Etchings 31.1 Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of the University of Indianapolis Fall 2018
1400 E Hanna Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46227 Copyright ÂŠ 2018 By the University of Indianapolis and Individual Contributors Cover Design by Shauna Sartoris Cover Art by Asiah Avery Printed by Ingram Spark ingramspark.com
Colophon The cover text is set in KG Do You Love Me. The title and author texts are set in Unisono INK. The body text is set in Book Antiqua.
Editorial Staff Kylie Seitz
Design Editor Interview Editor Prose Editor
Visual Art Editor Poetry Editor
Managing Editor Business & Promotion Director Prose Editor
Visual Art Editor Poetry Editor
Table of Contents Letter from the Editor..................................................................1 Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Announcement......................2 2018 English Awards Announcement.......................................3 2018 Art Awards Announcement...............................................4 Poetry Hunger Natalie McCann.......................................................7 When a Black Hole Sucks You In, You Donâ€™t Think About Death Brooklyn Raines...........................................17 My first hangover feels Shauna Sartoris...........................19 Just Breathe Madison Deline Hershberger......................20 Bone Music Carol Hatfield....................................................26 Remembering the Room Number Brooklyn Raines.......28 Lion on the Loose Lana Osterman ....................................31 Where I Am From Chelsea Keen.......................................33 Dad Shauna Sartoris............................................................36 Willow Tree Brooklyn Raines............................................37 Dementia Colton Wesley ...................................................39 Snowfall, for the Winter Solstice Carol Hatfield..............40 Night Terror Natalie McCann............................................43 Grey Cat Carol Hatfield.......................................................45 To the One Who Will Dig My Grave Shauna Sartoris....47 Casual Love Chelsea Keen.................................................48 Her New Heart Lana Osterman.........................................50 Arlington National Cemetery Lana Osterman..................59 Maybe Mackenzie Hyatt.....................................................61 Halloween Wedding Lana Osterman................................62 Queen Violet Catherine Watness.......................................66 Starving Social Media Artist Jessica Marvel....................68 My First Kiss Natalie McCann...........................................71 If I kissed the snow with wildberry lips Shauna Sartoris..73 Visual Art Gas Station Elizabeth White.................................................8 Scratch Off Illustration Maxine Miles...............................16
What Am I Thinking? Asiah Avery...................................18 Meditation Reagan Moorman............................................22 I Think I Feel Blue Asiah Avery.........................................25 Cradle Harley Engleking....................................................27 Empowerment Asiah Avery...............................................30 Bees Paul Anderson..............................................................32 Mi Familia Series Alma Garcia............................................34 Earthen Numbers Madison Deline Hershberger...........38 Beat of a Hummingbird Madison Deline Hershberger...42 Helicopter Detail Syria Paul Anderson.............................44 Bagan Burma Cindy Luri....................................................46 Summer Lovin’ Riley Childers..........................................49 Apples to Apples Riley Childers.......................................51 Mehindi Vase Reagan Moorman.......................................58 Grass and Stones Cheyenne Granger................................60 The You That Makes You Happy Series Jessica Marvel...64 Slip-Trailed Pointillism Madison Deline Hershberger....67 Red-Eyed Tree Frog Madison Deline Hershberger.......70 My Head’s in the Clouds Asiah Avery.............................72 Segments Margaret Augustin.............................................74 Prose Scratch Off Kylie Seitz...........................................................9 Mirror Girls Catherine Watness.........................................23 Little Atrocities Jessica Marvel...........................................52 Lewis Interview..........................................................................77 Campbell Interview...................................................................79 Gapinski Interview.....................................................................80 Broughman Interview................................................................81 Contributors’ Bios .....................................................................83 Call for Submissions...................................................................88
Letter From the Editor Thank you so much for picking up this issue of Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine. This issue has been incredible to produce with an amazing team full of individuals ready to take on time-sensitive responsibilities and learn on-the-go. As Editor-in-Chief, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to this motivated editorial team, as well as to our talented writers and artists. All of you have brought this magazine into existence and helped it flourish. I also want to extend a giant thank-you from the entire team to Liz Whiteacre, our magnificent, dedicated faculty advisor for this issue. Thank you for keeping us organized, keeping us focused, and—most of all—keeping us sane. We are so grateful for the way you care not only about the magazine itself but also the members of our team. To our awesome Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award judge, Paige Lewis, thank you a thousand times over. It’s been a joy to work with you, and we are so appreciative of the thought and heart you have put into every bit of your part in this magazine. As always, we also extend our deepest gratitude to our printer, IngramSpark. You have made this issue possible and the process easy. For my last term as Editor-in-Chief for Etchings, I can truly say I couldn’t have wished for a better team and production. I am eternally grateful for the life-changing experiences I’ve had with this press and for all the people who have shaped those experiences. Signing off for the last time, Kylie Seitz
Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Paige Lewis is the author of Space Struck (Sarabande Books, 2019). Their poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Best New Poets 2017, and elsewhere. Judge’s comments on the winner: I chose the poem “Remembering the Room Number” (p 28). I found myself drawn to the ways in which the speaker describes remembered pain becoming actual pain. The speaker corrects and contradicts themselves at different moments in this poem—in the first stanza, they claim to have eaten French toast “three mornings in a row,” but by the second stanza they doubt this, “Maybe it wasn’t three mornings.” And while this poem calls attention to the fallibility of memory, the speaker is still absolutely certain about the past pain of having a child. This pain isn’t treated as just memory, it is something present, it is something the speaker can still actively feel when they recall the past experience: “but oddly I can still feel the pain.” Perhaps what I love most about this poem is that, while the speaker gives us this deep and intimate glimpse into their past and present, they don’t show us everything. We’re never told what the room number was. The speaker keeps this detail all to themselves.
Judge’s comments on the runner-up: I chose the creative nonfiction essay “Little Atrocities” (p 52) as the runner-up. This essay is full of all the good stuff—love, loss, betrayal, pride, crime, punishment—and I found it impossible to put down. What really kept me reading was the narrator’s charming and often childlike sense of humor. My favorite moment in this story, the one that had me laughing the loudest, is the moment the narrator uses pears as a metaphor for their crimes: “This is where I get to the stuff I never wanted to tell my parents. The juicy bit of the juicy pear I never even wanted to eat because I hate pears.”
2018 English Awards The recipient of the University of Indianapolis’s Lucy Monro Brooker Poetry Award was Natalie McCann for her poem, “Hunger.” The contest was judged this year by Peter Davis. Peter Davis’ books of poetry are Hitler’s Mustache, Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!, TINA, and Band Names & Other Poems. He edited Poet’s Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets on Books that Shaped Their Art and co-edited Poet’s Bookshelf II with Tom Koontz. His poems have appeared in journals like The Awl, The Believer, Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, Tarpaulin, Sky, Action, Yes!, and in anthologies like The Incredible Sestina Anthology and The Best American Poetry. His music project, Short Hand, has released 9 records, from 2005’s Good Enough to 2018’s ill fish. He lives in Muncie, Indiana with his wife and kids and teaches English at Ball State University.
The recipient of the University of Indianapolis’s English Department’s Fiction Award was Kylie Seitz for her short story, “Scratch Off.” The contest was judged this year by Sarah Layden. Sarah Layden is the winner of the Allen and Nirelle Galson Prize for fiction and an AWP Intro Award. Her short fiction can be found in Boston Review, Stone Canoe, Blackbird, McSweeney’s, Artful Dodge, The Evansville Review, Booth, PANK, the anthology Sudden Flash Youth, and elsewhere. A two-time Society of Professional Journalists award winner, her recent essays, interviews, and articles have appeared in Salon, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Writer’s Chronicle, NUVO, and The Humanist. She teaches writing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Indiana Writers Center. Trip Through Your Wires is her first novel. 3
2018 Art Awards The recipient of the University of Indianapolis’ Anna Elizabeth Gott Awards were Olivia Moore and Lauren Raker. This award, honoring outstanding senior Art & Design majors, was endowed as a memorial in 1978 by Anna’s sister, Mary Gott. Anna Elizabeth Gott had traveled widely in her career with the federal government and, in doing so, developed a deep interest in the great masterpieces of world art. This contest was judged by the Art & Design Faculty. The recipient of the University of Indianapolis’ Mary E. Gott Award was Jordan Gibson. This award, usually honoring an outstanding junior Art & Design major, was endowed in 1984 by Professor Emeritus Robert Brooker and his wife, Ruth, as a tribute to Mrs. Brooker’s aunt, Mary E. Gott. Mary, like her sister Anna, held a government post in Washington D.C. and loved art. This contest was judged by the Art & Design faculty. The recipient of the University of Indianapolis Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition Best in Show Award was Margaret Augustin for her piece, “Segments.” The UIndy Art & Design Annual Student Exhibition is a professional exhibition held in the Christel DeHaan Gallery. Since this exhibition is juried, all work will not be included. This is an important opportunity for students to gain practical experience with the process of juried exhibitions and present their creative works. The jurying process in art is the accepted method for determining what works are included in an exhibition. The artwork is juried by local professional artists, who remain anonymous. All Art & Design majors and minors are required to participate.
Hunger *Recipient of the 2018 Lucy Monro Brooker Award
I want my lover in my mouth I want to swallow him whole I want his wispy hair to tickle my throat as I devour his limbs I want to use his bones to start a fire and his skin to keep me warm.
I wrote “Hunger” as my response to a new love and desire for that person’s presence. I wrote this poem quickly as an attempt to create discourse that projects an honest and creative reaction to the human body. Love is often communicated through physical touch, and I wanted to represent this feeling in a lovingly violent diction. 7
An illustrative piece for the short story â€œScratch Off,â€? selected by the Etchings staff out of submissions from students in the Animation/Illustration II class. 8
Scratch Off *Recipient of the 2018 Fiction Award
I haven’t bought a scratch off card since my eighteenth birthday. I bought my first and only pack of cigarettes that day, too. Both of them wound up in the trash by the end of the hour, but at least I’d completed my rites of passage. That’s what my brother had called it as he urged me to take my first puff of one of the cigarettes. He had just started his senior year of college a little over a month before, but he drove an hour back home in the middle of the school week to help me “enter adulthood the right way.” When I choked on the taste of the cigarette, he had to chew on his bottom lip to keep from laughing at me. Then he plucked the cigarette from between my fingers and took a drag off of it. I haven’t touched a cigarette in the eight years since that day. Or a scratch off card. Aiden, my five-year-old son, tugs at my yoga pants in the middle of the cramped gas station store, which is chock full of touristy knickknacks, as most gas stations within a hundred mile radius of New York City tend to be. Keychains, stuffed animals, post cards, and miniature sculptures of the Statue of Liberty fill the first three shelves in our view. Aiden points at the tall vending machine full of brightly colored scratch offs in the front of the store and asks me to buy him one of the shiny cards. I ease him away from the machine, reminding him that we only stopped to go to the bathroom. Aiden obeys and follows me to the grimy family bathroom in the back of the store. On our way out, we grab two new water bottles for the rest of the drive. We still have three hours to go until we’ll reach our hotel for the weekend. This Saturday, my brother is marrying a woman he proposed to three months after he met her. I haven’t met my brother’s fiancée, but from the 9
handful of phone calls I’ve had with my brother since their engagement, she seems to treat him well. More surprisingly, she seems to demand that he treat her well, and I respect her for that. My mother, on the other hand, still refuses to even acknowledge their relationship —let alone attend the wedding—so Aiden and I decided to drive nine hours to pick up her slack. Thanks to whichever family member had bought Aiden one of those portable DVD players at Christmas, the drive has been relatively easy so far. By the tired look on his face, though, I know that can change at any moment. Aiden holds my hand by the cash register, but I feel him pulling on it slightly when he turns to stare at the machine again. Even though he is bouncing in his impatience, Aiden waits until I finish paying to say anything else about how pretty and shiny the cards are. He even resorts to begging with a “prettyprettypretty please, Mommy,” sticking his bottom lip out for effect. He hasn’t quite mastered the puppydog pout, but I cave all the same. Setting our water bottles down on the counter, I pick Aiden up so that he can see all the cards, and I tell him that he can pick any one he wants from the top three rows. They all cost less than five dollars, and the one Aiden chooses, the one with the largest amount of shiny silver on it, costs only two. Helping Aiden insert the dollar bills the right way, I let him pay for the card and punch in the number on his own. He squeals with delight as he waves the card around in the air. The cashier, a middle aged woman with her blonde hair pulled into a ponytail through her hat, smiles at him as he giggles at the reflective circles. Her name tag reads “Kim.” Kim asks him if he wants to see if he won, and he looks up at me with his eyebrows drawn together. I push my breath out of my nose in a sort of closed laughter, realizing I hadn’t actually explained to him what the scratch-and-win cards were for. One detailed explanation and six versions of the question, “But, Mommy, why?” later, Aiden finally deems my answers satisfactory and asks for a coin to see his prize. This stop has already taken longer than I had planned, but I dig around in 10
my purse until I find a quarter for him to use. Since the few other people who are coming into town tonight, mostly from Nate’s fiancée’s family, already know that we might be late for dinner, I decide both Aiden and I could use the little extra time outside of the van. Aiden struggles at first to scratch off the shiny circles, so I point him to the side of the machine where he can scratch up against the hard surface. He giggles with glee when the first circle reveals a thick 2x in black ink. For a moment, he stops to play with the silver shavings before I remind him of his task. He returns the quarter to his card, this time running it across three circles at once. “He’s a sweet kid,” Kim the cashier tells me. I smile at her. “Thank you. I’ve been pretty lucky with him.” “It just the two of you?” she asks. I feel my shoulders tighten against my will, but I manage a slight nod at her question. She apologizes, but I wave off her concerns. It’s been over a year since Paul left. For the most part Aiden and I have moved on from the split, but my brother still hasn’t quite moved past all the details. Paul packed his bags and left the divorce papers on the kitchen table a week before my entire family was scheduled to fly in and meet Nate’s girlfriend at the time. Both of my parents traded in their plane tickets to help me move out, and by the end of the month, Nate’s girlfriend had left him. It took months for him to pick up the phone when I called, and even then, he only spoke to me for about thirty seconds before asking for Aiden. When the wedding invitation came in the mail, I don’t know whether to be more surprised at the sudden engagement or the fact that I was invited. Kim and I return our gazes back to Aiden. At this point, he has revealed all of the numbers, but he keeps scratching away, refusing to leave behind any of the shiny coating. He wipes away the tiny bits of silver stuck to the card and then holds his ticket triumphantly above his head. “I win!” he cries out, hopping over to me to show me his newly cleaned ticket. “Let’s see, buddy,” I tell him, reaching for the card. Part 11
of me actually hopes we’ll win a couple dollars off of it. Even just enough to make up for the five dollars I had wasted on my eighteenth birthday. Winning numbers: 14 and 38. Our numbers: 2x, 11, 32, 7, 25, 47, 2, 10, 14, 3, 56. “Hey, buddy, you’ve got a match!” I tell him. I wipe the leftover pieces of silver ink from the paper. “Oh my God,” I whisper. “What, Mommy, what? Did we win? Did we, did we? Didwewindidwewindidwewin?” Aiden bounces on his heels and reaches to try to take the card from my hand. Number 14: five thousand dollars. “Moooommmmyyy,” Aiden whines and tugs on my pants again. “Alright, girl. How much you win?” Kim asks, raising an eyebrow at me. Finding my voice, I tell them both the number and have Kim double check our card. She holds it as if it were made of glass, her lips moving subtly as she reads the numbers under her breath. She confirms our win and explains where to send our forms to claim our winnings, and Aiden begins bouncing, reaching up to take his shiny, winning card back. Kim returns the card to Aiden with one hand and squeezes my hand lightly with the other, whispering her congratulations. I thank her before gathering our water bottles from the counter. On the way to the car, Aiden carries on about his shiny card and our big win. “Uncle Nate will be so happy, Mommy,” he tells me. I stop walking for a second, which jerks Aiden back by the hand I am holding before we continue to the car. As I strap him into his carseat, I tell him that Mommy needs a minute to finish thinking. I shut the van door and lean back against it. During Nate’s fifteenth birthday party, I found a frog. We had an old cage from a couple of hermit crabs we had brought home from a beach vacation a few years back, and I hid the frog in it at first. I was scared my mother wouldn’t let me keep my new pet, so I kept the frog hidden during most of the birthday party. When my mother went inside 12
to prepare the cake, I followed her in and showed her my discovery. To my surprise, she let me keep the frog, and she didn’t even flinch when it jumped at her inside the cage. Excited, I ran out to tell Nate about our new pet. He waved me away, but his friends took pity on me. They all came over to check out my frog, and some of them even wanted to hold it. When our mother brought out the cake, Nate was alone at the picnic table in our backyard. He never said anything, but after the party, he took my frog from its cage and tossed it outside of our fence. I watched him. He lied to our parents about it, said he had no reason to mess with my stupid frog. Eventually, my mother threw away the hermit crab cage. Aiden knocks on the window from the inside, and I jump. “Alright, baby, I’m coming,” I tell him and climb into the front seat. Once we maneuver our way back onto the highway, I flash a hand at Aiden to make him pause his DVD. He removes his over-ear headphones and lays them on the green blanket his uncle had bought him as a baby. I meet his eyes in the rearview mirror. “Aiden, sweetie. I need you to listen to me, okay?” Aiden nods, eyebrows raised exaggeratedly high to show me he’s listening. The right corner of my lips turns up. “When we get there today, you can’t tell anyone that we won yet, okay?” “But, Mommy, why? They gotta know.” Aiden’s eyebrows draw together, and he chews on the inside of his bottom lip. Nate used to do that as a kid whenever he was worried, too. “Because this weekend is about Uncle Nate and his new wife. That means it can’t be about how we won, too.” “Okay, Mommy.” Aiden puts his headphones back on and continues his movie. Soon enough the soft hum of the car lulls him to sleep. The next three hours pass more quickly than the first six. I spend most of the drive imagining what we’ll do with the money once we receive our check for whatever will be left of the five thousand dollars after the taxes come out. Mostly, I debate between a paying off the van and adding to Aiden’s college fund. When the GPS speaks to tell me to take the exit 13
in two miles, I flinch at the sudden sound. I wait to wake Aiden up until I’ve parked in the hotel lot. It often takes him a few minutes to reorient himself enough to even stand up once he’s awake, so I give him some time after unbuckling him from his carseat. He slides out of the van, clutching his green blanket in his left hand. With his right hand, he reaches up to grasp my hand, and we carry our luggage to the check-in desk. Once we settle into our hotel room, I call Nate to let him know we’re in town and to ask for the address of the restaurant where we’re meeting. I fill out the back of the scratch off card as we talk, wondering how long it will take for the money to come in. When we hang up, I turn my attention back to Aiden. He had curled up on top of the bed two minutes after entering the room, not bothering to untuck the white sheets from underneath the mattress. I flop down on the bed beside him, and he half giggles, half groans at the shaking bed. “You hungry, buddy?” Aiden mumbles something into his blanket and nods. “Let’s go eat with Uncle Nate, then. How’s that sound?” He says something else at a slightly higher pitch, but his words are lost into the sheets. “Hmm?” He sits up on the bed so that I can hear him. “Shoes?” he asks. I hop off of the bed and go to pick up Aiden’s shoes from by the door, where he had tossed them off as soon as we had stepped into the room. After I secure both shoes to his feet by their Velcro, he scoots off of the bed and yawns. “Can we eat now?” I smile at Aiden and ruffle his hair. “Sure thing, kiddo.” I slip on my own shoes and run a brush through my tangled hair, and we head down to the parking lot. The restaurant isn’t too far from the hotel, but we still arrive a few minutes later than everyone else, thanks to our lengthy detour. A hostess shows us to the private room in the back. Nate stands to greet us, and Aiden barrels into my brother’s arms. “Uncle Nate, Uncle Nate!” he squeals. “Hiya, munchkin.” Nate looks up to me and smiles. “Hey, 14
Sky,” he greets me. “How’s mom?” He keeps him voice even, but I can see the bitterness in the tightness of his smile. “She’s, well,” I pause, trying to find the right words. “She’s Mom.” He nods. “She still won’t talk to me,” he admits, chewing on the inside of his bottom lip. “She’ll come around,” I say. Aiden pulls at his uncle’s collar, and Nate returns his attention to his nephew. “What’s new, little guy?” Nate asks. “We won a bunch of money, Uncle Nate!” My heart skips a beat. “Oh, Aiden, not right now, sweetie,” I tell him, hoping Nate will skip over the comment. “Oh, you’re all right, munchkin. How much money is a bunch?” “Five thousand!” Most of the family set down their drinks and turn to look at me, eyebrows raised as if to ask if he’s telling the truth. I shrug, twirling the bracelet on my left wrist. “Aiden here picked just the right scratch card.” Small congratulations pop up from around the table. I try to brush them off with a wave of my hand. Nate gives Aiden a high five for his win before looking up at me. “Well, then, we can expect a second wedding gift now, right, sis?” Everyone laughs. My own laugh comes out in a nervous burst. My brother sets Aiden down and pulls me into a giant hug. “Congrats, sis. You deserve it,” Nate whispers. His fiancée smiles at me from across the table. “You too,” I tell him.
“Scratch Off” started as a story about a little boy’s excitement over a shiny lottery ticket, but rather quickly in the first draft, the focal point shifted to the relationship between the little boy’s mother and her brother. In crafting this piece, much of my energy and revisions went towards opening up the emotional complexity of their relationship while maintaining tension in the actions that moved the story towards its conclusion. 15
Scratch Off Illustration
An illustrative piece for the short story â€œScratch Off,â€? selected by the Etchings staff out of submissions from students in the Animation/Illustration II class. 16
When a Black Hole Sucks You In, You Don’t Think About Death I used to fantasize about death when I was a young girl with two pigtail braids. I would think long and hard about what happens when you die until my mind went blank. I thought about death again when my grandpa slouched over and died in the front seat of my grandma’s car. My mom cried when she picked me up from preschool that day, my teachers cried too, I didn’t cry I ran around at the funeral home and ate cheese cubes. I loved my papaw, but at five you lose nice things all the time.
I wrote “When a Black Hole Sucks You In, You Don’t Think About Death” because as a child I became fascinated with death after my grandfather died of a heart attack. I wasn’t scared of death when I was a child because I didn’t fully understand what it meant.
What Am I Thinking?
This work is a multimedia work. The background was created using a technique called pour painting. On top of the background, I went in and used oil paint to create the man. The skin is smooth, but the beard has some texture to it.
My first hangover feels like I spent the night with my head hanging loose over the drop-off edge of heaven’s glory cloud. Like my feet were wrapped at the ankles around pearly gates to keep my tipsy top from falling back to earth. My first hangover feels like I am bent at the waist, everything hung like deadweight on a clothesline, heavy blood pooling in my dangling fingertips—they’re turning red and I’m laughing at my inability to pull myself up.
This poem makes use of a specific poetic form in order to further convey the imagery and emotion that constitute the poem’s subject matter.
Madison Deline Hershberger
Just Breathe Rain slashes against the car Slams the wheel, fall apart Heart pounding, tears resounding I’m protected from the water outside So why am I drowning, gasping for life Chest is choked, manners revoked As I scream at the howling wind Hands are shaking, trembling, quaking I can’t get a grip, faith starts to slip Forehead pounds, against the wheel If I was standing, I would’ve kneeled To put my throbbing brain upon the ground So my body might spin with the Earth Instead of around itself In the black and grey streaked sight A little voice appears amid a speck of light Breathe But my heart is pounding, my breath is rattling Against the crooked cell walls of the rib cage Against my better judgment, against my will I’ve succumbed to the external pressures Which consume and control The voice grows a little louder The light a little brighter Just breathe Pattering rain begins to soften Trembling hands clutch the wheel I look up to see what’s real Colors soften against my face The rattling ceases, my breathing quakes
As the voice reaches out, shining in strength Breath, just breathe
This poem was written as a piece in my collection of confessional poetry titled In My Life, which I composed for my UIndy Honors Project. This poem was written about one of the panic attacks I experienced while in nursing school, and the only way I could calm myself down was to repeatedly tell myself to breathe. 21
This meditation painting is based around making beautiful things out of suffering.
Mirror Girls I was smuggling China White from Burma back to Mexico. I stopped in Bangkok with cash to spare and plenty of options for the company of the female variety. A kingpin pimp hooked me up with a Burmese chick called Shein. Our sex was quick and to the point, hips pistoning into her as if a gun was to my head. Afterward, she rolled onto to her belly. That’s when I saw it. The nude mirror image tattooed on her desert-sand back. The ink girl laid on her back, her nipples the dark color of bark, her eyes closed in a peaceful sleep. I gently traced the painted henna hair. Shein’s spine arched up into my hand, the tattoo breasts thrusting toward me, teasing. “Did your pimp make you get a full-frontal nude of yourself stamped on your back?” I asked in English, my accent broken and cracked from living off Mexico air gritty with sand. Shein turned on her side, facing me. “No. I did. My sister. Drowned.” It took my sleepy sexedup brain a few minutes to figure out what she was saying. I recoiled in fascinated disgust when the meaning of her broken-as-mine-English words managed to travel through my hazy head. “Your sister? The fuck? That is some twisted twincest shit, chica.” She sat up straight, anger burning in her eyes. “I shared a womb with her. We shared blood. We shared the same soul. A part of my soul drowned with her. What shame is there in having my reflection under my skin?” “But why is she naked?” This was my greatest concern. At that moment, I could only correlate nakedness with sex and shame. For a Mexican Catholic, all three seemed synonymous. “Because it is her. It is me. We are flesh and blood. Would you feel shame if you looked into a mirror right now?” Both 23
of us went quiet. Our emotions swirled through the air like twisted whirlpools. “We used to bathe together. She loved the water. So much so that the water took her away for its bride. My gem. My Yadanar.” My mind trekked back to Mexico, how Mamá would pile mis hermanos y hermanas y yo in a peeling bronze tub with lukewarm water. She would joke that she was a bruja cooking us niños pequeños for dinner. We would squeal and splash each other. We never noticed our nakedness. I don’t remember when I first felt shame for the human body, but between childhood and adulthood, shame had seeped into my blood like poison. The bathtub morphed into the ocean. I had never liked the ocean. It reminded me of Mexico. It was too chaotic, too unpredictable, and too violent. Shein spoke of it as a lover. I imagined Shein’s sister Yadanar—Shein said her name was Yadanar—being enfolded in murky waves, kidnapped by the Sea for its bride, like some dark fairy tale. There were tears in Shein’s eyes now, clinging to her eyelashes like raindrops on blackbird feathers. “I know her soul doesn’t belong to me now. I just wanted her reflection.” In my hazy lust, I hadn’t bothered kissing her. I leaned toward her and gently covered her mouth with mine. I gently pushed my tongue between her lips, hoping she could taste the repentance on my tongue. Our kiss tasted like sea salt. I turned her onto her stomach again. Gently, I kissed Yadanar’s eyelids.
Intimacy is something we all crave in one way or another. Many people look to sex for intimacy, and while sex can be and many times is an intimate experience, the concept of intimacy is more complex. Overall, this piece demonstrates that intimacy is a spiritual connection that both encompasses and goes beyond the physical. 24
I Think I Feel Blue
This work was created with the use of sharpies and rubbing alcohol on top of yupo paper. This image is a reflection of my nonchalant face. Although the title has the word “blue” in it, it is not to be confused with the reference that “feeling blue” means to be sad. The “blue” being referenced refers to the color presented within the work. 25
Bone Music bones in the field— they have long since given themselves over to wind and sky bones washed white as a cloud have been turned in the furrow plowed with earth scattered with seed a mixture of ribs and digits that once carried a name— in time these bones will settle with the rock becoming one the same storing the history of now bones… I’m mesmerized by the music they make when the vertebrae clink together…
I made many forays into a farmer’s field several years ago to search for artifacts and fossils. On one trip, I came across animal bones and wondered about the life of that animal and the future of these bones as fossils—a story in stone—becoming “the history of now.” As I held them, and they moved in my hand, they made bone music. 26
Inspired by Newton’s Cradle, I put my own spin on the mechanism by taking a more natural approach to the materials. I collected found wood from areas spanning between my hometown of Seymour all the way up to the university’s campus. I assembled the structure using natural jute embellished with wooden beads. The goal of this piece was to juxtapose my assemblage of natural materials with the mechanism’s usual stainless steel structure. 27
Remembering the Room Number *Recipient of the 2018 Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award
Powdered French toast three mornings in a row with the runny syrup, the only meal my taste buds approved of. Maybe it wasnâ€™t three mornings Maybe one more or one less, I lost track of days when pain and time were removed. But oddly I can still feel the pain of the nurse kneading my deflated stomach attempting to remove afterbirth, and oddly I feel a sharp glare when I need help out of a chair, an emergency C-section took place the night before, oddly I feel a sting when I think of the breath I exhaled as the catheter was leaving my body, but these memories are now replaced with the times I get too 28
close and inhale my sonâ€™s morning breath and the sun makes love to the sky, and ice cream makes love to small, sticky fingers.
This poem was inspired after I looked back at the birth of my son and found a new appreciation for the pain and chaos that comes with a C-section.
This work is a multimedia work created with oil paint and ink. It represents a strong, empowered African American woman that has the ability to do anything.
Lion on the Loose Oh, God. What would You have us do about a ragged baby lion that wandered far across the field, and now sits big-eyed lost and frightened on our patio? Do we extend our hand and a half-hearted smile, lead him inside for a bowl of warm milk, or toss a little ball to see if he likes to play? Should we wait for his mother to follow his trail, or leave him at the County Place where he will cry in the dank and dark since no one adopts a lion pet? But Lord, if it was Your Hand directing his escape from harm to our safe haven, please, will you teach us how to love him the same way we love our puppy? And if he is Your gift to us, will you bolster our hearts and steady our weak hands, and please, make it so this little lion remains small and sweet so he forever fits in?
“Lion on the Loose” is a fun, frivolous “what if?”
This is a photograph from the summer of 2018. The flower is a sunflower in a garden in Indianapolis. The photo is one of a series of bees. A third bee was flying in and out of the frame, appearing occasionally as a blur. The camera is a Canon EOS Rebel T2i, in macro mode. 18.0-megapixel CMOS.
Where I Am From
Year 1999, the ending of a century. May 28, the ending of spring. This is where I began. In the country kissed by freedom and protected by liberty. In the land of cornfield dreams and gasoline air. Sunlight from an open window welcomed me as I cried for the first time. Eyes open before I could really see. Ready to explore before I could really stand. Had a small, cramped kingdom to rule before I could really speak. Developed a curious mind before I could really understand. But I’m from a place of wonder that exists only to me. There when I close my eyes to see. My little place, little space no else can ever take. A hidden escape, a back door. Monsters; they cannot chase me. Sadness; it cannot engulf me. Storms; they cannot frighten me. I am safe here, where no one can reach me. I can run away without my feet. I can fly without wings. For where I grew up doesn’t take travel. Only creativity. I grew up a princess. I grew up a pirate. I grew up a knight. I grew up an explorer. Because I grew up in imagination. That is where I am from. “Where I Am From” is a work anyone who’s lived in Indiana can sympathize with because without imagination half the population would’ve died from boredom.
Mi Familia Series: Fidel Garcia These photographs come from the same place which is at Metlaltepec, Edo, Mexico. I am still working on this project. I started it two years ago. Every time I go to Mexico, I meet more of my family that I havenâ€™t met yet.
Mi Familia Series: La Cuerda
Dad On Saturday mornings you brew real coffee—the kind that comes as beans in a bag from Kenya or Ukraine— and you whip up scrambled eggs. I say “whip up” because you make them feel lighter than air every time. Dad, on Saturday mornings you watch your woodworking shows and you tell us to be quiet so you can hear. But we talk over the voices on the television, fry bacon on the stove, and you don’t make us go into the other room. Daddy, I think Saturday mornings belong to you, the way Thursday afternoons belong to me. When you were a kid you woke up on Saturdays to watch cartoons and eat sugar-free cereal. I wonder when you started building things with your hands. Dad, you built me and on Saturday mornings I curl into the shape of your lap and rest my head against your chest and your beard tickles my forehead. You sip your coffee carefully so as not to spill a drop onto my arm.
Using repetition and specific narrative details, “Dad” seeks to embody a relationship between child and father.
Willow Tree My grandmother wilted over her stove for sixty years at seven her mother swiftly took her wrist and guided her to a well-greased pan and later the leaves of the women before her would be ripped from their branches and my grandmother would learn to rush fried pork steak and warm gravy to her husband every night before six
I wrote “Willow Tree” about my grandmother. My grandmother started cooking for her entire family as a young child and is still cooking until this day. My grandmother raised seven children and spent most of her time as a stayat-home mother. My grandmother is an amazing, caring, and compassionate woman, but I can’t help but wonder what her life would’ve looked like if she had gotten to finish school and pursue her dreams. This poem captures the sacrifices she made as a wife, mother, and caregiver. It also captures the heartbreak I experienced when I realized she wouldn’t get to see the dreams she had for herself happen because of the way women in her family were viewed.
Madison Deline Hershberger
This ceramic piece was thrown and carved in the spring of 2018. Each row is a set of numbers that depicts something in my life, which were then all connected via more lines and pathways. The glaze used is a high-fire glaze called Gold.
Dementia She had the vacant look in her eyes of a student who was just called on in class. The answer was my name. The question was my face.
Snowfall, for the Winter Solstice a storm of Butterflies all white not pulled by gravity but drawn to whatever it is that sounds like music to them â€”wind water the hum of feet and busy minds and when they make landfall they speak in soft syllables thousands of words stacked one on another
so achingly gentle that we are shocked into quietude and the stunning weight of this moment…
I’m not a winter person necessarily, but I adore a quiet snowfall when the flakes are enormous, creating magic and encouraging slower motion, hushed tones, and a sense of ease. This is what inspired “Snowfall, for the Winter Solstice.”
Madison Deline Hershberger
Beat of a Hummingbird
This photograph was taken on the 2018 UIndy spring term trip in Costa Rica. Pictured is a hummingbird in flight, which was found in the Arenal region of Costa Rica. This was a special moment to capture, as hummingbirds can beat their wings 12-80 times per second.
Night Terror Tonight, I can see through the dark and the night is made of a trillion pupils. I can wait up all night, waiting for them to blink but their stare is stronger than my fatigue. There is one that stands out, I call him Manny, he ties a noose around my neck the noose so thick it cradles my chest and he has a drum that beats me purple, the speakers buried with my frontal lobe, he shakes my bed until my toes go numb Manny gives my bedroom a pulse so now the lamp is spinning and round and round and back around and crashes into the dresser whose drawers detach and run laps around the bedroom and Manny has his hands circulating my head each finger makes two rounds around my face his grip is tight but my noose is tighter and now the bath towel is suffocating the cat and the door sweats itself dry and the drum keeps beating and beating and beating andâ€”
Helicopter Detail Syria
This photo was taken in the summer of 2018. This is a closeup of an acrylic painting dripped on glass with black ink and water. The blue sky and brown hills were brushed on the opposite side. The painting depicts the horror of the bombing in Syria. The panel measures 1 ft. by 2 ft. The detail section is about 5 in. by 5 in. 44
Grey Cat A shadow on shadow he wears a halo—the Moon and Venus at his back The trees already asleep exhale and we breathe a sweetness we can taste From the warm ground rises a spiral of Crickets and music that ripples our soft bubble and carries this tender two minutes out of time
“Grey Cat” is a general title referring to the feral cat who lives on my property. I call him Greybear. He’s a sweet, quiet soul, and a friend. I love to sit on the porch with him and listen to the night.
This is a picture I took while I was in Burma in June 2018 during my family summer break. Going back after twelve to thirteen years made me realize how beautiful my country really is and that made me want to visit more in the future. Bagan is where Burma all began. From this place, other cities started growing. You can see some of the oldest temples from the pictures that are still available to see these days. 46
To the One Who Will Dig My Grave It’s a dirty job, but you have to do it and for that I am sorry. But you should know I hold you in high regard, and I imagine you dedicated, digging into the frozen ground—I always imagine I’ll die in the winter—and chipping your shovel on the ice. I’m sorry for that too, and enclose a $40 Home Depot giftcard for your troubles. Anyway. It seems vain to suggest that you’ll cry into my grave pit, but if you’re going to cry, don’t cry. I’ve been happy for the most part, and the earth isn’t such a bad place to stay, after all.
“To the One Who Will Dig My Grave” is a playful ode to the inevitability and impartiality of death.
Casual Love Her love isn’t full of that young fire, nor of that endless zeal. She’s just passing through. You feel it in the way she kisses; Pursed lips that sit idle. You feel it in the way she holds hands; Fingers simply hang in the grasp. You feel it in the conversations; Smiles and nods right next to you, But eyes miles away. Her embraces don’t squeeze or hold longing, Only whisper passive contentment. You feel it in the echoes of absence while in her presence, A living ghost walking with you. She’s just passing through.
Getting to show this photo means that there is more in the world than what our small state can hold.
Her New Heart St. Mary’s Hospital, 1998 For Our Son Richard & Molly Elizabeth Everyone cries... Those who have done everything, And those who care. The baby bundle of Molly looks like Sleeping Beauty, a marble princess Wrapped in the blank of living Machines, while all other motions Lie outside the room where telephones ring And people pass, where hours go and day Holds on to sleepless night, and where My son stands alone—bowed and heavy, And looking in, where he touches the cold Windowpane, as if he could go through it And interchange his own heart for her, Or reach beyond the glass and into the Hands and hearts of everyone bending over Her, where they shake their somber gray Heads from side to side, while in one instant— One terrible moment—the whole world stops Moving, the twisting hours cease, as her Tiny new heart suddenly goes indifferent, Forgetting its simple beat, and not yet Waking her from sleep. This poem was written for my granddaughter Molly and for Richard, her father. She was born with a growing tumor in the heart wall, which was removed in very delicate heart surgery. Today she has no physical limitations and is a junior in college. 50
Apples to Apples
This photo shows how each and every apple is a tad bit different from the one next to it. Even though they are all apples they still hold their own qualities that make them special, much like everything else in the world.
Little Atrocities *Recipient of the 2018 Dorlis Gott Armentrout Runner-up Award
My mother thought that my sister was going to fly helicopters, while I was going to end up in jail. I found that a little ridiculous, considering that my sister is deathly afraid of heights. How was she going to fly a helicopter if climbing up a ladder only a few feet left her pale and queasy? My mother also liked to embarrass me when I was introduced to new people, telling the same old stories about the crazy things I did as a child. She might have somehow brought up the stories of the check I wrote when I was five or when I cut my hair by myself. However, she only came in during the aftermath of what I had done. The crime streak began with my hair. I was maybe six at the time, or at least I would like to call myself six, since apparently that is the age my mind defaults to when I think about any major event in my life. I drew pictures of the boy I hated, only to rip them apart when I was six. That time I beat up a middle school kid just because he was telling the quiet kid to shut up, that was also when I was six. Or double that. I was definitely twelve when that happened. The time I cried when my grandfather died, I was sixteen, but I cried like a six-year-old. Anyway, I hated my hair. So, I got rid of it. I went in the bathroom of my grandparents’ house, where my mother placed my sister and me before and after school so she could work during the day, and chopped off mostly everything. My thought was if my hair was short, then when my mother held me down against my will to try and brush it, maybe it wouldn’t feel like she was trying to tear out every strand of hair one at a time while trying to see how many bristles she could bend on the brush and how far. So, I stole my long hair, standing on my tiptoes to look in my grandparents’ mirror, so I could chop it all away. Trading my looks to be
free of some pain. Of course, I wasn’t a hair stylist or hair stylist prodigy at a young age, and when my mom came home for me, she was dying of laughter because of the hack job I had done. And to document this forever embarrassing moment, she forced me to stand in the kitchen where she could take pictures of me. What didn’t make it any better was when my grandpa made a sign, sort of like one of those numbered ones used for mugshots, and made me take pictures with it. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I was embarrassed in both my present day and in my future. To any future boyfriends, those pictures of a young girl holding a paper sign, her bear, and an annoyed forced smile under a choppy haircut that looks like she took roadkill and stuck it to her head, those were made specifically for you. My bear. My parents used to say that when I did end up in jail, and that was a when not if, I would be carrying that Pooh Bear with me. They could find me in my cell, talking to my best friend and the other imaginary friends they barely knew anything about. And, on the off chance that I wasn’t taken by the police in a pair of shiny bracelets, I would be carrying that bear to college with me. I think they believed I was incapable of making any friends that could actually talk back to me on their own, and they were mostly right about that. In my head, I was a hero. That’s what I had made my superhero imaginary friends about. They didn’t see the cutting of my hair as something to be angry about. They saw it as a way to be grown-up, and that we were doing grownup things today. It was encouraged. But now, even when growing up has become an even more encouraged topic, I don’t feel like encouraging myself to move forward. Not so forward as I did, as my toe-dips into the waters of stealing only sunk deeper, until the point where I was almost in over my head. And my friends wouldn’t be so encouraging later. My family used to go out for lunch on Saturdays when I was younger, and we were whole. It’s not something we do anymore since my grandmother has been ill for the past what-seems-like-forever and money has become a gross 53
problem. Nobody has any of it except for the ones who save. My grandmother and I are the only ones who know how to do it properly. Those were the times I loved the most because I got great food, and I got to spend time with the one person that I loved, my grandfather, and the others that I moderately tolerated. We ate at Mexican restaurants more times than we did at others because they were cheap, close, and delicious. The one we traveled to all of the time had a candy bowl of kid treats that just sat out in the open right past the register. I never asked what the candy was for. Instead, I just kind of considered those candies as a sort of after dinner mint and picked up one Ring Pop while walking away, ripping the packaging half open before we could even make it out of the place. Of course, those actually did cost money, a subject I wasn’t too familiar with at the time (possibly younger than six). So my grandpa being the saint that he was, and dammit he was, just silently slipped some money into the candy bin, making sure my theft wasn’t actual theft. He never spoke up to me about what I was doing. He never sat me down to give me a long, complicated talk about how money works. He was just happy to see me happy, and it didn’t matter if it cost him five cents. I moved up from candy on my next one. Of course, we were at lunch again, and I couldn’t tell you if I was six of not. Instead of candy bowls, there were crayon baskets meant to be handed out to the children who got the kids’ menu. And I just had to have one of those packages to take home with me, as if I already didn’t have enough crayons. My mother caught me on this little action, laughing and exclaiming loudly that I had stolen two cheaply made crayons. This didn’t make me feel good, like now I knew that what I had done was wrong. As we walked out of the restaurant, we could hear some police sirens starting up in the distance, which only made me think that what I did was very wrong. I thought about returning the crayons but didn’t want to admit that I had done a horrible thing. I didn’t want to go to jail just because I had stolen two crappy crayons. I didn’t want to go to jail at all. But, somewhere in my mind, my thieving hands didn’t 54
want to joke around anymore. If we could get away with this, then what else could we get away with? What was our limit? When would you feel guilt, because you haven’t felt it much yet. You’ve feared for your life, but you don’t feel guilty. The first time that I stole money, I took it directly from my grandfather’s wallet. I caught on early that the little brown stack of leather that was on the counter day, night, and every other time that he was home was a place where I could get some money. At the time, my parents didn’t want to admit to the whole world that we were poor, and I was confused as to why they didn’t want to give me money for some fun books to read. Wealthier students got giant crates of books in exchange for packets of dollars that their parents had given them, but my parents refused every time I asked them why they couldn’t do something like that. I wanted to have books to read. Or not read. I hadn’t fallen in love with books yet, but I didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t get anything when the orders came in. So of course I stole the money from my favorite person in the whole wide world to get some books I would never read. My imaginary friends told me that it was a bad idea, asking me what the hell I was doing, but they went along with it when I explained that it would be for our benefit. I thought it was a great idea. I would get what I wanted. I had never seen my grandfather more disappointed with me in his life. They caught me early on since they knew by the handwriting that I had filled out the form and not my parents. I had only stolen a twenty for one book or two, but it felt like I had stolen thousands. My grandfather was hardly ever mad at someone. He loved everybody, but in that moment, he was not really loving me. He felt distant. I had broken the heart of my best friend, enough to the point that he kept his distance from me. He put his wallet up every time when I was around, giving me these sad and hurt eyes that only made me feel worse. I had done wrong, and I had broken his trust, a thing I was told that was hard to retrieve once it has been lost. It felt like I was hated. Even though I had that disappointment hanging over my head, my mind 55
had the bright idea to continue onward. I felt guilty because what I did was wrong. And the guilt hurt, but my mind didn’t think I got hurt enough. The next semester, I found myself still wanting books, but I decided on a different approach. I found my grandfather’s checkbook and tried to fill out the check without any prior knowledge of how to do so. I asked my imaginary friends to help me know what to put into the blanks, and we worked through it together. My mother says that she was impressed with my abilities to write the check almost entirely correctly. The only thing I did wrong was that I signed the back with the name “Papa” instead of my grandfather’s real name. At that point, they were still angry and disappointed with me, but they were also laughing at the creative ways I was thieving. And the pain of the guilt didn’t feel any worse. It was still hurting but not as much. I didn’t pull off crimes again until I was a little bit older. This is where I get to the stuff I never wanted to tell my parents. The juicy bit of the juicy pear I never even wanted to eat because I hate pears. My grandparents kept a box in their bedroom that, on the outside, looked like it was for jewelry, but it actually housed some of their more important things. Some family heirlooms. My grandmother’s nice jewelry. Their passports and licenses. But I focused on the small stack of safety money they kept in there. Twenty dollar bills as far as the old music box could let me see. I learned about it when I was back in the room with my grandfather, and he grabbed a bill out of the box to pay for that night’s dinner. And I realized the gold mine I was missing. Even when he was home, sitting back in the computer room, I would attempt a steal. I would open the box slightly, since the old music box had a bad habit of playing a tune, but only sometimes, when you opened it. I would slip a bill out of it, only one, then gently close the lid, leaving it exactly where it was, just one twenty short. I knew that if I came out with a fresh bill and started waving it around as if I had won something, I would be easily caught. My brilliant mind and my friends told me to crumple it multiple times, and then to stick it in a little bit of water to 56
make it seem like it had come off of the rain-soaked streets outside. I got away with it. My mother thought I had magic money-finding powers, and I wasn’t really feeling the pain of guilt. In fact, I felt kind of like I had done a good thing. And I did it again. And again. I don’t really know how many times I actually did it, but I had it all planned out. No two steals were close together, and all of them were crumpled as if they had come from the street. I always took whenever there were multiple bills in the box, so no one would even notice. The guilt never hit again. With all of this money now in my possession, I spent it on some small toys that I played with only for about a year before shelving them because I was too old. I sold them all later to a little girl who would actually love them, the money I received off of that going to someone else to help them in their move away. In that moment, I felt some guilt as I remembered how I got almost every single one of those plastic toys, and I felt it lift only a small bit as the new owner stepped up to take them. Back then, there was no remorse. Now, my grandfather isn’t around to hear an apology, and I have to live with the feeling of being disappointed with myself for never feeling guilty enough to stop and apologize. I only stopped once I got a real job at home. Once my parents started giving me work to do and they started paying me for it because they could afford to do so, I realized that I could just buy my own stuff if I worked hard. I did the dishes and the laundry for them. My grandfather employed me to dust the house and do small things in the yard, like raking leaves. I felt like I had earned that money the right way, and my mind found this to be easier. I kept a tight grip on that money, a tighter grip than a box in my bedroom, and I was very cautious about spending it. I still do that, just because I know how easily it can all slip away.
This piece is an essay, actually real and actually true. Sometimes when you’re young, it’s hard to know what guilt feels like until you’re knee deep in it and someone’s disappointed in you. Like I said, I’ve never told my parents this story out of fear of what they might think of me. It’s a story that hurts to tell, but it’s about time I tell it.
This is a black engobe carved vase.
Arlington National Cemetery In this very moment Among this forest of stark white stones lined up Straight and uniform as soldiers, among these lives Traced in generations of war—these sons and brothers And husbands who never returned, I want to know only the pond, the tall pines, Red cherry and sweet earth grappling and Stretching the senses, and deer, crossing this field. I want everything alive and breathing. I lean on the willow, remove my walking shoes, Lay down the map. I look west, then east, Remembering that day they brought him home— That dark oval mound draped with the flag Fluttering only a little, everyone nicely-dressed And stoic, that day my grandmother bowed, Touched that flag, and said in a pale voice, “My boy, my beautiful boy, watch out for me and wait, and on that day, I will look out for you, for you, my beautiful boy.”
I was motivated to write “Arlington National Cemetery” by my childhood memories of the memorial service held for my uncle, Lt. Ellis, in the little village of Hazleton, Indiana. I don’t really remember my uncle, but I do remember that day and the grief my grandmother and grandfather must have felt when their son was brought home to his final resting place. 59
Grass and Stones
Maybe A man, his approach spoiled by the crunch of gravel beneath his feet, stands across the river from me. He appears young, but he is a dozen or so feet across the humming waters, so what do I know? It is only us, for now, in this solidarity. He casts a fishing line downstream, hoping to find success. I too wish for success, but in a different way. Perhaps the squirrel, alerting me to itself with the ruffle of leaves, dreams of success too. Maybe he—or she—or it—is sentient. Maybe we are all wildlife. Maybe the fish upstream are aware of their possible doom. That is, if they don’t mind not missing the fishing hook. They see it, they know it’s there, they know its purpose. Maybe the fish pity the man, know of we poor humans’ starvation for success, and pity us. Maybe they will sacrifice themselves for his joy and my joy by proxy. Or maybe they won’t. They know we wouldn’t sacrifice ourselves for the sake of a petty fish. Why would they do the same? Maybe for honor in the aquatic afterlife, or to fulfill a bet from another fish or from the clever turtle upstream. Or even from the squirrel beside me, looking unafraid and even smug, watching the churning waters. Maybe this is his—or hers—or its—bid for success. But what do I know? “Maybe” was written when watching a man going fishing in a local park. There was something so remarkably unremarkable about the situation, the murmuring river, and the nature around me then that it inspired me to write about it.
Halloween Wedding They liked the idea—the bride and groom— everything orange and black and yellow. It’s how they loved these out-of-fashion colors in their later years. Frankenstein and his Bride—The King and Queen of spider webs—assorted ghouls and goblins screeching at the dark, the Ringmaster and her Butcher drawing everyone in where the trees— a drapery of lights twinkling orange and purple and green—take their last swing of leaves, and where the stars, even in October’s full dark look as if they’re moving—an imperative, a directive the True Texas Gentleman and his Southern Belle follow a thousand highway miles to this very place, this very moment, this very grace in the night. We gather on the patio. Shamoo, an Official Friend of God is enough. They’ve written the words that make it real. Children hold hands, Trick-or-Treat, and pass the rings. Dogs in costumes and wildlife in dark places are not quiet, but we hear everything because there’s clear community all around, and I think how the Center of my Universe is right here—
our son, another daughter, and we say it out loud how we know this is real and good, this most sharing of everything all around us, and among us, and within the very hearts of us.
“Halloween Wedding” was written for our son and his bride who had discovered early on that they liked the color orange and the annual Halloween activities. Why not be married on Halloween? All guests were in costume, the Groom as Frankenstein and the Bride was naturally the Bride of Frankenstein. I was a Gypsy Lady, and my husband was a bottle of Pepsi Cola, complete with the Pepsi Cola radio jingle: “Pepsi Cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces, that’s a lot...” Finally, the Minister wore a Monk’s Habit with potato chip sacks pinned all over it. Thus, the “Chip Monk.”
The You That Makes You Happy Series Everyone is looking to find the place where we belong and find out who we are. Over the summer, I really got to know some great people in the furry fandom that helped me to get out of my shell. These pieces, self-portraits of me and my characters, are basically love letters to the fandom, thanking them for helping me to discover myself and hoping that others can do the same as well. A lot of people tend to give the furry community a bad wrap because of the sexual stuff that comes with it, but itâ€™s just like any other community filled with sweet and interesting individuals. All of these were done with virtual art over the course of 40+ hours.
Queen Violet He came alive when he was Violet Virginia Violet Violaceous hair Fishnet stockings Cigarette between plum pouty lips Leaning against the no smoking sign A purple world where words “fag” and “freak” Are slaughtered by glamazon knights in steampunk armor Stilettos and feathers bold and proud and fierce Under the purple sun and violet moon He came alive when he was Violet Violet, vicious, violent, bruises A testament to a violet violent life and death
I have grown quite sick and tired of people using religion to justify homophobic and transphobic discrimination.This poem is a war anthem for queer, trans, and and every other identity in between. It is also a somber reminder and remembrance of the casualties of hate and bigotry.
Madison Deline Hershberger
This ceramic piece was thrown in the spring of 2018. Before the bisque firing, dots of colored slip (white slip and blue mason stain) were added individually by hand. This method was partially inspired by the traditional paint method of pointillism.
Starving Social Media Artist Never let success get to your head But you never listen, do you? You try to stay humble claiming two likes is enough but the magic day you get 500, you’re wondering what you did and how you can make it happen Again and again There’s a well in your bed your permanent spot where you try to not let tears soak into the piece you work on Someone half your age someone half your skill has more people that love them more people than you Why does it matter to you if some stranger can see every post every word every picture that you ever make you’re not making friends posting art every three seconds
You’re just making your life harder #artist #starvingartist #humble #friendship #helpthem #stopthis #loveme #please #anyone?
I started getting more into social media posting during the summer. While I try to stay humble about my work, I can’t help but feel a pang of hate/sadness when I work on something so hard, only for a few likes. The “starving” part of this poem could be linked better to starving for attention.
Madison Deline Hershberger
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
This photograph was taken on the 2018 UIndy spring term trip in Costa Rica. Pictured is a Red-Eyed Tree Frog which was spotted on a night walk tour in the La Fortuna area of Costa Rica. This was a special moment to capture as I have always wanted to see a Red-Eyed Tree Frog in person, since I was a little girl. 70
My First Kiss was like going to an animal shelter. The only boys I was attracted to were my best friend’s exes so I lined them all up and walked their cages judging each to see who was worthy of my virgin lips. This one’s kinda short. This one has commitment issues. This one’s quite aggressive. I finally settled on the 5’9” Latino boy because his eyes were colder than mine and his lips looked plump and eager. He took me to his 1999 Taurus and told me to keep quiet. I was surprised by how soft he was. He took my face in his hands like he was balancing an egg. We tasted the same—marijuana and mango juice. I knew I’d keep him.
My Headâ€™s in the Clouds
This work is a matted acrylic painting. It depicts a wildly expressive visual of myself.
If I kissed the snow with wildberry lips would I stain the crystals red? Would they be a monument? â€”no. They would melt away at the touch, the way my lover does when we have napped too long into the stillness of evening.
This poem captures the fleeting nature of a moment.
Segments *Recipient of the 2018 Juried Student Exhibitionâ€™s Best in Show Award
In this work, I delve into the process of problem-solving and the concepts of parts vs. whole and the divisions between them. I ask the questions: what is whole, what makes something whole, and how do we achieve wholeness? These forms function as puzzle pieces; when apart, the pieces can be in disarray, but when together they are orderly. However, in this work the inner and outer surfaces contrast when the forms are apart, which can lead to even more disarray. To control this, I compose the repetitive segments into a new composition that has tension in areas where two halves almost create a whole within the entire composition. These concepts of order and problem solving began for me when I was very young. Through this process and work, the viewer is encouraged to think about these segments and their individuality as well as their role as a part of a larger whole.
Paige Lewis Interview Conducted by Sara Perkins What were you doing in undergrad? What did your writing process look like then, in comparison to now, and what did you do that set you up for successful writing today? When I was in undergrad, I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, I was eating popcorn for dinner, and flailing through books like Ulysses for my literature classes, and falling in love with strangers at punk shows. I didn’t even know I wanted to write poetry until I took my first poetry workshop. But once I started to read and write poetry, something clicked in my brain—there was a definite “Ah! So, this is what I want to do with my life” moment. My writing process now is very different than it was when I was in undergrad. Back then, I liked to write at night, but my writing happened sporadically. Now, I have a consistent writing routine. I wake up around 6a.m., make a cup of black tea, and sit down at my desk with a stack of poetry books. Then I stay put, reading and writing until the early afternoon. Forcing myself to wake up and write even on days I don’t feel particularly “inspired” has been the best decision I’ve ever made for my writing. If I only wrote when I felt inspired, I’d have very few poems to show for it. What is something about you that someone wouldn’t be able to find in your bio? What do you like to do with your time, besides writing and teaching? I love to go for walks and look at the birds! I’m not particularly good at identifying birds, but I’m learning, and learning is the fun part, anyway. For my birthday one year, my husband Kaveh surprised me with a pair of binoculars, a birding book, and a trip to a wildlife refuge in Tallahassee, Florida. Within minutes of arriving, we came across a vermilion flycatcher, which is a beautiful bright red bird with 77
black wings. It was out in the open, standing on a wooden fencepost. It was as if this bird was waiting for us. Later that day we found out weâ€™d seen one of only three vermilion flycatchers in all of Florida! It was a very good bird day.
Robert Campbell Interview Conducted by Rochelle Bauer
In the Herald of Improbable Misfortunes by Robert Campbell 2018 Etchings Press Poetry Chapbook Winner
What inspires you the most? That’s a hard question. I try not to rely on inspiration, of course, since writers have to write regardless of whether we feel “inspired” or not. That said, I keep going back to the absurd or the fantastical. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because, for all our commonalities, we all experience the world in totally unique ways through the lens of our own little dream. I think there’s something really beautiful and sad about that. Do you have any advice for younger writers? I feel like anything I would tell a younger writer in terms of traditional advice would be based on the kind of writer I wanted to be when I was younger, but those things can and should change. Instead, maybe just decide what kind of writer you want to be and identify the wise voices that speak to you and can guide you properly, then follow them. It’s inevitable that you have to read and write a whole hell of a lot to figure that out, but everyone knows that. Hell, I still have so much to learn. Also, don’t get too hung up on the idea of “being a writer.” The idea of “the writer” as a singular, monolithic identity gets needlessly complicated and is a really strange paradigm to unpack. Just be the kind of writer you need to be. That’s enough.
James R. Gapinski Interview Conducted by Jessica Marvel
Edge of the Known Bus Line by James R. Gapinski 2018 Etchings Press Novella Winner
Do you have any advice for people looking to publish their own work? Make sure you have a reason for writing. If your one and only objective is to get published, then you’re going to get burned out before you reach that end-goal. You need something that motivates you intrinsically. Also, getting published is more about reading than it is about submitting over and over and over again. If you read lit mags and follow small presses, you’ll get a feel for which ones most resonate with your style. You can submit more deliberately and send submissions to venues that make the most sense for you. As an added benefit, all that reading will likely make you a better writer. What’s a random fun fact about yourself that we wouldn’t read about in your bio? I used to build custom electric guitars as a hobby. My favorite one was a Stratocaster-style body, wooden pickguard, rail humbuckers with individual toggles for each blade, and a built-in distortion effect. I really enjoyed experimenting with different electronics, but I haven’t had time for it in a while. And these days, it’s more appealing to play some acoustic guitar or banjo to unwind after work. 80
Chad V. Broughman Interview Conducted by Kylie Seitz
the forsaken... by Chad V. Broughman 2018 Etchings Press Prose Chapbook Winner
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given (as a writer or otherwise)? A very established, insightful, and compassionate author once told me—well, more like demanded—that I let go of the guilt for the time and energy that it takes to follow my dreams. She reminded me that by pursuing my own goals I am showing my sons what perseverance and devotion look like firsthand. Authorship takes guts and sacrifice and many, many pre-dawn, post-dusk hours. But thanks to the tutelage of a very intuitive writer, I know that my children will be better off for having witnessed their father writing before the sun rises, working a full day, then still being an obnoxiously zealous parent at their soccer games that night. I pray that one day, when they are about to give up, they will say to themselves, “No, I can do it. I can do it all!” How do you typically go about revision for a piece? Do you have specific readers and/or editors you trust with your work? I set aside a quiet time and space (with two children under ten, this is sometimes quite a feat) in order to imagine my story in a reader’s hands. Nothing figurative here. I actually picture her face, watch it as she turns the pages. I know this 81
sounds sentimental, maybe even corny, but it’s my reality. This way, I can write to her. For her. And I can ask, What other details do you need here, friend? What scene would make you hurt as bad as the heroine? What would make you care that the cancer came back? What if I told you that she wanted it to? Shared a moment from her yesteryear with her mom and told you that she died giving birth? Then, after I get the needed affirmations or rejections, I shift and tweak and filter accordingly. Or, in some cases, throw in the towel. If a story has been rejected or misinterpreted, or if the reactions are mixed and tepid, then I have not depicted the characters and conflicts as accurately as they unfolded in my mind’s eye. And that’s not fair to the characters, their journeys, or any future readers who could be impacted by either. I want my fiction to thrill, provoke, console, or divert—whatever the reader needs in any given moment— and if that’s not happening, then it’s my responsibility and honor to trudge through a second, third, and fourth revamp to do the story justice. See, the nuances of the narration will come, but only after you can see who you are writing to. I believe there is a beautiful balance in all mankind’s chaos, and sometimes, I think you have to find it in invented, narrated places, which may need to be reworked time and again, for the sake of art.
Contributorsâ€™ Bios Paul Anderson teaches classes in business law and computer applications at the University of Indianapolis. Margaret Augustin recently graduated from UIndy with a BFA in studio art with a concentration in ceramics. She is currently in UIndyâ€™s MA in studio art program. Her longterm goal is to teach in higher education. Asiah Avery is a freshman at the University of Indianapolis majoring in art education. She hopes to focus on depicting human emotions within her work and does this by creating portraits. She does not have a specific style, nor does she stick to the same mediums. She likes to explore new techniques and media, wishing for the best. Riley Childers is a junior professional writing major with a minor in digital photography. She loves to explore Indiana for possible photo opportunities and hopes to expand her adventures outside of her home state. Tayah Eakle is a creative writing major. She loves reading, writing, and watching cult classics. Harley Engleking is a senior at UIndy, majoring in art education with a minor in art history. Her goal is to teach in a middle school back home in southern Indiana. Alma Garcia is a senior studying photography at the University of Indianapolis. She is from Los Angeles, California, and she loves to travel to Mexico because she likes to see her grandparents and the rest of her family and because she loves the food. Food is life. Cheyenne Granger is a junior studio art major at UIndy with a concentration in ceramics. 83
Carol Hatfield became addicted to the cathartic and highly personal nature of poetry as a child. She has taught poetry writing and appreciation to children and adults and has had the good fortune to serve as a poet-in-residence for Clark Elementary School in Franklin, Indiana. She has also presented poetry workshops for librarians in the Children & Young People’s Division library conferences and was awarded “Outstanding Teaching in the Field of Poetry” by the Barbara Juster Esbensen teaching award committee. Carol’s poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and magazines such as Frogpond, Branches, The Journal of Modern Haiku, The Vision, and Cricket Media for Kids, as well as on her own website, www.inotherwords.vision. Shannon Harris is a graduate student at University of Indianapolis studying English with a concentration in writing. She has a passion for writing, helping others follow their passion for writing, and reading, lots of reading. Her true writing passion is scripts, whether it be for television, film, or stage. She has had several editorials published in Embrace Beauty Magazine. She writes a blog sponsored by EBM for full-figured women at www.4FWClub.com. Madison Deline Hershberger is a senior at UIndy and is graduating in December 2018. Her major is applied pychology, and she plans to become a child life specialist; she is also minoring in ceramics. She loves everything to do with the arts but has a passion specifically for ceramics, photography, writing poetry, and writing fiction. Her family is her inspiration throughout the arts because they were the ones who told her she can do anything she sets her mind and heart to.
Mackenzie Hyatt is a freshman at UIndy and is currently majoring in creative writing and minoring in theater. She has had a passion for writing from a young age and considers herself an expert on “its” vs “it’s.” Her favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, but she is currently trying to carve her way through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
Chelsea Keen is a student at UIndy majoring in creative and professional writing. She placed second in the the high school short story section of Purdueâ€™s Annual Literary Awards in April 2017. She likes writing and stuff. Cindy Luri created some of the beautiful artwork in this issue. Jessica Marvel is majoring in creative writing and minoring in art. She has worked for Etchings before in many positions and claims it is great fun. She hopes one day to make her own novels and graphic novels. Maybe one day her cat will also be a little nicer to her. Natalie McCann was born with glass bones and paper skin. Every morning she breaks her legs, and every afternoon she breaks her arms. At night, she lies awake in agony until her heart attacks put her to sleep. Maxine Miles is a mostly self-taught artist. She began drawing at an early age, learning from the shows she watched (predominantly animated as live action could not hold her interest) and carried on into middle school, discovering her passion for animation. Later, in high school she took her first formal drawing classes. From there she pursued a degree at the University of Indianapolis in studio art with a concentration in illustration and animation. Reagan Moorman is a senior pre-art therapy major with concentrations in ceramics and painting. BreAnnah Nunn was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is majoring in English and creative writing for the pure fact of influencing the world with her words. For the moment, she is just trying out a little bit of everything until something sticks.
Lana Osterman’s literary life began in Hazleton, Indiana, a small farming community in southwest Indiana, where her maternal grandmother wrote short, rhyming poems that accompanied letters to her out-of-town relatives, including Lana. At age 36, while a business student at the former Indiana Central University, she was encouraged by professor and poet Alice Friman to join her creative writing class. Louis, Lana’s husband, is a retired Center Grove Middle School teacher. Most currently, she is in a small writing class, led by Tom Daugherty in the local Mount Auburn United Methodist Church. Sara Perkins is an undergraduate student at the University of Indianapolis majoring in professional writing with a minor in creative writing. A friend once told her that she is the level of hipster he someday wished to achieve, and she thinks of that every time she huffs essential oils or eats tree bark. She has been published in Etchings, Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets, Young Adult Review Network, Indiana Review Online, and Tributaries. She finds having a website buckwild, but she guesses you can check it out at www.saraperkins. squarespace.com/. Brooklyn Raines is a senior creative writing major. Her son, music, and the weirdness that is intertwined in everyday life inspire the majority of her work. Trix Rosewood is a versatile artist with a background in theater, painting, and writing formats. He is a creative writing major at UIndy and his greatest writing strengths include sci-fi/fantasy and personal reflective essays. He strives to be a talent agent for artists and finds great joy in helping other artists thrive.
Shauna Sartoris engages in all things writing, as made evident by her double major in professional and creative writing and her minor in literary studies. She writes about the universality of the human condition through careful consideration of language, tone, and form. Shauna has been previously published in UIndy’s Etchings magazine (volumes 29.2 and 30.2) and in Z Publishing House’s 2018 anthology Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets. Her favorite book tracks the statistics of word usage in famous literature. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Despite being a double major in creative writing and professional writing, Kylie Seitz spends most of her time actively avoiding any actual writing, academic or otherwise. As such, she is currently mastering the arts of baking banana bread, sliding in her fluffy socks on hardwood floors (and sometimes the university’s tile hallways), and powerlifting. Catherine Watness currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and she has always been very passionate about writing. She firmly believes that artists weave truths through lies and hopes she has done her part in honoring this timeless tradition, as well as entertained. Several of her poems have been featured in the University of Indianapolis’ literary journal Etchings. Her poem “Rubrum Sancti” is featured in Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets. Colton Wesley is not an alien, time traveler, or esper. Elizabeth White is currently a junior studio art major with a concentration in animation and illustration. She is inspired by characters, environments, and the stories behind them, especially in fantasy, cartoons, and video games. While in college, she has developed a love for drawing, painting, and photography, as well as writing. She hopes that people will create a story of their own when viewing her art.
Call for Submissions Etchings Volume 31 Issue 2, Spring 2019 Submissions due at midnight on February 4th, 2019 Guidelines for Submissions:
• All UIndy students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to submit. • All accepted undergraduate prose and poetry submissions will be considered for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award. • Up to three short stories or creative nonfiction essays, five poems, and five visual materials may be submitted. • Artwork must be in .jpg or .png format. Please save at a high resolution (at least 300 ppi). • Poetry and prose should be in Microsoft Word format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). • Poetry should be single spaced, and prose should be double spaced in a 12-point font. • Etchings has a blind submission process. Please give each submission its own document and file name that reflects the title of the piece, and do not include your name on either. Submit work at etchings.submittable.com. We do not accept email submissions. Please create a free account at submittable.com or sign in using Facebook. For questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us @uindyetchings.
Etchings is a literary and fine arts magazine produced by student editors in ENG 379 at the University of Indianapolis.