3 | spring 2015
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 friend’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
CONTENTS WRITING Competition Kali Fillhart......................................................................................4 Antigone at the Trial Meggie Royer....................................................................5 Blanchard’s Books Haleigh Robbins...................................................................7 Mga Kapatid Momo Manalang R........................................................................15 Pelvis Scott Stevens...............................................................................................17 Drought Riya Mirchandaney...............................................................................18 Bruised Palms, Love Songs Isabelle Jia..........................................................20 Boys Don’t Cry (Oedipus Revisited) Elsie Platzer.........................................21 Trí Dé Dána Mariah Stewart..............................................................................23 How it Happened Isabelle Jia............................................................................30 Mouth Christina Im...............................................................................................31 Light Stephanie Lu................................................................................................33 Still Emily Hedgepeth...........................................................................................33 Nolan Grace Tan...................................................................................................35 Classroom Southside John Grey......................................................................39 The Nurse James Valvis......................................................................................42 Yellow House Sarah Tran..................................................................................44 Cassandra’s Aftermath Meggie Royer.............................................................49 Secret Club Priya Thomas...................................................................................50
ART Untitled Kevin Chow.......................................................................................cover Untitled Tiffany Madruga......................................................................................1 we’re not just some fucking metaphors Natalie Barch.................................3 Medusa Albert Leng................................................................................................6 fly Kevin Chow.........................................................................................................9 Self Infliction Albert Leng...................................................................................14 Dickie’s 2-Cent Lemonade Kevin Chow...........................................................19 The Dream I Had Last Night Kate Lazar…………......………………………….….…29 Ink Bouquet Aditi Satyavrath…………………………………………………………….……30 Liberation Albert Leng……………………………………………………………………….…...32 Nyah Isabella Ronchetti……………………………..………………………………………..……34 Fight Me Kate Lazar…………………………………………………………………………..…….40 the world is young Natalie Barch……………………………………………………..……..41 Blueprint of Vanquish Tiffany Madruga………………………………………………...43 and maybe we’re not Natalie Barch…………………………………………………...……54 Untitled Kevin Chow……………………………………………………………..……..back cover
we’re not just some fucking metaphors NATALIE BARCH
Competition KALI FILLHART I ate my twin as a fetus and he still hasn’t forgiven me. I ask him about his day, where he was all night, why he won’t return my calls, but all I get in return is a shoulder as cold as the amniotic fluid I slurped before the development of my fingernails. This may seem impossible, but I remember what it was like: the taste of his youthful wrinkles, like peeling back the skin of an over ripened plum. The edges of his undeveloped jaw and shoulders slid down my throat, making my golf ball sized of a stomach bulge, as well as our mother’s. However, I can’t remember if I used teeth or not, or if I even had teeth. He was smaller. Weaker. Another piece of proof for Nature vs Nurture. Maybe it’s the soft side of his soon to be hands that scratch at my insides. Maybe it’s him I feel at the back of my throat. I can’t say I blame him for his aggression. I should have eaten you while I had the chance, he calls, just as I begin to forget. As much as it hurts, the sound of his voice fills the gaps in my brain where there is an absence of grey matter. He could have been a John, or a Sam, or an Evan, but instead, I hold my hands to my abdomen and wonder how I will ever be able to hold life in there again; in this horrid system of a vacuum.
Antigone at the Trial MEGGIE ROYER Those days of summer, lemonade with Father on the back porch, my hips beginning to round like persimmons, the dark river dives with Polynices from the cliff, pebbles following our trailing feet. Mother would dance & dance. Then you came home in a body bag, its burlap seeping sour. It was I who carried you to the mountains, my sides splitting until everything was blood & scratch. It was I who opened the ground to lower you into its smoke, its stones. But it was I who gave up in the end, after he kept me captive in his bed, never letting me into daylight, I who brought the chair and rope, I who staged the scene and left him dangling like a plum overburdening a tree. Father always looked at Mother strangely, I don’t know why.
Blanchard’s Books HALEIGH ROBBINS In Jackson, magnolia roots have buckled the sidewalks so the streets look like they’re frozen in an undying tremor. Once when Mom visited me there, she tripped and twisted her ankle. “Jackson is an ill place,” she said to me later, pressing ice to her swollen foot. The cross she wore around her neck shimmered slightly in the dim light of my bookstore. She was predisposed to think that any city in the Deep South was riddled with witchcraft. But if there were witches, I never saw any. I used to take nighttime strolls after closing shop because the skies were dusty rose and the air smelled like peaches. People left their blinds open and I liked seeing snippets of their lives. Eating cherry pie at midnight, watching YouTube videos of cats. Every once in a while someone would wave at me. There was something about the taste of the warm, damp air, the hushed wail of grasshoppers, the way the breeze felt on the back of my calves that fashioned a dress of southern charm onto Jackson I thought only existed in storybooks. But like Mom tells me: “You can sell books anywhere, Leah.” I think what she really means is “you can’t sell books everywhere.” Jackson was the fourth and final city I’d carted my books to. It’s not my fault that I’m cursed with a perpetual restlessness that’s prevented me from staying still for more than three years. Bookselling isn’t a lucrative business anyway. My flippancy feels dishonest. Jackson was different. Blanchard’s Books belonged there; in those couple of years it became part of the soil, grew roots like magnolia trees. It wouldn’t have come up even if I’d wanted it to. My main clientele was college students and young locals, and I loved seeing their eyes light up as they thumbed through old, moth-bitten paperbacks most people would turn up their nose at. I got the low-down on Jackson gossip in that shop. It made me feel like a native. I’d sit behind my counter, privy to whispered conversations, every once in a while peering through the stacks to match a face to the voice. That’s how I learned about the haunted bridges, the abandoned houses, and the resident crazies in the city. Their stories, and the things that came with them, gave me more than enough reason to stay. ! I was eating lunch at McDade’s Grocery when I first saw the crazy man the kids discussed. He pulled into the parking lot in an old, beat up Chevy that looked newly
dented and was smoking profusely from the front hood. Apparently, the smoke didn’t bother him. He slammed the car door and tottered into the store. He had to have been at least a hundred. His grey hair was in wild disarray and a white scar cut diagonally across his face. Wrinkles obscured most of his features, but his watery eyes were of the brightest blue. I could smell him from where I sat. As he picked up lunchmeat and a loaf of bread from the deli, I glanced back out the window. The Chevy’s smoke had belched into a small fire. Life was humming on around me—no one else had noticed. The old man finished checking out and was now walking to his car. Apparently he didn’t notice the fire either. I hopped up and ran outside. “Sir!” I called as he climbed into the driver’s seat. I grabbed the door just as he was closing it. “Sir, your car is on fire! You have to get out!” He had faraway eyes. “You’ve babbled your share, Barbara. I am a fully capable human being. Now get out of my way.” “Sir, please, we need to call the fire department.” Afraid that the engine would blow while I was standing there, I seized his arm and pulled him out of the car. He froze like a board and I almost fell over as I dialed 911. Within moments a fire truck was there. A man with a strong jaw jumped off the back end and ran towards us. “Gramps!” He stooped to peer into the old man’s eyes. “Did you take your medicine?” There was a hint of humor in his southern drawl. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, boy! You always took after your mother, running your mouth like you were running out of words.” The fireman turned to me. He had his grandfather’s blue eyes, but instead of cloudiness, they were sunny. “Are you injured, Miss? You pulled him from the vehicle?” I nodded. “I’m fine.” I peered behind him at another fireman who was spraying the car with white foam. “Good.” I focused my attention back on the man in front of me. The laugh lines around his eyes distracted me. A strip of grey interrupted his otherwise sandy hair. He glanced at his grandfather, who was now humming a dilapidated version of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and smiling. “My sister is supposed to check in on him in the mornings, but I guess she forgot.” “Does he live on his own?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. He nodded. “Refuses to go to a home. He’s harmless, really. More of a commotion than anything else.” He chuckled and slapped the old man on the back. “Jonathon! You little rubbernecker!” It was as if the old man had just noticed his grandson standing there. He pointed a bony finger at him. “You stay out of my business, ya hear, son?”
“Okay, gramps,” he said, suppressing laughter. The matter was cleared up in minutes. Only two days later I saw old “Gramps” again. He was in the same, beat up Chevy. It still had remnants of white foam, and the front end looked like a charred chicken nugget. Gramps had stopped dead in the middle of Peachtree Avenue right in front of Blanchard’s, and was pouring a can of gas presumably into his gas tank. His hands
were shaking and most of it was washing the pavement. Cars were honking as they swerved around him. I put the closed sign on the door and ran outside. “Mister, I think you should get out of the road!” I called. He looked over his shoulder at me. “I’m fine, lady. I’ve got this under control. Been putting gas in cars for a hundred years!” “But you’re blocking traffic!” “I’m not!” I ran inside and grabbed the phonebook, rifling through the pages until I found the number to the fire department. I punched the number into my cell and stepped back outside. Gramps was still tinkering with his car. “Jackson Fire Department.” “Yes, hi, can I speak to Jonathon, please?” “One moment.” I heard his laugh before his voice. “Jonathon speaking,” he said. “Hi, you probably don’t remember me, but I’m the lady who pulled your grandfather out of his burning truck two days ago.” “Calling to ask me on a date?” I laughed drily. “No. Um, your gramps is currently stopped in the middle of Peachtree in front of my bookstore. I’m afraid he’s going to get run over.” Jonathon chuckled. “I’ll be there in a jiffy.” As soon as I saw Jonathon—in a pickup, this time—park in a parking lot across the street, I slipped back inside, intentionally neglecting to switch the sign to open. I started thumbing through the piles of books on my desk. The ones people looked through then discarded, unworthy. On the top of the stack was Moby Dick. I recognized the copy. My father had read to me when I was twelve. I flipped through the pages, reading the familiar passages. I wasn’t thinking about them, though. Dad was such a good man. The thought was a mantra in my mind. Still is, always is. Sometimes it hurts to touch the things he loved. I didn’t look up when the bell tinkled. “Glad I know where you work, but I still don’t know your name.” I jumped and snapped the book shut. Jonathon was framed in the doorway, his bulky frame blocking most of the sunlight. Gramps was peering through an opening. “Barbara! I saw you go in there! Where are you?” “Who’s Barbara?” I asked. “I’ll tell you who Barbara is if you tell me your name.” I narrowed my eyes. “Leah.”
Jonathon walked into the store and put out his hand. “Nice to officially meet you, Leah. I’m Jonathon. This is Richard, but feel free to call him Gramps.” “And Barbara?” I asked, shaking his hand. “Barbara was his late wife.” Jonathon watched Gramps wander down the nearest aisle. “The old man misses her like crazy, but he’d never admit it.” Not every time I saw Gramps resulted in calling local authorities. He had apparently taken to walking rather than driving, and his favorite route included passing through my store on his way to wherever he was going. Sometimes he’d stop by the front desk to chat, other times he’d head straight to the back. Sometimes he called me Barbara, other times he remembered my name was Leah. I started growing quite fond of him, and this had nothing to do with his connection to Jonathon, though I started seeing a lot more of the fireman, too. I made note of his flirtatious advances but deftly avoided each one. “I have a date with The Count of Monte Cristo on Friday night,” I told him the day he handed me a yellow daisy and offered to treat me like a princess. He had wandered into Blanchard’s after Gramps, who was in the back singing “You Are My Sunshine” at the top of his lungs. Rain was pounding the roof. “Besides, you’re too charming for me, Jonathon.” He laughed. “Just come out with me. I’m more fun than Monte Cristo anyway.” “Edmond Dantès, you mean?” “That’s what I said.” I just shook my head, repressing a smile. There were too many things to take care of in the shop. There wasn’t enough money. The toilet upstairs was leaking. Someone had stolen a signed copy of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. For some reason, I still loved my life. So it was with confidence that I answered my mom’s tri-weekly phone calls to try to convince me to come back home to Michigan. It had been her ritual for the last eleven years, ever since she was left alone in that big, drafty house. My response was that she should sell it. Her response: “Sell our home? No. Sell the store. It would save you so much stress.” “I’m not selling the store. Dad would turn over in his grave. And besides, what would I do with the books?” “Leave them there?” “You’ll never understand, will you Mom?” Jonathon popped his head in during one of these conversations and I waved him in. He waited as I shortchanged my conversation, then raised his eyebrows expectantly.
“You act like I should tell you what my conversation was about.” “Well, I am your friend. And I am curious.” For some reason, it made sense that I should tell him. So I did. And that day is marked in history as the day I realized I wasn’t friendless anymore. When I finally agreed to go on a date with him I had a sinking feeling. I stared at the books downstairs for far longer than I should have, memorizing the patterns the colors made from a distance. Going on a date almost seemed like the end of an era, and that worried me. Yet the first part of the evening was one of the best I can remember. I insisted that I drive my own car and meet him at the restaurant. I ordered blackened salmon, he ordered steak. We talked about our families, our hobbies, our dreams, our passions. We got a little too close for comfort. He held my hand. I backpedaled. It was after I crossed my arms back over my chest and he looked hurt that the night started going sour. He finally said what was on his mind. “Why do you insist on being lonely? It’s like you won’t let yourself be happy. Well, you can’t hide the smile from your eyes, sweets.” “I don’t insist on being lonely. I’m perfectly content.” I scowled at him. He shook his head. “You were laughing less than a minute ago. You know, a couple cats and you’d be all set.” “Oh, a crazy cat lady? That’s charming of you, Jonathon. Never have I been so taken in!” I grabbed my coat and left. “Leah, come back. I was kidding.” I whipped around. “Why are you alone? Yeah, I have my problems, and I’m a little antisocial, but at least I’m happy! You can’t stand being lonely. You make it your mission to come interrupt my life for a little satisfaction. You’re withering inside, you just cover it up with your stupid jokes.” His eyes were like concrete. “You drag your father’s bookstore across the country and think I’m withering inside?” The silence sat between us like a bad smell. I shook my head and got in my car. “I’m going home, Jonathon.” I don’t remember the drive, even though it should have been the most memorable drive of my life. The one thing I remember thinking is that I could smell smoke, an acrid, lingering smell that made my stomach churn. It took seven minutes to get back to the shop, and in four I knew something was wrong, in five I could see the flames, in three I saw what was in flames. Blanchard’s Books. The trees in the front yard. An old, beat up Chevy parked in front on the street.
The flames illuminated the night sky and it was beautiful. It shouldn’t have been, because inside my organs were on fire, too, and something was shattering, my heart, maybe, or my soul. I was breaking, and yet all I could think about was how beautiful the red and orange and yellow was against the dusty rose sky. I moaned. Sirens screamed. Dad’s books. All those books. The next thing I knew I was wrapped in someone’s arms and I knew they were Jonathon’s but I couldn’t look into his face. I didn’t blame him, but my thoughts were: It was because I went on a date and why is gramps’ truck in the street and where is gramps? But I couldn’t ask the question. I knew he was gone, too. Everything was gone, because everything disappears eventually, the ones you love and the things you love, they turn to ash and dissolve into the night sky. At least this night sky was beautiful. ! I would be exaggerating if I said Mom was exultant, but I will say she was happy to have me out of “that ill little town” and back home to fill the spaces in her drafty old house and her lonely little heart. I know I shouldn’t feel the way I do, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed. If I said my heart didn’t sometimes start beating so fast it felt like it was ripping apart all over again. I know I shouldn’t admit that I didn’t even feel this damaged when Dad died, but I would go to hell for that one. I’m not supposed to love books more than people. My melancholy doesn’t make sense to Mom, so she’s been trying to set me up on blind dates ever since I moved back in. “You need yourself a nice man,” she said. Maybe I do. Men aren’t flammable. You can replace them with new men, and since you typically only collect one at a time, it’s not so earth shattering when the collection is destroyed. Right? One way or the other, I keep Jonathon’s number on a slip of paper in my pocket. It’s snowing right now, and the flakes are thick and wet. They remind me of the petals that fell during spring from the Silverbell tree that blocked the front left window of Blanchard’s Books. I think he’d like the snow. He always talked about how he wished snowmen and snow-angels could have been a part of his childhood. Maybe he’d come up for a visit.
Self Infliction ALBERT LENG
Mga Kapatid MOMO MANALANG R. “Land of the morning Child of the sun returning With fervor burning Thee do our souls adore.” – Philippines National Anthem I. Kuya Joy Perched with knees kissed against bent elbows, I watched as you bruise the padding of sandals against wildflowers. The chiseled hips of a lake pressed the concrete jetties, and your silhouette mirrored a palm tree in wrinkled ripples. And you were very much one: hunched and olive skinned – as if the sun herself mapped you an anatomy of photosynthesis. Brother, you pillar of composure, coalesced my ears to the expand of summer’s inhale, where I’d nest in the lungs of a humid afternoon.
II. Kuya Ver Brother, you orphaned sobriety, but as lips staggered the rim of a beer bottle, you gardened Sampaguita with my arid palms; etched an anthem on my nape to stifle the absence of ethnicity. Never had a crooked man built an ardent Narra of my limbs, neither peeled mother’s dialect from my husk of a voicebox. You, some delirium slung upon Red Horse, babbled perpetually of that zealous star hung at the arc of a horizon – eager for patriotism to pulsate a forgotten child of the sun.
Mga Kapatid is the Tagalog word for “brothers”; Kuya is the Tagalog word for “brother”; Red Horse is an alcoholic beverage prominent in the Philippines.
Pelvis SCOTT STEVENS These days whales beach themselves, their air sacs as plastic bags heaving, shrinking, pushing to a crash. Waves and sun and breathing did this to them. They see boardwalks, promenades in air, a current of thick-hipped walkers, waxy, cherry-suckling cups in hand, the fingers of those selling by the two-way walk flap like the gulls that circle overhead. This one whale peeked too far ahead over the brine and made the cut between shore and sea. It paddles the air, to walk and stomp on the land's fresh power, only to form big, rubbery arcs in the sand. Its struggle is cut soon by a snap of shark maw – a swarm now, more sharks fight for vestigial bones and oily meat, more waves of packing peanuts spilled and pink in blood, and pellets selected by the crash for tight atomity. Now that they are sated, the sharks begin migration to open ocean where in and out are great islands of forgotten black bags the sunset incinerates. These days kids cycle through the whale's bones screaming. The skeleton rests as a dry playground. Here the ruby-cheeked children branch out from its pelvis, with two holes spread, gaping, to the boardwalk, to the sky.
Drought RIYA MIRCHANDANEY I think California is a virus the air swallows my humidity popping red pills on my skin dead-eyed hills scratch the bleeding sky the lukewarm blue sky (like nails on a chalkboard) I remember, I remember thinking where do all the balloons go? and I thought it was so mystical but they usually just choke fish.
Dickie’s 2-Cent Lemonade
Bruised Palms, Love Songs ISABELLE JIA I am nothing but a bottomless abyss lined with mucous and saliva and sickness that can’t be cured because it’s bronchitis or something I haven’t wanted to be diagnosed with and it’s not like I’m not mentally ill, I just don’t tell anyone and they think it’s okay. I am okay. And people say that people don’t change but I think I see it every day when I go to school or class or I hug my best friend who didn’t even know my name until this year but we’ve been in the same school since the sixth grade and even a class of 843 had to get around somehow but I guess word never got out that I was broken and hurt and that I let boys sting my flesh until it was contorted into a mask of stitches. Looking back on the state I was in last year was the definition of ugliness. And maybe that isn’t saying a lot but if you knew how I cried at 2 a.m. and I bit lips too hard and climbed walls and pretended to be scared of bicycles that didn’t have any spikes and fell in love with blonde hair and royal blue shirts and held hands with someone who will no longer look me in the eye, you would know. There are too many silver wolves and broken girls and not enough sugar cane in the world. I am lucky to have found someone who plays soccer like he loves every minute of his day but he has a night job tending to the girls that come to him like cracked porcelain dolls from the 80’s. He is mine and he doesn’t mind saying it out loud with a hand clasped intertwining strengths and weaknesses. He is mine when he comes home with tired eyes and grass stains on bruised palms and rolled sleeves and he still has the energy to tell me bedtime stories. He is okay with my swelling diaphragm that sometimes ask for kisses, though he never grants them to me because he knows better than to put me under an enchantment before the night falls because I will come over to his house at 4 a.m. with a bottle of nail polish and don’t forget the top coat because sometimes it seems like I don’t want to see him because I am too tired I am always too tired but I always tell him I’m not when I know he knows I am but he is okay with that he is okay with me he is okay with feelings and needs and you and me and he still stays and I think he’s the one but he knows he isn’t and I know it too but I pretend not to notice when he tells me and I am so sorry I don’t love him enough but he is staying, something you didn’t do. (and i still want you.)
Boys Don’t Cry (Oedipus Revisited) ELSIE PLATZER “To see me made her awful sad And to touch me made her awful sad And to see me made her awful And to touch me made her awful” -Regina Spektor, “Oedipus” The lord and lady stream, lace coated, down the avenue Milk swirls in a mid-brown coffee. One is made of little scales, pixelated, One has been impaled on a broadsword. One yields, one goes; this is a waltz That locks like teeth, or the gears of a machine. He staples himself into her, unwilling to part, even while She rears and whinnies and strains to get away. The back-and-forth, the oom-pah-pah, the four-on-the-floor The Groundhog-Day-loop of remembering she has done this before. It makes me so angry that I was not ready, That the body parts meant to cover me— Lashes and lids, like chrysalises, or petals— Were stripped, with all the delicacy of a harpoon, Meaning to say, none: with only wounds great enough That they had to hover a lighter over the ruined skin and hope it would numb and knit. I learned instead To brave the Iron Maiden’s spiked etiquette. Regency and all it was cracked up to be Made me the same as a scraped bowl Raw, overtaken, awaiting amends. Dad, dad, mom, mom. I have fucked a thousand girls But none of them seem as poisonously sweet As what goes on in the silk capsule of your bed. I have made a thousand Structures in my head: family reunions where we sip Proverbial wine, and pretend not to be speared Like luscious bulbs or boils on the pricks of a crown. Our daguerreotypes wreathed with smiles. We could start it,
Make it rule, make it law; enforce that kind of easy affection With the vines of our crushing, unassailable embrace. We could laminate love unquestioned, crystallize it, make it as impenetrable As the clamped belt my mother wore around her nethers For fifteen years. If my kinsmen die in this war of attrition, so be it. God, it feels good to say that, It feels good to feel like something that has not been Trimmed to crepe-myrtle size, Submissive and flattened Into velvet, like leaves. I know one day the throne will consume me Swallowing up everything but the pupils of my eyes A lack that was already missing. I will wave to the crowd. (Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king Long live the king)
Trí Dé Dána MARIAH STEWART There have been plenty of Vietnam stories, but most people leave out the faeries. I don’t, because I can’t. These days, everyone has some sort of cause – Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, World Peace, Environmentalism. Ours is Faery Awareness. It didn’t start as a movement, but Nadia has fallen into the whole “social revolution” trap. Wingz and Thingz used to be called Trí Dé Dána. “Everyone thinks it’s Spanish,” is what Nadia told me the day I asked her why greasy men in overalls were tearing down our sign. “There’s no point in a store name if nobody knows what it means, let alone what language it’s in.” “Just tell them it’s Gaelic,” I said. Trí Dé Dána was a third generation faery shop. I grew up with the name, Mom grew up with the name, and her mom. You couldn’t just change that overnight. Nadia brushed her marble-swirl nails through her bangs. “Dev, most people don’t even know what Gaelic is. This’ll get us more customers, trust me.” She turned her head to send the sprite on her shoulder a silver-studded smile. The sprite sneezed. Walking into Trí Dé Dána was like entering another world, a forgotten pocket of dimension tucked between an abandoned grocery store and Jayson’s Quick Clips. The air inside was thick with smells that perfume names were trying to get right, but never did: Acai Berry, Ocean Mist, White Diamond, Egyptian Musk. It filled your lungs right up with something liquid. Sometimes I would ask customers what they needed, or if they were looking for something, and they would just smile and say, “Oh, nothing.” Those were the people who were just there for the smells. The shop itself was like a fur robe that was too big, and you couldn’t find the holes for your arms or head. The walls and shelves folded in on themselves, there were stairs and ladders and secret doors. People used to ask our mother why she didn’t organize the place, and she would only arch her eyebrow and say, “If you need it, Trí Dé Dána will find it for you.” The walls were dappled with scarves and rags cut from cloths all over the world, or glittering with bangles of jewelry. Plants grew on the walls and ceiling, their roots building and twisting so that the very skeleton of the store was alive and crawling with insects. There were no light bulbs in Trí Dé Dána – only a soft glow that seemed to seep out of the shelves or leak from the cracks in the wall. We sold clothes, but they were ancient and strange, their colors rich. There were bottles of potions, faery dust, teeth, bones, playing cards, thimbles, fingernail shavings, and bottle caps. And then, of course, there were the faeries. You could hear them more than you could see them. Most faeries didn’t talk to people, but they gossip like you wouldn’t believe. Throughout the shop is a constant
bustle of excitement – hushed voices, lilts of whispers and giggles. There’s buzzing and flapping, clicking of exoskeletons and the crunch of potato chips. Seeing them takes some practice. Most people don’t realize that our “faery shop” actually has faeries inside of it. But most people don’t know that the last species of griffon is hiding out in the Rocky Mountains. That’s why Nadia bought the T-shirts. I came down from SAIC to visit, and when I walked in the store I could barely recognize it. The colors were wrong, the smell was wrong. Mixed in with the liquid was a plastic scent of factory dye and rubber printing. The colors were fake – Crayola red and newscaster green. I took a hanger off a branch and scrunched my nose at the Tshirt slogan: Always be yourself unless you can be a unicorn. Then be a unicorn. Next to the T-shirts was a shelf of coffee-mugs, magnets, and buttons, each with a slogan cornier than the last. “Like it? I ordered them custom made!” Nadia was behind the counter, scratching a dragon under its chin. Its lid was half shut, a yellow sliver of eyeball shining through. It was then I realized the sound of the store was different, too. I tilted my head and frowned as I recognized the crackling tune. “Is that… John Lennon?” “Oh yeah. Hooked up the place with a radio, finally. Now people can listen to their jams!” I opened my mouth to protest, but before I could say anything Nadia had marched over and shoved a flyer in my face. “And we’re picketing tomorrow, so dress for the cold.” I swatted the paper away. “Picketing?” “Yeah, for Faery Awareness, duh!” She swirled her nail-polished hands to indicate the shop. “People gotta know these guys exist, Dev! No more of this hiding-in-thecorner, ‘Oh, people don’t understand.’ We’ll make them understand.” Her green eyes glittered, perhaps foreseeing a day when people would no longer look at us weird when we said we worked at a faery shop. The dragon on the desk watched us with a mellow gaze. It puffed a neglected smoke ring. “Nadia, the point of Trí Dé Dána is that the faeries feel comfortable here. They don’t want to be seen.” “Don’t call it that, it’s not cool.” “Oh, because replacing every ‘s’ with a ‘z’ is sooo radical.” Nadia put a finger to my forehead and pushed me backwards. “And that’s why I didn’t go to college. Pick out a T-shirt, it’s gonna be groovy!” It wasn’t groovy. It was cold and raining so that the marker on our signs smeared and looked like the word “faery” was dripping blood. We were following an anti-war protest, but it wasn’t long before they figured out we weren’t part of their group. I was
beginning to catch a cold, and started sneezing big globs of snot everywhere. Some of it landed in this hippie’s hair that was so long it brushed the top of his toes. Long story short, I spent that night with a dragon at the foot of my bed and for once I didn’t mind the smell. I tried to tell Nadia that “speaking for the faeries” was a really bad idea, but she didn’t listen. I began to dread my visits as the store lost its magical smell and filled up with more T-shirts, snow globes, music boxes and – I nearly fell over when I saw them – Tinker Bell merch. “Can you believe this?!” I said to a sprite, pointing at the figurine of the scantily clad blue-eyed “fairy”. The sprite looked Tinker Bell up and down. It can’t fly, she said, before zinging off to a different section of the store. Sprites are very proud. They’re also not very beautiful. “Mom would hate all of this,” I sighed. But she’s not here. A swallow-tailed faery was smoking a cigar in one of the coffee mugs. He tapped the ashes off the edge of the cup. She’s dead. “Yeah, thanks. And smoking is bad for your wings.” The faery sank lower into the mug so I could no longer see him, the small tendril of smoke curling from the mug so it looked like it was filled with hot chocolate. Nearby a group of fairies were huddled in front of the TV Nadia had installed. “… And like many other experiments out here, revolutionary development is now on its way out. In its place are expected American troops. The new theory is that revolutionary development may look good on paper, but nothing pacifies quite like old-fashioned military might. Bob Jones NBC news, in the Mekong Delta.” I switched off the TV, much to the disappointment of the faeries. I tried not to think too much of the faery shop and concentrate on my studies. It was the last semester of my senior year in undergrad, and I was applying for an internship at an art studio in Chicago. My works were like something straight out of the faery shop, but before it was here – back when the land was a tangle of woods and wilderness, back before we cut down all the trees and drew lines across the earth. I wanted people to remember what we had lost, who the land belonged to before we got here. As much as I loved Trí Dé Dána, running the shop had always been a job for the women in the family. I wanted to branch out and do other things, maybe paint a few pieces that Nadia could sell in the store once I got famous. All of that came to an end, when one balmy afternoon I found an envelope lying on the store counter. A group of faeries was sitting nearby, rustling their wings and whispering to each other. “What’s going on?” I asked, not that I expected them to tell me.
That letter smells bad. It smells like big sweaty men. It smells like metal and oil. It smells important. Read it! Read it, Devon, read it! Then throw it away. But not in here. No, take it out of here! I felt a strange weight settle in my stomach. Faeries had a way of telling the nature of something by the way it smelled. My throat closed up when I caught sight of the American Eagle Seal on the back of the envelope. Open it, Devon, open it and throw it away! It smells like ignorance. Like politics, I hate politics, what’s the point of politics? It smells like a pretty girl at a typewriter. She was crying, wasn’t she? It smells like smeared mascara and salt. Open it! Open it! More faeries had fluttered to the counter and their bickering became so rushed and excited that I could no longer tell what they were saying. My legs had physically frozen to the floor, my chest stopped moving and I just stared at the envelope. My only audience was that gossiping group of faeries, but for some reason it felt as though the entire world was watching. What’s wrong, why won’t he open it? He’s scared. He doesn’t want to hear what the sweaty men have to say. It smells dark green. It smells like blood. He’s scared, like when his mom died. He’s scared! He’s scared! “STOP!” I shouted, and waved my hand so that the faeries squealed and scattered in all directions, bright yellows and blues and greens zig-zagging up to land on the walls and shelves, small eyes peering over the edge of coffee mugs, tiny fingers curled in anticipation. There was a hush, as the faeries’ commotion fell to a few scattered whispers. My hands shook as I picked up the letter and opened it. I saw the first line and closed my eyes. I didn’t want to read any more. ORDER TO REPORT FOR INDUCTION The shop held its breath. For a moment I considered asking a dragon to burn the letter. But everyone was waiting for me to read it, they would never leave me alone until I finished. I opened my eyes. The President of the United States To: Devon MacVarish You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States, and to report at ASSEMBLY ROOM – 17TH FLOOR, FEDERAL BLDG 1000 BELLWOOD, CHICAGO, IL on MAY 21, 1969 at 7 A.M. for forwarding to an Armed forces induction Station. I felt something twist in my stomach and my chest, as if someone was stepping on my ribcage. Just then the bell to the store rang, and the rustle of plastic bags filled up the silence.
“Oh, hey, Dev! Just got back from some shopping, they had some great discounts on more coffee mugs, and I know you don’t like that stuff but – “ Nadia’s voice hung in the air, and the click of her boots neared me. I stared off at the wall, my throat dry. “Dev? What’s wrong?” I didn’t say anything. “What’s that letter?” Somewhere a sprite sneezed. ! I don’t think you could kill anybody. The faery sitting on the shelf above my bed sat with her legs crossed, finger twirling through her red hair. I was lying on my bed staring at the ceiling, trying to make sense of the images in my head: Me, holding an AK-47, me, with one of those round helmets and mud-caked combat boots. Me, pulling the pin to a grenade, me, lying face up in the jungle with my eyes rolled into the back of my head, blood trickling out of my mouth. Me, dead. I flexed my fingers to make sure they could still move. You’re too nice. And I like your art. Can you make art with guns? “It’s a different kind of art.” My voice was flat. It felt like another person was lying on the bed trying to sort out his life, and I was perched on the ceiling with a bag of potato chips just watching. Or maybe I was the faery on the shelf, with her slanted green eyes and a swinging foot. Why do you have to go? “President’s orders.” Just fly away, then. I slid my gaze to the faery and she blushed. Oh. Sorry. “I could run to Canada. Or hurt myself so I fail the physical.” They were possibilities, but not likely. If I went to Canada, I could never come back. And I was afraid of the war for the same reason I was afraid to hurt myself. I didn’t do pain. There’s a story about a faery who was in love with a water sprite. He loved her so much that he ripped out his own wings to be with her. But his love for her was so great that it spilled right out of his wing sockets and killed him. The faery tossed her hair. Sprites are ugly, anyway. Is Canada ugly? “I don’t think so.” Are there faeries in Vitheran? “Vietnam,” I corrected. “And I guess. It’s not as urbanized as here, and the jungle’s great for hiding out. Kind of like Trí Dé Dána before Nadia turned it into a souvenir shop.”
The faery brightened and sat up straight on the shelf, her wings flicking closed and open again. Could we come? I almost laughed. “You? Go to Nam? This isn’t a field trip. The place is a hundred degrees and it rains pretty much every day. You guys aren’t adapted to an environment like that, plus we’re torching the place. You wanna get turned into a French fry?” The faery crossed her arms and glared at me. We don’t like it here. It’s not the same. It smells like plastic and fake people and money. I want to smell rain and fire. “How about death?” I asked, and the faery averted her eyes. I already know what that smells like. I remembered how a small group of the faeries had snuck into the funeral service when Mom died. They came in early to leave small trinkets of gratitude – beads, shoes, flower petals, faery dust, string, clips of hair. I could hear them whispering about what she smelled like, and how nice she was, and what a shame it was that she had passed. Some of the faeries even cried. Then the door opened and the crowd of funeralgoers started to file in, and the faeries whirled up and flew out of the church. Later I heard some ladies talking about it. “Did you see those butterflies at the beginning of the service?” “Yes, I’ve never seen anything like it!” I pictured myself lying face-up in a coffin, the tear in my cheek sewed up and the hole in my ribcage invisible to any passerby. I could see the huddle of faeries as they crowded around, wings flicking open and shut in curiosity as they whispered amongst themselves. He smells like rice and sweat. He smells like playing cards and cigarettes and gunpowder. I smell tears and oil and a thousand gallons of rain. They would talk for hours about the different things they smelled. Maybe they would smell the family I had killed with a grenade, or the flecks of skull that landed on my neck when my best friend got shot. The picture of my sergeant’s girlfriend, with her pink tennis skirt and smooth brown thighs. They would smell ghost stories and piss and mosquito bites. Rice noodles, dope, comic books. They would smell the welcomehome parade that never happened. I shook my head. “There’s a lot more out there than rain and fire.” The faery bounced a little on the shelf, her lips pulled into a mischievous smile. It sounds like fun. Do you think the faeries there have feathers on their wings? Or scales? Or maybe they look like bats and have sharp teeth. She crouched like Spider Man, hissing and clawing the air. Then she laughed, a sound so high-pitched that I couldn’t hear it. “It’s not sharp teeth I’m worried about,” I mumbled.
Maybe they’re tall with tails, or poisonous fangs. I wonder what language they speak, or what clothes they wear. Maybe one would ask me to marry him. Maybe I could live in Vitheran! “Vietnam,” I said, but she had already fluttered out of my room to go tell the others about this magical place that Devon was going. I stared at the crack in the door where she had left, feeling the knot in my stomach tighten. If I was a faery, this wouldn’t be happening to me. I could curl up inside of a coffee mug and hold my breath, and nobody would find me. I closed my eyes and imagined what it would be like to die. I could smell the burnt stench of my flesh. I could feel the blood leak out of my chest like a spilled tank of gasoline. I could hear a small voice whisper in my ear beyond the shrieking of insects, Just fly away, then.
The Dream I Had Last Night
How it Happened ISABELLE JIA I used to be frightened by your presence that eventually, I turned to stuffing my body in a bottle of sleeping pills. I hid them under my bed because my mother said, “You’re not old enough to have sleeping problems.” So on night that I didn’t want to drink water and take medication (that I force-swallowed) to feel some happiness, I’d lay in the darkness remembering— you. me. us. Eventually, I gave myself away. You always told me not to, but God I was so hungry and I ravenously bit into the white specks, scattered, on the bottom of the ground until the bottle was empty.
Echo, my voice tough like my heart, both broken somehow. I bet it was because I was dying, dying from pounding on the walls of the cell I like to call home. 30
Mouth CHRISTINA IM Minefield mouth is a blank page. Begs to be written on. Your hands spark wild but you keep your distance; mother warned you about those boys. Mouth is a question shouted in the dead of night and you’re carving all the answers in your skin. Your pen is splitting you open but you can’t stop— —no matter. This ink and your blood never looked much different anyway. Minefield mouth keeps you up at night. In every dream it gets closer and closer. Somewhere between now and sunrise you forget to watch your step and it’s only a matter of time before those lips blow you to pieces. In every dream you’ve birthed accidental explosives. Mouth is just the loudest of them all and mouth is only the beginning. Five, four, three, two one— —you expected this, this ringing in your ears, a thunderclap death against the still white sky. Minefield mouth is inevitable. Steals its way into you. Asks, who do you think you are, playing queen, playing god? Mouth screams through your poetry. You’ve lost all your wars before they’ve even begun. Your kingdom for a kiss. Mouth is the stuff of myth. These violent delights have violent ends— —you’re dying to stay and watch. Shouldn’t, but what’s a muse without the madness? Minefield mouth could only ever be yours. Meets you head-on. Mouth is once upon a time, mouth is the end, mouth is all of this at once and suddenly it’s the big bang, right there in your skull: pure technicolor. Metaphor incarnate. You wonder if you’re dreaming. Decide you don’t care. You shouldn’t be so good at this— —you’ve never done it before. But then you always did have a storyteller’s tongue.
Light STEPHANIE LU most of the time my bedroom walls are the color of old-fashioned cough syrup, sticky pink and ready to choke but in the evening sun they fade to pale lilac and i can almost forgive whoever painted them that way i mean even people get to looking better in certain slants of light— you, for example, standing in your garden at dusk soft shadows playing across the planes of your face as though you had become entirely reborn.
Still EMILY HEDGEPETH Velvet royal—blush, black, claret. Soft-ly shift-ing. Will you be plush? Will you static cling to my wash? Will you bleed My clean, crisp, underwear thoughts red? Through each stale Sunday afternoon The reverberating punc-ture Of your silent, sticky sighs Still remains.
Nolan GRACE TAN In the beginning God created Nolan. And God said, “Let there be time travel,” and thence was fabricated the time capsule that would carry Nolan until the end of his life. And Nolan found himself in a giant ceiling-less courtroom, seated in the defendant seat. It was ten o’clock on the morning of November 16, 2009. He was wearing the navy suit—the one in which his coffee-a-holic father would forego his usual seven or eight cups just to avoid stains, the one that he wore on days he showed up late to work, since no boss could give a look of disapproval to a man in that suit. And yet there Nolan sat, absorbing disapproving and disgusted looks that came from all corners of the room. He looked desperately to his side, but no lawyer was there to support him. There was a tall stand for the judge at the front of the room, one that extended into the heavens. The judge was not there yet. Turns out the trial wasn’t scheduled until April 23 of 2059, the day that the ninety-year-old Nolan would breathe his last. But the court didn’t care. Thousands scrambled over the barrier between the public seating and the main court floor and ascended a ladder to the top of the judge’s stand. Together, they shouted his sentence from above: humiliation and public shunning for life! They grabbed the gavel and banged it against the cold wooden surface. Case closed, they cried. ! Nolan liked television. Indeed, he liked television very much. In fact, for practically his entire life, Nolan had pressed the red button on the remote control only to turn the T.V. on, never to turn it off. Until he moved off to college, it had been his mom’s job to shout at him to turn off “that-devilish-brain-frying-box” three times before she stormed into the living room to do so for him. Then at college, it became his roommate’s job. And nowadays, even his cat had learned the magic of stepping on the remote control until the strange, colorful box turned black, an action key to getting her human’s attention long enough to be fed. One evening after work, Nolan arrived home to find another mysterious package at his door. “Handcrafted just for you,” the note said. It was a small T.V. set with a remote control that had two buttons: one labeled “On/Off” and another labeled “Next Channel.” Nolan set up the device and turned it on.
A news report from 2004. A red-faced senator from Texas appeared on the screen, passionately using procreation as an argument against same-sex marriage. Around him, people cheer. Click. The next channel shows another news report from 2011. A reporter interviews an excited demographer. The world population has reached seven billion. Click. Two men proudly present the nursery they have prepared, but the couple is rejected by countless orphanages and adoption agencies. Click. An inside look into an orphanage. An infant cries. No one comes. And for the first time in years, the cat got a day off from her job. Because for the first time in years, Nolan found television unsettling, and the screen went black. ! Nolan was nine years old. It was July of 1978 in Jacksonville, Florida, where temperatures and humidity levels continuously climbed upward during the summer months. On Sundays, Nolan’s mother made him wear a suit to Sunday school. It was sweltering in the suit, but Nolan put on a brave face and endured. During Sunday school, the teacher talked about Adam and Eve. One kid raised his hand wildly in the air. “Can God do anything?” “Yes,” the teacher replied. “Then why didn’t He just make Adam and Eve so they wouldn’t sin? Why did He give them a chance to sin and then punish them when they did?” “He wanted to give humans the free will to choose whether or not to sin.” “Why?” The teacher smiled. “God doesn’t barge in. He knocks and waits for us to answer.” She then went on to read about Adam and Eve’s nakedness and about sewing fig leaves for clothing. Nolan sat quietly in his own clothes, perspiring. ! And Nolan then saw himself as the aspiring child engineer, constructing his robot project. The room was a mess of metal pieces and batteries and tools. One, two, three, four, five—five robots that he had built for the upcoming science competition. All were programmed to spin in a clockwise direction, but Model 5 was spinning counterclockwise. So Nolan opened it up, readjusted the wiring, and fixed it so it spun clockwise.
Years later in his old age, Nolan would be suffering from a brain aneurysm that required surgical operations. Weeks before his surgery, he would have continuous nightmares involving his surgeons. “Looks like you’re Model 5, Nolan.” “It’s time to fix your brain.” “We’re going to reprogram you—that’s what you’ve always wanted, isn’t it?” And the surgeons would laugh and laugh and laugh while Nolan would spin and spin and spin, always counterclockwise, no matter what they tried. Then Nolan would wake up suddenly with tears on his pillow and wonder where in the world society had hidden the free will God had promised him. It must have been buried, submerged somewhere deep beneath piles and piles of condemnation. ! It was sometime around his thirteenth birthday when Nolan first began receiving packages from “No One”. It would only be years later when he would realize that the mail was delivered from a replica of himself in an alternate parallel universe. His first delivery arrived in his painting class. It was a leather-bound Bible with a note scrawled on the inside page: This is God’s word. Use it well. The words echoed in Nolan’s mind. He suddenly felt ill. The classroom spun and Nolan blinked. The Bible became a dagger. His teacher and classmates surrounded him and pierced him with the written word as well as with words of their own. And suddenly it seemed as though people had changed the rules so that the free will Nolan had heard about became a matter of choosing between faith and compassion. “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female!” they cried. 1 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” Nolan whispered. 2 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination!” they shouted. 3 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged,” Nolan declared. 4 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?” they roared. 5 “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law!” Nolan bellowed. 6 “Nolan!” And Nolan awoke on the floor to a frantic art teacher leaning over him. “Oh thank goodness! You need some air. It must have been the paint fumes.”
Nolan peered at the Bible on his desk. In his mind, his cry had soared above the crowds and silenced them. And Nolan had always waited for the right moment to carry out this image. But in reality, the crowds repeatedly silenced Nolan and stabbed him again and again with their hatred. But perhaps he was thinking too much. It must have been the paint fumes. ! When Nolan was fourteen months old, his vocabulary expanded to a full ten words, much to the delight of his mother. At the same time, however, his wobbly steps disappeared as he reverted back to crawling. By the age of four, Nolan had developed a fantastic imagination, becoming a part time pirate, a part time princess, and a part time dragon. And yet simultaneously, his mother found herself having to help feed him at dinnertime again, something she had not done for almost a year. “It’s always one step forward and two steps back with you, isn’t it?” she would sigh. ! Sometimes at night, the forty-year-old Nolan would crawl into his cold bed, draw his knees up towards his chest, and wrap his arms around them. And the room would close in on him, its harsh walls and corners melting away into a smooth, soft shell encompassing him, the blackness growing darker. Liquid would seep up from beneath him and swell to take over the space where air had been, dragging time backwards along with it. In the warm space, Nolan would hear the faint, muffled sound of a news broadcast. “…breaking news regarding the riots that occurred at the Stonewall Inn in New York City this early morning…” Then as soon as it had appeared, the liquid would disappear and light would flood in. The tape in his mind would run through, showcasing flashes of memories— listening to his parents’ hushed whispers about him at night, reading in the school bulletin about the gay teen who committed suicide, pouring out the entire bottle of his father’s prescription drugs and just barely convincing himself not to go forth with his plan. The reel would come to a stop at the present moment, and Nolan would sit up and stare out the window into the rest of the world. “It’s always one step forward and two steps back with you, isn’t it?” 1
Leviticus 18:22, 2 John 8:7, 3 Leviticus 20:13, 4 Matthew 7:1, 5 1 Corinthians 6:9, 6 Romans 13:9-10 * 38
Classroom Southside JOHN GREY
There is a time when death is an exercise in ballistics, the passage of a bullet through the barrel of a gun, the air, the backbone of the target – and also physics, the speed of the drive-by vehicle versus the stroll of the kid on the sidewalk – it could even be art if this was just a movie – so how come no one's screaming, hey come look quick, there's an instructive lesson in mechanics going on outside, or a fascinating puzzle in linear motion and displacement or what a show, can't wait to see it in 3D – but mostly it's an anatomy class, a body blasted open and a spout of a blood – or optometry – couldn't make out the number of that car – or the law - it's black on black - who gives a damn ~ or mathematics - poverty equals violence – or genealogy – who's going to tell his mother? in a tough part of town, there's no end to the schooling.
Fight Me KATE LAZAR
the world is young NATALIE BARCH
The Nurse JAMES VALVIS I called my dad three days before he died. He was in the hospital, but he was always in the hospital then, and there was no reason not to expect him home again in a day or so. We talked for ten minutes, and he wanted to know how the novel was going. I told him nothing had changed. My agent couldn’t sell it. And my father said, That’s too bad. And I said, You’re telling me, oh father. I was always saying things like that: oh father, dear father, dad of my loins, daddy dearest. Other than that I have no clue what we talked about. The conversation was dull, even by our standards. And then he had to rush off the line because the nurse, wanted him to do something or wanted to do something for him. Okay, I said. Well, see ya, daddy-five-oh! And in three days, when the phone rang, I knew I’d goofed my final opportunity to tell him—what? Even now I can’t say it. If you gave me a hundred more shots at that last phone call I still would have done the same thing, talked about inanities, laughed at my jokes while he listened. The only thing that still pisses me off is the nurse. What could she have been doing that was so important she needed to interrupt a father and son’s last words to each other?
Blueprint of Vanquish TIFFANY MADRUGA
Yellow House SARAH TRAN He woke up in a yellow house. His room was in an attic with ceiling beams that crossed each other in a mess he couldn’t make sense of and air that almost hurt to breathe in. There was a bed and a sink orange with rust by the window. The gauzy curtains blew, gently, lazily; they didn’t have anywhere else to go. The walls, they were made of wood, painted a long time ago in a color no one knows anymore, and when he stood on the floor, the warped planks edged dark with shadows, it creaked with age and dusty exhaustion. But it held his weight, and he walked to the window, a notch in the wall with enough space to leave a seat, its cushion a fatigued grey but young enough to take his knees when he knelt on it, and outside the window was a sky as blue as time and a field of yellow grass that he knew stretched on forever, or at least as much of forever as he knew. He walked down the stairs, clinging to the unpainted banister as if his life depended on it, each step unleashing a flurry of dust that whirled angrily around his ankles, and thought the echoes of his walking made the house sound alone. There was a floor under his room in the attic, and another, though each floor was only as big as the space he had woken up in. The first floor had a tiny cupboard and a tiny table and a tiny stove, but he didn’t need much, anyway. The second floor had a bookcase and a chair by the window. He was right. There was no one, unless he counted as someone, which he couldn’t decide half the time when he was awake or asleep. If he walked outside, he’d know that there was a window sticking out from the roof as if someone had shoved it there, and that was the window of his room. There were two other windows on one side of the house, one for each floor, and the walls of the house were as yellow as the sun, and the door was as white as the clouds. He didn’t leave the house. ! He lived in a yellow house. Every morning the warmth of the sunrise seeped into his room in the attic through the window with the grey window seat cushion and touched his face gently enough to wake him up. He ran the faucet in the orange sink, and the small trickle of water the faucet coughed up wasn’t enough to turn the sink not orange but he didn’t mind because it was just enough to cup in his hands and bring to his dry lips to soothe his throat. And then he walked down the stairs past the floor with the bookcase to the floor with the cupboard and table and stove and he took down a red plate from the
cupboard and spooned the cold remnants of dinner the night before, still in the pot on the stove, on the plate. He ate the food and walked up the stairs to the second floor. He took a book from the bookcase, he sat down by the window, and he read. He never seemed to get tired of the books on the bookcase. At night he went up the stairs to his room in the attic and he laid on his bed. The ceiling beams were all that were between him and the night, and the spaces they left were more than enough for him to see. The sky was huge, and the sky was vast; he tried to count the stars but there were always too many. When there was a moon, sometimes hanging low and round in the sky and sometimes a sliver as big as his nail an impossible number of miles above his head, the light it cast bled through the holes in the roof and struck the floor. If he squinted his eyes he could almost pretend the shapes the moon painted on his legs covered in his blankets danced. ! He loved a boy in a yellow house. His boy came to him over a ragged white fence with pickets that cut into your bare feet if you weren’t careful. Over the white fence and over the field of yellow grass he walked, and when he was done walking his boy found his yellow house, and his boy found him. His boy was the first person he remembered meeting in his life, the only person like him, maybe the only person in the whole world. They grew together, their days stretching and mixing until you couldn’t tell whose were whose anymore. Mornings, he woke his boy with a kiss on the cheek, and nights, they’d dance in his room in the attic with the light of the moon as their music, sweaty palms lined up like it seemed they’d always meant to be, his face buried in the space between his boy’s jaw and shoulder like a lost puzzle piece that had finally found its home. When they fell to bed he traced the pale white lines that made up his boy’s chest and arms and legs with his mouth, devouring warmth and being devoured because their youth was a hunger that could never be satisfied. They kissed lip to lip, jaw to jaw, messily but right; they kissed like the world would never, ever stop spinning, like it belonged to them. He breathed his boy in, inhaled his pulse, and after their breaths lined up like a rhythm to a song that would never end he whispered into his mouth the truth; he whispered into his mouth, “my love is another kind.” He took his boy into his home like he took him into his heart. He didn’t have much but he had his books, and he had his boy, and it was more than enough. It was more than he deserved. !
He dreamed in a yellow house. Sleep came to him most nights like fog, slow but unstoppable, gradual but inescapable. The darkness in his head bloomed across the canvas of his closed eyelids until it surrounded him and transformed into colors he never knew existed, pictures of things and people he had never seen. He followed the images without really thinking about why he did it, the things he wanted floating so close to his outstretched fingertips but he never did touch them, did he? Half the time in the morning, when his boy chased the darkness away with warm lips, he didn’t even remember what he’d been looking for. Sometimes he held onto a glimmer, though, a slice of a moment, a shadow of his dreams. A purple flower, so many petals its stem drooped, grew in the middle of a field in the spotlight of the moon, feeding on the reflected light, reaching for the stars it would never taste. A river of gold rushed by his feet, and he never swam in it but he knew if he did he’d know either nothing but happiness or nothing but pain. He knew it was impossible to have both, in the river of gold. A long room stretched in front of him endlessly, its shadows gathering in conspiracy. He ran into the infinity of it, and along its walls there were statues, impossibly tall; he couldn’t see the tops of them because the shadows embraced them too. So many statues with no faces. And as he ran, as he ran and ran and ran, he didn’t look at them but he knew if he did he would see them reaching for him. He saw feathers in all of his dreams, feathers the color of night. He saw birds. He didn’t know where they were from, but they were always there. He tried to forget about them. It was a mistake. ! They came for him in a yellow house. The birds from nowhere flew across the gray sky and circled around the roof, and they shrieked for him to come out. He was going to ignore them, he was; but they wouldn’t stop, not even at night time, and he couldn’t watch his boy hold his hands over his head like it would fall apart any second anymore. He didn’t know what to do. He’d never been out of his house before. The thought made him feel as if the world would fall from beneath his feet. But they wouldn’t stop, the birds wouldn’t stop calling for him. He had to come to them. He did. He walked outside and they landed in a circle around him. The air filled with black feathers; he was going to choke on black feathers. The tips of their wings brushed against his face like razors. The shrieking didn’t stop. It exploded, gathering inward and bursting out and embedding tinny voices into his ears and it wouldn’t stop, it filled
him up from his toes to his head, and he was drowning in fear and feathers. Their beaks dug into his skin, digging until they hit bone that was dry as sand, and they didn’t let go. He fell to his knees. He closed his eyes, or tried to, but they hooked their claws into his eyelids and forced him to watch. A bird landed in front of him, and it grew into a faceless white statue. It didn’t have a mouth, but it opened its mouth anyway, and blood poured from its lips, pooling on the barren ground in puddles of drool and crimson. Your love is another kind, it said, and it reached out with its hands and pushed its fingers into his skull, into his thoughts, crushing the feeling out of them. The birds weren’t birds anymore. They were black tentacles that wrapped around him, that constricted around his neck, that shoved themselves down his throat, through his eyes, his nose, his ears, and all he saw and heard and felt was black. But when his boy looked out the window, his boy saw nothing. He was alone. All alone, but for the birds and the darkness in his head. ! He walked away from a yellow house. There was nothing between the sides of his head. He said nothing. He felt nothing. His eyes slid over his boy like he couldn’t see him, like his boy didn’t exist. It was like he didn’t exist, and sometimes his boy could almost convince himself that he was a ghost, no matter how much he touched him and proved otherwise. There was nothing in his eyes. There was nothing in him. He was something when he was asleep, but he didn’t want to be. He didn’t want to so bad. The dreams at night pressed against him, flooding his lungs with shadows that wouldn’t leave him alone, and every time he closed his eyes he heard the flapping of wings and he felt razor feathers brush against his naked body. The birds never went away. They thirsted for his soul. They whispered in a scream for him to come to them. He closed his eyes and he covered his ears, but they got underneath his skin anyway, they burrowed into his heart and his intestines. They were always with him, they were always inside him. He could feel them moving under his skin, sinking themselves into the underside of his flesh, eating into the softness of his organs. In his sleep he scratched at his face until it came off in bloody strips of flesh that stayed stuck under his fingernails to make them go away. They didn’t. And then he woke up and there was nothing again, nothing except for the birds and the darkness. He couldn’t make it stop. There was only one way to make it stop. For the second time in his life, in the middle of his nothing days, he opened the door and he walked across the field of yellow grass. Maybe if he walked far enough away he could reach the
ocean. Maybe he could give himself that. But he knew it wasn’t true. He would never reach the ocean. He could only reach what waited for him at the end of the field of yellow grass. And he had to. But he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to so bad. ! His boy died in a yellow house. But his boy waited, yes he did, his boy waited for days, months, years for him to come back. His boy knew he had to come back. The yellow house was nothing without him; he was nothing without the yellow house. The first few days were the easiest. But as each second passed, as they shoved themselves past him and accumulated into wasteful accusations, it was harder and harder for his boy to wake up, to eat, to breathe. His boy had thrown away everything for him. His boy was nothing without him. His boy became a man, but he didn’t know how to be a man. He didn’t know how to live. One day he built a fire in the kitchen and he took the books from the bookcase and he threw them into the fire because he thought that the sound and smell of the oftloved words burning to death and nonexistence would make him come back. He didn’t. And then the words were gone forever, and he had nothing left to his heart or his name. He had nothing but the sadness that weighed on him like boulders. His boy went up to the attic with the orange sink and the grey cushioned window seat. His boy took a rope and he threw it over the ceiling beams above his head. And when the sun handed the sky over to the full moon, when its dance painted the stained floorboards with its silent music he placed a chair under the rope and he whispered, “our love was another kind,” and he tightened it around his neck and he kicked the chair from under his feet. His boy had almost forgotten what he tasted like, how comforting his embrace was. The noose choking the life out of his boy was more comforting in those last moments of his life than his embrace ever was. No one came for his boy. No one let his boy’s body down. Mold grew in his unseeing eyes and his bones shriveled up until the things that were left of him were the smell of death and a pile of mottled skin. The yellow house never fell down. Neither did his boy’s body. His face fell away, but his teeth stayed in his skull, and he smiled forever at the moon. ! I died in a yellow house.
Cassandra’s Aftermath MEGGIE ROYER Sister, you are the last one left. Please believe me. At dinner he presented me with a crown of gold, a bouquet of roses, their petals tipped with silver. We feasted among candles. He stopped drinking for meno longer any beer cans to tiptoe among like eggshells, no fluted wine goblets. He tied me down to the bed, sister. When I refused he kissed me swollen, he was a knife, a spear, salt inside me, sister, everyone tells me it was my fault, I should have wanted a man beautiful as him. I sit in this room and look at the moon, watch the orchards with their cherries bloom, sister, would I would not do to slide their dark red bodies into my mouth. To live again. To taste their juice, their pulsing tender breath. He has destroyed me, sister. Please, of all people, listen.
Secret Club PRIYA THOMAS In it In my head there are girls holding my hair back when I dry-heave, wiping my mouth with their hands after I retch green strawberry leaves and the Smuckers jelly I ate straight from the jar with a plastic spoon. They sit in dark rooms with me when I play with scissors, and together we bind our arms with yarn from old knitting kits until we have violet bangles glistening on our wrists. We are a secret club, meeting at lunches to sour our mouths with orange peels and apple seeds, meeting at midnight to bake brownies and hop around the kitchen like rabbits, teeth chattering, feverishly gnawing on our fingers like carrots. Then when we can’t wait any longer we rip the pan from the oven before the timer is up, scalding our palms on the metal, licking the half-baked batter off the sides ‘till our tongues are chocolate-brown and peppered with burns. We have baking parties, and we never make it to the oven-beep. We like raw ingredients, doughy and thick and sweet, kneaded on bare countertops and barely blended, so we can see the yellow swirls of egg yolk like spiral art inside. We chew hard and fast, a hundred pink tongues wriggling between yellowed teeth, desperate to lick and bite and swallow all at once. Then we have our bathroom sessions, with toothbrushes in our throats and lemon soap on the side. We squirt bubbles in our mouths and cry into each other’s shoulders when we can’t be clean, when our lips are still dirty and buzzing with flies. We go upstairs and confess our sins with fingernail punishments, repenting for our secret shames with sharp edges and salty soap-opera tears. We are each other’s sob stories. We are actresses in epic dramas, red-carpet Oscar-winners. We play our parts dutifully, tearing up a little in the painful scenes, smiling for the camera when we peel ourselves raw, proud of the colors we unearth from our skin. In the school cafeteria we are the ones who don’t talk, the ones who can feel the itch of people’s eyes on our necks as we stare into our plaid skirts and navy blue kneesocks. They don’t know how we are at home, wild and frizzy-haired and insatiable, like dogs. We walk through hallways with smiles decomposing on our faces, smiles we pinned there and forgot to take down, like the plastic mirrors and sticky notes in our lockers. They can’t see what we do when we walk out the doors, when the paint cracks and our faces melt into freak-show faces, squinty-eyes and O-shaped mouths. How we
stare dumbly at the black-spots dancing on the walls, flicking our legs to see if it will hurt. We are thick-skinned; we can’t feel much. Sometimes we are like whales, absorbing sounds and colors in our blubber before they can permeate our brains. Sometimes we are like Olympic athletes, reflecting sunshine off our muscled stomachs, absorbing nothing. And sometimes we are a tangle of bones, too heavy to be held in place. We wake up in the morning all disassembled, mosaic pieces of ourselves lost in the blankets. We are too weak to get up and carry them, so we sleep longer. Sometimes I think back to how the club first started deteriorating. At first we were all little match girls, swearing to march faithfully through our teenage years kneedeep in snow, feet bare, flurries melting into our hair. We would brave the cold and light toothpick matches, one by one, taunting ourselves with pockets of warmth and then snuffing them out. One day, we said, we’d be able to live in the dark. We wouldn’t need the distractions, the ice cubes and the plastic spoons warmed up in the microwave to set our teeth on edge. One day, we’d be able to live in the cold. “This is easy,” we think now, swishing our ponytails, swishing our little wrists and ankles that suddenly feel so pliable. “We can bend, flick, kick, run, dance. We should see what we can do. We should tie our calves in ribbons and french braid our torsos. We should play dress-up and wear bracelets on our thighs.” Then it starts to hurt. We start making our midnight excursions, our naughty-girl trips, tears of excitement beading on our eyelashes. We are so happy we can’t breathe, so exhilarated our hearts click like wind-up toys. We learn a different kind of high: instant gratification. For once we don’t have to wait hours and hours to feel it tingling in our feet. We just open cabinets, peel plastic, stretch our mouths wide. Try the Domino bag with the magic white sparkles, it’ll make you glow in the dark. Try the yellow box with the chocolate pixie dust; it’ll make you fly. We don’t bother going back to sleep ‘cause we can’t. We just reverse everything we’ve done with our index fingers and think Ican’tdothisIcan’tdothis, a big caterpillar of words streaming out our mouths with all the smells and colors of our mistakes. It heaves its corpulent body up our throat, swings on our uvula, and cannon-balls into the toilet with a giant splash. We watch it thrash in the water, floundering for our attention, and wonder what it would be like if we could listen to that poor, drowning little caterpillar. Then we flush it away and start over. Before it I catch glimpses of the other girls in the club in between classes, in cafeterias and P.E. locker rooms. I wonder how they all united, how they’re all in on the secret. I picture a signup list with all their pretty little signatures, curlique letters in blue-violet ink, glitter-speckled. I picture the initiation ceremony, candles flickering, speeches
read, cinnamon sticks steaming incense that swirls in the air like stormclouds in fastmotion. I imagine their clandestine meetings, flocks of little sparrow-girls gathering beneath staircases, bird-cage stomachs gurgling with ice water and celery stalks. I burn with admiration and envy, knowing I’ve missed signups, meetings, membership, recognition. I play catchup by myself, determined to one day earn a spot into the secret club and be a bird-girl, a fairy. A creepy Halloween doll with M&M eyes and licorice hair, all my wants displayed like candyland on my skin but scrubbed clean from my head and heart. My cravings will grate on me ‘till my skin lies soft and tender across my body, easily torn and leaking chocolate blood. Everyone will see the things I want and marvel at all the lurid colors coated thick on my arms and legs. They’ll pluck me off a shelf and stare at me and rap their fingers on my wooden chest, listening to the echoes. Meanwhile I’ll be tucked safe inside myself, in the dark, basking in the warmth of their attention. This is the club I dream about, write about, cry about. The girls are beautiful and frightening, talking about all the things they want but will never let themselves have, all lined up on a shelf for me to adore and despise. I’ll slap on a pricetag, I’ll wear their costumes, I’ll writhe and button and squeeze until I fit. So I join. But nothing much changes. The thing about secret clubs is everyone’s so scared of exposure that they won’t talk. They’ll share a few whispers with each other and then burst into giggles like it’s all a joke. That’s the hardest part, laughing. Acting. I can’t do it. I’m stunned at their easy smiles and non-sequiturs, so effortlessly slung from their mouths, even though I know we’re all hosts to the same parasite, eating us inside out. After it The first shock wave hits when I’m waiting by the parking lot, plaid skirt in need of ironing, green-and-blue scrunchie tangled in knots of my hair. December wind slithers under my sweater and bites my bones raw. The cold is an assault and I’m helpless against it, even with kneesocks stretched all the way up my thighs to maximize skin coverage. I cup my palms around my mouth to defrost my lips. I turn around and gaze at my school, the pearl-white stone adorned with delicate coils of ivy like party streamers. I stare dumbly at the bricks at the base of the buildings, red bleached to pale pink over the years, each one fringed in needle-point beads of snow. The flurries fall softly around me, so light compared to the wind I can’t feel them. The trees are glistening and draped in white evening gowns, off-the-shoulder sleeves and gaping slits revealing green bristles underneath. Everything looks dressed up, elegant. The campus offers me a stolid goodbye as the familiar maroon MDX pulls into the parking lot to drive me away.
I’m glad I’m leaving, but I pictured a bit more drama. I pictured secret-club chaos, girls’ morales breaking, tears splashing, secrets crumbling the walls of our hideout like a thousand hairline cracks in the stone. I imagined a tempestuous end to our club meetings, cyclones whisking us away like a hundred Dorothies to a hundred different dimensions of Oz. We all knew we couldn’t keep this up, and we couldn’t wait for the day when the storm would hit and we’d slam our heads against the wall and live in dreamland for a few months, unconscious ‘till consciousness was bearable again. But instead I’m alone. The girls in the club are stellar actresses, smiles still intact, coasting through classes like the wind isn’t rattling their skulls around in their heads. I don’t understand why their cheeks aren’t aching, why their stomachs aren’t sick from laughing about things they don’t really find funny. I don’t understand why I fell apart before they did; why I’m letting go and they’re still holding on. Second shock wave hits in the hospital when I’m washing down a handful of dusty pills with a dixie cup of bathwater: there is no secret club. There never was. A blonde lady with pencil-thin eyebrows waits for me to swallow, and asks me if I want more water. It’s so warm I wonder if someone peed in it. I shake my head and wonder what had deluded me into thinking there were other girls like me, girls who wanted to end up in a place like this. As if it would be a nice escape. Instead I’m painfully conscious, all too aware of how people are watching me, inspecting me, cramming me with cotton like a stuffed animal. I don’t read my letters until I leave the hospital. When they’re first handed to me I flinch and slam them in a drawer. The papers are lavender, baby blue, cotton-candy pink – nursery colors. I’m still stinging from the realization that nobody back at school was playing the game with me; instead they were all watching from the sidelines, horrified as I made a fool of myself on the field. I wonder how many people knew, and then I see the stack of candy-colored sympathy letters and my face gets so hot I can feel my skin peeling. I stay two weeks in the land of cotton-stuffing and pill-swallowing, and then I’m gone. I feel swollen, stitches stretched tight against my brand-new skin, baby-soft. Memories of my imaginary club flash like movie clips in my head for months. I am the star, the little girl debuting in her first serious film. I remember awarding myself my imaginary Oscar, then smashing it when I got home because I knew it meant nothing. The other actresses grow up so fast, faster than I can keep up. They’re too mature and happy and levelheaded to be my friends. They end their contracts, leaving me frozen in the same perilous scenes, running from faceless monsters. They quit the club, leaving me cycling through my sixth and seventh grade thoughts, even as I turn 14, then 15, then 16. I watch them leave from behind a glass wall, face pressed up against the frosted surface, wanting to follow.
and maybe we’re not NATALIE BARCH
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITORS-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDERS Margaret Zhang is a deep experiencer of human emotions. She's been writing ever since her 2nd grade teacher praised her for describing the nonexistent snow in California as "drifting." She currently writes about the wild-haired kids of her childhood and different kinds of attraction that extend beyond romantic, sexual, and platonic. She's a Foyle Young Poet, California Arts Scholar, and a recipient of awards from Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, River Styx, and Peninsula Young Writers Contest. She will be attending Iowa Young Writers' Studio this summer. 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 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. 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 10th grader currently attending Saratoga High School. He enjoys writing and editing other written works. 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 10th graders do. Nicholas currently resides in Saratoga, CA.
POETRY READERS Harika Kottakota is a high school junior at Burbank High School. She is either competing with her school team in Academic Decathlon, doing a roundhouse kick in her Tae Kwon Do dojang, or writing poetry like an insomniac. Harika loves writing down and reading philosophical ideas behind poetry. She is currently also the editor of her school's literary magazine and The Platinum Journal.
Stephanie Lu is an alumnus of the California State Summer School of the Arts. She is a poetry reader for the Glass Kite Anthology and her work has appeared in Canvas Literary Journal. She lives in the Bay Area and reads a lot. 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.
CONTRIBUTORS Natalie Barch has been writing since birth. She likes cats but prefers dogs. These pictures are important. That’s it. That’s her bio. Kevin Chow lives inside the safeguard of a storm-weathered aria, a shard of folly aimed straight for the sun. The previous sentence is a prime example of his silliness. John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Big Muddy and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature. Kali Fillhart is a 17 year old junior attending the Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology for writing. She currently lives with her parents and 5 younger siblings, but Kali has dreams of being a famous writer and making it out there in the big world. Kali has been published in her school's literary magazine, Asgard, along with other lit mags such as Creative Communications. For the 2014-2015 Scholastic writing awards, Kali won a national silver key for her collection titled "Sporadic Poetry." Emily Hedgpeth is a high school junior attending Blue Springs South High in Blue Springs, Missouri. She enjoys experimenting with different writing styles and genres, but poetry is her first and foremost lingual love. (As far as authors go, Emily considers herself more of a sprinter.) When she is not writing, Emily is playing music or babysitting any combination of her five younger siblings. Christina Im is a fourteen-year-old wordsmith and ardent believer in ghosts. She received a National Gold Medal in the 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and her novel On the Midnight Streets was awarded a National Silver Medal in the 2014 Scholastic PUSH Novel Contest. Christina's work has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including GREYstone, Canvas Literary Journal, YARN, and -Ology Journal. She currently resides in a very rainy city indeed, where she enjoys disrupting puddles and other norms. Isabelle Jia is a freshman attending Dougherty Valley High School located in San Ramon, CA. She enjoys writing poetry, prose, short stories, and occasionally, personal essays. Her work focuses on
personal experiences and people who have affected her life. In 2015, Isabelle won a Silver Key for a poetry collection in the Scholastic Art & Writing regional awards as well two other honorable mentions for a flash fiction piece and another poetry collection. When she is not writing, she listens to a wide variety of music, reads a large amount of novels and poetry books, and is a Tumblr addict where she runs a fashion/hipster blog. Kate Lazar is a 17 year old student at Menlo School. She enjoys making art at home, but hasn't been enrolled in a formal class for several years. The best art experience of her life so far has been her time at California State Summer School for the Arts, where she spent four weeks learning art techniques from amazing teachers and hanging out with inspiring artists her age. She loves using all mediums for her art, but in the last few months has gravitated towards using Procreate, an iPad art tool, and pen and pencil art, because it's easy to handle and doesn't require any extra work. Stephanie Lu see Editorial Board. Tiffany Madruga struggles with writing third person bios. She is currently a junior in high school from California. She loves drawing, painting, and singing in choir. Riya Mirchandaney see Editorial Board. Elsie Platzer is a high school junior who wishes she could be the type of person your parents warned you about, but actually is the type of person who cries on kiddie roller coasters. She won Honorable Mention in the international JASNA Essay contest, and has been published in the Jacksonville Jewish News and The Devil's Advocate. Her greatest achievement so far is the completion of her first novel, Requiem, which attempts, and fails to achieve, postmodern storytelling finesse. She looks forward to the day when humanity finally succumbs to its destruction by way of robot overlords. Momo Manalang R. is a Filipino poet from Miami, Florida. She was awarded a Gold Medal and Silver Medal with Distinction by Scholastic's Art & Writing, placed Third in both Florida's Poetry Out Loud State Final and Ganon University's Poetry Contest, and has performed at famous venues across the country, such as Brave New Voices. Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, Winter Tangerine Review, Electric Cereal, and more. In March 2013 she won a National Gold Medal for her poetry collection and a National Silver Medal for her writing portfolio in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her work can be found at writingsforwinter.tumblr.com. When not writing feverishly at all hours of the night or concocting elaborate plans to ward off heartbreak, she can be spotted with friends, laughing about something seemingly insignificant that makes life beautiful. Haleigh Robbins is an artist, blogger, and writer living in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 2013 with a degree in English, and somehow found herself wandering the beautiful mountains of Wyoming in 2014 with her husband. Books have always been a huge part of her life and continue to inspire her creation. Her artwork can be found in her Etsy shop, Peels and Posies. Â
Isabella Ronchetti spends most of her free time drawing, writing, taking photographs and reading. Isabella, who is bilingual and bicultural, now lives in Italy and attends public school there. In 2014 she launched "Jar of Turquoise Sunshine" a blog of creative stuff. Her artwork and writing have been awarded and featured in young-adult magazines. Aditi Satyavrath is a self-proclaimed introvert with too many ink pens and not enough time. Instead of doing her homework, she takes pictures of her cat and listens to Julian Casablancas. She also drinks too much coffee, doesn't wash her hands after ceramics class, and unintentionally wears mismatched socks. She makes up for these foibles by loving her friends a lot. Scott Stevens is a student poet at Menlo School – a junior, but he might as well be a freshman. Though he does love a well-structured curriculum, because he raises his hand too much à la Hermione Granger, he'd rather be with his friends outside enjoying the drought. In addition to writing poetry and short stories, he translates works from the Japanese, and is taking aim at Mandarin in school. Mariah Stewart attends a creative writing class at the Fine Arts Center, a public fine arts magnet school in South Carolina. She has received two honorable mentions and a silver key on the regional level of Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for poetry. She is a reader and editor for the online high school creative writing magazine Crashtest. She has been accepted into the University of South Carolina as a Capstone Scholar and plans to major in International Studies. Grace Tan is currently an eighteen-year-old senior at Culver City High School in California. As a young girl, she discovered joy in devouring book after book and composing short stories in her free time. As a teenager, she discovered delight in binge-watching television shows instead. She recently decided that revisiting certain childhood habits might be a positive experience. As she gains experience in writing, she hopes to further develop the strength of her written voice in expressing herself. Priya Thomas is a sophomore at Gunn High School, and has loved to write ever since she was 4 years old. She loves books, art, music, running, and swimming in the ocean. Her favorite color is pink, her favorite animal is a dolphin, and her favorite pop artist is Taylor Swift. She has lived in six different states, has family scattered across three continents, and loves to travel. She also loves hiking and being outdoors. Sarah Tran is a freshman undergraduate student at Emory University. She currently intends to pursue a medical degree after receiving a Bachelor of the Arts in English from Emory. She enjoys long naps, Vietnamese food, and complaining about the state of things. Her hobbies include taking especially long naps, eating Vietnamese food, and writing artistic complaints about the state of things. James Valvis is the author of WHAT EXACTLY IS A VALVIS? (Night Ballet Press, 2013). His poems or stories have appeared in Arts & Letters, Asimov's Science Fiction, Barrow Street, Chiron Review, LA Review, Natural Bridge, Ploughshares, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry has been featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for the 2013 Sundress Best of the Net. In 2014 he was awarded a King County 4Culture Grant for the Arts. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle.
Glass Kite Anthology - Issue 3 | Spring 2015 This issue contains houses that occupy space in different ways, faeries, fresh perspectives on...
Published on Jun 10, 2015
Glass Kite Anthology - Issue 3 | Spring 2015 This issue contains houses that occupy space in different ways, faeries, fresh perspectives on...