The Undergraduate Journal of Humanities
Cover Art: Catching Feelings, Solar Plate Intaglio with Chine-CollĂŠ by Calista Queck
The mission of Illumination is to provide the undergraduate student body of the Univertsity of Wisconsin- Madison a chance to publish work in the fields of humanities and to display some of the schoolâ€™s best talent. As an approachabel portal for creative wrtiing, art, and scholarly essays, the diverse content in the journal will be a valuable addition to the intellectual community of the university and all the people it affect.
www.uwilluminationjournal.com Through the publishing of our seven student-run journals and magazines, the Publications Committee of the Wisconsin Union Directorate provides a creative outlet for UW-Madison students interested in creating poetry and prose, reporting on music and fashion, or delving into research in science and public policy. We celebrate creativity on campus by providing hands-on experience in publishing, editing, writing, and artmaking.
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EXECUTIVES Wisconsin Union President
Publications Committee Director
Publications Committee Advisor
Creative Associate Director
WISCONSIN IDEA EDITOR
WEBMASTER DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGAPHY
Maddy Buetow Noah Laroia- Nguyen
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
While growing up at home, my brother Noah and I would often leave the light on in a room we were no longer using. My dad, comfortable on the couch after a day of work, would notice and start clapping his hands as if we had the infamous Clapper to flip the switch. Eventually, Noah or I would come scampering to extinguish the light and my dad’s snarky clapping. Here at Illumination, specifically with this semester’s issue, I’m often reminded of the light that tip-toed out of my home’s window panes. This semester, Illumination received the most submissions in our publication’s history. I have been truly impressed with the brilliance with which each one shone, playing lightly up and down Lake Mendota’s coastline. I commend all of the talent that has been displayed this semester on our campus, because your abilities are copper wire that that illuminates your past, stories, emotions, and especially homes. As we curated the pieces that appear in this semester’s edition of Illumination, I noticed a familiar theme appearing: home. You will find numerous pieces that have been inspired by Wisconsin, the Midwest, or wherever our creators call home. You will also find recounts of what these places make us feel. They befriend, bother, smile, frustrate, and remember. No matter where you come from and how you feel, you can choose where to go. I chose to lead this publication. Starting from my jaunt to turn off the light and stop my dad’s clapping to the day you’re reading this, I’ve also felt bothered and frustrated. However, I remind myself of why I love Illumination so much. I’m not leading just another student organization. I’m not leading a business. I’m leading a team - a team of eager, boundary-pushing, creative friends. And, as you flip the page, let me lead you home. We’ll light your way. Happy reading,
Salt & Vinegar
Behind the Mask
Molly Biscupic Ana Comro
Emma Liverseed Tori Tiso
What happens to a friendship that is lost?
Stone Lake, Unicorporated
el Hombre y su familia
The Same Knife Twice
Emma Liverseed Benny Koziol
Seattle Night 1984
Even Your Soup Knows Sasha Arkhagha
The Gaze II
Ro and his Parrot Sharing a a Snack
Little Crawling Stone
Out & About with Scout
As Hard as I Try to Remember
Mei Lam So Walter Egger Walter Egger Walter Egger
Liz McGillis Drayna Yicong Chen
Alexandra Pleasant Katie Killiam
The Gaze III
Of Meks and Men
Tug-of-War at Zuma Beach
Mei Lam So Kevin Tran Grant Yun Mei Lam So
Sadeq Hashemi Gwenyth DeLap Adi Dina
Walter Egger Gwenyth DeLap Mei Lam So
Calista Queck Alexandra Pleasant Alexandra Pleasant Raja Timihiri Alex Chmura Liz McGillis Drayna
State Flower Emma Liverseed after Ada Limón Confession: I am not fearless enough to live without the honeysuckle, autumn olive, or wild lupine, without the mosaic of cows across the road and their black-eyed susan gazes and rhythmic jaws. Not even without tomatomunching aphids ruining our gardens, or the redbellied snakes who bask in the sun on the bicycle trails, or Charlie’s gas station that sells everything from fishing lures to Vaseline. I adore it, this quilted land. But I’ll admit this: there are times when I find the stench of manure unbearable and have thought the tractors slow and mundane, when I’ve found fer and dontcha embarrassing, blind to the hours I’ve driven along a scenic byway next to low rivers and limestone quarries, forgetting that it truly is something to be seen; but let me be this state’s flower, that meadow of purple, nameless until people point and wonder where it is the wood violets have gone.
Untitled Monotype Mei Lam So
Sketch Compilation Pencil & Ink Walter Egger
Molly Biscupic The fluorescent lights flicker as Paul slides into the seat across from me. The light tinges his skin blue. The purple half-moons under his eyes are darker than usual, exposing his anemia. “How’re you doing Paul?” I say. “Been better.” His chest deflates underneath his oversized orange shirt. “Happy to see you though.” “Wish I could say the same.” “Yeah.” He picks at the open skin on his knuckles. “Well, you know how it is.” “You’ve been taking your iron pills?” “Iron pills? Ran out. Last week.” “Sure,” I say, though the spots on his fingernails mean it’s been months. “Well, it’s been over six months since you’ve been in, so we’ll have to go through the whole shebang again. You know the drill.” “Yeah.” A tired smile creases his face. “Fire away.” “Alright, my name’s Sadie Czerwinski. I’m an attorney with the Shawano County public defender’s office.” The scripted intro rolls off my tongue without a thought. It’s been the protocol for the Madison office since I was in law school. Paul’s probably got it memorized by now anyway. “So, do you want to apply for an attorney?” “Yes ma’am.” “You wanna start with the financial sheet or the personal info?” Not that it matters, but sometimes even little decisions give clients a sense of agency. “Dealer’s choice.” “Okay.” I shuffle the personal info sheet to the top of my pile. “You still living with your daughter?”he bleeding knuckle. “Just put down General Delivery for the address “Maggie? No, she moved in with a guy down in Green Bay.” He starts sucking on the bleeding knuckle. “Just put down General Delivery for the address." “You need a band-aid?” I don’t actually have any, but I can ask the guard. They usually don’t like us giving things to our clients. I once got chewed out for slipping a stick of gum to a client who hadn’t had time to brush his teeth before court. I’ll just pretend the band-aid’s for me, for a paper cut or something Paul stares at his hand as if he’s only just noticed the slow trickle of blood. “No, I got it. Just keep going with the forms.” “Okay, is that Shawano General Delivery?” “Gillet, I’ve got some buddies over there who help me out, always find me a bed.”.
“That’s nice,” I say. He didn’t like the crowd in Shawano anyway. I imagine Paul curled up alone, probably in someone’s ice shanty, parked in a backyard, or some field growing wild for the summer. He’s friendly enough to get a free meal from the local diner most days. The owner of the shanty probably brings him a six-pack every now and then. They might share a few over a bonfire, reminiscing about better days. I bet he enjoys being out in nature. I imagine the field full of daylilies and dandelions and coneflowers. He probably saw that cougar everyone was talking about last month. He would’ve done a sketch of it, maybe a watercolor. “Can I still put Maggie down as a relative?” I ask. “Sure, I guess. She’s doing really well now, working at some fancy salon, making great money. Can you add that, too?”
“Sure.” Though there’s no space on the form for it. “What about Adam?” Adam was only 10 when I first represented Paul, just for disorderly conduct after a bar fight. Maggie was 16, and their mother, Susanne, had run off to Ontario the year before. Adam had a hockey game that night and I ended up getting Paul out of jail on a signature bond. Paul always told me what a great athlete Adam was, how he’d fly across the ice without thinking. “Oh, last I heard he was down in Oshkosh,” he says, his face turned away from me. “What’s he doing in Oshkosh?” Paul hunches lower in his seat. “I think it was 6 years in for possession? You can look up his record if you really want. I couldn’t make it to the court dates.”
Untitled Pizza Box & Botany Textbook Walter Egger
“It’s okay,” I say. It must have been Adam’s senior year, Paul was driving them home from a game when he swerved to avoid a deer. At least, he told me there was a deer. It was his 5th OWI, our last case together. Adam had some terrible shoulder injury, torn ligaments and muscle tissue. They put him on oxy until he graduated, but the prescription eventually ran out. “You’ve been working at all?” “Here and there,” he says, “mostly just for cash.” “Right.” I darken the word “unemployed” on the form. “Where was your last paycheck from? Art’s, right?” “Oh yeah, I was working for Artie for about 2 years.” “Mostly construction?” He rolls his head to either side. “Yeah, Artie does mostly log cabins. I started on a work release job with him the last time I was in custody. He starts off the guys in orange breaking down the logs. You know, scraping off the bark, treating the wood.
Dog Walk Pencil and Digital Walter Egger
Once you’re out, he moves you up to more construction stuff.” A lot of our male clients have worked for Artie at some point. He mostly caters to folks from Illinois who want a real “rustic” look for their second home. It’s all minimum wage, less for the guys in custody, but Artie’s one of the only guys in the area who’ll give a paycheck to a felon. “So, why’d you stop working?” “Well.” He pulls the loose threads of his shirt. “You know, ‘cause my license was revoked, so I had another guy giving me rides, but he got into some trouble again, ended up back in jail. I couldn’t get a ride from any of the other guys and you can’t walk that far-” “Right,” I say. There’s no bus in the area, no taxis. It’s not like his probation agent can drive him every day. “It’s probably for the best anyway, Artie’ll work you dead.” He pauses and smile seeps across his face. “Did I tell you I sold a painting?”
“You did?” He always had a good eye. When he was in custody in Green Bay, he couldn’t get enough of the art classes. Every time I went to meet with him before a court appearance he had a new piece to show off, pencil portraits, pastel scenes. At our meetings, he’d go on and on about art. As a kid, he’d carve bird decoys from scrap wood and sell them to hunters. “Where’d you sell it?” “There’s this new dentist office in Shawano and he was looking for some art for his waiting room,” he says, “one of my buddies was in to get a crown fixed and dropped my name. I gave him the one of all the ice shanties on the lake in the winter, you remember that one?” “Sure,” I say. I remember the exaggerated color. He’d dotted the silver lake with vibrant shanties so it looked more like a bazaar than a winter fishing spot. “Welll, he’s got that hanging right there in the waiting room, with my name on it. He gave me $150 for it too. Can you believe it?” He’s really beaming now, eyes shining through the artificial light. “I can. It’s a great painting.” It’s hard not to smile too. It’s hard not to celebrate, despite the setting, the orange suit, the sunken eyes. “You should take your kiddo to this guy the next time she needs a check-up. It’s Dr. Schmidt, I think, right across from the county fairgrounds.” “I’ll definitely check it out,” I say. I was pregnant with Joyce while representing Paul on the fifth OWI. I’d gone to law school with her dad.
For a while, he commuted to a cushy job in Green Bay, but eventually, he just moved. He’ll come up for holidays and birthdays, if he remembers. Paul gave me a sketch of a stork landing on a pond before sentencing. It’s still hanging up it Joyce’s bedroom, but she’ll never know who drew it. Paul doesn’t even know her name. “She’s good?” He asks. “She doesn’t give me too much trouble.”He laughs. “Yeah, the last thing you need is more trouble.” I could have another lawyer take over Paul’s case. It was my day for jail intake today, but that doesn’t mean I have to take on all the clients myself. In the grand scheme of our clients, Paul’s really not that much trouble. He remembers court dates. He doesn’t bombard the office with phone calls. He tells you what you need to know. Any one of my colleagues would be happy to take him. We shuffle clients around all the time, especially the ones we care about, the people who keep coming back no matter how many times they promise not to. I wanted to stop working with Paul after the car crash. He couldn’t even look me in the eye during our first meeting. Sure, he’d put them through a lot, but he went to Adam’s hockey games; he threw a party for Maggie’s graduation; he’d never put either one in danger like this before. Adam had a partial hockey scholarship for UW Green Bay before the accident. That’s all he’d talk about when I visited him in the hospital. Paul’s old junker had faulty airbags so Adam’s face took the full force of
the dashboard. Between bloody lips, he tried to convince the doctors to change their diagnosis, to undo the damage. I held my swollen stomach, as tears rolled down his purple cheeks. It scared me, the way a whole life could be knocked off course by someone else’s mistake. Ever since the test came back positive, I’d been buying any diapers I saw on sale. I stacked them in piles around my apartment between the filing cabinet and the crib from Goodwill. I took my vitamins, quit coffee and whiskey and unpasteurized cheese. I picked a safe car seat and learned the best way to swaddle a baby, but that didn’t mean anything in the long run. One wrong move, that’s all it took. Paul got four years for an OWI causing bodily harm. If Adam had been a few months younger, the sentence could’ve been four times as long. Maggie said she had to miss the court dates for work. She’d been a waitress at a supper club since high school and couldn’t afford to miss just one day. I argued about the deer, the faulty road design, the undeployed airbags. None of it repaired Adam’s shoulder or lowered Paul’s BAC. “So you’re in for a battery charge then?” I say. He cradles his head in his hands. “What were you doing in Shawano?” “Visiting a buddy.” “What’s his name?” “Jo, I think, he used to hang around with Adam.” He balls his fists over his eyes. “A friend of Adam?”“I hitched a ride from Gillet over to Jo’s place in Shawano. We got into a disagreement and-”
“Why were you visiting one of Adam friends?” He curls further in himself, chin tucked, arms folded, one large question mark. “I heard that Jo was the guy who started selling to Adam after the accident,” he says, “and this guy, he’s a dad. He’s got kids running around in the yard and this new truck in the driveway and he’s still selling, Sadie. He had guys way younger than Adam coming to the house and with kids in the yard and Adam’s doing 6 years just for possession. I just had to.” “With kids around?” “Their dad was dealing heroin, Sadie.” “So do you want to go to court over this? He looks up at me. I try not to notice the tears gathering in the corners of his eyes. “Sadie, it’s not right that this guy gets to keep living his life, while my son-” “Oh come on, Paul,” I say. “Whose fault is it that Adam was even on oxy in the first place?” I’m leaning too far over forward. My nails grip the cheap metal of the table until I feel it bend. “Maybe I should just represent myself,” he says. I start picking at my cuticles. “I can get you another public defender.” “I might as well just plead guilty,” he says. “Let them throw the book at me.” No punishment is completely fair. There’s no perfect scale to weigh the facts. Maybe Paul swerved to avoid a deer, maybe he just swerved. It doesn’t change much for Adam. His dad’s sentence didn’t give him back his scholarship or his shoulder. Even a twelve-year sentence wouldn’t have done that.I first met Paul right after I had my first client sent to prison.
All my colleagues warned me that the first is always the worst. The client was only eighteen, grew up in and out of foster homes all across the state, already one prior stay in juvie. He’d held up a gas station with an old hunting rifle that couldn’t even fire. I was only a few years out of law school and still saw myself as some professional savior. My law school friends had gone to work for corporations or personal injury firms, but not me. I’d gone home to get yelled at by addicts coming off a bender, for pay that barely covers rent in my mother’s house. No one would pat me on the back about this. I started crying in the middle of Paul’s intake interview, the only time I’d ever cried in front of a client. He apologized for the disorderly conduct. He never got into trouble. He told me he understood how stressful it must be, dealing with people’s mistakes every day. It’s not the client’s mistakes that weigh on you, though. It’s their successes, the GED completed 20 years after dropping out, staying off drugs for their kids, getting a real paycheck. It’s working within a system that punishes mistakes much more than they reward successes. I’d seen Paul at the grocery last week. He was wearing a ratty Packers shirt and sweatpants that hung around his hips. I found him in the produce section, picking stray grapes out of the display. When Joyce started running for the oranges, I grabbed her harder than I should have. I steered straight to the candy aisle before he could turn around. Joyce spent ten minutes scrutinizing over her treat, my apology, while I tried to catch my breath.
“I still have that sketch of the stork you drew me,” I say, “it’s been hanging up in my daughter’s room for years.” “You mean the heron?” he says. “A heron?” I ask. “I was pregnant, why would you draw me a heron?” “Why herons though?” “Herons are Adam’s birds,” he says, “Maggie’s are robins, but Adam was always a heron boy.” “You know, when Adam was born, we were all rushing to the hospital down some winding road, way out in the boonies,” he says, “the sun is just rising, so everything is only half-lit and I’m turning this sharp corner by the marsh and hear this thud. Maggie starts crying almost right away, so I get out to see what it is. At first, all I can make out are the feathers, but then I hear that low cry and realize it’s a heron. I don’t want to leave it, you know, it’s still alive, but Susanne’s water had already broken and she’s yelling at me to get a move on. So I carry it over to the water and nestle it in the reeds, and we all go straight to the hospital.” “Do you think it lived?” “With the car going that fast? I’m not sure,” he says, “I checked for it when we were driving back and it wasn’t there anymore, but that doesn’t mean much.” “It means something.” He nods. “I’ll still go down to the court commissioner with you for the bond hearing,” I say, “even if you don’t want me for the case. We can try for a signature bond.” The facts aren’t in our favor, but I know Paul won’t be able to pay any sort of cash bond.
In all likelihood, he’ll spend the night here, probably the next few days. If he pleads guilty, he’ll be here for months. His probation agent will get him a job with Art or someone like that, but something will come up. Maybe he’ll move in with Maggie in Green Bay for the winter, if probation clears it. She might have a kid by then and could use the free childcare. Then again, she never did have much patience for Paul. Or, we could go to trial. He would explain the emotional distress of the situation. We could try to prove that the victim was dealing drugs, that he was endangering the children. There’s a possibility that the jury would agree and acquit. Then Paul would return to the shanty, or wherever he’s staying, with no job, no new skills, a felon. He’d eat at the diner, drink beer with his buddies, wait for Adam to get out. Tomorrow’s Joyce’s birthday. I’ll have to swing by Walmart before I pick her up from daycare. She’s been going through a bug phase lately, crushing ladybugs between her fingers out of love. I was thinking a butterfly net and maybe a book. She hasn’t asked if her dad is coming yet. If I make fish sticks for dinner, she might not remember to ask at all. I want to ask Paul how long it took to the kids to stop talking about Suzanne, or when going at it alone started to be too much. Sometimes, Joyce looks so fragile, I’m afraid one hug could break her. Paul sighs, “I guess I don’t have much of a choice.” “I’m sorry,” I say. Then, a guard comes to escort Paul downstairs for the hearing. He keeps his neck arched in a sullen question mark all the way down.
Ro and his Parrot Sharing a Snack Photography Adi Dina
SALT & VINEGAR Tori Tiso
My brother says feminist like a dirty word. He spits it out like vinegar. It drips from his lips onto his greens, wads crumpled and TORN from the wash. The next fork load coating his teeth, pepper grit in between his gums, hate wedged and packed in. Toss THIGHS in the mix, basted in sweat and seasoning. Red pepper-flaked freckles, he shreds the skin with his teeth. Pale meat SQUEEZED between his gums, desire and violence juices. Add a dash of salt to my salad WITH A SINGLE TEARDROP. Thatâ€™s more than enough for me.
Bruised Ink and Watercolor Gwenyth DeLap
The Gaze III Serigraphy Mei Lam So
Closet Conversations Ana Comro
“What are you doing in a closet?” August asked, peeking his head through the opening in the doorway. Jude’s head snapped up from examining his hands, and his face flushed immediately. “Hiding,” Jude murmured. “They all want to relive middle school and play Spin the Bottle, but I’d rather not take that particular trip.” August smiled and opened the door wide enough for him to slip through. Then he closed it behind him, blocking out all the light except for a thin strip by the floor. At first Jude couldn’t see anything, and he slid to the furthest end of the closet to give August space. He tried to make his fingers stop shaking. “This is cozy,” August said, sitting down not across from him, but right next to him. Jude’s muscles tightened and he hoped his breaths didn’t sound as labored as they felt. You have a girlfriend, he reminded himself. “Why are you still dating Delaney?” The question caught Jude off guard. He looked at August, a faint shadow of a face in the darkness. “Why would you say that?” “Come on,” August said. “This is kind of the stuff you talk about in closets, isn’t it?” He chortled. “But seriously, it seemed to be bothering you earlier.” Jude shrugged. “I dunno. I liked her. At one point I thought I might even love her. She knew I was bi and might’ve had feelings for someone else too. I was into her …” he trailed off. “She’s pretty great,” August admitted, and Jude raised his eyebrows. Whether August could see the action or not, he laughed again. “Don’t worry, she’s not my type.” Suddenly he leaned over, his face inches away from Jude’s. “You’re more my type.” Jude’s already tight muscles stiffened even more. Though he had imagined something like this happening for months, he was half suspicious it wasn’t real now. “What are you doing?” August grinned. The closer he was, the more details of his face Jude could discern, even with hardly any light. “I had to make sure you wanted me to do this.” Jude titled his head slightly away. “What makes you think I do?” “Everything you said about Delaney was in past tense.” August leaned closer again and this time Jude didn’t pull away. He knew he was about to cheat on Delaney, but he also knew that he was done pretending to not like someone who was right there, waiting for him. August’s lips tasted good, like spearmint gum—as if he’d been prepared for this moment. He smiled.
Of Meks and Men Digital Art Kevin Tran Dan Digital Art Grant Yun
What happens to a friendship that is lost? Olivia Hughes
Does it die? An aching slug that has been showered in table salt stolen from your funny uncle’s lower right cabinet Or is it Defiant and resilient, an earthworm your eight-year-old cousin sliced in half ? and then brought into the kitchen to show off Where are the “MISSING” signs? Maybe stapled to a lamp post that hovers too precariously and too intensely on your street with a light that is too dim for running and too bright for sleeping but probably crumpled up in the bottom of your bag in the bottom of your mind shoved and shifted and shhh! and If you ask me I will tell you that My lost friendships are a journal left out on the back porch in a rainstorm Not intentional, no one’s fault, but smudged and smeared and streaked and My lost friendships are hung upon a slanted hook In a closet that has cobwebs glued to the crevices sticky and sullen and stale and
My lost friendships are candles left burning all night Wax trails we wish we could follow shriveled and smoky and spent and If you ask me I will tell you that My lost friendships can’t be scrubbed until they’re shiny again And that I tell myself I am disinfected From the splatters and stains That I tried to use bathtub bleach to fix But bathtub bleach doesn’t work on Old tiles that have been splashed and scraped and scoured and although I feel sorry sometimes, What have I done to clean them? I have left these friendships in the bottom of my bag on the back porch in the rain hung upon a hook that cannot hold any more I have ripped them apart after letting them burn out and yet I have done nothing to put them back together
If you ask me I will tell you that My lost friendships are broken necklaces accidently ripped apart by unforgiving sweaters and fumbling hands slashed and split and severed and
The Backstage Lithography Mei Lam So
Behind the Mask Mady Veith
The colors bleed from the sky as the last rays of light drip out of the sun. Two figures stand on the roof of a shipping company that went under long ago. Dressed in worn red and black, they race across the skyline, filling the air with the scent of destruction. They promise imminent death for those who oppose them. One is the hero, forever trapped in his ways, having long forgotten his original charter. He dices up the city as if armed with a scalpel. He anarchically swings his resolve and forces it upon those pervious to his influence as his sidekick follows. You are the sidekick. You are comfortable bounding rooftop-to-rooftop, feet grazing death because you don’t think it’s is real. No, you have no tragic backstory involving a shadowy man breaking the life out of someone as easily as a glowstick. You have no intense desire to right wrongs because no vile act has been committed against you. No, you’re too easy to manipulate to create opinions on what is inherently wrong or right. Instead, you imprint upon a broken man dressed in murderous colors and believe he is something other than mortal. You find his soliloquies enlightened and commit them to memory like it’s your gospel. You would tattoo his psalms on your skin if you could just find ink. You do what he asks because you wouldn’t know what to do on your own. He in return decides your desires, needs and hopes. You are not the hero and to him you are grateful. You see how vengeance haunts his everyday actions. Nothing, nothing is good enough to right the wrong committed against him; to feel not better, but alive once more. You wonder how a person could be so broken as to let that happen. How? You wonder, but never ask. It couldn’t just be the trauma, could it? But you’ll never know.
Four years seemed like a lifetime, one that faded away in 14 minutes on the side of a country highway kitty-corner to a gas station.
He’s gone before you can work up the nerve to ask him anything. If prodded, he would have flayed his skin and peeled his ribcage back to bare his soul to you. If only you’d have asked. _________________ As you pursue burglars through narrow corn fields and sharp turns — struggling to keep their license plate in view — you stumble like rabbits into their trap. Unbeknownst to you, this gang doesn’t work alone.You don’t recognize your grave error until you're t-boned by a black, unmarked van. After the impact, you find the headlights illuminating the cabin of what once was your car. You see that the two machines are now fused, molten plastic and steel locked in a deadly embrace. You see the plainly dressed men scrape their way out of their vehicle, relinquishing blood and pieces of denim in their wake. Intending to kill you both, they nearly kill one. They leave you to bleed out in the aquatinged glow of a gas station as their silhouettes creep hastily back into the corn. Your head wound pulses and as the blood streams, the scent of iron floods your senses. You look to the seat next to you. The man you once followed fervently is compressed into a pile of broken teeth. His breaths, if any, are shallow as his lungs cannot expand. Then, as if feeling your consciousness like a 3000-volt charge, his eyes open to you and you hear the words, “Get me out of here,” accompanied by a hollow bubbling sound. Your soul evaporates as you feel intense pity for a man you once thought to be invincible. You begin to say he shouldn’t be moved when he does the unfathomable: he begins to cry. It is a soft panicked kind; thick tears drip from his dull brown eyes. His hair clings to his fevered brow as he trembles in the jagged light. He has been transported back to his youth, where fear clings to the air in corpulent clouds. Thus your final order is to seal his fate and clumsily drag him through the passenger side door onto the unforgiving gravel. His last words beat around in your head as you walk into the bathroom after the paramedics cover him with a white sheet. You realize there is no one to call, and Dalhousies you truly feel defeated. You wash blood off your Photography face, trying your best not to get soap in your eyes and even though you are careful, you feel Liz McGillis Drayna the stinging in your eyes and the tears come.
Each tear is a molten drop of salt upon your cheeks. You wipe your face. You look at yourself in the mirror and see the face of a child with the swollen purple lids, dark hair and tired brown eyes of someone much older. You are only 18 years of age. Small cuts line the left side of your face; they begin to sharply sting as you discover their existence. You wince. Four years seemed like a lifetime, one that faded away in 14 minutes on the side of a country highway kitty-corner to a gas station. For the first time in your life, you feel your own mortality pulsing through your veins. You think selfish thoughts because you’ve never had time to think of anything outside of battle and strategy. Now you’ve lost that part of you. You were never in need of anything, but now you find yourself ticking hurriedly. Hungry? No. You realize you don’t know who you are. “Fight,” he said, so you fought. “Turn,” he said. “Stay calm. Lower your voice. Do what I tell you to do.” He took advantage of you because you didn’t know any better, and now you sit staring at the figure in the mirror whose tears are mixing with fresh blood and you no longer recognize the face. You’ve lost your will to fight in 14 minutes.
What now? You realize you have a choice. This is the first choice you’ll make on your own. Everything previously decided by figures so much “grander” is now left solely to you. Now faced with agency, you shudder. There are so many factors to consider and what you choose is a matter of life and death. Option 1: You’re the hero now. You sacrifice your happiness for a life of endless comings and goings as you fight and fight and fight until your body, too, will give out one day. Whether that is in a day or decades, you’ll be left guessing. Until that day that you lay on the side of the road, blood mixing with weeds and gravel as your consciousness slowly fades. You’ll leave a legacy too, just not the one you intend. Perhaps you gain glory or notoriety or money. But what if you leave a scared teenager in your wake, one that is not prepared for the life they will be smothered in. Could you condone this? What about that scared child who you’ve groomed to follow your arduous path, intently gazing at you with their wide guiltless eyes? And who would you be? A psychopath, distorted into believing that what he is doing is justice as he paints the city the color of volcanic ash.
Or an outsider, alienated from everyone, slowly suffocating himself with altruism until he too loses his sense of justice. Could you allow yourself to take the chance and wind up a stereotype? In the end, I suppose it won’t matter to you because you’ll stare up at the smog-filled sky, thoughtless as you pass away, and then you’ll smile. Option 2: You quit. You go to college or go work in a factory, whatever you think is best since you’re bequeathed with a suitable amount of money. You settle down, marry a spunky redhead, have two kids and a dog. You search for your calling only to find it’s unrealistic and unattainable. You settle into mediocrity, buy into security the-
atre, and take enough Tylenol to numb your past and present into a dream. You smile even when you don’t feel like smiling and every time you do, it feels as though someone is shoving an ice pick in your eye. You buy a house complete with its 30 year fixed mortgage rate and mow the lawn on Sundays. You watch your children grow to love you, then hate you, then love you again, and breathe a sigh of relief when the last one gets into college. Weep when they get married. Laugh when you attain 30 years of dedicated service. But you forever feel a restrained part of yourself pulling at the chains, rubbing your wrists raw. You try to escape as the skin flaps in
frustration, but to no avail. Then one day you’ll die of acute liver failure, never quite sure if your life even made a difference in the way you initially intended. Option 3: Fighting crime could be your part-time job, but let’s face it — fighting crime isn’t as cushy as your standard pizza delivery job. Maybe you’d get your GED and take night classes at the tech school. Lose all your money at the blackjack table. Maybe you’d get a girlfriend and try to balance everything around your convenience store job because fighting crime doesn’t pay the bills. You could pretend everything is perfect even though there are yellow and purple bruises covering your entire abdomen.
Seattle Night 1984 Lithography Yicong Chen The very same bruises that your girlfriend feigns ignorance about until she breaks up with you one night. She begs you to consider the value of your life, but you can’t stop what you’ve started because you can no longer see where you end and the violence begins. You’re alone and that scares you more than anything. They've all left you. This time you turn violent, scratching frantically because you want her to stay. They never seem to stay. When the blood seeps out her nose, she calls the cops. Now you are never alone in your six-by-eight cinder block cell. The options laid out are possibilities, but not set. Life often goes a little like this, but no
two ever quite alike. Sometimes it goes better than planned, but no one knows for sure how it will be, how it will all end. The choice doesn’t have to be today, you realize, and maybe you have already unconsciously decided. Either way, this question isn’t solely about the future, is it? The options are yours, and all inevitably end in insecurity and death. It’s just up to you to choose. If you can, that is, live with any of them. You walk out of the bathroom and are immediately met by a police officer dressed in pressed navy. Who called the cops? you think, but it doesn’t really matter whether it was the gas station attendant or
farmer filling up his F150. The officer begins to give you his condolences when you cut him short. “What do you want from me?” you ask. “Nothing,” he answers. “Good. Then could you give me a ride home.” He complies, hoping you might release details during the ride. You won’t because you haven't yet decided what your story will be. The sun begins to rise like a knife, carving its gory path through the somber sky as you see the gas station sign slowly become a pinpoint in the passenger side mirror. You sigh.
Word Our quiet conversation in the sickness of morning, stones that skip across words from my throat like The lake, not yet frozen, in murky stillness. to speak, away from & our phone screens was supposed to be The sun creeps higher, melting my words, & again. I tell you to be born in an age unsure if the glass why some things matter how making small I canâ€™t stand the manicured You agree and we vow or politics, although will be broken, snapped Two weeks later and ask him about
Calving makes a careful incision two voices becoming wet the lake, desperation chipping like ice splitting from a glacier. submerges the words We had come outside the gibberish of television (even though Up North technology free). naked without clouds, calving me again I know what itâ€™s like of unimportance, is half-full or half-empty, today and not tomorrow, talk will waste me. voices on the news. never to speak of weather I am sure these words like a frozen branch in January. you meet a stranger the chance of snow.
Even Your Soup Knows Photography Sasha Arkhagha
Botanical Garden Photography Aaron Pawlinski
Stone Lake, Unincorporated Benny Koziol
The Northern Song Wake up two The ooey-gooeying Of wet fishing boots On kitchen tile Careen, racing in van backseat Whoosh of giggle at window Taste scarlet northern air The effervescent gossip Then the dawn-plunge Into freshwater star Be fixed in lily cake Let perch lip kneecaps Brass-spoon boats Flexingly Will warp treeline A thoughtless reflection Up here Time unravels Like a ball of yarn stoked By interdimensional muskrat Day and night is silly unit Land hath logic Traded terrain Between marsh and thicket Yes, this sleepy kingdom And its vapors of sonatas Where loon bellows to her man Whining again and not weary
Little Crawling Stone Photography Alexandra Pleasant
Out & About with Scout Marker Katie Killian
Lauren Harman Six days after the accident, the whole town seems to shut down. My mother sits on the edge of my bed on that morning, gently pushing my hair behind my ear over and over and over again before trailing her hand down my back. The pale gray curtains are drawn, enveloping us in a bubble of silence, a cocoon safe from the outside world. She sets a black dress that I forgot I owned on my bed and holds a chipped plate with a ham and green pepper omelet before me. “Your favorite,” she says. I’m not hungry. I can feel her eyes watching me all morning as I brush my teeth and slip on my jacket, can sense them on me in the rearview mirror as Dad pulls out of the driveway. We drive in silence, save the gentle drizzle of raindrops hitting the windshield, punctuated occasionally by the sharp whoosh of the windshield wipers. I rest my forehead against the window, the glass cold against my overheated skin, and watch as the drops that cling to it shiver and quake with the movements of the car. Outside, the sidewalks are empty. All of the cars on the road are headed in the same direction. Mom wraps an arm around me and shields us both with a dark gray umbrella as we walk through the overflowing parking lot and into the church, the same one where we came for Easter just weeks ago, clad in pastel and florals. I keep my eyes down, watching our feet move in sync. Left right left step up right left. The first thing I see is Henry’s football jersey hanging in the narthex, surrounded by pictures, and a blown-up version of what was going to be his senior portrait in the yearbook. I helped him and his mom choose it just weeks ago in a moment of normalcy that now seems like a lifetime ago. I quickly return my gaze to the safety of the scuffed toes of my beloved black ballet flats, the ones I wore to prom last year with Henry. Even my shoes come with memories of him. Mom pauses and looks down at me, rubbing my back slowly. Water drips off the umbrella in her other hand and into a puddle on the floor. “Do you want to look at the photos? Talk to anyone?”
I allow her to lead me over to the display, the small crowd that has gathered around it parting wordlessly so I can get closer. My eyes drift over a picture of Henry in a too-big orange jersey clutching a baseball bat, his two front teeth missing, to one of him giggling at kindergarten graduation, his royal blue graduation cap slipping over his messy brown hair and into his eyes, before finally landing on pictures of us together. One in which we’re maybe eight or nine years old, kicking a soccer ball around in his front lawn, his dad in the background ordering around the movers as they haul a sofa into their new home, directly across the street from mine. One of us at our first middle school dance, back when we were the same height with matching blue braces, Henry’s arm slung over my shoulder. One of us grinning and holding up matching medals from the time our math league team won first place at the state tournament. One of us during our first date, a blurry selfie taken in the backseat of my mom’s car as she drove us to the movie theater. One of us from the senior night football game that Henry’s mom had insisted on taking despite their loss, Henry’s eyes cold as he looks at the camera, his expression stoic. I remember what happened later that night and have to look away, my stomach rolling. There are no photographs of Henry’s life that will seem new to me. If I wasn’t there for the moments featured, then I have heard about them or imagined them enough that I may as well have been. I shake my head at my mom, and she leads me into the sanctuary. We sit halfway towards the front of the church, at the end of the pew, Mom and Dad on either side of me like bodyguards. The casket is closed. Flowers cover nearly every inch of the dais in a display that seems far too colorful for the occasion. Mourners file into the sanctuary in a steady stream, and I know my classmates must be among them. My teachers, too, probably, and neighbors and lacrosse coaches and coworkers from the grocery store. I can’t look at them. I don’t want to see any of them.
Lonely Rose Digital Art Sadeq Hashemi
It even smells different. Like bleach, as though they’re trying to wipe every trace of Henry from our building in a desperate effort to make his absence less noticeable.
As I watch Henry’s parents sit silently in the front row, heads bowed and backs perfectly straight, the numbness that has overtaken my every breath since the accident finally slips away, its tendrils uncurling from my chest in time with the powerful ring of the organ that fills the sanctuary, giving way to something new. It takes me a moment to place it, the sudden slump in my shoulders and looseness in my limbs, the muted fog that has followed me for so long surrendering to an unfamiliar clarity at the edges of my vision. But then I realize what it is. A startling sense of… relief. Four days after the accident, I go back to school. I can feel the eyes following me down the hallways, the conversations stopping abruptly when I push open the bathroom door or round the corner. Everything is darker, like somehow even the harsh fluorescent lights are lost without Henry. The hallways are quieter. It even smells different. Like bleach, as though they’re trying to wipe every trace of Henry from our building in a desperate effort to make his absence less noticeable. Meggie comes up to me at my locker after third period, twisting her hands in front of her stomach. “How are you holding up?” she asks, quiet.
Januari 2018 Gwyneth DeLap
My calculus textbook hits the bottom of the locker with too much force. Meggie flinches. “So now you’ll talk to me?” I ask. “Now that he’s dead?” “I don’t want to argue over this anymore, Nina. I miss you.” “I don’t need your pity,” I say. “Spare me.” Her eyes narrow, and I feel a brief breath of relief. Gone is the sympathy, replaced by anger. I can handle anger. “He was horrible to you! I’m sorry, but I couldn’t just sit there and watch you get jerked around by him on repeat,” she snaps. “Just ’cause he’s dead doesn’t mean he automatically gets to be classified as a saint.” Her expression turns horrified almost immediately, color rushing to her cheeks. “Oh, Nina, I didn’t—” “I don’t know who I am anymore.” Meggie swallows. My admission hangs in the air between us, heavy. “I don’t know who I am without Henry,” I whisper, the weighted truth of the statement nearly suffocating me. “I know you didn’t like him, Meggie, and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t know why, but—but it was him and me for so long. I didn’t know how I was supposed to live a life without him even before the accident, and now that he’s gone… I still don’t know.” “Oh, Nina, I’m so sorry—” Her green eyes well withtears. I close my locker quietly. “I should go.”
I don't know what the first change between us was, which domino fell first and changed everything else too.
Two days after the accident, I sneak out of the house. I go to our place, the one Henry used to take me to in the beginning. The nighttime air is cold against my bare legs, goosebumps prickling as the wind from over the lake licks its way up them, and I pull the sweatshirt I stole from him forever ago closer around me, letting its folds—softened from years of use, first by him, then by me—warm me. It used to be a good place, permeated by languidmemories of lopsided sandcastles and late afternoon bike rides and Henry. Water droplets from the lake clinging to his unfairly long eyelashes. Tongue between his teeth as he tried to bait his ancient fishing pole. His feet dangling in the sky as he perfected his underwater handstand. The dirty headlights of his truck flashing at me playfully as I ran around to the passenger side. I don’t know what the first change between us was, which domino fell first and changed everything else too. Maybe it was when his parents divorced and his dad moved in with our ninth grade physics teacher. Maybe it was when Henry discovered alcohol during our junior year, allowing it to seep into our every interaction, transforming him into something sharper, crueler. Maybe it was when he befriended the cute blonde college girl who started working in the aisle next to mine at the grocery store. Maybe it was me. I don’t know when it began or when I stopped denying that it was happening. Everything just changed.
I sit on the very last bits of long grass before the coarse sand begins and look out at the glassy lake, nearly black except for the moon’s brilliant, almost blinding reflection slicing through the middle. My nose burns. I flop onto my back and stare at the stars, think about the millions of them blinking back down at me. My vision blurs. I hear the muted footsteps slipping through the grass before my mom comes into my line of vision, her frown just barely visible in the darkness as she looks down at me. “Want a blanket? The ground’s wet.” It’s only then that I notice the chilled dampness seeping through my shorts and sweatshirt. My limbs are too heavy to get up. “I’m fine.” She lays the blanket down beside me and collapses on her back with a sigh, shifting until she gets comfortable. For a moment I wonder
Tug-of-War at Zuma Beach Photography Adi Dina how she found me, why she knew that this is the place I would run off to, but then I remember who she is; some part of her will always be able to find me. Her familiar scent — lavender with a hint of warmth, maybe cinnamon — washes over me, and my throat clenches. “Do you think he’s somewhere up there?” I ask finally. “With the stars? I don’t know. Maybe.” She pauses. “What do you think?” “I don’t know what I believe anymore.” The chirping of the crickets swells until the air pulses with their vibrations. “I hope not.” Her hand finds mine in the dark.
*** The day after the accident, the news coverage begins. Television news programs show footage of the scene behind a somber reporter with a perfect blonde blow-out, Henry’s silver Pontiac G6 crumpled like a wad of paper in the background, the whole scene bathed in the unearthly glare of flashing red and blue lights. My mom is furious, turning off the television with an unparalleled vengeance before ushering me into another room where she has a better chance of keeping me blissfully ignorant. I hear her on the phone later that day, pausing in the hallway outside of the master bedroom as I eavesdrop, listening as she pleads with grief counselors for the next available appointment and asks her own mother what to do, how to help me. I want to know the answer too. Dad comes home from the precinct, his eyes stony and movements weary as he hangs up his coat. He comes and sits beside me, rests his hand on my knee over the thick gray blanket I have wrapped around myself to try to keep the cold away. When I turn to look at him, the bluish glow of the television is reflected in his eyes and dancing across the wilted badge on his chest. “Nothing new to report,” he says. “I’m sorry, Nina.” *** The day of the accident is our senior homecoming. Henry wears his football jersey to school with the other boys, shoving them and laughing in the parking lot before the first bell rings. Always in the center of the excitement. Always the ringleader. I wonder if the others know about the desperately reverent way he talks about the prestigious universities that are out of reach for every other boy on the team besides him. I wonder if they know about the way he can yell and get in your face, his eyes sparkling in satisfaction when he manages to twist his words just enough to gut you where you’re most vulnerable. I wonder if they see anything beneath the carefully controlled exterior he hides beneath. I wonder if any of them knows Henry in the way I do.
The air is crisp when I step out of my rusted silver Infiniti, and I hunch my shoulders against the wind. Henry jogs up to me as I lock the car and heft my backpack onto my shoulders. “You still coming to Nick’s tonight?” he says by way of greeting. “After the game?” I look at him out of the corner of my eye. “I don’t know. Not if you lose. You know what happened last time. I can’t deal with you when you get like that anymore.” The bone beneath my left eye throbs, but I don’t know if it’s real or my imagination. Henry works his jaw back and forth, eyes shuttering. Even now, so early in the morning, there is a heaviness in his eyes that makes my stomach twist, unsettled. Through the parking lot, we pass on either side of a red pickup with a dent in the passenger side door and dried mud coating its tires. I take this moment of separation as a chance to breathe. I can feel him watching me. “Jesus,” he says finally. “Don’t ruin today for me, okay, Nina? It’s senior homecoming. Just enjoy it.” We reach the flight of stairs up to the bright red doors of the high school. I hear the tell-tale clink of glass bottles in his backpack—he must hear it too—but I don’t say anything. I know better. Almost there. I pull open the door and immediately make eye contact with Meggie, whose gaze flickers between Henry and I before hardening. She turns away, speeding up her pace and ducking her head to allow her auburn hair to shield her eyes. My chest clenches. “Sorry.”
We win the game. As usual, our entire small town has crammed itself into the cold bleachers, clad in jarring scarlet windbreakers and baseball caps, our school logo emblazoned on every scrap of clothing in sight. It feels as though the field is an entire world within itself, illuminated by the blinding glow of the unforgiving floodlights, nothing but looming darkness beyond them. Henry’s name comes booming through the loudspeaker, vibrating the bleachers beneath the crowd, the syllables of his surname drawn out for dramatic effect. I sit in the stands with my parents on either side of me, no longer comfortable standing in the student section with the radio silence throbbing in the air between Meggie and me, permeating my interactions with all the other girls too. Mom keeps looking at me quizzically, unused to my presence between her and Dad, but she doesn’t say anything. Dad leaves halfway through to go to work, briefly resting his hand on my shoulder as he passes me on his way out. I don’t go to Nick’s. There will be an after party, one Henry will want me to be at, but I don’t feel like celebrating. I don’t want to be near him when he’s drunk, especially when he’s also high off their win and feeling cocky. I don’t know how much longer I can do it, if I can even stick this out until we head off to separate colleges in August. But I don’t know how I could not. I go home and let Mom hug me before I collapse into my bed, drifting into a deep, effortless sleep almost immediately.
Henry drives home from the party. He runs the stop sign at the intersection of a country road and Highway 169, the one everyone has to go through during their driver’s test because of the way it comes out of nowhere, the way the thick tree line swallows it up, the way the cars on the highway can’t see well enough to stop in time if someone unexpectedly pulls out in front of them. Maybe the stop sign blends into the bright reds and oranges of the late-autumn leaves. Maybe he is fiddling with the radio or distracted by his friends. I think he is just plain drunk. The car T-bones them on the driver’s side. Andy gets a concussion from his head cracking against the window. Joe gets a broken collarbone from the seat belt tightening and cuts on his forehead and his bottom lip from the window shattering. Luke gets a few fractured bones in his left leg from the door caving in on him. Henry dies. My dad is the first officer on the scene. He calls me as soon as he gets a free moment, jolting me awake, and even in my half-asleep state I can tell immediately from the silence on the end of the line and the heaviness in his voice when he finally does speak that something is wrong. I crawl into my parents’ bed beside
Exposure Photography Brian Huynh
el Hombre y su familia Abel Barrientos
dame el clavo para enterrármelo en la mano para sentir lo que sintió el hombre cuando la hoja de la piña se le enterró en el forro de sus venas del brazo derecho mientras hacía su mendiga labor que tanto ama pero que sola usa para llevar un dinerito honorario al hogar regresándose al lado de su esposa a quien solo usa para su libido borracho y con la cualó se caso para sentirse estable y con cual tuvo hijos por borracha estupidez hazme sentir como él sin preocuparse por su madre porque ella siempre ha tenido hijas que la han cuidado y que le dieron lo que su esposo el mendigo que tanto follo por las calles ajenas, y que tanto idealizamos no le pudo dar hazme sentir como él quien controla el dinero el dinero mientras que ellas lloran por los hombres que les mandan serenatan una vez para poder besarlas por atrás de la casa municipal pero que nunca harán mas porque así son los hombres ¿por qué me siento como ellas? siempre me he sentido como ellas pero tus valores lo prohíben que me sienta así así que está mal sentirme así así que ¿que soy yo? un imbécil un imbécil un imbécil
Hades Ink & Marker Walter Egger
Nevermind Ink Gwenyth DeLap
Little puddles of strawberry ice cream on her sandals started to mix with the tiny droplets of water tumbling down from the uncharacteristically gray summer sky. Shivers and a growing sense of restlessness accompanied the uncomfortable stickiness—the wooden doors remained shut in her face, taunting her with the mystery that lay behind them. A lanky woman finally announced the long-awaited opening, and the flood of eager visitors rushed into the museum. The ice cream, unfortunately, was left outside in one of the black trash bins to finish melting. Its kind wasn’t allowed in the museum. She walked up the stairs to the main hall and took a moment to evaluate her surroundings. On the ceiling was a projection of meteors crashing into one another, the faint outline of what resembled the moon could be spotted in the background. If not for the glaring, phosphorescent lights lining the walls, it was almost as if she was staring at the night sky. A sense of unease settled in; she could never recognize constellations. A cacophony drew her attention to a hall in which most visitors were converging. She entered the large room to witness what seemed to be a disarray of pipes and bells and whistles all spouting steam and screeching their own song. The beeps, crackles, rings, and pops resonated somewhere deep in her chest, as if her own heart and lungs were bobbing up and down like the pistons working this unusual instrument. Even the constant rumbling of the visitors’ voices seemed to find its place in this ensemble of mechanical sounds. The whole of the room came together in perfect unison.
She walked over from her corner of the room to the portion of the exhibit—right in the middle—that offered the visitor a chance to take part in this orchestra of misfits. She stood between racks of industrial size whistles and took the instrument of choice: a small wooden stick to be used with a makeshift xylophone. Her shy little taps soon turned to delighted, confident rhythms. Never mind the fact that she was awful at music— that the first time she had picked up an instrument she was immediately told to put it down. Gone was the fact that her voice would make a Broadway star sound like a toad. Here, in the company of all the whistles and bells and pipes, she had talent. She put down the wooden stick and released a breath. The automated orchestra decided it was time to take a break, and the large group of restless visitors rotated out of the exhibit. The voices could now be clearly heard, and individual conversations could be discerned. Words drifted around the room; to her horror they were words of disdain. The visitors had not enjoyed the exhibit, and they made it known. She was taken aback. They had failed to see the beauty in the exhibit. It was right there, staring them in the face, waiting for them to understand its message just as she had. The visitors had come expecting elegance, so much so that they had failed to see the grace of the rusting metal pieces. People aren’t mechanical bits and pieces. She is not a well-oiled machine, and in the company of others her music too sounded like a racket. Suddenly, her feet felt sticky again.
The Gaze II Serigraphy Mei Lam So
The Same Knife Twice Emma Liverseed
I think we left our hearts somewhere in the attic of our old house sealed jars of pickled love and guilt tucked behind boxes of comic books, forgotten in the rush of packing. In my dream, I return home and everything is just how it was. Even the butter dish still has crumbs, left by the same knife twice. I ascend to a graveyard of half-bald dolls and empty frames where our misplaced veins wait for me under shawls of dust, resting in a steamer trunk the one carried by our Vorfahren, who left their homes long ago. Bile stains the walls, floor, and me. I try to drink the jar labeled â€œJoy,â€? but it is bitter, because the past never preserves quite how you remember it. I must awake and start anew.
Throne Acrylic & Collage on Paper Raja Timihiri
Biscuits Screenprint Calista Queck
Alexandra Pleasant Dad always said he was the hardest working man he ever had in his shop. And Mom would pull the blinds in the dining room to forget. If we had blinds or a dining room. I used to lay myself on the packed gravel slab of the driveway in the sun. And read only when alone. Deer meat butchered. Struck on way westward. Claimed by second on site of Old Hwy 47 with nowhere to go. Boxed dinners with egg noodles and powered grey gravy and the sweet gamey meat. I hope I taste the same When they come for me. When Dad leaves the mess of machinery and rust behind, I suggest we call the son of that one friend. Some of that might help him. Might make him the hardest working man heâ€™ll ever have in his shop.
Last Sunday Film Photography Alexandra Pleasant
As Hard as I try to Remember Film Photography Alexandra Pleasant
Ben Anderson The view from my 1997 Civic as it lurches through the rolling, frost covered hills of Dane County, Wisconsin is clouded by a dirty windshield. It certainly hampers snow globe-like visuals on the half-an-hour drive from Madison to Belleville to work for the day on a winter spinach farm. But this day is cold, Wisconsin cold, cold for everyone cold so windshield wiper fluid only results in an icy sheen and plus, the two other young farmers in the car don’t seem to notice. It’s only my third time on this farm; they have ridden this route across several years, so I am guessing, like many extended relationships, the romance is dwindling. Christmas was just a day prior and even with it fresh on all our minds, conversation is limited. Maybe it’s because I am new, or it could be the weight of the work ahead is settling in as the car finally warms up and a trip outside becomes even more daunting. The quiet is nice though, content opposed to awkward, and it gives me time to think about what it would be like to live at any number of the properties we pass. Would I be able to walk home from a night out drinking if I lived there and the nearest bar was in the next town over? Would I miss the steady hum of traffic purring that fills my current urban dwelling at all times of the day? Would my partner fret over the intense darkness that washes over then engulfs these rural homes at night? These questions are simple, first date fodder, and each of which have answers that can be reasoned out over a cup of coffee. Living as a farmer has little to do with this type of superficial inquiry. In tearing past these acres of cropland I do not need to fiddle with the type of demands that come from a lifetime marriage to the disicpline, like the intricacies of growing vegetables amidst a sweeping period of climate change, or the looming fear of crop failure and its monetary repercussions. The life of a part-time
farm hand is nothing like that of a living, breathing farmer much like the life of a babysitter is nothing like that of a parent. I read once that the hardest part of becoming a farmer is having no one know what you are doing, both in the sense that farming is a misunderstood vocation but also because of the dire loneliness that stems from having your livelihood also be the moat around your home. The workers sharing this car with me aren’t necessarily romanticizing about land ownership and a future full of farming, but my view from the cockpit of this Civic is smattered with the remnants of a county road in the dead of winter, and I am afraid when I do clean it, possibly after years of driving this route with them, the sights won’t inspire me either. Not because my love for working the land is fading but because an unadulterated view of the life of a small farmer might just be enough of a dose of reality that I prefer my vision a bit fuzzy.
Lexline Digital Art Alex Chmura
Muskego Photography Liz McGillis Drayna
Illumination grew to twenty members this semester, many of whom are new to the publication. I would like to thank veteran members for their guidance and perseverance in this managerial transition, and I appreciate all the hard work and adaptability our eight new members have shown this semester. Special thanks to Jennifer Jiang for her creativity and ambitious attitude on our social media platforms, because achieving the highest number of submissions in Illumination history wouldnâ€™t have been possible without her. Thank you to Fernanda Martinez Rodriguez for her constant guidance -- a forever member of the Illumination family. Jen Farley, your leadership has been second to none and you make the WUD PubCom office feel like home, as do the wonderful Jim Rogers, Lori Egan, and PubCom Associate Directors. Additionally, a big thanks to Julie Ganser, Karen Redfield, and all of the advisory and professional staff who insulate the studentsâ€™ copper wire on campus. And, finally, thank you to my friends and family who have listened to my thoughts about Illumination over the years, read articles, attended events, and liked social media posts. To all of the people who help make Illumination successful: you make my life so bright.