2 | winter 2015
GLASS KITE ANTHOLOGY
The Glass Kite Anthology was founded by Margaret Zhang and Noel Peng on July 9, 2014 in order to fulfill their goal of bringing public attention to literary works written by writers that they found to be extraordinary, yet undiscovered by most. A large part of our magazine is based on the premise of avoiding censorship. We want to ensure that every story gets heard, whether it be "taboo", "controversial", or "inappropriate" because we all know those words are just subjective. In the Glass Kite Anthology, there is no such thing as taboo, controversial, or inappropriate…just a story to tell. We're looking for fresh perspectives on what we thought had gone stale. We want work that makes us see the world in shades of sleepy periwinkle and tints of forest wildfire. We want the moving, the authentic, the raw; we want the powerful, the breathtaking, the invigorating. We want to feel alive, or like we were a corpse all along. We want your work uncensored. We want your work uncaged. We want the truth— your truth. http://www.glasskiteanthology.weebly.com | email@example.com http://issuu.com/glasskiteanthology | https://www.facebook.com/glasskiteanthology
CONTENTS WRITING Foreign Daughter Rona Wang...................................................................5 Midnight Letters Topaz Winters................................................................6 Winter Jennifer Lee....................................................................................8 Words Laurel Zyvoloski............................................................................17 after the symphony’s final note Rona Wang...........................................18 [ ! ] preeya janakiraman............................................................................19 Thursday Linus Lu....................................................................................21 Ghostly Francesca Maria Ciampa............................................................24 Paint of Imagination Kaitlin Rhee...........................................................26 Round Jessica Shen...................................................................................27 Josephine Elizabeth Siegel........................................................................31 Poem to a Lonely Something Linus Lu....................................................32 Euthanizing Poppy Hairol Ma.................................................................34
ART Fern and Bones Sachi Shah.................................................................cover I Dreamt That I Cut Off All My Hair Sachi Shah..................................7 Prisoner preeya janakiraman...................................................................11 Untitled Sachi Shah..................................................................................20 Footprint at the Windowsill Francesca Ciampa....................................25 i thought i was in control preeya janakiraman.......................................29 origami preeya janakiraman....................................................................30
Foreign Daughter [Rona Wang] That July, the clouds whisper-hazy, you stumbled into a Shanghai market brimming with sticky humidity and the copper clatter of haggling. Shoppers jabbing bony fingers at shadows swathed in gleaming scales, drifting in chilled tanks. The men, sneers and grease, pinning down thrashing carp striking the head thrice each. Heartless deaths. You dug your fingernails into your wrist to make sure your pulse was still there, still had the tempo of fluorescent-light air-conditioned grocery aisles, cardboard packages of frozen fish sticks, and you thought about how, in Mandarin, your name meant royalty, barbed syllables, swooping tones that didn’t fit in your mouth.
Midnight Letters [Topaz Winters] witching hour. one-lane highway. stale cigarette smoke curls through my veins. I can hear what the night is thinking. it’s thinking of me. it’s thinking of the sound of heartbreak and stars shot down from inky skies. it’s counting down silent seconds, wondering when the sun will arrive to burn it away. the night is afraid. so am I. but it smells like warmth, like faded leather and broken guitar strings. it smells like everything I shouldn’t want and everything I do anyway. the world is asleep, but out here, the emptiness breathing deep inside my bones is replaced by something else. magic. or maybe something more, something untouched by human hands. the night yawns high above me, and I think perhaps it is friends with this thing that breathes deep deep down where no one else goes. not a soul in this world knows how to love me, but birds are singing in my throat. I think I know what freedom is: empty road, star song, love and fear and everything in between. I’ve tried time and time again to dig my own grave, but something always snatches the shovel from my hands before I can finish. my heart is ensnared in an animal trap. but my mind is wild. my eyes are dancing. it’s the witching hour and there are monsters lurking in dark shadows. I am one of them. the night is bruised, stars like blood leaking across its sleek silken surface. I am bruised too. I am broken. shades of grey and black blur into each other, but here, teetering on the brink between dusk and day, is the only place I can see in perfect colour. there is a thing breathing deep inside my bones: magic, or perhaps stardust. infinity hums in every inch of my skin, and the night is calling my name. I think perhaps it’s time to go and meet it.
I Dreamt That I Cut Off All My Hair [Sachi Shah]
~ 1927 ~
Rose Winter came with the early morning fog. It was Sunday—the Lord's Day, as her devout mother would deem it—and naturally, the eerie, foreign town of Wayford was more or less active. The gravel beneath her walking boots crunched as she strode upon it. A suitcase swayed in her fist. There was a pretentious sort of swing to her hips, accentuated by the way in which she held her chin aloft and trained her eyes sullenly. Her sorrel hair, which was cropped close to her shoulders, swished as she sauntered. Rose's free hand snaked up to adjust it. Her mother, Anna Winter, scurried along beside her daughter. She clucked and fussed with the obstreperous folds and cinches of her daughter's (frankly, utterly appalling) shift dress, all the while scuttling to remain in less-than-perfect synchronization with Rose's rapid gait. The two surviving Winter women were not of lofty standing, yet carried themselves as if they were nothing less. "Rose Evelyn Winter," her mother exclaimed, with that familiar exasperated lilt pushing through. "Would you please slow down for one minute? You're driving me insane! I can scarcely keep up." Rose came to a sudden and jarring halt. She angled her head just slightly, and hissed behind her shoulder, "I've spent my whole life trying to run from you, yet you always seem to keep pace." Despite her daughter's malicious words, Anna Winter kept her mouth puckered and her blue eyes steely. "You'll be sorry when I am gone, Rose." Rose scoffed. She gave a careless shrug. "Keep telling yourself that, Mother. Maybe, sooner or later, you'll end up believing it yourself." And that was that. The encompassing town was a populace one might deem to be "quaint" or even "comely," if analyzed from the perspective of a shriveling, pinch-faced matron. The towering, spindly roofs did nothing to quell the overall sullen atmosphere; it was as if someone had tossed a slate-gray shag across the town. The edifices sagged. The gate doors screeched. The bricks disintegrated. It was clearly past its prime.
Anna Winters cast her squinny stare across the buildings, and then back to her scion. "Well, I think we should make do here." Rose ignored her mother's remark, and paved her way across the cobblestone street. The young woman stepped up onto an enervated porch of a particularly promising structure, and turned sharply toward the entrance. Before she had a chance to poise her fist at the door, it swung wide. It rattled as it went and slammed against the exterior wall. A corpulent woman, clad in an ill-fitting lavender gown, digested the scene of the two pretentious women upon her doorstep with a skeptic's glare. She chewed over her words. "What do you want?" "Pardon us, ma'am," Mrs. Winter stuck out her hand with a chilling grin. "We read of this town's advertisement in the papers, and we traveled a far distance—we're from Wisconsin, you see—to answer it, and—" The plump woman's eyes grew as round as a full moon. Her jowls dropped in astonishment. "You're here on behalf of the ad?" "That's what she said," Rose snapped. The lady in the doorway seized them both by the arm and hauled them inside. "Welcome, welcome! Please, forgive my poor manners. It's only that it's been so long since anyone has come inquiring about our ad, and most who came to us were very unsuccessful or unwilling..." She led the two Winter women into a sort of sitting area, one which was attempting to pass itself off as a parlor, and began to flit about the room. "Oh, this is just grand! I can't believe that we may actually get this whole mess sorted out, at long last!" Her beady eyes fluttered shut, and then reopened. "Ah, dear! I seem to have forgotten introductions—my name is Miss Pearce. Frances Pearce. And you two are...?" "Rose. Rose Winter," the owner of the name piped up. With a roll of her eyes and a flick of her wrist, she continued, "and this is my mother, Anna Winter." "It's a pleasure," Miss Pearce gushed. For a moment, she grew silent. A tumble of words ricocheted past her flapping lips. "So, are you both...spiritualists?" "I am; she's not," Rose explained, a blithe smile blooming across her face. "My father always called my clairvoyant ability a blessing, but my mother is more inclined to believe it to be a curse." 9
"Your father...'called'?" Miss Pearce's eyes clouded. "I'm afraid Mr. Winter passed away two years ago, when Rose was fourteen," Mrs. Winter said. The words congealed in her throat. She swallowed. "I'm sorry to hear that," Miss Pearce said. She settled on a settee across from the elder Winter woman. "You brought Rose here to host a séance, correct?" "Yes," Mrs. Winter replied, bobbing her head. "That's correct. In fact, we'd be willing to hold it tomorrow." "Tomorrow?" Miss Pearce sputtered. "Tomorrow is Halloween!" "Of course it is," Rose sneered. She drew her legs up onto the couch. "We do it tomorrow night or no night at all. Take it or leave it." Miss Pearce wrung her hands. "Well, I'd have to convene with the other townsfolk first, of course, and—" "Miss Pearce, we only have enough money to supplant lodging for two nights," Mrs. Winters explained. "Very well," Miss Pearce heaved a sigh. She rose and ambled across the outdated Persian carpet. "I'll go speak to the mayor. He's the only one with power in this town that's still around." "How do you mean?" Mrs. Winter asked from the parlor. Miss Pearce stopped suddenly. She shifted in her scuffed Mary Janes—shoes that she would more than likely proclaim to be her Sunday Best—and rotated slightly. "Oh, well, it's nothing, really..." "Tell us." Rose affixed her most commanding glower upon the stuttering, older woman. A beat of silence lapsed. Miss Pearce fiddled with the many rings on her stout fingers, saying, "Most of our town, including the reverend, have either moved away or...moved on." "You mean to say that some of them have died?" Mrs. Winter exclaimed. "Was that because of the spirits?" "The spirits, who we believe were here before this town was constructed, began to act...malevolently toward us. This whole ghost trouble began about five or so years ago,
Prisoner [preeya janakiraman]
and we took it rather lightly—in the beginning, that is. We'd hold little séances, just for fun. I remember, this one boy named Richie—the spirits got to him. He went mad and took his life," Miss Pearce choked over her words. She laid a quivering hand across her heart. "What a shame." Mrs. Winter bemoaned. "We used to have a population of fifty-six," Miss Pearce said; she blubbered over her words. "Now, it's dropped to twenty-one. And that's the tally from a week ago. I don't know how many have stayed." "I'll do everything in my power to communicate with these spirits," Rose spoke languidly from the couch. Her words did not synchronize with her attitude. "For a price, of course." "I'll have to speak with the mayor about that," Miss Pearce said. She waddled from the room, muttering something unintelligible. "Rose," her mother snapped from her seat. "Why are you behaving so rudely?" "I'm not," Rose barked. She swung her legs over the couch and placed her hands in her lap. "You are. All this ordering me around, it's gotten on my final nerve, you know." Mrs. Winter rolled her eyes to the ceiling, and whispered a few phrases of prayer. "Just...try to behave, at least until Halloween is over." Rose disregarded this. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared into the sizzling fireplace. The flames pranced about the hearth, shattering into a thousand scorching fingers and then reforming into a tangible, broiling beast. "I hope they pay me well." Mrs. Winter was about to remark that it wouldn't be the Christian thing to do to demand payment from these pitiful folk, when Miss Pearce lumbered into the threshold. "I just got off the phone with the mayor, Mr. Levard." Her eyes shifted to Rose, then back to Mrs. Winter. "He's more than happy with hosting a séance tomorrow night. He has cancelled any planned Halloween celebrations. He's going to make an announcement about that tonight in the town square." "What about payment?" Rose inquired. "I asked him about that," Miss Pearce said. She fumbled with those damnable rings again. "He's going to pay you both fifty dollars each." Rose clapped her hands together in an almost childish manner. "Splendid. That will do."
"He said that you may stay the night at the inn across town," Miss Pearce said. "You'll have to pay, however." "That's fine," Mrs. Winter said. "We've been traveling so long, it'll be like staying in The Plaza itself." *** The nighttime curled around them, sending with it gusts of chilled wind Rose was inclined to believe was not an act of nature. She perched on a milk crate beside her mother, who had said they should arrive at the town square for the séance prior to anyone else. Rose grinned as she sensed the delectable weight of a hundred dollars in her right pocket of her blue dress; the mayor had paid them in advance, and she had pilfered the other fifty dollars from her mother's purse. A large, rounded, makeshift table was poised in front of them. It was unlike the surfaces Rose had utilized for her practices in the past, yet after a bit of her typical griping and lamenting, had succumbed to the notion. Rose's fingers practically itched from anticipation as she glanced over at her mother; a few whispers of light from the nearby lanterns cast an ochre sheen across her weathering, frowning face. The girl smiled. This would be the night that everything changed for the better. "I don't know about this, Rose," Mrs. Winter murmured. Her hands shifted in her lap. "What if this isn't worth it? Maybe we should go back to the farm, start over there and—" "I am not going back to Wisconsin," Rose growled. Her hands fisted. "And most certainly not with you." Mrs. Winter cast bewildered eyes to her daughter. "Once this séance is complete, I'm leaving this town. Without you," Rose whispered. A tiny, efflorescencing laugh rumbled from within her chest. "Rose, would you really do this to your poor, old mother?" Mrs. Winter cried. "Yes." Rose flashed a grin. "Yes, I would." As Mrs. Winter began to weep, the townsfolk began to trickle in. 13
Miss Pearce, colossal and circumspect in a compact dress the color of terracotta, took a hunched position toward the elder Winter woman. Miss Pearce flashed as shaken Mrs. Winter a cheeky smile. Rose noted this. She scoffed, then redirected her energies to the crowding table before her. She stood, her pointed chin hovering on the brink of superciliousness and haughtiness. She focused her eyes on the mayor, a small, balding man with a penchant for smoking (evident through the gray creases on his face and black tinge of his nails), and said, "Welcome. My name is Rose Winter, and this is my mother, Anna Winter. We come on behalf of ridding this town of the entities which haunt it." A few townsfolk elicited audible groans. One man whispered, "Not this bushwa again. Didn't we learn from the last one?" Rose adjusted the faux pearl bracelet on her right wrist, and gave the man a tight smile. "I beseech your trust, good sir. I'll have all of your...paranormal woes put to rest in no time." He crossed his arms, mumbled a few incoherent phrases, and creased his brow. "Now," Rose began. Her voice lofted over the crowd. "I ask that you all join hands and—" "We've been through this before—no need to treat us like a bunch of damn idiots," the same man from before hissed out. One by one, the townsfolk began to clasp fidgeting palms. "Harold," a woman from his right admonished. "You needn't be so rude." Rose held up her own hand. "It's quite alright." Her charcoal-hued stare settled upon Harold. She flashed him a nefarious grin. "No hard feelings." Harold gave her an otherwise uneasy look, then closed his eyes. The others followed in his wake. The lamps dimmed; frail shadows sprawled across the table and the faces of the attendees. Rose leaned down and extinguished the candle with a tiny whoosh of breath.
"Spirits," Rose began, "we gather here this evening in peace and unity. We implore your humble company this night, and request but a few things of you." A handful from the crowd shifted in their seats and elicited a few, tenuous coughs. "If you are here with us now, I ask that you show us a sign," Rose requested. A beat lapsed; silence chased it. Mrs. Winter cleared her throat. Rose struck her mother's leg from beneath the table and flashed her a glare. The table began to tremble, and along with it the candlesticks. Miss Pearce gasped. "Oh, good gracious!" Her chair began to levitate above the air, whilst she clung timorously to the people flanking her. "Spirits!" Rose cried out. "That is enough for now, thank you." She was acutely aware of a heady, evocative sensation glittering within her chest. The invisible feeling oozed, like viscous honey, along her veins, until it pulsated and thrummed at Rose's fingertips. She flexed her digits. A million splintering voices clamored within her mind, each contributing delicious whispers or imperious proclamations to the ever increasing clangor. The tempo of the apparitions increased in her mind. Rose felt it as it swelled, like water against a dam. At last, the tide broke free until the ghosts left her in quivering silence. This was her chance. All at once, a gurgling, lamentable sound ascended from her internal din. A terrible, haunting noise rose from Harold's throat. His neck lurched back; he gripped his companion's hands in a vice. The bands upon his neck strained and contorted until it was nothing more than a mass of perspiring flesh and confusion. Then, he grew slack. His eyes fluttered shut. Harold sat upright, and his eyelids flickered open to reveal that his brown irises had twisted back into his skull. Rose smiled at this; it was pleasing to know that it was she, and not the spirits, that had been the cause of Harold's dilemma. Mrs. Winter, who had opened her eyes, took note of the man's state, and gasped sharply. 15 Â Â
While the others round opened their own eyes and howled in alarm, Rose fixated her stare directly upon her very mother. The world slowed. Time trickled by so cautiously sluggish that Rose could practically hear the drugged tremors of a clock in her ears. A pang of satisfaction crossed her as she continued to blink at her mother. "Spirits," Rose whispered. Her hands clenched. "Kill her." A look of terror and then realization throbbed across Anna Winter's face, before she was subsumed in the chaos around her. Shrieks surmounted the stillness, chairs clattered to the ground, bodies roiled and intermingled in an effort to escape. Rose bent her knees and scooped up her luggage, which she had hidden beneath the milk crate before the proceedings began. She patted down her pocket, to ensure that the money was safely ensconced within. Harold, still overcome by the spirits, stood from his seat and parted the rush of bodies. He advanced hastily and obliquely toward Mrs. Winter, his hands outstretched to strangle the woman. That was the last Rose saw of her mother. "Spirits," Rose rasped. She closed her eyes and ended the sĂŠance. "I thank you for your time." The crowd had sustainably thinned by the time the young woman made it out onto the street. Pools of wan, amber light from the streetlamps gathered on the walkway; her lithe form cut through the glow, fracturing it in two as she scurried through it. Her suitcase bobbed against her hip as she strode. Above, she noted the faintly glittering stars against a pink and orange sky. She cast a final look back at the town. She smiled. Rose Winter left with the early morning fog.
Words [Laurel Zyvoloski] I tried to hide the change as each syllable saturated me. Maybe they were airborne and I breathed them in, where they could diffuse through my blood, tissues, and organs, altering my chemistry. From the first line, I felt this. I tried to hide the change. They weaved through the crowd, and assaulted me, dealing shocks to my essence. Not intentionally, I was a bystander. Your words were not meant for me. I knew this, I tried to hide the change. Yet I wanted to lie down among your words, to sit on the stanzas and wander the phrases. But your lines were not read for me. I knew this. I tried to hide the change. Still, any pause you made, any break in the tether that you were slowly winding around my soul became a moment when as you would take a breath, I realized it was a breath taken from me. I did try to hide the change. The room was catapulted, and the only sense I could trust was my hearing. The only sounds I could discern were yours, amplified, filling the space between us. 17 Â Â
after the symphony’s final note
What I remember most about those months are the rose-colored melodies, underneath a milk-lit sky that always seemed to be apologizing. I like to think it was the classical violin that drew me in; arpeggios that sang of forever, gilded scherzi. I can’t listen to Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 anymore. In every pop song about disaster, I manage to find your name. Some mornings, I still wander the streets, pretending I’m going somewhere, with hands crumpled inside coat pockets so nobody else might see how they shake-see, I never knew this until you left, how radio static can be so desperate.
[ ! ] [preeya janakiraman] You always enjoyed skinning oranges like winding snakes, truthful deceptions, Learning to fly Standing on her shoulders “I’ve decided I don’t like him” then you hurt her more, You jumped off because Three years later, you still love him but you hide between her silver candelabras and butterfly wings — maybe of angels who do the right things? Now you’re Crushed by twinkling vivacity, Crumbling inside aluminum foil slavery You need distance like She Needs Love but I am frozen your pinkies shoved me under Her breath –– a trillion sparks seducing us both –– She tells me scolds me forces me “Do Not Worry”, like that could make it but Something We three need Change. and Meanwhile I am stealing orange peels and she is collecting sharpies and soon you are Chasing but now Us Broken We are a joyous carousel whirling gift boxes, insincere compliments, skin ripping laughs but Oh, Look! You can just paint over existence and Oh, Look! Everything is Beautiful!
[Sachi Shah] 20
Thursday [Linus Lu] Impeccable, she exclaims. It’s all orange, with beautifully arched streaks across, each with its own contour and angle. I must say it is not so much impeccable but rather elegant, but I refrain from saying so. She backs up a few steps and views sternly and seriously. I’m hungry. We had lunch with David just now, sandwiches and coffee, which were quite good, though my stomach has been feeling queasy—nothing serious, but it affects my appetite. I’m thinking that we should go have Italian: it has been a while since we had Italian. There’s a rather good place a couple miles away; no problem with the blue Lexus we have. We should get Italian tonight, I tell her. She seems to not register it, but after a few seconds she says ok. We move on. I usually go by Michael, but sometimes I prefer David. Usually on Wednesdays. Why? I don’t really know—it’s a feeling, in the gut, like…sometimes I will eat bread with butter, but sometimes I will like it with oil and vinegar. It really depends. Maybe it’s the weather, or the circumstances, or the neural wiring in my brains. I think I’m more outgoing as Michael (or Mike), but I also have a quicker temper then, which my colleagues at the university don’t always appreciate. But they put up with it, so I am grateful for that. Beck always calls me Adam though. Beck is an interesting man: he has solid brown hair, and light skin, and he talks slowly and deliberately. His office is next to mine, so we pass by each other often during school days, and sometimes even on weekends. We talk about the economy, and about social trends and about how to keep students subversive and ideologically malleable. Our conversations rarely move quickly because he speaks so slowly and deliberately, but he is, for the most part, concise with his words, and I am fast with understanding, so I guess that compensates for it. Beck has a friend named Rachel, who has freckles and a weird laugh. We have coffee together every now and then—she talks faster than Beck, which is a plus, but her weird laugh is a put-off to me. Tiff thinks that I am too fond of Rachel, but that is not true. Our relationship is purely professional, I insist, but Tiff is skeptical. I am a skeptical person too, but I do believe that skepticism, as a societal trend, is more bad than good. I wish Tiff was more trusting; that would help resolve many issues, such as the one about my whereabouts on Thursday nights. I tell her that I have seminars with my students, but she thinks I am cheating on her. I am Ulysses. I have many traits that fit with that characterization. That is not to say that I have hubris, but I am pure, a model. My teeth are white, I work out every other day (my colleagues, including Stanton and Beck, will attest to that), and I have excellent work ethic. Perhaps my tribulations and my life journey are not so notable in its breadth and aesthetic appeal, but they are, if you were to inspect closely, very complex and indeed quite exemplary. My days are dull if you look from afar, but the nuances are in the seconds, the details. And that’s where the sparkles are. Life is sparkly. Circumstances, such as my current and past employment, my education, and 21
my personal and professional relationships, all help provide the life in which my life sparkles from that particular angle. The exhibit closes in ten minutes, I am told. I motion to her, and she gives a curt, almost indistinguishable acknowledgment. Together we slowly make our way to the exit, where I put on my grey hat, and she slips on her blue coat. Your outfit looks nice today, I say, and she smiles. We arrive at the Italian restaurant, which is a little old and dimly lit, a little late, and we are unable to get a table immediately. They say it’s a fifteen minute wait, but we both, we all know, it’s really closer to half an hour, if not more. She and I stare at each other for a moment, maybe two, and we decide to wait it out. I’m not hungry, really. It is Thursday, in the evening, when I am supposed to be holding my seminar; supposedly, it is about various theories on ontology, on being—it is an intriguing topic, but only when equally intriguing questions and insights are brought forth. Unlike more carnal desires and pleasures, the stimulation of the intellect needs requires refreshment and a new perspective much more often. Though I am Ulysses, I do not have Penelope. Perhaps I have Molly though. All together, I am not considered a religious man. I prefer to not ponder about these questions of afterlife and the soul until I am old. I have been warned plenty about the dangers of putting off such matters until my deathbed days, but I find that for my own sanity and for the purposes of my productivity in this life, that I cannot divert my attention away from my present focuses. Tarmuth recently invited me to his local congregation, but I declined, politely, citing a seminar that I was holding during the same time. I think he tried suggesting the following week, but I of course was unaware of that second attempt, and was walking away already. Beck knows that these seminars aren’t really what I often try and make them out to be, but if politicians could, I don’t see why I couldn’t twist my words a little bit. It’s all innocuous—it is for everyone’s benefit to believe what I say—the truth, if without benefit, is better to be conceived of as a lie. There is no truth anyways. I am glad that Rachel is unaware of the overall situation; it would a tragedy on multiple fronts if she were to find out. But she doesn’t, so it is all fine. When she finally takes a seat, I compliment her by saying that she looks lovely tonight. She lets out a small giggle, and we order an expensive wine to go with our expensive entrées. We talk about trivial matters, which I find to be better for getting acquainted with someone relatively new. I tell her about Tiff but not Rachel, and I am pleased to find out that she minds not about these circumstances. She tells me about Richard and Patterson; I am equally unbothered, which seems to put her at ease. She eats slowly and leaves the pasta unfinished, and we share a crème brûlée for dessert. I am Adam now, of course, and she excitedly tells me that she knows of an Adam too, whom she knew from high school. I nod and smile and think about how in high school I often spent nights studying instead of going out with friends. At that time, I was still Burke, and I was still insecure about my personality and my ability to be socially successful. Now in retrospect, that has all changed, evidently, so I bring myself back to
give a quaint reply to her. I ask her to dance with me, and her eyes pop, and she says loudly, what; she is confused, and I ask again, and she seems to be too nervous to say yes directly. We both know what the question implies. Beck taught me this method; he is very helpful in these respects. Dancing is a good gateway, he told me before in the hallways, when we passed by each other. I didn’t consider that advice much at the time, but experience has taught me that it works splendidly, as it is about to work again. I am at a seminar with my students, I tell Tiff. Will you dance with me?
Ghostly [Francesca Maria Ciampa]
He blinked, and his eyes were dark recesses. Recesses in the blue shadows of his face. It is the world throwing off a cloak, he said, The first warmth of spring seeping through: Tendrils of sunlight, breezes tickling laughing hair. He stopped. “Go on, teacher,” I said, shifting my weight restlessly by the window. “I can learn nothing from your silence.” It is the days growing longer, he said, Singing heat coiling through the air: Waves drinking footprints; footprints in the sand after sunset. The old man’s chair creaked as he rocked forward; its rusty springs strained. The moon twisted free from a cloud. I could see straight through my teacher’s blue body. I could see straight through to the chair behind him. It is the ground dropping from underneath, he said. The merry night is over; twinkling stars face the dawn: When they look to earth, the trees bleed russet and orange. “I fail,” I said, “to see the point in all this.” “Have patience,” he told me sharply. A sea breeze drifted through the open window: a salty tang. It is when every living thing turns white, he said, Frigid wind dashing the windowpanes: Branches bend, knowing the end is near. Another creak resounded through the beach house. “Teacher, you promised to answer my question,” I reminded. “Patience!” “No.” It is the seasons of life that you tell me of, I said, Life that we no longer have. Why, teacher, when we have no life, are we still on earth? Another creak. I looked through the old ghost’s body. Waiting. You and I didn’t see the beauty of life, as we should have, he said. The living can’t see or hear us now, But we are destined to keep them from making our mistake. “We are the ghostly ones.”
Footprints at the Windowsill [Francesca Maria Ciampa]
Paint of Imagination
The window to which water clings, Framing it nicely, Glistening, The shape of clear blossom’s petal Or millions of miniscule sparkles of sweat, Is cold and tempting. Each peal of thunder grumbles Like high tide’s roar bursting from grey winter ocean, Each patter on the roof a delicate rustle of glass beads A dry rattle of red and black beans, Or sand grain’s rush through the glass of time The white cloudless sky– or so filled with cloud we think it is–cloudless– And so glaringly white it is that we think it has no cloud, unused to the solidity of it, as we are– Pours itself onto the ground, and drenches the air with the fresh fragrances of sliced cucumber and soggy trees, Wet dirt. Outside the world is damp and filled with static– The like can be heard from a fuzzy radio station, an empty television channel A phone call with bad reception, gone awry– Punctuated only by the occasional plink or plop The static buzzes, each tiny sliver of moisture pinpricks the pavement
The clear spray jumps and skitters on the asphalt– Bouncing and rolling– A dime carelessly dropped, Or a thousand tiny hopping frogs The sky’s wide belly rumbles– A bad meal of smoke and cardboard ashes can do that to you– It gurgles and its spit thrums and drums and beats the earth– and pelts our skin, the bark Of trees, oceans, rivers, home To the glittering silver fish and behold The night grows ever blacker– or is it day? An evening so dark and it is not yet dawn, Or a dawn so early it seems as chilled and frosted as the star-painted sky Swathed in ebony– or is it always ebony, And during the day, is it only ebony-painted-white-or-grey-or-blue? Look at the window See through it– into the storm– Now look at the window It weeps and big fat tears roll Down (It’s raining) 27
Round [Jessica Shen] I didn't tell anyone, but I saw your eyes open. The day before you — you know. It was just me and you, and that annoying heart monitor punctuating every few words, every silence that fell on us when you didn't reply. You know I'm not the kind of person to talk to walls, but your sister said it would help. You always did tell me I should listen to her, sometime. So I'd sit by your bed and talk and talk, and when I ran out of things to tell you about, I asked you questions. I hope you answered them. That day, I remember I was asking you if there were other colors, out there wherever you were, that we didn't have here. That I couldn't see. Maybe something between hospital blue and the faded pink of your lips, chapped, too pale, lipstick-free. I asked you if they were pretty. I counted to five like always, easy one-two-three, slow four, drawn-out five; I sighed and I said, "I miss you," and you opened your eyes and looked over at me and you smiled. It still replays in my head on loop, like the movies on those old, broken VHS cassettes we bought at a garage sale one time. Slow-motion turn of the head, hazy eyes curved up into crescents, soft smile. You. You looked at me and I was frozen, couldn't breathe couldn't think couldn't believe. You opened your mouth, shaky o, feather-light b, attempt at a smile on the e. Goodbye, I think it was. You looked at me, and I swear your eyes were glittering under that dim hospital lighting; you closed your eyes, and you were gone. I cried after you left. Nobody knew why I was crying, because they all thought nothing had changed, but I looked at you and I knew. You weren't there anymore. I sat there for a long time after, me with the empty you, mouthing the word like you did, on loop, along with that cassette in my head.
i thought i was in control [preeya janakiraman]
Josephine [Elisabeth Siegel] Â
She pulls my hair again, fingers as teeth. More strands break & clumps stick out along the crown of my head, between Shanghainese muttering and the stove crackling its own complaints. I am left to put on shoes. My pink clothing in the mirror mocks the straggling hair. Minuscule, pinker shoes glare. They do not yield when I try them, unlike when she comes in and shoves them on. I pull, tug, yank-I learned from the best-and the staring match persists. I sit & rub my eyes, ashamed at the rush of wetness, how fast the tears have answered their summons. She chatters across the house again. I weep openly. She clucks her tongue, pulls my hair again before reaching down to neatly lift the straps off of my shoes. I had not considered trying the straps. She stays with me. I don't remember her ever speaking to me while she was here but for a few choice words, like the tiao wu when she saw me struggle with the buttons of my shirt. I can remember her molar-grinding laugh, the piecemeal Chinese with which she sewed my teeth together. Her face is the words that continue to elude me, hovering an inch behind mismatched & misplaced velcro and syllables. I only know the snapping of my hair, breakage of the strands, my head held high through it all.
31 Â Â
POEM TO A LONELY SOMETHING I heard a saxophone play its melancholy blues, a tune that spun with a deep, harrowing sadness — so that the air sank and my steps became heavy, muddy, wading through some dark, beautiful amber. But before that, in a silent room, where there were only pictures (of what I do not remember), that must have conjured up some whitewashed feelings — I talked to myself, thinking of you. And that singular thought, of feeling but not being felt,
[Linus Lu] touched upon my numbed skin, with acid tears and calcified bones — sensations that were so cold, so inspiringly frozen. That the sun would simply give up, drop dead and sputter out like an old light bulb seemed oddly comforting. And because of that, I turned to the moon, waning and rising, overcast by many hazy thoughts and the wandering saxophone melody, where I waited, listened, and sang my song to a lonely something.
Euthanizing Poppy [Hairol Ma] The summer breeze drew circles in the white clouds and sifted through the vacant lot filled with grasses behind Henry’s home. “I still don’t get what you’re trying to say,” said Henry. He watched as Lanie tugged on the dandelion weeds beneath her feet. “They’re eu-than-ising Poppy,” she said very slowly and importantly. “Youth-and-izing,” he whispered to himself. Youthandizing was a very big word, and Henry liked how they slid over his tongue in sleepy spirals. “What does that mean?” “I’m not sure.” Lanie’s freckles bunched up over her cheeks as she scrunched her nose. “I think it has something to do with a shot. I really don’t like shots. They hurt. But this shot- this shot is magic.” Once when he was three he had gotten a shot on his arm. It hurt. “Anyway, Mommy said that after Poppy got eu-than-ised, she’ll be okay again,” Lanie said importantly. “Because it’s magic and everything.” “Henry? Lanie? Dinnertime!” It was Henry’s mom. “Lanie, your folks are expecting you home for dinner.” “See you later.” Lanie jumped to her feet and started running to her house. *** After dinner Henry brought some important medicine to Grandpa. Grandpa was very old. He had his own room at the end of the hall, where he lay in a bed hooked to tubes and beeping machines. White machines. Everything was very white in Grandpa’s room. Henry’s mom followed him into the white room. She held a bottle of white pills in her hand. Henry carried a cup of water. “Hello, Grandpa! We have your medicine!” Grandpa shifted his wizened brown face against the white pillow, but did not reply.
Henry’s mom forced a big smile onto her face, her eyes opened wide, so wide Henry could see the whites against her bright blue irises. She looked very tired. Henry’s mom cupped Grandpa’s mouth open and placed two shiny pills onto his tongue. She reached for the cup of water and gently tugged it from Henry’s grasp, tilting it towards Grandpa’s mouth. A little bit trickled from his chin and caught in the white stubble, but it didn’t seem to stain his shirt. *** After school Henry and Lanie rode their bikes together down the neighborhood. Henry liked the way his neighborhood was shaped. The houses were pushed together in a perfect circle, with only one narrow street that opened, allowing cars to pass through, one at a time. “Henry, today we’re going to do it.” She was acting especially proud today because she had gotten a pair of shiny white sneakers from her mom. They had rubbery soles and looked unusually clean and new next to her yellow shirt and ripped jeans. “What are we going to do?” “The road. We’re going to go down the road.” Henry blinked. They had been warned to never go down the straight path that led out of the circular neighborhood. It was dangerous, and you aren’t old enough, you’ll fall and get hurt and get taken away by scary people and – “That’s dangerous,” said Henry. “There are a lot of cars and stuff.” “Pish posh,” Lanie scoffed. “I bet the adults are hiding something cool out there. They just don’t want us to see it. ‘Cause we’re kids and all.” “I’m not a kid,” said Henry. He puffed out his chest because he had seen a big man on do it on TV. “I know. So let’s go down the road.” Henry paused for a moment. Lanie’s eyes bore into him. “Okay.” They pushed their bikes past each familiar driveway, rubber squeaking against the gravel and cement. Lanie hopped onto the pink seat and sped down the path. 35
Lanie was going very fast today. Henry pumped his legs faster, trying to catch up to her. It was very dangerous, and you aren’t old enough, you’ll fall and get hurt and get taken away by scary people and – A car screeched to a stop, and Lanie screamed. She fell off her bike, her elbows hitting the cement. The driver hurried out of the car. It was Henry’s mom. “Why are you two here? I told you to never come here!” Lanie was crying. Her elbows were bloodied. Wet tears dripped down her freckled cheeks and her new sneakers were brown. She looked like a kid. Henry’s mom softened. “Come on, no more crying now. Up you go.” Henry’s mom put Lanie and Henry in the backseat, then loaded their bikes into the trunk. They drove in silence for the rest of the way home. By the time they stepped onto Henry’s porch Lanie had stopped crying. She huddled by herself, arms clutched gingerly to each elbow. “You two wait in the living room,” said Henry’s mom. “I’ll grab some medicine for Lanie from Grandpa’s room.” Henry watched her hurry down the hallway and disappear into the white room, shoulders hunched. She looked very small. Henry’s mom came back with a tube of Neosporin. She dabbed some of the clear cream on her finger, then leaned down swiped it gently onto Lanie’s elbows. “Poppy’s coming home today,” Lanie told Henry’s mom. “You can come see her. She was eu-than-ised.” Henry’s mom froze, and she yanked her hand back from Lanie’s elbow. Her hands trembled as she fumbled with the white cap. Henry realized that his mother’s eyes seemed very shiny and white all of a sudden. She looked back down the hallway, towards Grandpa’s room. “Really,” she said slowly. “Well, that’s exciting.” Her voice shook as she screwed the cap back on. Lanie peered at Henry’s mom closely. “Well, I’m going home now. Bye Henry.” She jumped up from the couch and ran through the open door. Henry’s mom slowly sank down onto the couch. Her face was wet with tears. She did not make a sound. She looked very tired and lonely all of a sudden. She closed her eyes, and Henry felt big, big enough to say words like euthanizing.
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITORS IN CHIEF & FOUNDERS Margaret Zhang didn’t always love to write—in preschool, her teacher told her to write about the weekends, and this is what she came up with: "On Monday, I go to school. On Tuesday, I go to school. On Wednesday, I go to school. On Thursday, I go to school. On Friday, I go to school." (She didn't know what a weekend was.) It was the belief that she had superpowers which first sparked her interest in storytelling, and her life has revolved around creative writing ever since. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and The Poetry Society, and her work appears in Creative Kids, Parallel Ink, and a few smaller and local publications. At this point in her life, she is a Holden Caulfield trying to be an Atticus Finch. Noel Peng is a 2014 California Arts Scholar in creative writing. In the first grade, she plagiarized her first short story unknowingly after hearing her sister read "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" to her, deciding that it would be a great idea to write it down and call it her own. That was her “formal” introduction to writing. Don’t worry, she no longer plagiarizes. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and has appeared in Canvas Literary Journal. When not writing, she enjoys binge watching old Disney animations, and fantasizing about vintage items she can’t have. Noel is 16 and lives in Palo Alto, CA.
PROSE READERS Ashley Campbell is a linguist, classicist, and piano teacher from southern Illinois. In her free time, she deconstructs media, studies several fictional languages and a couple real ones, reads science fiction and urban fantasy, and writes for Everything2. She lives in a small rural town with her husband, their cat, and too many musical instruments. Kalyn Josephson is a senior at Santa Clara University, double majoring in English and Biology. She spends her free time writing, reading, watching movies and sports, and hanging out with her friends. Her ideal day consists of sitting by the fire on a cold, rainy day with a cat and a book, and she has a soft spot for Pit Bulls and absolutely anything Irish. 37
Stephanie Stott is a slightly reclusive, book-loving junior at Osceola Fundamental High School. She usually busies her mind with fantasy worlds and anime characters. For two years, she served on her school's award-winning literary magazine, the Oracle, and though she's a bit wary of the future, she plans to make a living off of writing. She resides in Largo, FL. Nicholas Sum is a lowly 10th grader at Saratoga High School. He enjoys writing, and editing stories and other written works. He hopes to contribute to the Anthology and have fun while he's at it. When he is not writing or editing, he's usually doing his 10th grade homework, playing video games, osu! most of the time, reading, watching videos, or doing what other normal 10th graders do. Nicholas currently resides in Saratoga, CA.
POETRY READERS Ashley Campbell see bio above. Gwen Cusing is a sophomore in high school. She enjoys chasing ducks at parks and making faces behind strangers' backs. Her dancing skills are lacking but what she doesn't have in technique she makes up for in enthusiasm. Gwen is not a poet yet, but she will be someday. As for right now, she likes to think of herself as a poet-in-training. Kusha Gupta is a sophomore at Castilleja School. She loves the smell of the first rain and sitting by the fire with some hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day. Her hobbies include playing the classical Indian instrument sitar, listening to old music on a record player, and watching The Lion King (and many times crying while doing so). Kusha currently resides in Los Altos Hills, CA. Samantha Jensen is an art-loving junior at Castilleja School in California. She is obsessed with anything French and couldn’t live without coffee. Her favorite place in the world is anywhere near the ocean. Her first word was “blue” (which is now consequentially her favorite color) and her love for poetry began when she attended her first Oakland poetry slam. Stephanie Lu lives in the Bay Area and specializes in writing awkward kiss scenes because that is the only kind of kissing she ever does. She forgets to do many important things (like change the cat litter or cut her nails) but she can skateboard, as well as read very fast. Unfortunately Stephanie is not very good at skateboarding.
Riya Mirchandaney is a junior at Menlo School whose hobbies include falling off her bike, romanticizing the Beat Generation, and contemplating the nature of existence. She once had a brief hat phase but prefers not to talk about it. She is involved in her school's literary magazine as well as the arts and lifestyle magazine, The Bard. When she grows up she would like to be either a writer or David Bowie.
VISUAL ARTS EDITORS preeya janakiraman, layout editor, wishes she could be a professional dancer for the rest of her life, but as a slightly pessimistic realist, she plans to pursue a career in film or architecture. In her free time, she enjoys trying to make her friends laugh with dry sarcasm and arbitrary statements. She would like you to be a dear (but not a deer) and cup your hands over your ears. You might just hear the ocean. Isabella Wang is a giggly sophomore who soundtracks her life, and enjoys music she can dance to, drawing, word vomit, the internet, eating, and laughing. She is also a huge fan of comedian memoirs, pop punk, techies, hipsters, nerds, and artists unsung. If she has suddenly disappeared and none of her friends can find her, she is probably out exploring sidewalks, or in an art museum somewhere, sitting on a tiny bench in front of a towering painting, drinking it in. Michelle Xu is an introverted, socially awkward Youtube fangirl who still happened to be honored with multiple awards in her life. While she has excelled in multiple subjects including synchro, science fair, and speech and debate, she now finds herself in her room experiencing an existential crisis. She enjoys taking/editing photos, making graphics, watching YouTube, and sometimes writing adult fan-fiction. She currently is a student of Saratoga High and, unsurprisingly, lives in Saratoga, CA.
39 Â Â
OUR WRITERS & ARTISTS Francesca Maria Ciampa is a fourteen-year-old girl. She’s homeschooling tenth grade on the coast of Maine; she loves both creative writing and art. She can often be found very late at night, scribbling story ideas into her laptop, notebook, or, when these are absent, the back pages of her sketchbook. She’s an absent-minded person who lives with a big family in a tiny town; she fervently hopes to have her work published and seen by a wider audience. preeya janakiraman see bio above Jennifer Lee is a teenage artist and writer from the South. She is a Victorian Era enthusiast, and constantly scours books and the Internet in search of more facts relating to the subject. In her spare time, Jennifer can be found drawing, writing, singing, photographing, daydreaming, or listening to music. Examples of her musical tastes include: Lana Del Rey, Florida Georgia Line, Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift, Florence and the Machine, and Mayday Parade. At present, she is writing a multitude of books. The one which she is currently pursuing the most adamantly is titled Phantasmagoria. It has been a work-in-progress since 2012. It will be her debut novel. Linus Lu is an avid musician, enjoying both playing music and composing it. He’s taking 5 AP's, including both AP Lang and AP Lit. And he just enjoys writing, the process, the pride, the rhythm, and the release. Kaitlin Rhee is a 9th grader at Castilleja. She enjoys analytical, persuasive and creative writing; she contributes her creative writing pieces, primarily free verse poems, to Caledonia, her school's Upper School literary magazine. She and a friend published HAZE, a teen fiction paperback, in September of 2014. Kaitlin most enjoys writing poetry and short stories, and her favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction. Jessica Shen is currently a high school sophomore. She spends her free time writing, debating, baking, and watching pointless food videos. Most of her work is prose, but she is currently working on branching out into various forms of poetry. Elisabeth Siegel currently resides in California as a junior at the Harker School in San Jose. Elisabeth is news editor for her school's newspaper, the Winged Post. She has attended summer writing programs at the University of Virginia for the past two years. She writes both poetry and prose. Rona Wang is a sixteen-year-old from Portland, OR. She is a prose reader for The Blueshift Journal as well as the editor of her high school magazine, and has been
recognized nationally by the Scholastic Writing Awards. In the summer of 2014, she attended the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. Her writing has been published by Canvas Literary Journal, The Best Teen Writing of 2014, and Brouhaha Magazine. When not writing, she can be found in a downtown coffee shop, doodling or mulling over a math problem. Topaz Winters is a 15-year old songbird, word hoarder, and cheesecake connoisseur. Sometimes she composes music. Other times she writes books. If she knows you, she’s probably written about you. Topaz’s debut novel Frozen Hearts drops this year, and her first album in 2015. She enjoys strong coffee, ugly cats, and the taste of words. You can follow her adventures over at http://topazwinters.wordpress.com/ Laurel Zyvoloski is a Radford University psychology student who has enjoyed writing since elementary school. She attributes her love of the written word to nights spent reading books together with her mother, Misty, a teacher, and her younger sister, Elise. She posts her writing on the online writing community, figment.com. Hairol Ma is currently a senior in high school. She is a CSSSA 2013 alumni and she likes reading and eating hot cheetos. You can find her studying in a coffee shop seven days a week. Sachi Shah often goes by Versachi. She lives in Singapore and enjoys meeting enlightening people, eating fruit, and listening to indie bands you've probably never heard of. She wants to study in either Rhode Island, San Francisco or Paris. Maybe all three.
Want to submit? We are the Glass Kite Anthology. Dedicated to the mind-bending and completely original literary works by people of all ages. We're looking for work that surprises us, inspires us, and makes us think. We want pieces that transform us, voices that leave footprints on the bedroom windows, words that live on even after our eyes have left the page. Most of all, we want original work: creations that come straight from the heart, with distinct voices that defy the mundane. If you think your work fits this description, we would love to review your submission. Submissions are open all year round and reviewed on a rolling basis. The cut-off for our second issue is January 31st. If your piece doesn't make the cut-off, we’ll consider it for the future issues. Visit our website, look around, learn more about us. And when you’re ready, don't forget to submit. http://www.glasskiteanthology.weebly.com | firstname.lastname@example.org http://issuu.com/glasskiteanthology | https://www.facebook.com/glasskiteanthology
II | winter 2015 GLASS KITE