of all backgrounds express their emotions through art. Her goal is to project the soulful nature of these characters by portraying them at their most profound moments. Deloris Samuelson Deloris was born and raised in New Bern, NC. She jointly owns and operates “Jewelry by Deloris” with her husband, Lenny Samuelson. Deloris is a student in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program at College of The Albemarle and resides in Currituck County with her husband and their five cats.
Maria Shishova Maria is an international student from Russia. She completed five years of art school in Klimovo and studied interior design at Orel State University in Russia for six years. She is now pursuing an AFA degree at College of The Albemarle. Maria feels lucky having such an amazing opportunity to study in an American school and to experience the country. Her work is a mixture of classical and modern art. Maria Sutton Maria is a dual-enrolled student at Camden Early College High School and College of The Albemarle. She is currently working towards her Associate of Arts at COA and will then transfer to a four-year university. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music as often as possible. Natalia Titenkova Natalia was born in Gomel, Belarus. She currently lives in the United States and is working on her Associate in Professional Crafts: Jewelry degree at College of The Albemarle. Natalia predominantly works with metals, mostly silver and copper, using various techniques to create jewelry pieces of minimalistic design with industrial style notes. Annie Tynch Annie is a student in Julia Townsend’s Art Appreciation class. Andrew Walser Andrew is an Assistant Professor of English at College of The Albemarle. He is currently working on a novel called The Last Days of the Patriarchy and a critical study entitled Empire of Ideas: Genre and Geography in James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover. Sabrina Lynn Wartenbee Sabrina will receive a diploma from J.P. Knapp Early College High School in the spring, as well as an Associate in Fine Arts degree from College of The Albemarle. She has enjoyed every minute of her studies. Sabrina will be attending Appalachian State University in the fall to pursue a Bachelor in Studio Art degree. DeeDee Weatherly Wilkins DeeDee is a student in the Professional Crafts Jewelry program at College of The Albemarle. She combines metalwork and enamels to create her pieces. Kathryn Louise Wood Having been born in Washington, North Carolina, but spending most of her life in Virginia, Kathryn returned, five years ago to the state of her birth and ancestry. She currently resides in Edenton and enjoys membership in Wordsmiths. Her creative nonfiction piece, “Road Food for Thought,” appeared in the 2015 edition of Estuaries.
Olga Blyum: The Elephant
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Estuaries Magazine 2016 - 2017