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Editor’s Page While the word “aureate” describes the beauty given to the written word, Aureate showcases not only the written works but also the various other artistic talents of the members of the International Arts & Culture cohort of WLP. We believe that “aureate” beautifully encapsulates what we wish to deliver through this publication: the brilliance of the fruits of our individual labors, together as one. We hope to immortalize that here, to the best of our abilities – to provide a glimpse into the wealth of knowledge and skill the members of IAC possess. The fact that portraying all of that talent is impossible is what is so special in itself. The four of us are pleased to present to you Aureate, a collection of works showcasing the artistic range and diversity of our cohort. We are so proud to be a part of such a talented group of young women and it has been a joy compiling the works published herein. It is our hope that this tradition we have begun might be continued for many years to come in the future of IAC.

Joo-Won Lee

Brigit O’Malley

Alex Hayman

Tara Kosowski

The Literary Women of Aureate

Table of Contents Generations


Mixed Culture Dances


A Critique of an Indian Offering


Chéri: A Taboo but Beautiful Love




Dickinson Poetry and Creative Movement




Maybe Rules Were Meant to be Broken: A Critical Analysis of American Modern Dance


If I Had A Son


Artwork by Brigit O’Malley

Cover Art by Alex Hayman

2 Generations My mother was born in a blizzard, one of those freak blizzards in March that scare even the most seasoned New Englanders and make all the roads uncomfortably slippery. That’s how she became the blizzard baby of Pepper Ridge, storming the street with her brother’s old bicycle that she catapulted off and lost all her teeth. But she continued to smile that coy smile with her big lips pink like frosted cherries: maybe that’s why she never smiled with her teeth but she still sometimes forgets she doesn’t like smiling with her teeth and lets her artificial pearly whites peek out of that sweet, rouge-y mouth that used to bury itself in my fat pale cheeks. My mother is a godless woman, who lost God and found God and then went away because she said living in this limbo of back and forth was too much so she came back again just repackaged differently, like the off brand Oreos that Dad sometimes buys when Mom isn’t around because he never had to go grocery shopping and now that Mom’s gone he doesn’t know which way is up and which way is the frozen food section. My mother came and went to God so many times and then came and went to me I started to think that maybe I was God and that’s why she left so many times. But then I realized I wasn’t God because I couldn’t save her in that way that those saints with the golden halos did from that blizzard that started when she was born and just kept spinning and growing

3 except it’s not the pure white that makes everything clean like the white that her new teeth were made out of it is dark and bloodied and brown like the question mark shaped scar on her left thigh from that time she was sick and I tried to answer it with my little hands that sliced up a green apple with a butter knife and put it on a plate for her the way healthy people take care of sick people, the way lovers share fruit with one another, the way I wanted Dad to cut up orange slices for soccer practice when Mom didn’t have the time or the love. My mother is a broken woman, beautifully fragmented by the sick love that founds its way up and down her body, shackling her crows feet that match her own mother’s and watching her brothers jump off of bridges into black waters and move away to places where love has borders that can’t be crossed, with walls made from stuff like the times that she never let me see her cry until I was old enough to understand that not all the water that passes over us is baptismal, not all water can be a flood eternally parted and that her heart was no longer my heart because my cold blue pragmatic eyes and her frantic green vision could never see the same thing.

Writing by Lauren Danielowski Artwork by Tara Kosowski

4 Mixed Cultural Dances

What is a Hispanic American? They are the people in the US who have both American and

Hispanic heritage. The presentation Hazel and I will be doing is a tribute to that. I have Peruvian and Chinese roots in addition to my American ones. I will be doing some national dances of Peru that will compliment Hazel’s Nicaraguan dances.

We will be starting off with the Marinera. The Marinera is a coastal dance of Peru. It is a

graceful and romantic dance that usually utilizes handkerchiefs as the main prop. It is a blend of the different cultures that Peru represents. Many festivals celebrate with different groups dancing to the Marinera as it is a national dance. My family always dances the Marinera during holidays and special events. We used two different songs to dance to the Marinera. One is danced in the main region of Peru and the other one is danced in the region of Piura. The next dance we used is the Peruvian Cumbia; it is a subgenre of Cumbia that is popular in the coastal cities of Peru, mainly in Lima. It is a fusion of local versions and the original Colombian genre.

I, Hazel, as a Hispanic American am tied to my Nicaraguan heritage and culture. Living in

Nicaragua gave me the opportunity to learn about the Nicaraguan culture. As a child I was put into Folkloric dance class in which I was taught to dance Folklore until I turned six and moved to the United States. Travelling to Nicaragua each summer gives me the opportunity to enrich the knowledge of my culture. I chose two dances for this project: one being folkloric, and the other one having a mixture in culture: Nicaraguan and African.

The first Nicaraguan dance we will be performing is Danza el Mestizaje. The dance is one of

many Folkloric traditional dances from Nicaragua. The reason why it has the name Danza el Mestizaje is because the indigenous decided to allow the influence of Spanish culture in their clothing. This dance is only performed during folkloric performances. The other Nicaraguan dance we will be performing is El Palo de Mayo. This dance has a combination of indigenous Nicaraguan culture and African culture. Originally it was performed to praise the goddess of fertility, now it’s performed during the May festival and it has been spreading. All of Nicaragua knows about El Palo de Mayo and loves dancing to it, when I was younger I used to watch competitions of people dancing el Palo de Mayo. Throughout the years to get peoples attention and to win in the competitions people did crazy actions and made it vulgar. I love the dance I just don’t appreciate how people are starting to make it vulgar.


In addition to these dances, we chose to incorporate popular Hispanic dances Bachata and

Salsa. We did this because we wanted to represent the diverse Hispanic culture as a whole. By doing these two dances, we exemplify the artistic qualities of a women leader that we have learned through the course of the semester. Immediately after this dance we also chose to incorporate the Wobble, a popular American dance to show that even after all the Hispanic dances, we also have American traits. We don’t only relate to our Hispanic heritage but also our American heritage. Being a Hispanic American is important to both of us and we wanted to manifest that through these dances.

With this project,

we incorporated Arts and Culture, which is what our cohort represents. Throughout the course we have been taught about the different backgrounds of diverse artists and what inspires them. Those artists, through their art demonstrate who they are and we, as students, were able to incorporate the information we learned and used it to demonstrate who we are through dance. Towards the end of this course, we were informed of multi-disciplinary artists and we incorporated this through music created by us and through dance, choreographed by us.

We wanted the project to sum up all the knowledge we have gained through Women and the

Creative Process. Through the many women artists we have seen throughout the course, we became inspired to become great women leaders like them. We hope through our artistic movements we were able to convey our purpose. With our dance, we are indicating who we are – we are diverse, Hispanic-American multicultural young women. Writing by Gabriela Mansilla and Hazel Cortez

6 Art Critique of an Indian Offering

Dakshina, by the Daniel Phoenix Singh Company, offered a tasteful sampling of Indian

culture by presenting a production that encapsulated Indian culture; the show harmoniously depicted traditional Hindu narratives through dance, singing and piano accompaniment. Specifically, the dance performances acted as a fusion bridging together traditional Indian dance forms with western creative elements. Performer Anita Ratnam consistently challenged the elements of traditionalism within Indian dance form but still maintained several classical elements. This dynamic presentation of talent took place on November 6, 2014 at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington D.C. The Women’s Leadership Program was given the insightful opportunity to speak with a few handpicked women who are classically trained in Indian arts prior to viewing the performance to further gain context of Indian cultural background.

The discussion of Indian art forms involved two classically trained dancers and a melodic

sitar player. One of the traditional dancers, Anita Ratnam the soloist in the performance, explained elements to her dance philosophy; she expressed the idea of balancing convention with innovation. Ratnam describes that she harmonizes the techniques in Indian classical dances of Bharat Natyam and Kathakali with improvisation and elements that are not necessarily typical to Indian dance. She explains a particular use of unstitched cloth as a prop and the idea of creating a metaphor within her dancing narrative. This thematic element of balance and creating a striking performance that reflect roots, but also creativity is present particularly in the third scene of the narrative.

The total show was titled “Spirals� and consisted of five separate scenes, converging dance,

piano and singing of traditional Carnatic style singing. The auditorium was unique in the sense the audience was on level with the stage, it allowed for a personal viewing of the performance and created a sense of intimacy when audience members viewed the dance; it allowed for the audience to carefully observe the intricate footwork and the deliberate hand gestures that is so pertinent to Indian classical dance. The third scene of the show, titled Bloom, demonstrated the elements Ratnam spoke about when explaining her creative process and inspiration for dance; it was set with bright, luminescent green lighting through the backdrop of the stage. The lighting design by Brittany Diliberto, was done thoughtfully and extremely artistically as it complemented the colors of the traditional Indian garb that Ratnam sported. The lighting changed and altered as the intensity of the dance picked up and faded, it was simple and elegant and the timing was masterfully done, as it intensified and changed to harsher vibrant colors when Ratnam engaged in heavy footwork and when the back-

7 ground music increased in bravado, the lighting harmonized the nuances within the piece.

Ratnam’s bright pink costume, designed by Judy Hansen served to exemplify the balance of

tradition and modernity that Ratnam spoke of as her main inspiration. The costume was luxurious with a bright vibrant cloth that was embellished with gold threading and eye-catching beading. Her dramatized makeup was exaggerated and helped her expressiveness in the dance piece. The costuming captured the traditionalism of Indian culture. Ratnam was adorned in lavish jewels and intricate hair design. The unconventional aspect of her costuming was her use of her long braided hair as a prop, which reflects back to her discussion of utilizing traditional elements in an unorthodox manner. With her intense deliberate footwork she whipped her braid along and created a new forceful element within her dance. An element that may be atypical to traditional Indian dance forms, but an added gesture that demonstrated creativity and passion to her dance.

The overall choreography was breathtaking and impassioned. Ratnam’s descriptive facial

expressions and crisp hand movements throughout the piece created a full experience that was flooded with emotion and articulate body gestures. This piece was set to a traditional Hindu hymn that worships the Goddess of wealth, Mahalakshmi. The narrative within the piece expressed clear devotional gestures, with the flower offerings on the side of the stage. Ratnam utilized the space and the props to evoke a feeling of worship and devotion; accompanied with the melodic music and the harmonious voice of the singer, the dance in conjunction with the music showed mastery in Indian forms as well as a concept of innovation. In bursts, Ratnam would dance about the space in a free flowing randomized pattern with broad steps covering ground, but she contrasted this movement with structured tight footwork that is very reminiscent of classical Bharat Natyam style. Ratnam explained in the conversation with the WLP that she allowed herself to add improvisational elements within her dance. Although still conducted with mastery and finesse, the improved elements were visible to the audience, as they deviated from classical form. She would suddenly change form or alter her traditional demi-pliĂŠ stance to extend her legs and engage in loose movements, not tight ones that are symbolic to Indian dance. The impact of the footwork in conjunction with the dramatic costuming and lighting proved to create a dance performance that evoked emotion and kept the audience intrigued and beguiled. Writing by Vaishali Ashtakala Artwork by Tara Kosowski


Chéri: A Taboo Yet Beautiful Love

Choreographed, directed, and conceived by Martha Clarke, Chéri, her latest work, played

at the Kennedy Center October 1-4 in Washington, D.C. A mélange of different art forms, Chéri pioneers a genre of theater and dance that is new to most audiences yet incorporates familiar elements of performance, making it accessible to the general public. With its minimalistic yet powerful approach to dance, music, theater, and design, Clarke’s Chéri is a beautiful and innovative treat for any viewer.

The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, with its raked seats and comfortable environment,

provides a perfect platform with which to view the intimate story of Chéri. Based off of an early 20th century romance novel of the same name by Colette, Clarke’s work depicts the tumultuous relationship between a young man, Chéri, and older woman, Lea, whose love affair spans several years and events. In the piece the couple is portrayed by two dancers, Herman Cornejo, a younger man with ballet technique and a strong frame, and Alessandra Ferri, a former prima ballerina assoluta with exquisite lines and beautiful feet. Other than the couple, there are only two other performers in Clarke’s piece: actress Amy Irving, an older woman with the only speaking role, plays Charlotte, Chéri’s mother, and Sarah Rothenberg is the pianist for the production.

The work’s composition is not the traditional approach; the dancing is not based solely on

highly technical movement, but instead it is focused on innovative partnering, acting through emotion, using the set to aid certain movement, and floor work, elements not typically seen in a ballet. It is evident that the two dancers are technically proficient, but the dancing is simplified to focus on the story-telling rather than the turns, leaps, and grand lifts the dance audience normally expects. Clarke’s choreography focuses on their partnering, but Cornejo and Ferri both have solos at different points during the piece. Irving’s script, written by Tina Howe, was also pared down to include only essential information or comedic relief; her monologues progress the plot along, but they also add humor and life to the story. Rothenberg plays pieces by Debussy, Ravel, and Mompou, among others, that highlight her musical ability and provide a soundtrack that the dancers rely on for their dynamics. The set is very multi-dimensional, giving the effect that there are multiple rooms, and it looks lived-in due to the bed and dining table that are utilized by the dancers and actress. The set is stylized to reflect the 1920s in France, yet it too is simplified, with no set changes during the piece and its soft blue, monochromatic color scheme. The costuming is evocative of the era, but it isn’t uptight; the silky fabrics allow the dancers to move and the infrequent costume changes put the

9 focus on the performers rather than the clothing. The lighting replicates natural light, ranging from warm yellows to soft blues, but it also features spotlights that highlight a performer’s solo.

The story of Chéri is evocative of a rocky, Romeo-and-Juliet-style forbidden romance that

is portrayed by the drastic, emotional performances of the dancers; this Shakespearean influence is affirmed because the piece ultimately ends in the demise of one of the lovers. Clarke’s work also tackles the taboo subject of a slightly pedophilic, even incestual, relationship between Chéri and Lea, whose relationship stems from the time Lea was Chéri’s nurse and close friend of his mother. Clarke explores this topic through the script, when Amy Irving recounts the history of the couple, and through the movement, when Cornejo clings to Ferri’s legs in a childlike manner. With this subject of age-inappropriate relationships there is an implied double standard that the viewer notices: the trope of the young male lover with an older woman is glorified and celebrated, while reversing the genders would produce an opposite, off-putting effect. Clarke’s work celebrates the woman’s conquest of a young man as a sexual awakening without ever addressing the slightly taboo nature of the couple’s relationship. Through the dancing, music, and acting the themes of ecstasy, vanity, and depression emerge. The dancers’ incredible lifting sequences and the use of the bed and the wall indicate pleasure and ecstasy without being extremely graphic, and the major-key piano music produces an environment of delight. The use of the mirror in the set design indicates the theme of vanity in the lovers’ relationship; as the audience learns that Lea has become grey and large we see Chéri looking at her through a mirror, reminiscing about the time when he loved her- and her physique. Clarke depicts the theme of

10 depression with the dancing by using extensive floor work in Cornejo’s and Ferri’s respective solos. Their groundedness and emotive rolling on the floor indicate sorrow and depression in a subtle and artistic way.

In short, Martha Clarke’s Chéri is a minimalist production that has a maximum effect on the

viewer because it is emotionally influential and beautifully performed. Each element of the work is chosen carefully to produce an effortlessness that is difficult to come by, and there is not one moment that the audience finds drawn out or boring. To wonderfully execute an interdisciplinary piece is no easy feat, so it is clear that Martha Clarke has become an innovator in the arts community, bridging the gap between theater, dance, and music.

Writing by Maddie Murphy Artwork by Louise Lu Artwork by Brigit O’Malley

11 untitled relax the face of the earth is tilting, shaking, spinning and you are a pillar upon it;
 no matter how you try you are
 tilting, shaking, spinning, too.
 i don’t want to write your metaphors or put words in your mouth when mine is so numb with its silence, its misuse. do what you want with me
 for i am face-up in the water,
 drifting by and
not even trying to breathe. make me yours.
 i am your earthquake
 do with me what you see fit.

 i’m nervous for you,
 ridges on the inside of my mouth from biting back the words,
 my toes in the freezing water, ankle-deep in my own fear.
 i could be

12 we could be
 the light in your palm when you’re in the dark
 and i could be beside you, with your arms around me
 stone-cold composure
 i’d whisper the words in your sleeping ear

i realize that
the songs of my heart are just theories;
 that as humans, we can know nothing. all i know is the taste of blood in my mouth and that i don’t want to let go of it,
 and that my heart is a loaded gun,
 heavy with disappointment and bloodlust
 it calls your name in its sleep. you are a pillar, strong and bulletproof – my heart is a loaded gun
 and it’s never wanted anything more Writing by Joo-Won Lee Artwork by Areej Itayem

13 Dickinson Poetry and Creative Movement

For the creative project based on themes we have studied this semester in Women and the

Creative Process, cross-disciplinary art was an immense inspiration. An interest in dance and poetry sparked our creativity, and we decided to combine the poetic stylings of Emily Dickinson with original movement. We were stimulated by the WLP class during which we based movement off of our interpretation of poems, so we followed a similar path to create our collaborative project. To further narrow our piece we drew inspiration from the format of Sarah Thornton’s book, 33 Artists

in 3 Acts, so we divided our project into three parts based on themes from Dickinson poems: love, death, and identity of self. First, we collaborated creatively by brainstorming ideas regarding Dickinson’s poems and then we developed movements and visual representations that we felt portrayed the themes outlined above. Through this process we were able to create a cross-disciplinary presentation incorporating spoken poetry, dance, and language.

Emily Dickinson was a driving influence behind our project because she was an inspiration

to modern American women; she espoused progressive beliefs for her time and we found that her poetry still rings true today. The terse economy of Dickinson’s poetic style conveys strong, clear messages in a concise and memorable way, so we chose to feature several of her poems for each particular theme. We found that because she gets right to the point in each poem, having various vignettes specific to each topic would be an effective way to cover many themes in one presentation. Dickinson’s slant rhyme technique and her tendency to end poems by deviating from the rhyme scheme add a level of interest to her poetry that was conducive to our creative process because it changed the rhythm of our movements and provided a freer template from which to draw inspiration. Besides the technical aspects of Dickinson’s poems that lended themselves to our project, we had both read her poetry in high school and wanted to further our understanding of the themes she employed, so we chose her as our muse.

To execute our creative brainstorming we created a project featuring various forms of dance

and poetry, breaking up the presentation into reading Dickinson’s poems live, dancing together to pre-recorded tracks of her poems, and combining a live reading of poems with improvised dance. We felt that by incorporating both choreographed movement and improvised movement we could fully experience the combination of dance influenced by poetry, and the audience would be able to completely view spontaneous interpretations of the poetry. In terms of our actual movement choices, we drew inspiration from Julie Taymor’s ideograph; we wanted to create a singular image that

14 would act as an overarching theme through our dancing, so we chose the circle. The cyclical imagery of death and life, renewal and rebirth, and coming together were summarized by the circle image, so we tried to incorporate it into our movement vocabulary. We used weight-sharing and contact movements to illustrate reliance on other people throughout love, grief, and finding oneself, and we mirrored each other’s movements to illustrate the reflective nature of Dickinson’s poetry. We repeated select movements throughout the three parts of the project to build on our overarching themes, repeating floor work to indicative death and scooping, sweeping arm movements to exemplify circular imagery. Finally we played with juxtaposition of dance styles and speeds as well as layering poems to compare and contrast our individual responses to Dickinson’s poems; while seemingly chaotic, we found the combination of several moving and poetic elements to be an interesting way to close our project.

Writing by Maddie Murphy and Emily Whaley Artwork by Mary Lee Hyer

15 plunge there’s an intense insane inexplicable pleasure that comes with sleeping in unfamiliar places,
 a vague thrill that comes with that unfamiliarity, the undercurrent of fear, the implied dangers, the fact that nothing and no one can be trusted, not even your own body. not even yourself. and falling asleep, you wonder if you’ll wake again and
secretly hope that you do – you cling to life out of instinct, the fear of death before it comes
 like the nausea in your gut at the top of the hill, the fear that, even after trial and no error, you’ll be flung into nothing,
 even though that “nothing” is all you’ve sought for as long as you’ve understood how.
 instead, you coast down, down with your hands in the air, screaming like the day you were born into this world against your will, with pupils blown and the sick-sweet taste of blood in your mouth, laughing.

looking back on these nights, i see that
 i come alive in the face of death, stripped bare in its acidic sting – 
 a beautiful end approaching in a strange, ugly package that my living form can’t reconcile itself with, leaving me reaching for some imagined hand, gasping, wondering if it’s to die i truly seek, or to live covered in the scars of everything i used to aspire to. library-soft whispers and bruising memories cover my arms i watch them slip through my fingers like sand

Writing by Joo Won Lee Artwork by Tara Kosowski

16 Maybe Rules Were Meant to be Broken: A Critical Analysis of American Modern Dance

Modern Dance began in America during the turn of the 20th century when many dancers

and choreographers rebelled against the two forms of dance that were most popular at the time: ballet and vaudeville. Many found these forms of dance to be stiff or rigid and they found the nature of ballet to be imperialistic. Isadora Duncan, whom we learned was the mother of modern dance in America in the late 1890s and early 1900s, was one of many famous men and women who wanted to be taken seriously as an artist rather than be seen simply as an entertainer. Since Duncan’s time, modern dance has flourished and thrived and can be seen performed all over the world by various companies of dancers today.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing Dance Place in Washington DC put on Sara

Pearson’s and Patrick Widrig’s three-part modern dance concert. Pearson and Widrig were not only the artistic directors of the show, but each choreographed, created videos, wrote speeches, and performed in some of the pieces along with a cast of current students and alumni from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland College Park. The work as a whole did not have a title, but each of the three parts was named. Each part of the piece was very different from the others, and although the show was only about an hour long it covered a wide range of emotions including fear, confusion, and humor.

In the first section, titled Rapture, the dancers moved around the stage in a very staccato-like

motion and as well as dancing they also screamed out. In this beginning section, I felt very uneasy. The screaming combined with the odd, unnatural movement and the darker lighting onstage made me uncomfortable. I could not understand exactly what was going on onstage or why it was happening. Although I did not particularly enjoy feeling unsettled and confused, I believe that these emotions are exactly what Pearson and Widrig wanted their audiences to feel. According to the program, “’rapture’ can really be: a heightened sense of one’s life, of one’s key moments of exhilaration […]” and I can only imagine, just like these artistic directors showed, that if the rapture were ever to come, all emotions would be heightened and whether that be fear or joy—the emotions would be extreme.

The second section of Pearson’s and Widrig’s work was titled, Guete Flug. In this section of

the show, the company did not dance. Sara Pearson performed a sort of poetic monologue while

17 pacing around the stage. As she paced, she slowly backed up into darker and darker light until she was very far upstage and completely immersed in a blackout. Again, I was more confused than anything else. Her monologue was very nonsensical. It seemed to be more of a stream of consciousness rather than a poem with a clear structure. However, immediately following the blackout, a video of a cable car’s shadow moving across trees and fields as it climbed up a mountain was projected onto a white screen at the back of the stage. While this video played, classical music accompanied it and although there were no more words, this combination of art forms helped to better explain the story that Pearson was trying to convey. By the end of the video (the end of the second section) I felt much more at ease and the overall mood met the set and its lighting.

This light feeling progressed and became joy and caused laughter by the third section of

the show. This third section was titled Ordinary Festivals and consisted of several different joyous and humorous elements including a scene in which all the dancers seemed to be enjoying friendly competition at a picnic and also a scene in which they all took turns performing small solos on a beautiful carpet placed at center stage. I particularly enjoyed this solo section because as each dancer showed off his or her talents, I was able to see them making “head-tail connections”, “heels-sitz bones connections” and weaving “inversions” into their different phrases of choreography.


As well as being excited

by recognizing modern dance techniques that I have learned in my modern dance class this semester, watching this piece gave me a better understanding of the art form altogether because I was able to combine my new knowledge of physical technique with the history of modern dance that we have learned so much about in class thus far. Before this year, I had learned nothing about modern dance techniques, its history, nor had I ever seen it performed. I was fascinated by Pearson’s and Widrig’s combination of many different art forms including poetry, vocal music, and instrumental music with this non-traditional style of dance.

This performance was a perfect example of how modern dance breaks all the rules and

conventions of the traditional ballet. While I did not particularly enjoy the piece, it did cause me to think and feel and I believe that this is exactly what the artists intended. These dancers and choreographers can definitely be respected as artists and not as simple entertainers. I found it absolutely beautiful that in the act of breaking the old rules of dance, modern dance creates its own. Writing by Julia Barrett Artwork by Elizabeth Lane

19 If I Have a Son (inspired by Sarah Kay’s If I Should Have a Daughter) If I have a son, he won’t live inside a room painted with every gendered shade of blue, but a prism that catches every color, angry reds and mellow yellows and even those soft pinks that are reserved for little girls even if they don’t want them to be. Son, I want you to know that your hands don’t have to turn into hand grenades because someone decided that you have to be measured in black gun powdery blasts and white knuckles

well worn baseball back and forth and I can teach you how to give and take without losing the power in your hands. But if your seasons take on different names and you measure them in the number of stars in the sky or size of the bluebird family in your tree house, know that the world will still open up to you and that when it finally decides to show you love, you might be tempted to take it in your boyish stride with all the fire and strength of Superman and lose control of your sweet powerful hands. Just remember that love isn’t some broken window that you can

just because they call you “he.” Let your heart be as big as your head, and try to see me next to your father not as high and low or soft and rough but as two bodies built to love you in the best ways we can. And when you start to name the seasons by the sports on the TV

smash again and again and walk right through without looking at the holes you left behind; It is a screen door with holes that came long before you And are just small enough to keep all the hate out, So open it gently and with caution, because

play catch with me in the backyard of our white picket fence house even if its basketball season so we can toss that

It’s okay to be afraid of what’s waiting for you on the other side. And when that fear finds you

20 and knocks you down, let tears wash over your bruised face So that you never have to ask me if crying is just for girls, because there is nothing just about forcing sadness into the back of your crowded mind like some kind of refugee or escaped criminal. And if you have a sister, I know you will tell her these same things.

Writing by Lauren Danielowski Artwork by Phoebe Van Allen

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