WORDS WORK WONDERS Idaho Writing Camps 2012
WORDS WORK WONDERS Idaho Writing Camps 2012
This is a Log Cabin Book, an imprint of THE CABIN 801 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho 83702 (208) 331-8000 www.thecabinidaho.org ÂŠ 2012 The Cabin All rights reserved. Book design by Jocelyn Robertson. Printed and bound in the USA in an edition of 100 copies. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher except in the context of reviews.
Idaho Writing Camps and publication of Words Work Wonders are made possible by generous support from: Barnes & Noble Booksellers Bistline Advised Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation Boise Cascade LLC Foundation Boise Inc. Century Link Foundation City of Boise Fred Meyer Co. Foothills Learning Center Greater Boise Rotary Foundation Idaho Commission on the Arts Idaho Community Foundation Idaho Power Company Nagel Foundation John William Jackson Fund Keybank Keynetics The Langroise Advised Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation
Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Scentsy Family Foundation Steele-Reese Foundation Seagraves Foundation U.S. Bancorp Foundation Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund Whittenberger Foundation
CONTENTS Introduction •
YOUR TURN •
Teaching Writers’ Biographies • About The Cabin
INTRODUCTION For a number of years now, it has become obvious that our high school writers display true, insightful and sometimes raw content. Their writing is real. It reflects the real things that high school students encounter and the real things they think about. Their imaginations and observations are closer to that of adults than often times we would like to admit and for their honest portrayal of themselves, I think we should be proud. The poems and stories within this book show that our high school writers feel comfortable enough in the Cabin and with its teaching-writers to really talk about what is on their minds. They trust us, and you, their parents and community, enough to have no fear expressing themselves. This year, we decided to make a separate anthology containing the writing by these high school writers and the writing of our adult writers. These adult writers have been a loving and welcome addition to camp. A mix of parents and community members, the creative support that has formed in result, has yielded a new vitality in our adult programming. Camp, its structure of new experiences, writing experimentation, workshop and community building, has truly proven to be for writers of all ages. Thank you to our new community of adult writers and to our brave and honest high-school writers for providing us with the honor of reading your work. Congratulations and enjoy! â€” JULIE STRAND Education Coordinator, The Cabin
WORDS WORK WONDERS
THE WORKSHOP He puts on socks to remember who he is — CLAIRE JUSSEL, Grade 10
KEEPING ORDER Jordan Ayers Grade 10, Boise I don’t like to close my closet door anymore because even in daylight, out of the corner of my eye, I keep thinking I see feet in my shoes. A pair of stalk-like legs sprouting up into a rainbow of raiment, like the child in a department store hiding, shielded by a one-way mirror of hangers before Mommy comes, chiding, “Honey, that’s not proper behavior.” The first time I saw the feet, a fleeting, beating-of-a-birdwing’s feeling swept me, and sliding back to a series of skirts and shirts, I expected to see perhaps a secret door, but no. No, it turns out there was nothing but a wall and imaginary thinking. One night, when silence and I settled down for bed, I casually asked the legs, and whomever they belonged to, that if they were to stay there, not to mess up the order of clothes. Because, after all, it takes time to color code a closet.
A POEM ABOUT LONELINESS Madison Binegar Grade 12, Boise I’m on the moon, this cave, this castle, my anger at a fortress wall. Stairs to the attic, a table, a sandwich, a book and time to spare. A forest That I can’t find, a river that I sucked dry. Pride spilled across the kitchen, a bent bike on the floor A fort and its gutters Gargoyles. Golden tongues lick the windows, sunshine screams in dance, Snakes in the fireplace whisper a folded note passed across marble. Scale to scale, tale to tale, and barbed forks insist Sharp letters. Ants drowning in honey swift stabs, the chest Granite ground to dust, the dragon calls for oxygen. I’m on the moon, this cave, this castle Giving into gravity, shuddering to pressure Existing far from Earth. Guitar, a chord, a cadence struck outer space.
IMPOSTER: A Novel Excerpt Megan Chambers Grade 12, Emmett Dray bowed, and he could feel his wig receding over his forehead. He resisted the urge to tug it back into place knowing it would look strange, and told himself he would adjust it the next time he got a chance. He couldn’t risk his real hair showing beneath. It was dark, and would be obvious in contrast to the wig. He held his elbow out to the girl in her fancy dress and she slid her arm through it delicately. They walked to the door, which he held open, and then to the driveway, where he helped her into a car. He waited patiently as it drove away until it was out of sight, and did not release his composure until he was safely back inside the house. Dray slipped into the bathroom and turned to the mirror. He’d never get used to that face. Instead of righting the wig, he pulled it off. Slowly, he released the foreign form and watched his face morph back into his own. He held his hands under the faucet and tried to calm his hair, which was sticking out in every direction from wearing the wig for so long. His fingers were shaking. This job was exhausting him. The door opened. Dray heard a girl’s soft gasp and turned to see her standing in the doorway. “Dray?” Her eyes darted from him to the blond wig on the counter. It took her only a few seconds to add everything up. She stared at him harshly. He knew that look. Betrayal. He couldn’t bring himself to speak. She did. “You know my name.”
NATUREâ€™S ACCEPTANCE Indigo Perkins Grade 10, Boise the drops of dew on the petal of satin rose; the setting sun at dusk that sinks into the lake horizon; the tinkling melody the music-box chimes before bed; the crickets tuning their strings when the stars come out, to listen; what is this called? Natureâ€™s Acceptance.
EXHIBIT Megan Chambers Grade 12, Emmett The bearâ€™s coat is made of sweaters, striped and wooly, with buttons and zippers. His eyes are stitched with white thread, small and mirthful. He smiles at his watchers, but his mouth is sewn shut. I wonder if you are as happy as you look, solid in place, Mr. Sweater Bear. Your back must be aching and your face sore from grinning. Are not your eyes tired from squinting against the display lights in your face? You look happy, Bear of Sweaters, but I wouldnâ€™t take your place.
OOPS Seth Voshell Grade 12, Boise The plane soars high over the grassy fields and other patchwork lands. I eat a light snack from the huge bulky backpack that my wife insisted I take. “Ok, you ready?” yells the pilot, “it’s your turn.” I flash him a thumbs up and jump out the door into freedom. After falling a bit, I pull my ripcord. All my snacks and supplies blow out, leaving the backpack empty.
TRUE ART Lindsey German Grade 10, Kuna It was the fifth entry in the stack on the secretaryâ€™s desk, under darkness, behind freshly unlocked doors. I dropped the key in my pocket and flicked on the lights. (No one else was here, right?) I wove my way around the office. Muddied floors, the smell of rain; others had been here recently. I bet I knew why. I dragged the fifth document out, which portrayed a sparkling waterfall. (It must take serious skill for paint to sparkle.) The water lit up the surrounding wildlife and thick foliage. It was beautiful, just as the first two had been. A masterpiece, I sure had an eye for art. The piece crumpled and ripped easily in my fingers. I ground it to dust beneath my heel. I also could tell a forgery. Who cares if it was forged by the artistâ€™s own mind and fingers? I refused to believe she was truly that talented, like me. The palette of colors loved me.
THE BIRDMAN Sedona Harden-Braden Grade 11, Meridian All she ever wanted was to be free to be able to escape like a bird flying away anywhere, anytime. Thatâ€™s why she dressed like a bird all the beautiful colors; oranges, reds, blues nobody cared who she was without the suit they cared about the suit. People thought it was a man they judge so fast and assume so quickly thatâ€™s why she hid her face hide it behind the beautiful birds to her, she was showing herself while she was in the suit. Being a bird, being a way to fly away never being pinned down, this was her bliss.
THE GIRL WITH THE BUMBLEBEE TATTOO DeAnna Board Grade 12, Boise In the middle of a large sunflower field, on the outskirts of an old remote town, sat a wispy girl with a bumblebee tattoo etched onto her skin. It floated on her arm, quite lifelike, and drew in all the other bees. They were her favorites, and she wanted to be their queen. She made a crown of flowers and commanded her kingdom. It was just another day, bright and blindingly sunny, as she twirled and danced underneath an old tree, home to the enormous hive she called home. The buzzing was overwhelming, almost lyrical. The girl danced to its slight beat, which sang to the beat of her heart. The two were now one, intertwined. The beating was so loud that she didn’t hear the footsteps, nor did she notice the smoke collecting around her. She was so inside herself that she didn’t even see her buzzing friends fall silently to the ground. Even as she slowly suffocated she thought she was still dancing, trapped in a lovely dream of honey and flowers. The beekeepers weren’t fired, they just continued their lives chasing around more escaped lunatics, putting them out of their misery, just like the girl with the bumblebee tattoo.
WILLOW Kali Woods Grade 12, Boise Two people sat beneath the willow, heads leaning side by side, as rays danced upon morning dew, throwing iridescent patterns across the crevices and valleys of their faces. Two sets of eyes gazed, and pondered the implications of this withered and decrepit giant beside them, rough with growths like tumors and sown with holes that exposed the innards. Once, when not so much sand had tumbled through the hourglass, this willow had been splendid, with a flawless trunk that had never seen the destruction of disease, and graceful branches hung with boughs the color of new grass that descended to the earth in a gentle kiss, a silent gratitude for life. But now the leaves, once a vibrant forest green and the fragrance of the spring, have vanished into a scattering of spots, like tufts of hair on a wizened manâ€™s head patched with yellow and brown splotches
of flesh. A breeze filled with rot rose and stirred the remnants still clinging to the boughs, reminding the two of the shudder before death, the last exhale whose force rips through the body in one ultimate jerk before forever more remaining still. They wept at the fragility and mortality of the willow as they hobbled and shuffled their stiff bodies into twilight, down a trail of dirt and bones.
SOFTLY, A BREEZE BRUSHED: An Excerpt Madison Binegar Grade 12, Boise Softly, a breeze brushed through the shady park. Large trees hardly swayed but for a gentle psithurism that hushed the sound of the nearby city and quelled any suspicion of danger. The light of mid-morning twinkled a soft reminder of the stars. Aiden had watched them fade with the dawn, lying on his back to view a sky framed by mighty boughs. Soon, the time would etch too deeply into day for Aiden to justify lying on the dew-spangled grass any longer. Through the night and dawn’s persistent beauty, was a subtle grant of solitude and silent refuge – the pittance life paid to each weary set of eyes, each tongue too old to speak, each fragile bone that decided not to break. Aiden’s clothes were damp, and he felt sunk into the earth. He took a deep breath and felt his chest expand as the leaves brushing the sky quivered expectantly in the sun’s eversteady ascent. Aiden gripped one hand in the other and rested their backs against his forehead. He closed his eyes for the first time in a while. His thoughts whirled in the breeze, but the sun pinned him down, its weight against his limbs. He sat up and opened his eyes. He rested his arms on his knees and looked sleepily around. On the other side of the park, a few pedestrians meandered forward. The cars on the nearby streets hummed steadily together in their dissonant hymn. This urban orchestra was hired this morning to compose an empty symphony, holding a melody in absent tones. Only one tore through the iron scores and accented notes for breaths of expression from time to time.
A squirrel rustled loudly, then scurried down a tree trunk. It froze and looked around in panic, then darted forward a few more paces. It paused and looked at Aiden, whiskers twitching. Aiden smiled. â€œGood morning,â€? he told it. The squirrel flicked his tail and ran off. Aiden rose, stretching himself on the tree that had sheltered him willingly all night. He looked up its broad trunk as he leaned on it for support. The branches spiraled above him, rising to a point. He dropped his eyes back towards earth and began to pad across the grass, away. The day was just beginning and as he left the park, apprehension steadily built upon itself. The static grew, and Aiden knew that he had to hurry, that heâ€™d run out of time to spare.
FLASKS Claire Jussel Grade 10, Boise Line the broken Window like Moths edge onto a Raw bulb. Sky seeps Through deteriorating panes Through the lip Of glass. The room had held Warm voices and Cool light Now, all there is to Face is cobwebs and Dust. Nostalgia Ebbs over their Blue hued surfaces Like rouge waters Stormy Never retreating. They sit, Empty. They used to contain a serendipity That was Translucent lavender, Hold elation, Deep and rich As sodden mud. Now, the air they 20
Encase grows Stale with Melancholy. Calloused hands Of their user Never returned, Despair grips Some like a Child holding a Favorite blanket. They throw Themselves off the Shelf, shattered Truth Like a fall from Searâ€™s Tower. Those left Become empty picture Frames, outlining the Void. Brightless light Filters through the Decades grown Grime Encrusted in Tears. They could hold Everything. 21
THE LEASH Cheyenne Goetz Grade 10, Meridian No one knows exactly how it happened, but the woman on the corner went crazy. I had watched her out of my living room window for many months as she held a leash attached to nothing. The woman, settling comfortably into her mid-thirties, first arrived on the corner one blustery Saturday morning. The leash in her hand was blowing around in the wind. I had been pruning back my azaleas that were determined to conquer all of the garden by any means necessary. I got up tentatively, hoping the flowers would not undo the pruning in my absence. “Have you lost your dog?” I asked, not that I had seen one anyway. “No,” she said, sweetly. “Would you like a glass of water?” I asked, extending my best hospitality. “No,” she said. “Alright, if you need something don’t be afraid to ask,” I told her, then went back to my pruning. She stood on the corner, statuesque, only given away by the wind blowing her blond hair this way and that, and the swaying of the empty leash. Finally, as dusk began to settle on the neighborhood, I emerged from the sanctity of my house to bring her a glass of water, even if she didn’t want one. Unfamiliar with the correct social conduct for this situation, I simply held out the glass, which she took gently. Once she had the glass, I assumed it was proper to say something.
“That’s a nice leash.” I felt akin to James Bond, slyly bringing up the subject of interest without seeming too pushy. “It’s alright,” the woman said, holding the empty glass out to me. Perhaps I had been too subtle. “I think it’s missing something though,” I said. She looked at me perplexed. I could not explain how that look made me feel.
BURN DeAnna Board Grade 12, Boise Swimming under the sky of a beautiful prison, pictures of a lighthouse block the sun and break color into pieces, forming gnarled limbs of the octopus tree that is inked onto our hands. I choke when I remember. My chest, stitched together using thorns instead of needles. I bled silky cream roses. It stained my restless feet.
I am the wispy powder cover of a butterflyâ€™s wing, delicate as porcelain yet unafraid. Blanketed from the crooked light; facing towards the sun without a trace of fated faults, I burn and go blind.
THIS IS NOT A DYSTOPIA! An Excerpt Jacob Cipriano Grade 10, Boise “Congratulations. You have reached the mature age of twenty-one Earth years. This time of your life is critical to the advancement of the human race on another planet. This is the year that marks the beginning of your reproduction process for the eighth generation of humans. Your purpose in this mission is to keep alive the human population for one thousand, one hundred years. We thank you for serving humanity. We thank you for serving a purpose in human exploration of the universe. We wish you luck in a successful reproduction process and a happy retirement.” The video ended and the lights in the room snapped on. A man in a seat in the auditorium lifted his hand high above his head. “Yes, a question?” said a suited man seated on the stage. The young man set his hand in his lap and said, “How will the reproduction process be scheduled?” The suited man crossed his arms and replied with a firm smile, “That information will be given in August, when the process is initiated.” Behind a shuffling curtain of discussion among the crowd of 21 year olds, another hand was raised, “I have a question. Will men be choosing their mates?” A ripple of murmurs echoed through the crowd. A man standing next to the suited gentleman on the stage raised his voice over the people, “Of course women are given equal rights to men in this situation, so the mating will be paired mutually. We do not want any more discomfort in this process than there needs to be.”
“Absolutely, Joe,” agreed the suited man, “Now, if there aren’t any more questions, I suppose we can dismiss to lunch.” As the suited man stood up from his chair in front of the screen, somebody shouted, “Show the video!” “Ignore it, Kory,” said Joe to the suited gentleman. “What video?” asked Kory. Joe said, “There is a video shown when they are eight years old. It tells them about the mission and everything like that. Their purpose here, etcetera. They ask for it every time we show a new video.” Kory scratched his goatee,“Well, I don’t see any harm in letting the boys watch it.” “Oh goody” replied Joe. He sighed, “Put it up.”
ACQUIRED TASTES Jordan Ayers Grade 10, Boise She had never tasted peanut butter before. I know that they don’t burden it in Europe—still. It struck me as foreign, how lithium is more in numbers, scattered like feathers over the world’s stained glass floor. In the grocery store, in Ireland, empty florescent lights illuminated her pianist fingers drumming on a shelf of windowless aisle nine. Perhaps it was beside her almond shampoo, which was a first for me, too; using her shampoo. It never made my hair red like hers, not that I really expected it to— still. My mother was trying to act like lithium, making me breakfast before I would find out what exactly people do in waiting rooms— coincidence that it was coffee, eggs, peanut butter determined ‘so American but surprisingly edible’ on almond-shampoo toast.
WAITING Indigo Perkins Grade 10, Boise When my days are broken, the winds speak to me, with tender words. When I need comfort, the trees sigh in my ears, symphonies of bliss. When I need a hand to hold, the waters of the stream grasp my hands, with powerful, profound, currents. But some day soon I will not need them, to take the pain away; I will find some one who can do it all. Someone who speaks tender words, sighs blissful symphonies, and grasps my hands. The winds, won’t need to speak to me, The trees, won’t sigh in my ears anymore, The waters, will flow freely without my hands. They will move along, without a trouble in the world. When I find that someone they will forget me. They won’t need to hear my laughter and sobs, they won’t need to wait for me day after day, they will live as they were meant to live. And when I do need them again they will always be there, waiting. 29
HAPPY ENDINGS Desiree Velvick Grade 10, Boise We stand together, joined by our shaking hands, underneath long white drapes flowing like falling clouds. A preacher drones on about how god created man to love and how marriage is a sacred thing, blah…blah... blah. Then he pauses, slightly, and asks the question no one hopes to hear an answer to. “Does anyone object to this young couple being married?” Silence. I let out a sigh of relief and get ready to say my vows, as someone clears his throat. Everyone turns to the back of the room to a see a man with a hurt look in his eyes. My heart races. What is he doing here? I look around frantically for a way to escape, but he speaks up before I can leave. “I object,” the man says. Shocked, the preacher looks at me then the man. “And why do you object?” he asks nervously. The man points to me and says, “Because, that’s my wife.”
PEN LOST IN THE SUN Lee Sullivan Grade 10, Boise Journeying to the sun The lamb leashed by addiction, Caught by the illustrious shepherd, Hooked by the lip. A lamb of the sun, A lamb sewn to a single desire, A lamb nourished by exploration Adventures through the fire. The tangled nest of celestial hair, The scalp stretched and separated, A million holes for two million points. A lamb walks the year, A lamb tramples the throat of time, A lamb beyond the hem of distance Spends the years in expedition. The path creased, rumpled, The jagged line dragged across the surface, It maps the sun.
THE BOY FROM THE BOOKSTORE: An Excerpt Elizabeth Crowther Grade 10, Boise The boy from the bookstore was now dented into the dirt and roots and his glasses were broken. “Joey?” No response except a low moan came from the crushed body of the teenage boy. Sally climbed down with caution, another branch waiting to break under her weight. Her hands shook, watching the panicked boy laying below her. Eventually, Sally’s feet reached the solid earth and she knelt on the ground next to Joey. “Can you walk?” It was an odd first question to ask a man who fell out of a tree. All Sally got for an answer was another groan. Sally’s heart raced as she came up with strategies for saving Joey. She dragged him ten feet before reaching the obstacle of rocks. Joey continued to moan. “God,” she whimpered, the radiation of the sun speaking back with more waves of heat. Sally gripped Joey’s arm and attempted to sling the mass of boy over her shoulder, only partially succeeding, his feet still dragging in the Earth. Her back in pain, and underarms burning, Sally began to move. Left foot, right foot, left foot and left again. Avoiding rocks and tripping, all the while, Joey’s feet buckled between the stones on the trail. Sunscreen melted off their bare skin, making their textures crisp. Sally’s lungs burned. Inside, she was screaming, help! But her words could not get past the heavy breath, chapped lips and tongue.
A plank standing perpendicular to the hillside stopped the struggling girl and answered the question of distance by reading, “5.7 miles to trailhead.” Sally sighed and almost began to cry. Among the boulders was a patch of dirt large enough to lay a particularly unconscious Joey without damaging his body. Once reached, she flung the boy to the dirt, maybe a bit too harshly. Regaining her breath, she retrieved the water bottle and gulped half of the contents and said faintly to herself, “This is not what I wanted to be doing today.”
FORGIVENESS Amy Kidd Grade 12, Boise It was raining: a harsh bitter rain, that soaked through my bones to the gutter. I was stuck outside, again. The pour from above lessened and I somewhere found the energy to lift my head. A stranger stood above me, umbrella in hand. “Do you have anywhere to go?” he asked with a rumbling voice that spoke of many years. “No,” was my pitiful reply. He reached out a hand to me while motioning with the umbrella to a car parked off to the side. Do I take his hand? He could be anyone. Who knows, he could be a murderer, but if he has a place to stay. I took the hand. The car was dry with warm air circulating throughout. A new stranger sat in the back with me while umbrella-man slid into the front. I immediately buckled myself in, fully aware of what damage could be done to my body in a car accident. The new stranger watched me with deep, searching eyes. I flinched away from his gaze, opting for curling up in a ball. From my peripheral vision, I watched him lean out with a napkin. Silky cloth rubbed up against my cheek. Beneath the silk I could feel his fingers gently pressing into my skin. He withdrew with a now brown napkin. Mutely, I continued to watch him discretely. We stopped in front of a large complex. I stared dumbfounded up at the building. My parents would never be able to afford to live in such a place no matter how many times they sold me out to research facilities. While I looked at the building, the other occupants of the car got out. The stranger came to my side and opened the door. Taken by surprise, I was forced to look him in the face. Butter brown hair fell in
bangs around his guarded dark eyes. I tore my eyes away to look down at the ground. Soft hands brushed against me as the seatbelt was undone. A hand was held out before me yet again. I hesitated. Before, I got into a car with a stranger and was taken to a high class building. Do I continue with this madness? Yet again I took the offered hand, feeling like I had crossed the threshold of no return and sealed my fate.
BEGGING PALMS Joy Wilson Grade 10, Boise With begging palms sweating and heart racing, I wait for my son to walk in the room. “Where have you been?” I enquire, reaching for him and clutching his head to my chest. His eyes water and his breath quickens, guiding my state of mind from a mild panic to a state of hysteria. “How could you go to the city?! You know we have orders to stay indoors. You could have caught the illness! How could you do this to me, to us? Have you caught it? How are you feeling?” I ramble off questions too quickly for him to answer. Before I finish, he mumbles something about a headache and goes to his bedroom. I fling myself to the floor and sob for an hour or more. He’s caught the illness. I shake my husband awake, and I tell him that Daniel caught the illness. “We can’t let him give it to the others!” I tell him, pulling my daughter from her crib beside our bed. “Go wake Erick and Oliver please darling, we have to get out and leave Daniel behind.” I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My face red, puffy, and tearstained. I wipe the sadness from my face and grasp Erick, my five year old, by the hand. I put on a brave face and pack what I can in the car. I can’t have Daniel infecting my babies. We drive through the night with sleeping children, all of their minds innocent and untouched by the illness. I can’t help but miss Daniel. I won’t ever see him again, unless we can find a cure.
“Where’s Danny?” Erick asks, eyes glazed with sleep as they flutter in the gentle morning sunshine. “He had to stay home darling,” I say, trying to leave my answer vague. “Well when’s he going to come find us?” “Honey,” I sigh, looking at him in the rearview mirror, “he’s not coming. Danny’s got to stay at home.” Erick starts screaming Danny’s name as though he could be heard over so many miles.
THEOLOGY Alex Free Grade 11, Caldwell The first time I saw God, he was a barn owl. Flew out at me with a face like the moon, with caramel feathers flared out, black eyes bared in accusation. And I cried: “Eloi, Eloi! I am converted!” falling in the dirt of the barn.
ORGAN AND SOUL Lindsay Atkinson Grade 10, Meridian The lifeline of the body acts as a dictator controlling his army of arteries. Ribs stand still, the queenâ€™s unblinking guards. Doctors diagnose and mend, psychiatrists glue together like a shattered lamp. Never the same the second time, pieces stolen as souvenirs.
A FABLE OF PIGGISH UNICORNS Lee Sullivan Grade 10, Boise There once was a red pig. He stood out amidst all the others with his thick tomato skin and was worshipped as a god by the faceless rabble of pink dirt beneath his hooves. He was boundlessly loved and infallible without exception. Even pigs from far away plantations and distant lands came to see his majesty and receive his wisdom. History was rewritten to include stories of his fairness, generosity, and wrath. All of his philosophies were universally accepted as absolute. And though his sausage was the plumpest and his bacon the sweetest, no farmer would ever dare touch him because all those who tried were used to fertilize the farm. He truly was the lord of all pigs and the subjugator of all other living creatures. The red pig took full advantage of his status. He abused it in every and any way he could imagine because he too believed he was god. He had a great palace constructed in his honor. Dressed in a gimp suit, he gave a tear filled speech at the mass grave for those lost in the construction of this palace. He had the walls decorated with murals of himself, painted by the most celebrated artists of his time. He had the wives of those artists made into his personal concubines. Each night, he had a sacrifice brought to him whose soul he would absorb in one great snort. Each night, he achieved ultimate enlightenment, punching Buddha in the face with his ever growing, enlightened fist. And each night he dreamt of unicorns. These unicorns of his dreams would converse with him. They asked about his life and all the feats he had accomplished. They wanted to know what it was like to be god. As the decades passed, however, they began to speak only of his impending and gruesome death. Only of his rotten soul and disgusting figure that only got worse with each passing day. Of course, it was very true. From all of his years as god, the red pig had enjoyed so much excess and luxury that he had bloated to elephantine proportions. Both his physical 40
figure as well as ego had inflated into grotesque blobs of scar and pus. As his soul rotted, the dreams became progressively more nightmarish. Terrors and hellish visions dominated his nights, which quickly drove the god pig into the utmost depths of hysteria and paranoia. With his insanity, the red pig became obsessed, fascinated, enamored with unicorns. He thought, if he could welcome them warmly under his rule, maybe they would not kill him. If he could become a unicorn, perhaps he could save himself. So the pig stitched the horn of a rhino onto his skull and had the hide of a horse grafted onto his body. Unfortunately, his flesh was far too expansive, his rolls far too great, he could never wear more than a sorry patchwork of horse hide. By this time, godâ€™s subjects were very worried about him. They had not seen their lordâ€™s face in many years. Finally, though, their worry was rewarded. Sadly, that reward was an order of genocide. All non-unicorn beings were to be eradicated. Thus, all creatures were annihilated because unicorns did not exist. The red god pig, the last living creature, rejoiced in his great empty palace in a great empty world, which now belonged to the unicorns. Amidst his joy, a vision of a mighty black unicorn suddenly appeared before the pig. The delusion stood before him, letting its intimidating aura have enough time to penetrate. Then, with an elegant somersault, the unicorn ripped away the red pigâ€™s horn and dove into his body. Enraged by the pain, insulted by the ungrateful fool, he frantically searched through his folds for the unicorn. Finally, the god pig realized that there was only one way to get the unicorn out. And so, the god cannibalized himself. Thus ends the tale of the one red pig dot in the pool of pink.
DIRT FLOOR Cheyenne Goetz Grade 10, Meridian The record player spewed silence, as a shattered stone, In shards. It pressed on ears. A faรงade Like water, Soaking the dirt floor of the mind.
ABACUS FACE Jacob Cipriano Grade 10, Boise Under the button suit And his analytical Abacus eyes, There exists a caged sad face that Watches, and silently cries. He wants to see outside his world of Numbers, shapes, and lines. He wants to touch something that is real, Something that can live but also die. His skin is moist and pasty, His eyes are gray and orange. His buttons fall off at every word But are only sewn back on. He lives inside the dungeon (The one beneath the park). He tries to meet new people But his face is far too stark. Now his days are waning. He rocks his face side to side, Only to count new numbers that obscure His lonely Lonely Eyes.
FENCING IN AFFECTION Sarah Gorenflo Grade 11, Nampa “Hey, do you want to go grab a cup of joe or something after this?” She quirked an eyebrow at him as they balanced in their fighting stances, waiting for the go-ahead. “We’ll both be sweaty and stinky.” “I just thought it could be fun.” He parried her first stab and out of his peripheral vision, saw the other pairs around the gym begin as well. “I don’t know, maybe tomorrow?” Sighing, she ducked under a wild swing and her eyes narrowed. “What’re you trying to do?” “Uh, fence?” Their sabers engaged in a quick clash of moves—lunge, sixte, riposte—before she could reply. “We’ve known each other since sophomore year and you’ve fenced for longer. That’s a kind of move you stop doing in the first class.” “I guess I was distracted.” He glanced at her hair shimmering from the back of her helmet as she pivoted, reminded of the first time they had met, her hair loose and covering her shy face, still shy after a year away from home. That had sure changed. “But, you bring up a good point. We’ve known each other for several years.” “Are you trying to distract me, now?” Her accusation became more mischievous as she added, smirking, “Am I that much better than you that you must resort to such dirty tactics?” “Dirty,” he gulped as the sword came close to impaling him. She tsked. “Men. Honestly.” He lowered his sword peaceably then brought it swinging back up as she lunged. “No, I swear, I wasn’t thinking like that.” Hoping for a laugh, he prodded. “If you thought of it, it must be your mind in the gutter.” 44
“Good grief.” She said no more, letting her sharp moves do the talking and he struggled for a minute to defend himself with quinte, prime and seconde parries. “Okay, I didn’t want to fight.” Her face relaxed a smidgeon and she took a second to flip her hair behind her shoulder. “Dude, we’re in a fencing class. Fighting is expected, even mandatory.” “Well, yes.” He grinned. “What?” “You said ‘dude’. You never used to say it before you started hanging out with me.” In fact, she had abhorred the word, rolling her eyes when he used it; as they got closer, he had subtly lessened his use of the word. She put new vigor into her strikes as she tried to play off his implications. “So? It just means you’re a bad influence.” “No, no, it’s what I’m trying to get at. We’re wearing off on each other.” “What’s your point? That’s what happens with friends.” Shrugging, she performed a fleche, ignoring his hurt look. “Friends?” She grinned. “I suppose we’re a bit more than that.” When he didn’t respond, she frowned. “I was just teasing. What’s wrong?” “What’s wrong?” His jabs became more forceful, punctuating his words. “You keep… jabbering… on about… this… and that… or joking… about our relationship… while I’m trying… to propose!” The last word echoed about the room and the other pairs of fighters looked over. Her block went awry, punching him in the gut as her mouth fell open. It caught him off-guard and he doubled over before falling back, tired in more ways than one. Finally, she regained her composure, waved the others’ looks away and rushed to his side. 45
“You-you were?” He groaned. “Yes.” “I didn’t realize. Maybe if you started with a declaration of love…” He wanted to get annoyed, but he couldn’t deny her logic; he could never deny her. “Fine,” he looked up at her and stared into her eyes of mixed trepidation and elation. “I love you. Like, a lot.” Beaming, she bade him continue. “Therefore, I enjoy spending time with you and can’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t have the opportunity to best you in a duel, simply because we weren’t together.” “Might I remind you that I got you on the ground?” He glared at her and she giggled. “Anyway, as I was saying, I want to marry you. Will you marry me?” Neither noticed the absence of sparring around them, nor their black-clothed instructors looking up, as she breathed in deeply. “Of course.” She smiled broadly at his surprised grin and hugged him tightly, their masks preventing anything further, not that they were a very public couple. From behind them, they heard a loud harrumph. “As touching as this is, would you please both get back to what you’re supposed to be doing?” They scrambled apart, blushing, and faced each other, sabres high. Their instructor kept a stern gaze on them before turning away. He dismissed the already-gossiping other students before mouthing to his co-worker. “I won, pay up.”
IN TROUBLE Elizabeth Crowther Grade 10, Boise I sink deeper into my chair forcing my feet to slide across the floor like a child forced to finish an absent dinner. Uncertainty crawls up my bent spine no adult could give me a more mundane punishment. I slip onto the floor as if I were to slide into the basement right through this kitchen tile prison the arms of my seat my shackles. Sounds around me become wild and untamed a garage door opening pounces on me a now awkward sound-dead state. I swell up inside, like the climax of a wave and, startled by the turning of a door knob Iâ€™m in trouble.
THOUSAND DOLLAR OPTIMISM Micaela Smith Grade 12, Boise I press one cheek to the window, watching us drift through empty galaxies. Colors pop and swirl as stars pulse around us. A girl can dream out here. There are no walls to constrict the view—the black just goes on past the planets. A girl can breathe out here. When I’m looking out the window, I can almost pretend I’m not in a spaceship that’s the size of a living room. Turn my head to look, and the tight space gets to me. So I keep staring out the window instead, where I can feel a little more relaxed. This is what space is supposed to feel like—not the feeling of living in a tool shed. Not touring on a schedule so tight that I only got three hours to visit the growa-clone exhibit. “Do you like my Sound Suit?” my flight partner, Ryan, says. He’s pulled some mess of fabric out of his backpack. It looks like snakeskin, only it has plastic buttons sewn on instead of scales. It’s white, like so many galaxies behind us, but it’s the flat sort of white that you see on a mall Santa’s beard. Ryan holds it up, trying to demonstrate where the arms go, but he gives up before he’s hardly started. He gets that flash of giddiness in his eyes that I can’t keep up with. “Turn around. I want to give you the full effect,” he directs. I roll my eyes, but I do what he says. So I stare back out the window, transfixed by all the wonderment we haven’t seen yet. And then I hear the fluid pops of the snap-on buttons on his flight suit, and a crash. “Tripped,” he says cheerfully. A few seconds pass, and then he does it again. And again. Bangs and expletives echo like popcorn as he flails around. You’d think someone who is a clearance-ten pilot would know a little about navigating around the cockpit of a spaceship. I can’t believe I’m dating this fool. “Okay, you can turn around.” “Oh…” I say, because I can’t think of anything else. It looks like he’s wearing a skin tight Power Ranger suit, only 48
it has a bonus: buttons have been puked all over it. The suit doesn’t have eye holes, so I doubt he can see. Even Power Ranger suits have little visors on their helmets. Even Power Ranger suits are more fashionable. I try to rearrange my features into something more pleasant, but it’s not going well. He must have picked up the thing while I was at the exhibit. His eyes are wide and proud, like a little boy showing off his dinosaur drawing. “Look, it’s better than you think!” And he presses one of the buttons on his inner thigh. The buttons start flashing a sickly orange color and start emanating tinny, muffled notes. I think it’s supposed to be a song, but it sounds more like rocks in a blender. A Sound Suit. Cute. “How much was that, anyway?” I ask nonchalantly. I crush a laugh between my jaws before it gets a chance to escape. “About a thousand bucks,” he says as he trips over the loose wires in the floor. “So you paid a thousand dollars for a costume you can’t see out of and makes little noises.” “It’s a Sound Suit, Paige.” I sigh, run my fingers through my hair, and lean up against the wall. “And what does a Sound Suit do? Besides the obvious.” “The sound waves could make people a little bit nauseous, I guess.” He shrugs. “So, we have some crowd control aspects…” I trail off, looking anywhere than at him, because I am so close to bursting out laughing. I look out past him: to the dashboard, to all the little inconsistencies in the floor, and to the insulation boards that are hung drunkenly across the walls. Really, the Sound Suit fits with the decor. I smile, and then the laughter breaks through. One thousand dollars for this suit. At least there’s never a boring instant, stuck in this restrictive craft with him. Sometimes all I need is a little perspective. 49
PETRI AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH: Inspired by the Art of Nick Cage Claire Jussel Grade 10, Boise Some of the others still talked. The five of them Under fluorescent sun Surroundings, like starched sheets Megacephaly humanoids Molded into eye scorching color and pattern All with long, shaggy fur. One stood several strides away Slightly removed, staring straight ahead Waiting. A coat the shade of an unused blackboard Dabbled with color at the wrists Left, purple Right, green Both appeared strikingly neon against the backdrop of black Like mutant comets. Red crossed over the rest of him Traversing the inky marsh A blazing headlight One bubblegum â€œXâ€? Guarding his heart. Inside, A five year old boy sits on a crimson topped stool Legs dangling, swinging Bouncing off the whitewashed walls A grape juice box in one hand, Chocolate chip cookie in the other.
Back in the old living room With the puce green furniture And columns of dusty light, On the carpet that smelled like old dog and lost Orville Redenbacherâ€™s popcorn He placed Legos together backwards, Rise on rise, And still built a house out of them. One day he woke up, The suit was there, Long fur like Merino midnight Ruffling in an invisible breeze. When he crawled inside, He could see the air differently. Sometimes, he misses Mommy and Daddy And Tomi the cat But he is never really gone. He puts on socks to remember who he is And hums quiet orchestrations between bites of cookie. He brushes his teeth in his mind In this place that is like his own personal rocket ship. Some of the others still talk To the five of them Under the fluorescent sun. Sometimes, he wonders who was behind the othersâ€™ fur But today, Petri stands several strides away Slightly removed, staring straight ahead Waiting. 51
STATUE Seth Voshell Grade 12, Boise
Stock still and silent Passerby judging and admiring So what if I moved
REVEL(ATIONS) Baylee Gerfen Grade 11, Eagle I used to smoke, but then I saw the ashtray, filled and saw the ashes as the ashes of people lost, of lungs purpled and frayed. I used to drink but then I saw the empties, so many bottles: clear, opaque, preserved, broken, opened, closed, and nowhere to put them all of the caps gone. I used to want to kill myself, and on off days, everyone else, but then I saw the people: struggling and starving for life.
THE APPROACH Alex Free Grade 11, Caldwell Before she could even open her mouth to say hello, when she was still halfway across the lawn for Pete’s sake, he called out to her with that supreme, over-confident masculinity trying to mask the fact that he may have treated her badly. Perhaps, even taken advantage of her emotional state. “Hey, Ellen. What’s up? Are you here to discuss the best night of your living life? I’m pretty stellar, I know. Did I rock your socks off? I was your first, right? Man, you’re a lucky girl. I almost envy you the experience.” This pulled Ellen up short. About three yards stood between her and him, lying lazily back in his golf cart, a club slung arrogantly across his shoulders. More than a few things were working their way across her expression, each in its own cataclysmic path of contortion: disgust, indignation, exhaustion, disdain, indecision, fear. Her cheek twitched as if she’d been holding her breath a long time, each twitch cautioning, don’t do it; don’t say it. Then she snapped and said it anyways. “Mike, I’m pregnant” “What?” Mike said, drawing the sound out long and round, as bad TV sitcoms had taught him to do. The club dangled limply against his neck. A whole lot of him was deflating right now. “Oh, God. I didn’t mean to tell you. I wasn’t going to let you know until it became obvious—give us time to become friends or maybe even a couple without the pressure of a baby between us.” She pressed her forehead into her hand.
Mike pictured that skinny little waist ballooning out and the other hand curving around to push in on the small of her back. An uneasy feeling that this would become a common gesture with her started squirming in his intestines like bad macaroni. Further down the course, a fellow golfer shouted, “Fore!” Ellen’s sorrow lasted only a minute. Then she became bitter. “And you had to go ahead and greet me that way, you jerk,” she snorted, “I almost envy you. God. First of all, that’s disturbing. Second, I know what we did. Trust me, I’m painfully aware of the fact.” “It can’t be mine. I can’t be a father,” Mike said blankly, chanting the statements like a mantra, as if he could repeat them into being true. “Are you sure you’re pregnant?”
MEMORIES Amy Kidd Grade 12, Boise Empty ruins Of forgotten times Echo the silence Of loneliness Brought forth From a diamond heart. Bitter enthusiastic Play about the frozen streets Reaches with ghostly hands To wipe all away From the emotional blackboard. Invite the gentle Tentacle of breath To lay upon Bare trees of death. Watch the doors Lurch back to life A sudden roar Of lions might. Hear the broken laughter As the children grow From the cobble stones To run about as before. Let it fall away To a frozen street And bare trees So that it may be Just another memory. 56
DEATH BED Lindsay Atkinson Grade 10, Meridian The dying woman does not remember. She does not remember her days of youth, the moments when she was beautiful. The hours sprawled out in the sun to tan her flawless skin. Those weeks she’d saved up her dollars just to buy a size two dress, her pennies for golden eyeshadow. The moments when people told her she had gorgeous green eyes, causing her to blush. The countless dances she attended with a different man on her arm each time, and bursts of her famous awkward laughter at their jokes. She does not remember feeling like Cinderella. In those stories the beauty always lasted. The happily ever after was forever. Looking back, she remembers her story went differently. There were no glass slippers or princes slaying dragons to win her heart. There was her beauty, competing with the curse of age. She remembers that portion of her life. The part all pageant queens dread, when fragrant lotion turns into wrinkle cream, teeth whitening strips can only be foolishly used on dentures, and the smell of a perm always lingers. The “natural look” no longer refers to her makeup choice but instead to whether or not she wears her own graying hair or a wig. Mirrors are not hung up because every reflection stings. She remembers spiraling into a depression as her search for a husband failed. When her debutante beauty ran out, so did the interest of men. With no hope for a child or a family left, most days she didn’t even leave her house. Now she lies in bed, cancer cells taking over, and her thoughts straighten out for the first time in years. She clears her head of the cloud of rude comments taken and stored in her brain over time. Her beauty was never what she missed, it was only the cover for her longing deep inside. Digging into the depth of her heart, she realizes she has missed the feeling of being loved. 57
OUT OF THE DARK OF THE EARTH, INTO THE DARK OF THE SEA Baylee Gerfen Grade 11, Eagle and not a single stir, cold creatures bent to walk where the moon cratered scarlet, rises & falls. easy in the evening afternoons, waking, shaking, waiting to say what keeps you contained; a smaller box & tighter strings. what stings only stings for a while then you suck the poison out â€“ un rave ll i ng in the deep of oceans: you, who sinks & slips between the hidden; stutter to stop the accident from happening shudder when it does.
PHOTO Lindsey German Grade 10, Kuna Faded I stumbled through the grove of depression Keep it safe Dark on light, the alley of trees He was nowhere to be found, but Everywhere in the world of pencil scratches Stirring, morphing, unsafe The rotten boughs soaked in his blood Root spirals as his bones Memories fading Shadowed face, drooping smile The clenched ring, glaring up, his eye. I try to remember, remember being in danger of time Time, bleakness, closing in like dusk. Memory dying yet again The trees grasp me like claws His beauty shifts, blends, stone and sky becoming new. I was lost, surrounded Never to see him another way The wailing gate collapsed in my mind Unsafe, fading Tears finally scattering Let me approach the next door.
LAST MOMENTS Desiree Velvick Grade 10, Boise A miner Covered head to toe In soot Stands on the ledge. Palms clammy Heart racing He attaches himself To the cord. Looking down the pit Its darkness Beckoning him. Just one jump Into the pit Of hell Taking a running start He free falls. “Snap!” His cord releases him The miner’s life Flashes before his eyes. Now he rests Behind transparent barriers Being engulfed In the antiseptic essence Of a hospital bed. His non-existent mind 60
Wanders To a gated garden The gate shimmers With an eerie Blackness. Two women appear, One dressed in a Blue sky dress That hugs every curve Of her flawless body. The other Draped in A mesmerizing Black gown. Although the lady In blue is breathtakingly Beautiful His heart aches For the mysterious Woman in black. He reaches out To take The womanâ€™s hand. Little does he know That by taking her hand Sheâ€™ll also Be taking His life.
AN ADVENTURE STORY Larson Holt Grade 10, San Francisco, CA Two people come out of a skyscraper. The one on the left is Vladimir Kudrinsky, a Russian excon turned financier. He’s in his fifties, and wearing a dark gray suit with nonmatching black slacks and a yellow stripe-y tie. Looking dejected, he begins to ambulate, as if drunk, down the glistening sidewalk. The one on the right is a small, beige field-mouse called Gerald. Gerald works in a Toyota factory and makes hybrid batteries. He likes guinea pigs and re-run marathons of Britain’s Got Talent. Gerald’s fur is ruffled in annoyance, as he makes his way out of the building, westward down Jefferson, trailing Kudrinsky. After a few blocks, Kudrinsky arrives at the Fulton Street subway and makes his way into the white, tiled depths of a New York City underground station. Gerald scampers after him down the stairway. The New Yorkers don’t give Gerald a second glance, busy reading the evening news on their iPads and newspapers, or browsing artsy pictures on Instagram. They seem to notice nothing odd in a mouse queuing in line and purchasing a ticket for the subway. Once purchased, Gerald presents his ticket to the agent, who tears it and gives him the stub. Now is where it gets tough. Gerald has to find, among the many tracks of the packed station, which one that Kudrinsky has gone off to. Luckily, Gerald possesses excellent powers of deduction. There are four directions that his prey could have gone. First the J/Z to Broad Street. Gerald instantly eliminates this possibility. Kudrinsky wouldn’t purchase a ticket to travel only one stop to Broad. Then, there are the two directions of the #2 and #3 lines—Harlem and the Bronx or Prospect Park. But if Kudrinsky wanted to take either of those two, he would have gotten on at the Wall Street station, which is much closer. So only one possibility remains: the J/Z to Jamaica Bay. 62
Gerald races down the passage toward the J/Z. Since the lines split apart in Queens, he not only has to locate Kudrinsky on the crowded platform, but also find the right branch. What if he already got on a train as I was thinking about where to go? Gerald asks himself. He presses on, moving faster and faster down the never-ending corridor of endless white tile covered with graffiti and ripped advertisements. Finally, Gerald arrives at the platform searching endlessly for Kudrinsky. Finding no sign of him, Gerald begins to despair, feeling that in the minutes they were separated, his man had boarded one of the trains. In the middle of his tragic moment, a train rushes into the station at high speed, screeching to a halt at the end of the platform. It’s a Z train— an express. He comes to the realization that if Kudrinsky got on a train before, it would have been a local train, which is soon to be caught by the express. Gerald dashes through the doors just as they close. The train speeds through the darkness, stopping at many intermediate stations. Chambers Street. Canal Street. Bowery Street. Delancey Street. It emerges from the darkness and speeds onto a bridge, across the East River. Then, the express section. The train whizzes past another train, stationary in a station. Gerald realizes that this must be the local, with Kudrinsky hopefully aboard. At the next stop, Myrtle Avenue, in the heart of Queens, he disembarks. Lingering around the station and noticing its dilapidated concrete platforms, and the tasteful carvings in the walls, Gerald begins to feel a mouse-adrenalin rush as Kudrinsky’s train charges towards him from a ways away. A minute later, the local J train comes to a stop and Gerald peeks his head in from the car at the rear of the train. Instantly, though, the doors close, and the train begins to pick up speed again. He spots Kudrinsky reading the Wall Street Journal at the other end of the train. Gerald’s stomach begins to do somersaults. He reassures himself, he’s now ready to do what needs to be done. It’s finally time. Suddenly, the train clatters to a halt in the middle of a 63
tunnel, throwing several passengers off their feet, including Gerald. Kudrinsky is pushed against an armrest. His newspaper lands on the floor and its pages scatter everywhere, just as an unexpected breeze blows in through the tunnel. Picked up by the breeze, the papers begin to blow everywhere, with “Ten Killed in Iraq Roadside Bomb,” or “School to begin Special Classes for Autistic Children,” or “Miami Getaways starting at $399 with American Airlines” settling onto the laps of the confused passengers. Gerald looks around frantically, trying to figure out his next move. In all the excitement and nervousness of what is to come, and with this odd stop, and steady breeze blowing through somehow, Gerald is at an emotional climax. He has no idea what to do until he does. It’s a brilliant idea, and he is impressed he thought of it so quickly. Then, with a sudden crash, the train slides backward. A terrible crunching sound is audible from the back of the train, where, to his horror, Gerald realizes that another train had slammed into his. He sees Kudrinsky get to his feet, and open the emergency exit window. The other passengers wait for the driver to give them instructions, but Kudrinksky leaps out of the window like a young gymnast and begins to sprint toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Gerald soon falls in behind him, having raced out of the train himself. Kudrinsky nears the end of the tunnel, where the Gates Avenue station awaits. Scampering as fast as he can, Gerald finds himself just a couple yards behind Kudrinsky. They both emerge from the tunnel, sweaty, panting, but with Gerald continually gaining, his little beige paws dragging him along. The safety of the station is only a few yards away. But for Vladimir Kudrinsky, it’s not close enough. All his life: escaping communist Russia, hitchhiking through the Baltic States, and finally arriving in America to become a successful banker by stealing money from accounts, he’d always dreaded this moment, because he’d known it would happen. Vladimir Kudrinsky was gored to death by a small beige field-mouse called Gerald on a train track. 64
A TRAGIC TALE Kaisa J. Eiler Grade 11, Soda Springs Brody glared down the six-foot-long oval table made from aged maple wood at his twin sister, Savannah. She timidly returned the look back up the table. This table isn’t long enough, she thought, imagining the table spreading across several universes. I hate her, Brody thought. The table had been polished smooth by the servants, but nothing had changed what the table had seen. The fire blazing rhythmically in the hearth seemed dwarfed by the shadowlike darkness that teasingly crept in from all available places in the dining hall. The hall was already considered small, but the raging emotions of Brody and Savannah shrunk it even more. The walls were built using black unevenly-sized and shaped stones, and the black and blood-red colors of the twins’ clothing soured the mood even more. Outside the sky was no better. Murderous thundering clouds crackled and clacked, threatening to drench anything and everything. Any animals that dared to continue living on the estate after this strange family moved in left with no intentions of ever returning. All servants from the highest butler down to the lowest scullery maid hid themselves as well, leaving Brody and Savannah to brood and loathe each other alone. As for their parents, they left at the first sign of the twins’ powers, but they didn’t leave the traditional way. Oh, no. Joseph Mortesian the Third and his beautiful, if not a little strange, wife Kathryn Mortesian didn’t hurriedly stuff their bags and sneak out the back door in the middle of the night. They were each carried out the front door in black boxes encasing a small, ivory colored, silk bed by six grim-faced pall bearers dressed in mourning black. Brody blamed Savannah, and Savannah felt abandoned, and still, after four long months, the twins were bitter about the whole mess. 65
MY FINAL DESTINATION Courtney Nicholes Grade 10, Meridian I sat, cross legged, on the pure white tile floor. The perfect cuts and gorgeous squares seemed to mock my notso-perfect psychological and emotional state. I could hear the thumps of the feet walking across the hall, just outside my closed door. The ticking of the clock nailed to the wall had most of my attention. The holler of the ticks hammered my head. It was almost a quarter after three–the time of day when the singsong birds weren’t quite ready to chirp. Surrounding me were photographs. Black. White. Sepia. Colored. Me. Him. Us. One photograph caught my eye. My fingers curled around the edges as I studied our faces in the colored picture. That picture was taken the day we went to the fair with our friends. Kyle had a colorful balloon hat around his head, flattening his nicely gelled hair. His hair reminded me of the honey I put on my toast in the morning. His green eyes, piercing as a jaguar’s, striking out its prey in the jungle night, were twinkling, just like his smile. My smile was as bright as mirror, reflecting the sun. My chocolate pudding eyes were alive. We were so happy. I was so happy. I let go of the photograph, letting it float through the air before it rested back in its place on the floor. My eyes focused on another picture. This picture was black and white. It was another picture of us. Kyle was standing on a dirty wooden fence, leaning towards me. His left hand grasped the top board of the fence and his right was lost somewhere in my brown, soft curls. My short, lacey cream dress was stroking the fence and my left cowboy boot was lifted an inch from the hay like grass. The photographer, a friend of mine named Jenny, snapped the shot an hour before the accident. The Accident. My eyes swelled up with tears as the memories flooded back. Dreadful memories. Frightening memories. It was the night after high school graduation. Me, Kyle 66
and our friends were planning to go out to the country, trying to put off adulthood by playing games and roasting marshmallows and gummy candy. I arrived late, about dusk, because my grandparents had treated me to a dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. I didn’t want to go to the dinner, because I wanted to spend my last day as a minor with my friends, but Kyle insisted. He told me that I should accept my grandparents’ invitation because they weren’t going to be around much longer. When I finally arrived, which was when the picture was taken, Kyle greeted me with a kiss and helped me jump over the fence. We ran, hand in hand, across the field to meet our friends on the other side. I remember watching the stars that night, with Kyle and the rest of our friends. Our backs were on the grass, it tickled our bodies, but we didn’t care. I remember feeling Kyle’s hand tangled up with mine and feeling his body shake softly as he laughed. Even though it was dark, I knew that he couldn’t take his eyes off me. Even though it was dark, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. We talked a lot that night, Kyle and I. Our mistakes and things we wished we could take back. Kyle told me about his life before we met in high school when he was the new kid in school. Before that night, Kyle wouldn’t discuss it. He told me that his past didn’t matter; it was done and over with. But for some reason, that night he did. He told me about robbing a gas station with his buddies, in his old city. His best friend then, Jack, had worked at a gas station called Al’s. They would sneak money out of the cash register and spend the stolen cash on cigarettes from dealers on the street. He said they never got caught, but he felt terrible for it. I remember reading his face when he finally made eye contact with me after he talked. His face showed years of regret and bad choices. He then told me he had just about kicked his habit of breathing in the dreadful 67
chemicals—a year clean. We gazed at the stars until almost three in the morning, until we were kicked out by a farmer, who found us on his property. He chased us with his pitchfork until we were over the fence. I climbed into Kyle’s beat up red pickup truck, even though I had driven my own Barbie pink pickup there. We drove away while the farmer yelled profanity at us until we couldn’t hear him anymore. Then The Accident happened. All I remember is the screaming of the tires and the vivid headlights coming towards us. I can hear my piercing scream in my mind. I can hear the glass shattering into a thousand pieces from the windshield. I remember seeing the alcohol bottle, lying beside his murderer’s black SUV. Kyle’s ghostly face is tattooed into my brain. I can still feel his sticky and precious blood on my fingers, when I wiped his lips so I could feel them one last time. My lips still tingle from the last time they met his. I felt tears streaming down my face like a river. Except a river has no end. Kyle did. I do. It’s coming soon.
FENCED Louise Magbunduku Grade 11, Boise Legs stretched 100 meters In all directions; She searched the wires and wood For a single break. The grass tasted like dirt, her own milk turned sour, And her hooves pawed up nothing but ash. She could do nothing, But trample the earth, And make herself raw on the wires and wood. She built Her own complacent fence. She refused to remember Why she had to escape. She accepted the grass as all there was And resigned to her world. It killed her to hear the finches sing. Blanketed by stinging snow, She watched the crows speckle on the white, As she folded into them The murder dispersed.
ATTUNE Taber Nelson Grade 11, Idaho City Green fades to black as water color seeps into fresh paper. Downhill the streamâ€™s lazy jog, effortless and efficient Deep, into the bottomless pond. Faded sun reflects beauty Black grass slowly grows.
ISOSCELES IN STARS Abby Egan Grade 12, Meridian Dotted strangers meander home, closed as clams to goldspun sunshine, as it walks its line. She points: the moon has come to play. Roll in the cart of darkness the crowd, with open cellar-eyes, point and awe. She points her feet little triangles of light isosceles. Bones bend, hem, stretch and hum, limbs like spikes. She walks in pinpricks, head pours light like amber lamps; a crack in her complexion. Eyes color fire whose flames gasp selfish for the moon, elevate and soarâ€” she sighs to meet him, so earth is sewn behind her. Snapdragon energy a flight from her head; erosion of skin, kin, inhibitions it all falls behind her. She walks the line with her moon, shining.
BLOOD-BOUND TEARS Samah Elshafei Grade 11, Boise My name is Mayor. I write this in dedication to the only girl I’ve come to care for. Chylone— Long, raven-black hair that wildly illuminated beneath the sun’s rays, kindness and generosity thrived in her veins, a simper that could enlighten the most dismal of places. Angels would tear their wings off and chew on their own halos in jealousy of her beauty. I cherished the days with her when we’d gaze into the dawn’s crackling lights. I’d nestle close to her and she’d droop her head on my supportive shoulder. Hazelnut irises glanced up at me in delight. I grinned and whispered ever so calmly in her ear, “I love you.” She’d repeat the phrase and press her soft lips up against mine. I’ve sauntered through the desolate winds, flown between the prodigious waves, and paddled beyond the embittered lands, all with her delicate hand gently cupped in mine. I’ve endured insanity, slid past immorality, and brushed alongside death. All with Chylone graciously at my side, forever lingering by my side. Chylone— What has transpired since the glisten in her hair lost its urge to shimmer? Her mouth too feeble to curve up into a resplendent smile, lonely winds cannot flow into her chest. The waters are unable to penetrate her veins. Not even the almighty lands have the capability to raise strength in her bones.
One last embrace was all she gave me. The last time we stared off into the morning clouds, she spun her head to gape at me with her flawless almond eyes. I was too oblivious to realize she was shedding tears. I shed tears that day as well. In fact, I wept tears of sorrow, happiness, pain, glory, excitement, remorse, and anger. But now, the only tears that drizzle down my cheeks whenever I come across Chyloneâ€™s tombstone are bloodbound.
ORIGIN Taber Nelson Grade 11, Idaho City Take a second and enter your mind Pierce the flesh, bone and fluids Look deeper, what do you see? Is it red as the crimson sunset? Is it black, like the midnight sky with no moon? Are there organelles inside producing art? Are there endless rings of thought circulating like an electrical current? Is it a synapse? Itâ€™s all just endless mystery, Yet we have complete access?
YOUR TURN I dream of important gold keys with no locks — CAROLYN FARLING
ALMOST Adam B. Knox Boise The sound of a manual typewriter danced through the house. She heard it the moment she opened the front door. Heard it, and winced. Pausing, she focused on her breath. In, out. In, out. Calmer now, she forced herself forward and moved to where the taktaktak was the loudest. Back, toward his laboratory. Back, to where a monster was being created. She moved down the hall where they’d enshrined memories. Hieroglyphs for future explorers to discover and decipher. Not her though, not this ghost. She felt foolish looking at their gilt frames, cages holding hostage memories she was unsure she wanted to remember. She padded, careful to avoid the familiar prisoners hanging on the wall, closer to him and his creation; a singularity of self. The door was open and inviting. Deceptive. He sat hunched over the machine coaxing life into that which she wished was dead. He worked wildly, his fingers pouncing up and down on the whirring machine. Once a page was completed, he would pull it out with a flourish and lay it, reverent, on a neat pile to his left. His eyes would linger there, even as his hands loaded another snow white sheet. She looked away, feeling like an intruder, and her hand gripped the door jam until her knuckles were white. Afraid to disturb him but unable to prolong the confrontation she lurched forward. Her steps were unsure, timid, like a child. She reached out her hand as she drew close to him. It hovered above the crown of his head before she laid it down, caressing his tousled hair. “Oh, hey Honey. I didn’t hear you come in. Look, I’m almost done!” “Me too.” she said. As she turned and left, the sound of the typewriter returned, echoing like the fall of a hammer on an anvil. 79
LIFE ON CANVAS: An Excerpt Elise Daniel Kuna Sarah closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she walked through the park with Hammer, her large, goofy Weimaraner. The sky was overcast and as she breathed deeply she could smell the roses from the nearby garden as well as the wonderful smell of damp earth after a light shower. It was nice and cool in the park. What a treat, she loved to unwind this way after a long noisy shift in the restaurant. She needed this time – the peace and the relative quiet as her brain filtered through the events of the day. She could hear children screeching in the distance, the sounds of traffic, and the steady sounds of the city around her. When she closed her eyes she felt a sense of safety and internal quiet here in the park. A loud chirp made her jump and startled her out of her reverie. Damn, she forgot to leave her phone behind. She never brought her phone to the park for this very reason. As she grabbed the phone to turn it off she saw that it was her sister, Emma calling from France. A small alarm went off in her head and the shadows deepened beneath the trees as she realized she had better answer. It was the middle of the night outside of Paris where Emma lived, and they hadn’t spoken much the past few months. “Hey sis” Sarah answered and then a deadly feeling engulfed her as she heard Emma in an emotional, half-crazed voice pour out a torrent of words that she really couldn’t comprehend. When she hung up the phone, Sarah collapsed on the damp grass and tried to catch her breath. Hammer lay down next to her nudging, reminding her of his presence and of their missed exercise time. She felt as if the world had stopped. All she could hear was the beating of her heart. 80
GOLDEN GROUNDSEL Becky Vestal Caldwell I bloom outside your window, Gold, luminous petals unfold. I sway in dappled light, Sunâ€™s rays sparkle in prisms of dewdrop. I grace this day Without promise of notice. My inherent purpose to Inspire your spirit, Ease your care, Soften your sadness. Your day begins. Will you unfold your beauty, Reveal your goodness, Infuse your space with color and light? To what purpose? And who will notice?
METAMORPHOSIS Kathy Kuehl Boise I build my crystalline cage Once enclosed, there is no return. I will never feel the coolness of a rain wrapped leaf Sheltering me from the noon day sun. I will never again taste the simple tang Of the Paw Paw tree. I will emerge To crave the nectar Forced to fly To feed my lust It may be grand This becoming Yet, I grieve Never to be me Again.
SIZE MATTERS Sharli Turner Boise Shadows make me larger. When the sun shines just so, at a slant that catches the fuzz on my back and projects it as bristling spines on a body mounted on legs five times their size, then I might fascinate—in a garden, on a sidewalk, on the web I fashion across the back of a patio chair. But inside, say in the drain of the bathtub, where no sun can come, I do not need shadows to inflate my size. It is my smallness, my ability to dart into cracks and inside folds that makes your stomach wring out breath like a wash cloth, your feet jerk back spinning, seeking, lifting and shaking towels, grasping for a shoe, shaking hair in a panic—what is that tickle on the back of your arm? Spotted, I move quickly. Once out of reach, out of sight, out of awareness I can sit for days and watch you sit on the edge of the bed and tie your shoes, unknowing, unconcerned, forgetful—until you wake one morning facing the other way and start, and tremble at the leg-fringed black spot suspended above you.
CROATIAN ANGEL Marguerite Lawrence Boise On a wall above the solid pine table in my Croatian grandmother’s kitchen, hangs an embroidered tea towel. It is of an angel with her wings spread wide, hovering in clouds. A beautifully scripted Croatian message curves around the angel. As my siblings and I sit at the table eating our morning custard, the angel smiles serenely down, and in her Croatian tongue she says, “Svi dobri aneli u snu te cuvali.” Sitting at the table we kids wrestle, as we do many mornings, with the angel’s foreign words. We need more vowels, and what kind of word is “snu?” After all, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around how to properly say and spell our own Croatian surname – in English. R-O-S-A-N-D-I-C is the Croatian spelling; however, the English-speaking guard who forty years ago, checked my grandparents into Ellis Island, didn’t know how to pronounce the ending c, and so he peremptorily added a k. This changed our name to R-O-S-A-N-D-I-C-K. Everything in our English-language phonics and spelling lessons tells us our name is to be pronounced, Ros-an-dick – which is a dreadful debasement of our name. As we grow up, my siblings and I suffer through this embarrassment with countless new introductions: “Rosan-What? Dick? Really… RosanDICK? – That’s a good one.”
In my grandmother’s kitchen our English-language phonics is tossed out the window, and our Croatian culture sets up house with its own set of rules – phonetic, and otherwise. The Croatian rule is when the letter c is at the end of a word, it is pronounced ch, thus making the correct way of saying our old-world name, Ros-an-dich. The other rule in my grandmother’s kitchen is to never make fun of a person’s name. We kids sitting at breakfast beneath an embroidered tea towel of a Croatian angel, are unaware that forty years have passed since an unimaginative guard at Ellis Island distorted our grandparents’ name. All we know at our tender ages, is this spelling and phonics stuff in any language, is really hard to figure out. And so for the umpteenth time we ask our grandmother, “Baba, what is the angel saying, in ENGLISH please?” She wipes her hands on her apron and with an old-world look in her eye, my Croatian grandmother answers, “The good angel watches over your dreams… Now, eat your custard.”
AFTER THE FOREST DIED Annie Hindman Boise Sage flavors the dust and the asphalt sneezes, then buckles. The desert expanse lies empty, yet full of ghosts. Smell them in the dirtâ€”ashes of forest history. Feel them boil, choke, burn in the ground heat. Hear them murmur as thunder sparks, then speaks the blackening rage that travels on the wind for acres and acres. Watch smoke understudy for sky, who falls ill; too parched to weep. After time, sage will rebirth to hold down the earth. But the running rabbits will warn of fire.
I THOUGHT I WANTED FLOWERS Carmen Morawski Boise The lawn was plain â€“ green and simple to mow. Yet shovelful by shovelful, and year after year, I dug. Lawn gave way to color and bird song, paths of brick and stone, tulips and daffodils, lilies and daisies, ten rose varieties, two lilacs. From spring until fall, they bloomed. In sycamore shade, the heavy scent of lily wafts by, as I bend, again and again, like Sisyphus rolling his rock, clearing leaves and bark, and waiting for snow.
MISSING CHILDREN Christopher Green Caldwell My mind was anxious, perplexed at the sight. The Sound Journey name made no sense as only silence lay in the glittery beads hanging in the shapes of stripes and feathers; beside harsh wool plaid sweaters covering beasts with no eyes. Next stood grass green nosed braided faces with placemats for shoulders and elbows, leggings and toes. In the background lay formless knitted children rolled upon the ground. Were they waiting for plaid patterned parents encaged to make the sound?
TIME AND GINKOES Barry Cunfer Boise He struggled across the intersection, just making it over as the stoplight changed. He was old but not as old as he appeared. The man was as much tired as old, with shaggy yellow-white hair surrounding his life-wearied face. He stooped, leaning forward too much, his walk was a trudge more than a walk. He inspected the trees along the street and knew they didn’t belong there, just like he didn’t fit in with those he passed – coffee shop patio-sitters, young flirting couples, texting teenagers. He knew these trees from earlier years when he was a student. Yes, now he extracted their name from long ago memories. They were ginkgoes, Ginkgo biloba. Strange that he recalled the Latin name. They didn’t belong in this desert town, tall dense water-thirsty trees. They didn’t belong to this time. They were a remnant from dinosaur times, the only remaining living tree from the Mesozoic. All their relatives were petrified fossils. Is that what he was, a fossil passed by time? He didn’t understand computers and didn’t want to. Cars today all looked the same. What else? The hot sidewalk and street noise refocused his thoughts, brought him back to now. He adjusted the old, too heavy canvas pack on his back. It carried all of the tangible life he could hang on to. Now he remembered where he was going. He was walking toward his next meal. That was his immediate goal, the only one he could deal with. The ginkgoes were fixed in the past. He hardly remembered the past and couldn’t afford to invest his time there or in tomorrow. Now was the only place he had the strength to be.
CHAIRS Vashti Summervill Boise What appeared to be a flaming roof truss was visible through the front plate, now glassless window on the right side of the building. The large, burning truss sat at a thirty degree angle, one end supported by obscured rubble, on the first floor of what was the newest, poshest hotel in southern Idaho. Thick black smoke rolled out of the roof of the twostory building giving the â€œGrand Hotelâ€? a volcanic alter ego. Impressive masonry details remained in tact on the firm outer shell, at least for the time being. A large arched window with a brick border that alternated between light and dark rectangles stood stalwart on the shoulders of the coved main entrance. The contrast between the red and blond brick became less distinct as the smoke exhaled black pigment into their porous surfaces. Each window on the face of the building provided a kaleidoscope peek at how a building unravels, its borrowed materials returning to the earth. The fire played its dissonant song, crackling and whirring, as a waterfall of various, unidentifiable flaming debris cascaded from what was the second floor to its temporary resting place on the ground level. Through the lens of the second story arched window, a cloud of smoke followed a ladder making an aerobatic dismount from the attic. The left side of the buildingâ€™s truss, not to be upstaged by the performance of the right, seemed to be making its own circus trapeze descent into the cafe below.
Young saplings, planted when the building was constructed just five years earlier, slumped, slowly choking to death, suffocated by smoke and heat. A telephone cable capitulated under the intensifying heat and lay gracefully on the ground, a delicate arm extending from the torso of a wooden pillar, in a deep bow of deference to the scorching fire. In the hotel cafe, a single, ornate, soft white light with a floral pattern remained dangling above a small table and two chairs, empty and seemingly stunned. The chairs appeared to be gazing onto the lawn, seemingly unaware of the destruction all around but confused as to why so many of their other fellow chairs were lying haphazardly on the front grass. With the exception of five or six assorted tables, a few regal white lace cloths, six large hard bound books, a stack of dirty plates and a whiskey barrel lying drunk on its side, the bulk of the rescued accouterments appeared to be chairs. They lied scattered like battle casualties in every direction on the lawn, some upright, others on their back sides, others upside down. The acrid smoke and trauma seemed to give each of them the aura of a living being â€“ shocked, dazed, bewildered, paralyzed, terrified.
WALGREEN’S DRUG STORE 1954 Judy Scott Boise I was 7 years old in the summer of 1954, anxiously awaiting the start of third grade at Franklin Grade School. I was filled with the energy and adventure unique to 7 year olds. My maternal grandmother, Grandma Cowan, and I enjoyed our traditional school clothes shopping trip ending with lunch at Walgreen’s soda counter. The mahogany counter had individual stationery chrome stools with red vinyl tops. It seated about 20 luncheon customers. Soda counters in drug stores have long disappeared, but my memories are still very vivid. That summer day I ordered a tuna sandwich on Eddy’s white bread and a Coke. The sandwich came with dill pickle chips and Idaho potato chips on the side. Always the sandwiches were placed in a plastic basket lined with waxed paper. Tuna fish was my favorite as far back as early memory allows and remains a “comfort food” still today! I always felt so grown-up to be with my Grandma Cowan. Grandma probably had no outstanding features to an onlooker but to me she was the essence of love and embodied what everyone wished their grandmother looked like. In 1954, Grandma was 60, which seemed very old to a 7 year old, but she always found new ways to bond and entertain all of her grandkids like playing anagrams or FISH, in addition to the traditional annual school shopping trip.
Walgreens was full of new and interesting items to a 7 year old beginning to experience the outer world. I remember the high school girl behind the candy/tobacco counter. She typified the look of that era, dark, horn-rimmed glasses, short brown bobby-pin set hair, about 5’5” wearing a sweater and a poodle skirt. Also behind the counter were 1,000 sundries items: Luden’s and Smith Bros. cough drops; any kind of cigar you wanted for $.10 or under; lighter fluids; all kinds of candy bars like Mountain Bars (a favorite of mine for years after); and many kinds of tobacco which were of no interest to a 7 year old. The candy bars are what held the interest of a 7 year old. Grandma and I had bought two new school outfits, a yellow cotton print dress, a red and white checkered dirndl skirt and a grey blouse trimmed with white pique collar. I loved to feel their crisp newness. The Walgreens’ experience is long past, but memories of Walgreens, shopping and eating with my Grandma are still very alive!
ZIP BANG Colleen Cronin Boise Dear Carol, That’s how the letter began. Dear Carol, I know I’ve never been good at expressing my feelings to you. I have been too busy being Mr. Nice. I think, I got too good at being Mr. Nice. It’s true. Mr. White was a Ward Cleaver type. No pun intended with the cleaver thing. Playing Mr. Nice for so many years has left me devoid of an inner life. There has been a numbness I didn’t even know was possible – and have only recently recognized – for over ten years. This is not your fault. I always wondered about the price of being nice all the time. That’s why I don’t bother. Seems like a dead-end road. No pun intended number two. My sister gave me this letter because she and Carol were bridge friends and Carol had to show it to someone. Someone not too connected to the case or the family. This is not your fault. I stuffed my feelings to the point of implosion. I can’t forgive myself for that. And you assumed your role of wife and mother and asked for nothing. I’m sorry we had no training in open communication. I blame my parents for that but it’s all water under the bridge. The point is: I don’t want to hurt you. BANG BANG. Someone will be hurt. I know. “First Murder in 20 Years in Pristine Suburb.” A village, not even a town. My kids heard the shots. 94
I don’t want to hurt you. This is the line everyone expects from a man in his mid-40s and sometimes beyond, kids grown. One kid a successful stock trader or perhaps financial analyst (something that will assure you’ll go to a nice nursing home) and the other a third grade teacher (something that will assure your grandkids will be adequately watered). Great bios to share at cocktail parties. “I don’t want to hurt you.” I know this line well. I’ve seen the shambles it causes. There is someone else. And I want to give you time and space to digest this news. Chicken! BALK BALK. Another goddamn coward. Tell me to my face, you bastard. She is not someone you know and the whole thing took me by surprise. Oh, really. Like you didn’t unzip your own pants. I love that. No control. No responsibility. Mr. Nice now suddenly driving a Porsche with its top unzipped. Cliché number 685. With her, I can start fresh and be the man I have always wanted to be. One who is honest and feels things. You and I have tried to get back some of our early magic. We did have magic then. Remember those nights we sipped wine on a blanket in Central Park and watched pigeons, bubbles, and Frisbees soar through the air? Those nights are gone. Because you let them die. You let them die. This is not our fault. You’re right. 95
AQUA, NOT OCEAN Patricia Cunfer Boise Bling at the museum. Aqua, not ocean. Flowers, not fragrant. Brown, not earth. Bright, not sun and black. Light that is not illuminating. Orange, not moon. Green, not leaves. I could dive into this bling, and swim. Not really. Give me instead, nature. Give me instead, earth, for play, for plant. Air. Blinging fire, and water to swim in. Especially water to swim in.
Give me, everywhere, North-South, East-West, in all time, my senses. Hear the buzz of stinging wasps. See their hairy legs. Smell black pepper, and sneeze. Touch cold water. Swim in the cold. Taste its salt. Give me life lived, and bling.
FUNERAL MUSIC Mara Hargroder Boise Three months later I buried her. Not right away like my friends thought I would. They thought the ground would somehow be softer because my tears fell every day. They wanted to come stand by my side and say all those wellintended stupid things like, “She’s happier now” and “At least she’s not in pain anymore.” And, then I would cry and scream and say stupid things back like, “How do you know she’s happier?” and “What about MY pain!” and then I wouldn’t be able to say anything to them forever. So, in the spring, when the sun was shining but not too hot, I bought passionate purple and blood red petunias. I bought Miracle-Gro potting soil to blend with their roots. In the afternoon shadow offered by the kind private fence I scooped handfuls of dirt. I wanted to feel where she would go. I wanted no separation in this last moment. I brought the vessel from its special place in the house to where she used to bathe in the sun. She loved to bask. I loved to watch. I opened the vessel and poured her into the pocket of earth waiting to embrace her forever. I thought I would be the one to do that. I cry and ask why? Why now? Why so soon? I put in miracle grow and prayed for a miracle. I put in passionate purple and blood red petunias.
Dead… Alive… Dead… Alive… Dead… Alive layers. The cycle, the circle, the mantra in my head. Alone, raw as a shaved nerve, kneeling on the grass, tears falling feeding the ground where she lay. Making myself think of three happy days with her to move myself past the sick days, The days of fear and suffering, The last days. Over isn’t over… I can’t get over when she’s so under.
DREAMS Carolyn Farling Boise I. Whim struck, I dust off my fragile chimera the published poet and eight dreamers witness. Surrounded by the smell of old basement with new paint trapped by black casement windows that wonâ€™t open, the poet sits doling out readings by writers the others know and brave aleatory assignments for our training. I need a pencil with an eraser because the first word is wrong, all the words are wrong. I cannot find the good words. The quiet mother with the racing tongue daughter, the generous elderly couple from Pennsylvania like me, the earnest young father and the beautiful divorced women with tear-filled pasts, they all have good words: sweatered polar bears with a thousand brown buttons riding into eternity sophic oaks keeping their ancient council in the cool red of fall spaghetti rocking chairs with yellow notes on blue painted lakes My good words trapped in a beige wall of conformity, dead like the youthful mother in the upside down car, there is no scent of lavender or salt icicles in the good bye, no heart hardened by heat, no wheeled limes filled with pomegranate juice. My dress does not flow with rusty artist ripples. Locked.
II. I dream of important gold keys with no locks, found on my bed, forgotten by a careless enemy. I dream of eating a field of poppies so red they hurt but feel like chocolate and taste like tamarind. I dream my blood filled soul bursts against a beige wall, my palm grinding the damp splatters into tedious paint. III. Before the beige paint, I chose the blond god with the iron that I could not lift who was too demanding, a withered attempt to dust off a trophy. Now I choose the frank writer with the good words I cannot unlock who is too forgiving because I want back the something I cannot find. The turquoise lock for the important gold keys.
DESIGNING THE BARON’S SUMMER ESTATE H.C. Newton Nampa Max scowled, clearing the screen he’d been sweating over for an hour, he needed a clean start. The pressure was getting to him. This assignment, if he pulled it off, could really make his career – a custom terraform for a client with an odd nostalgia for a bygone era. At least twice a day he almost returned the advance, the Baron could find another architect (read: sucker). Only ambition and ego, (and a mounting gambling debt) kept him at it. Corsicon 7 had recently been cleared by the Council of Sirius B for development, and Baron Glau had staked a pretty substantial claim on it. If he didn’t at least begin development within the year his stake could be challenged. So the Baron and his fixation on early 21st century Earth, came to Max to make his continent reflect both the look and feel of that time. He’d done projects like this before, on a smaller scale – an island, a fjord, an inhabitable meteor – nothing like a major continent, though. One complete with carried contractual penalties for historic, geologic, or bio-genetic errors. While holoscans and simulations were fine enough for a rough draft, Max couldn’t depend on them. So he’d spent most of his remaining credits on booking a stay at a historical preserve on Earth to get hands-on. Who knew if the historians had got their details right when they did the retrofit/restoration, but the Baron had probably read the same texts they did, and would accept their conclusions. At least that’s what Max was betting on. The preserve couldn’t match the majesty of the Towers of Markab Prime, or the Anin Forest on Sihnon, but it had a quaint charm. He found himself unwinding at the same spot near a river each day. The rhythms and whispers of the river trickling over the smoothed stones and occasional bit of flora soothed him – it reminded him of recordings of the lullabies of the Q’in, and he wondered if that feathered species had their roots on Earth, or if that was just another one of those 102
galactic coincidences that kept life interesting. He wasn’t unwinding this time, he was here to work. The trees had to set the mood, your eyes are drawn to them first. The geno-techs would be able to slice and dice the DNA to reproduce the various trees, weeds and wildflowers, but an artist’s touch was needed to approximate their visual cacophony. It was the things the techs couldn’t reproduce that were always the most difficult, like where the rough texture randomly becomes smooth and then grows coarser. Or the almost complete lack of straight lines anywhere – they may look straight, but there was a hint of curve to everything. Or the skewed angles and intertwining branches – almost impossible to trace back to the tree they grew from. In short, the sorts of things that happened as trees grew naturally – rather than the things he had to impose to make them appear to be natural. He couldn’t even begin to guess how many variations of green he saw – thankfully his computer could. The river shared the predominant green – until you got close, or it grew shallow, and then it was clear. A stark contrast to the vivid yellow of the Essential Nutrient Liquid now standard throughout the galaxy – the yellow was said to fight depression and increase productivity – Max doubted that now, the clarity he had in front of him seemed much more refreshing and energizing. Soundless (least within the audio range of most sentient species), but plainly visible and at times mesmerizing were insects like ants busily moving along – shiny black or dull red. Yet another thing to research – did he need both? Did they serve separate functions? What functions did they serve? What about the airborne bugs? He’d hate to lose a million on something like this. His chrono beeped. Bother, it was almost time for his morning VidConference. He took a deep breath as he started 103
to walk back to his hotel. The olfactory scanner would be able to give a detailed analysis of the various scents he took in – and those he didn’t realize he breathed in – but it couldn’t capture the texture. He wondered if the atmo would be a good way to introduce a Vitamin D supplement. Every person on Corsicon 7 would need to make up for what this particular sun didn’t provide. Max worried, that would affect the crispness, the freshness that seemed to grow stronger the nearer he was to river’s edge.
GRANDMA’S AFGHANS Marguerite Lawrence Boise After she died in July, I removed the red, white and blue afghan from Grandma’s bed. I boxed it with the others – the burnt-orange Autumnal one, the fir-green one from Christmas, the crimson afghan that was always on my bed in February. The Easter afghan brought back chocolate-bunny memories. My favorite was the garden-party afghan on her porch swing. I’d bury my nose in its crocheted blossoms when we swung together some sweet, summer evenings. It smelled like roses.
NOT EVEN ONCE Robbin Roberts Caldwell I went through a divorce when I was 24. I got married at a young age and didn’t know a lot about how a man should treat his wife. I loved him…for all I knew about love at my age. I had faith in the arrangement of marriage and dreamed of being with someone forever. I lived at home until the wedding and was oblivious to what was to become the reality of my future. I was going to be happy so I didn’t think about it, not even once. I wanted to be everything I could be to him and more. I quickly became disillusioned by his dominance and arrogance and didn’t understand why he needed to make me feel so stupid and small: that I had nothing to offer and didn’t know anything at all. The only value I learned I had was to be: submissive and sexy, controlled and silent, a possession not a person, a vixen without spirit. I felt used and cheap and unloved. I didn’t think I could ever leave, not even once. I worked at various jobs and soon a paycheck became part of my repertoire. I no longer drove even though I had a license; I earned money but never had a dime. I lived in a house, but it was not a home. I didn’t shop for groceries by myself and had to ask for everything I needed. Meanwhile he purchased guns and guitars, camping goods, an unusual number of knives and various books of all kinds. He told me to jump and I said, “How high?” I learned to never look forward to anything so I would never be disappointed, not even once. Eventually he quit working and about that time my belly grew bigger. After hours of labor on a cold winter night she was born. He called his cousin on the phone and said “I had me a damn girl.” He said he thought I would have done much better. I returned to work after a short time with the baby. I felt bitter and shortchanged, maybe? After all, shouldn’t I be home with my daughter? I guess that didn’t occur to him, not even once. 106
I thought if this was love then why did it feel so bad? He said all men treated their wives this way. He grounded me from calling my sister, and calling my mom just wasn’t worth it anymore. I was told what a selfish person I was and became alienated from everyone I loved. I could see in my mind going out for an errand, not looking back and driving away into nothingness because I was nothingness. Except now, I had this small girl to protect, it wasn’t just me anymore. I couldn’t think of leaving her behind, not even once. We had a lot of help from everyone who cared. My sister came to get us one day and said, “You are not staying here anymore.” We walked through the house with a big black garbage bag and I put my things in it. There was no moving van or suitcases, just what we could carry and most importantly the little girl in my arms. He made my life very difficult for a long time. One time I picked her up from seeing him and as he blocked my car from leaving, this little girl rolled down the car window and said, “Dad, can you move? My Mom wants to leave.” I was afraid if I ever left I would miss him, but I haven’t, not even once.
THE GREAT 1912 WILD RABBIT ROUNDUP Dale R. Foote Kuna Occasionally my east coast friends ask what it is like living in Idaho; “Isn’t that somewhere near Iowa?” When I was a kid (not that long ago) our family moved from upstate New York (don’t make the mistake of confusing “upstaters” with those from the city as they are not at all alike) to our new home out west and my parents had to answer the concerns of their friends whether it was safe to raise a family out there, “what with all the Indians and such?” I guess a steady diet of black and white television Westerns gave the wrong impression. Its amazing the ignorance we share about the different regions of the United States. As far as I was concerned the Indians played in Cleveland, which actually is near Iowa, and they only took a west coast tour twice a season. Idaho, I tell them, is not only about potatoes (a tip of the hat to J. R. Simplot and Ray Kroc). I tell them I live in what is called the Treasure Valley and that it wasn’t named so because some grizzled old halfbaked prospector got tanked up one night and forgot where he hid his fortune. There is no “Lost Dutchman Mine” in Idaho. Long, hot summer days and plenty of clear mountain water create a perfect environment for growing almost anything – not only potatoes, but onions, wheat, table vegetables, corn, beef, dairy, cherries, apricots, peaches. I tell them that Boise, per capita, has the most millionaires than any other metropolitan city in the country and their fortunes weren’t made from silicon or bank fraud. But that doesn’t impress my friends nearly so much as the story of the Great 1912 Wild Rabbit Roundup. The arcane expression my uncle was occasionally caught using about the Oltmans, who lived down around the corner in a house that looked like the honeymoon mansion Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed lived in It’s a Wonderful Life, was “they breed like rabbits” and it turned out to be true, at least back in 1912. I mean, it was true about the rabbits. As far as the Oltmans were concerned, they had eight children and one on 108
the way. One seemed to always be on the way which made it difficult to keep track. My uncle said the same thing about the Dugards. One morning they were on the Today Show and my aunt boxed his ears. Anyway, it really is true that rabbits breed rapidly, as I am about to explain to you. In 1912 the rabbit population got so out of hand a vigilante mob, (I think it is something like a flash mob but more vigilant) assembled on Main Street just before sunset. Mayor Palmer was remembered to have said, “You can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting three or four jackrabbits.” Hundreds of thousands of “jacks” and no doubt an equal number of “jills” were rounded up on the flats outside of town. All the men and boys ten and older lined up and marched across the fields and plains hooting and hollering like Masai warriors flushing a lion pride; banging their pots and pans and creating an awful furor. The sound of a frightened rabbit is enough to give the weak nightmares. They said that is why the girls weren’t included. You can’t say that today. By today’s standards this may seem cruel and inhumane, probably on par with the South Dakota ranchers who used giant vacuums to suck prairie dogs out of their underground towns. But to the farmers of Idaho, it meant life or death, an economy on the edge. Just a few rabbits could clean a whole crop in a matter of days and it didn’t matter what crop it was, rabbits, it seemed, were not too particular. I am not sure why Mormon Crickets get all the fame when Idaho rabbits were a lot more voracious. Anyway, the crickets were from Utah, which is south of Idaho, and sometimes today’s farmers wish they would stay there, the crickets that is. You have to remember that farming in 1912 was not what is called subsistence farming – growing just enough for you and your kin. By then railroads, steel cans, and Clarence Birdseye made growing vegetables for nationwide distribution a certainty and quite profitable. So there was a lot more riding on the Great 1912 Wild Rabbit Roundup than a few tables short of vegetables. Veritable vegetable empires were teetering on the edge all because of rapid rabbit reproduction. 109
One night they came armed with clubs, (fortunately dead cats, as it turned out, was just an expression), and the men and boys of the whole town clubbed enough of the long-eared, flat-footed, furry, eating machines to fill several buckboards two feet high. Each buckboard took a team of two stout draft horses to pull. For several months thereafter Clara’s Dining Emporium served jack-rabbit fricassee, hasenpfeffer, pan fried rabbit, beer battered rabbit, rare rabbit ribs, hare cordon blue, buffalo rabbit wings, and a whole bunch of other concoctions. That winter the ladies all proudly wore fur lined coats, and gloves and rabbit skin hats were all the fashion. Actually, I don’t believe any of that is true, but the entire country enjoyed some really great Idaho vegetables, and the farmers were secure in their ventures and who knows, had it not been for the Great 1912 Wild Rabbit Roundup there may not have been a future left for Mr. Simplot to sell his potatoes to Mr. Kroc and what would life be like without McDonald’s golden french fries?
TEACHING WRITERS’ BIOGRAPHIES Daniel Stewart is the author of a book of poems, The Imaginary World (2003). His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Skidrow Penthouse, Puerto Del Sol, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Lonesome Fowl, Forty Ounce Bachelors, Educe Journal, and Thrush Poetry Journal. Christian Winn’s fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, the Chicago Tribune Printers Row, Handful of Dust, Everyday Fiction, Santa Monica Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Chattahoochee Review, Greensboro Review, Bat City Review, Gulf Coast (as winner of their annual fiction contest), cold-drill and The Pinch. He has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best American Mystery Story Award. He is a graduate of Boise State Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, and founder of the Writers Write workshop series. He teaches undergraduate creative writing at Boise State.
ABOUT THE CABIN The Cabinâ€™s mission is to inspire and celebrate a love of reading, writing, and discourse throughout Idaho and the region. Each year, The Cabin serves about 750 members, more than 2,000 children and youth, and about 30,000 people through educational and cultural programs. Programs for young people are the largest part of The Cabinâ€™s work. The Cabin has transitioned from a young literary organization to a cultural anchor in Idaho and serves diverse constituencies through:
Readings & Conversations an annual lecture series featuring world-class authors.
Writers in the Schools (WITS) which places professional writers in classrooms across the state.
Idaho Writing Camps offering creative writing adventures for youth and adults.
Writers in the Attic an annual publication opportunity for local writers.
Read Me Treasure Valley an invitation for the community to read the same book.
Literary activities such as visiting author workshops, readings by Idaho authors, and other programs for readers and writers of all ages.
ACKNOWLEGEMENTS Idaho Writing Camps touch the lives of hundreds of young people and adults each summer thanks to the talents of teaching writers, the generosity of funders and our volunteers. Scholarship funding is a valuable part of our service mission, making it possible for diverse constituents to participate in this unique camp experience. Many students benefited from scholarships this year with funding provided by individual donors, cabin members and community foundations. Special thanks to the Bistline Advised Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation, the Langroise Advised Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation, the John William Jackson Fund, Steele-Reese Foundation, Whitney AscuenaBolt, Amy Dixon, Tony and Shauna Doerr, Darcy and Jeff Klausman, Vesna Persun, Stacie and Joe Rice, Phil and Sage Rogers, and Jayne Stevenson. The Cabinâ€™s Board of Directors provides encouragement and support for camps. We are grateful for their work. Thanks to Karen Baerlocher, Bruce Ballenger, Kacy Berliner, Karla Bodner, Alex Davis, Mark Geston, Dana Kehr, Jill Reardon, Stacie Rice, Susan Rowe, Diane Schwarz, Marsha Smith and Jem Wierenga. Volunteers also contribute to the success of Idaho Writing Camps. Many thanks to our 2012 volunteers including Jason Hunt, Kate McNearney, Ana Roser, Torin Jensen, Julie Howard, Megan Oâ€™Rourke, Rebecca Sommer, Susan Buchel, John Wulf, Emily Melander, Alyssa Bodenbender, Jacqueline Wayment, Sam Nelson, Colleen Brennen, Laura Roghaar, Lisa Maybon, Erin Nelson, and Heidi Kraay. And thank you to our friends throughout the state who
provided venues, learning opportunities, and field trip locations for our campers. We extend a heartfelt thanks for their warm and enthusiastic welcoming: Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Hailey, the Fine Arts Center at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Foothills Learning Center in Boise, Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Boise Art Museum, Idaho State Historical Museum, Zoo Boise, the Herrett Center for Arts and Science, Adrian Kershaw and the 8th Street Marketplace Artist-in-Residence program, Moonâ€™s CafĂŠ, and Boise Parks and Recreation.
Atkinson, Lindsay • 39, 57 Ayers, Jordan • 7, 28
Farling, Carolyn • 100 Foote, Dale R. • 108 Free, Alex • 38, 54
Binegar, Madison • 8, 18 Board, DeAnna • 15, 24
C Chambers, Megan • 9, 11 Cipriano, Jacob • 26, 43 Cronin, Colleen • 94 Crowther, Elizabeth • 32, 47 Cunfer, Barry • 88 Cunfer, Patricia • 96
D Daniel, Elise • 80
E Egan, Abby • 71 Eiler, Kaisa J. • 65 Elshafei, Samah • 72
Gerfen, Baylee • 53, 58 German, Lindsey • 13, 59 Goetz, Cheyenne • 22, 42 Gorenflo, Sarah • 44 Green, Christopher • 88
H Harden-Braden, Sedona • 14 Hargroder, Mara • 98 Hindman, Annie • 86 Holt, Larson • 62
J Jussel, Claire • 20, 50
K Kidd, Amy • 34, 56 Knox, Adam B. • 79 Kuehl, Kathy • 82
L Lawrence, Marguerite • 84, 105
M Magbunduku, Louise • 69 Morawski, Carmen • 87
N Nelson, Taber • 70, 74 Newton, H.C. • 102 Nicholes, Courtney • 66
P Perkins, Indigo • 10, 29
R Roberts, Robbin • 106
S Scott, Judy • 92 Smith, Micaela • 48 Sullivan, Lee • 31, 40 Summervill, Vashti • 90
T Turner, Sharli • 83
V Velvick, Desiree • 30, 60 Vestal, Becky • 81 Voshell, Seth • 12, 52
W Wilson, Joy • 36 Woods, Kali • 16 120