Hallowzine 2021

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a spooky limited-edition literary zine!!!



TABLE OF CONTENTS page 4. Bad by Tara Steckler page 6. He Takes the Shape of Midnight by Emma Stout page 8. ON THE SUPPOSED EXISTANCE OF GHOSTS by Newt Gordon-Rein page 9. 福蝠 (Lucky Bat) by Nuha Shaikh page 11. WITCH by Nuha Shaikh page 12. When the light is gone by Matthew McGovern page 13. Shadows We Carry by Tony Yingchong Li

....witches, monsters, trolls, pixies and haunted creatures of every persuasion, we thank you for reading our hair-raising little HallowZine! We’ve put together this spooky compilation for Halloween-time pleasure, and we sincerely hope you enjoy these hexed poems, jinxed prose pieces and downright cursed artworks. A big thanks to the writers and artists who got in the spirit and contributed to this project! And many thanks are also due to the Future Histories team who worked on this, in the midst of midterms, in addition to crafting our semesterly publication. We simply could not wait until December to publish content for you! Later in the semester please keep your eyes peeled for our semiannual issue, and in the meantime enjoy this haunted treat. May the spook be with you. Juli and Matthew FH Co-Chairs

page 14. Beastborne by Nuha Shaikh page 15. Fear of Infinity by Tony Yingchong Li page 17. Cries in the night by Matthew McGovern page 18. Strawman by Matthew McGovern

with special thanks to the Future Histories E-Board... DESIGN TEAM: COPY EDITORS: CO-CHAIRS: Rachel Liang Nuha Shaikh Juli Lin Moumina Khan Matthew McGovern Alice Fang Lauren Fischer Jay Guo ART+DESIGN HEAD Melanie Litwin Gaia Santoro Lecchini Emma Stout WRITER LIASON SOCIAL MEDIA TREASURER Jason Evers Isabella GismundoMallika Sinha Hook ONLINE EDITOR Madison Red

Art by Madison Red



Bad By Tara Steckler cw: hamster burning (not graphic!)



Feeling slightly wicked and craving a good riddle, I snuck out of the house last night to admire the fingernail moon. I cackled (where did my old laugh go?) when I tripped over my untied boot and landed face first into the grass. The grass smelled sweet but I smelled sour. I whimpered a little but couldn’t cry. I felt evil because I didn’t feel bad about what I did the night of the Hamster Burning Incident. Shrugging, I realized the riddle was me. I grinned and slinked back home to pretend I wasn’t a monster with Dad at breakfast.


Art by Emma Stout

Art by Madison Red

He Takes the Shape of Midnight By Emma Stout

There are houses on my street and their windows are unknowing. “To The Circle,” I say, when they ask where I am going. 31 and 33 both beckon me to warmth. “To The Circle,” I reply, Come with me. Come forth. The shoveled patch of staircase tells me to catch my breath. “To The Circle,” I insist, or find me at my death. Discharge in the gutters, globes behind the frames. “To The Circle,” I remind them, knowing soon, I’ll hold your name. And at the intersection, green brings to me salvation. “To The Circle,” I declare, midnight sings emancipation. I start to make the crossing, my body knows the way. “To The Circle,” I vow, the monocotic prey. Once more around the cul-de-sac, a failed attempt to turn back time. “To The Circle,” I whisper, God, when will you oblige? Here comes my transformation, some midnight one can clasp. “To The Circle,” I proclaim, At last, I’m here at last.






If I have a ghost, it only manifests itself in automatic soap dispensers and the occasional flicking on or off of streetlights above me. In ninth grade, I asked my bio teacher what the root word for cold was and he made sure to tell me that COLD DOES NOT EXIST COLD IS MERELY THE ABSENCE OF HEAT, which barely makes sense because heat is just the fastness of particles, a gradation with no start or end, and now that I think about it, I wonder if he would have said something similar about hot. Ghosts seem a lot like God to me. They are both suspiciously human-shaped. They are both in the air. They both live off of the hopeful minds of mortals. It turns out that our bodies are really bad at listening to science, and even though cold is not a scientifically helpful descriptor, we still feel it. It is one of few sensations that science knows with some confidence that we feel. Your four square yards of skin hold secrets on secrets. The band Mother Mother wrote a song called Ghosting. It is a mildly allegorical tale from the perspective of a jilted ghost. The youth of the internet have picked it up and flung it out to land on the ears of all the world. I wrote at the end of a heartfelt letter thanking my bio teacher for the class he taught, P.S. the root word for cold is krypto. I still don’t believe in canonical ghosts, but I do find it interesting to think of ghosting as an action, as the state of being a thing left behind. I make a point to observe, categorically, all of the things that ghost. Language is a human science: the way we see and interact with and hold down the parts of the world we think we can explain. Thus, we have words for things that do not exist, like cold or sad or fish or God or ghost. Darker bricks shadow a wall where an adjacent building once stood. Inked dips and points fill the lines my grandmother’s journal. I shiver. An image is repeated in raindrops. The ripped-out page of a book on how to manage your money rests in a gutter. As ghosts these things feel spooky-sweet, tinged with a kind of nostalgia, foreign and familiar and recognizable and a little lonely. Streetlight miracles may be a function of chance, and the soap dispenser motion sensor in my dormitory bathroom is probably just broken, but the fact remains that these peculiarities make me feel seen. And if, on some level, feeling is being, then perhaps I have a ghost. Perhaps his name is Charles. Perhaps he is often cold.


福蝠 (Lucky Bat) By Nuha Shaikh

Ode to the small body in flight to your good eyesight and long life. Your health is a blessing I carry with me, jade-carved button, glorious endless knot I was told you will outlive me suspended in caves, those out of reach passageways to immortal beings. Pale white silver permanence hung glimmering upside down, see how good fortune falls into you. Oh red joy, oh golden night, tell me I have lived a good life. Balance the sweeter months, eat the peaches, blossoms shower like spring snow. Even the flowers have to go.


Art by Jay Guo


When the light is gone By Matthew McGovern WITCH By Nuha Shaikh Would you wound me only for knowing that there are worlds beyond ours, words yet to come, ones that you can only dream of understanding? I think that you might forgive me for leaving behind polite society and taking refuge in the woods, open-air salvation. I have walked myself down the garden path and sought to find where I might end up. The primroses were lovely, Eve’s good graces keep me warm. The earth continues to give to me, charity beyond the coin you have refused me. Claiming I beg too much, when I ask for so little, your censure is never enough to make me into a softer person, to take the wolf bite out of the woman. How can I be whole again? Slowly, I am patching myself together on the outskirts of a life I once blessed. I’ll leave thorns this time, turn back, watch your step.


Art by Nuha Shaikh

When the light is gone Evening tides and cold portents all color has faded from your face I mourn the dusk and rue the night there’s no fixed lines between the two, mixed and meshed, my pallid flesh shivers in the dark it harkens death Earlier earlier every night all semblance of life and color alights the spectrum of color fades gives way to the spectre of gray Swooping clouds shrouding stars flocks of geese gone southward they flee the cold the black and gray I lie awake, wide-eyed in the night with colorless phantoms here to stay


Shadows We Carry By Tony Yingchong Li shadows we carry fill the night sky like smoke blue and grey from a rusty censer behind the empty throne ancient dangers lurk memento mori! we seek but do not see shadows we carry unfurl in the cold when winter shivers and distant harps play stones crumble stars fade only spent fires will guide our steps shadows we carry melt our eyes into graves crumbling temples into formless fabled stillborn dreams great seers augurs and magi rest easy when carrying shadows we stop at world’s end only then may we weep until the great snake ends its dance

Shadows We Carry By Tony Yingchong Li shadows we carry fill the night sky like smoke blue and grey from a rusty censer behind the empty throne ancient dangers lurk memento mori! Beastborne we seek but do notShaikh see By Nuha shadows we carry Sour woman sang me under unfurl in the cold when Tiger winter hellbent shivers into fire and distant harps play

Violet shadows, slickened mouth

stonesTangled crumble limbs, moonlit heart stars fade only spent firesme, shivering, into musk Cleave will guide our Wicked steps nerve, no more trust shadows we carry melt our eyes into graves crumbling temples into formless fabled stillborn dreams great seers augurs and magi rest easy when carrying shadows we stop at world’s end only then may we weep until the great snake ends its dance

Art by Bella Gismundo-Hook



Fear of Infinity By Tony Yingchong Li Sneak a peek into the eye: curled in watchful wait lies that most curious shape-the fear of infinity. Silent as moonlit snow, it descends upon wondering wanderers straying from tract and treatise. What lies beyond the beyond? Restless gazes flit through time, in prayer, in paint, in restless song, to one day take up gallant arms against the fear of infinity. A feral rumble, a primordial chant bubbles from the depths of depth. ‘Tis I, crows the leviathan, the fear of infinity. Thus begins the eternal quest for the all-being power who with threads of stars, weaved tapestries of tears and sand; who closed the transept door lest absolution intrudes; who drew the knotted river, convulsing black, where all universes flow into one– into the fear of infinity.


For every hundred frantic questions dispatched on this eternal quest, only a distant glimmer awaits; an infuriating cosmic wink from the fear of infinity. Host of argonauts departed for the ultimate query, one broken soul returns, blabbering that silent incantation: What immaculate designs, what soul-shattering beauty has become of the Devil’s enigma— the fear of infinity. What consummate wisdom, what godly serenity, to stare with virgin innocence upon this woe of indomitable woes, king of immortal kings… This pied piper of ten thousand sleepless nights— the fear of infinity.

Art by Madison Red


Strawman By Matthew McGovern Scarecrow scarecrow made of hay your insides spew and stray and at your feet are mounds of rot a whole fields worth of decay Cries in the night By Matthew McGovern Shadows dancing on nighttime streets leaves stir up my muttering retreats oh muddled, meddling streets of crackling, angry stirring leaves and the scraping of distracted feet Two dogs barking back and forth steal me from this perturbed peace alarm me to a presence in the night slinking out of sight Hounds like sentries and sharp in the ear I fear what they smell and what I can’t see what lurks in the edges of disquieting streets I prefer a clumsy, ignorant fear so I steer my gaze back to the road to the leaves and feet I know while the canines cry the songs of war they try, try in vain, to forewarn the sleeping masses of the growing storm

Art by Raga Chilakamarri, Tara Steckler, and Madison Red


Apples turning into paste edible pumpkins gone to waste while hungry neighbors can have no taste Scarecrow care for a fenced-in field for neither deer nor man protect your spoil as best you can Horror horror shriveled remains of food to eat consumed by the cold left to the frost a throwaway crop as if there aren’t those who have not Scarecrow caw! scare all the crows! scare all of those who wish to come! these fields aren’t fit for carrion fowl! or for any beggar or beast that prowls!


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