Etchings Issue 29.1

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ETCHINGS Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of the University of Indianapolis Volume 29 Issue 1 2016

Copyright Š 2016 By the University of Indianapolis and Individual Contributors Cover Art by Kyle Agnew Cover Design by Gabbie Brown Printed by Triangle Printing, Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana 2016

2016 Etchings Editorial Staff

Gabbie Brown

Heather Dakota Nickolich

Jessica Marvel

Monique Parent

Editor-in-Chief | Design Editor

Visual Materials Editor

Prose Editor

Poetry Editor

James Nelligan

Lauren Salvo

Managing Editor

Social Media Coordinator

Liz Whiteacre Faculty Advisor

Table of Contents Letter from the Editor Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Interview with Nicole Matos

1 2 3

Essay They Got Me | Joshua Track


I’d Like | Rochelle Bauer Natasha | Rochelle Bauer I Sat in the Hard Heart of Winter | Morgan Benjamin It Kills Me That I’m Still Writing Poems About You | Haley Brewer Burn | Hunter Little The Lost of My Life | Hunter Little Robby’s Pub | Hunter Little 7a.m. | Natalie McCann The Lighter Things | Natalie McCann In The Fall | Kiley Sokol Asexual Erotica | Catherine Watness My Grandmother’s Apron | Erica White Poindexter | Erica White


33 9 26 14 12 43 28 38 46 6 31 5 36

Visual Materials Lucid | Kyle Agnew Reflections on the Canal | Dalton Atchison Fall Foliage | Dalton Atchison Church in Irvington | Dalton Atchison


40 11 8 45


Abuzz | Harley Engleking Cascade | Harley Engleking Under the Burning Tree | Seth Grandidge GROW | Seth Grandidge Nature’s Contrast | Sarah Hoffmeier The Cliffs of Moher on a Misty Day | Spencer Martin Forbidden City | Karen Newman The Brass Ring Lounge in Fountain Square | Paige Stratton Premonition | Paige Stratton Sunkist River Canyon | Paige Stratton Bonds and Breaks | Catherine Watness The Sky | Erica White

44 37 13 35 27 41 15 30 16 42 25 32

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Letter from the Editor

On behalf of the Etchings staff, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to pick up this issue of our magazine. We had a lot of great submissions that made our choices difficult, and after much debate, we are proud to present you with the pieces inside this magazine. We are very thankful for our contributors, staff, and readers, whose continued interest in Etchings pushes us to create the best magazine possible, and we hope you all continue to do so in the future. Producing this semester’s edition of the magazine was a challenge for all of us. Just a week into the semester, we were given a new faculty advisor, along with a staff that was, for the most part, new to producing the magazine. This gave us an influx of new ideas on how to produce Etchings that helped improve the process of creating this magazine and allowed us to plan changes that will hopefully improve future editions. I am incredibly blessed to have worked with this group and very proud of all the work they’ve put into this issue. This magazine would not be half as good as it today without their hard work and their commitment. I would also like to take the time to thank our faculty advisor, Liz Whiteacre, who joined us a week into the semester. She has been an incredible help to us by making sure we stay on task, sending us reminders of what we need to accomplish, offering new ideas, encouraging us, and helping us in any way that she can. We would have been hopelessly behind in production without all her advice and assistance. I would also like to thank the English Department for continuing to give us the opportunity to create Etchings, as well as Debby McGary for sending out reminders to push people to submit their works to us. Finally, I would like to give a huge thank you to Triangle Printing for printing Etchings. They are always willing to help us, whether it is making sure we have the magazine printed on time or just explaining how different types of paper will affect the look of the magazine. Without them, Etchings would not look as good as it does. It has been a wonderful experience working on this issue, and I hope you enjoying reading it just as much as we enjoyed making it. Sincerely, Gabbie Brown

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Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award

This year’s judge, Nicole Matos, is a writer, professor, career coach, retired roller derby skater, and proud special needs mom. Her work has appeared in Salon, XOJane, American Short Fiction, The Classical, The Rumpus, The Atticus Review, and many others. She has published three chapbooks of poetry: Oxidane (2014: Blazevox Books), The Astronaut’s Apprentice (2015: Dancing Girl Press), and Skate/Glove (2016: Finishing Line Press). Her first full-length book of poetry, The Unbroken Child, began as a short story and was selected by Junot Diaz as a runner-up for The Best American Short Stories of 2016. It also was a Finalist for the Rose Metal Press 2015 Poetry Open, a Semi-Finalist for the 2015 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize, and a Glimmertrain 2015 Fiction Open Honorable Mention. It will be released as a full-length manuscript by Negative Capability Press in 2017.

First Place My Grandmother’s Apron | Erica White Runner Up I’d Like | Rochelle Bauer 2


Interview with Nicole Matos

What advice do I have for up-and-coming writers? Two exclamation points and a single sober period: Read voraciously! A writer can’t write without reading, everything and anything. I myself got a PhD in reading literature before I ever started writing—not that you need to go that far! But sometimes newer writers are afraid to read, afraid that all the good ideas have already been taken, or that they’ll end up sounding like someone else (there’s a whole theory surrounding this, called “the anxiety of influence”—but the idea is just that, an anxiety, not a truth). The more you read, the better you will write, and the more you’ll see the world of writing as a lively, living conversation, across history, culture, time, and space. Submit indiscriminately! If you’d like to be published, recognize that publication is a numbers game: it is normal to suffer a lot of rejection, probably much more than you expect. Examining my own submissions spreadsheet (yep—I keep a spreadsheet on this), I can see that a recent essay of mine was rejected 13 times before it was accepted by someone, and my first poetry chapbook was rejected 28 times. One of the mistakes newer writers often make is getting too attached to the idea of a single really high-level placement: sure, we’d all like to be in The New Yorker, and there’s no harm in mailing out to them. But I’d mail out to another 15 or 20 other places while you are at it, without being too obsessed with supposed status. Schedule time for writing. This doesn’t get an exclamation point because it is, frankly, boring. But the best productivity lesson I ever learned was to schedule writing time the same way I might schedule, say, a dentist’s appointment. Just having writing on a general “to-do” list doesn’t cut it: but if my calendar for Tuesday, the 28th of May, says “Writing” from 2-5 pm, and if I always do what my calendar says (doesn’t everybody?), then I can be sure some writing will get done. Writing is work; it needs to be scheduled like work: that’s my motto. Just like you wouldn’t miss a meeting at your job, it is important to never miss a meeting with yourself. Prizewinner: “My Grandmother’s Apron” I admire the focus of this poem, the way it takes a risk (I do consider this a risk!) to limit its subject: to examine just a single image completely,

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exploding that one image into all of its facets and parts. Risky and a little risqué—the grandmother envisioned as a sexual being, a “rockabilly pin up” grounded by the issue of all that sexual energy: “six kids.” The single apron, a sign of the grandmother’s self-possession and agency—one she “made herself”—manages to retain all the traces of the grandmother’s life story, “soda bar girl…turned Sixties housewife.” The poem is sweet and stable, but refuses to romanticize, offering “holidays…when there’s nothing to do.” Runner Up: “I’d Like” I am charmed by the mood of this poem, difficult to describe—a kind of winsome selfishness, reminding me of “Bartleby the Scrivener,” who would “prefer not to,” or William Carlos Williams’ famous absconding with the breakfast plum! The narrator “would like” a tremendous number of things, most of them quite achievable, even self-evident: “I’d like for the pillows in the evening to be plump, and the comforter to be just that.” But again, the poet does not sentimentalize hard truths, remaining “uneasy” with this preponderance of desire, with the recognition, as Jane Kenyon wrote, that things with one day “be otherwise.”



My Grandmother’s Apron | Erica White

I have dusted it with all-purpose Flour through years of working in Its tie. Vegetable shortening and yeast, All wiped one time or another to its Front bib. Black with white polka dots, Trimmed in red, it’s a cheeky look completed With a sweetheart top. My sister said she knows why Our grandmother had six kids—all She had to do was make pancakes On Sunday mornings wearing nothing But that apron. My sister laughs and images of 75 cent Porn pops into my mind, she paints With a brush that says “rockabilly” pin up Caught in a nip slip. The apron’s top, smaller than my breasts, Would’ve been too small for my grandmother’s. I think of her, she used to be a soda bar girl—a Technicolor novelty—turned Sixties housewife—a good, young wife. The apron she made herself Is now kept behind the coat on my hook, out Of the kitchen and only seen on holidays— Days when there’s nothing to do but bake Vanilla box cake or cut potatoes. I kept it Out of my sister’s sight, only because she Never talked to our grandmother.

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In The Fall | Kiley Sokol

Leaves of fiery hue blanketed the cold stone bench. She sat down and pulled her legs close. Waiting on a shadow to fall over her, she drank in the smoke perfumed air. The chocolate warmed her hands in a white cup. Her breath swirled, around, around into the sky. Shadows began to grow longer, longer as she had sat there on cold leaves of fire. She wondered where the sun went to sleep. The wind blew the water on her cheeks away from the pools holding her soul



captive. As every shadow passed her by without a glance, she slowly stood and faded down the path with the sun. The warmth left with her. A shadow arose from the other end of the sun’s fading path. He hovered over the chilled leaves of fire. A white cup with a red kiss on the rim sat forgotten on the bench. It was now cold, colder than the spot where she had once sat. He looked towards where the sun had disappeared. Then came the realization that he had lost his light, his way home, and the warmth that will never return.

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Fall Foliage | Dalton Atchison



Natasha | Rochelle Bauer

She stood alone in the grass by the sidewalk though there was a crowd of people around. Up above, the sun shone down on her face. I do not remember if her long brown hair was in a high ponytail or if it was down. It was at least ninety degrees, my entire body felt sweaty, cars rushed down the street, there was no sign of the bus. I do remember the hollowness deep down in my stomach that compelled me to talk to her. I did not usually talk to strangers and yet the word hello fell out of my mouth. That was four years ago though. She is no longer the innocent girl who stared blankly at the road, jacket in the crook of her elbow. Now, I follow her blindly in stores as she plucks items from the shelves and shoves them into the front of a jacket similar to the one from all those years ago though different in every way that she is. She tells me yesterday she stole a bottle of coconut liquor and drank it at school. She is seventeen years old, what sorrows does she feel the need to drown away? I did not voice the question, but she knew. A brief look of sadness shows on her face though disappears with a random joke.

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I say something smart with a coy smile. She flicks a grin my way, a dimple appears. I do not see her as often as I’d like, three times a year if I’m lucky at all. Her laughter is loud, breathy, fake—yet a remedy I wish was regularly prescribed to make me feel better on my bluest of days. I am older than her by a year and a day. This makes me believe that we were meant to share secrets well after midnight, the same way we share a blanket in one of our beds. But as I watch her sleep beside me, her mouth not able to prove otherwise, I remember her as the innocent girl with her freckled face free from harsh makeup, her upturned nose, and customary scowl.



Reflections on the Canal | Dalton Atchison

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Burn | Hunter Little

I would like to drink coffee with you, Your almond-milk colored skin Warm at 9 a.m. and In the sun I would like to hear you say One more time how I am radiant. How you know I burn, A brush fire, uncontained and We have no inhibition Nothing can stop the strike of lightning that we are Your chest against mine And you inside Is like coming back to life And I am afraid Of you Of you filling me up With steam To burn brighter and How you set me On fire.



Under the Burning Tree | Seth Grandidge

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It Kills Me That I’m Still Writing Poems About You | Haley Brewer It kills me that I’m still writing poems about you. About you, and the stories I pretend to hate telling, and how it’s almost been a year but I don’t care because we’re better off anyways. About how when you left there was a day of mourning like you goddamn died which I always catch myself saying and regretting that you might as well have. I’ve been telling the story of how I screamed at you from the porch because I like how tough it makes me feel but I always leave out the part of how I was sobbing so hard I choked, and how I never knew heartbreak could come from a parent. I like to tell how I took up cooking the meals you weren’t around to make like it made me a superhero, and stuffing half a jelly sandwich down my empty-eyed mother’s throat made me feel like Atlas. I don’t tell people how my older brother stopped laughing at my desperate jokes, and how his hours at that goddamn paint store doubled. I don’t mention crying in the rain when you showed up on Easter, relieved and angry that you cared enough to appear on our doorstep. I don’t mention sitting in that fucking food court as you tried to explain yourself and how I can’t eat mall pretzels anymore without seeing your pathetic broken face. I don’t tell people how I cried in school bathroom stalls, and how I turned my own brother against you. I’m sorry for that, at least, but that’s it. The rest of this—the mess and shit you threw all over us—that’s you. That’s all you.



Forbidden City | Karen Newman

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Premonition | Paige Stratton



They Got Me | Joshua Track

My big problems began in February of 2006 when I was unjustly shit-canned from my cushy job as a gas station general manager. Sure, being a GM at a gas station isn’t the most prestigious job in the world, but it paid the bills and I had the added benefit of being able to perform the basic functions of my job, and then some, completely trashed on any substance known to man. I didn’t get fired because I was a druggy, though. I got fired because I was too trusting. A bad case of checks and balances meant the previous store manager was able to slide away with about ten cartons of smokes. My store got audited. I couldn’t explain the shrinkage. I got fired. Shortly after getting canned, I filed for unemployment insurance, which was initially contested by my previous employer. I had to wait a while before my hearing would release my funds. The unfortunate circumstance of living paycheck to paycheck, trying to pay the bills, and supporting two people’s drug addictions is that money doesn’t get saved. If it isn’t consistently coming in, it’s gone when it’s gone. This meant that after a couple weeks had past, my last paycheck was spent, I still didn’t have a job, and my real problems had only just begun. I said I was supporting two people’s drug addictions. Not because I did that much drugs (I did occasionally, but that’s another story for another time), but because my father had a pesky little problem with freebase cocaine, more commonly known as crack. My pops had spun the most incredible yarn. He claimed he was dying and didn’t want to spend the rest of his short life in severe pain the hospital. I believed him because he’d had cancer before, and I knew he’d gotten the maximum amount of chemo a person could get in a lifetime. Also, my father had never lied to me before, so I didn’t have a reason not to believe him in spite of how ridiculous the story was. I spent a lot of my time outside of work scoring rocks, dealing with incredibly nefarious people, and spending pretty much all of my free money to make sure my dad wasn’t ‘in pain.’ What a bunch of fucking bullshit. After I got fired, I didn’t have money to buy him drugs as often. Subsequently, he got me in debt, and not the kind of debt for which I could file Chapter 13 bankruptcy or change my phone number to avoid those annoying collections calls. This was the type of debt that was going to cost someone their life. Mine. My dad’s. My sister’s. I had to do something. Almost two months had passed, and I still hadn’t found gainful employment. A few odd and end jobs and temp labor kept me afloat for a short while. But dad’s drug debts had gotten ridiculous, and the dope

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man came to collect. He needed his money, and he gave us eight hours. Coincidentally enough, I got a phone call shortly thereafter from an old acquaintance. Turns out he managed to land himself in a bit of a pickle as well. Long story short, we both needed money, and we needed it fast. “Eureka!” I thought. Actually it wasn’t much of a thought. It’s generally the go to idea for getting a lot of money very quickly. The time-tested methodology of bank robbery. We got together and hatched a plan. It didn’t take us long to figure out where we were going hit. The Key Bank on Benham Ave. It was far enough away from the police station to increase response time, and close enough to my neighborhood to make a quick getaway. I imagine both of us were nervous, I know I was, anyway. We knocked that bank over, made a clean getaway, and never spoke to each other again. With a bag full of money, I made an unsettling trip to visit the dope man to pay my dad’s debt and get more drugs. I was scared for my life, but I had the money, so I didn’t think it would matter. I mean, why would he kill me if he didn’t have to? Fortunately for me he didn’t, so I left, dropped my dad’s drugs off, gave him some money, and went to live with some friends for a couple months. Everybody makes mistakes. We don’t all have the good fortune of being pious and holy, in spite of how much some might like to believe they may be. However, not everybody decides to participate in a bank robbery. To be fair, it took them a while to catch me. It’s not like I was making a concerted effort to skip town, or ‘laying low,’ going underground, etc. My unemployment finally got approved, so I was drawing from the state, but I didn’t have a computer. So, every week I would go to the local office of the Department of Workforce Development, which by the way, was caddy corner from the Elkhart City Police Department, and I would file my vouchers for my benefits. It still took them almost six months to find me. But eventually they got me, and they took me in. I vividly recall the day they got me. It was about seven in the evening on a brisk, early autumn day. The sun had started to set and left the sky somewhat dusky. I sat inside a trashy trailer in a trashy trailer park, where I paid by the week to live, and smoked my last cigarette. The last cigarette is always a bittersweet experience. The delight of satisfaction brought upon by the small, rolled stick, followed by the beckoning and dawn of a fresh pack. The seventies-styled wood panel and shag-carpeted interior was somewhat depressing, even more so when coupled with the plumes of stagnant cigarette smoke that danced slowly below the dingy, yellow lightbulbs that barely illuminated the room. On either sides of the living room were large mirrors on the walls to make the room seem larger. Though the room did not seem spacious, it seemed desolate. Finally, I mustered up the wherewithal to pull myself from the vomitcolored, cushy swivel chair and leave the desolate living room of the trailer to go and find solace in a fresh pack of smokes. I could very well have walked



to the local gas station to grab my cigarettes, but I chose to drive. I was rather fond of the car I had at the time. It wasn’t much, but I reckon it reminded me of a simpler time. The car was an old Mazda 626. I bought it for three hundred fifty dollars, and at the time it ran a little rough. The odometer hadn’t quite reached two hundred thousand miles, but it was really everything I could ask for in a car. I tuned it up, changed the oil, and replaced a couple of fuses, after which it ran great. I looked at the old Mazda, and gave her a half-hearted smile before stepping in, firing her up, and pulling out of the driveway. The end of the road in the trailer park led to Old Highway Twenty, it was a fairly busy road, and I had become accustomed to waiting a few minutes before finding an opportunity to make the requisite left turn. When I approached the end of the road to make the turn I had become so accustomed to making, I looked left for oncoming traffic. I noticed two police cars nestled in a parking lot a short distance up the road. “Curious,” I thought. I looked right after the traffic from the left had cleared to make sure I could make my turn. There were two other police cars parked at the head of the road, which ran parallel to the road upon which my car rested. My stomach fell, and I swallowed a hard swallow, but traffic from both sides was clear, so I took the opportunity to make my turn. I was surrounded on both sides by a team of cherries and berries. The two in front of me stepped out of their vehicles with guns drawn, pointed directly at me. The two in back were joined by an unmarked car. The detective in the unmarked car stepped out, his companion standing gun drawn with the other two uniformed officers, as he spoke through a bullhorn. “Slowly take the keys out of the ignition and place them on the ground.” I obliged. I turned off the car and dropped the keys out the window. “Place both hands out the window of the vehicle, use one hand to open the door, and step out slowly, keeping your hands up.” I wanted to make a comment about Simon Says, or something to the effect of doing the hokey pokey, but I didn’t necessarily believe it would fare well considering I had multiple guns drawn on me. So, once again, I obliged, following the direction of the voice in the bullhorn. “Good,” the voice said, as if I were going to receive some sort of commendation for following his directions. “Now, place both hands behind your head, interlock your fingers, and slowly walk backwards toward the sound of my voice. Slowly,” the voice gave its final command as I walked backward and was met by a strong hand gripping my wrist and cuffing me sternly. I stood outside the car, and the detectives emptied my pockets and asked me a few questions. Once they realized I was in fact the person they were looking for, I was taken to the city lockup. City lockup is horrible. Having been arrested a few times, I came

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to understand some things about incarceration, one of which was the big difference between the city lockup and county jail. The Elkhart City lockup was a small area attached to the local police station. There were maybe five cells and a drunk tank. City lockup isn’t bad if you’re only there for a couple hours, but that’s no way to have to do time. Generally, people who consider themselves even mildly institutionalized will fight tooth and nail to get transferred to county jail, where the bedding is softer, the meals are hot and varied, there are showers available, and there’s television. City lockup was old, it smelled bad, there were no basic luxuries, and if an individual happened to have the terrible misfortune of spending more than twelve hours there, then they experienced the vast and expansive Michelin Star quality dining experience that is a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll and decaf instant coffee for breakfast, and a cold process Americanflavored cheese food product sandwich on stale bread paired with a serving of cold pork and beans (with no pork) for both lunch and dinner. As for me, I got to spend almost an entire week in city lockup before getting my transfer to county. The menu doesn’t rotate to include seasonal vegetables, so I got my cheese sandwich and beans for five straight days. I learned something that week; the only thing worse than not being able to shower for an entire week is not being able to shower for an entire week after shitty jail food altered my bowels in such a way that every dump I took was the consistency of peanut butter, and my toilet paper was rationed to me. The smell was so awful that I pitied whomever they placed in my cell on any given day. Since I was in the city lockup that was attached to the police station, I got the added luxury of finding myself in questioning with a series of detectives almost every day I was there. The only fun part about this experience was watching the detectives holding their noses, or trying not to gag from the godawful case of bayou-butt I had developed, while they tried diligently to gain any pertinent information about my accomplice. Thinking back, I imagine they probably could have used the prospect of a shower as a pretty effective bargaining chip. I probably would have given them the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body if they offered me a shower and a hot meal. Instead they got nothing. Quid pro quo, as Hannibal Lecter said. It took long enough, and I smelled bad enough that they finally transferred me to the county jail. The car ride was long and slow. I don’t reckon prisoner transporter got paid by the mile, so he took his time. However, it was nice seeing the city lights of Elkhart under the night sky after essentially spending a week in a cave. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Elkhart. The county jail, strangely, was on the other side of the county. It was still Elkhart County, and I had come from Elkhart City, but I was on my way to Goshen. I suppose there’s some logic behind it, but I always thought it would have made more sense if the Elkhart



County jail was in Elkhart City. Curiously, the new county jail is in Elkhart proper. I guess I wasn’t the only one confused by the logistics. Either way, I’d finally made it there, reeking of swamp-ass and self-loathing. The booking process was tedious. The county holding facilities had switched from ink and paper to a fancy, new computer-based thingy to take fingerprints. With ink and paper, it was generally one and done. The computer required multiple tries and a corrections officer contorting an unwitting inmate’s hands in all sorts of unnatural directions in order to get a good print. Generally, when it seemed like a good print, something would happen and it wouldn’t take, or the database would be offline, or something further elongating the process. Sometimes technology is incredibly effective in streamlining processes, other times it is the bastion of misery. Getting mugshots was pretty much the same as it always was, stand in front of the camera, have the photographer take the picture, and move on. I was in line behind four or five guys that didn’t look too pleased in their pictures. At this point, I still hadn’t had a shower, so I didn’t know if they were generally unhappy about their situations, or if I smelled so bad I was making people make disgusted faces. Either way, I was the last to get photographed, and I’ve never been one to go with the grain, which never served me well in woodshop class (or life, for that matter), so I decided to smile. The photographer thought it was funny, because it wasn’t just a smile, it was an insane-looking, epic, shit-eating, ear-to-ear clown smile, a la Pablo Escobar. After getting my mug and prints on record, I was finally allowed to go into general population where the promise of a shower, a hot meal, and cot were waiting. The corrections officers neatly packed away my personal effects and allowed me to pick a mat upon which to sleep as one of the other corrections officers provided me with a nice, clean change of clothes that smelled like laundry instead of shit. I nearly skipped up to the maximum security cell block nicknamed ‘the gladiator ward’ by both inmates and officers. It was called the gladiator ward because that’s where the serious criminals were housed—murderers, robbers, batterers, home invaders, and the like. This wasn’t my first trip to county, but I wasn’t ready to be placed in a ward with real criminals. I didn’t want to have to fight anyone, but I would if I had to. I nervously rode the elevator up to the third floor, whereupon the door opened and I made my way around the U in front of the guard shack, bypassing the other cellblocks. Finally, I made it to Ward 7. I noticed that compared to every other cellblock, where people occupied the day room, played cards and watch television, 7 was on total lockdown. “What a bit of good fortune,” I thought. “I don’t have to get my ass beat vying for a shower.” The sally port that led into ward 7 opened up, and I entered

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the cell block. Shortly thereafter, I heard a voice over the intercom. “Track,” the voice said. “You’re in level A, cell number 1. Approach the cell and wait for the door to open.” “Great,” I thought. “Another day with no shower.” I heard the lock on the door come free. I opened the door, and entered the cell and learned found that I had company. A mocha colored man lay prostrate on a mat on the floor as he faced the window prostrate on the floor. I sat at the front of the cell and waited for him to finish. I probably could have been a little more intrusive, but at the same time, it felt polite to let the man have his time with his god before imposing on his living space. It was several minutes before my newfound roommate finished his prayer. “You could have come in and set your shit down if you wanted,” said the man. “Yeah, I didn’t want to interrupt your prayers,” I said. “Salaat,” he said. “I was making Salaat.” “Oh, is that like a Muslim thing?” I asked. I didn’t know what it was, because I’d never seen anybody pray like that before. “Yeah,” he said. “Something like that. What’s your name, Big Dog?” “Josh,” I said. “You?” “Buck.” “Like Uncle Buck?” I asked. “Man, hell naw. Like BUCK BUCK BUCK!” he said as he made a gesture with his arm as though he was doing a drive-by. I shook my head as though it made sense. It did, I suppose, to some degree. “Yo, Josh, you go to the store?” “Do what, now?” I asked. “Commissary,” Buck clarified. “You make commissary?” “Not yet,” I said. “Just an indigent pack.” “Trife-life.” “Tell me about it,” I said. “Hey, Big Dog, I ain’t tryin to be funny, but you gotta jump in that box.” “I’m sorry, what?” I asked again, frustrated at myself for not understanding the vernacular. “You smell like shit, bro. You need to take a shower.” “Oh shit, yeah, man. I know. I’ve been at city lockup for the past week. You know, cold cheese sammiches and pork and beans.” “You got them peanut butter shits, huh,” Buck said as he nodded sympathetically. “Hell, yeah,” I said. “I got in here, and the block was on lockdown. Otherwise I would have jumped in the shower first thing. I smell so bad, I can taste myself.”



“I can taste yo ass, and I ain’t tryina taste anotha nigga, ya’heard?” “Yeah, I gotcha,” I said, wondering how hard I would have to try to sound just slightly less like Wally Beaver to my roommate, who had a whole mess of gang literature tattooed up and down his body. I didn’t think dudes like that even existed in Elkhart, which made me realize that saying that people throw around is probably a little more accurate than I was originally led to believe: come on vacation, leave on probation. After the midday count, they rolled the cell doors open, and I was finally able to get a shower in. The water was slightly colder than lukewarm, but at the same time, it felt so incredibly good to have soap and a washcloth moving across my body, that they could have had somebody dumping buckets of ice water on my body as I scrubbed myself clean and I wouldn’t have cared. I got out of the shower, and started to towel myself off when Buck passed by the shower stalls, laughing and giving me a slow round of applause. I bowed in response. I didn’t reckon I would be called for an encore. I walked around the cell block to try and get a feel for everybody there, see who was whom. What everybody did, and how they passed the time. There were a couple groups of dudes that were playing cards. There was a group of guys around one of the tables shooting dice, which in my opinion is the most entertaining spectacle in the world of incarceration. A couple other guys made phone calls, while others waited in line for the phones. Some guys lay on their mats on the floor watching whatever sort of awful television programming happening to plague the screen. Other guys ran back and forth between their cells and the hot pot in the dayroom, retrieving hot water for food, coffee, etc. “Track, come to sally port,” A voice called over the intercom. I walked to the sally port, where I pressed the little black button on the shiny, chrome voice box that was horribly juxtaposed against the dingy, cream and filth colored walls of the cell block. “This is Track,” I said. “Come down to booking for Night Court,” the voice said as the sally port door opened. I made my way back down to booking. The corrections officer directed me to a small room down a corridor in the basement of the jail where they held the night court hearings. That was my magistrate hearing for the robbery case. That was when I got my charging information. That was when I found out how much time I was facing. I was a little uneasy throughout the process that led me to that moment, but as soon as I saw the paperwork, I couldn’t think about anything but the time. Thirty years. How the fuck did I end up there, looking at thirty years in prison? The magistrate hearing ended, and I solemnly made my way back to Ward 7. My new home for God only knew how long. That night I lay awake thinking of every poor decision I’d ever made,

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further recounting every stupid thing I’d ever said. I was overwhelmed by l’esprit de l’escalier, thinking of all the clever retorts I should have made in conversations of the past. I had all the time in the world to think, though I didn’t know if I would ever be able to use any of my clever retorts, or rectify any wrong-doings in a timeframe that made sense. It’s fascinating how memories of actions can evoke so much regret. The more I thought, the more I wondered how my life would be different if I could go back in time and make a few slight changes. What if I would have studied harder? What if I would have stuck with that one job just a little bit longer? What if I would have gotten out, before it got too bad? Tears began to stream down my face as I thought about that shitty cliché old adage: hindsight is always twenty-twenty. If only it were.



Bonds and Breaks | Catherine Watness

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I Sat in the Hard Heart of Winter | Morgan Benjamin I sat in the hard heart of winter Drinking iced green tea in the spring sun. The benevolent sun. It calmed me, It breathed life into my iced limbs, My iced soul. The snow will come, And again I will freeze, turn cold To you, to everything, but I am now, As I absorb this, this energy! I am Now, I am everything for you. I am Omnipotent, omnipresent. I feel Some power injected into me from this And I can use it, improve it before The snow floats down, swirling, Whiting out the world and us.



Nature’s Contrast | Sarah Hoffmeier

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Robby’s Pub | Hunter Little

The love of her life was breaking her bank and her best friend of 16 years stole her F-150 on January 14th. Her cerulean eyes were worn and she counted dollar bills like a child in Pre-K. Long caramel hair fell against her hollow cheeks and shined as if she used olive oil infused shampoo or three solid days of sweat. Life had smothered her, hard she spoke too fast and her brow furrowed as she calculated how to pay for her “soulmate’s” school books. I wanted to let her know I understood, that she wasn’t alone, but I was answered with the words, “Oh, Sweetie, if you only knew.” And she paid for things to show them love and she walked away to drown in drinks at Robby’s Pub in February, when the weather couldn’t decide if it wanted you to bask in a warm breeze or let your bones freeze. She walked away waving a hand at the too-slow automatic doors on her way to do what I used to.



“Be safe!” I called after the shaking skeleton. She thanked me, but she was numb. I was jealous. I think I missed how it feels to give everything for a loved one, to be throttled everyday by someone you let know you, and to drown in drinks at Robby’s Pub, or anywhere away from here.

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The Brass Ring Lounge in Fountain Square | Paige Stratton



Asexual Erotica | Catherine Watness

The moon gently bathes your skin in soft silver Your beauty is truly the definition of sublime Like Eve before her fall Untarnished by sin and lust We lay together innocent Eyes tethered The occasional brushing of noses Our lips do not steal kisses but rather share them Love is pure and holy There is no need to mar it with the sweaty, sticky violence of sex Why would we want to profane our love with carnal desire? Our bodies need not join as our souls are already one Let us lie forever chaste until the world ends in fire or ice by the hand of Some god unknown For you are the only warm flame and cool breeze I will ever need

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The Sky | Erica White



I’d Like | Rochelle Bauer

I’d like for the sky to be blue and the grass green, the trees to be tall and the flowers fragrant. I’d like for the pillows in the evening to be plump, and the comforter to be just that. I’d like for the cookies to be soft and the shower water to be warm. Yet, I’d never fancy the door left ajar, the lips to be chapped, nor a damp sock. And I’d definitely despise a spider in my room. There is simply no way I’d ever welcome a spider in my room. It is probable that I could befriend the monster beneath my bed, perhaps even revel in a complex math problem, but there is not even a chance I would awaken at dawn by choice. And even a passing fancy will prove that I do not like being set to the side nor the sound of cicadas in summer. It might interest you to know, speaking of the many trivial things in my life that I have retained some of your tiny quirks as well. I know you adore the color of my eyes, in the midafternoon reading up on news and making sweets to lay out on the kitchen counter. I also know you enjoy a handful of risk and popcorn made on the stovetop.

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Yet, I’m uneasy in the blue sky and the green grass. For now, the sky is blue and the grass is green. But the sky won’t always be blue and the grass green, the trees won’t always be tall and—somehow—flowers not fragrant.



GROW | Seth Grandidge

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Poindexter | Erica White

We were kids. I remember a January morning with not enough snow To shut our public school system down. Before class, We left the cafeteria to make our own Snow Day. My older Brother and I began tossing footprints behind us as we Hightailed it off of school grounds. Uphill was the border To Garfield Park, a black line of train tracks we followed dismally, Keen as a pack of stray dogs in this arched passage of trees. The railroad hid us from school security before we made it past the Park, and the rest is left to recollections of snow-logged shoes. A year before, in the autumn of 2008, two kids walking the rails Found Poindexter dumped on the tracks behind school. Homeless, Resorting to sex work at age 25, she was identified posthumously by The lightning bolt tattoo on her calf.



Cascade | Harley Engleking

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7a.m. | Natalie McCann

7a.m. I. It’s 5a.m. and I’m scribbling words in my bed as grey light illuminates onto a designated patch of speckled tile. I clench my waist to ring out the hours of caged breath, wondering how much longer I will go without sleep. II. The unversed matrimony of insufficient clauses crash into the canvas of autumn’s ashes as the eyes of streetlights blink subliminal ceremonial cues. Awhile I read to myself the testimony of curved black ink— III. We’ve fallen ill to materialism because science hasn’t caught up to spiritualism. Move back to where you tried so hard to run away from. Fall back into what you claimed you climbed out from. IV. It’s 6:32a.m. and I can feel your pulse from three cities away. Incarcerated between shelves of gooey tar, holding my breath as a hundred glassy eyes search for the moon in a closed room. A crisp, dry voice condenses into the back of their minds, croaks and cracks against tiny shards of membrane to ask, “is this really it?” This is it. V. I feel more like myself as time skips on. I feel less alive as time drags on. I’m so lonely but I could never



play along. I’m so lyrical but I could never sing along. VI. The rose celebrates by falling apart. Layers of solitude drift into a coffin of red velvet bare against black linoleum. The collective inferno screams the rasp of a thousand verses— Burn my skin and bury the ashes, hear my scripture and remember the flames. VII. It’s 7a.m. and I wonder how much longer I will go without sleep. The light creates a portal of vibrancy cast across my wrists. I open my window to see empty slots where stars should be, and at this moment, with my bare feet cold against the speckled floor, and lunar strokes of pastels luminous against my lips, I think of your soft green eyes, leaking streams of wired vibrations— running south on the map of your palms, and I love the human body. It’s 7a.m. and I think of the weight of your heart, heavy against my chest— and how I am in love with the body.

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Lucid | Kyle Agnew



The Cliffs of Moher on a Misty Day | Spencer Martin

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Sunkist River Canyon | Paige Stratton



The Lost of My Life | Hunter Little

Too many unfinished chapsticks, Flavors caked on my raw lips Like icing and Half of each pair of earrings I’ve owned, even the ones made In Brazil, from gold rod, and My overused water bottle—blue, My mind. The yellow lighter from that June night With the weed on a patchwork couch, and Too many people Blackout drunk and The pepper spray that kept me safe. Love, too many times, A home—the feeling of a place to go Socks eaten by the dryer and My mother to a substance I almost let take my life. Passion for writing This pen bleeding on paper My favorite pair of jeans and A T-shirt from my sister, The one that said USMC. Friends and family Over 40 lbs 2 compact cars One crash, one sale and A god who never listened.

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Abuzz | Harley Engleking



Church in Irvington | Dalton Atchison

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The Lighter Things | Natalie McCann

We are driving. I listen to the music and watch the notes tap against the window. We drive across the accustomed streets, but I have no idea where I am. The hours are pressing lightly on my fingertips, And I think that everything is OK. My friend sits in the driver’s seat. Her voice materializes as blue powder That disintegrates when her lips close. She reminds me—we are made of the lighter things. I sit in the back and hold my head to keep it still. I balance the days on the tip of my nose, Watching them spin beneath my eyes, Unraveling as a roll of film. Our memories are built into maps, That are folded and kept as paper weights. That night, I stand on my toes and coat the sky in charcoal. In my dreams, I float above colored cardboard houses. When I wake, I see them on paper.



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Contributor Biographies

Kyle Agnew is an art therapy student with a concentration in studio photography. He is interested in surrealistic photography and the art of photography. Dalton Atchison is a senior at the University of Indianapolis. He is majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Photography. Rochelle Bauer is currently a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis studying Actuarial Science with a minor in Philosophy. If there was time, she’d also be minoring in Creative Writing since writing, especially poems, is something she’s always been passionate about. She’s also (sort of ) passionate about math or why else would she be doing what she’s doing? One day, after years of experience, she’d like to live in Maryland to work for the IRS. So be nice to her. Morgan D. Benjamin is an Indy southsider who spends her free time discovering brunch places downtown and going on long walks. Growing up she loved two things: sports and writing. Both of these passions have developed into integral hobbies; she plays rugby for the Indy Hoydens and writes poetry erratically in her iPhone notes. While she plans to one day become a physical therapist, she will always be a poet. Haley Brewer was born in a boring town and continues to live a spectacularly boring life. She is a current student at University of Indianapolis and everyday she continues to beg her family for pictures of her cat. She prefers lattes, paperback books, and the color purple. Harley Engleking is an Art Education major and a sophomore at UIndy. He is from Seymour, Indiana and has been pursuing art since he was little. It started when he won his first coloring contest in first grade and continued on into middle and high school as he began to display his work in the local art show in my town. He took a big step forward towards my passion when he enrolled into the art program at UIndy. In his time on campus, he has grown as an artist, thanks to a wonderful faculty and loving community of peers. Before he graduates, he hopes to continue on to add a Studio Art minor and discover his place in the art world.



Seth Grandidge was born in Rhode Island, and has lived in Indiana since he was 10. He attended Heritage Christian High school and studied at Anderson University. He is currently enrolled in the University of Indianapolis. At UIndy, he is a senior graphic design major and a photography minor. He has worked for a personal studio teaching art camps and I have also done many free-lance design jobs. Currently, he is doing graphic design for the athletic development department, you can see his work at any sporting event on campus. He is also the graphic designer for his local church and he also does wedding and portrait photography. With his art and photography, he focuses on portraits, identity, nature, and cityscapes. With design he focuses on branding, illustrations, video, and advertising. In the future he, hopes to continue to grow in photography and graphic design, work for a company doing their graphic design, and continue doing free-lance design and photography. Sarah Hoffmeier is in her second year at UIndy. She majors in Earth Space Science and minors in English/Creative Writing and Mathematics. Hunter Little is a senior at the University of Indianapolis majoring in Creative Writing. She plans to attend graduate school in Fall 2017 with a concentration in poetry. Spencer Martin is a third-year English Creative Writing/Literary Studies double major with minors in Professional Writing and Gender Studies. He loves to travel and sometimes finds himself to be an artsy photographer when he is abroad. He has traveled to nine different countries spanning from the United Kingdom to Japan. He also loves reading, musical theater, and spending time alone with a cup of tea on a nice breezy morning. Natalie McCann is a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis whose only goals are to live to 30 and free Tibet. Karen Newman is a faculty member in the English department at the University of Indianapolis, where she teaches English composition, literature, and teacher education courses, and works with students from around the world. She received her B.A.s in German and Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and M.A. in German and Ph.D. in Language Education from Indiana University, Bloomington. A global nomad, Dr. Newman grew up in Trinidad, Morocco, Germany, and California, and she has taught and offered workshops and presentations in the U.S., Germany, Austria, Korea, Chile, Canada, and China. Her travels have taken her to 33 countries so far.

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Kiley Sokol is almost twenty-two years of age. Her major extends from English Literary Studies, TESOL, and Gender Studies. She is an undergraduate with many aspirations. One of which is to successfully submit a piece of poetry that is appreciated enough to be chosen. Paige Stratton is a junior studying Art Therapy with a studio concentration in Photography and this is her third etchings submission. Her artwork comes from a fascination with surrealism and a respect for conceptual commentary. She also enjoys working with a variety of mediums like mixed media collage, watercolor, and ink. Joshua Track’s work has appeared in New Voices literary magazine, as well as a television series registered with the Screen Writer’s Guild. He has dabbled in writing most of my life. He is twenty nine years old and currently studies Mathematics at the University of Indianapolis. Catherine Watness is a junior at UIndy majoring in Secondary English Education with a minor in Creative Writing. She firmly believes artists weave truths through lies and hopes she has done her part in honoring this timeless tradition as well as entertained. Erica White is happy to be a senior. She likes wearing garish, secondhand sweaters. Her favorite leaf belongs to the white oak tree and are shaped like the childish outline of a moose antler. She also writes poetry, and hopes you enjoy reading it.



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Etchings Volume 29 Issue 2, Spring 2017 Submissions are due February 2, 2017 Guidelines for Submissions • All students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to submit. • All accepted undergraduate submissions will be considered for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award. • Submit up to three short stories or creative nonfiction essays, five poems, or five visual materials. • Artwork must be in .jpg or .png format. Please save at a high resolution so files are 1–5 megabytes in size. • 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. • Give each submission its own document or file name (LastName_ SubmissionTitle).

Submit work at

WE DO NOT ACCEPT EMAIL SUBMISSIONS. Please create an account at or sign in using Facebook.

For questions, email or visit us at The Etchings Staff: The University of Indianapolis Esch Hall 044 1400 E. Hanna Ave Indianapolis, IN 46227

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