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Fortnight Literary Press

Fortnight Literary Press vi.ii

vi.ii


CONTENTS 2 3 4 6 8 10 11 12 14 16 17 Editors Layout Editor Editorial Staff

Liam Schilling Sarrah Hakim Hannah Bates Maria Robins-Somerville Mia Liccardi Sonallee Joshi Colin James Rebecca Lerner Lucy Zhao Ilana Bodker Lauren Quinlan

That Song Collecting A Challenge: Touch Her Ruach Still Water Lake Erie’s Pull What You See BLACK SHEEP Sunday Best Genesis November Afterthought

Leela Denver, Jared Frank Giuliana Eggleston Jenny Wang, Michael Kaler, Sarrah Hakim, Ilana Bodker, Michelle Hoban, Mia Licciardi, Marci Hickey, Brett Phillips, Julia Grant, Isabel Sandweiss, Michelle Torby, Danielle Colburn, Lakyrra Magee

Funded by the Student Organization Funding Committee of Central Student Government

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That Song Liam Schilling She dances along my canyons, Filling them with her song. She bellows loud at night, Although she knows it to be wrong. She plays her stolen fiddle, At moments inopportune. While most spend nights sleeping, She screams serenades to the moon. And now she lays beside me, Through age her song withdrawn. I beg, I plead, I scream, Play on, play on, play on.

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Collecting Sarrah Hakim I sit here gathering a basket of sun, the light touch of a warm breeze, and the soft whisper of the wind to the trees, gracing each leaf with a kind word; I am collecting the rough bark against my back and each crumbling speck of dirt that kisses my hands, my legs, and the underside of my thighs; I snatch up every drop in the pool of sky – the expanse of blue and the frothy white foam – and I store the vast framework above me: the maze of gentle branches, each long limb offering a hand to a furry friend; I take every slender green finger that tickles my skin, every sip of fresh air that fills my lungs, and every leaf napping on a comfortable bed of grass, So that when the days come of powdered sugar and cold peppermint breaths, of frosted windowpanes and silvery mornings, I can open my collection And reach for my basket of sun.

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A Challenge: Touch Her Hannah Bates I. You find a little purple bruise on her elbow that dots her skin a glass marble. It’s staring at you, burgundy-eyed, swirled yellow iris, black scab pupil. She lets your eyes trace the way it echoes down her forearm, the mauve and navy bloom across her bony shoulder, and she won’t let you brush the auburn hair off her neck to see what has blossomed. She tells you “Don’t say anything to mom.” You swear. You wrap your arms around your knees, holding them close to your chest, and she leans against them without ever really touching you.

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II. Spring lures your matchstick legs from stiff denim, and the sun tinges your skin olive. She’s a tiptoeing version of you, and she follows you back inside the melancholy of your gray house without you ever really noticing. Her door is cracked open just enough that she can hear your parents quarrel over how many times to believe someone when they say they fell, and you cross the creaking hallway to her bedroom so she can lean against your knees while you braid her auburn hair. She lets you touch her elbow with the little purple bruise, so you pull her into your lap. She whispers in your ear that she didn’t really fall, so you whisper in hers “I know.”

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Ruach Maria Robins-Somerville Unpacked t-shirts still smell like desert Israel, I think I am falling in love with you Maybe because I ate too much yellow sand for breakfast my lunch tasted of oil and bargains. For dinner I cut my lip on the mountains

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Still Water Maria Robins-Somerville It is too clear bleached swimming pools And moss-pungent lakes Leave me wrinkled In defiance I say “there is nothing old about me” not yet I take to the ocean Full of its salted seaweed net Of unpredictable burden I only know how To feel the kind of small I don’t want This is not the shrinking-waistline concise point no neat box on earth-sized marble rolling wave off salted tongue

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Lake Erie’s Pull Mia Liccardi Her mother had always told her to stay away from the water. It was dirty, she said, even on the days the signs read the lake was safe for swimming. Coming out from a swim, the liquid would feel more oil than water, and its faint scent of dead fish would only add to the feeling of being unclean. The slimy brown algae would cling to your skin in tiny strands, not claiming you as would a net, but begging for you to take on more and more until it covered you. You would find it in your hair hours later, terrified that you had brushed a spider. If the water got in your mouth, it would not have the salty tang of the ocean, nor would it have the stagnant bitterness of a pond. It would taste of grit and tap water, but not nearly as clean. But Melanie would swim in it anyway. Her mother had always told her not to walk out onto the lake’s ice in the winter. It was weak, she said, even close to the snow-blown shore where it was several feet thick. Striding out past the beach, a fine powder of snow would cause you to slip. The cold solid would leave bruises, and if you wore no gloves, your hands would be scraped and bloodied. The very edge would call to you. If you succumbed to its call, your weight would shatter the ice and the lake would claim you, freezing your body cell by cell. But Melanie was careful, and she would slide along it anyway. This winter, her mother is not here. Melanie clambers unsteadily onto the ice, not bothering with the tears that freeze on her lashes. For a moment, she hears her mother’s warnings, but they are extinguished by the creaking of thinning ice. She lets out a shaky breath, then steps more confidently, watching as the wind picks up the snow and throws it out to the greedy lake. She is almost to the edge now. When she can hear the lapping of waves over the lamenting wind, Melanie lowers herself, belly-down, to the ice but does not stop. She shimmies almost to the edge, her mind as numb as her frostbitten fingers. The lake seems to speak in a stage whisper, calling for her, and Melanie remembers the tentacles of summer algae. She peers at the water, worried for a passing moment before her eye catches several dark masses. They slide under the thin membrane of frost just

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before her. Melanie brushes the fine dusting of snow aside and squints at the barrier, her heart leaping at the distorted sight. A shifting face, not quite as it should be. Mom? Melanie lays a reddened hand on the ice and the face is gone with the shadowy swimmers. She presses on the spot, and her hand breaks through. The wind gets louder, her mother’s warnings softer. And Melanie swims in the lake.

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What You See Sonallee Joshi

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BLACK SHEEP Colin James A bitch for an incline. There were trees and now there is a field, foundation of a house. Interviews were probably held in the larger room at the back. Hollyhocks visible from the window. Walls there is evidence left. A few bricks. Nothing much survived. Yet I am still soaring, and all indications are on my next pass I will park it In the frame provided.

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Sunday Best Rebecca Lerner I can’t move but my head spins I watch a stubborn arm lay numb in front of me and wonder if it is mine But as much as I blink my red eyes at it, it will not move Last night The voices in my head Talked me into too many shots So I fell into your bed Now I live in chains in this make-shift house of sheets while the poison you bought us runs through my veins You’re as sharp as those scissors that almost ended everything But the bottle makes you blunt So last night when I told you that I loved you My words burbling like a hot mountain spring You looked at me and iced me over And you slowly struck me with your cold front I just think that you’re really hard to love So I nodded and turned away from you, covered in goosebumps uncontrolled Which are supposed to insulate me, to protect me

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from this cold

But that was the night I froze

When the clock struck 8:15, you bolted out of bed and mumbled something about coffee and hangovers But I was still chilled to the bone Waiting for the numbness to lower Now I lie in your bed totally naked But your roommate hums outside as he gets ready for church

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Genesis Lucy Zhao Prostrate on the ground is how you pray in Islam, and my grandmother, shallow breaths as she kneels down every morning. I peer from the stairwell, watching the ballet, her white crown plunging, swan plumage. Only this time, when she rises, her body shudders as if struck, but no evidence, only skin and bones and white hair, knees fold to the ground, prostrate. The moment when words heart attack become not abstract, when waiting overtakes running, sixteen-year-old body forgetting prayer. Only this time, it’s everywhere. From the mouth of the medic, is it Arabic? And the clock, six minutes passing like a shadow dance, lifting and pulling, a stretcher. So slowly I imagine the world in its creation. Then, she is gone. Lifting off to her homeland. Can’t stand the thought of dying on foreign earth. One month later, the voice of my grandfather through phone lines, split fibers and sobbing static. The story unfolds, how one morning, she left his arms early,

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shuffled to the window. He awoke cold, followed her scent, crushed marigolds, and found feathers and flowers and stems, and out the window, song and dance.

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November Ilana Bodker First Kiss: The stiff exhalation of wind prickles my exposed neck, the door clattering shut behind us. He takes my hand and I roll my eyes. “This again?� I nuzzle my fingers in the valleys of his hand anyhow. He strengthens his grip. First Cry: Brusquely, I smudge the teardrop trails with my sleeve, my cheeks inflamed from the scratchy wool. Mascara clings heavy like paste on wilted lashes. I am captive in the desolate snare of intoxication, left with only a satiated stomach and a ruthless hunger for faith. First Snow: Pristine flecks of energy sparkle the cement like stardust. The sidewalk is my silver runway, electrifying with each step. Crystal and ice swaddle the russet leaves. I bask in the lamppost spotlight.

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Afterthought Lauren Quinlan Enticingly immiscible Like some ghost this world will roam Some afterthought In cold breath still caught Searching for some soluble home.

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Fortnight VI.II  

Volume 6 issue 2

Fortnight VI.II  

Volume 6 issue 2

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