10 | 2018
GLASS KITE ANTHOLOGY
Glass Kite Anthology is a non-profit, independent literary & arts journal dedicated to the dangerous. To the uncaged. To the brutally honest that cuts through tendon and singes flesh. We want works that are on the verge of breaking, pieces that are bloated with experience, the ashes on your fingertips, the caverns between your cavities, the kneecaps bruised with jasmine tea. Tell us what it feels like when you first bite into your best friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grief, what you do when you outgrow your childhood sandals, where your brother goes at night with his lips stained orange. Let us catch the last words he indents on your cheek, the promises that hover just above the skyline, cawing away like crows. Make us feel like we were corpses all along. Go ahead, submit. Break the glass. Let your words fly. http://www.glasskiteanthology.weebly.com | firstname.lastname@example.org http://issuu.com/glasskiteanthology | https://www.facebook.com/glasskiteanthology 1
CONTENTS WRITING Half Past Three Jodie Kahan................................................................................5 what the color red can mean Alice Shabazian.................................................7 Leela Ella Schmidt...................................................................................................9 Baptism Anne Andragna......................................................................................10 Wind Reversal Tara Jaigopal.............................................................................11 Skeletons Umang Calra.......................................................................................12 Fautlines Mia Martins..........................................................................................13 Lolipup: Ye Eun Cho.............................................................................................18 Heather Brandon Hansen....................................................................................25 The Snake in the Grass John Grey...................................................................29 Darkness Depart Edward Escalante.................................................................31 A Dental Visit Carol Smallwood.........................................................................32 Immaculate Misery Laura Ingram...................................................................37 Condition for the Unrest Jessica Xu................................................................38 Axolotl Katha Sikka..............................................................................................39 Crossing Over Christian Sammartino...............................................................40
ART Headcase Bonnie Gloris…………......................................................................cover Drift Jenna Murray.................................................................................................1 gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 2 Elyanna E. Choi.............4 Charting Compulsion Bonnie Gloris..................................................................9 Ache Jenna Murray...............................................................................................17 gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 1 Elyanna E. Choi...........24 Headcase 2 Bonnie Gloris....................................................................................36 gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 3 Elyanna E. Choi...........42 Loss Jenna Murray………………................................................................back cover Editorial Board & Contributors…………………………………………………………………...44
gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 2 ELYANNA E. CHOI
Half Past Three JODIE KAHAN We sit in the burning of day, you ask what we should have done with this husk of a life. My voice comes out in puffs of alabaster: creation. Our bodies only jugs of burnt sugar a scent that flickers & fades. I focus on your hair, its dance with the sun. Here we’re made of shadows & smog: created. How much of us are lost to drains. How much of dust is pieces of us, follicles. It’s godless, really. I’m stuffed with selves of past. Hollowed at the crevices. We play with our dead mothers, in leaves, dirt, every crushed ornament under our soles. We flick fields on fire to watch our mistakes burn. This is how I live: in a reservoir of myself. I walk toward the sun not to see it, but to be devoured by it.
What the color Red can Mean ALICE SHABAZIAN sighted: the face of God in a puddle of grey snowmelt, kicked up by the boot of a rose cheeked child. it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t snow much here so God doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t show much here, either. is snow still snow after it has turned red? are our bodies still bodies when they come together, white knuckled and dripping - or, wait - were they ever bodies to begin with? there will be a night you confuse christmas lights with stars and a night you confuse me with God and God with our bodies - or lack thereof - whichevr is less sacrilegious. (neither / both) it is spoken: he who has swallowed the sands of an hourglass shall be considered God by Time. he who has tasted God shall forever ash cigarettes, one by one, into his own gaping mouth.
Leela ELLA SCHMIDT December was the obvious month for making love but for the death of Mr. Luther’s son. Once his raised-right ample eyes said I will shake your father’s hand and call him sir. Today the open-mouthed pores of the sky gush grime, remind us of unblinking time and bruise us roman numeral. Psalms for the mothers of fat pink babies, glad but for our struck men, their skinned elbows keeping them away at Christmas. The wizened bouquet of cadet in locket, a pastor’s boy. Stadium rot and the late pitcher’s mound, boyhood decay, Leela: her vodka soda and retainer on the windowsill, smacking her gum for so much trouble. When Nana died Mr. Luther’s son brought me flowers and later Leela’s words, fixed as during sermon, rendered roses pedestrian. This morning she curled her toes inside her rain boots and the bus never came. The evening was vesper and rust and
I wished to be a man of coal and work, underground at sundown and by her altar-side as she blushes a Sunday alabaster. When the pastor’s son was declared dead, we bowed our heads and sputtered mangled grace. Pretended we always had. Somebody’s nephew tugged at the tablecloth, laughter dribbled from an old man’s beard. Leela kicked me under the table. We learned the transfer of dinner rolls like it was the instinct for elegiac distance, the instinct of a god himself. Her father uncapped a Coors Light and poured a little out for the doberman to lap up. Pour a little out, he said. Leela’s socks were blue and collected the dust. Her hair like when we were bathed in sinks and smelled hypoallergenic. December of time zones, of detergent: I wore the ivy boy around my neck and tasted seminary. By day, casualtied blooms beckoned Sunday-schoolers in a crowing heap. Our ankles touched, Leela’s and mine, and we pulled away, sickened. That morning Mr. Luther’s voice split and the children were sorry, squirming in our requiem clothes.
Charting Compulsion BONNIE GLORIS 9
Baptism ANNE ANDRAGNA Renata’s blue scrubs fill the crack in the bathroom door as I fumble with the stale harp strings of my ivory-white hospital gown until the lace puddles at my feet and the skin tightens around my congenital sin Eve’s body out of Adam’s rib in the antiseptic chill I find the eyes my mom christened dead in the mirror but dead is too much alive in the middle of a war I’m too close to see my rubber neck is still turned towards the limestone bed fluorescent mirror for resurrection and like airplane windows and blue runway lights everything is flat from above I stare at my swollen reflection until I am crying and Renata’s calloused hands guide me under the River Jordan shower head cleanse my skin of vomit and apple I will not bite wash Delilah’s sedition from my shorn seven locks in the grace of christ I claim you
Wind Reversal TARA JAIGOPAL i do not ask for much: only rain, only palm trees, storm-cleaved in July. children of the cyclone know thirst in your absence. the parched throat of the soil has cut itself open – grain cannot rot where it does not grow. this land, in fragments, clenched for generations. withered hands beg for verdant flourish. i want my mother’s mouth full, my father’s eyes open. there is a familiarity in wetness. a relief in survival. monsoon, i am waiting for you to break my windows. remake me in the eyes of the downpour, teach me inclement ruination. i want to unknow this drought. seasonal winds, do not forget to bring water. let life seep into the cracks. revive a river full of dried souls.
Skeletons UMANG CALRA Some days, I feel like Berlin: Cities do not breathe, I have learnt. They do not watch, they do not love, they do not learn – nobody is listening to the shapes that your mind takes when the stars refuse to align against the curve of your lips. There is nothing growing out of the shadows. The air does not know of the shaking of your breaths. There is nothing, nobody, nowhere inside of the silhouettes that sprawl underneath the sunset – its amber light is not reflected off of the ground. Some days, I feel like Berlin: I feel like stoic concrete and golden, gilded, glistening declarations to divinity, I feel like a sky tumbling out of the horizon just so that it can find my hollows and ridges and rivets and valleys to settle into. I feel like the rain on the stones that have sucked stories out of every pair of feet that have treaded onto them, that have unyieldingly lent themselves to more histories than a mind could possibly hold. I feel like a city built out of all that it means to be human – horror, hands, honest hope, histories held onto with gentleness, stitched into soil and spun into the earth that writhes in discomfort, in awe, under the weight of all that it has been forced to bear witness to. Some days, I feel like Berlin: Cities are built from sticks and stone – skin and bone. I am a body constructed out of bricks, sinew, concrete, flesh. A grave – dug out, hollowed, unknowing. I do not know the thoughts that haunt the mind that inhabits me, I do not know the names of the fingers that trace their memories onto my skin, I do not understand the way the seaside finds itself trapped within my being. A body only exists – does not watch, does not love, does not learn, only houses the histories that are given to it to swallow and keep. I am a vessel – empty skeleton severed from all the life that lives within, yet, some days, I feel like Berlin – and the memories get etched into my skin.
Faultlines MIA MARTINS Rosie was pretty to a fault. More specifically, she was pretty up until the San Andreas fault. During the quake, it seemed like time was taffy, stretching and stretching but never breaking. For forty-two seconds, the world shuddered violently, and for fortyseconds, I lived a million lives of possibility. And when the shaking finally stopped, and we were still alive, I thought the worst of it was over. Rosie and I were out walking when the shaking started. We were thrown right down the grassy hill, rolling and tumbling like the children's nursery rhymes until we hit against different trees. Rosie's tree fell early, knocking her out for most of the quake, but I stayed conscious, all too aware of the fragile world around us. Clyde was in the house, snoozing, but he'd always been a light sleeper. He woke with the tremors and got out before the quake itself. So that was it. Aside from the nasty bump on Rosie's head, the quake didn't touch the three of us. No, it left us to watch the world burn. Ma and Pa didn't make it. Clyde tried to find us a place to sleep that night, but we didn't trust going back inside houses. People wandered the streets, a state of shock on their faces. We were too cold to think properly, too preoccupied with our parents to find refuge. In the end, it came full circle: we slept in the park where Rosie and I had started our day, grass up to our ankles, earth unforgiving and hard against our backs as we laid down and looked up to the stars. I woke up to the sound of Rosie retching. It was afternoon by then, the bright sun blinding me as I tried to focus my blurry vision. Clyde was hunched by Rosie, talking in soothing tones as he held her hair back. She continued to heave, all sound and no substance, when Clyde lifted his head, hair dropping from his hands as he took a big inhale through his nose. It took a second for the scent to hit me. But when it did, I scrambled up, scraping my hands and knees, and sprinted to the top of the hill. San Francisco was usually shrouded in gray, an indiscriminate mixture of fog and smog, but now the gray was darker, thicker. Now the smell of smoke wouldn't leave my nostrils. It couldn't, not when it was consuming our city. A throaty gasp came from behind me, and I whipped around to see Rosie standing with her eyes wide. "That's Josephine's part of town," she said, right before she started running. 13
Not a few seconds later, Clyde took off after her. But he was all strength and no stamina; it was like watching a cheetah go after a gazelle. In the beginning, he almost caught her, but after he slipped and had to regain his balance, there was no recovery. Instead, we watched her fly down the hill and into the cobbled streets, running like hell itself was hot on her heels. We didn't know she was running to it. I made my way down the hill to Clyde, just soon enough for us to watch Rosie's white dress disappear as she rounded a corner and for him to turn to me and say, "She has no idea what she's headed into." So maybe Clyde knew. Maybe he had an inkling of the future ahead of us. By the time we found Rosie, she was sitting curbside near Josephine's house with a fresh vacancy in her eyes, an absence that wasn't there before. Lloyd was standing by her, playing with his fireman's gloves as if his uniform still didn't fit right. He'd been Clyde's best friend ever since they'd graduated high school two years ago, but right then, he didn't look any older than grade school. "She just walked right in and out of the house," Lloyd said in low tones as Clyde and I took in the ashes and dirt decorating Rosie's body, the smudges on her face, the soot on her dress. "It was still burning when we got here. The whole block was. Hell, the whole city block was up in flames. I don't knowâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;" He stopped and rubbed his forehead, wrinkles only deepening. "I don't know how the fire didn't get her." "And Josephine?" Clyde asked. Lloyd only shook his head, gaze fixed on the ground. It was another minute until he said, "Nobody from around this area made it." Josephine's block was the first we saw burn, but it wasn't the last. In the next couple days, I memorized the smell of smoke. And I memorized everything else that happened, all of it too impactful to not be engraved in my mind. A week later, Lloyd came by our house. Clyde had put plywood over the holes on the ceiling, and Rosie and I had swept plaster from the floor. None of the bedrooms were usable, the walls having caved in, but the kitchen was still livable. "Look, I shouldn't be telling you this," Lloyd said as we all sat on the kitchen floor, "but unless you got earthquake insurance, you ain't getting anything for your house." He let the silence drag on just long enough to be insinuating. "Now, you got insurance that'll cover fire, that's a different story." An hour after, I watched Clyde set fire to our house with a Molotov, the bottle wrenching out of his hands to arc through the air. The lighting of the house was anticlimactic in a way; it did not catch fire at once in a dramatic explosion as I thought 14
it would. Instead, countless flames crept teasingly over the outer structure until they sank their teeth in, and then the walls finally gave. We stood and watched it burn until it was unrecognizable, and then Lloyd put the fire out, leaving only a few charred beams behind. "There's a couple camps around the city," Lloyd said as the last few drops trickled out of his hose. "I can set you up at one until your money comes through." Rosie's boyfriend Alfred was already living at the Golden Gate Park camp, so we simply moved in with him. He had survived the quake in an uneventful way; he was such an annoying presence that Clyde and I just assumed he must be living in order to annoy us further. But when it became apparent that Rosie's vomiting was more than just stress over the quake, it became even more apparent that she and Alfred had to marry. They did it by the seaside as Clyde sighed and tapped his feet, shooting daggers at the reverend as if he was the one responsible for this. Waves crashed in the background, cold and cracking. As Rosie and Alfred said "I do," and Clyde said "God help us all," the waves said, "We are just as dangerous as fire." Though Rosie and Alfred's marriage wasn't the end of the world, the way Clyde thought it was, it was the end of how we viewed our world. Because the next day, a woman in the refuge camp delivered her baby, and we watched in horror as its body slowly splintered, fracturing until it was nothing more than a dropped china doll. We would have covered Rosie's eyes if we had remembered she was there, if we had remembered where we were, if we had remembered what we knew before that moment. A makeshift church was built soon after, shoddily constructed for fright of another quake. I went to service every day to make up for the fact that Clyde and Rosie never cameâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;him out of spite, her out of fearâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and prayed fervently, eyes screwed shut, fingers intertwined. But it was a battle between me and the waves as they broke against the rocks, reminding me that the Devil was never far. Three more babies were born in the next months, quake babies, all of them. I swear I felt a tremor in my bones each time they broke, swear I could feel the tectonic plates shifting. People whispered that there was no hope, that we could never be faithful enough, and we were strangers within our home, within a city that betrayed us. Rosie was crying by the cliff's edge when I found her, hand pressed hard against her swollen stomach. "I can already feel it," she said. "I can already feel it breaking." So we packed up our belongings and flew by night. "Things always come full circle. They have to," Clyde had said matter-of-factly at lunch the day before, and although he was referencing the fact that Alfred was blackout drunk, we opted for another interpretation. As we stole away from the camp, I drank in the sound of the
waves as they faded and faded into nothingness at all, and I wondered that maybe if you went to face the Devil head-on, he could no longer follow. We didn't speak much as we picked our way through the remains of our city. After so many terrorsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the quake, the fires, the babiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the silence was the holiest sound I'd heard in months. The San Andreas Fault was a large one, but Rosie had a specific destination in mind: the Salinas River, shifted six miles south to empty into a different channel. It seemed she didn't want to be the only thing affected by the quake, shattered when nature stood strong. She wanted to be like the river, diverted from its path but still purposeful, still proud. When we reached the river, Rosie lowered herself to the ground slowly, ignoring my offer of help. "Don't watch," she commanded me, but I had grown tired of closing my eyes. There was nothing that could scar me further, no horror that didn't already dance behind my eyelids at night. Rosie entered labor early the next morning. There were no screams to break the silence, only whimpers and gasps as she bit her lip and squeezed her hand around mine. It wasn't long before she began breaking, before I had to pull my hand out of hers because I couldn't hold on to my sister when she was falling apart. She shattered like the fault had, strike-slip, in a violent motion that finally cracked her. I picked up the baby carefully and checked it for faultlines, any tell-tale give away that it too was a quake in waiting, laying dormant. But she only looked up at me and cried a toothless cry, eyes bright as the sunrise. We marched back to camp, the baby and me, retracing the way I had come. I realized that the baby would never know this city the way I had, golden in all its glory, but she would know something like it. San Francisco would rebuild, as it always did, and so would our family. There were faultlines running through our bones now, but they didn't hold any power. We were no longer so fragile, so ready to be shattered. Even the faultlines could not break us; we were still beautiful.
Ache JENNA MURRAY
Lolipup: YE EUN CHO n. a compound word of loli (oft-used prefix with subliminal associations of sexually active prepubescent females) and pup (connoting submission and cuteness, or â&#x20AC;&#x153;aegyoâ&#x20AC;?). The sudden rise in popularity for K. femina groupus in the 12-15 year-old category was once speculated to limit the rise and growth of Lolipup, particularly in the specific ecology of dance music. Lolipup classifies as a 20 year old K. femina singulorum, a frequent victim of short-lasting popularity as well as negligence from management (Speigman 2015). Holway et al. (2016), however, have noted that Lolipup may persevere given sufficient facial modification (i.e. rhinoplasty and jaw reshaping) and rebranding (i.e. as b or c-list actress or online shopping mall owner). Other than Lolipup, an average of 39 K. femina groupus and 124 K. femina singulorum are known to emerge and disappear each year before the annual Music Bank Festival, leaving the average lifespan of K. femina idol at 9 months and 13 days (Ward 2016, Cole et al. 2015, Yang and Li 2016). [See Suarez 2016 and Porter et al. for a discussion on the lifespan of K. masculum idol]. *** 18
It was another jolt, another tumble in the wheel of life. Another beginning, another Monday, another garbage day. Lolipup watched from her cushioned throne as the cleaning lady took out the trash. She struggled to stay busy. She had substitute plans and had already opened a small clothing store, a fashion venture, so to say. It was mainly the CEO of the entertainment agency and the accountant who came up with the idea. The display window featured a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, both offensively unaffordable. It was hard to tell whether the barren space was part of the initial idea of “industrial chic.” Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme my GOLDEN BOY love you, love you, love you, my GOLDEN DAYS “Where are my golden days?” Lolipup thought to herself. She once shone. Just months ago, her teenage fans flocked with offerings small and big. The useless, burdensome presents piled up all over her studio apartment. She considered selling them in her shop, but the thought of her remaining bit of fans blaming her for betrayal and impudence blocked her from doing so. Fans were her last strand of hope. They were the only traces left from her golden days. *** The ant, about five millimeters in length, climbs up the wooden block and stops. This tiny creature detects sudden danger with its motion-detecting antennae. Also known to detect scent, these antennae rarely fails the discerning specimen. A dark, gloomy shadow sways gently as a five-year-old girl slowly approaches the insect. With curious eyes, the girl stares at the ant and its agile movements as it struggles to escape the shadow. Faster than its nimble legs were the girl’s thumb and forefinger that pinched it through the air, clumsy and careful. The girl flicked the squirming bug into a bucket, and ran back home, bucket swinging in her hands. The bucket unfortunately contained small stones that rattled with every jerk, threatening to crush the little ant like racing meteorites. The one last tumble left one half of the ant’s antenna caught between two rocks. The ant was then swiftly transferred to a small flower pot, its top concealed by the bottom half of a plastic bottle. The girl had clearly been observant enough to drill tiny holes into the plastic with her
motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sewing needle. She sat and watched with a satisfied grin as the ant stumbled across its given plot of land, shrunken and ostensibly missing an antenna. *** Lollipup understood that publicity was hard earned. Only on the very week Golden Boy entered the Top Ten chart did paparazzi begin to appear at her doorstep. Everything about her everyday was reported on that particular week. Her lipgloss appeared on Cosmo Girl. Her manicurist was interviewed. Big bodyguards were hired to guide her through menacing animated crowds, huddled in big black jumpers designed to conceal her identity. She shuttled through the congested streets of Seoul in an imposing Chevrolet van with tinted windows, the most conspicuous plea for anonymity. During a quick drive to a radio interview, she found herself parked in middle of the highway, dangerously close to a jam packed tour bus. Before she could close the curtains (for tinted windows never proved enough for the most discerning fans), she felt the gaze of a good dozen passengers. Too late. They had seen her. She snatched a pair of sunglasses from the table and threw them on, only to sheepishly peer through the dark. But to her horror, they all looked away! Not even the slightest commotion! With a whole month left on the van lease! Her life size advertisements for plastic surgery disappeared one by one just as her name from the star news headlines died away day by day. What went wrong? Had she gained weight? Did she miss the latest cosmetic trend? Was there not enough skin? Was she too old? She picked at her fingernails adorned with precious rocks and sparkling nail varnish. I need a new stylist. The van drove on through a disinterested pile of cars, slowly dissipating into thin lines. I just need another breakout song. Her manager reassured her these sudden lulls were to be expected. Just a natural part of the cycle. Just as she drifted in and out of useless daily worries, the doorbell rang, and her instinct told her that it was the paparazzi that began gathering outside her house.
Ants are known to secrete pheromones to provide each other directions. Without a single chemical or visual trace of a fellow species, the antenna-less ant began to 20
wander aimlessly. Having traced all slippery sides of the plastic bottle, the ant’s digging tendencies, so firmly established within the ant’s cognitive system, follows; it begins to build an ant castle within no longer than an hour of captivity. The girl, who had patiently sat watching the ant’s behavior for about an hour, is awed by what she saw, and screams in amazement. However, as the ant goes deeper into the ground and is no longer seen by human eyes, the girl soon loses interest and returns to more conventional forms of entertainment. 16 hours later, when the ant had long finished its work, the girl suddenly reappears. The faint memory of the thrill of watching the ant brings her back to the backyard where the flower pot has been placed. She is surprised by the result. She looks at the ant with respect and admiration as it carelessly enumerates few little rocks around the entrance of its castle. The girl is now concerned with the ant’s nourishment and looks for something that would fit its taste. After moments of consideration, she spits out the apple-flavoured candy from her mouth and places it attentively on the soil inside the pot. The ant enjoys, sticking to the sweet sugary substance and sucking the artificial juice. It is likely satisfied with the life of captivity that offers it a lot more than any colony it had belonged to.
She flung the door open with a practiced look of boredom and irritation. An equally tired looking paparazzo with a filthy beard, among ten dozen others greeted her outside, almost as if to flood into her house. In heated frenzy they were shouting questions. How had they met? When did they start dating? Lolipup was puzzled, but she was not going to let go of this newfound attention. She told the paparazzi that she would answer them later and closed the door. What was going on? She ran toward her laptop and quickly typed her name in the search engine. Myriad news articles popped up, each with sensational and attention-grabbing headlines that read, “GB seen cozying up with Lolipup” “GB’s hand on Lolipup’s lap!” “A day ago, the greatest k-popstar of the 21st century, GB was spotted with a girl by a reporter on stakeout in a dull building placed in the alley of Seoul,...” An irresistible grin gradually captured her face; she had not been in that part of Seoul for the past few days, and had never met GB in her life. But, who cares? The only thing mattered to Lolipup was the fact that her name was on the number one popular star news headline of the day. 21
She quickly began to search for scraps of information to feed this growing attention. How, why, and when had GB and this girl met? She ran phone interviews through her mind. She will be annoyed. Perhaps a little shy. A blush. She will even be magnanimous, acknowledging her “anti-fans” who swarmed the blogs hours after the scandal broke out, asking for their “continued love and interest in our music.” Our. While rehearsing, she felt her hand shake with excitement and anxiety; she was thrilled. Anxious because the paparazzi might leave, and excited because her fame would reach a new summit.
*** On the third day of captivity, the girl lost interest, and perhaps completely forgot about the ant. She stopped visiting the flower pot altogether. Instead she found a caterpillar with fantastic patterns, and kept it in a fishbowl inside her bedroom. There remained the devastated ant in the backyard, almost dried out in the strong sunlight, expecting a sooner death. The ant crouched into a ball, and wiggles its forelegs. Just then, the sky darkened, and the heavy black clouds covered the pot with shadows. Through the tiny holes in the plastic, raindrops seeped into the pot. The ant does not move. As rain engulfs its tiny skeleton, the ant seems to have decided that there is simply not much it can do.
*** Lolipup dolled up for the interview as a majestic widow would slowly prepare her own death. Once she stepped outside, one by one, the exhausted paparazzi rose from their bunkers littered with beer cans and ramen containers, and staggered toward her with their cameras. Word got around and more cars arrived. Passersby stopped to snoop. Soon enough she found herself locked in a forest of cameras and mics, unable to move a single inch, her face nailed to a spot where the only possible movement was to look ahead. Amidst the shouting heads, she may have suffocated a little. But the air was sweet with desperation, curiosity, and anger even. She felt her phone vibrating in her pocket. Most likely a talk show invitation. Just two of those then she’ll negotiate a collaboration with GB. His agent will have to call me soon. As Lolipup 22
calmly explained her wishes to remain silent on the matter, she noticed a tide of vibrations spread throughout the crowd. Pockets were rummaged and screens were tapped, all in such uniform manner that Lolipup herself felt compelled to gaze into her own smartphone screen. With less eyes now looking at her, Lolipup swiftly peered into her own black mirror. If she were fast enough, she may be able to spot a make-up mistake. â&#x20AC;&#x153;GB Goes Public with Sera. Lolipup Scandal, A Hoaxâ&#x20AC;? Suddenly within her view were nothing but arms frantically disengaging one another, heads turning in slow motion like a large cat scanning its prey. When she is finally left alone at her front door, she glances ahead at the debris of her short-lived popularity and decides that there is simply not much she can do. *** Think of the ant. The common red ant, reaching the pinnacle of its journey by a blow of the wind, or perhaps, as it should be said, by luck, but was soon swept away by the same broomstick that caused the brief gust of wind that helped it reach the top.
gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 1 ELYANNA E. CHOI
The Mouse suspects that the Old Man suspects that the kids doing the Ice Bucket Challenge these days are cultists baptizing themselves in the name of an anti-god named Spoouahbum and by god, (full god), Spoouahbum is going to take everyone’s souls and shove them into everyone else’s hearts, and oh, oh the cold was just a test to see if they could bear that kind of thing. That’s all he whispered about in the car. Spoouh-bum. That’s the situation. The Mouse is serious about the Old Man being serious about this. She could see it the way his eyes glowed as he took her in cupped hands out of the cage in the Starry Day Animal Shelter. It looked like the light of a computer screen streaming through his skull, and as he whispered to her, “I’m going to save you,” she thought, oh lord. Now, in the basement, the Mouse swears she can hear the muscles grinding in the Old Man’s face as he holds her to his cheek. He just looks like there’s sand between every fiber in him. It’s unreal. He sets her down into the pinch of a blanket that is pinched into the corner of the basement in the home. Or house. The Mouse was still figuring that out. The Old Man sinks himself downward-dog style to the concrete, drops his face level to The Mouse’s eyes. He has a cold sore or pimple on the fringe of his upper lip. The agony of that thing when it’s ready to pop, she thinks. Jesus. It pulses but only she’s small enough to tell. The Old Man leans toward the mouse until their irises are only centimeters apart. He puts his forefingers on her little scapula like she is the daughter he is the dad and this is all like post-soccer game, and he opens his mouth and she can’t stop staring at the pulsing sore and the Old Man says: “Ice melts for a reason. No integrity!” And the Mouse goes “what” in her head, the Old Man stands up, shuffles off real quick up the stairs. The Mouse feels the crack of the man’s ankles reverb through the floor into the basement ceiling as he walks around. The Mouse sits in the blanket for a second and then she doesn’t. She paws at the fabric until she’s free of it, and she scampers across the basement. As the walls blur past her she makes out paintings on the wall, and in those paintings she sees humanoid figures, all scratchy at the edges, all backlit, and she bets that, what’s supposed to be painted on the canvases, are angels. But it’s hard to say. The Old Man is no talent. She 25
can see the brushstrokes in their warped faces and asymmetrical wings from the floor. They look like birds, honestly. The Mouse climbs the stairs, step-by-step. Angels. Heather, The Mouses’s old caretaker, her former person, used to draw angels on notebook pages. She lined the floor of The Mouse’s cage with the drawings every Sunday night. At the top of the stairs is a Labrador wearing something that looks like a diaper. Heather dropped The Mouse at the shelter one day and walked out with a parakeet. The Labrador looks at The Mouse with a slunk brow like “this isn’t a diaper.” Its hips are sunken and tucked into the small of its back. It stands bowlegged and its wrinkles show the pain of that. A parakeet. The Lab kisses The Mouse all with a swipe of its tongue that slobbers up her whiskers and nose. The Mouse looks at the Lab after this. The Lab probably wonders what’s next for them. From somewhere in the house The Mouse hears “Please- please, enough of the buckets!” and she figures if this is a moment, it is ruined. She zigs through the Lab’s wobbled legs and into what she thinks is the dining room. The Lab looks back at her and she looks back at the Lab and she thinks its eyes are like stars. The dining room is all wood floors and wood table and chair, one chair, specifically, and on the table there is a single cup of water near the edge with the chair, and it is shaking. She hears the voice again, figures it must be The Old Man, “No, no! Xout, how do I X-out?” and this is unbearable. She climbs the leg of the table with digging claws and once she’s on top she looks around. There are more paintings of angels all throughout the house. She thinks they’re looking better, like maybe it’s a lighting thing with the bay windows and all that. She can outside, and she sees that the house is completely choked from the road by a wall of pine trees, all old and knotted and sappy in thick splotches. On the TV, the news is on, a man with perfect brown hair talks on mute while the ticker on the bottom reads “CELEBRITIES DONATE THOUSANDS TO----ALS CHARITIES DOING ‘ICE ---BUCKET CHALLENGE---A DRONE STRIKE ---’” and The Old Man moans, “Please, please, just load!” and The Mouse absolutely cannot take it anymore. She has an idea. She charges, head down, at the glass of water. Her skull knocks hollow on the glass, and it really does hurt her, and the glass crashes to the floor. It shatters into a thousand, thousand thousand pieces and the water does a number on the hardwood floor, she imagines, even though that might be more a long-term thing. The moaning stops. The Mouse jumps from the table. It’s a longer jump than she thinks and she cracks a leg, just like that. The back left one. It makes a crisp noise like a 26
snap-open of a newspaper, the pain pulses through her in laser lines, she takes a deep trembled breath as the booted footsteps of The Old Man approach. She drags herself under the couch to hide. The Old Man stands in the room. The Mouse can barely see this as she peeks from under the couch, but The Old Man is wiping away tears. He sniffles once and bends over and the mouse can hear the cracks in his back. The Mouse cringes, her whole body throbs, she thinks maybe Heather-life wasn’t so bad, all running wheel and sippy bottle and angel litter paper. Heather used to crumple the paper up and basketball it into the trash can across the room. She had boys over and girls over and she slept soundly most nights. Really, the parakeet thing, the Mouse thought, was not a big deal. The Old Man scoops each piece of glass into a cupped hand. He kicks at the water a little and that’s all he does for that. He walks into the kitchen and The Mouse hears the glass clatter in the sink. The Old Man limps back across the house, The Mouse watches and bites her paw to hold the little squeaks of pain inside her. The Old Man steps into the room where he was before, with the yelling, and now The Mouse hears “please, oh, save our stupid, stupid little souls,” and she takes a deep breath, and this really eats her up inside, but she decides, no, she won’t be angry, no, she’s going to try and be curious. The Lab is there. Its ribs expand and contract, it pushes its nose to the ground and opens its mouth and the Mouse looks in its star-eyes and she can feel this warm thing in her, and she gets it. She drags herself out from under the couch and into the warm mouth of the Lab, who closes her gently in its jaws and carries her to the Old Man’s room, where the door is left just ajar. Because, ultimately, she thinks, parakeets are so much more curious than mice, and that was probably the problem then, and she doesn’t want this to be then. Inside the Old Man holds a baby doll. He looks to be in a trance, the light through his yellowed curtains is mottled and shifting on his thin body, his eyes are so big it must hurt. The baby doll’s hair was probably once blonde, but it sprays gray from its head now. The eyes are wiped white, the skin is pallid. There is a spot on the forehead where the Old Man must have kissed the paint away. A desktop, the boxy kind, big as a Buick engine, sat on a desk. It was bluescreening. The walls of this room were only paintings. All angels. And not too bad, really. The whole thing with Heather, the whole left-at-the-Starry-Day-Animal-Shelterthing, the whole replaced-with-a-parakeet-thing, was just about this one time. The Mouse jumped the cage. Heather hadn’t put the top part on, she had left in a rush for 27
something on a Tuesday, so the Mouse jumped the cage, and she crawled around the house, she hid under couches and between the folds of bed sheets – she waited until the nights to drink dripping water from the sinks and she nibbled at Heather’s lunch when she was hungry and she did her bathroom business on Heather’s drawings because that seemed to be okay, and she watched the sun rise and the stars peek out at night on the windowsill and she overheard everyone telling Heather that her mouse was dead, that her mouse didn’t like it there and that’s why she left and she could find something new if she wanted. So of course the Mouse crawled back into her cage that night and was there the next morning. Heather, all sleepy, had looked at her and her face fell apart, she started to whisper about being sorry and how really sorry she was, and she scooped the Mouse up in her warm hands and set her into a bundled towel and the Mouse just sat and tried to squeak the whole thing away as Heather started the car and set her on her lap in the driver’s seat. The Mouse squeaks now. The break in her leg is searing. Her head hurts. The Old Man wheels around to see them, the dog in its broken-hip girdle, holding the Mouse, all crumpled up in the back half, in its mouth. The Old Man nods a jittery nod, he turns back to the baby doll, cradles it, and whispers, “I’ll keep us safe.” Then, the veins in his arms bulge, and the Mouse hears the distinct pop of his elbows as he sets the baby on the bed. He looks into the mirror, and says, “No matter what.” The Mouse sees the cold sore or pimple on his lip was popped, and blood was trailing thin all down his jaw and neck. A cloud sways by outside, the light in the window lilts and casts the room gray. The Mouse can see it then, in the changed light – something on the mirror, drawn with probably a fingernail, every feather of the wings, every crease by the eyes, every vein in every arm: the anti-God Spoouahbum, his likeness so intricate he seems to emerge from the glass, to hover over the bed, to cast the kneeling Old Man’s eyes upwards as he began to scream a long, low scream – Spoouahbum seems to spin, to gather the dirt of the room in little tornadoes, the particles of paint begin to pull from the canvas angels, they begin to spin and mix in the air, and Spoouahbum breathes once, his ribs expand, all bony, and he seems to lift the Doll off the bed, and with a syringe in his immaculate hand, he injects a swelling life into her plastic form, and the Mouse wishes Heather could see it, right there, that moment that it seems, for all the world, that the Doll, all worn and empty, can fall from the air, to the bed, can bounce once, and cry.
The Snake in the Grass JOHN GREY
Searing afternoon, red-bellied shiver across back lawn. and then three strides with a rake wielded like a weapon a distant November, my father swatting heat with beer after beer, when suddenly a snake slithers from the flower bed, and he's quick to snatch the nearest implement like it's a gun flashed from his holster he was a hero to me what were tales of being stopped by cops, his drunkenness performing for them like an unfunny clown? who cared if he stayed late at the bar or never held down a job for long he was behind that eucalyptus soaring taller than telephone poles,
and the fence being where a fence ought to be to keep us safe from neighbors power-lines strung from street to house: yes, his doing toilet flushing, TV glowing in the darkâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; everything was evidence of his super powers and there was that reptile fanged and venomous, one good chomp enough to freeze the nerves and choke the throat and my father pouncing without fear, nothing about jobs or bars or DUI, merely what it takes to get things done before an audience still matching sights to senses with the clumsiness of round in square and what of the snake, coiled up in the rake, awaiting a hammer blow to its skull â&#x20AC;&#x201D; did it feel like a gift to unspoken love, unwitting admiration, did it realize what a memory it would make, drawn into drama, the length of its body like a shadow on the day and a man, mid-thirties, god enough to lift it really, a snake's nothing much, defenseless when pitted against the brutal blows of man still, you can't kill the allegory.
Darkness Depart EDUARDO ESCALANTE Again, in a lower or higher pitch, You realize the desert between a breath and another. Do not just drink from The winter nights. One day will come full, With intoxicating rap at your door, Cool to the touch, swaying his promises. Answer back. Repeat with me: "Do not go so fast".
A Dental Visit CAROL SMALLWOOD A tooth had been bothering me for some time and sensitive toothpaste wasn’t going to be the solution. I thought it’d mean another crown or root canal, but when I saw the dentist again, she said it was a wisdom tooth that should’ve been removed long ago and referred me. On the way down, I saw an animal on the road and slowed up to try and see if its guts were spread out, if it were smashed enough so I didn’t have to worry about it being still alive. The worst was when there was an animal next to it the following day because it could be its mate. But before I could get close, a Green Bay county road truck picked it up with some sort of invisible scoop. I’d never seen it done before. The receptionist had me do the paperwork. The article I selected in the waiting room in National Geographic was about how old the earth was and said that the age of the earth was continually being pushed back; that it you reduced the earth’s four and a half billion years to a day, that one hundred thousand years old humans didn’t arrive till two seconds to midnight. Wrapping your mind around that was still impossible as when I tried to in high school. Gripping my purse on my lap holding the National Geographic, I told the oral surgeon, “Give me all the shots you can.” “You women and your purses. All I have is a thin wallet.” Was he talking about something else because he knew no matter how much he gave wouldn’t numb me? The chair side assistant said, “My purse is full of all kinds of things.” Ah—she was probably in on the conspiracy—I should’ve asked to be put under and just wake up when it was all over. The masked man said, “I don’t understand how you women can lug that stuff. I tell my kids to give me composite pictures of my grandkids instead of one picture for each of them.” I chuckled, and it helped wondering how many grandkids he had and if they were as healthy as mine. After another shot that I didn’t feel so much he said, “You carry three pairs of glasses!” Another chuckle helped. He must’ve seen I was worried but I didn’t think he’d want to hear about avoiding bifocals, and it was an advantage sometimes not to see things too closely. 32
The chair had been raised so I didn’t have to read on my back waiting to “get a fat lip.” The National Geographic said that the oldest rock yet found on earth was over four billion years old. I could see why people were upset when Bishop Ussher’s date for the first day of creation, Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C., no longer worked. The slick paper produced a glare and the black background made it hard to read. I looked out the window to rest my eyes, then, afraid of seeing a stray, I stared at the ceiling wondering how wisdom teeth got their name, realizing I was whirling on a planet inwardly boiling and capped with ice at both poles. My lip was getting fat. The old familiar prep to pain. Lately hygienists were saying, “on a woman of your age it’s uncommon to have all your teeth,” and here I was having a wisdom tooth out. The article said the brighter the stars look, the nearer they are. That the universe is about thirteen billion years old. To see if my mind still worked, I figured that it took the earth eight and a half billion years to form after the universe began—not that it made it any easier to comprehend. I read that the first forms of life four billion years ago resembled blue-green algae. That it’s now thought that life began on seafloor vents in mid-ocean ridges instead of pools of water. I stared at the picture captioned: LIFE BEGINS, willing it to give up the secrets. I saw hollow tubes as if made of birch bark with red tubes growing from them by a vent, a gaping blackness--the void I dreaded falling into when things in the past resurfaced. What looked like a spider could be part of the hollow tube, and it looked like a spider I’d found in my sink last year. I put the spider in the garage and found it dead the next day. It was too exasperating not to tell what was alive and what wasn’t in the picture so I went on reading: the first great extinction on earth was caused by the oxygen from capturing energy from sunlight (photosynthesis) that killed off other life forms. I put the magazine down, remembering the inscription carved in stone over the entrance of the natural history museum: “Failure To Adapt Brings Extinction” when my marriage was crumbling. Wasn’t progress made by those who ignored form? What was progress? The word, form, brought to mind Godey’s Lady’s Book, that popular nineteenth century monthly with engravings of women with sloping shoulders, pinched waists, cupid lips, displaying only tips of tiny feet. The poems, stories extolling the woman’s role as wife, mother, or daughter, and the self-effacing Christian life, with illustrations of caged birds and guardian angels, was edited by Louis A. Godey. I shook my head, took up reading again: in the Late Precambrian there were two giant continents; during the late Cenozoic, primates abandoned trees and humans developed within the last ten million years; that unlike other forms of life, humans are 33
of the same species, and that every person is a part of the past, present, and the future; at Peru’s Pyramid of the Moon, the Moche people practiced human sacrifice. When I looked at pictures of ribs with gashes (thought to indicate they took the flesh off victims), I wondered if it’d been a woman skinned when alive. The next article was about a game preserve where some elephants approaching a herd of antelopes. The elephant matriarch unlatched the enclosure gate with her trunk and stood aside to let the antelopes escape. There wasn’t a picture of the old matriarch but I imagined her eyes full of compassion. I was blinking back tears when the oral surgeon returned. “You’ll only feel a little tug,” the masked man said leaning over. It helped picturing him as Zorro or the Lone Ranger with his grandkids. It was all over in a few seconds; gauze was stuffed where the tooth had been. “That’s it? I asked.” “Yes. You must’ve expected it to crumble.” After a deep sigh of relief, I said, “That’s really great!” After a moment I looked around and requested, “I’d like to keep the tooth if I could.” It was put in a little white envelope like the one I’d brought my x-ray: it just seemed a shame to leave it behind after all these years. “Just stay there a minute for some postoperative instructions.” It was over! After all that worry, waiting, and hoping the ache would go away. I was grinning as much as I could with the gauze in my mouth when a girl came in to tell me to keep applying a little pressure with my teeth on the moistened gauze for fifteen minutes. She gave me a prescription for pain medication but warned me I’d feel like a couch potato when I did. I shook my head but she gave it to me anyway. A few days later I looked at the tooth. It was bigger than I thought and shaped like a curved candy corn—only it was tipped with metal and was white except for the blood. I moved it with a piece of paper: funny, after being a part of me, I didn’t want to touch it. In vain did I look for the nerves with a magnifying glass, those thread-like things causing so much pain, wondering if they’d all come out or if they died in the gaping hole. How long would it take to fill that hole looming in my mouth like that seafloor vent in the National Geographic? Part of me wished the tooth were still there because it’d been a part of me for so long. I scooped the tooth back into the bloodspecked envelope and put it on a corner shelf.
Inside-Out KATHA SIKKA I. My grandmother – 87, makeup-free, Walmart-ragged – wrestle-walked the Peru gravel roads that skeletonized Marlen’s home. Inside, Marlen lay dead, bald and barren, sly gangrene slithering up her left ankle. Had the cancer of Rhabdomyosarcoma prevailed? With Marlen’s radiant sewing scissors, my grandmother chopped the bushy cushion of her own mane. II. Maria, my Mother but not my mom, had always been ugly: blacker than black sideburns struggling beside her ears, a scattered unibrow sewn into her dark spots. Her Texas-tinged aunt – Ellie O’Malley from Creek Valley – screeched, “Maria! Today is Thanksgiving. We’re going to have guests today. Just because you don’t care how you look doesn’t mean we don’t. We get embarrassed. For you. You’re fifteen years-old – a young woman. Go straighten your hair!” Maria ran the steaming straightener across a few strands, stared at the fingerprintsplotched mirror, and stung the Sedu straightener against her neck. III. Lucia – my sister, then two years-old, her delicate features spooned and cocooned by a C&C Unisex bowl-cut – was sprawled across the 4 x 4 tile floor. She rummaged through the circa 2006 drawers, clutched a half-new, half-hair Gillette razor, and swept it across her premature right brow. IV. I was four, my barely-there front teeth too afraid to gnaw on the word hello, clumps of 9 AM knots suspended in a nest of ringlets. My hair hadn’t been brushed since I was born: Dr. Hemlata from Nevada finger-combed it. I stumbled towards the pristine, Tuesday-scrubbed bathroom, unraveled the slinky cord of the running, drilling Revlon blow-dryer, and plugged it into my cheeks, my soft skin daggered like shards of glass. V. Twelve years later, the heat-seeded scars turned themselves inside-out. 35
Immaculate Misery LAURA INGRAM I. She might have to go away somewhere soon, and she prays that he will remember her as something other than what chapped skull she took , that he will remember driving through towns that don’t ache as much as their own, with porcelain light and empty playgrounds, that time he told her she looks like the Eiffel tower with all the lights turned off, and maybe it’s sad that when they talk about these things they don’t intend to do them again, that she has packed all seven of her sequined sweaters up in a , and that no, she’s not perfect, she forgets to wash her hair, doesn’t cry when she is supposed to during Church, and sometimes comes home at three A.M. and spits up sunburn into the kitchen sink. II. She is made of smashed China and spider webs, spillage of sickly thin sun, and it is early June and he is smoking her Virginia Slims when he thinks she is at school, and It is mid June she is writing him letters in languages neither of them know, while they stay up late just to stare at their hands, and sit on the cul-de-sac, wondering what colors have been crammed into the sidewalk cracks, and he ignores the song surging from that hollow in his throat that scratches before he is sick, and his feet pound while his heart wobbles. III. They rent a room with rhododendron petals pressed into the rug, and the fleece blanket doesn’t cover both of their feet. Sweaty-toothed and starving, she siphons her , watches the electric roses sizzling on the windowsill, and while she is staying up the girl across the hall is throwing up and the boy beside her is looking up, cartographed in the clout of Cassiopeia, coalesced, celestial estuaries, everything starts with the strings, she thinks as the tendon under her tongue tightens, Go ahead, global white and louder than evening, seventeen sleeping pills, but what about how she cries, an outdated almanac, dozens of diagramed natural disasters, the image of another, This is the higher echelons of empty. Encroach. And she is left keening in the wreckage of yet another early morning, that arbitrary ache of absence, a carnal craving for something to cling to, and the silk dress she wore yesterday slips through her fingers.
Condition for the Unrest JESSICA XU I human lonely. I fall beyond complexity. Every moment, I hesitate back. All the children play and run and I am Body still. I philosophy blue. I pain chart red. Society sphere opens its mouth, doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t close. Simplicity is the holding of fennel seeds In the palm. I tension quiet. I single populace. Understanding of another, caught within complexity barrier. Anxiety floodrun and over again. The backdrop of everything moving without hesitationA childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s open palm just beyond my reach.
Axolotl KATHA SIKKA Consider Lake Xochimilco: the gray-green water ripples into a soft, seaweed-soaked blanket for childbirth. The Mexican salamander stretches her sundried back, caresses her pregnant belly, swollen with fetus and anticipation. Fetus and frustration: the birth. Hands trembling, she rocks the heinous heir – hued like fresh, pulsating flesh. His empty black eyes lidless, his hollow head wide: his tender limbs too underdeveloped and too stunted. The fire-fast future surges and merges in her brain, submerges it in red trepidation: she gullets that her birth-afflicted son will never live a normal life. Mind full and fixed, she tucks him into bed – taupe, taped with water-glazed pebbles. Criss-crossed. Whispers a wisp of his identity, his name – Axolotl – then ambles toward a dry and dusky land forever unknown to her son.
Crossing Over CHRISTIAN SAMMARTINO Seven days elapsed before I could resurrect your sun-bleached canoe from its coffin of mud and make it sea worthy for your voyage. I charmed the cottonmouths out of the boat with your compost spade while your grandson played taps on his tin whistle. When you are ready to depart, you’ll find the ship by edge of the pond packed with your favorite things. This journey will be shorter than Washington crossing the Delaware, but longer than blossoming after a long winter or reversing a curse. All the trail maps you collected are tucked into a satchel with a quart of kerosene, matches, and your hurricane lantern—these directions won’t take you the whole way, but they are the closest sanctuaries I know to heaven. At first your vision of the next world may be like looking at a lake through freshly shed snake skin—wait until the light
makes technicolor patterns on your skin. You will see the kingdom when you look up. When you are homeless bird lonely, there is a deck of cards under your seat you can use to play solitaire. There is a picnic basket under your satchel filled with your favorite last supper foods when you become snapping turtle ravenous. Wear this crown of honeysuckle and violets as you did when you taught me how to swim out into deep water without fear. Skeletons may cross your path, like the year hurricanes unearthed the bone yard and washed caskets through the streets of your hometown. The coordinates of home are in their bones and they ache to pinpoint the right path. Tie a piece of fishing line to the fence post before you launch your voyageâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;tug three times when you get to the other side. I cannot follow you where you are going, but I will answer every time you pull the string and call my name.
gods, monsters, and everyone else in between 3
ELYANNA E. CHOI
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER Margaret Zhang used to go by Mar-gar-gar. She likes to waste gas, write poetry, and wander the streets of Chinatown. Read her work in Salt Hill Journal, SOFTBLOW, DIALOGIST, Gigantic Sequins, and other journals. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Glass Kite Anthology and an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania.
POETRY EDITOR Elysia Utech is a senior from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and an alumna of the 2015 Iowa Young Writers' Studio. Elysia's work has been commended with multiple honors, including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has appeared or is forthcoming in Parallel Ink and Teen Ink. When she's not experimenting with her writing, you can find her reading, dancing, going on adventures, or playing with her beloved puppy.
POETRY READERS Hannah Miao is a student in Arizona. Her work has been published in Burningword Literary Journal and Aerie International and has also been recognized by Princeton University, Gannon University, and Notre Dame-Maryland. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Phosphene Literary Journal. She is interested in the intersection between poetry and science. Richa Gupta is a seventeen-year-old from Bangalore, India. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Moledro Magazine, and a poetry editor with Phosphene. With an avid interest in writing and journalism, Richa is currently a blog contributor with The Huffington Post, Voices of Youth (a UNICEF-based platform), and Youth Ki Awaaz. Apart from these, she is the editor-in-chief of her schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newspaper, and is a communications prefect in the student council. She has been published in several literary magazines, such as New Plains Review, Yellow Chair Review, Foliate Oak, Poetry Quarterly, Apeiron Review, and After the Pause, among others. When not writing or reading, Richa can be seen playing the piano or day-dreaming. Emma Bleker is a 20 year old writer pursuing her English degree in Virginia, and a friend to all gentle things. She has been published, or is forthcoming, in Persephone's Daughters, Skylark Review, Electric Cereal, Yellow Chair Review, and Cahoodaloodaling. Additionally, she released her first collection of poetry, Here's Hoping You Never See This, in November of 2015. She also really likes videos of cute animals doing literally anything. Shereen Lee is a freshman in high school living in Taiwan. Her work is published or forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly, The Window, and other magazines, and has been recognized by Laura Thomas Communications and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. 44
Natalie Kawam is a sophomore poet at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA. Though she has been writing creatively since she was young, she began writing poetry in her senior year of high school. After studying under poets Dilruba Ahmed and J.C. Todd, she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in May, and will be published through the Academy in the fall. Jacqueline He is a rising junior from the Harker School who has too many things to do and too little time to spare. She runs a study blog on Tumblr under the handle @appblrina and spends her free time binge-watching Dance Moms. Jacqueline is also the founder and Editor in Chief of the Icarus Anthology, as well as a staff member of her school's scientific research publication. Erin Jin Mei O'Malley is a 17-year-old writer from York, PA. She has attended writing workshops in Virginia and Ohio. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University, Columbia College Chicago, Literature Wales, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and others. She will study abroad in Germany as a Speedwell Scholar this fall and eventually blog about it at www.explorationsoferin.com. Cindy Song is a high school junior living in Rockville, Maryland. She has loved creative writing and journalism from a young age, and hopes to use words to bring out the simple beauties in life. Her writing has been published or forthcoming in the National Poetry Quarterly, TeenInk, and Tunnel Magazine. When she's not writing, Cindy can often be found playing the viola, going for a walk, or catching up on her favorite shows. Rachana Hegde is a high school junior who enjoys writing and reading. Her poetry has been published in Alexandria Quarterly, Moonsick Magazine, and Hypertrophic Literary. You can find her blogging at http://rachanahblog.wordpress.com. Sarah Patafio is a student at Barnard College and is an American Studies major. Her poetry has appeared in the online literary magazines Phosphene and Canvas; she looks forward to more publications in the future as her writing grows and flowers. In her free time, she reads, writes, takes pictures of her cats, knits, drinks tea, and goes on walks in dog parks with the lovely MTD. Isabelle Jia is a sixteen-year old poet whose work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Glass Kite Anthology, Phosphene Literary Journal, Track Four, Sooth Swarm Journal, and Polyphony H.S. Jia has attended the Iowa Young Writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Studio and the California State Summer School of the Arts; she is also a California Arts Scholar, the finalist for the Walt Whitman Poetry Contest, and a recipient of numerous awards from Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. When she is not writing, she's either developing multiple cavities or singing crazily to her boyfriend. She currently resides in San Francisco Bay Area, CA.
PROSE EDITOR Haley Chung is a sophomore from the non-snowy part of Canada. Currently, her writing projects include co-founding her school's first literary magazine and finishing a manuscript about sinophone teens learning to love their own culture. Besides writing, Haley has an obsession for French culture/history, Sylvia Plath, and gingerbread cookies.
PROSE READERS Nicholas Sum is a 11th grader currently attending Saratoga High School. He enjoys writing and editing other written works, but sadly, he doesn’t finish most things he starts to write. When he is not writing or editing, he usually spends his time listening to or playing music on the piano or violin (or even badly singing along, if no one else is at home), doing homework, playing video games, reading, watching videos, running, or doing whatever else normal 11th graders do. Nicholas currently resides in Saratoga, CA. William Higgins is a young writer from Southern California, and a senior in high school. He has worked on his school's magazine, Tideline, for three years, where he is currently editor-in-chief. He has also been working for over a year as a photographer, writer, and editor for N2 Publishing. His work has been recognized with a number of honors, including the Scholastic Art and Writing awards. This summer he attended the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. In his spare time, William enjoys spending time with his dogs, playing sudoku (obsessively), and listening to music. Polina Solovyeva is originally from Moscow, Russia, but is currently a freshman at the New York University in New York City. She attended the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Breadloaf and Iowa Young Writers’ Studio in Iowa City. She was named a 2016 Finalist in Writing by the National YoungArts Foundation in the Short Story category and received a Gold Key for Poetry from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She was recently nominated as an Honorable Mention for the Adroit Prizes by the Adroit Journal for her short story "Mokita". Katherine Sun is a sixteen-year-old at Saratoga High School who loves both writing and STEM. She obsessively reads publications like The New York Times and enjoys writing for her school newspaper, The Falcon. Often she writes stories with no endings, sings along to Spotify with her dad, or spends time with her family outdoors. Sophie Govert is a poet and essayist whose inspiration lies in trees, Rick Riordan, and uplifting sports movies. She likes eating nachos with her parents and making spreadsheets, as well as occasionally lying on the ground and listening to the Good Omens audiobook. Follow her on Twitter @sophgov. Jasper Fu is currently a senior in Menlo-Atherton High School, all the way in sunny California. In his spare time he reads, writes, and plays far too many video games. He also fences competitively, though not necessarily well, and spends most of the rest of his time asleep. He's also very good at getting lost, in anywhere from his own neighborhood to a plane. He lives in Atherton, CA. Masfi Khan is a student and writer living in Queens, New York. She is a lover of books, nature, and 46
cats. In her spare time, she bakes cupcakes and doodles pictures of the sky. Surabhi Iyer is a senior at Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island. She loves to writeâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;she attended the 2015 Bread Loaf Young Writers' Conferenceâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;debate politics, learn about biology, act, and experiment in the kitchen. You can find her wherever there are good books (she's a sucker for quality science writing) and endless coffee. Sandra Chen is a California sophomore (and yes California girls are unforgettable). She loves the obscure things in life, from pens that flow nicely and cost too much to fantasy gymnastics, which she promises is actually a thing. A dreamy-eyed realist, she is unapologetically made of oxymorons. When she is not writing or staring at a blank page in a pathetic attempt at writing, she enjoys ranting, procrastinating, and Tumblring. Amelia Henry attends Piedmont High School in California. She fills the time she's not reading with writing, roller skating, and playing bass in her band. Amelia also writes for Inqueery, Shameless Magazine, and her school paper, The Piedmont Highlander. Isabella Li is a high school student from North Carolina. She has been honored nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and has been published in Canvas Literary Journal and Teen Ink Print. When not reading or writing, she enjoys chemistry and biology and Game of Thrones. Ujwal Rajaputhra is senior at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ. He occasionally sneaks out the house just to stargaze, and is a chronic daydreamer. Normalcy is his greatest fear.
INTERNSHIP + BLOG MANAGER & CO-FOUNDER Noel Peng is a writer and musician from the Bay Area. A National Scholastic Medalist and California Arts Scholar, her works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cadaverine, and Best Teen Writing of 2016, among others. She is 18 years old.
INTERNS Abigail Pearson is a 20-year-old writer of novels and poetry. She has two black cats that she loves to cuddle with while she drinks tea and reads Dostoevsky. She blogs at https://whimsywriter3.wordpress.com. Wabil Asjad is a student at McNair Academic High School in New Jersey. Although slightly new to writing outside of academics, she has always loved reading. In middle school, Wabil worked at her school's newspaper. In high school, she volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club and works with elementary school students on their writing. At GKA, Wabil hopes to help improve the magazine and work on her own writing skills. Valerie Wu is a student at Presentation High School in San Jose, California. She has previously studied writing at Stanford University's pre-collegiate program and Interlochen Center for the Arts, as 47
well as conducted research for Questioz: The International Journal for High School Research. Her work has been featured and/or recognized by Susan Cain's Quiet Revolution, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Huffington Post, Teen Ink, and various local publications. Outside of school, you can find her either watching TED videos or correcting someone's grammar.
CONTRIBUTORS Katha Sikka is Indian American & 18. She serves as a blog editor for Moledro Magazine and lives in Ithaca, NY, where she studies at Cornell University. Alice Shabazian is an emerging poet and poetic prose writer. She is based in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her friend Basho, the algae ball. She is currently working on a poetry collection to be released in early 2018. Jodie Kahan lives in South Florida where she is a senior at Pine Crest School. She attended the Iowa Young Writers' studio this past summer. Her work has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her poetry has appeared in the Eunoia Review and Sooth Swarm Journal. Perhaps most proudly, she is a self proclaimed SNOOT & lover of life. Elyanna "Lyanna" Choi is just another lost soul you can often see wandering the crowded hallways of Edgbaston High School contemplating the past in fleeting thoughts and images, often penning them down in scrappy notebooks in empty classrooms during breaks. Bonnie Gloris is an arts administrator, fine artist, illustrator/designer, and curator, originally from Albany, NY. She earned a BFA from Parsons School of Design (NYC) and completed the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA). Gloris is now Global Communications Coordinator for American Dance Abroad. She is also a freelance graphic designer for arts organizations such as Kamuela Philharmonic, and an illustrator for publications such as the European Journal of Neuroscience. Bonnie has participated in group and solo art shows across the country. Recent venues for her work include The Gallery 4 and The Fort Pitt Museum, and SPACE gallery. Jenna Murray is a nobody, just like everyone else. She is a senior in high school, and she is hoping to go to college in New York City. Jenna believes there are three essential factors in life: Love, Art, and Partying. She is a self declared writer and photographer, and enjoys a side hobby of music.
Jessica Xu is a 15-year-old writer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the “It’s All Write” contest, and the “Letters about Literature” contest. Her work is upcoming in The Apprentice Writer and Eunoia Review. Christian Sammartino is the Editor-In-Chief of Rising Phoenix Review and the Poetry Editor for L'Éphémère Review. He is currently studying Philosophy at West Chester University. His poetry is influenced by life in the Pennsylvania Rustbelt near his hometown of Coatesville. His work has appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Voicemail Poems, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Thirteen Myna Birds, Sea Foam Mag, and Yellow Chair Review. Sammartino was a Resident Poet for Lehigh Valley Vanguard during the summer of 2015. His first chapbook, Keystones, was released by Rising Phoenix Press in December 2014. Tara Jaigopal is a sixteen-year-old student from Bangalore, India. She can typically be found pondering the complexities of mathematics or crying over dead poets. Ella Schmidt is a student at John Burroughs School in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is the founder of her school's Poetry Club and Editor-in-Chief of its literary magazine. In 2016, Ella was named a Saint Louis Youth Poetry Ambassador by UrbArts. She is the recipient of River Styx Magazine's 2017 Founder's Award and two national medals in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She loves takeout and Natalie Portman movies, in that order. Anne Adragna lives in Charleston, SC, where she bags groceries, writes poems, and tries to keep her cats from destroying the furniture. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and The City Quill. She is a recent high school graduate of University School of the Lowcountry and is excited to attend Davidson College in the fall as a Baker-Vagt Scholar. Eduardo Escalante, born in Chile (1942), is a writer and researcher. He has published poems in several Hispanic Reviews (Espacio_Luke, Otro_lunes, Ariadna, Nagari, Sur. Revista de Literatura, Signum Nous, among other. John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review. Brandon Hansen is from a village in Wisconsin named Long Lake. He can affirm that, indeed, the lake is long. He also writes. Ye Eun Cho is a high school senior at Global Vision Christian School in Guri, South Korea. Her passion in writing started in middle school after discovering her love for reading. When she is not writing her interests are listening to music and walking her fluffy white French poodle. Her recent publications have been in Claremont Review, Daphne Review and Teen Ink. She also received and Honorable Mention for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Mia Martins is a seventeen-year-old student from the Bay Area. When not writing, she can be found dancing or marathoning foreign-language shows on Netflix. 49
Umang Kalra is a 19 year old student of History at Trinity College, Dublin. She spends her time procrastinating, reading, looking at art online, watching weird and wonderful videos on YouTube, and learning how to adult. She sometimes also writes. Writing is the clearest way for her to put things from her mind into othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, and she draws inspiration from the places she has seen and, less often, the people she has met. She likes to pretend that cities are near-living things and every romantic poem sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s written is probably about a bunch of buildings in some corner of the world and maybe the particular colour of their sky. Laura Ingram is a tiny girl with big glasses and bigger ideas. Her poetry and prose have been featured in thirty-seven literary magazines, among them Rock and Sling, Gravel Magazine, The Cactus Heart Review, and Noise Medium. Laura was also featured as Moledro Magazine's "Teen Poet of the Month." Laura loves Harry Potter and Harry Styles, and hopes to be a bird when she grows up. Carol Smallwood started creative writing when went back to college to take classes.