Pendragon is a publication of the Greens Farms Academy Middle School, 35 Beachside Avenue, Greens Farms, Connecticut 06838. Front cover: Cordelia Diamond Back cover: Julia Bartimer Layout: Mr. Gott Layout Assistant: Rolf Locher Literary Editor-in-Chief: Liza Rebold Art Editor-in-Chief: Cordelia Diamond Board Members: Kate Bundy
Mr. Benjamin Gott Mrs. Robbi Hartt Mr. Griffen Stabler
Ms. Elizabeth Cleary Mr. Drew Meyer Mr. Matt Norko
http://www.gfacademy.org firstname.lastname@example.org All submissions were reviewed anonymously and chosen on merit alone. 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
! “In This Story” ..........................................................................................3 “Julia” ..........................................................................................................4 “Stars” .........................................................................................................5 “SLAM!”.....................................................................................................6 “Poem from Place” ...................................................................................10 “Portrait of an American Dream” .........................................................11 “Life’s Voyage” ..........................................................................................14 “Something People Did Not Know” .....................................................15 “In the Night” ...........................................................................................16 “Misguided Ghosts” .................................................................................17 “My Beach” ................................................................................................21 “The Wind Blew By” ...............................................................................22 “Ireland, My Home”.................................................................................23 “Lies” ..........................................................................................................26 “Bullets Like Rain” ...................................................................................27 “What happens if the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow?” ..................29 “Forest Symphony” ..................................................................................30 “Bottom row, 8th from the right” ..........................................................31 “Fire” ..........................................................................................................33 “Faery” .......................................................................................................34 “Picture Drawer” ......................................................................................36 “The Beauty of It All” .............................................................................37 “The Water and Me” ................................................................................40 “There was a Turkey” ...............................................................................41 “The Cloud” ..............................................................................................42 inspired by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird ..................................42 “The tall pines tickle the bellies of the clouds” ...................................43 “Tender” .....................................................................................................44 “Beyond the Cherry Trees” .....................................................................45
“In This Story”
! If you are reading this story, You must beware. For things lie hidden here and there. The words They weave their way Through every crack Round every corner And back. They are a never-ending riddle One which is much too tough And much too brittle To ever understand To ever comprehend. I warn you once, Not a second chance, That this story is known For its rather bewitching tune. Which goes on and on, Surely not ending anytime soon. — Maggie Sherin
! One more day with you, Julia: It would be the best day ever If only I had known that I would never ever See you again. I want to see your bright smiling face Hear your outrageous laugh, one more time Just one more memory One more laugh One more campout in the pouring rain Sleeping on rocks Just one more campfire in the rain singing loud and clear One more is all I am asking for. If I had known that it would be the last day with you, It would have been different But it wasn’t and now I will never see you again Because someone cruel took you out of this wonderful world with their speeding car Although I will never see your happy face again, I know that you will be watching me For eternity. And maybe someday, I will visit you again.
— Megan Lipman
! Mysteriously up so high, Floating like little doves up in the sky; Surrounding you everywhere, Watching you like little pairs of eyes; Like tiny smudges but yet so clear, Glaring at you, Without a trace of fear. — Lily McGonagle
Photograph by Maeve Flaherty
! “SLAM!” The wall of lockers shook as my fist met the locker door, beginning another day of pure humiliation. “Coach would like to see you!” came a smirking voice from the door. I turned around to see Emma standing with her hands on her hips, back against the door, and holding back laughter. She nodded her head toward the courts with a smile as if to say, “Better get out there so coach can give you another speech about your failure!” My knuckles became red as I clenched them into a fist so tight that I could see marks from where my fingernails met my skin. I stopped untying my sneakers and brought my foot down from the bench, making a rough screech as the pattern on the bottom of my shoes slid down the wooden bench. I slammed my locker door shut, not daring to take my face off Emma, who just stood there, holding an evil smile. I hated Emma like there was no tomorrow. She was exactly the kind of girl who would take one little mistake you made and turn it into your worst nightmare. She was exactly the kind of girl who fed on your imperfections. She was exactly the kind of girl you would call mean. I took one deep breath, held my head high, and walked past Emma with long strides. I walked right out of the girls’ locker room and onto the middle of the court where I stood face to face with Coach Trulio, or as the team referred to her, “Coach Cruelio.” Of all the reasons I hated sports— and there were many, many reasons—Coach Trulio was on the top of the list. She was why I dreaded putting on my gym clothes and lacing up my sneakers. I couldn’t even begin to imagine all the lame excuses I had used that year to get her out of gym: I was sick, I had broken ankles, broken wrists, suffered a head injury and dehydration, forgotten my sneakers, forgotten my gym clothes, gone to the bathroom for the whole period, faked dizziness, finished a test and lab hours, redone homework, had a detention, faked doctor notes, finished a project, and so many more. I 6
couldn’t even begin to think how many gym classes I had missed. Sometimes my lame excuses worked, and sometimes they didn’t. The coach stared at me and I stared back. There we stood for minutes, neither breaking the silence. I finally got the courage to say, “If you’re going to yell at me, please make it quick because I need to get to class.” I didn’t realize what I had said until after it had come out of my mouth. No one talked to Coach Trulio like that, ever. I braced myself for whatever Coach’s response would be, but nothing ever came. After another long silence, she simply turned around and walked toward the door. I stood there completely stunned. Was it what I had said? Was she going to get a weapon? Was she giving up on me? I didn’t understand, but then she stopped. She picked a basketball right off the rack and tossed it to me. It rolled on the ground and bumped into my feet, coming to a halt. I bent down and picked up the basketball, putting my hands on either side, feeling the rough texture and getting the feel of the ball. I looked up at Coach Trulio and waited for an order. Was she going to ask me to do one hundred laps? Stay all night and shoot free throws? What was I supposed to do? “Play,” said Coach Trulio. That was it. Play—one single word that meant fifty different things. I looked at the ball. At times it looked, felt, and seemed like an object from a different planet. It was a mystery to me. It was a mystery how someone invented basketball. It was a mystery why basketball was considered fun. But most of all, it was a mystery why I had been chosen to join the team, why the coach always put me in in the most important part of the game, and why the coach didn’t see that basketball wasn’t for me. I rolled the ball in the palm of my hands as I pondered these mysteries. I looked up at Coach Trulio and said, “Why am I even on the team? I don’t want to be here. I’m not good at basketball; Emma’s better than me. You don’t get how hard it is.” I stared at her, waiting for an answer. The coach simply folded her hands and looked up at the picture on the wall of the school’s old basketball team—the one she used to be on. “I know you’re good.” My mouth fell open. Was she stupid? I was clearly awful. I stared at her, stunned. 7
“Don’t stare at me like that. You have the height. You have the strength. You have the commitment. I don’t want any more lame excuses to skip practice. Today, you start to try.” I stood there, not believing what I had just heard. “Go—that’s all I wanted to tell you. And keep that basketball. I doubt you have one in your house. I want you practicing outside of school. You will be my star, but it will not happen overnight.” Not knowing what to say or what to make of the situation, I turned around and walked out the back door. I was still utterly confused. The back door led me to the cold, icy winter. Shivering, I started to walk toward the locker room. I don’t know why I had decided to take this way; maybe it was because I didn’t want to make eye contact with the coach, maybe because I wanted to think, or maybe because I was still too confused. After all the time she had spent yelling at me and discouraging me, she had just told me that I was going to be her star, but only if I committed to basketball. That was the question. Should I commit to something I stunk at? My gut told me to trust the coach, but my mind told me to face the facts: I wasn’t good. There was only one way to find out. The next practice, my gym clothes were on, my sneakers were laced, and my heart was pounding. For some reason, I had gotten there early, and oddly enough, I wasn’t the recipient of one rude remark from Coach the whole practice. It wasn’t like I had gotten better overnight just like coach said I wouldn’t—I still stunk. I got perfect passes and perfect opportunities, and I messed every one up. Halfway through practice, I finally made myself believe that I had dreamed my conversation with Coach the day before. But then she gave me an encouraging nod that brought me back to reality. I still didn’t fully understand why she believed in me all of a sudden, but I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. I ended up practicing at home like she told me to. I put a net on a tree and nailed in a board as a backboard. Before I knew it, the perfect opportunities I got at practices weren’t all missed. People respected me as a teammate and looked at me equally. What I loved the most was that I was gaining on Emma. She didn’t like it, but most of her rude comments stopped. Basketball kind of became fun. I don’t think I made up a lame excuse to miss practice for the next two weeks. 8
One day when practice was over, Coach asked me to stay behind. I thought I was about to get my first speech for two weeks about my lack of effort. Instead, she looked at me. After a few minutes, her stern, serious face broke into a grin. I don’t think I’d ever seen her smile before. She looked at me and asked, “How do you feel?” I was about to answer “Fine, why?”, but I realized that wasn’t her point. I looked at the basketball in front of my feet and looked up at her. “I feel…like I need to thank you. What made you think I had it in me?” “Let’s just say I knew someone like you—someone who used to feel the same way you felt about basketball. I knew she regretted the time she wasted avoiding the sport and ignoring her skill. But I also knew that, when she admitted her talent at basketball and committed to the game, she shot to the top.” “Who was it?” “Me.”
— Julia Bartimer
Photograph by Matt Davis 9
“Poem from Place”
! Behind closed doors and through white hallways Rhythmic pounding can be found, with screaming sounds and music always Strings screech and amps vibrate, as they stumble into tune, Wandering notes align, with fingers entwined, As they recreate a melodic tune. Shut your ears if you’re ever near this dark cave of sound, Dark melodies with minor chords and other songs come here yet so profound. Comes from this place buried and laced, with poetic ideas in rounds. Your bad and good dreams of music, for this is the place all your findings can be found. — Jeremy Platt
“Portrait of an American Dream”
! “You’re talking about the American Dream. I didn’t dream it, but it happened…” The old door creaked as his father came in late at night Looking for jobs in Jersey City…none Light flickered as his father shuffled up the stairs in defeat “Things were lean,” he reflected Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor! Roosevelt Declares War! Hit Guam hard, charged the hill to the left As the hellfire erupted around him, threw himself to the ground As his face lay there in the dirt He saw little pebbles and a strand of grass Just like at home “This could be the last thing I see” Finally leaving Bougainville Got to the beach on Christmas Day It was been a long nine months The palms started shaking, the ground began to tremor The shallow graves he dug for his brothers Opened up “The most macabre experience I’ve ever had”
Patrolling the beach at night Accompanied only by the corpses and “their ghastly smell of death” A scrap of paper blows by his face He looks down at the morbid scene Photographs scattered everywhere, of Japanese families Just like his Realized he was fighting humans, not targets “That could be me” America drops Atomic Bomb on Japan! War is over! Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute welcomed its new student, Howard The new citizen, the painter, succeeded, married soon A family sprouted up Cartooning and teaching filled the days There he sits, across from me This man, this hero He’s left the steamy jungles and blood-soaked beaches long ago But never forgotten To be able to move on like that With no hatred or remorse Then to succeed in life, with children and grandchildren That’s the American Dream…to me (Based on a conversation with Howard Munce, age 94, World War II veteran and Westport residential artist, May 9th, 2010.)
— Walker Schneider
Drawing & digital manipulation by Luke Schmidt-Fellner 13
! Overview: Mr. Kaminsky was a very significant character in the book Voyage. He was a very old man who was always lending out books and sharing stories with the children on the boat. He died on that boat. Mr. Kaminsky really stood out because, unlike many of the people on the ship, he had already lived through his own voyage.
He stared at the ground, blocking out the shrieks behind him Clara still talking, the wind howling around him, and the boat rocking He couldn’t take it any longer Why not die now? He had lived his life to the fullest extent Sometimes life was just not worth the pain anymore He closed his eyes The sound around him stopped All he saw was blackness He felt his body fall to the ground The old man tried to open his mouth The only thing left to say was Nothing…
— Hanna Refvik
“Something People Did Not Know”
! Something people did not know, Until a couple weeks ago, Until I told them something new, And they found out I am a Jew. It’s been a secret I never meant to keep, But I can see how they’d never heard a peep. My ancestors had nothing to hide, And for the record, neither do I. To me it doesn’t really matter, But I have heard all of the chatter. About who’s coming and who never received, Some are excited while some are just peeved. Nothing’s really changed since then, But now I can tell who’s really a friend. — Rachel Triesman
“In the Night”
! In the night The trees stand still The owls all are quiet In the night The winds don’t blow The time seems to stand still But at the dawn, The forest wakes The winds blow, And the time inches on
— Trent Turner
Photograph by Peter Burger 16
! Insane. That’s what they called people who were checked in here. That’s what I used to call them—until I was sent here by my own father. “Insane” was such a loose term, but it wasn’t used lightly. Especially here, where everyone is considered insane. I’m not even sure why I’m here. I feel perfectly normal. Maybe a little tired, but still normal. They told me I would be moving temporarily and that “about four months should do the trick.” It’s now been eight months, double the time that I thought I’d be here. The drive here from my house, eight months back, was scary. My dad sat in the seat next to me, rubbing my back as the car jostled us. It was too dark for me to see the sign as we passed it; my eyes had not adjusted to the dark. We pulled up to a building, light glowing from the few windows that were there. “It looks lonely,” I said, stepping onto the wet ground covered in autumn leaves. I pulled a hair out of my face and looked up at the lonely building. “Hex!” my dad called. I turned and looked at him. “It’s nice here. You’ll like it.” I nodded, feeling a cold shiver run through my body. I did not like it. Everyone looked at me strangely here. They treated us like we didn’t belong in the outside world, the world where we came from. The white walls were boring, and I had the urge to splash buckets of paint on them to make them come alive. My room was big and empty with only one window that led out into a hallway where I could see the workers passing by every hour. “Hello, Ms. Anderson. Would you like anything?” They’d ask the same question or a variation of it every hour. I’d answer back, always “No.” “Okay,” they’d say, and then they’d close the door and move on to the next victim. I lay back down on my bed, looking up at the frisky, flickering light up above me. This is how I spent most of my days: lying in a bed until either 17
a nurse or sleep found me. unconsciousness.
I closed my eyes and began to drift into
" Beep, beep, beep! What sounded like the annoying noise of my alarm clock met me as I began to wake. An unusual light interrupted my sight, and I squinted as I tried to open my eyes. “Will she be okay?” I heard a familiar masculine voice ask. I recognized it as my father’s. “She’s going to be fine,” I heard another voice say. This voice was one I did not know. It sounded harsh and raspy. I tried to make myself speak and make my mouth form words, but my lips felt too heavy to move, like I was too weak. Again, I tried to open my eyes. This time, I got them half open. “Doctor,” a female voice called. “She’s waking up.” There was a rush of air, and I felt a hand brush my forehead. “Sweetie?” my dad called, his voice cracking. I tried to look up at him, but the light hitting my eye triggered a headache. I groaned. “Oh, thank God,” he said. “Can you hear me, Hex?” I tried to answer, but the dark mask of the unknown stopped me from saying anything. Instead I tried to nod. “Sweetie, you need to listen to me.” He sounded choked up, like his words were holding him back. “Hex, honey…” There was another brush against my forehead. “Your mother…died.” I felt something wet on my cheek. “She died in the crash…”
" It never settled in, the death of my mother. I cried, of course. But I didn’t cry for the reason one would think. I cried because I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember anything after the crash, only the voice of my father and the smell of roses. Nothing else. I couldn’t remember the way my mother smiled or what she looked like. The only thing I could remember is that she always smelled like roses. When I was brought home from the hospital, my father pushing me in a wheelchair, I saw a picture of a beautiful woman hanging on the wall. She was holding a small child in
her hand and was sitting on a rickety swing set. She had dark curly hair that fell down to her ears, large brown eyes, and a perfect smile. “Who’s that?” I asked my dad, pointing to the picture. “That’s you and your mother…” he said, confused. “You don’t remember her?” I shook my head, wiping my eyes on my sleeve. “I told you: I can’t remember anything.” One day, as I was sitting down in the lunchroom eating my usual oatmeal, I watched a boy younger than I walk in with a confused look on his face. I suddenly wondered how I must have looked my first time walking into the lunchroom by myself. Everyone was looking at me, their eyes piercing holes in me all over. I crossed my arms across my chest to hold the pieces of myself together while wishing that they would stay together by themselves. The empty sounds of the click-clack of shoes scraping the floor were biting at me, leaving raw open wounds. These wounds would take time to heal, just like it would take time to get used to being alone… " Where did he go? I wondered as I walked around the cold house. A shiver ran up my spine, and I felt like I wasn’t alone. I could feel a presence other than mine following me, moving throughout the house. I moved quickly, pacing myself, unafraid of what might be here. I wanted to know, for once. I wanted to know something that other people didn’t. I wanted to have an adventure that I would be able to remember. I followed my hunch, walking through the living room, where I had been sitting before. I stopped, hearing footsteps. Now I knew that there was someone here, in this house, and I wasn’t alone. I was never alone. The footsteps got louder as I entered the kitchen. Thump-thump-thumpthump, louder and louder, with a quickening pace. I grabbed a butter knife from the drawer, knowing it would do as much good as a pair of dull scissors to a book, but it was sure to scare the intruder. I tiptoed to the sunroom and stopped in shock, watching a dark female silhouette floating back and forth. She was carrying a child. My mother! I thought. I found myself moving forward, the same chill running up my 19
spine. I gripped the butter knife, lifting it higher than my head and preparing to throw it at the shadow. “Hex?!” I turned around, eyes wide, to see my father behind me, a scared look on his face. “Hex,” he said again, more calmly now. The knife was still above my head, my eyes wide. “What the hell are you doing?” Behind me, my mother’s ghost was gone. “I—I,” I tried, but nothing came. I could think of no reason why I had tried to strike the shadow…
" Something didn’t fit. No one had come to see me today, to make sure I was okay or to ask if I needed anything. There was nothing—just me alone in a claustrophobic room with a chrome sink, a frisky light, and a single cot. This was my home now. Home was not a place where I slept in a soft bed and ate colorful meals every day or where I smelled the roses of my mother. Home was white, colorless, and dull. It was a place where the only ghosts I would see were the ghosts of what people once were—before they were sent here. They were all lost, but now I was proud to join the misguided ghosts.
— Kristen Muller
Photograph by Tatiana Crawford 20
! Here I sit on a stone ledge, looking over the beach and Sound. The pink-blue water crashes below me, and under the pink sky I cannot hear anything but waves, tumbling rocks, and sand like a blender, making a fine sand. As I turn to the left, I see nothing but blue water and sky. To my right, I see an orange-pink sunset. Sailboats are rocking in the distance like silhouettes dancing on the water. Ahead, I see only one star and a light house, but nothing else. I’m wrapped in my fuzzy blue coat, all cozy and warm. It is truly a wonder what you can see on such a small beach.
— Kate Koster
Photograph by Tatiana Crawford 21
“The Wind Blew By”
! The wind blew by After they died To remind us of all the sorrow and sadness Shortly after There was no laughter And there was none of the usual crazed madness After some time They never cried Because there were no tears left to come The wind blew by After they died When there was no one left to cry… — Kate Bundy
“Ireland, My Home”
! I love my beautiful home, My country, My many fields of green, With the tall grass brushing up against my skin, Like swimming through the waves, My Ireland. I walk through the beautiful fields, The tall grass brushing up against me, Next to the beach, The salty smelling breeze in my hair, The crashing of waves along the shore, I know this is my home. Mother comes home one day with a strange look on her face, We’re moving. Where, Mother? To America. It will be our new home… I feel tears strolling down my cheeks. I burst into tears, warm tears, The ones that make it very hard to see. Things will be better in America, Father says. Trust us. In America I hear the streets are paved with gold, And everyone has a lot of money, And when you get there they will all greet you with smiles. The kind of smiles where it feels like nothing will ever go wrong again, When you’re there you forget about all of your bad memories, It’s like the beginning of a whole new life. 23
I had never thought about it this way before, Going to America might actually help my family, The Potato Famine has caused us so much damage, To our crops mostly, Which has made us lose so much money. If we go to America all of that could change, We would not have to grow crops anymore, We could have a lot of money, Without having to spend it all on supplies for the crops, We could buy a big house to live in, With enough room for my mother and father, And my brother and sister, And of course a place for our dog, Instead of him lying on the cold floor. He could always jump up on the bed with one of us, We could have a beautiful house, Right along the beach, Just like here. You ready? Yes. Okay, letâ€™s go. I get in the wagon, And look back at our house as we pull away. I keep my eye on the house until I canâ€™t see it anymore. Then I wake up to the sound of many people talking, Bags banging against one another, The smell of dead fish, Thunder, And the loud waves crashing against the dock. I can tell the start of this adventure is going to be very chaotic.
After the long journey, I realized something, Something was different. At the beginning of the voyage, The sky was blue, But the blue here Was different. It had a brighter tone, And the sun seemed brighter too, The sun shined directly on a huge greenish blue statue in the middle of the water, It was a statue of a lady In a dress and crown, And she had a torch in one hand, She looked beautiful. Mother? Yes, dear? Who is that lady? That is the Statue of Liberty, The sign of freedom To all of the immigrants that come to America. She is their welcome. How beautiful she is!
â€” Emily Dolan
! One thing One reason One excuse That doesn’t mean it’s right All the tears Streaming down my face When I found out Broken down Destroyed Just one lie And it’s over Nothing can make it better Nothing can change it Nothing can take it back The worst thing is It was to me — Olivia Paige
“Bullets Like Rain”
! Black coffee, rocking boat, I pray to my lord that I come back, We go on deck and wait for our fate, Get on the landing craft, going to the beach we will soon hate, The metal door opens way too fast; suddenly I lose my brother, my friend, I will keep fighting until the end. The beach is damp, the scent of blood, The storm of war is closing in, Bullets like rain, the thunder of mortars, The lightning of guns, Every step I take is a step closer to death, LORD, WHAT IS MY FATE? — Connor Butterfield
Drawing by Maeve Flaherty
“What happens if the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow?”
! Would the world stop moving? People would stand and stare Because they had nothing to blind themselves They could see all in the sky The glare of the sun defends From the outside world that surrounds We would be helpless and hopeless We would be unguarded, unprotected, understanding Of the true world around us That had been shielded from us That longed to show itself to us And now it instills fear in us We were not ready for that day Ignorance was bliss until then We ate the fruit of knowledge And we were not prepared Our sun was a shield from the arrows of the stars We would be struck in the heart Surely that day Because today the sun did not come up
— Jack Segelstein
! Evening music playing in the woods Winds flowing through the trees I think that I would stay there if I could Listening to the faint rustle of leaves Birds whistling and singing create sweet melodies Quiet sploshing of the youthful brook Into the sunset the dying hum of bees I cannot find them no matter where I look When darkness settles, scores of crickets chirp Wolves begin to howl to the moon Piercing the night like a sharpened dirk It’s now night, but it won’t be very soon Sounds begin to slow and fade away, Waiting for another brand new day. — Ethan Friedson
“Bottom row, 8th from the right”
! Bottom row, 8th from the right There you are, in your little schoolgirl outfit. White collared blouse, buttoned to the very top. Blue skirt with what looks like suspenders made from a similar material. From what I guess, your tie was of matching colors. Of course, I can’t tell because the photo is in black and white. No more than 6 years old, you sit calmly With a partial smile on your face. You happen to be one of the two girls who Forgot where to place their hands. And also managed to cross their legs the wrong way. It’s okay. You still looked adorable. Despite what people say about you and me and our resemblance, The usual “You’re the spit of your mum, kid” and “You two look so much alike!”, they would have never guessed this time. Your hair was short, very short. There were boys in the photo With longer hair than yours. You cried to Nana, telling Her to destroy the picture. “Throw it away!” But she remained Calm and kept it on the wall. 31
And here it is today, outside my bedroom. Hanging with all the other school photos. But this one is different. This one has character. I look at it now and see the similarity between you and me. Perhaps not because of what people say, but Because of the way you sat, looked and smiled. It is obvious to see that Iâ€™m your daughter. Villa Maria Servite Convent Preparatory school. Bognor, October, 1961. â€” Felicity Cain
! Fire enclosed the land. Crackling and flaming. Spouting smoke and heat. Rising, billowing in the wind. Swelling and consuming. Never stopping, always growing. Sparks flying, thick smoke filling the air. Trees burning, dying and falling. Darkness comes, brought by smoke. A night light by flame. A day dimmed by fire. Glowing, sparkling and searing, never lessening nor slowing. Fueled by destruction. A day never to cease nor darken. — Maggie Boudreau
! Mist pirouetting on dewy lashes Crescent moon hiding beneath a lilac silhouette Sparkling specks of fire flicker above the lagoon; Pools of water, as smooth as silk with infrequent ripples In the midst of a glowing midnight settlement A crunchy piece of nature glides across the water Led by a valiant lantern and its delicate mistress Evergreen giants cradle the picturesque world Translucent silver wings leave fog in their trail A soft blushing face peeks out Sheltered by the twirling locks of honey-drizzled hair Her long slender fingers lift water like silt And watch it drip back down like teardrops A picture so perfect, one wishes to jump in and Hear the ripples of violet silk water Dance to the colors of luminescent lightning bugs Sing with the chirping of lanky crickets Stare at the mystery of a mesmerizing moon — Arabella Crawford
Photographs by Toby Hansford
! After a memory is frozen It is taken here to socialize The picture drawer Where a dazzling bride Steps into a first grade class photo And Batman, two Halloweens old Discusses politics with Santa Claus Where black and white ladies Are free to roam Times Square Where their standard hues contrast With the neon illumination of New York Where the first day of school Finds itself throwing a graduation cap In the air, where worlds collide The picture drawer — Emma Morgan
“The Beauty of It All”
! I look out the grimy window of the diner, Watching the trains go by, Puffing out thick black smoke. I think of you. You once told me that everything in the world Was beautiful. From the criminals breaking the law, To the acid rain that falls from the sky. I think of you. To me, you were everything, You were the sun, Now there’s only rain. You were the air I breathed. Now there is only pollution. I think of you. Still, I see beauty in everything, And I think of you. As I leave the diner, I see the little man sitting on the corner, Begging for the coins he rarely receives, To which I respond to by reaching into my pocket And flipping him a few quarters, Just as you would have done. I think of you.
You were such a good person, A role model, Always perfect. When you left, I swore never to move on, Never to forget you. What you told me, Right before you left, Was that you would Never really leave me. You would be in everything I see. You wanted me To move on. Not to forget you, But to save a place in my mind for you That I will visit once and a while. You taught me the most important Life lesson anyone could. You have to take in the beauty of it all, For you never know when youâ€™ll leave it. I think of you.
â€” Alyssa Matte
Photograph by Maggie Sherin 39
“The Water and Me”
! As it gushes down the waterfall I think of Life going down until it stops When it’s in a stream or pond I think of Memories Slowly washing away into the distance Or the oceans so big like an Animal Full of excitement and mysteries The water holds many things but it mostly holds me for who and what I am Me The Life The memories Like an animal I am me — Nina Rodgers
“There was a Turkey”
! The parade came through today With its dancers And floats And turkeys There’s confetti everywhere In the cracks in the floorboards Hiding under the couch Making friends with the dust bunnies and abandoned dimes Maybe even a chip Or two Enveloping everything with an overwhelming sense of family And togetherness. And then I thought I heard it The tense and uneasy smiles Which come with a family gathering Or A timid silence Which so often follows a resentful remark Or the boisterous laughter Of a family reunited On a day for being thankful. I think it was the Easy Mac that did it— Single serve, Of course. That smell that brought my mind back home Could never have been mistaken for a turkey.
— Alexandra Brooks 41
inspired by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
! The evil assumption An assumption one associates with minds of their caliber The unthinkable crime The most savage attack It is so meaningless that it has almost become obsolete A lie I do not have to point out to you This case should never have come to trial You know the truth This is a truth that applies to the human race One human institution It gives us wisdom On the surface it is quite simple It is as simple as black and white Great promise had just ended We know all men are not created equal I know it is a dangerous way to live — Jad Qaddourah
“The tall pines tickle the bellies of the clouds”
! The tall pines tickle the bellies of the clouds The small flower blooms dot the expansive plains The thought of storm, the sky never shrouds Swaying and undulating, golden grains Never cease to disappoint my eager eye I search for beauty everywhere I look I am greeted with a bright blue sky It seems like a picture right out of a book As I grab the reins in my hands, I sigh I kick my heels into the horse’s flanks In the sky, I spot an eagle soaring high. I am at peace; there is not a thought of angst. Munching my ripe, yellow banana, I think about how much I love Montana. — Helen Filanowski
! What is tender? The temperate stroke The yielding whispers A tranquil melody, you purr ever so faintly A hand to clasp, perhaps a moment to weep So elegant you had to cry Warm but not imperious Cool but not bitter Refining and boundless Much like a wave And you— You’re the moon I tantalize your pale dreariness But never spiteful, no never You’re far too valiant I would feel diminutive Standing on the tips of my toes Simply to attain your eyes They’re gold, however you say they’re uninviting They’re lovely. You’re charming. And tender, very tender.
— Gabby Babun
“Beyond the Cherry Trees”
! Maki Kitsume watched the flames lick the edges of her house, or what it used to be, tears streaming from both of her eyes, one of which was dark brown and could see perfectly well and the other pale milky-blue and blind. She heard the screams for help. She smelled the burning wood, the death of her town and people. She could almost taste the blood, the blood so many had lost tonight. Or was it day? Maki couldn’t tell. The smoke of the fires was so thick. She turned to watch the running people, some still on fire as they ran, blazing through the smoke-filled air like the lightning bugs used to do on warm summer nights. That was when she heard a terrible cracking, splintering noise: both her house and the Chiharu’s across from her were collapsing. She let out a feeble screech, and the small, eight-year-old girl ran down the road for her life, leaping over dead bodies and fires, ducking under beams of wood. She ran, beads of sweat pouring down from her hairline. She ran and ran. That was when she could hear her mother calling her name, louder and louder. “Maki! Maki!” Her name echoed faintly against the burning city’s walls. And that was when Maki’s eyes flashed open; she flinched as they did. She regretted her quick movement, as the sun beamed in from her windowsills through the silky pink curtains her family had spent much on, burning her eyes. Her father worked as an oil-company man. He had done very well for himself and his family. Maki rubbed her eyes, looking up at her mother. “Maki, Maki. Are you awake? Maki, up now! It’s nearly nine thirty, you silly girl! You will be late for breakfast. And a late breakfast is—” Maki cut her off. “A late breakfast is a late day is a wasted day of no work,” she muttered in annoyance; it was a saying her family used often. “Why did you wake me up?” She snapped, glaring up at her mother, Harumi, with her one good eye. The dark brown gleamed a deep, warm shade of amber in the 45
morning sun’s rays, the milky blue-white sparkled like the river’s waters, anger glistening within. “Just as you said yourself! You must have work to do. Some, at least? Homework? Class work, maybe? And we have Shintō practice today!” Her mother argued back, crossing her arms and frowning disapprovingly. Her mother was most likely the most religiously strict woman in all of Hiroshima. “Mother, it’s Saturday!” Maki cried, flopping down onto her down feather pillow, pulling her four-poster-bed curtains closed tight and burrowing deep into her covers. “I don’t want to work! I don’t want to go to Shintō practice! I want to sleep!” Maki screeched, or tried to. Her cries were muffled as she hid under her blankets. “Fine! Have it your way! Slack in school, be a heathen! What can I do?” she barked peevishly, slinking out of the room, her arms still folded and her morning robes flowing behind her like soft, billowing clouds. Maki groaned under her covers. Now that she was awake, she could not sleep. She moaned again, sitting up and stretching. A lovely start to an even lovelier day… she thought grumpily. She got up and stretched her arms again, looking out the window. Everything looks fine… Maki thought, blinking, still disturbed by her dream, or nightmare. There were no bloodied bodies lying in the streets, no screams and cries of death, no flames licking at her house. Everything was, well, perfect. The Sakura trees were blossoming, swaying in the wind, the sun casting long, golden rays which glimmered in the morning mist. Maki shrugged and got dressed in her church clothes, which consisted of a green and golden dress with small, satin violet flowers. It contrasted nicely with her china white skin and long, silky black hair. She smiled in the mirror, turning around and looking at herself. Perfect… Maki thought, as she clipped her matching silk rose barrette in her hair. The young girl skipped downstairs, flopping down at the breakfast table. She smiled up at her mother, trying to restart on a nicer note. “Good morning, Mother. I’m ready for Shintō practice,” Maki smiled a lovely, white, bedazzling smile, one she used to charm others into sweetness. It worked well, especially when Maki was in the mood for tamagoyaki, a traditional Japanese egg breakfast. She folded her hands 46
neatly over her lap, tossing her hair in a brief nod as her brother, Daisuke, entered the room. He flopped down at the table, bidding his greetings to mother and me. He smiled up at Mother as she set down the tamagoyaki, and started wolfing it down in hungry, rushed bites. Maki sighed, eating hers like a lady would. Mother shook her head disapprovingly at Daisuke, closing her eyes, but still an eased, smooth, faint outline of a smile painted itself across her lips. “Daisuke, are you ready for Shinto practice?” Mother asked a few minutes after breakfast, clearing the plates and placing them in the sink, her way of saying she would get to them later. She could be a bit of a procrastinator, or so Maki thought. “Yes, Mom. Can’t you see? I even brushed my hair,” Daisuke whined teasingly. “Yes, yes. Now hurry up, we don’t want to be late. Go outside; I’ll be there in a few seconds. I just need to find my sandals,” Mother said, bustling out of the room in a hurried shuffle. Maki got up from the breakfast table, running her fingers through her hair as she took one last look in the mirror. She was ready to go, and just as she turned to the door, her world seemed to turn upside down… The windows blew in, glass spraying everywhere. The wind seemed to be going thousands of miles per an hour, or a force was pushing the house with that much speed. The floorboards turned up, the house ran ablaze. Flames scarred through the house, the roof almost caved in. Maki screamed, and so did Daisuke. They both ducked, huddling together in the center of the room. Maki was screaming and crying as Daisuke was silent, except for his excessive breathing or panting. The world seemed to go in slow motion. Maki felt as if it was the end of it all. She knew she heard Daisuke screaming to get out of the house, and she followed. But Maki wasn’t really conscious of her actions. Maki was sure her mother was dead, as were the sleeping twin babies whom her mother and father had worked so hard over, with long fussing hours of whose turn it was to change the diapers. Maki could feel her brother dragging her hand, out of the house through the blown-in wall. Maki’s feet pounded against the burning dirt, tears streaming from her eyes as she ran out of the house she had been born in and raised in. She skidded to a halt, nearly tripping over a body. It 47
was her neighbor, Akane, lying dead on the ground. Blood was pouring from her throat, as it had been severed by glass from a window. Her backside was completely burned away. Maki screamed, turning around. That was the moment she saw her house. The flames burned the edges, the windows blew in. Screams of terror rang about the night, the air filled with smoke. The smell of death surrounded her and her brother. It then struck her that this was her dream. She had dreamed of this happening. Tears streamed from her eyes. “I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED!” Maki cried, closing both her blind eye and her dark brown eye. “I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO TELL ME! I COULD HAVE SAVED THEM! MY FRIENDS, EVEN MY FAMILY!” Maki screeched to no one in particular, tilting her face to the sky. Maki’s voice was hoarse from the smoke, from crying, from screaming, from it all. She wanted to curl up and she wanted her mother back, she wanted this to be a dream, she wanted to awaken to her beloved tamagoyaki. But no, in her heart she knew. It was all over. Maki had no mother; her friends were probably dead. Maybe she would die, too. Would she and her brother survive this treachery? Maki’s sight went blurry, and she must have lost time, for she fell to the ground, almost as though she were sleeping. She was breathing, though, so she was not dead. Her brother picked her up, running away from the burning house, the burning city, from it all, never to be seen in Hiroshima again.
" Maki’s eyes fluttered open as she gasped for breath. She winced at the bright light, slowly adjusting to the world around her. She noted she was lying on soft grass. Maki felt the ground around her. The foliage was cool and moist under her dry, cracked hands. Wait a minute…where did my bed go?! Maki thought, glancing left and right, panicking. There was a small pile of sticks, surrounded with stones, presumably a campfire from the previous night. But the air was warm, so Maki saw no need for it. That’s when Maki remembered the nights before, which felt like weeks upon weeks ago, a figment of the past. She sat up, rubbing her eyes, dirt smearing onto her bloody, scratched cheeks. She felt 48
the presence of a figure next to her, looking up, jumping a bit. She then calmed down when she noted it was just Daisuke, her brother, carrying two catfish on a spear. A wooden spear, the top was carved into a point, something only her brother would know how to make. Maki looked confused, tilting her head to the side, a wave of shiny black hair, burned slightly in some spots, falling over her shoulder, over her fried church dress, or what used to be. Maki looked down at her dress, her heart falling. How she used to love these clothes; to look at them as they hung on the upper shelf of her walk-in closet. She sighed, shaking her head. There were more important matters going on right now. Where was she? Who was she with? Was it just her brother? Who had survived? Maki stumbled to her feet, looking at Daisuke. “Daisuke, where are we?” Maki began with this question, on her long list of queries. “Well, I’m not sure. We are far from home, far from danger, far from the war. We are safe, that’s all that matters,” her brother replied, hugging her gently. “Are we with anyone else?” Maki asked quietly, blinking only her blind, light blue eye, tossing her hair out of her face, some of it crusting off in her hand. Maki looked horrified. “Yes, we have five others living with us, all stricken by the disaster. All of them are parentless, like us. They are our new family, for we have no blood relatives anymore. They’ve all…perished,” he said softly, slowly, continuing to hug Maki gently. Tears budded in Maki’s eyes, but something stopped them from flowing. Maybe it was her brother’s love, maybe it was her hatred for the war and the Americans. Maki couldn’t figure out what, so she wiped them away. “What are their names?” Maki muttered softly, muffled in her brothers shirt. That was when four other children much like her stepped out. 49
“Maki, this is Atsuko,” Daisuke said, pointing at a small, light brown haired girl, around the age of five or six. She had a small, burnt bunny stuffed animal, which she hugged close. She held another boy’s hand, who smiled friendly at her. She tried to smile back, but what came out was more of a pained whimper. Next to him was a boy named Raiden, whose eyes were a dark, emerald green like no others she had seen before. He was about ten, and he had a lovely smile. All of them seemed to. Next was a girl the same age as Maki, named Chou. She had short, silky black hair, and her cheek was cut deeply, most likely from glass. The last was a boy, the age of thirteen, so a little younger than Daisuke, named Satoru. His hair was fairly long, fell around his shoulders. It was dark brown and black, mixed highlighted colors, blended perfectly, like oil paint on a canvas. His eyes were a dark orangey-brown, as if they were the shades of a dying sun. “Satoru, where are the others?” Daisuke asked, turning to the boy with the dark brown eyes. “Ren and Aoi are out catching our lunches and dinners,” he said solemnly, pausing for a second. “And who might this be?” he asked, looking at Maki. “This is Maki, my little sister. She is eight, and is blind in her left eye,” he said, very matter-of-factly. She nodded, smiling faintly for the first time in a while. “Konnichiwa,” Maki murmured, blinking her blind eye as the sun caught in it a few times, though she couldn’t tell. The sun, though the brightest thing in the universe, still wouldn’t affect her blind eye, not now, not ever. That was when a tall girl and a smaller, yet very well-built boy came into their grassy little camp. They held more catfish on sticks. “Meet lunch, and meet dinner. These are our new friends. Love them, or starve,” the boy said, grinning, turning to Maki. “Hi there, I’m Aoi. You must be Maki; Daisuke has been talking much of you,” he said. Aoi was around twelve, or so he looked. Maybe he was younger, maybe older. Maki was stunned by how happy he was, how easy it seemed for him. Maybe he didn’t have a family in the first place; maybe there was no one for this boy to actually miss. He showed no pain, none whatsoever, and it befuddled Maki so. Ren, on the other hand, completely showed her pain. Her dark hair was tied in a messy bun with a flower in her hair. She was 50
lovely, but her eyes were unmistakably heartbroken. She tried to smile at Aoi but simply looked tired. Maki could tell Daisuke thought Ren needed rest, and he stated so. “Fantastic, Aoi. Ren, you need rest. Go back to the tents and rest,” he muttered, pointing in the general direction of the tents. Maki looked at Daisuke. “Daisuke, may I go, too?” Maki asked, yearning to see the rest of their new homes. “I’m still feeling a bit woozy myself, may I please?” Maki begged, her eyes obtaining a pleading note. “Fine, fine, Maki, rest if you need to: you’ve been out for the past week, so I don’t blame you for being tired,” Daisuke muttered, his eyes watching Ren go, then flashing back to Maki. “But don’t wander off,” he finished, waving his hands after Ren. Maki stumbled on the way to the tents, looking around her. The grass was luxurious, thick and green. Hiroshima had been completely demolished; this place must have been far, far from home. But now this was home, so she would have to stop referring to Hiroshima as home any longer. Maki scuttled into a clearing surrounded by Sakura trees and smiled. She saw neat arrays of bamboo against a fallen branch, covered with large elephant-ear leaves and large pieces of tree bark — a perfect shelter. It was sturdy and safe, their new home. Maki entered the little huts, and sat down on a small pile of clean moss, feathers, and thick leaves. There were torn pieces of cloth, which smelled faintly of ash and fire, to use as blankets. Maki smiled, lying down. It felt so nice, so cool. She wished her mother could have been here, here to see her two surviving children marching on in life. She was sure that’s what mother would have wanted. Maki felt something roll down her cheek—a tear. Maki missed her mother greatly but tried to not think of her. She shook away the tears, slowly drifting into sleep, a sleep which would be a new routine, as Maki’s life carried on.
— Story & drawing: Anna Hooker