Volume 29, Issue 2 Spring 2015
Editors Co-Editors-in-Chief Jenny Lee Dana Wood Copy Editor Emma Stefansky Art Editor Lizzi Alarcon Poetry Editor Allie Nelson Prose Editors Libby Addison Scott Oâ€™Neil
The Interloper See the complete work on page 23
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Staff Chikamso Chukwu Dominic DeAngio Sora Edwards-Thro Kelly Gidens Lily Gu Katie Hogan Heather Lawrence Emily Lowman Lauren Murtagh Molly Norrbom Jackson Olsen Chris Wolfe
Table of Contents Poetry
Compulsion Silver Spoon-Fed Lost____ Room for two Dear Grandma If You Remember Me El Portillo* Untitled No Yeast Added To My Father Macro Coffee Jubilee of Ginger Beer
Serial Myth Flight Derelict Another One Bites the Dust
Bag Tag Folding Screen home away from home Crim Dell Flask The Interloper Solo Bowls Snow Colored Prism Gifts Clams Vineyards
Alice Morrison-Moncure Amanda Whitehurst Jennie Pajerowski Anna Chahuneau Elizabeth Clark Matt Schroeder Rachel Brown Anonymous Rachel Brown Dana Lotito Lydia Brown Amanda Whitehurst Matt Schroeder
4 6 7 8 15 16 18 34 35 36 38 39 40
Dana Wood Jennie Pajerowski Emma Stefansky Kendall Berents
10 19 30 43
Rachel Merriman-Golding Beatrice Chessman Amir Khan Yuming Cao Katie Fee Blair Stuhlmuller Blair Stuhlmuller Katie Fee Yuming Cao Kareem Obey Kathryn Darling Rachel Merriman-Golding Rachel Merriman-Golding
5 14 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 29 33 42
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Spring 2015 Poetry Staff Favorite
Even when I’m not trying, I always end up counting. The length of the red light on my street, which should be sixty seconds but is often sixty-two; the number of silver coins in my wallet at any given time, which is always exactly four, in case I need to make change at one of the eight vending machines at school. My mind is a supercomputer counting digits of pi adding up the sum of all the parts in the world. I counted twenty-nine little flaws in a table, one day as I tried to ignore the number of minutes left in class. Four ink marks, swirling blue and black, bruising the scored face of the desk with the smudged vows of young lovers. Twenty-five deep grooves of aggression in all directions, canyons of boredom, carved by pens and paperclips and the slow erosion of a rushing stream of anxiety. After the bell, four echoing tolls and twenty-two standing as one, a boy stopped at my world-worn desk to ask if any movies were playing at the little theater downtown. That morning, I counted seven films showing. He asked which I’d like to see. Later, the girls said he looked like a prince: two eyes, a nose, an uncountable cluster of freckles, two white bars of teeth visible behind his nervous smile. He asked why I didn’t want to go, and I could only grasp the same three words: I don’t know. I don’t know. “Are you sure?” He leaned forward, hands on the desk, staring with ancient determination into my two eyes, my one mind, my infinite soul, which didn’t end or begin but simply lives all throughout the human body, equal in itself to the sum of all the parts in the world. Both hands on the lovesick desk begged me to see them, but I saw ten fingers on one table with twenty-nine flaws. Nothing else. — Alice Morrison-Moncure
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BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE Bag Tag
Rachel Merriman-Goldring, Photography
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Silver Spoon-Fed On the last day of summer, she and I lounged in my backyard pool and watched the heat dribble up from the deck. Tomorrow would mean high school and we felt fabulous, and we wore hats and sipped weak lemonade and spread our bodies out across floating rafts, our pale arms dangling over the sides of the plastic ships like swansâ€™ necks. The clouds were about to burst. Her fingers made shapes in the water and I remember thinking about photosynthesis, the way that all this liquid had been sucked up into the air, how it was simmering in the blue of the sky, how it would rain and nurture the silver spoon-fed plants so they could grow and bear fruit. She went home to the part of town where buildings ache with age, where teenagers sprout like sun-parched weeds on street corners, withering to dust. Now I recall that summer and wonder if our fates had been decided even then, if they had been knit tightly into our DNA, entangled in the double-helixes that looped themselves into the trenches of our fingerprints, wrapped themselves into every strand of hair. And I wonder if what it means to be human is more than our fate, because all I can think about is the fruit that might have been borne if the rain had only come for her in the same way it came for me. â€” Amanda Whitehurst
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In your glovebox: one four-leaf clover one scallop shell overpolished to too much perfection a halo, vestigial, wrapped around half a dozen handmarked CDs two wrappers for single cups of jello – vegan, organic one hair, unnoticed and forgotten – a piccolo vein of protein one note, addressed hello, velvet-skinned, sweet-lipped, soft-haired darling three cello-versed sonnets written in smeared ink on crumbling white napkins and a faint, lingering sense of Apollo veering, careening – no sign of Daphne. — Jennifer Pajerowski
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The small wind-up mouse will have made its way Across the baby blue, fifties-styled kitchen table when the door Flings open to let inside the rumor of the town And the strange body I married that still sentimentalizes my hands. You can pretend time and the stacked papers On our small desks has not pushed us to forget the holy
Quality of a smiling moon, or the bare but wholly Present spirits that sometimes slide in our bed but I cannot forget the way You once burnt the pages of our photo album made from incense paper. I cannot neglect what I see, the enticing and inviting door Manâ€™s bulging zipper. Pitiful you, begging me for a handJob that I will never give. You crawl. But if we both leave town, If we take the Amtrak somewhere uptown, Maybe the time that slid behind us, the blue rain and holey Sweaters in our drawers can mend themselves. Even the handPicked blueberries rotting in the basket, there is a way To make jam out of them. Close one door At a time; the living room, the bathroom; step over the crooked paper Castle that the neighborâ€™s kids built last Sunday; it reflects of our paperBack feelings, the ones we used to have for each other that now became ghost towns. Blame it on the cat, time spent selfishly, the great, fleeting outdoors Or my mother calling at three AM with back pains. Who but us can wholly Grasp the urgency of a favorite shrunk t-shirt? Two pathways, Loving and hating, melding and confusing that blur the memory of your hand
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Slowly sliding down the flight attendant’s skirt, the only hand I have ever seen writing lyric poems on old newspapers. There has always been something nostalgic about the way You remember your mother and my uprooting you from your hometown. It’s eight thirty now, the kitchen table is still baby blue, the holy Quality of evening nights in Spain has not sunk in it yet. Just outside the door A red cuckoo is waiting for you to return, the lonely door Is creaking, foreshadowing something about soft hands Or maybe about the fact that I’m not the only one to hate our wholly, Old and rugged love. In the bedroom there is a folded paper That I hadn’t seen and the great, terrifying rumor of the town Is still raging through the bodies of a crowd and through the forest pathway That leads to our house. In this letter you romanticize the unholy sex we had; you talk Of the way we used to fold our hands and you remember the town you’ve left already. I can’t find the wind-up mouse and it smells of burnt paper now. The door stays open tonight. — Anna Chahuneau
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erial yth M
he apartment still smelled like the funeral flowers. Ekka had thrown out the last survivors over the weekend when their stale water started to scum. The empty vases stood where someone else had placed them until she could get around to donating them. She hid from their odor under her covers. For several hours she lay still and looked at the black curve of the fabric. She did not know what time it was when the yellow box next to her cellphone beeped and whirred to life. It didn’t wait for her to respond. “Wake up, sunshine.” Ekka reached across the bed. Often George tried to get up with her when her team called, and she had developed a reflex to reassure him and send him back to sleep instead. Her hand spread out on empty gray sheets. She clutched a fistful and buried her face into the pillow. “I know you’re there, and I know you can hear me. Answer me, Ekka. Pick up the communicator.” Her other hand found the humming radio and brought it to her ear. “Hermes.” Her mouth was dry. “What do you want?” “Some help with the giant monster attacking Seattle would be nice.” Ekka released the sheets to rub at
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by Dana Wood
her eyes. Her fingertips had ripped four rough holes through the fabric. “Please, Hermes, I—George—” “That was three issues ago.” “Well, it’s been three weeks for me!” There was a pause. Ekka turned off her civilian phone. She hadn’t changed her background picture since their beach trip in July, and probably never would. “Yes. I know. But for the readers it’s been three months. You have to do something.” “Like the week of binge drinking and reckless fighting wasn’t enough for them.” She kicked herself out of bed and went to the bathroom. Deep wells of purple under her eyes pulled down her cheeks. She turned on the tap. “I wanted to curl up at my mother’s house. I wanted to hold his clothes and cry on my best friend’s shoulder.” “I know.” “You never say you’re sorry about it.” “I can’t.” She put the communicator down and focused on burning her mouth with Listerine and making herself presentable. When she was Aegis Steel she usually wore her hair loose and misted with a blend of plastic chemicals and coconut oil to keep it smooth and flowing in the wind. Today Ekka yanked it into a ponytail, knots and tufts poking out like a braid of thorns.
“What kind of monster attacks Seattle? Nothing attacks Seattle.” “So you’ll come.” “Yeah. Duty called at four in the morning.” She stripped out of her pajamas and pulled on her suit with the communicator cradled against her chin. She’d gotten used to strapping on the metal arm braces by herself again. “But why the rush? I avenged him. I ‘got back on the horse’ and ‘rose above my loss’ when I punched out the Dark Hearts Syndicate. I’ve done things.” “You’ve asserted your strength and your dedication, but they need to know Aegis Steel is still a hero. You need to do something big.” “I need 45 minutes.” “Centurion will back you up.” Hermes tuned out. The radio snapped onto her belt. Ekka fixed her collar and the convincing silver pattern of her “chest plate.” She dabbed on some of George’s cologne, then found a few letters she had written for her family and another she had typed for her squad. She added a few lines in pen and placed them on top of the dresser where they couldn’t be missed. The apartment stayed dark and quiet. Ekka put on her mask and his watch and flew out the window. George had pushed for real armor on the suit. He knew she wasn’t safe in spandex and leather, however strong she was, and Ekka agreed. She called the evening they spent sketching on scrap paper and the backs of receipts in the Chinese restaurant their first date. He said it couldn’t be, because at the time he didn’t even know it was her costume. Ekka added a scoop of crimson to her sleeves to break up all the gray and
black. George liked some brown at her knees to echo her hair and, half-jokingly, accentuate her legs. Somehow she got all their cosmetic decisions approved, but they only gave her metal as an accent. She received decent plated boots which rattled more than cushioned her landings and gloves which protected her forearms more than the hands she hit with. The round studs on her knuckles were like jewelry. Funny, how that worked out. When Ekka arrived, her target was out of the bay and rampaging in peace through the waterfront. Police cars split the dark with their revolving red and blue lights as they held the perimeter for her, but not the silence. They seemed the only ones awake. Spotlights went up at her signal, and the world was loud again. She fought the creature with her fists. She knocked craters in its hide with steel girders and the bodies of its toothy young. It broke the face of George’s watch when it crushed her underfoot. Dawn rose. Spectators gathered and watched from the rooftops and from the news helicopter keeping its distance and filming live coverage for their T.V. sets. Centurion didn’t come. Ekka tore the claw from the monster’s toe with a war cry and hurled it through its largest eye to the brain. It screamed, shook the Space Needle with its vibrations, and started to fall back over its thick legs and spindly tail. Ekka could practically see the sound effect. She floated some distance above to observe, in case pieces broke away or more peons burst from its body. Her right arm hung limp and heavy and the same color of red without the tattered
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“Why do you all have mythic names and titles?” George asked once. They had run into Susano-O and the apprentice he was training up while getting coffee. Her character design was still on the drawing board, and they were thinking of code names. The girl favored “Tsukuyomi” as a match, but her teacher expected they would push for a color-genderanimal combo while she started out as a sidekick. If she succeeded him, then she might get to take “Tsukuyomi” as a symbolic gesture. Before they left, Ekka advised her to compromise. “It’s really cheesy.” “People like cheesy,” Ekka said. “Bad things are happening, and it makes them feel safe.” “If they really wanted to feel safe, they wouldn’t dress heroes up like cartoons. You should call yourselves something really inspiring, like ‘Fortitude,’ or ‘Courage.’ Maybe it’s boring, but it’s a working symbol.”
Ekka smiled halfway. He didn’t understand, from his side. But then she didn’t expect him to get it, all the masks and capes, the catchphrases and costumes. His entire job depended on exposing the farces of politics and celebrities. He surprised her a bit, though, when he took both her folded hands on the cheap café street table. “I like yours, though.” “Oh, yeah? It’s not too cheesy for you?” “It’s a little cheesy, but I like it.” He turned her palm up and stroked the pink scars left by villainous plots and badlymade gauntlets. “I do. I mean, it sounds cool, but I don’t read it like a name. It says you’re actually made of something. ‘Aegis Steel,’ the new shield of the gods. It’s more like a promise than a stage label.” Ekka tightened her fingers around his. The plastic furniture was dirty, and the sidewalk smells and noise from the cars and people stomping overpowered their cider and latte and the loudspeaker’s foreign crooning. But his eyes had laugh wrinkles around them, and his knees bumped hers. “Now, your fanfiction popularity, that’s really embarrassing. And do we need to talk about those creepy silhouette T-shirts online?” She laughed and let go to thump him and rescue her scone from his relentless appetite. “Shut up, I don’t like them, either. And at least they don’t ship me with bad guys.”
fabric. Parts of her false armor had broken and peeled away. The leftover adhesive glittered more in the sun than the costume metal. The beast’s mouth fell open in death. Something flashed inside. The damn helicopter swooped in for a close-up. Of course it did. Ekka shoved the machine away with a grunt. While it bounced in the air trying to right itself, the monster’s gut sucked in thunder. The pages could show the awful, ripping rumble and the glow, but not the burning stench. It expelled white hot lines.
‘Bad things are happening, and it makes them feel safe.’
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She bought a ring.
Ekka didn’t know the creature had a hyper beam. It never used it during the fight. If this was how they wanted her arc to end, she didn’t know why she won at all. Perhaps it had been a last-minute addition. Aegis Steel dropped towards an avalanche’s aftermath of shattered glass, broken concrete, and iron stakes. Smoke poured out of the cauterized hole in her chest. The reporter and cameraman leaning out the side of the helicopter missed their shot of the monster crashing into the Puget Sound while they gaped down at her. Hermes called. Ekka put him on
speakerphone. There was too much fog in her bones to fly. “So this is what they wanted.” “I didn’t know. They didn’t tell me.” He sounded sad. She’d never heard that before. “I know.” “I wish this wasn’t happening. I think I’m sorry.” She closed her eyes. Her audience screamed. “Don’t be.” Her body twisted mid-air. Ekka tucked her head against her shoulder. The watch had lost its hands and stopped ticking, but through the sweat and blood she still smelled like his shirts. G
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Folding Screen Beatrice Chessman, Charcoal
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I got your letter yesterday. I recognized the same Liberty Bell stamp that’s been letting me know it’s from you for years. I never really read what you wrote on the envelope. But yesterday’s “Miss Elizabeth” was somehow shaky.
You wrote on a flower notepad I remember you buying when I drove you to town once. You wrote of the weather and the birds and the “kold” that wracked your “old bones”. (Is that why the word was misspelled? And why the bridges of your “t”s would dwindle and diminish?) The second small page ended abruptly when you wrote your fingers were hurting you; you barely signed the familiar “love you lots”, but still went back and squeezed a prayer in the corner for God to keep me safe. I remember on the phone you had asked for my address and began to reminisce of the letters you used to write Grandpa while he was in Cuba. I wish I could see your rolling script, smooth and confident across the envelope, to someone who would revel in reading it. If the two small pages cause your knuckles to ache, I won’t ask for more letters. I’d settle for empty envelopes if you’d only keep addressing them. Lots of love, Elizabeth
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(after Pablo Neruda)
Why do you always insist On knowing: look, you must open your stars, old ghost, drip sweet your preconceptions for I am far from the fetching island of your dreams. Yes, I, passionately maelstrom my desire to roll & mumble a suite of nothings, to lift up your touched ash my air enveloping kisses lightly with lightning to emblazon the embers, your raging heart alas, I cannot outlast the unabated coming future, our fate. If, presently, the waters of your love evaporate, so will mine be squalled away.
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When, swiftly you remember me, feel the meeting of the horizon & I will surge through the looming daze. I am filled with furious heart, my pining boom thunders through your banners. Uproot your anchors, sublime with my waves, let shores become sky, our lips find themselves â€“ together as horizon separates, never forget in my storm the thunderous moment, your islands of heart against my ardent rolling. & if with every moment, with each pursing breeze you long for my thunder against pulling tides peel back the moon & consume the sun fresh falling sweeter than salt swelling come to me, rain away your worries let me crash over the darkness in your heart, to greet the tiding of the day. Ah, my heart, ah, my stars always I remember you, long to bellow through you, long to be the island, your desired love I blow not for another, rather long to raise your hairs, kiss & rest through bark protecting the fragile hideaway of your soul, without leaving mine. â€” Matt Schroeder
El Portillo* (In a community in Nindirí,) A few flames blaze and congregate Across the nameless main road. The sun descends gracefully into the West So that light only originates from the fire And a small electric bulb on the porch. Water. All we want is water to drink That’s pure. Not holy. Just pure. So we’ll start this fire. We won’t put it out because we can’t Afford to waste our water. When you decide to promise water, You can pass unharmed. We’ll create an opening for you By stomping the flames to death. We will not hurt you. But we need you to understand That clean water is a privilege. A feeble promise is made. A pass is created. The officials leave unharmed. We disappear into the night Along with the sharp smell of smoke, Hoping that fresh water will soon pour From our dirty faucets And non-existent showerheads. *the opening — Rachel Brown
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Fl i g h t W
hen I walk back in the room she’s standing on the sixth shelf of her daddy’s floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, holding onto the side for dear life. I swear, you leave kids alone for one second and they get into everything. I know if Mrs. McKay was here, she’d scoop her up and coo over her and check every inch of her smooth skin for bruises. But I’m not getting paid to spoil her like her mama does, so I stay in the doorway, my hands on my hips. “And just what do you think you’re doing, little Miss Gracie?” She whips her head around like a car going around a racetrack. As soon as she sees me she stops scrabbling her hands over the edge of the shelf and straightens her back, trying to look all brave. “I’m learning how to fly,” she tells me. “Oh?” I raise my eyebrows and settle back against the doorframe. “All right then, let’s see it.” Her eyes widen, and she glances down at the ground then back at me. “Go on,” I say. “I’ve never seen a little girl fly before.” She peers downward over her shoulder, and I can see her getting nervous, her small lips moving soundlessly. Her feet shift like she’s getting ready to jump, then she shrinks back against the shelf, pressing her face into the books. When she looks at me
by Jennie Pajerowski again her eyes are huge in her pale face and I know she’s trying so hard not to burst out crying. Suddenly I can’t stand the thought of her face crumpling, her high wail of I can’t, I can’t, wanting me to come and gather her up into my arms. She’s a spoiled brat, is what she is, and a good bit of fear will teach her a better lesson than I possibly could. I turn on my heel and leave the room. I’ll let her stay up there for a while and see if she still likes the idea of flying then. In the hallway, I lean my ear against the wall to see if I can hear her crying or whimpering or calling for me, but there’s only silence on the other side. The quiet reminds me of being underwater, and I remember one time at the pond near my house when I was even younger than Gracie and my brother pushed me in, saying he was gonna teach me to swim. It’s one of my first memories and I’ve thought it over plenty of times, how I opened my mouth to yell but it filled with pondwater instead, and my arms flailed at the water and my brain was all full of I can’t I can’t I can’t, and then how I finally pushed my way back up for a gasping breath, all proud. But this time I remember something else too – my brother’s hand on the back of my neck when I was underwater, pushing my head down deeper into the murky quiet. G
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Spring 2015 Art Staff Favorite
home away from home Amir Khan, Watercolor
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Portraits of Nature
Allison Shomaker, Digital Photo Art
Katie Fee, Ceramics
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Blair Stuhlmuller, Oil on Canvas
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Blair Stuhlmuller, Oil on Canvas
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Katie Fee, Ceramic
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Yuming Cao, Marker
Kareem Obey, Oil on Canvas
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Kathryn Darling, Photography
by Emma Stefansky
here is no preparing for deep space. Sure, they’ll cram you into isolation cabins for days, weeks, they’ll put you into zero-g test after zero-g test, feed you powdered vitamins and electrolytes until you want to vomit, but when you finally get out there and really see the vast expanse, the nothing that space is, you know in that very moment that there was nothing anyone ever came up with that adequately prepared you for this, and nothing that anyone ever could. Finch jolted herself awake, gasping. She sat forward in her chair, and breathed heavily, breath after breath, her hands gripping the desk in front of her. In the reflection on the wide window in front of her she could see her face, with faint grid parks on the side of it where her cheek had pressed into the computer keyboard while she slept. Her eyes focused into the far distance, past the thick glass of the window and out to the stars. Okay. The name. Let’s start with the name. Finch Lovejoy-Hubble, ensign aboard the GSS Pollux. Asleep for 490,560 hours from liftoff to when the computer woke her from stasis in deep space, amongst a crew of ghosts and a cargo of corpses. She never had figured out what had happened to the onboard life support systems and had resigned herself to never knowing.
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The GSS Pollux was one of a fleet of seventeen that had departed Earth in the first attempt at exoplanet colonization. Simulations predicted a nine in seventeen probability rate and, as it turned out, the Pollux was one of the unlucky eight. Finch knew somewhere in the backwaters of her mind that she would never see Gliese 667 Cc with her own eyes. She couldn’t think about it, not those actual thoughts in that sequence, or she would go mad. But she knew. If the crew and passengers had survived, her job would have been to monitor all systems and keep the clock running. As the situation stood now, day-by-day survival was more important. She opened up the camera feeds and scanned through them, making sure everything was as it should be. The passengers were all safe in their life support pods, drying out and turning to dust as the hours rolled by. She looked around her cabin and her eyes fell on the old pocketwatch she had kept out on the counter and there was a feeling like her stomach was dropping out of her body and down through the floor and outside into the black. The watch had stopped. She strode through the empty corridors, each step taking her a few
yards, like the heroes in the stories with their seven-league boots. The failing gravity belt still spun, but each day it cycled slower and slower. Soon her feet would leave the floor of the ship and never come back down again. The gravity belt was failing because the ship, detecting minimal life onboard, was shutting down. Another fact of life Finch wouldn’t let her mind be drawn to. The greenhouse was looking grayer by the day. As the temperature slowly dropped the plants wilted more and more—already the ones used to more tropical climes on the ground were brown and dry. Finch gathered a few apples and some corn and left. She would have stayed in the greenhouse, if not for her strange sense of duty. The hub was where she was needed, where she belonged. Maybe if she kept doing her job something would happen.
entire ship. Was she ready to die today? Not yet. She keyed in the commands and watched as the doors to the aft passenger deck closed for good. Portholes in the walls that should, bestcase, never have to be used during a voyage hissed open and the air roared out. The cameras one by one fuzzed out and went black. And who were those lucky few really? A few scientists, some poets and authors, mostly rich outdoorsmen and women for whom Earth’s wonders had not been enough. Well. Now each would be one among a few thousand to be the first to die in deep space. Something for the record books.
“ ” Now each would be one among a few thousand to be the first to die in deep space.
Something did happen. Sounds of burning awoke her this time. She tabbed through the camera feeds until she found the source: the greenhouse. Naturally. The feed from the cameras was all black and white, but she could still tell that the room was completely ablaze. The flames licked white and gray amongst the shadows of the leaves and Finch though: I should’ve gotten more apples. She could either seal off those sections and vent them of all oxygen to kill the fire or she could delay, try to douse it herself, and possibly lose the
A rumble, growing louder, increasing in size and shape until in her mind’s eye Finch could see the engine, pistons juddering and wheels slowing, cracking, halting. The ship’s nuclear heart: a tiny sun as big as a skyscraper, flickering in and out of being. The ship rumbled again. The ship moaned, gravity fluctuating in its death throes. Inside the belly of the whale, Finch huddled quietly, smelling the tangy ozone. The walls and the air inside the walls vibrated at a strange unstable frequency. It was like being inside a heat lightning storm, hair infusing with static and lifting itself up from her arms and legs and head. She got up from her seat shakily and walked to the door. Opening up a panel in the wall, she keyed in a few commands and something inside the
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door clanged to. Now she was locked inside for good, shielded from whatever terrors the Pollux could cook up inside itself, until someone finally materialized from the deep dark black to get her. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The ship was quiet, still. Finch felt her body growing lighter, becoming weightless. With the death of the engine the gravity belt had ceased its slow cycling. Finch grabbed the back of her seat and pulled herself back into it, fastening the belt around her waist to keep form floating away. She looked through the window. The stars circled outside, changing course as the Pollux spun. The engine had quit unevenly, causing the ship to change course. Who knows where she would end up now? Finch had given up contacting anyone by radio—doubtless, as soon as whatever catastrophe had happened aboard the Pollux was detected, she had been cut off and left for dead. But she might as well send out one last call. “This is Finch Lovejoy-Hubble, aboard the GSS Pollux. My ship is dead and has blown herself off course. I am her last survivor. I don’t know where I am. My watch broke so I don’t know what time it is, either.” She paused, drawing a breath. “If anyone can find me…. Please find me.” Eighty-four years later the bay doors opened from the other side. Fighting the outward rush of air, a spacesuited figure stepped slowly through the opening and closed the doors. Motes of dust circled serenely in the zero-gravity. The figure unscrewed his helmet and removed it. “Hello, Agamemnon? This is Spile,
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reporting from the hub.” “What have you found, ranger?” “The last survivor of the Pollux, is what. Although ‘survivor’ is probably too generous a word.” He reached over and lightly tugged on a strand of hair floating in front of him. The strand separated easily from the head, bringing a clump of scalp with it. The GSS uniform hung loosely from mummified limbs. “Finch Lovejoy-Hubble” was stitched into a patch on the left shoulder of the poor technician who had had to spend who knows how long aboard this broken vessel, completely alone, her name the name of a bird she had never seen and never would. His thick-gloved hand fumbled at her hand, snapping a few dry, crumbly fingers out of the way. He held the object in his hand, tilting it to catch the light coming in through the window. The glass of the face was cracked, the hands inside stilled forever. “What is that? Your video feed keeps fuzzing out.” “No idea. Some useless timekeeping thing. Piece of antique junk.” G
Rachel Merriman-Goldring, Photography
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Untitled I’m slipping beyond the sidewalk chalk half way across the moon and all the way to no where just basking bathing in the corner of this piece of my world don’t mind the haze it’s like that most nights we are skipping tipping tumbling into a brambly past due hop into my soul searching watching watchdog beaming in the moonlight take that for a thing to think about bam beep dead tone dead tone dead tone hello? — Anonymous
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In a building made of cinder blocks And cement, the baker rolls his dough. We gringos watch with curious Eyes as flies roam the hot air And dough is flattened and shaped And cut and carefully placed on a pan. No clock is needed for the baking time. The baker knows how long to wait. Soon, we’re handed the fresh bread Released from the flames of the oven, Sprinkled with sugar to make it sweet. And no yeast is added. Or needed. We’re each given a cup of Coke To compliment the sweet bread. We eat and drink, eat and drink, A warm silence filling the room. The bread – white, soft, and simple, Pure yet free from FDA regulations – Is like a cloud made edible. Only communion would taste better Than this baker’s gift to us, a portion Of his livelihood and his pride. We soon depart with “muchas gracias,” Carrying bags of bread in our hands, And climb into the beat-up Toyota Truck that has seen better days. — Rachel Brown
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To My Father: You are half deaf in one ear and it makes me furious. The once mighty discs in your back have herniated and slipped, like eggs slip from the hands of a child, leaving you with pain and a hobble at your young forty-eight. Somehow, you do not grimace. But you only ever take out the recycling and never help with the dishes and, because my fingers wrinkled too quickly in lukewarm dishwater, for a long time I thought I did more than you. You came into my room to pray with me much past my childhood and I hated it. I hated seeing you in pain on your knees, praying for my physics test and my future husband and my happiness and I remember not being able to stop myself from kicking, to shut you up. You kept your eyes closed and asked God to bless me, your daughter.
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You may only know how to speak in paragraphs, like the long dreary ones in a Dickens novel, but that was okay the one time you came to tell me about the cancer. It was good, for once, not to have to speak, because we do not cry in front of each other. And you always do more than me. You aren’t going to die anytime soon, that is a ridiculous thought, the cancer isn’t bad, but when I look at you, there is a flickering of shadows amongst the spangles of light, and in the haze around your eyes, I cannot tell if you are getting weaker or stronger. I will get on my knees and pray that my screams and kicks and snaps will weave into threads of light instead of the shadows that they are. That maybe all my rude words, remarks, slights, my pride, will fall only on your deaf ear. That you will keep the other ear for music, for whispers from God, for hearing the way light travels so smooth and beautiful. And that you will still smile at me, somehow. — Dana Lotito
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Macro Head against the window of an unmoving train, A woman on the phone demands the status of fish in the oven, Says she’s ex-awh-sted. On the page I read, Carl Sagan talks of vantage points Meaning, probably, there is no position more privileged Than this one. In a coach seat, cornered with blank, still space, I force the bulging orbs of her voice— “Ex-awh-sted. I’m ex-awh-sted.”— Through the prism of an idle pen, Refracting each syllable, dissecting them Into colored specks. An hour later, we’re moving again In silence. Maybe this is the delusion, Sagan’s cosmic dark, But it’s easy to demand the microscopic From grids of glass buildings wavering behind streetlamps, The view of a silhouetted bridge behind the tracks— Easy to assume in droplets of words Infinite moons, motes of dust Breathed out in an exponential curve of planets Pigmented like bubbles of olive oil suspended In a glass of water. — Lydia Brown
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“For I have known them all already, known them all:— Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” — T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” When life spins fast, we drink coffee. We pick up caramel macchiatos and skim lattes at the cafe on the way to work. We say mmmm as caffeine streams into our blood, soaks cells hot. We find comfort on dreary mornings in ceramic lips that kiss us awake. And then we work. And we work. And we drown in facts about tectonic plates and regression equations, swirling them quick on our tongues with hazelnut blends. We pore over tablets, entangle in charging cords as if they are umbilical. We brew another cup. Throw good mornings to our spouses, fling our children goodnights. Watch television until the world sleeps and we are numb, thanking Keurig gods. But sometimes I think we drink coffee because on cold nights, as we sit over illuminated screens and watch bits of our American humanity seep into orderly blue pixels, it feels nice to be holding something warm. Feels good to have steamy breath on our cheek. Reminds us we are alive when there is something in the room that came soft from milk and still belongs there. — Amanda Whitehurst
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Lazy is the drunkard who does not create On the nuances of imbibing: Drink first. Then gather the necessaries: Maté, ginger, sugar, lime Fill the carboy, the kettle, a mason jar too With the noxious wretch of bleachen brew (don’t mistake it for liquor of the living) Rinse hot, cold, then hot again, Let the drunken fun begin (drink again and four good measures) In the kettle Brew gallons of maté five – To keep the drunken fun alive Stumble to counter, chop Ginger fine, remember fingers Are on the line, pretend you’re Playing five finger fillet Drink and introduce two Pounds of ginger to the maté brew As the kettle begins to boil Add four pounds sugar, One whole bottle liquid lime, Soon the tea will turn The most divine of poisons Drink again, But this time water.
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The yeast demands A hydrated slaughter: Combine the yeast with Tea sweet spice, Shirk the notion Of everything nice
Drown it and sit it In the cupboard to think About creation and the coming drink
Double, double, boil and bubble Seven drinks certainly spells trouble So hibernate short, Just under two weeks, When you awake The grain gods will speak: Child, the ginger beer is here Heed our commands, have no fear Now, drink! â€” Matt Schroeder
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Rachel Merriman-Goldring, Photography
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Spring 2015 Prose Staff Favorite
Another Bites by Kendall Berents
here were five hundred people in the front yard. We were spilling off the grass and into the cul-de-sac, stopping cars and mailmen and dog walkers. We didn’t care. But, then again, that movement happened a long time ago. The same time we initiated the Cool Kids Campaign and Project: Be Balder. We used to walk into rooms with shaved heads and sunglasses, both fists raised and middle fingers exposed. No fucks given. Spilling out into the cul-de-sac, flicking off the world, ignoring the angry neighbors, crowding on top of each other, all eyes pointed north. A five-hundred-person compass. Josh opened the door and came to the front stoop. T-minus five minutes, ladies and gentleman. T-minus five. He went back inside. The girls started crying. The guys shifted from foot to foot and coughed into their hands. One slow cry emanated from the house. That was the mother. Dale. Dale Murphy. Dale Tobias Murphy, and don’t you ever forget it. Don’t you ever forget Dale Murphy. There are certain things I’ll never forget about Dale Murphy, and then there are other things that I’ve forgotten
Dust already. I remember standing in the front yard that day, thinking of all the things I’d forgotten, all the things I’d never know, wanting so badly to run in and yell: Dale! Dale Tobias, man, just tell me one more time. How’d you find the fireworks? Or: how’d you escape the night watch nurses? Even: why the hell didn’t you ask her out? Mostly: I’m sorry that I did. We had this thing we’d do, Dale and I. It started that summer we rented a limo and drove around Baltimore with a bandwagon of the bald and hopeless. He opened the skylight and climbed onto the roof, laying his body flat against the hood. Jim, man, you’ve gotta come see this! He said. I looked. I hollered. I saw some strangers and I shouted: Hey, I’m in a limo! I don’t really know why. But I did. And it stuck. Hey Jim! He’d call to me. I’m in a limo. With one hand stretched out on an imaginary wheel, and the other flicking me off, he’d make engine noises and saunter away. Some people are masters of deception. Dale and I? We were masters of the obvious. It was a deathstyle choice. Screw lifestyles. We don’t address those. Especially not now. Not now that
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he’s gone. The truth? The truth is that Dale’s limo was running off of movements – movements like Cool Kids and Be Balder – but then it ran out of gas and crashed into a vast array of deathstyles that included, but were not limited to, smoking joints on the roof of the hospital and only sleeping when standing up. Why? Because astronauts can do it, Dale said. Why shouldn’t I? He used the rest of his fuel to accomplish one childhood dream at a time. Astronomic sleeping. Spiderman crawling. Roof hopping. Indiana Jones imitating. Fort building. Coast Guard rescuing. It didn’t matter that he was rescuing rubber duckies from pediatric pool or building forts with hospital sheets or crawling on the white tiled floor – not the white plastered walls – and his only Indiana Jones imitation was the hat he bought at Disney World during his one, his only, his first and final wish. Five hundred people stood in Dale’s front yard waiting for impact. Hey, Dale. Dale, can you hear me, man? You’re still in that limo. Dale, don’t you forget, you’re still…Still…Still. And then there was the zoo. There was that time we all went to the zoo and Dale just lay there. Right in the middle of the concourse. He lay in the middle of the concourse with arms wide and hands outstretched. Why? Because starfish can do it, Dale said. And I always wanted to see a starfish. He pursed his lips and imitated fish faces. Security came to get him, because he was scaring the kids. They thought he was crazy. Dale didn’t give any fucks. In his mind, he’d been diagnosed insane
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three years ago. The same time as the other diagnosis. The one we don’t talk about. The one we never talk about. I wanted to run inside and ask him about that, as well. When they told me, I was promised a lifestyle. When they told Dale, he was promised a deathstyle. I didn’t understand. I’ll never understand. But I want to. Dale, my man, I want to understand. You got that? Teach me. I want – I need – I have to understand. Josh came back outside. T-minus three minutes. The girls cried harder. A few actually fell to the ground. The guys shifted their gaze downwards and coughed even louder. And then we heard it. Loud and clear, coming from the open window of his bedroom. Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Some people laughed. Some looked disgusted. I saw Karen. She wasn’t looking either. She just looked numb. I sent up a silent apology – for her, for him, for the whole damned thing. Hey, man, you know this limo we’re in? Yeah, I’m not ready for you to jump off the roof just yet, okay? You got that, Dale? Dale? Dale! Man, you got that? The song from his window played louder. Out of the doorway the bullets rip, to the sound of the beat. The room was dark. I was clutching the puke bucket to my chest. Some people spoon soft humans, and some people spoon puke buckets. It’s no big difference, right?...That’s what we always used to say. But that night, it was a big difference. Mom and dad were gone. They said it was because the house needed cleaning. But I knew better. It was because they needed to cry. And cry.
And cry without me seeing. So I was clutching this puke bucket, right? Scratch that – so I was spooning this puke bucket when the door opened. But no one was there. And then I saw it. Slowly – real slowly – an IV package slid through the doorway, followed by three feet of medical tubing, all coiling around itself on the floor. And then Dale slid in. On his stomach. Holding his wrists in front of him and releasing his imaginary webs all around my room: Spidey Style. He didn’t say anything. He just slid in and around my room. I was too nauseous to ask any questions. I just watched and smiled. Eventually, he stopped by the side of my bed. He opened his mouth and spit a key onto the floor. And then he slithered back out. I had that key for two weeks before figuring out where it led. I still have the key. Only now, I know where it goes. It goes to the supply closet. The one where the puke buckets are kept. Just in case I need to do some more spooning. Or fake smoking. Or cry, cry, crying. Alone. Without anyone seeing. Without upsetting my parents or distressing the nurses or disconcerting my friends. Dale thought of everything. Things when we were sick and clutching our puke buckets and peeing in catheters and drinking out of IV tubes. He spent so much time slithering around that he uncovered the exact routine of the night watch nurses and operated undercover for us all. When Karen’s chemo got scheduled on the day of her eighteenth birthday, he stole a pack of cigarettes from an unsuspecting visitor and broke
onto the roof, so we could all sit there and smoke in peace. It’s not like any of us had lung cancer, geeze. We were the pediatric sector. We all had chronic diagnoses. Things like Anaplastic LargeCell Lymphoma. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Neuroblastoma. Brain Stem Glioma. Ewing Sarcoma. Osteosarcoma and Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma of Bone. Wear it loud, wear it proud, wear it all the fucking time. Some people memorize names. Bald people memorize diagnoses. We have more than just a name. We have a disease. The thing about diseases is that they scare people. A lot. And I’m not talking about the kind of fear girls get when they’re on a date with a guy they don’t really like and suddenly they realize he likes her a lot, so they get all weird and giggly and reclusive. I’m talking about the kind of fear that shuts you down. The kind that turns everyone into bitches because suddenly even the nicest people don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to say so they say: …FUCKING NOTHING. Hey, I’m in a limo. Open your damn mouths and state the obvious. I’m bald and terminal and my skin has rashes and my arms have scars and I think your problems are stupid and you think mine are depressing and you don’t wanna be around me but – guess what? – I don’t really wanna be around you. I’m glad we got to have this conversation. After Dale stole me the key to the supply closet, I used to go in there and sit on the puke buckets and bed pans
“ ” The thing about diseases is that they scare people. A lot.
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and stare at the back of the closet door and imagine it was that magicalwishing-door from those Harry Potter books – do you know the one I’m talking about? The one that would take you wherever you wanted to go? Yeah, I would pretend it was that door and try to figure out where I would go. Sometimes it was surfing in Bali. Other times it was Space Mountain in Disney World. Mostly, though, it was the family dinner at our big, oak kitchen table the night before my diagnosis. That’s where I want to go. The day before it all started. The day when my family still laughed and food still had taste and I still had hair and people still fucking talked to me. I would sit in that supply closet and stare at the door and try to go back there. Dale? Dale, can you hear me? Where do you wanna go, man? Where can I take you? Do you want me to take you back to the limo? To the zoo? To that night in the hospital? Or do you wanna go back to your day – the day before it all started for you? The day before you knew you were going to die? There was Josh. On the stoop. A heavy, weighty expression on his face. He couldn’t look at us. T-minus zero minutes. He spoke. Numb. Monotone. Unaware. It’s done. No one knew what to do. So we didn’t do anything. We didn’t fucking say anything. The very thing we hated people doing to us, we did to Dale. But the music did something different. The music played louder. Louder. Even louder. Another one bites the
dust. It sang, ringing through the house and yard and all five hundred people. Another one bites the dust. And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust. Dale did this thing before he left. He came and found us in the hospital. It was movie night for the Peds unit. We were watching “A Time to Kill” because we’re sick like that. In all forms of the word. And Dale slithered into the room and Sharon screamed and Josh tried to step on his hands and the newbies just sat there with big, scared eyes and tangible confusion. Don’t worry, they’ll get our deathstyle eventually. But Dale slithers in, right? And he stands up and straightens out the wrinkles on his Pink Floyd shirt and tells us that he has an important mission for us Cool Kids. It was the final phase of Project: Be Balder and he needed us to hear him out, right? For a group of people who were so used to silence, he needed us to fucking listen. And that’s when he told us. He told us about the diagnosis and the termination of life support and the projected death. He told us about going back to his house to die in his bed with his poster of Penelope Cruz staring him in the face and his spaceman sheets swaddling his tiny, frail body. He would wear his Indiana Jones hat and spoon his Spiderman action figure and wrap himself in his baby blanket and curl up on his side the minute they pulled the plug – no puke buckets needed. And he told us about the final phase of Project: Be Balder. It was a funeral. More specifically, it was his funeral. He had
“” The very thing we hated people doing to us, we did to Dale.
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the whole thing planned out. Hey, I’m gonna get you, too. Another one bites the dust. From the moment they terminated life support to the moment he was buried underground, he knew exactly what he wanted to happen. Five hundred people stood in his front yard that day, waiting to salute their fearless leader. Waiting to say something or nothing or anything at all. Waiting for Dale to die. Of the five hundred, only five of us were part of his plan. Josh was dubbed the Dying Dictator, in charge of MC-ing the public event.
Ian was on music duty, changing songs and volume according to Dale’s dying mood. Sharon was there to comfort the family. Karen organized the layout and visual effects – making sure everything looked pretty, acted pretty, was pretty – mostly because, even as he died, Dale always thought she was pretty. (Again, Dale, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.) And then there was me. His best friend. His accomplice. His eternal limousine driver. What was my job? My job was this. Project: Be Balder – completed.G
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Contributors’ Kendall Berents is a senior at the College of William & Mary, finishing her degree in three years with a major in English and a minor in Religious Studies. She spent half of her degree studying literature in the UK, where her writing finally became her own. She writes with desperation and darkness, hoping that her work will inspire truth and strength in places that seem otherwise lifeless. Kendall will be heading to Columbia University’s School of the Arts to receive an MFA in Creative Writing next fall. Lydia Brown is a student of English and Music at the College of William & Mary, Class of 2017. She has just begun her professional writing career and her work has appeared in The Gallery and The William & Mary Review. Yuming Cao, William & Mary Class of 2017, is double majoring in biology and studio art. Snow was painted in the first snow night in 2014. Amir Khan’s artwork is about an Eastern Oriental couple like he and his wife who have traveled a long way to reach William & Mary in hope of a better future. They have made many sacrifices to reach so far but this new place embraces them and they get a new home. A moment of their life is captured in this painting where their dream comes true and they are pointing at the College of William & Mary building. Alice Morrison-Moncure is a WM senior from Falls Church, VA. She is majoring in French and Francophone Studies. Jennie Pajerowski is a freshman planning to major in Film & Media Studies and minor in Creative Writing. She’s a member of Afsana, an Indian fusion dance team, and she can usually be found around campus jamming out a little too hard to Imogen Heap or getting really excited about the moon.
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Notes Matt Schroeder is currently a senior at the College of William & Mary. He has been published in the Netherlands, Effervescence at the University of Richmond, Jump!, Bullet Quarterly, and The Gallery at the College of William & Mary, as well as in Coup d’Etat at Boston University. Emma Stefansky is a senior English major birthed from the sand and surf of Virginia Beach, VA. Her post-W&M plans include writing a bestselling space opera series and directing and starring as all the characters in the subsequent HBO adaptation. She spends most of her time attempting to figure out what her superpowers are. Her interests consist primarily of bananas, Jurassic Park, whatever book she’s in the middle of, and trying to strike up conversations about the cool bug she just saw on the way to class. Blair Stuhlmuller is an avid painter who likes adding her own perspective to the world with a paint bush. She primarily works in oil paint but dabbles with pastels and gouache too. Amanda Whitehurst is a senior at William & Mary studying English and Sociology. She enjoys writing poetry, and her work has been published in a number of literary journals, including her most recent publication in Coup d’Etat at Boston University. Dana Wood is delighted to be published in The Gallery again before she graduates. She has been an active member of The Gallery since she was a wide-eyed freshman, and it has been one of the primary joys of her college career. When she is not writing stories or reading, she enjoys playing and designing video games, making jewelry, and discussing storytelling and philosphy with friends like a nerd. She is an English major with a Creative Writing minor and hopes to write or publish for her career.
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Editors’ Note Dear Reader, For both of us, this is our third and final Editor’s Note. Sometimes writing it feels like the most difficult part of making the magazine, and this occasion is both easier and harder for all the things we could say. Looking back is bittersweet. We remember our early days as freshmen, reading our first pack of submissions and learning to be bold and speak up when we loved something. We took greater responsibility as sophomores and juniors, when we first became editors. As graduating seniors, we remember the amazing people we have worked with, the late nights in layout blasting classic rock and epic soundtracks, the beautiful pieces we have read, enjoyed, and published, and the changes we have seen and made to The Gallery. Every meeting, we became closer as friends, not only laughing and listening as we chose our submissions, but as we played werewolf card games, watched crazy YouTube videos, and ate donuts in our pajamas at Super Sunday. While it is sad to say good-bye, we know we are leaving our work in good hands. The magazine will move to a new staff, who will have their own traditions and style but the same passion we have brought to our editions. We wish them the best, and we thank our departing staff, our readers, and our authors, artists, and poets, for making this all possible for us. Thank you, and again, thank you. —Dana Wood & Jenny Lee
Colophon The Gallery Volume 29 Issue 2 was produced by the student staff at the College of William & Mary and published by Western Newspaper Publishing Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana. Submissions are accepted anonymously through a staff vote. The magazine was designed using Adobe Indesign CS5 and Adobe Photoshop CS5. The magazine’s 50, 6x9 pages are set in Garamond. The cover font is “Univers ExtendedPS,” and the titles of all the pieces are “Univers ExtendedPS.” The Spring 2012 issue of The Gallery was a CSPA Gold Medalist with All-Columbian honors in content.
Check out the Gallery online www.wmpeople.wm.edu/site/page/gallery www.facebook.com/wmgallery @wmgallery
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