Wordplay: The Congressional School Literary Magazine 2022

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Wordplay The Congressional School Literary Magazine



Wordplay The Congressional School Literary Magazine

Spring 2022 Editors-in-Chief Alex Kinder Katya Orlova Nolan Krauss Raghav Belle Trichur Faculty Advisor Holly Keimig Associate Editors Aaron Hjlamervik, Anne Palmer, Brynn Windisch, Caeli Boris, Charlotte Reynolds, Christine Gad, Elisha Pickle, Gabby Guagenti, Maddie Rumness, Millie Beaudry, Mehr Qudus

Cover Art By Ashley Bicksel


Table of Contents Letter from the Editors.................................................................................. 4 "The Woodpecker" by Raghav Belle Trichur............................................. 5 "Just Me" by Karmen Snead.......................................................................... 6 "Be Like Water" by Nisa Mooganur............................................................ 7 "Pumpkin Pie" by Charlotte Reynolds......................................................... 8 "Light" by Abby Ali....................................................................................... 9 Suessical Stems by Maddie Rumness........................................................ 10 "Rainy Side Up" by Ana Hernandez-Sotore................................................ 11 "Burning Trees" by Sullivan Ahn-Kitcher................................................... 12 "Untitled" by Anne Palmer........................................................................... 13 "Diamonds In Her Crown" by Carleigh Sullivan........................................ 14 "Women's Rights" by Ella Thompson..........................................................15 "Samosas" by Saad Ali.................................................................................... 16 Untitled by Caeli Boris.............................................................................. 17 "Ending Pollution with Solutions" by Ashley Bicksel................................. 18 "Empowerment" by Zaina Gilbert................................................................19 Icicles by Maddie Rumness........................................................................ 20 "The Task in the Ocean's Light" by Caeli Boris......................................... 21 Return by Gabby Guagenti........................................................................ 25 2


Table of Contents "The Beast's Revenge" by Mia Yaran-Bau...................................................26 "LGBTQ+" by Gemma Allexon................................................................... 27 "My Mother" by Juliette Harris.....................................................................28 "Go On" by Ellie Reynolds........................................................................... 29 "The Butterfly" by Caeli Boris...................................................................... 30 "The Butterfly" by Maddie Rumness............................................................ 31 "Cyber Murder" by Lucas Testa................................................................... 32 "With What You Give" by Gabriela Sicuranza........................................... 33 Untitled by Caeli Boris.............................................................................. 34 "Bonds" by Vivienne Bailey.......................................................................... 35 "COVID Future of Faith" by Leah Kinder.................................................. 36 "Gory Glory" by Brooks Gustafson.............................................................. 38 Lizard by Maddie Rumness....................................................................... 39 "The Spooky Hayride" by Connor Bethel................................................... 40 "A Web-Spun World" by M.E. Call.............................................................41 "I Wish" by Anonymous............................................................................... 42 "Only Believing Displays the Meaning" by Stella Colic............................. 43 "Ode to Paper" by Andrew Ketcham........................................................... 44

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Letter From the Editors Thank you for reading the second-ever issue of Wordplay! This magazine was brought to you by the efforts of the Creative Writing Club. Since last year, the Creative Writing Club has expanded greatly. We hope readers of our magazine will enjoy the creative spirit of Congressional School's students and even feel inspired to create something themselves. We want to thank everyone who submitted to the magazine. Thank you especially to Mrs. Keimig for serving as our faculty advisor. We would also like to acknowledge Mr. Yassine and Ms. Rochkind for their mentorship of Congressional writers and artists. Thank you again for reading, and be sure to stay inspired!

-Katya, Alex, & Raghav Spring 2022 Editors-In-Chief 4


The Woodpecker Raghav Belle-Trichur

The Woodpecker flies around perching on a bough an inconspicuous brown equipped with an ebony arrow.

All these questions arise from the simple Woodpecker attending the duties of an unerring conifer wrecker.

Every so often he rapidly fires in an orderly fashion sending chips of bark flying no, not calculated, perhaps passion.

It may be that this small black figure drilling so focusedly at this tree is revealing the wood underneath letting the hidden become free.

His purpose is untold is it to find a meal a colony of black soldiers so obedient, almost unreal. His endeavor appears to be silent through the glass not a sound is heard perhaps outside it is quite audible a mating call for another bird? Or is it to create a hole in the tree, a haven, the hollow a humble abode to survive the frost? No, the tree is too thin, the sleet will follow.

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Just me Karmen Snead

I am tall, not skinny not fat. just me. Not plain, ordinary. Not extraordinary. Just me. I don’t have long, straight hair. It's short and kinky. Chocolate is not me, I’m more like an Acacia tree.

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Personality of A sundew. Unique But tough. Just like me. I’m not phenomenal but neither am I ordinary. I’m just me.


Be Like Water Nisa Mooganur Cool water. Running, Trickling, Flowing. Endlessly.

er v O rocks. U fallen R trees N E D

p A

I

E With small, silver fish L

N G out of the water.

The creek runs strong. Day after day, month after month, year after year. Even through R A I

O N N and S

I W

W and

N D,

It never slows. Never grows tired. Never stops running. Be like water. Persistent, strong, and empowered.

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Pumpkin Pie Charlotte Reynolds Pumpkin pie. Bright orange filling and a burnt, golden brown crust. Topped with cool whip the color of the blinding sun. The filling is gooey and smooth melting in your mouth. The crust is flakey, crunchy, and toasted to perfection. It tastes sweet like ripe fruit during the summer. It has a cool flavor like a crisp autumn day. I can hear my family conversing at the table ready for a Thanksgiving feast I hear my grandma and mom talking in the kitchen about how much pumpkin mix and cinnamon to put into the pie. Pumpkin pie is like a warm hug sheltering me from the cold Sitting down at the table forks and knives clenched in my chubby fists waiting for my mother to cut the first slice off and pass it around the table. My family gathered around the table, smelling the pie and the food in the kitchen, laughing and talking, Full bellies ready for a warm winter’s nap.

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Light Abby Ali

Will we ever find light? Will life ever be the same? I don’t know. News reports. Radio stories. Thousands of deaths. Hospitals, not big enough. Nobody is safe.

Everyone should have the right to sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one should make them afraid.

At first it was three weeks, then three months, now it's almost two years. How long must this go on? How long?

No. No, not when I’ve been doing this for two years. Two years I’ve been trying to have hope, now I finally have it, and no one can take it away from me.

Where is the spark? The light we once had in this never ending shade? A people not broken, but a piece of art, unfinished.

But how? How, when I’m flying off the rails?

It was a year full of hatred. But it was also a year of success. I wouldn’t change anything about this year. In years full of hatred there is always hope. A spark. A light.

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Suessical Stems Maddie Rumness

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Rainy Side Up Ana Hernandez-Sortore

“...And we’re live!” “Good morning, Fort Meade! Sal Brett here with the weather!” Sal looked down at his desk, rummaging for his paper. Oh yeah… he forgot. “Today, we have all clear skies!” His co-workers looked at him like he was insane. “I mean, rain! Yeah!” Okay, Sal. Just keep acting, he thought. "Today, it will rain from… uh…” “What is he doing?” “Is Sal okay?” “All day!” Sal blurted. His co-works shook their heads. “No? Okay, Uhm... It’s going to be windy! Right?” Sal sighed. Maybe weather wasn’t his thing? He loved it, but he was too...forgetful. “Sunny?"

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Burning Trees Sullivan Ahn-Kitcher In the Amazon Rainforest, Sloths were burbling and gurgling, Monkeys were howling, Birds were screeching. There was cranking, clanking, and shouts, Clanking and cranking of machines, And suddenly, There was a boom. There, a slew of birds flew away With a gust of wind that felt like a hurricane. Sloths and tigers alike Crawled away to escape. Then a boom and A plume of smoke furled up with a scent Like A burning tree. The next day there were more booms, And plumes of smoke. On and on it went, Always more booms, And shouts, And plumes of smoke, And burning trees.

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Then it stopped. Sloths kept on burbling and gurgling. Monkeys kept howling. Birds kept screeching. But They knew the booms, Shouts, Plumes of smoke, And burning trees Could come back. Would you like this to happen to you? Maybe not, Right? You can change this By making less, Booms, Plumes of smoke, And burning trees.


Untitled Anne Palmer Clamoring, chattering Aggravation Fading Rising Tides of insanity The noise, Oh, the noise I can’t escape it I splinter, Chipping, Cracking me open It tries to reshape me I change But I resist I emerge distinct, Not one of them Alien It rouses a fire Hellfire It surges, Swells, I won’t unravel more I can’t I won’t But I’m already fraying, Fragmenting, Trapped in a fracturing mirage Looped, Unable to escape The noise The noise

The low din mocks me Enough Too far I tried I did No more chances They shattered me Drove me to the limit No more fighting No more resisting I let it ignite They will feel it This fire Hellfire And they will

burn

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Diamonds In Her Crown Carleigh Sullivan Her Hourglass figure Should never be bigger Waist synched slender She’s watched by every gender Twenty pounds lost Calories cut for any cost Her Hair burned bottle blonde Heart always in despond Foundation painted on Her Imperfections gone Self-esteem deeply forbidden Her mind stuck hagridden Always harassed She feels outcast Given too much love She’s always being touched She’s first in line at the party Taking insults permanent like Sharpie She’s got a Regina George facade Never allowed to be flawed Blush dusted pretty and pink Wishing she could shrink Her lips matte red Too bad she’s dead

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Her makeup stronger Need to wear it longer Constantly forced to behave She couldn’t be saved Peasants neal down Tyrants watch her drown It was in plain sight When she did it that night The ones who gave her demands Have blood on their hands Tears turned to diamonds Caused ambulance sirens They gave her a crown Then beat her down Her nightmare is everyone’s dream God save the prom queen


Women’s Rights Ella Thompson Wonderful Optimistic Mighty Eager Never giving up

What are equal rights? I think it’s being who you are and doing what you want when you want. Not being told what to do, no denying it. Stand up for what is true, not fighting through it. But it wasn’t always this way.

We were stuck taking care of the house, not our choice. You would think we had a voice, but we were silenced. Everything women wanted, men were effortlessly handed, right in front of them. Women are beautiful, amazing, powerful people. Don’t forget it!

Women were created just like men. You would think they could be doctors, politicians, engineers, dreamers.

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Samosas Saad Ali

A samosa is a crisp triangular meaty pastry, neatly folded and golden brown on the edges. The samosa has a pale-colored center within the traditional fried appearance. As soon as you give into your impulse, you grab one and feel the hot and crispy triangle tingle your fingers. As you move your fingers across the pastry, the grease and flakes coat your fingers. Finally, as you take a bite, immediately the first taste, you feel the spicy, savory flavor flow into your mouth. As you go in for second bites and focus on the flavors, the pocket of deliciousness becomes meatier and juicer. Before you can control yourself, you are profusely grabbing the samosas and crunching and crackling the pastry. As you crunch the pastry, your parents put more in the pan; soon they sizzle and pop in the oil. Once you realize that you have devoured the supply of samosas you also realize that the samosa is built as a pyramid of flavors. From the crisp pastry, to the thin layer of grease, to the final layer of chewy and spiced keema beef. Have you ever wondered how to make your favorite food? One day, A brisk morning light streamed through the windows as the timer went off for the little pockets of meat we call samosas. My grandma walks over and takes a nibble into one of the samosas and she says “do you want to make some later today?” I was elated. I love samosas and to make them would be amazing. The best thing is that when you have completed your journey of flavor, you reflect on which part was the best. You think the blend of spices makes this dish. When I mix the buttery pastry with the layers of the cumin, coriander, and other spices I've never heard of, I can only be amazed at the greatness in front of me.

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Untitled Caeli Boris

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Ending Pollution With Solutions Ashley Bicksel

Piles, mountains, of dirty plastic and elastic. We are discovering that plastic has been covering the ocean. If pollution were solid, and you gathered it from around the world, it would become a mountain range of just pollution. Habitats are becoming more and more polluted every day, but people keep polluting the oceans anyway. This pollution lands people in confusion. Let’s set this straight to end this debate. Every step you take, surrounds you with contribution. This problem is becoming more and more severe every day,

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and people keep thinking it’s okay. Every piece of plastic that someone might use, can still make a difference. Anyone can help save this planet, so let’s think about what you can do. We need to stop and think before using plastic, because even one plastic water bottle can hurt this planet. So in conclusion, to end this pollution, everyone needs to do their part, because YOU can help save this planet.


Empowerment Zaina Gilbert

As this world goes beyond our limits, that doesn’t mean we cannot dream beyond our reality, dream of our fantasy. Empowerment brings livelihoods together. Wondering simply expands a child’s mind to dream of their future. What if we had let go of the empowerment we once held, the future we once dreamed of, the joys of other’s emotions we once felt. We all journey down the path of our lives, but we always come across a path with burning flames, steep hills, and exotic creatures. But the easiest way to move past the grieving paths we come across, is to simply be empowered, to know the meaning of life when you have it, the feeling of happiness of others, and to bring joy into its rightful place, your heart.

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Icicles Maddie Rumness

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The Task in the Ocean’s Light Caeli Boris The glowing dome of the bubble was the only light in the dark expanse of water. It was my first time ever seeing the bubble from this side. It was strange? It was beautiful, but in an odd way. It was translucent, showing the clean white city beyond, but the dome wasn’t perfectly clear. It was like white but see through. “Come on James, we have to get going, we have a task to do!” Violet, my best friend and partner for this task, called. “I know, I know, I’m coming. I couldn’t help it. I've never seen it from this side before,” I retorted. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, now hurry up, or I’ll leave you behind.” She swam off towards the surface in her bubble suit. “Are you kidding me? Wait up!” I yelled and swam after her in my bubble suit. A few hours earlier we had received The Task from the Elder himself. Two people were chosen for The Task every 10 years, to leave the bubble and go to the surface to retrieve oxygen so the city could have air. To receive The Task was an honor. After we were chosen, two men had taken me and Violet to a room where there were suits made for going to the surface. They looked as though they were made of the same material as the bubble. One of the two people said, “They’re called bubble suits. Grab one and follow us, we will get the gear you need.” After that, we had collected the rest of our gear and had been led to a weirdlooking tube that the man said would lead out of the bubble. We went in it one at a time, and that's how we ended up here, swimming towards the surface, me chasing Violet. It was nice, the peace and quiet as we swam, the water, cold and dark around us. But it was slowly and steadily getting brighter, and warmer? Yes, warmer, and lighter, too. You could smell the salt even through the suits, you could almost taste it, too, the gritty, smooth, sting of the salt in your mouth. And the sounds of the ocean all around, the gentle steady flow of the water, the quiet noises of the creatures that inhabited it and… I gasped. Suddenly we broke out of the water and the brilliant sun and vibrant colors of the sky stared back. It took my breath away. I had never seen something this beautiful in my life. The water's surface glittered in the sunlight, reflecting the sky like a glowing mirror. It was the first time we had ever been to the surface. We sat there for several minutes just taking it in. In that moment that seemed so brief yet never ended, I decided. I wouldn’t return to the bland, white city in the bubble. I would stay where the sun’s rays fell, and I would bring the others too. 21


“We should probably retrieve the oxygen,” Violet said, sounding preoccupied. “Yeah, I guess we should,'' I responded, equally distracted. Violet shook herself. “Come on, we have work to do.” She pulled out the tube we were supposed to put the oxygen in. I copied her, still distracted, and hit the button to collect the oxygen. When I was almost done, I saw something in the distance barely in my range of vision. “Hey, do you see that on the horizon?” I asked. Violet was also almost done. “See what? I don’t see any…” she trailed off. “Wait I see it, what is that?” “I don’t know.” It was puffy but not in the way a dress was. It was made of individual things, and it was green--at least I thought it was green. I had only seen green in children's books before, and those “things” on it were leaves. Yes, I remembered seeing them in a book before, which meant that the thing on the horizon was a tree. But that wasn’t possible, there were no trees, not since global warming and the entire world had become one large ocean, at least that's what the books all said. But that thing had to be a tree, it just had to! “We have to check it out,” I said, starting to swim in its direction. “Wait!” Violet called. “What!” I snapped, exasperated and a little annoyed. She glared and pointed at something floating nearby. I gasped. It was a leaf. “I’m going to send it back to the city so they can analyze it,” she explained in an irritated voice. “Oh, ok, but how are you going to get it back to the city?” I asked, genuinely curious. “With this,” she replied, holding up a small tube-like container. “It will return to the city on its own. It's meant for samples or important things that can’t wait until you get back. And I think this qualifies,” she said, gesturing in the tree’s direction. It took a few minutes to get the leaf properly settled in the tube and sent on its way. Once it was, we set off at a brisk pace towards the tree. As we approached, I noticed that there appeared to be more green. More trees? One tree was unheard of. More than that, I didn’t even know if there was a word to describe this miracle, this impossibility. As we got closer they just kept expanding, and even more surprising, they were growing not on land, which there wasn’t any of, they were growing out of the water. We paused a little ways away from the trees. “What is going on?” Violet cried. “I don’t know, I thought trees only grow on land,” I replied, still a bit flabbergasted. 22


The sight before us was almost indescribable. It was a marvelous sight. The trees were spaced out and the vibrant light green leaves filled the branches and the top of the trees. Some branches were hanging low above the water, some brushing the surface, and others dipping in, creating little ripples around them. The sun shone through the leaves, dappling the sparkling water. But the trees did cast shady spots in the shimmering water. The trees were spaced out so that they created separate shady places with at least four feet of shimmering water in between them. The trunks started at the surface of the water, the roots branching out in every direction, some breaching the surface, poking out, then darting back under. More roots showed close to the trunk with just a few peeking out farther away. A few leaves scattered around on the water’s surface. A breeze came and few more leaves joined the ones on the surface, a truly beautiful, tranquil, peaceful scene. “Should we go in?” Violet asked. “Sure.” But as we drifted through the trees, I noticed something was off. I couldn’t pinpoint it though. What was it? “Do you notice that the trees aren't moving, they’re perfectly still?” Violet remarked. “That's it!” I shouted. “That’s what?” Violet asked, confused. “That's been the thing that’s off! I noticed that something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what it was, it was the stillness of the trunks,” I explained. “O...kay, I wonder if the leaf reached the bubble by now,” she said, changing the subject. “I don’t know…” I was cut off as a small white glider came up from under the water. The domed bubble that covered the top retracted and people from the city were there inside, including the Elder! “Why are you here?” I blurted out. He ignored the rudeness and replied, “Because of that sample you sent back. At first we thought it was a prank, but when we scanned it, it proved to be the real thing, not a fake. I was informed immediately and we put together an investigation party to check it out and learn what's going on,” he said in a calm, sophisticated voice. “Oh,” was all I could muster. In a voice that demanded cooperation and respect, the Elder continued, “Now you must tell us all that you have learned and found, so we can decide the fate of our bubble city.” He paused, then continued in a softer voice, “I can see trees all around, how is this possible?”

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“The roots reach into the water, and the trunk at the water’s surface, it’s like the surface of the water is the soil, the land to the trees,” Violet said, a little unsure herself. “Can we stay here?” I asked. “It's so beautiful, I mean live on the surface, like humans used to, it could be--” “Silence!” the Elder boomed. “You aren’t understanding,” he continued in a gentle voice, “That's the plan.” “But… wait, did you say we are going to live on the surface?” I asked. “Yes, if we can be certain it’s hospitable and safe, first,” the Elder told me. He smiled. “To do that, we need someone to stay here for a few months to make sure.” He winked. I smiled and my eyes lit up as understanding of what he meant dawned. “Yes, sir, Violet and I volunteer!” I declared immediately. The others in the party started and Violet gave me a look, then smiled and nodded. Smiling, the Elder remarked, “Alright, now that that’s been settled, we will make arrangements to provide the supplies you will need. This is official business, so don’t goof off.” He winked and walked back to the glider. “Come, we should get ready,” he said to all the other people around, and they returned to the glider and departed. The next few months were hectic with people going from the bubble city to the surface and back. For Violet and me it was also crazy, but it was awesome. We did studies, well, Violet did studies, and we helped build houses in the trees, bridges that connected the trees together, and docks that were attached to the bottoms of the trees. Of course, we did this with the help of the scientists to be sure that what we were doing wouldn’t hurt the trees. Five years later, everybody from the bubble city was living on the surface in the trees. Life had found a new normal above the water. Everybody was now settled in their new dwellings and getting accustomed to their new life. There was still plenty of work to do, though, constructing bridges and docks and much more. But for me it was idyllic. My days were full of hard work but good work, that made me feel like I was making a difference. I didn’t see Violet as much but we stayed in touch. She was working with some of the scientists, and she hoped to become one, to find better ways of dealing with the weather and changing temperatures. All of this kept me and Violet busy, but we still made sure that every night at sunset, we took at least a couple of minutes and just watched the sky.

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Return Gabby Guagenti

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The Beast’s Revenge Mia Baran-Yau “Revenge!” I yelled as I bit into my victim with my lazer sharp teeth. Then I heard the sound I hate most: police cars. I have to get out of here, I thought. I transformed back into a human, but by the time I ran I was too late. They brought me to a cold dark courtroom. Luckily, I am the smartest beast around. I tricked them into thinking I was innocent by saying that I was doing my deliveries for Amazon, and I was running out of the house because I was going to get help. Luckily they missed my bloody smile.

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LGBTQ+ Gemma Allexon

This is something that gets a lot of hate, but it shouldn't. People say they are not normal or they don’t belong, but that is not true. It is not a choice to be different, you are different. LGBTQ+ is not new, but it’s growing rapidly because people now have the courage to come out. It does not matter whether you are gay or bisexual or even straight. You are you. You can be a part of the community even if you are straight, just embrace their differences. Let them love who they love, let them be who they want to be. Just don’t be mean. Let them feel comfortable with who they are. Let them feel empowered to be themselves, and to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. For once, let them feel comfortable in this world. Let them feel like they are welcome. Let them be empowered. The LGBTQ+ community is the future, but don’t forget the past. Learn from the past so you don’t repeat it. Let the LGBTQ+ community shine for who they are.

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My Mother Juliette Harris My mother pushes me to live up to my ability, helps me with my agility, makes me eat so I don’t get beat, she puts me in soccer clinics, but don’t worry I still do physics. I'm always on my feet, no time to sleep, Waking up at 5:00. Don’t worry I’ll survive. I do this every day, at least it stops in May, on my birthday. I am used to this now. You wanna know-how? I’ve done this for years. I don’t think it will ever disappear because my mom makes sure I persevere. I’m glad I do it, because, even though I used to have a million cramps, I work through them, and now I’m a champ. Nothing would be possible without my mother. As soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to hug her.

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Go On Ellie Reynolds

Sometimes things may seem out of hand, out of your control. You might not have a plan, but you can overcome any obstacle. You may feel alone, stuck in a dark room, but a light shines through a crack in the wall, telling you, “I will always help you up when you fall.” A once dark room, now lit with the glow of the voice in your head saying, “You can go on…”

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The Butterfly Caeli Boris Pink like April cherry blossoms Little hearts around the edge like February’s Valentine’s day. Brown at the tips, pink in the center with white hearts surrounding it like the last bit of winter fading into spring. The rustling of cherry blossoms in the wind The last drifts of snow melting on your palm Like a petal drifting in the wind resting on an early bloom poking out of the ground. Like the early spring wind, with that bit of chill of a not quite warm day. The changing of the seasons, the gentle start of something new. Shy, yet persistent Me

photo also by Caeli Boris

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The Butterfly Maddie Rumness Like a vibrant leaf dancing in the wind Bobbing up and down Tumbling gracefully through the currents Light as a feather, it lands It’s spindly legs carefully inching along my finger It’s beady black eyes scanning it’s surroundings Cautiously trusting, but nervous and on edge It’s scaly wings flutter gently in the breeze Showing off the hues of lavender and violet A gradient of colors from dark to light The rich shades of purple Remind me of a ripe plum The stripes create an optical illusion It’s wings rustle and it daintily takes off It’s sleek black body getting smaller and smaller Until, all I see is a vivid purple shape Bobbing up and down Like a vibrant leaf dancing in the wind

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Cyber Murder Lucas Testa

The lie detector results were back. Lies. All lies. I wasn’t lying. I was just stressed to be there. The president of the biggest tech company in the world, Megasoft, was assassinated. I was driving by when it happened and then was interrogated by a lie detector. I got interrogated, and then they let me go. When the results returned they took me directly to prison. I would be there for a very long time. When going to my cell, I saw a man in a dark gown that looked familiar from the news. The president of Megasoft!

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With What You Give Gabriela Sicuranza Thank you, for giving me life, for giving me light, for giving me love. Thank you, for giving me happiness, for giving me hope, for giving me a home. Thank you, for giving me courage, for giving me care, for giving me confidence. With the life you give me I learned to talk, I learned to walk. With the light you give me, I learned to see, I learned to be. With the love you give me, I learned that love is what makes me, me.

With the happiness you give me, I learned to thrive, I learned that there are so many more bees in this hive. With the hope you give me, I learned to be me even when times are tough. I learned that happiness will always be enough. With the home you give me, I learned to be grateful, I learned to be thankful. With the courage you give me, I learned to be fearless, I learned to remain tearless. With the care you give me, I learned to be fair, I learned to share. With the confidence you give me, I learned to stand tall, I learned to never fall.

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Untitled Caeli Boris

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Bonds Vivienne Bailey

Family and friends are bonds that never end. They form the future that lasts forever. They fill your heart with lots of joy, and make you smile brighter than ever. I’m more than thankful, more than grateful, for how they create a life for me that’s great, a life that is more than full. If you’re ever sad, they are there to cheer you up. If you’re happy, then they are happy with you.

They truly mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t be here without them. Each and every person is different, and they are all strong in their own ways. They are like a box of chocolates on Valentine’s day. They are all so special to this world and create memories that last forever. Friends are people you can rely on, people who are important to you. Trust them

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COVID Future of Faith Leah Kinder

Can you see the world without it? Only confidence can help us get through. Valiant is how we can break through. It’s hard to think outside of this box. Don’t think about the fact the world is unfinished, think about

how to fix it. Faith is hard to muster. Unite on something better than your own good. To think about the future is to think about the past. Unfaithful people can’t hope for a better future Road to the future of hope is coming close. Exactly how long it will take,

NO ONE KNOWS

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Out of my mind to think COVID will ever be gone. For faith is how

we carry on. Fun is hard to have when you see the hardships of the future. Alone, we cannot get through this. I do believe that the past is the key. To have faith is to hope and to envision a better planet. Hope is hard to have, but the more you lose, the more

hope breaks

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Gory Glory Brooks Gustafson When I was young, But first, we must fight for our right, I sang a song of glory. fight for the glory, But it saying’ didn’t come back so fight for our country, (and be a little glorious. gory) They wanted gory and bloody glory. fight for our fans, They wanted the power that we didn’t fight for our friends, (and the ones have. we’ve lost) So all we could do was surrender. fight for your loved ones. (your loved will be proud) We became their slaves. Working a life of shame. They’ll be happy you’re alive. But, when we rebel, Happy you’re still here. when we rebel. Reminding you it's not over. And you’ve got a country to rule. We will fight for our right, fight for our country, Because you fought for our rights, fight for our fans, fight for the glory, fight for our friends, fight for our country, (and be a little fight for all you love, gory) all you love. fight for our fans, fight for our friends, (and the ones So there will be war, we’ve lost) knocking at our front door. fight for your loved ones. (your loved But, we are prepared. will be proud) We will fight gory, and get the glory. And I’m sure they're even happier to We’ll build a new country. have you in, First Command. But it's not over, it's not over, yet.

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LIZARD Maddie Rumness

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The Spooky Hayride Connor Bethel My friends and I went on a hayride to enjoy the autumn leaves. We didn’t know we were headed down a haunted trail to a haunted house. We were getting closer when my phone rang. It was my best friend who got on the hayride before us. He said,” jump and run.” I was so confused. I thought it was a prank or a troll so I didn’t. Then, I saw why he said jump and run: there was a haunted house with guards and turrets. This was a big NO-NO so I ran to jump with all the boys when we were trapped in a dome. Ok, so this is a bigger NO NO than our last NO NO. So, we hid under the hay. Ok, so I know you're thinking like, “Dude, you’re hiding under hay you will be found in like 5 seconds.” Look, it was the best we could do. Just so you know, we were not found in 5 seconds; we were found in 6-- ha, take that. Now back to the story. We were starting to get closer to the haunted house after we were found in 6 seconds. My friends had completely betrayed me and made it look like I was trying to escape and hide. I was truly fuming; like literally, I thought there was smoke coming out of my ears. They were working for the haunted house. I was so mad I wanted to punch them in the face 100 million times. That's how mad I was. Ok, so we were now at the haunted house getting forced into watching people get put into jail cells. I was so resistant I was ready to let the fists of fury fly. Then they picked me up and threw me into a maximum security cage with cameras and everything, but I was so certain I would escape today and call the cops. So I started thinking of my escape route. I saw a guard holding a taser so I looked around for something to grab it with. I saw a stick that was just in my reach so I grabbed it. I reached with the stick and got the taser. Then I noticed he also had the keys to my cell! I reached with the stick, got the keys, and hid all of the stuff I got. I then got the attention of the guard who was guarding my cell and tazed him. Next, I unlocked my cell doors into the main hall sneaking around one by one tazing the guards. I then ran outside, found my phone, and called 911. When they arrived they kicked the door down and arrested all the guards and my fake friends. They also released everybody. I was so happy to be free and got to watch them blow up the haunted house. I even got to get an honorary badge for my bravery. I got to go home and enjoy time with my family and real friends.

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a web-spun world M.E. Call While the world spins around you, you spin a world for you, a simple world of beauty, of shining dew, of thin webbed strands, of captured insects wrapped in tiny perfect coffins, of eight legs, and eight eyes. And while you spin you miss things. You ignore the world around you. Your eyes miss the action, the lives you overlook and forget. Still you live, and still sometimes you miss what may lead to tragedy. Every species does that. Humans, obsessed with their appearance, with their technology, their clothes, and what others think of them. You watch your web, you concentrate almost entirely

on your world, but also on bugs that fly ever closer, the humans that run by, late, or early, or on time to meetings that no one will remember. And the dogs that race by, humans following close behind. And the birds whose eyes stay on you just waiting for you to move, to confirm your survival. In your life, you miss occurrences, a foot coming down, an enemy behind you, a bird’s shadow blocking out the sun. Or less important moments, like rips in your web that cause a meal to get away, or the sharp sting of a honeybee, or a child's hand freeing a ladybug.

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I Wish

I wish I wish I wish I wish I had someone to talk to I wish I had something to smile about I wish I had something to want But all comes crashing down like the waves on a rough sea like the cards in a pyramid get blown over Sticks and stones may not break my bones but I might just need a wish.

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Only Believing Displays the Meaning Stella Colic Reading is believing. There are so many words out there. They all have their own meaning. Only if you are willing to believe it. Every book has its own story. Each story, unique. All of it comes from your endless imagination. Only if you are willing to think.

It’s all up to you. Make your writing come from your heart. That’s where you’ll be the strongest, where you’ll make people shocked. Just believe in yourself. You can change the world with your words. That’s how empowering your words are.

You can come up with your own. Make it empowering. Think of all the things you can do with the words that you choose.

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Ode to Paper Andrew Ketcham Paper, you glorious creation of nature. Born from lady green and factory grey. Your infinite uses are so diverse. Is this the peak of what man can create? Can man not make anything more entertaining, useful, or more diverse than you? I think we cannot.

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As if your suffering might relieve their sad lives. People should look upon you in envy, because without you we would be the ones burning.

You make me smile on subpar days and defeat any negative emotion. The way I see you, and the endless white you provide, are like a snowy field stretching into infinity, much unlike the inky black void of everyday life. Life without you would be boring. I would feel trapped and hopeless. No man nor cosmic deity of near infinite power can truly see the extent of what you can do. Though many have tried, all have failed.

The dirt cheap price that people sell you by is insulting. They assume that you are worth pennies, when you are truly worth the fortunes of the rich. Paper you teach us that even the most Simple things can be used in ways we can’t imagine.

When some gaze upon you and your milky white flesh, they think they are above you. They might see something that can be ripped, torn, or even burned.

There is truly no end to your uses? The world needs pages, pools, planets full and brimming with paper. How the world begs for, needs the fun, freedom, and creativity of you, my piece of paper.



DEDICATED TO YOUNG LEARNERS