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Uncaged 2021

Balancing Acts LSw Literary and Art Magazine Volume 13


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Cover: “Balancing Acts,” Avery Regier, Junior


Uncaged Balancing Acts Literary and Art Magazine 2021 Lincoln Southwest High School Vol. 13

Lincoln Southwest High School 7001 S. 14th Street Lincoln, NE 68512


Uncaged Staff: Tianna Cleary and Bella Sanchez, Seniors

A Message From the Editors: Dear Reader: We invite you to read and enjoy our thirteenth edition of Uncaged Lincoln Southwest’s literary and art magazine. As you view our work, we hope you will read supportively, remembering that the pieces here are creative works of fiction that may or may not contain elements of our lives, fears, perceptions of society, and emotions. We recognize that the past eighteen months have created new challenges for many of us in creating art to share and feeling prepared to share it, and yet, we recognize that this sharing of our responses to these shared experiences will help us come to terms with them. These experiences will allow us to define who we are and who we are becoming. Our work represents our exploration of various personas we are trying on, like roles in a play, tried on for a season and discarded, while others we will treasure and use as foundations for future selves. Thank you for taking this time to read and view our art. Sincerely, The Uncaged Staff Tianna Cleary, Bella Sanchez Mrs. Nakagawa, Advisor

With Gratitude: First of all, thank you to the students and teachers who made the publication of Uncaged possible on such a tight deadline. We greatly appreciate every individual who contributed to the magazine by sharing your writing and art this year, especially with all of the restrictions and limitations of pandemic living. This year has been trying to say the least, and the fact that we have these works to showcase is impressive. Thank you to the artists and photographers who submitted fantastic representations of beauty in many formats. Thank you to the authors and poets for their creative art in the form of prose and poetry. And a huge thank you to Mrs. Nakagawa for working tirelessly to get the magazine up and running on such a tight turnaround. Finally, our gratitude goes out to Dr. Murphy, Dr. Gillotti, Dr. Kramer, and Mr. Schuster for supporting and encouraging us to create and share these works of poems, stories, and art. We also appreciate the technical assistance of Josh Genrich in publishing this magazine electronically for the first time. Again, thank you, everyone, for submitting your work; we encourage you to keep writing, keep drawing, keep taking pictures. Do what you love and love what you do. Thank you! The Uncaged Staff Bella Sanchez and Tianna Cleary


Invincible Emily Saddler, Senior I wasn’t fast enough she was falling... her screams pierced through the air, the memory etched into everyone’s mind, the sound settling into the ears of everyone around. The screams shifted to a cry, a cry for help. I tore out of the slow motion run I was trapped in, into a cheetah like sprint towards her. I stood looking down on my sweet little niece, her cheeks a flaming red, snot running out her nose, the tear marks stained onto her face. I bent down to her height to examine the damage, Her body was in desperate need of a bandage and an ice pack. She learned a lesson that day, no one is invincible, you just need a band-aid sometimes

“Skate Don’t Fly,” Diego Hernandez, Senior

“CP,” Emma Gross, Freshman

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“Fireworks,” Isabel Schinker, Sophomore

Offline McKenzie Loskill, Junior Put your head up, phone down Take a look at the world around you It’s right there, so clear There’s so much more to life Than what you’re bound to You’ll never find it on a screen It’s easier than you may think Just turn it off, open your eyes And soon enough, you’ll realize Life is better when you’re living offline

“Tea Time,” Natalie Krutz, Sophomore

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Our Everyday Superhero Alexandra Davis, Senior The notorious RBG The champion of women’s rights Her thoughts and ideas changed the world She fought so fervently for the rights of her sisters and daughters with an unbreakable sword of law and litigation She poetically captured the attention of an all male audience, they listened to her like they had never listened to any woman before We grabbed onto her We were sinking in a pool of misogyny, misconduct, and major discrimination, and she kept us afloat They say “gather thee rosebuds while ye may” and I wonder— I hear her voice whispering to us all “Seize the day” Did we? A seat on the court now lays vacant And I wonder

“Poured Out for You,” Sydney Laux, Freshman

Anxiously... Did we take for granted the comfort we all felt knowing she was there fighting for us? Did we pass up opportunities for progress because we assumed it was all taken care of? I pray if we did, we never do again Now more than ever, there is no room for error It is time to rise up and uphold the principles of the nation she created We have her to thank for so much of the everyday life we live No matter your past, politics, or party She changed and shaped each of our lives for the better The woman, she was, is the woman we should all strive to be The undeniable reach of her impact will be seen in the strength of this generation And we mustn’t let her down Not now, not ever They will try to hollow out and repeal each right she ferociously protected And we musn’t let them Not only for us, but also for her It’s the very least we can do.

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Anxiety Haley Nadgwick, Junior

Dancing Eva Erickson, Junior Dancing Whirling Swirling Twirling A night like no other The sound of music floats through the air My heart beats along with the rhythm As I’m swept up in the dance Faces blur, laughter bubbles, I feel myself grinning I feel myself flying Twirling Swirling Whirling Dancing

This is the last time I write to you, anxiety I’ve told you too many times To leave me alone But you can’t resist You say that I’m your home If this is true You’ll go and be gone The tricks you play last way too long You’re up and down In and out You are dependent and needy But one thing you’re not Is lonely You call me on the phone, this I know But I ignore it because you’re toxic You keep me locked in You cling to my clothes like a stain You’re like a wildfire Out in the open Relentless Sometimes I think that you meant this But when I stop and think I realize I’m all you know You’ve got many brothers and sisters that torment others But me… I’m only yours I’m like your breath Without me you’re dead When I fall asleep I don’t hear a peep So as I said, this is the last time I write to you There’s nothing more I can do This is your last warning I’m cutting you out of my life I’ve got a knife..

“Basquiat,” Connor Davis, Senior

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Smoke Signal Anna Synya, Senior As a child, in nature’s embrace, I looked up to see his face Not understanding Refusing to think Of the significance a statue has. Whose furrowed brow, And worried lip, and determination Tell that its sculptor knew of his pain. Meant to immortalize great meaning. He meant to face away from me And towards his tribe instead. Chief Red Cloud flies away hoping to warn his men That I am coming. While I laughed and played pretend with my cousin. I tell him I am sorry.

“O My Eye,” Samara Mohammed Tuma, Freshman

“Playing with Fire,” Morgan Renton, Senior

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“Fields of Color,” Ann Harris, Sophomore

“Space,” Alex Ray, Senior

“Opening,” Isabel Schinker, Sophomore

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“Moonlit Fawn,” Olivia Wood, Junior “Stop and Notice,” Riley Spangler, Freshman

Empathy Haley Nadgwick, Junior

I had been going to the same coffee shop before work every day for that last month and every time I saw him there. He was always sitting on the stairs across the street with his head down. He was wearing a red hoodie and a brown coat with an old pair of blue jeans. From what I could tell, his hair seemed a bit overgrown. He was homeless. As I walked out of the coffee shop with my order, he had picked up a sign, it said, “Will work for food.” My heart sank. I had contemplated whether or not I should help him because work started in just a few minutes, but this was more important. He was still looking down as I walked up to him and he must have heard me as I got nearer. It was either my foot steps that alerted him or my camera clinking against my chest. He raised his head and now I could get a clearer look. He looked to be in his fifties, he had grey hair and a beard. He was shivering and I could see his breath in the cold air. His clothes were torn and his shoes were barely covering his feet. He also had a bowl to his left with only a nickel and two dimes. He held this up to me. “Please, it would really help.” He said with a quiet shaking voice. I looked down at the bowl. “No.” He frowned, disheartened. “I have a better idea.” I said. He looked at me curiously. I took my camera from around my neck and turned it on. “Here, can I take a picture of you? I’m a photographer.” I let him know.

“How’s that going to help?” He asked. I smiled. “You’ll see,” I changed my position to find a perfect angle to take a picture of him. “Can I?” I asked again. “Um, sure,” he said. He looked up at me and smiled. “No, no, no,” I said. “I want you to look down and hold your sign- yes like that.” I instructed. I stood, looked through my camera and snapped a picture. Perfect. “How is this helping?” He asked. “Well, I usually pay my models about $100 an hour, but since you didn’t know I was going to take a picture of you…. How about $200?” I asked. His eyes widened. “Really?” he said astonished “Really.” I answered. I put my camera back around my neck, took my wallet out and fished $200 out of it. I put it in his bowl. “Tomorrow?” I asked. “What?” he asked back. “Another session?” I smiled. His mouth opened in an “Oh.” It took him a while before he could speak again, but when he did, he said, “Yes, yes, surely!” I smiled, nodded and then walked off. He was now a man with a job. 11


The Three Artists Landon Nuss, Senior What if art was not measured? Would I write until my words looped around the world, Leaving me with an intro and conclusion in my hands But no story to share? Could I draw, sculpt, and paint A world larger than any number of words could fit around, Contracting my world like a tight belt? Should I write, draw, sculpt, paint, or design An immeasurable amount of work until I can’t pick out My favorite piece? My art may be measured. Maybe not. I write what I am meant to, I have no problems leaving a piece to collect dust, All mine have done so. I can’t sculpt, and I don’t wish to learn how. I can do many things, other things not so much, Doesn’t mean I have to create masterpieces with my knowledge. If I’m required to do something I will, Only the bare minimum, anything more would be a waste of time. My work doesn’t interest me much, I doubt it would interest others.

“Little Pistol,” Samara Mohammed Tuma, Freshman

Measure my art! Please, for the love of God measure my art! I will write a fantastically extravagant piece, spanning the birth and death of a great nation And all manner of humanistic elements in between! Can I? Of course I could! There is a story behind every piece here, Ask me and I’ll pat my head, rub my belly, and sing it to you! I should create, create, and create some more, Do it until my fingers bleed and my brain spins! All my creations are my favorite, I don’t care what you think! “Lifeblood,” Will Night Pipe, Junior

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The Dark Heart Within The Empty Soul Kinya Kairigi, Junior Like leaves you rustle when you get angry The dark heart within the empty soul Nothingness, a hatred, unexplainable Emotionless eyes engulf sadness The dark heart within the empty soul Betrayal can consume one’s being Emotionless eyes engulf sadness Unshakeable knowing, distant light Betrayal can consume one’s being An urge to break the barrier between Unshakeable knowing, distant light A strength inside barricaded by fear An urge to break the barrier between Like leaves you rustle when you get angry A strength inside barricaded by fear The dark heart within the empty soul “Isolated Creature,” Madison Rix, Sophomore

The Monster Kendall Poessnecker, Sophomore I am told I am a monster So I buried under fake smiles and voices Pretending to be what everyone always wants I’ve been known to hide behind words Words like “ma’am,” “lady,” and “she” Even though they don’t fit

“Trapped in a Mirror,” Kynlee McBride, Sophomore

To be a monster is to hide To be a monster is to know even though some people really see you There will always be the true monsters Those true monsters throw words like bombs Those bombs force you to add to the disguise That horridly uncomfortable disguise That thing you force yourself to throw on in the morning Just to be perceived as anything but an abomination

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Musical Masks Series Abby Miller, Senior

“Addams Family,” Abby Miller, Senior

“Cabaret,” Abby Miller, Senior

“Dear Evan Hansen,” Abby Miller, Senior

14 “Godspell,” Abby Miller, Senior


Time Alexandra Davis, Senior Memories of days together far gone I can’t help but see your face everywhere Not a tear in my body left to spare Yet they flow unstoppable like blood drawn Not a single painful moment foregone I wish upon a star to be elsewhere Right here is my own personal nightmare I know I must find ways to carry on Thus I let time and patience take the lead I surrender, through pale eyes I see hope Heal me, free me, and release me I plead Days pass by me and I do learn to cope I thank God that the scars no longer bleed Finally up on love’s slippery slope “Phantom of the Opera,” Abby Miller, Senior

“Singing in the Rain,” Abby Miller, Senior

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“Silence,” Kathleen Bittle, Sophomore

“Skating,” Van Foster, Junior

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“Bridge to Salvation,” Ana Caves, Junior


One Hundred Forty-Seven and Counting Emma Schultz, Sophomore Do you know? Did you realize that guns are a real problem in our country? Too many people have been hurt because of guns. One hundred forty-seven. That’s the number of shootings just this year so far, and that doesn’t even include the number of lives lost to gun violence in total. Indianapolis, Indiana. Here was a shooting at a FedEx company. Here there were eight lives lost. Samaria Blackwell, twenty years old. Jaswinder Singh, Sixty-eight years old. Karli Smith, nineteen years old. One hundred forty-seven, and counting.

Handguns are most commonly used in mass shootings. From 1982 to April 2021, they were used in 96 incidents, and 78% of mass shootings. that’s one hundred forty-seven, and counting. Atlanta, Georgia Here was a shooting at a local spa. Here there were eight lives lost. Paul Andre Michels, Fifty-four years old. Daoyou Feng, forty-four years old. Soon Chung Park, Seventy-four years old. One hundred forty-seven, and counting. So many lives lost. Friends, family, co-workers, strangers. These are just a few of the one hundred forty-seven, and counting.

Gun violence has no boundaries. Gun violence affects everyone. It affects all genders, it affects all races, it affects all ages. We are at one hundred forty-seven, and counting. Boulder, Colorado Here was a shooting at a grocery store. Here there were ten lives lost. Suzzanne Fountain, fifty-nine years old. Officer Eric Talley, fifty-one years old. Denny Stong, twenty years old. One hundred forty-seven, and counting.

“Shootings,” Emma Schultz, Sophomore

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Message to the Future Katherine Ball, Senior The world can be a very cruel and unforgiving place But the world is also a place of grace Peace Art Love Beauty Music Dancing Excitement This is your world No doubt life can be scary and cruel But there is nothing in the world that is stronger than hope I wish I would have been promised that it gets better But there is no promise You just get stronger And I thought One day, I will write to my future daughter about these times But first I must survive it myself So I can tell her the bravest thing I ever did: Staying alive when all I wanted to do was die So here I tell my future daughter Here’s what I wish I would have known Depression and anxiety disorders control my entire young adult life But I’ve found it’s hard for your mind to keep up If you’re running at a million miles per hour I stay too busy to be sad If there is time to sit down and be calm The tears fall immediately but if I keep on my toes Go Go Go Then my mind is too distracted on other things To remind me how ugly I look or How much I have left to do It feels so terrifying Living life as a brave young woman It feels like the entire world is against you I was stuck in this mentality for too long Then life grabbed me by my old t-shirt and shook me

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“Youtube Channel Popsocket,” Elyssa Branson, Junior

“You are going to be happy But first I must make you strong” And strong she made me If they act like they don’t care Believe them Move on And grow What would you do If you knew you would not fail? You have to take the risk You live this life one time and one time only There is no round two This may be all you got So you have to always make the choice to be brave I wonder why it took me so long to realize Wondering why we only rest in peace? Why don’t we live in peace too? Keep your room clean For real It helps My friends and family would see my room And think “This is such a mess” Girl You should see my life. Keep it clean and stay on top if little things that add up And can cause stress Wherever you are a lot should be a nice place This doesn’t just go for where you live But also your head Be good to your mental health Be good to yourself She deserves it


Silenced Before I Get My Voice Nataly Miller, Sophomore When I was a child, I was told to be seen and not heard. And that was polite then, but now it’s not okay When I believe in ALM*, I get called racist. I get no voice. When I believe in pro-life, I get called sexist. I get no voice. When I believe in being independent, I get told I can’t do that because I’m not as capable as a man. I get no voice. When I believe animals are here for food, I get called a killer. I get no voice. When I believe that Trump was a good president, I get called a bigot. I get no voice. When I believe that bullying is not okay, I get called a bully. I get no voice. When they are telling us, “Everyone has a voice,” they overlook us that have a different one. I get no voice. When I have to change what I think, so people don’t get offended that is taking my voice. My voice has been taken and it’s not okay. ALM* (All Lives Matter)

“Self-portrait,” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

“Angel,” Brooke Lynne Walbrecht, Sophomore

19 “Fall,” Murphy Thompson, Junior


“Almost Heaven,” Bella Sanchez, Senior

Lyte Gunnar Nyquist, Senior

“Me,” Faith Glinsmann, Sophomore

Let there be light. Let it shine down from the scattered sky. When the world seems to harbor more darkness, Let there be light. Light the inhibitors in which darkness resides. Let the light shine on the grassy plains. Light which reflects off of the undulating lake water. Flowing light always in motion, Traveling at light speed always in motion. Let light reflect, refract off the bustling street store windows. Bouncing eternally and redirected by the clouds. Light that peaks through the closed blinds, Shining on a face, letting knowledge arise. Let light connect with our souls. Dissipate any evil that takes hold of a life. Let the eternal sun rise and ignite the light which gives us life. Again and again, Let there be light.

“Leo,” Brooke Huetson, Junior

20 “Grand Finale,” Morgan Renton, Senior


“Bella Enchanted,” Alex Ray, Senior

Now I See Samara Mohammed Tuma, Freshman I stare at my body in the mirror and wonder what got me to this point of self-hatred. I find myself disgusting and grotesque. I feel that my body is comparable to Frankenstein’s monster in a way, deformed and misshapen. Of course, I know that that’s probably not the case, but it’s what my eyes see when I look in the mirror. This is upsetting to me, because all the women in my family seem beautiful to me. I don’t look like my mother or my father much, so who cursed me with these features? My hair is coarse and wooly. My curls are frizzy and spring out from random points on my head unlike my relatives who have soft, glossy, and more importantly, straight hair. My eyes droop down on the ends, as if someone has taped the bottom of my eyelids to my cheeks. My eyes are dark brown and dull unlike my relatives, who all seem to have fierce hazel eyes that are lively, not droopy at all. I have dark bushy eyebrows above my dull, droopy eyes. They are unkempt and the bane of my existence. All my relatives seem to have perfectly groomed eyebrows without even bothering. My nose and my mouth are lopsided. They seem to be pulled to one side of my face more than the other. I’m the only person who notices this of course, but that doesn’t ease my mind. My nose has a high bridge with a bump in the middle. My lips are

“Day’s End,” Emily Stepanyuk, Sophomore

pointy, and the top lip is rather thin. These are unlike my relatives who all seem to have cute little noses and plump lips. One day, my mama sat me down to look at family photos from Iraq when my grandma was growing up. I came across a photo of her when she was maybe a bit older than me. That night, I slept with the photo under my pillow to exam closely in privacy. The photo was of her and a couple other women her age. I assumed they were maybe some school friends. The first thing I noticed about my grandmother were her hair frizzy curls, springing out from random parts of her hair and her dark brown eyes which looked strong and loving. Then I noticed her dark and bushy eyebrows giving her face so much more expression. Her lips were a bit lopsided, but she wore a bright red lipstick all the same as if she didn’t have a care in the world. The last thing I noticed was her nose and the large bump she had in her bridge. She wore it so well, sporting a beautiful nose ring made of gold. She looked like me and I looked like her. Unmistakably, she was different from her conventionally attractive peers. But undeniably, she was more beautiful than anyone could ever fathom.

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Mae Kailey Keith, Senior There she was, that dashing little thing. Like a beautiful, elegant flame dancing across the meadow. I could watch her all day. “Denise, you go out and you kill that thing. It’s been hunting our chickens.” My heart dropped. The last thing I wanted to do was to kill that fox.

that the fox never came back. I suggested moving the chickens into the garage where the fox couldn’t get to. “No way am I letting those dirty chickens live in my clean garage.” “Well, there’s no way to catch the fox if it’s in its tunnels.” “Follow ‘em.” “Into that tiny space? What if I got stuck?”

“But Papa, just look at her. She’s done nothin’ wrong, just a little hungry.”

“I don’t care if you get stuck, as long as you make sure that fox never comes back here again!”

“She cannot be feasting on our hens. Now you go shoot that thing, and don’t come back until you do.” It was serious now, I had to kill the fox. He handed me a gun and shooed me out of the house. As soon as the door shut, the fox looked up. She looked at me with those big brown eyes. I could feel her pleading with me not to shoot. I held up the gun, but just for a moment. I soon let it fall to my side, barrel facing the ground. I heard my dad knocking hard on the window. I looked over my shoulder to see him pointing towards the fox. The fox was still there, still staring at me before quickly running into the forest. I slowly started to follow behind it.

“I understand.” I said, then walked away and into m bedroom. My room was always so cold; I loved it. I hopped into my bed, feeling the soft, warm blankets. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I snuggled into my bed. I fell asleep almost instantly. I dreamt about the fox about frolicking in the fields like a dancing flame with her. I followed her to the forest, then she took me to my house. She wanted to hunt with me. My father was there, waiting for us. He had a gun in his hand. I wanted to say something, anything, but I was frozen. A bang went off, then I woke up.

My father left a note that he had slipped underneath my door. Get up, and get that fox. I relucThe forest was calm tantly left my room after getting and quiet. The wind was dressed. Dad left the shotgun near still, and I could hear the door so I could easily grab it nothing and everything at on my way out. I was tempted to the same time. I wandered, just leave it, but I knew if I did following game trails and that, my father would know that I fox tracks for about an wasn’t even trying to kill the fox. I hour. I started to think went to our fridge, and brought a what would happen if I container of fruits with me. I had didn’t find the fox, what the gun strapped over my shoulwould my dad do? How der, my backpack on my back, mad would he really be? and the container in my hands. I Probably pretty mad. I would eat a few, then drop a few, “Mae,” Eva Erickson, Junior closed my eyes and shook my eat a few, drop a few. I’d turn around head in disappointment. I decided to take my chances every so often to see if anything or anyone was following and head back home. I was tired, and I did try to look me. I looked back and saw the fox. She was following me, for the fox, but they are masters of illusion. They know eating any dropped fruit I left for her. She looked up at me, the forest better than anyone. They probably have chewing away at a grape. It almost looked like she was smiltheir own tunnel system around the whole forest. Papa ing. Her eyes were squinted, her chin was held high, her lips will understand that. curved upwards at the edges. I had never seen a fox smile before. I continued walking, slower now, and continued to Papa did not understand. All he cared about was occasionally drop a piece of fruit. She followed me sometimes missing a piece or two. 22


She stopped and stared at me. I held out a piece of fruit, but she didn’t seem interested. It looked as if she wanted me to follow her, so I did. She wouldn’t let me get too close, but she always looked behind her to make sure I was following. She hopped over a giant fallen tree. I slowly and carefully climbed over it; there was no going around it. Even if there was, going over it was more fun, because then I could stand on top and feel taller than the trees themselves. Once I got over to the other side, the fox was gone. She had completely disappeared. I looked back at the log, then realized that I would have to climb back over it to get home. Just as I started climbing, I heard what sounded like a deflated laugh. I looked behind me to see the fox. She then ran down a hole she had made close to the tree. She wanted me to follow her into her tunnel. “I don’t think I’ll fit.” The fox squeaked at me as if to tell me that I could make it. I was hesitant. What if I got stuck? It’s not like the fox would save me. I looked back down the hole, still unsure of what to do. “Is there any other way to get where you want to take me?” I questioned. The fox looked around for a moment, then pointed its attention back to the hole, “So that’s a no?” “Denise!” I heard Papa call out. The fox heard too, and rushed inside the hole. I quickly brought the gun up to my shoulder, and shot it in the opposite direction my father’s voice was coming from. I climbed back over the big fallen tree, and saw Papa waiting on the other side. “Did you get it?” He asked. “I might have if you wouldn’t have yelled.” I stated. It might not have been the whole truth, but it definitely wasn’t a lie either. “Well, you can look more tomorrow. We have to go.” I had completely forgotten. Two years ago today, it happened. I didn’t say a word, I followed him silently out of the woods and into his truck. I noticed the flowers in the back. Sunflowers were her favorite. The ride was silent and awkward. I looked out of the window, trying to maybe find something to talk about.

headstone, in the back of the cemetery, I could see her. The fox came to visit. She looked almost sad, as if she understood what was going on. She bowed her head, then ran off into the forest. I decided to say nothing about it to Papa, knowing that he would just get upset. I don’t remember much of that night. It was fairly uneventful. Dad and I ate dinner in silence, then I went to bed. Nothing exciting until the next morning. I grabbed my backpack and filled it with supplies. First aid, snacks, and extra bullets that I knew I wouldn’t use. I walked into the forest and made my way back to the fallen tree. I climbed over it to where the fox’s tunnel was. I waited for a few minutes, then I heard the fox screaming and squeaking. I followed the sounds and made my way to the fox who had gotten her poor back leg caught in a bear trap. It was trying to run away, but I knelt down, and it stopped. “It’s okay. Don’t run, it’s gonna be okay.” I took off my backpack, and started pulling the bear trap apart. The fox jumped out, and limped over towards me. I took gauze and other medical items out of my backpack to help the fox. After she was all wrapped up, she looked at me, giving me a ‘thank you’ grin before letting out a squeaky call. When she did, three small foxes jumped and ran out of the tunnel, and ran towards her. She was a mother, and I could tell she was a darn good one. “Denise! Have you caught that fox yet?” I heard Papa call out from the other side of the fallen tree. “No, and I’m not going to. She’s a mother of three, she’s just feeding her family. I’ll even come out here every day and feed her so she doesn’t eat your chickens.” I pleaded with him. His eyes seemed to soften. “What are you gonna call her?” He asked with a smile. I smiled back. I hadn’t really thought about what to call her, but as soon as he asked, I knew. “Mae.”

“We’re here.” He said. I hopped out of his truck with flowers and went towards her headstone. Here lies Mae Haller, a wonderful mother, and friend to all. 1985-2018. “Mom, I miss you. Every day I think about you. I will never let you be forgotten.” I hugged the flowers tightly before placing them in front of her headstone. My father put a hand on my shoulder to console me. I looked up at him and smiled, then looked back at my mother’s grave. Far behind her

“Spring’s Awakening,” Madelyn Auxier, Sophomore

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“Like Spring,” Drake Strait, Junior

Sailor’s Lament

Night

Eva Erickson, Junior

Evelyn Dahlman, Sophomore

I hear them call across the sea Songs they’ve crafted just for me. I rest my chin upon my knee And know deep down I’ll always be A victim to their sweet love songs. Regardless of the rights and wrongs, They show me where my heart belongs, Beneath the sea, one of their pawns. Visions flash before my eye, Urging me to comply. Urging me to say goodbye. To give in to the Siren’s Cry.

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“Doctor,” Eva Erickson, Junior

The stars gleam down on the dark blue water, reflecting the moonlight to light up the darkness The constellations in the sky draw your attention The tall grass waves as the wind brushes through it Green leaves on the trees blow softly and whisper Crickets are chirping as the rest of the world is in silence Busy days have drawn to an end, People lie soundlessly asleep The night goes unnoticed by most and the peacefulness that often disappears during the day returns. The cicadas are loud, their sounds a part of nature The sun has completely set, Its brightness has vanished The moon now takes over, its brightness much more subtle The few dark clouds roll in from the sky, shielding the great number of stars There is thunder drop, drop, drop It begins to sprinkle rain in the tiniest amount of time The sounds of the droplets hitting against the water as well as the solid ground is relaxing drop, drop, drop The rain continues to drop as the world still lies asleep The night is no longer hushed, as the sound of the rain continues but that is not a bad thing.


Moonwalkers Landon Nuss, Senior I’ve come to see the light as others have before me Glistening, gleaming, too beautiful to admire. The village sits still and the darkness lessens They all come together as the night carries on. Swirling and twirling I witness their dance I will rest and look on just as the others had done. They are like crystal white drapes of a goddesses’ chamber Flowing freely and swiftly in the calmness of night These angelic phantoms entered into my view. I did not fear them, I had no reason to, If you’d the proper wisdom you could find them here Descending from the heavens with everlasting divinity.

“Arbitrary Goods,” Madison Rix, Sophomore

The last light has gone out, true silence begins Beckoning them to the homes of our neighbors. Windows, doorways, hatches, and cellars Entering gracefully and returning the same. Now they carry the prize in their hands, Babies, toddlers, young children in arms For what purpose you ask, if only you could know.

“Dreamscape,” Ana Caves, Sophomore

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Love Joanita Mensah, Sophomore Light, pain sears through your eyes like alcohol on open skin, your head screams, the marching band in your brain is determined to keep drumming. This is how love feels The gentle scent of lemon floats through the air, a little leaf just going with the flow barely brushing your nose. This is how love feels Run, the creature zips through the air a light yellow fuzz with black stripes nothing in the world can stop it from reaching its target. This is how love feels The soft petals of the sunflowers hold you tight as the warm air tells you This is how love feels The odd tinge of yellow stains your skin as your stomach screams for mercy , you glare at the source, an odd looking cup of water that tells you This is how love feels

The color of love, the color of highs and lows, blinding lights and gentle flows. Because love is not one shade love is a monochrome room where the lamps are too bright and the pillows feel like heaven. Where there is no space to dance but the air is so fresh you do it anyway. But this room with color so fulfilling the picture of happiness itself is sometimes hidden in a broken home, a garden in the forest, or a forsaken soul And sometimes it feels like it has been too long and the room starts to collect dust and you keep searching and searching with the pain heavy in your heart tearing you apart but. This is how love feels Love might not be the red rose in high school that you hoped it would be; it’ll feel and smell different than you hoped. It might not be intimate and romantic, it might be a friend or a dog or You finally accepting yourself and it will be hard but love would not be yellow if it wasn’t hard to look at sometimes because after all the waiting you have done you will one day find that room. When you can finally look at it without shrinking then and only then will that yellow mean happiness.

Yellow

“Street Corner,” Nicholas Bushard, Freshman

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“Feeling Golden,” Isabella Reifert, Senior


“Radiai,” Sydney Dose, Senior “Out of Place,” Hailey Mizner, Sophomore

Carpe Diem Vi Nguyen, Senior

Baylor scribbled out the calculus problem on her homework. Her frustration rose every time she failed to get the correct answer. Friday nights were always spent getting ahead on schoolwork and recharging for the next week. As she sat at her desk, she suddenly heard a noise. She turned around in her seat, eyeing every corner of her room. Nothing. She turned back around and was face to face with a dark shadow. She let out a scream as she fell backwards in her seat. She groaned as the back of her head hit the ground. Her brows knitted together, “Dude! You look exactly like the Grim Reaper.” If the Grim Reaper had eyes to roll, they would definitely be rolling. He shook his head, “It’s because I am the Grim Reaper, smart one.” The girl nodded understandingly before panicking. She frantically grabbed her arms and patted her legs. “Phew! For a second there, I thought I was dead.” “I’m here to guide your soul from the world of the living to the world of the dead,” he explained. “Wait, what? You can’t. Not this week,” she urged, “Come back next week.” “That’s not how this works, sunshine.” She sighed, “But I actually have something to do this week. Prom? It’s in a couple of days, and I was really looking forward to it.”

“I’m not going to give you an extension.” The Grim Reaper realized he was talking to himself. “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?” Baylor was out of breath as she dashed down the street, “Carpe diem, if you know what I mean.” “You can’t escape death,” he warned. He picked up his scythe, “What is up with humans and wanting to live so badly?” Baylor couldn’t get far due to her lack of stamina. She ended up sitting on a park bench after running a short distance. “Boo,” a voice bellowed beside her. She glanced over, unaffected by the sudden disturbance. Baylor sat silently, dwelling on her thoughts. “It came so sudden and unexpectedly.” The Grim Reaper tilted his head, “So?” “I haven’t been alive for that long. I feel like I wasted a lot of time stressing over things I shouldn’t have stressed about. On top of that, I kept worrying about the future and trying to plan everything out, instead of fully engaging in what was already in front of me.” Silence. The cloak held up his scythe, “Sorry, but carpe diem only exists in the land of the living.” 27


“Floral Fireworks,” Yasmine Merida, Senior

“Life Through a Lens, Changed Perspectives,” Yasmine Merida, Senior

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“Oh, Those Butterflies...,” Yasmine Merida

“Show Yourself,” Yasmine Merida, Senior


The Bird in my Sideview Mirror Tianna Cleary, Senior My gaze slips out of my window in my home that has become a cage I find myself encaptivated by a bird attacking the side view mirror of my car I feel the irony of the situation I’m trapped while the bird is free I’m envying outside despite humans trying to capture it to have, to own, to look at always, their trophy Most cages are meant to keep the monster inside not to protect the prisoner And while that may be true, what happens when I’m simultaneously the prisoner and the monster? This sleek black body and the way he keeps flying into the mirror I lose myself in thought over this creature not settling on any one meaning Then I start searching for symbolism on the internet typing in the description to put meaning to this It isn’t a week later until I find out I am caught in a conversation about birds She said that male birds of that species would fly into mirrors Until death Thinking that its reflection is another male This window that separates me from him seems more and more like a mirror, He’s not just the cageless bird and me a prisoner One is free and the other is captive, yet somehow still living the same struggle The way he relentlessly throws himself into himself... Won’t stop picking and obsessing until I evaporate and there’s nothing left Won’t be satisfied until I’m less skin and more bone But that bird? He backs away from his reflection for a few moments And despite what she told me … He flies away

“Perspective Shift,” Nich Bennetts, Senior

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A Sinner’s Reflection Chase DeLancey, Senior In his last moment, He regretted everything— All the pain that he caused to himself to others to the world In his last moment, He realized he wasn’t ready to die— There was still life to be lived still fights to be fought, still memories to be had, still jokes to be cracked In his last moment, He wished to go home— That he had never run away, away from his family, his friends, his life In his last moment, He thought back to the past— All the loves that he had the nights out, the nights in, and all of his sins In his last moment, He knew it was time — He took his last breath and looked to the sky, this was no place for him, this was no place to die, In His Last Moment.

“Seeing Two,” Gabe Capps, Sophomore

The One Alexandra Davis, Senior The overwhelming, all-consuming feeling. They say head over heels and he’s the one. The one you find who brings you total soul healing. God I would give anything to keep from reeling. You force yourself to breathe deep and not run. The overwhelming, all-consuming feeling. It almost feels like the emotions have no ceiling One whispered word and you could come undone. The one you find who brings you total soul healing. Sometimes you see them and stop yourself from squealing. No one knows what you share, except everyone. The overwhelming, all-consuming feeling. Oh to be nothing but feelings. Oh to be your darling honey bun. The one who brings you total soul healing

“Hang,” Barrett Harre, Sophomore

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Now, he stands in front of you kneeling. “Marry me? I’m here for the long run.” The overwhelming, all-consuming feeling. I have found total soul healing.


She Will Be Missed Ali Gazga, Senior I gaze at the dreary night sky as I lie awake, My thoughts are relapsing in my brain. This must be a mistake! How could one person go through so much pain? I sigh at the thought of losing someone as it passes through my mind. She didn’t do anything wrong, she does not deserve this. My heart wanted to let out a whine, Soon after she left so did her bliss.

“Icy,” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

The world will never be the same. She wandered the earth with such delight, In a twinkling she became my flame. She guided me through the treacherous nights. Her last few days on earth were spent rejoicing in her life. Not one soul could not like her, She was a charming wife. A mom of two beautiful children, she soon knew she would become a blur. Her children were young, and unsure of how to take the news. Their dad left feeling empty without his loving wife. The family’s sadness felt like bruises, Sensitive at the touch, the skin looks like it had died. “Haru (Spring),” Daleela Letyaeva, Sophomore “Free,” Jacey Lynne-Marie Shotsman, Junior

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“3D printed coin, Raymond Tran, Senior

The Stars We Catch Kynlee McBride, Sophomore The Milky Way is bright tonight The stars are shining so, so bright We’re wrapped up in our blankets tight Can’t wait to catch the stars We sit together arm in arm The fireside is oh so warm The sounds of the sheep in the sleeping farm Can’t wait to catch the stars

Roomy Andrew Johnson, Senior

Mountains of clothes stretch across from bed to window sill, Avalanches of socks occasionally take a tumble down. the dirty swamp of unwashed clothes lays aside the closet, the hamper stands tall in the middle of the swamp. Shoes all around like steps from the past blankets mangled on top of the bed as if lions tore through it like a water buffalo the pillows were fluffless and squished into the corner cards from recent celebrations hidden like bugs, balloons fly away from the fan, as birds head south for winter cords slither out beneath my nightstand, like snakes ready for the hunt. many obstacles remain, but it’s time to adventure into the unknown I’ll climb these mountains! I’ll push through the swamp! These animals in my room won’t stop me! I will no longer hold off and let this jungle grow. to put it back into place, to retrieve lost goods, to make the unknown known. To please the ones that gave me life and to put my mind to rest It’s time that I clean my room!

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For long ago we dreamed these dreams The cricket chirps awake our theme The night’s alive or so it seems Can’t wait to catch the stars There it happened and then again We whisper a prayer and say amen The shooting stars will happen then Can’t wait to catch the stars The stars are shining bright tonight As they flash their yellowish and white light Oh wow it really is a sight Look at the stars we catch

Miss Me Shyann Severson, Sophomore My parents try to guess me, My teachers want to rank me. If they try, They will miss me. There is more to me then they can see. My friends think they can tell “what’s wrong” with me, They think they know me well, But they can’t see inside of me. There is more to me then they can see. I’d rather not let them see that side of me. That side of me can be scary, So, I keep it inside of me. The real me inside of me is hard to see, so no one knows the real me. But if you try to see the real me, You will miss me.


A Life Not Lived Abby Miller, Senior The thought of you has lived on in my head since the minute I first saw you. No, we have never spoken. I don’t even know your name, but it feels like I’ve known you my whole life. In the second we made eye contact, we had our first handshake, went on a first date, we danced under the stars. You told me your secrets, and taught me your trades. We fought about our differences, we kissed, we made up. I spent all of my days talking to you, and all of my nights dreaming of you. You showed me how to live. How to love. You asked me to be yours and I said yes, a thousand times, yes. You set my heart on fire, my soul alight, my mind at ease... Then you looked away. Our life together gone before it even had the chance to begin. I’ve missed you ever since that day. Those eyes have been burned into my memory and haunt me whenever I close my own. I hope I’m remembered by you. I hope I’m missed by you, That my eyes are the eyes yours miss meeting, “Firefly Squid,” Trevin Loos, Senior and longing to meet again.

33 “Banksy Red,” Diego Hernandez, Senior


Fading Away Emma Hain, Senior Jordan dropped flat on his back into the middle of the field. He squinted at the sunny sky, as the dizziness that plagued him abated. He suddenly stilled and exhaled in a shocked joy. His legs. He could feel the hard ground they lay against. He began to wiggle his toes and let out a giddy giggle at the movement. Suddenly a voice appeared above him teasing, “What are you doing down there slowpoke? You’re it!”

better one. When the Story Time apparatus arrived at his apartment, he could hardly believe the small box it came in. So much amazement in a little package. The machine was simply built. One could attach electrodes all over their body. The electrodes were connected to a screen where people would type the story they wished to enter, and they would be added as a character they built into that world. It allowed people to stay until the story’s completion and come back unscathed. Nourishment was not an issue while people were immersed in these worlds because the electrodes would send them into a hibernation-like state.

Jordan looked up to see four figures surrounding him. Each was wearing a different colored suit with two F’s inside of a lightning bolt on the chest. He glanced down to see that he was wearing the same symbol. Jordan’s eyes widened and his heart began to speed up in anticipation. The voice that came from the figure in red spoke once again, “What are you waiting for? Are you playing or not?” Jordan stood up, felt the ground underneath his feet, and ran. With no one left to see it, the field faded away. Story Time was a new technology that had been released to the public two months prior. Jordan heard about it through ads on his holoscreen television. Only someone living under a rock would not have heard of this new development. Story Time offered people the opportunity to become a character in any story of their choosing whether it be from a movie, book, comic, or video game. If someone desired to enter a world that sparked their interest that wish could be granted. Story Time was created by Richard Riciv. He had recently gone missing, and many attributed it to the criticism he was facing because of his invention. A few people were skeptical about the advanced capabilities of his technology and the lack of testing it had undergone. These voices were drowned out by the reviews filled with praise of the product. Jordan bought one, eager to escape this reality into a

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“Duet,” Ansley Brown, Junior Jordan wheeled around his apartment in elation as he set up the machine next to his bed. Soon he would be able to shed the dead weight of his useless legs. When he was 14, a car accident paralyzed him from the waist down. He dreamed of the day he could walk and run and dance again. And run he would, he knew exactly what story he wanted to enter. Jordan admired superheroes. He was in awe of their courage and enjoyed the certainty that they


provided. The “good guys” always defeated the bad ones in the end, and their morals were always true. When his life became tumultuous after his estrangement from his family, dropping out of school, and losing his job, superhero stories provided him the hope to face another day. The story title he frantically typed onto the screen of the machine was called “The Fast Four.” This story contained a group of speedsters that worked together to save the world and became a family along the way. Jordan could use a little family at the moment. He would enter the issue where they faced the Reverse Racer, their mortal enemy. Jordan quickly lay on his bed, hooked up the electrodes, and like many others, jumped in without looking back. After the team’s impromptu game of tag at the start of the story, time flew by. When the superheroes made it back to their headquarters, they received an alert about villainous activity in Times Square. Jordan would never claim that the story was very original, just comforting in its familiar cadence. The team raced to the location. Jordan grinned at the feeling of his legs whipping faster than the speed of sound and relished the lightness that accompanied the sensation. The team came to an abrupt stop at the scene. Their mortal enemy Reverse Racer was there, just as Jordan knew he would be. The leader of the group, Percy, turned to them and barked out instructions, “Carmen and Antonio, distract him from the front. Rosa and I will flank each side. Jordan, go around the back, and sneak up on him from behind.” Each hero jumped to follow his orders. Jordan struggled not to squeal as he ducked behind various buildings to avoid being seen by the Reverse Racer. His heart pounded in elation. He couldn’t believe Percy trusted him with such an important job. Jordan reached his position and tried to quiet his breathing as he waited for the others to make their moves. He saw Carmen and Antonio approach the villain. He coiled like a spring waiting to be set loose. In his periphery, he saw Jordan begin to move, and he took off. Time seemed to slow down. Percy and Rosa reached the Reverse Racer first. Due to Carmen and Antonio’s distractions, they were able to grab his arms. Jordan launched himself into the air and landed the perfect punch across the back of the Reverse Racer’s head. The evil speedster collapsed to the ground, and Percy quickly slapped a pair of power-dampening cuffs on him. Percy exclaimed, “Great work everyone!” He was met with shouts of agreement and whoops of exhilaration. “Now we just have to get him into police custody.” The Reverse Racer recovered enough to sit up and glare at them. His vision slowly focused on Jordan and he gasped out, “You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into, what they truly are. You’ve made a mistake.” Jordan peered at him in confusion, “What do you

mean? What are you talking about? Would you please explain? “I can’t get out. You have to go get help!” He grew frantic, “I made them, but I didn’t know! I didn’t know!” Percy stepped between them before he could respond, “Ignore him. Let’s get him taken care of so he can’t hurt anything else.” The Reverse Racer was shoved into a police car, and Jordan felt a memory try to surface. He let it fade into the background. For some reason, it didn’t seem as important anymore, and he didn’t give the Reverse Racer a second thought. Jordan leaped into the air before shouting at the sky, “That was awesome!” Percy chuckled, “I’m glad you thought so, but I’m wiped. We should order some food, and stuff our faces back at headquarters.” Jordan grew uneasy. This is where the story was supposd to end. The thought of leaving pained him. He responded, “I don’t know. I think I have to go.” The team that had been milling around him suddenly stilled and straightened. “But why?” they all enquired at the same time. Jordan straightened at the joint reply and confusedly parroted back, “Why? Because I have to go home.” Percy smiled and peered directly into Jordan’s eyes. “Why do you have to go home though? Why not stay with us? You can be a real part of the team. Stay with us at headquarters. Join the family and get to live a new adventure day in and day out. You can write the story now if you choose to stay.” Shock was painted all over Jordan’s features. He was rankled with surprise and confusion. He didn’t know that the program could do this. It was never advertised that people could choose to stay or to write their own stories. He inquired, “But what about my life?” Percy earnestly responded with a question in kind, “What do you have there that you couldn’t make here?” Jordan turned to think before he could see the devious gleam in Percy’s eyes. The others all blurted out in chorus, “You can’t leave yet! You’re too fun to play with!” His thoughts shifted down a different path, and he missed the twisted tone of their last statement, as he 35 realized the possibility they were offering him. They were


giving him the chance to live his dream life. The chance to leave behind his bum legs, depressing isolation, and lack of direction in his life. He could be more fulfilled here, accomplish more than he ever could in reality. There was no one to look down on him here or try to hold him back. It’s not like he couldn’t go back if he changed his mind later. He would just stay for a little while longer. His brow furrowed before he turned back to the group and declared, “I will stay for a little while longer.” They all grinned, and Percy threw out his hand for Jordan to shake. “I’m glad we could agree on that. I know you’re going to love it here,” Percy winked at him. Jordan took his hand without realizing he was signing away his life. Time became relative in the virtual world. A little while longer became one more mission, and one more mission became one more week, and one more week led to forgetting why it was so important to go back in the first place. Why think about a past hellish life when he could be with his family in this heaven. Jordan was the first to choose to stay in Story Time, but not the last. He was patient zero in a pandemic that coated the Earth’s surface. People were stuck in their heads, creating relationships with the robots that trapped them, refusing to grow, and missing out on the opportunities and wonder the world contained. The machines won and the warning cries of the few were left unheeded. Humanity would cease to exist because of the follies of a generation. All of the theories were wrong. The world didn’t end with a loud, catastrophic event; it trickled out with a whisper. Jordan ran until he couldn’t anymore, and his body became as inanimate as the legs he left behind with his life.

Dreams Eva Erickson, Junior Once I had a dream I was in a very dark space So dark, I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed A harsh chill seeped into my bones But somebody reached for me To pull me out of the darkness And I took a deep breath Before taking their hand in my own Our hands started to glow Bringing light and warmth to that cold, dark space I saw through the shadows All the way to the sunrise.

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“Maleficient,” Eva Erickson, Junior

“Decisions.” Ella Pike, Senior


“Monarch Butterfly,” Isabel Schinker, Sophomore “Rose,” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

Someone Shyann Severson, Sophomore

Someone part 1

I have someone on my mind, But I rather not say who, That wouldn’t be any fun. Let’s just say instead of playing tug o’ war, I’d rather play hug o’ war, Where everyone hugs instead of tugs. Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug. And everyone wins. Just me?? Oh… okay.

Someone part 2

I think it’s amazing how Incredible, breath-taking, Outstanding, You are in my eyes. But you wouldn’t know the way, I really think of you. Cause I sit here in the quiet and listen. Listen to all the important things, That no one else listens to. Just hearing your voice, It sends me to a solitude state.

I get lost in my thoughts When I hear your soft lovely voice, And see your beautiful brown eyes, The eyes that had seen too much That they shouldn’t have seen. And if I stare into your eyes for too long, I’d probably cry, Cause I had also seen too much, Maybe even worse things.

Someone part 3

I was raised in the country, You were raised in the city. And I think it’s funny how I can read you like a book, And you can’t tell anything about me. And how we met was ironic for the both of us, A football game out of all the places. And when I saw you for the first time, I thought it was love at first sight, And when you spoke to me for the first time, You took the words out of my mouth, 37 And all I could say was “Hi.” I’m sorry that was cheesy but it’s true.


Why We Write “Hesitation,” Logan Dunn, Junior

“Spilled Coffe, ” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

Vi Nguyen

Writing is a way to enlighten and express

It leaves us in shock, how much fun it can be. And just like that, it becomes a new hobby. Like movies in the mind. Especially in moments where we feel stuck in a bind. It’s a way that many of us can unwind, our heads, what a sight to see. We could write many genres such as poetry, fictional history, and mystery. never knowing what we will find. We write because of our heavy chest, or to reminisce when we feel our best. A heart so full when not expressed, let out our feelings: what we’ve suppressed. We write whenever our lives are a mess, to make us stress a little less. Anything we need to confess, the floor is ours nevertheless.

Piece of paper and pen, they are now our friends. Or we could type, it just depends. As long as we keep going, the story never ends. Just open our eyes to a whole new lens.

A rough draft at first, it might be the worst. The block of a writer makes us feel cursed. A drought for ideas, shall we quench our thirst? The brains in our Any thoughts that we pour, help our shoulders feel lighter than before. We are not trapped anymore. heads, they might want to burst. Fear not, just write What we wished to explore that we couldn’t go out for, whatever unrehearsed. Because over time, it can be reversed. A story made perfect once it has been nursed. a new adventure awaits when we open the door. The audience will totally be immersed! A new path with puzzles we can decrypt. Check People compelled by our writing flair, there is nothout the setting, what we’ve just unzipped. A place ing else to compare. A gift so sweet, just like a pear. untouched until we dipped, but now that we have, the Our deepest inner thoughts being laid bare. We can world is flipped. keep writing without a care. Nothing to stop us, nor Imagine the world but free from all evil. Change impair. Look over past works to oversee that writing is the story and now there’s a seagull. Up on a castle, an escape from reality. As good as can be, it makes us we look medieval. We’re painting a story, like with a feel free. The reasons why we write, it’s just our cup of canvas and easel. Writing allows us to tell stories to tea! people. It’s a way to have fun and it’s perfectly legal!

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The Four Seasons Daleela Letyaeva, Sophomore - Summer I felt the earth shake The sky crashed to the ground The air full of a cacophony of sound I didn’t know what, me in darkness

- Fall I saw the sky, I really saw it turn pink and orange, red and blue, turn many hues I never realized that it is so...

It grew quiet, I crawled out But the world became alien Walls reaching into the infinity of space Covered each and everything

I saw the trees, I really saw them I watched the blossoms bloom - then fall turned the leaves into a messy hall Like trails of time of its crackling hem

I knock and hear the hollow bong-bong Isolated in empty space I wait My hand and eyes gliding paper after paper The world hoarding its breath from itself ****

I saw the snow, I really saw it Fall and fall and cover the world in a blanket I snuggled home letting time freeze I left the imprint in the snow for next year I felt the earth turn The sky reinvent itself every evening I heard quiet shuffling of Season I didn’t know how, me peek out ***

- Winter there is this buzzing in the chest A desire to talk to eternity eyes crawl with unwilling drops condensing darkness of modernity

- Spring I look into the windows screen I stare, the hand jiggling Dancing to an unknown frantic rhythm “I don’t do this - it is terrifying”- I press the button

I felt the earth freeze The sky goes dark The deafening silence filling the air I didn’t know the times’ old mark ***

I feel a warmth spread over me The world fills with light The melody of voices fills the air Immersed in peace, me caught in time

“Ace of Spades,” Eden Wilder, Freshman “Hoarfrost on Berries,” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

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Lazy Sunday Kiah Ellismith, Junior The early morning sun peeked through the sheer curtains that hung against the wall. Its golds and yellows illuminated the room and the breeze blew gently through curtains again. The peace and serenity that filled the fresh morning air made me blush. I leaped out of bed, delicately placing my bare feet on the cold wooden boards. A few big stretches reaching my arms way up to the clouds and folding my body down to the ground, and I’m awake. I make it a habit to not look at my phone until I’ve had my coffee, so I’d leave it anxiously on the nightstand. I float my way down to the kitchen and make my way towards the coffee pot. Soon the air fills with the smells of freshly brewed coffee and warm honey milk. I take a big sip and enjoy every moment. Every taste of hazelnut coffee and honey milks is absorbed and appreciated by my body. Once the cup is half way full, I go on upstairs to grab my phone. Per usual, there were several notifications. I’d take into account the way my muscles tense and my heart goes faster when I see this every morning. For a little while I sit around, sipping my slowly getting colder coffee and scrolling aimlessly through my phone. I say my good mornings and place my cup in the dishwasher.

gigantic and white even though almost all the paint was chipped off. It was worn and creaky from all the storms and all the years. I sat carefully, making no fast sudden movements, as if to keep the peace. When the swing had finally reassured me it wouldn’t drop me suddenly, I relaxed and my muscles became less tense once more. I sat and I watched the sunrise while stroking my fat cat’s tail and sighing with every thought I had. I thought about a lot of things, but none of it really mattered. Once the sun had risen and the temperature began to rise, I realized how uncomfortable and sweaty I was in my pajamas. I checked my phone and it read 9:29, it was time to start my day. I made my way back to the house, through the messy kitchen, up the cold stairs, and into my now brighter room. I started my shower and peered out my window while I waited for it to warm. “Mornings are me” I thought to myself. And I couldn’t do anything but agree. I am like a Sunday Morning. Easy, simple, slow, and careful.

The sun was a beautiful yellow now, becoming brighter the higher it rose. This satisfied me and my body became less tense with every deep breath I took. Eventually I made my way outside to sit on the old swing. The swing was very old, older than me. It was “Pineapple,” Nich Bennetts, Senior

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“Contemplations,” Kadynce McCord, Junior


Cracked Sidewalks Aliet Dhol, Sophomore The cracked sidewalks that have no end, with the patchy grass peeking through the cracks. in between the flowery looking trees, the trees that have an unpleasant smell. with the patchy grass peeking through the cracks the warm fresh air hitting your face the trees that have an unpleasant smell, as the winds push you around. the warm fresh air hitting your face with the birds and bugs flying around as the winds push you around as the branches and the leaves lay on the ground. with the birds and bugs flying around The cracked sidewalks that have no end, as the branches and the leaves lay on the ground with the patchy grass peeking through the cracks.

“Puppy Playdate,” Bella Sanchez, Senior

Under the Moon Josh Booton, Sophomore I’m under the moon and I’m singing these tunes, wondering if I’ll ever heal these wounds. Hoping I don’t get caught lying on roofs. Feeling like I could be out all night, lying in the street knowing I’ll be alright because I know the ground don’t bite. I’m under the moon and I’m singing these tunes, floating like a feather, I’m enjoying my youth. Feeling better going out past two, memories stick to me like glue, but I keep skipping and counting by twos. I always knew this town was better at night, and nothing gets better than dancing in the street lights. I’m under the moon, counting by twos, never felt better singing my tunes, doing it helps heal my wounds, lying on rooftops and enjoying my tunes. Sun coming up, that’s one of my clues, heading back, counting by twos. Dancing in the starlight I’m getting rid of my blues, and hoping to heal these wounds. I’m under the moon and I’m singing these tunes, floating like a feather, I’m enjoying my youth, skipping and counting by twos, doing it helps heal my wounds.

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“Sophie’s Shoes,” Eden Wilder, Freshman

The Race To Fix The Cracks Kynlee McBride, Sophomore You step on a crack You break your mama’s back My feet are sore and tired From running on this track

So the steps we take The hurdles we jump The pirouettes we make And the trash that we dump

The cracks that I am finding Are growing every day But these dance moves I am dancing Are moving them away

They contribute to these cracks Making them better or worse Like a villain in a movie Casting a horrifying curse

But they are always hiding there In the shadows in the dark Muting laughter, fun, and chatter And engraving their own mark

But this curse is only darkness We just need to see a light It might take a little while Miracles don’t happen overnight

The strangers on their way Are walking stiff and straight Their masks on up or down In a hurry cause they’re late

You see the world as it is right now And for a second want to go back But my feet are energized and ready To finish this race on the track.

We find a crack and try to fix it By speaking out and vaccinations The world is tired and wants to quit But we won’t give up for our future generations

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Death of an Old Friend Daleela Letyaeva, Sophomore It was if in a dream a bomb was dropped The world stopped functioning The old reality died

I don’t care, maybe if I stop This hell will stop And will once more be able to talk

I felt nothing - as if nothing Would freeze time As if nothing ever happened

You fool! Look at that black device, Look how small it is, It fits in your hand like a glove as if meant to be!

But soon the numbness fled Desired - in any shape or formTo reobtain what has been

I don’t like talking on the phone, And why not? I can’t feel the presence of the other person I can’t read their reaction

I promised I would cherish it more Not realizing how much I needed it until it was gone It was not to be.

You are an even greater fool, This the golden time to overcome your fear I’M NOT SCARED! Say what you want.

When the Old Reality didn’t come back A disease of isolation spread like wildfire Tired, confused angry at everything that went wrong

I sat there for a long time, The persistent pain in beat with my heart beat At last I couldn’t stand it any longer

I was so tired, so tired I want my Old Reality back Weep. Weep. Wee. Weak.

I took up the phone.

You are tired? How dare you!? Look - this an opportunity And you are wasting your time!?

I stared at the call button And then said goodbye To the old reality and called the new.

“Sunset on the Lake,” Yasmine Merida, Senior

43 “A Little Light Play,” Trevin Loos, Senior


Trapped Brooklyn Westlund, Junior Trapped here All alone But there are many people around me I feel trapped inside my own mind That if I share anything People will just ignore it So I think And I think And I think some more Until my thoughts trap me in And then I cannot escape The constant anxiety The episodes of dissociation Myself I feel trapped in my own mind If only I could put my emotions Into words I wouldn’t feel trapped.

“Shipment Center,” Alex Acosta, Sophomore

The Neighborhood of Brokenness Christina Dinh, Senior screeching sirens scandalous streets somewhere nowhere near the suburbs sounds awaken my eyes constantly throughout the night someone taught me to always be ready to fight surroundings are dangerous but you must not take flight cars cruising by constantly can’t control the cities commotion can’t leave can’t stay calm can i please escape

Dots across the pavement Aliet Dhol, Sophomore

44“Monarch,” Isabella Shaddick, Senior

I walked around the park, The park that looked colorful at night, At night where the stars look like dots, Like dots across the pavement, The pavement that had plants growing in the cracks, The cracks that will trip you when you walk. When you walk, you’ll hear the birds fly off. The birds are flying off, while you’re kicking the rocks. While you’re kicking the rocks, you see the bugs crawl back. When you see the bugs crawl back, you crawl back in the car and go home.


Billy’s Notes Chase DeLancey, Senior Billy had a habit of leaving notes to himself around the house. “Ask mom for a new video game,” “Ask mom about soccer practice,” “Remember to do the dishes,” the list went on and on. It was one of the things his mother missed the most about him. Every time she found one of his notes scattered around the house she broke into tears. For ten years she and Billy lived by themselves in a secluded house on the outskirts of town. But it was just her now. She had gone to wake Billy up for school just like any other day when she discovered him missing. She called out to him while searching for him, “Billy, come on you have to go to school; no hide and seek,” “BIlly, I’m serious come here now.” As the minutes dragged on her cries became more frantic, “Billy! Please, you’re scaring me!” After several thorough sweeps of the house, she called the residents of the nearby houses to find out if any of them had seen him. Sometimes Billy liked to ride his bike down to the neighbors’ houses to see their dogs before school. But usually he told her when

he left. When the answer was no, she called the police and reported him missing. The police had tried to help. The whole town tried to help. People organized search parties and put up fliers everywhere. “Help us bring Billy home,” they said, with a picture of him attached. The search parties stopped a while back. Pedestrians might see a poster driven down the street by a wind gust every so often. Police say that if they don’t have a serious lead within the first 48 hours their chances of finding a missing person significantly diminish. Those 48 hours were up a long time ago. By Billy’s mom’s count it had been seven months and eight days since she last saw her son. Still, nobody had a clue what had happened to him. Today she wept while sitting on his bed. She picked up his pillow and smelled it. The fading scent of the new hair gel she had bought him shortly before he disappeared was still there. When she set it down something caught her eye. It was another note. She grabbed it and read it slowly. “Ask mom about the man in the basement.” “Flowers in the Forest,” Eden Wilder, Freshman

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AlJidu (Grandpa) Samara Mohammed Tuma, Freshman “I miss you more than I remember you.” I didn’t cry when you died, I was too young to understand my mother and Khala Fatin’s pain when they got the phone call that you had passed. I remember them on the floor of your daughter Fatin’s tiny kitchen in America, holding each other and sobbing. I don’t think I can understand how it feels to have your father die overseas and not be able to see him one last time. That marked my first visit to Iraq, my mom wore black the entire time and for a year after when we got back to America. I learned a lot about you in Iraq. I remember Ahmed leaving for six months, I found out that he had went there. We were all jealous of him at the time. We felt stripped of our heritage here in America, Like our parents had left a crucial part of our identity for us to eventually go back and find in Iraq. Ahmed was the first one of us to be allowed to go get it back. My parents hoped you would straighten him out, I think you helped. His Arabic was almost perfect when he came back. He’s going to rehab now, can you believe that? I remember he kept your keffiyeh after you died, and refused to have it washed because it smelled like you. I like to think you would be proud of the man he’s become. Or would you tell him to keep pushing? To apologize for the harm he caused? I learned that you were hard to cook for. Because you were picky. You didn’t like to have your food over seasoned because you wanted to “Taste what you were eating.” Your grandson, Ameer, Is the same way. I don’t think you ever got to meet him. He looks a lot like you. You both have the same tanned skin from working outside most of your life. You both have hazel eyes, I assume most of our family got them from you. He keeps his hair on the longer side, I wonder if you would scold him until he got a haircut or if you would tell him to keep it long. Rowida came back to us this year, she said she had a dream after you died. You were in a field with tall golden blades of grass. You wore a crisp white thobe, A robe like dress that had three buttons down the top half. And were

“Vegetables Are In,”Maryam Al-Rubaye, Sophomore

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seated under a gigantic tree. Peaceful, is a word I would use to describe how you looked. Butterflies fluttered around you as if you were the most pure and sweet bit of nectar they’ve ever tasted. And you told her” ‫حجني فوس ءيش لك‬ Everything will work out” It was the first time she had heard Arabic in years. She said she knew then, that it was time to come back home. This will be her first summer going back to Iraq, I hope she finds what our parents left for us there. I have no memories when you were present, but I have learned so much about you through the people you showed love and compassion to. They’re so much like you in so many different aspects. Your grandchildren are struggling to get a grasp of the culture we missed so much of. We don’t have you for guidance to get it back like Ahmed did, but I hope you would be proud of the progress we’ve made. I don’t remember which day you died, but the day before your death anniversary, I had bought a pretty silver ring. On top of it were two butterflies, I thought it was a bit ironic. I miss you, but I don’t remember you.


Secret Siren Abel Ue-Bari, Senior There once was a prince, so charming and handsome,for all those who saw him fell in love in an instant. One day the prince was strolling out through his kingdomwhen he saw a fair maiden whose beauty was radiant. The prince was bewitched; the girl was a treasure. He shot her a smile then went up to greet her. “My name is Rupert, and you are a picture. What is your name? I’d love to make your acquaintance.” The girl looked flattered, she blushed, and she smiled. Then in a flash, she turned and she hollered, “I cannot tell you for it is a secret, now I’ll only spill it if you’re truly fearless.” The girl pointed out towards the forbidden forest where monsters and werewolves lurked around every corner. “I’ve Got No Strings on Me,” Isabella Reifert, Senior

“A test of my bravery, I gladly accept, but you must keep your promise at the end of the quest.” The girl ran in front, the prince right behind her.They ran through the day and into the nightfall. The prince looked around and realized the peril. “Young lady,” he said, “the monsters might get us.” “I know,” said the maiden, “that’s what we’re here for.I lure young men with my beauty and assets, they follow me blindly right up to their last breath.”

“Pandemic ‘Picaso’ Piecing,” Maggie Troyer, Junior

47 “Welcome Home,” Carly Smith, Sophomore


The Cigarette Haley Nadgwick, Junior I could see her from where I sat, puffing on a cigarette. I was in my senior year of college and I was majoring in Health Science. My research was starting to show something extremely surprising, something no one knew. I was sitting here, staring at the lady who looked several years older than me, knowing she was killing herself. She wasn’t poor, wasn’t dirty, wasn’t shaggy, in fact she looked to be pretty wealthy. She had wavy blonde hair that fell just past her shoulders, the same shoulders that were covered with a light brown fur coat. She had dark blue eyes like the color of the sky at noon. Her red painted nails were sitting on top of her long fingers as they wrapped around her coffee cup. She took small sips as she looked out the window, neglecting her cigarette every few seconds until she felt the urge to put it back in between her lips. I watched the action in disgust but also recognized the feeling of awe, as I saw the tip of it burn bright red. She flicked the ashes into the ashtray on the counter, blowing the gray smoke back out. I could smell the trapped smoke in the air, burning my nose. She put it back in her mouth and turned to look around. Our eyes locked and for a few seconds I couldn’t move. Her gaze was strong and intimidating. I subconsciously averted my eyes, looking down at my table. I couldn’t bear to look at her any longer, not when she looked at me like I was her next victim. I could feel her eyes cutting into the top of my head and I didn’t look back up until I felt that feeling no longer. I looked back at her. She crushed her cigarette out in the ashtray and started to stand up. She drank the last of her coffee, grabbed her bag and swung it over her shoulder. I thought she was going to walk to the door but instead she turned her heels and started walking towards me. Everything felt like it was in slow motion, the way her shoes clicked and clacked over the floor and the way her eyes blinked, slowly, as they looked into mine. But before I knew it she was here, holding out her hand to me. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to move and my hot sweaty hands were glued to my thighs. It felt like forever until I snapped out of it and shook her hand. They were soft, so soft. They hadn’t seen a day of work in their lives, but most women did stay at home, while their husbands were away doing the hard work, that is, if she even had a husband. I could see her up close now and she didn’t have a wrinkle anywhere on her good-looking face. Those eyes that I noticed earlier were now calling my name. Wanting me to walk into them, through them, into the bright blue

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“Thought Crime,” Jack Watermolen, Freshman

sky like I was flying, soaring high above the clouds. Serene. I couldn’t look away. It was physically impossible. Then her strong and dulcet voice spoke, “Hello, my name is Diane. Do you mind if I sit here?” What did she say? I didn’t hear her. Or maybe I did. My goodness, I can’t think. Her eyes were holding on to my mind and it wouldn’t let it go, wouldn’t surrender. I was still soaring high, and it wasn’t going to stop until her eyes dropped me and I would hit the ground. Splat. “Ma’am?” she said. “Huh” I said, furrowing my eyebrow. They still hadn’t let me go. Why not? Why couldn’t I stop staring at her. I probably look like a freak right now. I’ve been staring at her for a good 30 seconds. I really do need to stop. She let out a little giggle and smiled. “Do you mind if I sit here?” she said again “Oh no, sorry. Sit, Please.” I said, finally understanding her. Thank goodness. She sat down three feet away from me, and for a second, I wished her to be closer. No, stop being weird Mary. She took her dark brown purse off her shoulder and set it down next to her on the seat and then turned to me.


“I’m Diane, what’s your name?” “Mary.” I said, being shy. “Hi Mary, it’s nice to meet you.” Hearing her say my name was odd. All my life I had mostly only heard it come out of men’s mouths. My brother, foster dad, random men who assumed that just because they knew my name they could come on to me. It sounded nice. I smiled and looked down at my hands. I wasn’t usually a shy person but being around her made me timid. “I saw you looking at me earlier,” she said. “Oh,” I said briefly. That was humiliating. I know she saw me but saying it only made it real. I looked into her eyes under my eyelashes and realized that it was an incredibly difficult task, so I looked down again. “I don’t mind, unless you were staring at me the whole time.” She let out a full laugh. Oh god. Did she know? Was I that obvious? I mean, I only started because I saw her smoking, but then I didn’t stop. I wanted to smack my face into the table. “Oh no! I just saw you smoking,” I lied. She looked at me confused, wondering, but not quite asking what I meant. I elaborated, “It’s bad for you.” She laughed again. “Smoking?” “Yes, I’m majoring in Health Science,” I informed her. “You’ve gone to college?” She asked, changing the subject. “I’m in my last year, yes,” I answered. She was the one confused now. “Interesting. How is it bad?” She looked into my eyes again. Oh god, those eyes. Why did she do that when she knew I wouldn’t be able to answer her then? I’d sit there, looking like a blabbering fish again. Thankfully, whatever’s up above chose to save me and she looked down to adjust her purse. “Uh, well first, it’s bad for your lungs,” I began. She looked up then, responding to my comment. “And uh, it’s bad for your teeth and… yeah.” Really Mary?

She laughed again. Laughing at my awkwardness, embarrassing me to no end. I blushed and looked down at my hands that lay on the table. I was so nervous you could almost see them shaking. She was making fun of me, wasn’t she? She knew that when she looked at me it made me falter, for reasons I hope she didn’t know. Did I even know? She was older than me, richer than me, probably smarter than me. She’s seen more life than me and that was intimidating. I spent most of my life around people my age. Most of them were immature and thicker than a five dollar malt but I had a feeling she wasn’t like that, I knew she wasn’t like that. Just looking at her you could tell she was knowledgeable and experienced, unlike me. I didn’t know much about her either, and that was getting to me. I had already started to tell her about my life, and yet I still knew nothing about hers. Was she ever going to tell me? “What else?” She asked, seeming to not notice the mental dialogue going on inside my head. “Death.” That’s all I said. She furrowed her eyebrows. “That makes sense.” She said after a moment, “It’s common, you know, for people to die before they’re old and ripe. That’s why huh?” She spoke. “It’s likely, if they were smokers,” I answered. She sat looking down at her hands like she was having an internal battle within herself. Like she was comparing everything I was saying with her experiences. Lots of people die from smoking these days and it’s because nobody knows the side effects of it. It’s just now that people are starting to discover all the horrible things it does to the human body. I only named a couple but there’s many, many more. I’m sure if people knew what I did, they’d drop that cancer stick in the trash. I hope she will. It looked like she was having a moment, so I sat. I didn’t want to interrupt her. I was going to wait for her to start talking. She was deeply concentrated, staring at her hands. They were interlocked and her right thumb moved in circles over the opposite hand. I could only see a sliver of her skyblue iris and her eyebrows were still furrowed. Her long mascara soaked eyelashes were only millimeters away from touching her eyelids. She would unconsciously bite on her lips every few seconds. She looked over at me, catching me staring at her for the thirtieth time today.

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“How old are you?” she asked. I took that as a sign that she didn’t want to talk about it anymore. “I’m 24.” “Young, but smart.” she said. I could feel my cheeks heat up from her comment. “You?” I asked “I’m 31,” she answered. So I was right, she was a few years older than me. I wasn’t bothered though. She was intimidating but at the same time she made me feel relaxed, calm… safe? “It’s not my place to ask but, are you married?” I asked. She stared into my eyes and gave a light smirk seeming to know something that I didn’t. It was hard to look away from her, like I was stuck. “Yes, I am, his name is Robert.” For some reason I felt disappointed, I didn’t want her to be. Why? “Oh, alright,” I said. “Why’d you ask?” she asked. She wanted to get something out of me, but I had nothing to give. “No reason.” “Hmm, okay.” What did she want me to say? “Because I want you to be single”? No, of course not. Why would I want that? I don’t want that. I don’t. Really. She would probably think I was crazy if I said that. We sat there, in silence for a few min-

utes. It wasn’t awkward, but comfortable. “I should probably get going.” I said, just now noticing the clock. I’ve been here for about an hour already, and I have to get back to work. Plenty of research to do. I thought I saw a flash of disappointment fly across her face, but it disappeared before I could comprehend it fully. I got up and tossed my cheap department store coat over my shoulders and buttoned it up. “I have to get back to work.” I continued, glancing back at those blue eyes that were staring up at me. I didn’t want to leave them. I didn’t want to land yet. The feeling of soaring, high above the clouds was addictive. I could stay here, in this cafe all day if those blue eyes were going to be next to me. She sucked her lips in and looked down at my coat, and then to my skirt. I felt self-conscious. She probably thought my clothing looked cheap, which they were compared to the ones she had on. I wonder what else she thought of me. “Alright, well do you want to come to lunch with me tomorrow?” she asked looking back up into my eyes. Well, isn’t that a question. Wow. She wanted me to come to lunch with her? Ok, let’s look at the pros and cons here. One- I’d be able to stare at those pretty blue eyes again. Two- I’d get to know her better. Three- I’d just get to be around her in general. Now the cons… One- I’d probably blabber like a fish again and… well… that’s about it. It’s settled, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Slowly but surely, I was becoming more confident and less timid. She made me feel safe. Like a friend? But there was also something else, a feeling of which I didn’t yet know. I had never felt this way before and it was scary, but exciting at the same time I didn’t know what it meant. I wonder if she felt the same. She probably didn’t. Who am I kidding? I haven’t made a friend since grade school, let alone something more… Wait what? What did you mean by that Mary? My mind spoke before I knew what I was saying. Now you’re speaking crazy. Must’ve been a mistake. “Y-yes, I’d love to.” You stuttering fool. “Perfect, how about one, at The Royal?” She asked. Her light pink lips turned up into a soft smile waiting patiently for my response. The Royal? That place cost more than my rent! How on earth could she afford that? ‘Yes, that’s perfect. You could say 1 a.m. and I’d still go!’ Is what I wanted to say, but instead I just said, “See you then.”

“Infinity,” Morgan Renton, Senior

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What It Takes Kiah Ellismith, Junior I knew social media was destroying me when clumps of my hair would fall out in the shower and my body looked frail and delicate in the mirror. The bags under my eyes and the hallows in my cheeks were proof that it was working. Now, my ribs stick sharply out of my chest, with every breath I take I feel weaker. But it’s working. Fasting for days and losing pounds in weeks has finally started to make progress. My legs no longer jiggle with every step I take. My chin doesn’t swell when I look down. My stomach lays flat against my body and my fingers can fit around my wrist eight times now. But all while I was begging to be beautiful, I was killing myself in the process. Bruises lined my spine and I was always tired. My appetite was gone most days so I withered away in my bed. I asked myself if it was all worth it, and it always is because beauty was worth my life if it had to be

All Human Beings Brooklyn Westlund, Junior All human beings are born free and equal. Words to live by. Not just said, but stated. In the Civil Rights Act of 1964. All human beings are born free and equal. No matter what race, who you love, what god you believe in. No matter what language you speak, or who you support. All human beings are born free and equal. No matter if you look different, speak different, or act different. No matter what color your hair or eyes are. All human beings are born free and equal. It is just hard for some small minded people to understand that.

“Stag,” Eva Erickson, Junior

Frost

Landon Nuss, Senior

It’s cold out here in the heavy rain. I feel my body succumbing, Welcoming the evening frost. Each second I feel the wind Grazing my body again and again. It burns. It burns so much, more than the sun on a midsummer’s day, So much more it burns. There are ways I could escape the sun, Shelter myself from the creeping heat. But not the cold, not the cold. For now I can only wait in the scorching frost. It’s warm out here, the rain has stopped. Now wait, has the cold left me be? I can’t feel its presence, I can’t feel anything anymore, The cold is no more, it’s gone. Gone is the burning wind. Gone is the frost hugging my fingertips. Gone are my worries for future days. Gone are the days of my future. Let me rest now, let me rest for good. It’s time.

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By Daisy Buchanan, Dedicated to Nicky Abby Miller, Senior

A dear friend once taught me that beauty isn’t all there is to life. No, not at all. There’s dirt and filth that lives right under my nose. I simply choose not to see it. Through his words he showed me that I surround myself with the pretty things of life to distract from the ugly. I don’t like the grotesque and disturbed. I want my life of elegance, and leisure, and perfection to be infinite. I explained this to him. He gave me a puzzled look. Then he said, “How can you live a life of beauty when you know your heart is tainted?” I suppose he’s right. I can never be beautiful, at least not in the way I want. It was beauty I learned, that we risked our lives for, and he was beautiful. Perhaps the wrong kind of beautiful. I never saw his imperfections, his flaws, the beauties that are hard to love. Now he’s gone. He took the beauty I surrounded myself with him to the other side, to the most beautiful place. Now I sit in my ugly, I burden my tainted heart, I cry at my reflection. My beauties are no longer worth anything like I thought they were all my life. My lie is finally dead.

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House Backyard Rendered,” Katie Chandler, Senior

“House Front h, Kitchen i,” Katie Chandler, Senior


What I gotta do Aubrey Wyatt, Sophomore

“Living Room," h, Living Room 2,” i Katie Chandler, Senior

Everybody keeps telling me, ¨Live a little. Stop trying to be an adult when you still have time to be a child.” How am I supposed to do that? I spend my time educating, leading, spreading the word of what goes on in our broken society. I have school too. Gotta take care of my dog, spend time with family and friends. Gotta take care of myself too. Gotta make time for church so my faith stays strong and I don’t lose hope. Tell me; how am I supposed to stay a child when I barely make time for myself. When I have to educate and lead other people. I gotta make up for the mess that occurs because of decisions that adults make. Why? So we don’t become a disaster in the future. Maybe time moves too fast or maybe I’m just not cut out to be a child. I guess since the world keeps moving I gotta keep movin’ too… And that’s just what I gotta do.

Unrealistic Beauty Aubrey Wyatt, Sophomore We live in a society where 5% of all the people in the world hold the beauty standards. Isn’t that somethin´? You are either too skinny or not skinny enough. You have too much make-up, or you have too little. You are too muscular or not muscular enough. If you are beautiful enough, you’re a model. If you are considered ugly because of unrealistic beauty standards you’ll never be a model. If you are someone who holds these beauty standards above all else; tell me, do YOU even qualify to be a model? If not, you can keep those ideas of what is supposedly perfect and beautiful to yourself because you’re not even a part of the 5% that are considered perfect. Now tell me how it feels when you realize you aren’t perfect enough when the world says you need to be. Isn’t it funny how most of us are not even close to what the majority says is beautiful, yet many agree with these materialistic “perfections”?

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“I Shall Name Him Squishy,” Bella Sanchez, Senior

“Life Could Be Green,” Bella Sanchez, Senior

I Miss You More Than I Remember You Kinya Kairigi, Junior I miss you more than I remember you. I can’t remember how you were, How you acted, how you behaved, I miss being you because I know I was happy. But I can’t for the life of me remember who you were. I miss you more than I remember how you liked being alone, How when you got the chance you took it and actually enjoyed it. I can’t seem to remember what that felt like. But I miss you feeling like being alone never meant you were lonely.

“Cup of Color,” Donna McGrath, Freshman

I miss you loving how excited you got when you saw fireworks. How fascinated you were by the different colors and shimmers. I don’t like fireworks anymore, I don’t remember why. But I miss you being so interested in the little things. I miss you going out to ride your bike everyday. I miss the determination of going on a ride before the sun went down. No matter what day of the week it was, no matter how much homework you had, You just had to do it, I don’t remember why, but I miss that feeling you had. I miss you more before everything happened. The problem is, I don’t remember who you used to be. When I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize you at all, I see a stranger looking back at me. You’ve changed, because of the trauma, I remember that.

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I miss you more than I remember you. I miss remembering you, I can always remember missing you. I may never remember you, but I know l’ll always miss you. “I miss you more than remember you.” Ocean Vuong


Losers In Love Abby Miller, Senior Hold my hand, please… Give me something to focus on, something to feel, because I can’t seem to get anything right these days. But being with you gives me hope it’ll get better. I love seeing you across the street. Love… I run to you, trip and fall, you open your hand to me, but I pull you down instead of going to my feet. Though clumsy couples were never expected to be graceful, right? We don’t have any close friends, Not really… Our relationship with our parents isn’t great. The wall has become our therapist. We’re trapped in our minds, But you know how to put my mind at ease.

“St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, Malta,” Katie Chandler, Senior

We were never great at anything. Average… Boring, dull, average people. People who love not having that spice in their life. We’re comfortable without it. Nothing wrong with that. I know we don’t have a lot, we’ve barely got ourselves. But when we’re together, the world seems to slow its spin. I can just look at you, and you can look at me. No tripping over ourselves, only falling for each other. Falling…

“Hidden,” Hannah Nigh, Junior

“Our Time,” Brady Reichmuth, Senior

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“Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth & Monarch on Milkweed,” Kenji Nakagawa, Senior

Hold On

Showers

Teresa Wilson, Sophomore

Teresa Wilson, Sophomore

Hold on they call out I would do that, if I had Something to hold onto

Everything Keeps Moving: Serena Schadl, Sophomore A starry night sky The fog rolling in Streetlights are flashing Red, yellow, and green But it doesn’t stop The night won’t stop It just keeps going The planet keeps turning Some may die Some may live But everything keeps moving So you should too

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Showers tell a lot about someone, The long ones tell others that We are lost in our thoughts Others tell that we feel comfortable blasting our songs from our mouths Short ones tell that we Are in a hurry and can’t speak with the water Cold showers tell us to wake up Hot showers tell us that we are cold and In need of love Some showers are where we dance Some showers we reenact what we could Have done differently Showers are our personalities

Lost Teresa Wilson, Sophomore Capturing me back Holding me down, I can’t run I know I’ve just lost


Company Haley Nadgwick, Junior I used to love being alone by myself. It gave me time to think, time to relax. But now, being alone was the last thing I wanted. It had been one year, four months, eight days, and 14 hours since I had last seen anybody... I was counting. I had nothing better to do. I’d wake up, securely lock up my tent that lay on the ground so no rogue animal could get into it, go down to the lake and wash up. Then I’d take out my spear that I made last year out, and I’d stand by the side of the lake, waiting. Most of the time, I didn’t catch anything, not surprising, really. It was my dad that was always good at hunting, but he wasn’t around anymore. Since I was absolutely atrocious at catching fish, I would usually pick berries. I live on the east side of what was once known as the United States. There’s a lot of woods here. Right now, I am by the lake, as always, waiting for something. God knows how I miss life, any life. It’s been forever since I’d seen a living human being, and I barely ever sighted an animal. I was surrounded by trees all day. I felt depressed most of the time. That’s what being alone does to you. Not just alone, but lonely as well. I was taking a break from “hunting” and was sitting down looking at my mud-covered shoes. They were God knows how old; they weren’t even mine; they looked to be half a century old. They were dark blue tennis shoes stained with grass stains and mud. The color was almost completely gone, and strings were hanging from the sides. I had no socks, and my feet had seen better days.

I looked out into the water, getting tired of looking at my sad excuse of shoes, and I saw ripples. Not only ripples but bubbles too. I grabbed my spear and stood up as fast as I could.

“Yes! Yes!” I shouted.

I was eagerly following the fish as it swam through the murky waters below. When the time was right, I steadied myself, aimed, and threw the spear as hard as I could. I watched in anticipation; it felt like slow motion as I waited for the spear to impale the fish… Imagining in my mind how it would be to eat a nicely cooked fish. It would be the first time in months since I had anything sustainable. It must be the lord coming to save me! But when it hit the water… it missed. I felt defeated and went to walk out in the water to grab my spear and then slumped down on the dirt ground once more. “You’re cruel,” I said. To whom? The fish? God? Life? My stomach clenched in horrible pain wishing to eat itself. I groaned and curled up in a ball, hoping to relieve the pain. I could smell how badly I smelled, like sweat with a mixture of dirt. It wasn’t pleasant. I took my shirt off, ignoring the pain, and stepped into the water, walking deep enough to cover my shoulders. I was looking back up at the tree line that surrounded my area, and surprisingly enough, I could see a pair of eyes staring at me from the brush. I froze. It was a deer. I started to run in the water, pushing against the water as hard as possible, struggling to move. Once I got out, I started running, running, running and running, as fast as I could. But my foot caught something, and I fell face first. “Ugh,” I groaned. I turned over on my back and held my face. There was blood coming from my eyebrow, and it stung. I sat up and swung my arms over my legs, and dropped my head in between them. I was once again defeated. I tried too hard. All the time, every time, all day, every day, I tried. Tried to catch food, tried to make a tent, a fire, tried to survive, but it was useless, all work for no reward. My job was enduring, and my boss was life. He didn’t want me to succeed. He broke me down and kicked me. He made it impossible. I started to

“Tom, Dick, and Harry Moutain, Kenji Nakagawa, Senior

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sob. My body shook violently with tears and cries that could be heard for miles. It was all too much. I was giving up; I could feel it happening, feel it taking over me. There was no point anymore. I was going to lay down right here and stay here, forever. Well, that was until I heard a slow deep vibrating noise that would occasionally pop. What is that? I thought. I stood up and walked towards the noise, towards a well-worn path, and I stood there, turned my head, and saw it. A truck. I ran back, back behind the trees, and peaked my head out. It was bright red but rusty and old. I couldn’t see who was inside. It drove right on past me and kept going. After a little while, I couldn’t hear it anymore. It’s gotta be a person, I thought. “Well, duh, bears can’t drive,” I replied to myself. Too bad they’re gone. I should have run out onto the path, raised my arms, and waved them like I was crazy, but I was scared. I chose to stay alone. Too late now.

could be just like us. They could have a family, friends, job, promises. Were scared of aliens, but why? The image of the traditional alien is a tall green big-headed figure with huge black eyes and arms that reach their feet. But that image came from fear, the unknown. What if they are just like us? I find that so fascinating. And not to mention all the shapes in the sky, all the constellations. You can make any picture in your mind, like connect the dots. The big dipper, little dipper, cancer, it’s all art. Someone woke up one day with only white and painted the sky. It looks random, but it’s all planned out. Maybe life is a test, ya know? Maybe God is testing us right now. His tests get more challenging the older the earth is. That’s why mine is so hard. Perhaps the stars have something to do with it. Match up the stars just right, and you get to go to heaven or understand what they are trying to tell us. Is it got to be a test, right? It’s a whole plan. Why else would life be so hard? The only problem is that I haven’t figured it out yet. I haven’t the slightest clue where to start. I began drifting in and out of sleep, thinking about the world, the stars. It was calming, thinking that there might be something after this and some way to get there. I wished it to have a set answer; I was never good at things that didn’t have a defined way of solving them.

I walked back to my campground, sat down next to my tent on an old raggedy blanket, and sighed. I wish I didn’t live in this time. I remember that my dad used to tell me all types of stories about the old world before it was torn. He said that millions of people used to live here, and they used to go on crazy adventures. Sleep had almost entireThey would go to the bottom of ly wrapped its delicate arms the ocean and to outer space. It’s around when I heard a rustling been more than 70 years since we in the trees like something was last went up there. By my estima- “Mirror Lake, Kenji Nakagawa, Senior walking. I sat up to listen more tions, there were only 150 million closely. Then I heard footsteps moving closer to where I people left in the world… and I saw one today… kind of. was. My spear was outside my tent… I’ve never had a friend, only my family, and that didn’t even last. I’m sure most of the people out here are alone. Blue I lifted my hand and grabbed the zipper, contemplatscissors, blue scissors, I thought. Thinking that always made ing if I should open it or not. It was either an animal or… me happier. I would always cut my little sister’s hair with someone, the former being more likely. I didn’t want to find blue scissors. We were so close. out, but I had to. It was starting to get dark. I got up and took my spear from the lake and placed it next to the tent for protection, of course. I took the blanket and spread it out inside the tent, and laid down. I could feel the bumps and lumps under me, but I was used to it. I stared up at the roof of the tent. I wish it had a window up there so I could see the stars. It would be beautiful. To just imagine all the life up there, all the undiscovered places. We call them aliens, but we’re aliens. If you weren’t born here, you’re an alien. But in reality, they

58

With all of my mental strength, I opened the tent as quietly as I could. My heart opened and jumped out of my chest when I saw someone. It was a girl, a woman. She was young, but she looked old enough to be an adult. I sat there, staring at this girl who was trespassing on my property. I tried to look around for my spear, but it was too dark and too far away. The moonlight was the only illumination. Thankfully she hadn’t seen me yet, which gave me time to think. What am I going to do? Should I run and grab my spear


and start aiming? Should I get out and ask her who she is and what she’s doing here? Should I pretend I’m still sleeping? I vote for the second option.

“Oh, nothing.”

I got out and stood up. “Who are you!? What are you doing here!? I half spoke, half yelled. She jumped back, startled.

It was silent until I chose to speak.

“Oh my god, you scared the hell out of me.” She said. I frowned. “Who are you?” I asked again. “I’m Hexal.” She smiled. “And you?” “Why are you here!?” I ignored her. “Chill out, sweets.” She said, laughing awkwardly. Sweets? “You’re not answering my question,” I said, getting angry. She took a couple of steps closer. “Stop!” She did. “Fine, fine. I was just looking around, and I found this place; I didn’t know anyone was here until you jumped out at me, kinda rude by the way.” She looked behind me at my tent, scanning over my things. Maybe this was who was in the truck. “At night?” “Couldn’t sleep?” “Is that a question?” She was acting suspiciously.

“Ok…”

“Hexy, or whatever your name is, just leave. I don’t want to see you here again. I don’t even know you. “We could get to know each other. No one wants to be alone out here, you know?” I could hear the smile in her voice. “Whatever. Just don’t show up here at night ever again.” I said

“At night?” She asked

“Ever,” I said. Hexy rolled her eyes. “You sure about that? You’re going to be lonely, and I have to say, I’m pretty good company.” She laughed again. “Mmmhmm,” I mumbled, not falling for that trap. It was silent again, and I could tell she was thinking. “Alright, sweets, I’ll see ya.” She said after a moment. She brought her hand up and waved lazily. Then Hexy turned to walk away, back into the trees. How strange, I thought. That was the most human contact I’ve had in years. I was tired, and I decided it was time to go back to sleep. I ducked down in my tent, laid down, and slept, dreaming of the lights that danced in the sky.

“No, no, I couldn’t sleep.” “Do you have a truck?” I asked “Um… I do. Why?” She answered. So it was her driving. “You were driving yesterday. Where did you come from?” “You ask a lot of questions, you know.” She spoke. “So?” Can you blame me? Some random stranger stumbles upon my home out of the blue, and then she acts like it’s not a big deal. Could it be odder? “Damn sweets, you’re really uptight, you know?” She laughed. God, she was annoying. “And you’re a stranger.” “Not for long.” She replied “What do you mean?” I asked

“Ticket to Travel,” Carly Smith, Sophomore

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Global Warming Julia Hyten, Freshman As the temperature rises we just watch Go on as we please We marvel and stare while some kids fear Its natural some say Were just burning away the fossils and fuels that help us stay Are scientists right? Glaciers melting, Animals dying, Water decreasing When will it stop? Will it even stop?

“Rays,” Kalen Englert, Junior

Summer Evelyn Dahlman, Sophomore The bright yellow sun beams down on the water It glistens and you see your reflection The warmth of the sun feels very present on your skin The cool breeze feels nice, brushing up against your skin The sun begins to set and we see an array of vibrant colors pink, orange, and yellow It looks as if it’s from a painting The sun eventually disappears, taking the colors with it And when its night, the stars glow and the moon shines down, lighting up the warm evening If you look closely, you will see a million different star constellations Fireflies light up and appear off and on continuously It is like a whole other world, A perfect world

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“Light Play,” Yasmine Merida, Senior


The Incident Abel Ue-Bari, Senior Alex looked up and saw a girl enveloped in white as pure as snow. A divine beauty who seemed to evoke peace with a simple smile. Her celestial, milky white wings inspired awe and wonder within him. “Are you an angel?” questioned Alex. “Yes.” “Where am I?” “You’re where you need to be, but right now you need to help out your mother. She’s in agonizing pain and only you can relieve her of her burden.” “What do you mean?” “You will know when the time comes.” Alex sat up in his bed with sweat beading down his forehead. His heart beating as if it were going to implode inside his chest. He looked around his surroundings and saw navy blue walls ornamented in polaroids of him and his friends. Alex sighed a breath of relief, it was all just a bad dream. The bright sun shone through Alex’s curtainless windows, causing him to feel more at ease. He got out of bed and quickly ran downstairs to greet his mother who was busy sizzling juicy bacon for breakfast. “Good morning, Mom!” “Good morning Alex, how did you sleep?” “Good...how did you sleep.” “I slept wonderfully, my bed was so-”

“I’m sorry, this is all my fault. I was in such a rush to get to school on time. If only I had paid more attention when crossing the street-” “No, don’t you dare say that, it’s not your fault! That stupid drunk driver, I mean who is drunk at 8 AM on a Monday?” “Yeah.” Alex looked down at the ground, trying hard to hide the tears that were now streaming down his face. Alex had never seen his mom like this, she usually had thick skin; it scared him to see her falling apart. The time had finally come, he realized what needed to be done. “Well the bacon may be burnt, but we still have the rest of this food so let’s dig in.” Alex’s mom pointed to the assortment of breakfast foods on their dining table. There was everything from pancakes, to sausage to scrambled eggs; she truly went all out. “No mom, we can’t keep doing this,” Alex said firmly. “Doing what sweetheart?” “The accident happened two months ago, we can’t keep playing pretend.” “Alex, what are you saying?” “Mom, you have to let me go. This isn’t fair to you. You need to learn to move on with your life.” Alex’s mom turned away from her son to try to hold back tears, but failed miserably. “How can I move on without you, I miss you, I need you.” By the time she had turned back around, Alex was already gone, leaving his weeping mom alone with just his memory. “I’m Watching You,” Yasmine Merida, Senior

“Please don’t lie, I heard you crying again last night.” “You heard that?” “Yes mom, it’s been every night since the incident.” Alex looked up at his mother with a sorrowful expression. It was apparent that she hadn’t been sleeping very well because of the dark circles engraved under her eyes. Alex couldn’t help but feel responsible for his mom’s pain. “Things just haven’t been the same since that morning. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep…” Suddenly the bacon on the stove began to burn and his mother let out a yelp. “I can’t even make food anymore without ruining it.”

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Miss Universe’s Dress Kelly Khuu, Senior Standing behind the table, Amanda scooped ice and punch into fancy little cups as guests flooded into the showroom. Heels clanked against the flooring and chatter filled the room, drowning out the music. While guests came up and grabbed a drink, Amanda continued scooping ice and punch to fill the table. The lights dimmed, the stage lit up, and everyone settled into their chairs. The music muted and the show was about to begin. The snazzy MC strolled on stage and announced into his microphone, “Hello ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the 2020 Miss Universe beauty pageant. In a moment here, we will be meeting all of our lovely contestants. One of which will be leaving here with the Miss Universe title.” The crowd roared and clapped with enthusiasm and anticipation. Music started again as girls around the same age as Amanda graciously walked across the stage in their show-stopping dresses. Each dress was unique. They left the crowd in awe, emitting beauty in all directions. Their long, luscious hair bounced to the rhythm of their walk Their makeup flawlessly enhanced their natural faces: faces that seemed to be sculpted by an artist. One of the contestants caught Amanda’s eye, it was one of her classmates, Kate. The entire school knew Kate was beautiful inside and out, the kindest and most stunning person. The boys were head over heels for Kate and all the girls wanted to be her. In the left, back corner of the room, Amanda stayed at the table in her unsightly uniform while everyone else looked elegant. She pictured herself on stage, but in reality, she was just a part-timer trying to make some money for college. She could never be as pretty as the girls up there. She was different from them in every way. While Amanda was lost in her thoughts, the majority of the pageant had passed. All of the contestants were now lined up and the MC was back on stage. The winner was about to be announced. Someone came up to the MC and handed him an envelope. He opened it and raised his microphone to say, “It looks like our judges and fans have come to a conclusion. Ladies and gentlemen, our 2020 Miss Universe is Kate Dang!” The crowd burst with delight. People stood up from their seats and clapped for Kate.

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After Kate gave her speech, family and friends swarmed around her on stage. She received more flowers than she could carry and everyone cheered her name. Amanda watched Kate from her drink table, she was happy for her yet envious at the same time. Slowly, the guests departed one by one. All of the girls had gone backstage to change and left to celebrate with Kate and her family. The room was empty once again with Amanda cleaning up the drink table by herself. She thought of all the girls and how gorgeous all of them were and Amanda pitied herself. After cleaning the table, Amanda’s curiosity led her backstage. The air was dense and reeked of hairspray. Amanda looked around, makeup was left array, and clothes sprawled here and there. The girls must have left their belongings here to later pick up. As Amanda explored, she spotted Kate’s Miss Universe sash, her gown, and her Mikimoto crown. The crown glimmered so intensely, yet Amanda’s eyes could not stay off of the red gown. The gown had an elegant plunging neckline with an open back and a leg slit. Intricate floral details were embedded in the dress and laced the edges. Amanda was mesmerized. Suddenly, without thought, she found herself taking off her uniform and slipping the gown on along with the sash and crown. For a fleeting moment, Amanda felt beautiful. She stared at herself in the mirror, the same mirror that Kate had seen herself in. The dress was the same. The sash was the same. The crown was the same. But the person the gown draped upon was different. Somehow, wearing everything Miss Universe wore did not make her feel better, it made her feel worse. Amanda thought for sure that she’d feel just as beautiful as Kate in her dress. Unexpectedly, Kate had walked into the room. She muttered to herself, “Gosh I left my phone, where is it?” Before Amanda even had the chance to hide, their eyes met. In a panic, Amanda said, “It’s not what it looks lik,e I swear. I’ll take it off right now. I just couldn’t help myself, your dress was so beautiful and-” Kate cut her off and said, “It’s okay. Ha-ha, you’re fine. It’s not a big deal, you look nice.” Kate was not upset for even a moment. She had a gentle and genuine smile on her face. But Amanda wanted to crawl into a hole and hide forever. She could not believe what happened. Kate could sense that Amanda felt bad so she said, “Don’t worry, it’s really not a problem at all. I don’t mind.” “I’m so sorry, I’ll take it off right now.” Kate stepped outside the room and Amanda took everything off and went back into her uniform. She shamefully walked outside and thought about how kindly Kate had treated her. It only made Kate more admirable and beautiful.


In Case You’ve Forgotten Julia Hyten, Freshman It takes a lot to bring you down No matter what you always get back up and around There are so much people proud of you We are all so very astounded by you. You are breathtaking and kind When people stare at you its just to marvel You are extremely talented and beautiful Just make sure you wear your crown, wonderful. You have the power to move mountains I’m sure you’ve heard But if you haven’t i am telling you You are incredible, strong, and nobody is frowning at you.

“Duality,” Mia Wilson, Junior

New Adulthood Emily Saddler, Senior Life is to short We are young But have so much responsibility Can we turn back the clock? We are young We have the time but not the money Can we turn back the clock? We have the time but not the patience We have the time but not the money We have the dreams but not the freedom We have the time but not the patience We have homework We have the dreams but not the freedom Life is to short We have homework We are young

“Simple and Sweet, “ Nich Bennetts, Senior

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Everything Keeps Moving: Serena Schadl, Sophomore A starry night sky The fog rolling in Streetlights are flashing Red, yellow, and green But it doesn’t stop The night won’t stop It just keeps going The planet keeps turning Some may die Some may live But everything keeps moving So you should too

“Shinrinyoku Transformative Health Walk”, Kenji Nakagawa, Senior

Bedroom Walls Molly O’Brien The bedroom walls watch that girl, The girl with a fearful smile and feeling that they don’t care, They’ve watched the sleepless nights And the tearful fights; They’ve watched the clothes pile mountains high While the girl was at her loudest cry.

“Signs of Fall,” Jackson Alyxander, Sophomore

64

They’ve watched those nights when she longed for a kiss or a hug Because the only thing her heart felt has a tug; And so they remember the nights when she asked for grace But now all she does is walk at a pace. The bedroom walls could tell a million things about her Both good and bad, but none she’d want to share; And yet, the bedroom walls don’t tell, they only see… So it’ll have to remain their little secret.


The Girl Haley Nadgwick, Junior It was midnight on Friday the 13th. The ground was covered with thick gray fog. The only illumination was the dim street lights that were far and few between. There was a full moon in the sky, barely contributing to the light. If you looked across the street you would see an old playground built in the 1940s. The swings and slides were rusty from years of dew and rain. It had not been used in years which was evident from the huge silky webs that were strung between the swings. Every once in a while, you would see the faint resemblance of a little girl swinging on the swings. She was barely visible but from what you could see she wore a white dress that hung down to her ankles and her eyes were dark and sunken. She had dark black hair that went to just above her shoulders and she wore no shoes. If you trained your eyes back on the playground, even though there was no wind you could see the dark blue seat of the swing and the metal chains that held it, swinging, slowly, back and forth. It didn’t look natural, in fact, it moved like there was someone sitting in it, swinging at a slow calm pace. You couldn’t stop looking at it, like your eyes were glued to the swing, waiting for something to happen. A feeling of dread and trepidation slowly crept into you, starting from your sock covered feet to your knees, from your knees to your abdomen and finally researching its destination, your heart. Your heart clenched and you looked away into your house. You could hear the sound of your pounding heart in your ears. Fast. Heavy. Your heart stopped. Your hands started to tremble. You’ve felt this feeling before, a feeling that someone was watching you, stalking you. Creeping behind you, waiting, watching. You felt a strong pull to turn around, back towards the playground, but you couldn’t, you wouldn’t, you shouldn’t. You struggled against the pull, but it won, too strong to be overcome. You heard ringing in your ears and you slowly turned your head 45 degrees, 90 then 135, and out of the corner of your eye you see her.

“Familial Support,” Madison Jewitt, Junior

The little girl that you’ve seen before but this time she was staring back at you. Not a single bone in her body moving. She’s not blinking and you couldn’t even see the up and down movement of her breathing. “Dead” you immediately thought, she must be dead. But how did that make sense? That was not possible. If she was dead she wouldn’t be looking at me, standing up, alive. You felt a shiver run up your spine and land at the base of your head. This can’t be, you thought. Ghosts aren’t real, at least you thought they weren’t. If they aren’t then what is this? A little girl walking around at midnight, in this cold weather? Who would let their daughter do that? That’s exactly it, no one would. You realized then, at this moment you were looking at the ghost of a girl. No older than twelve, no younger than 10. She looked sullen, depressed even. Her eyes were colorless and her hands lay lazily by her side. Although hard to notice, she had a gash along the top of her forehead. Then the story about a young girl invaded your mind. You remember hearing that a girl tragically passed away when a tornado had struck the town in 1954. Her name was Eliza. Her parents, Cathy and Jonathan, had been heartbroken after what had happened. They told the media with tears in their eyes that she was the light in their lives. She was nothing but happy and innocent. The last thing they said was that her favorite thing to do was play at the park. “It’s her.” You said under your breath, the realization hitting you like a truck. You then saw her turn around and walk to the swing, sitting down. She swung back and forth, not too fast, not too slow. Her eyes were still trained in front of her, unmoving. Her legs rocked back and forth propelling her. Her hands lightly clasped the metal chains. She must have stayed like that for a good five minutes, moving nothing but her legs. When she got up, you expected the swing to hit her legs, but the swing, full of momentum, went right through her. Through her body in an upwards motion. She didn’t react, didn’t do anything, but turn her back to you and walk away towards the patch of trees behind the park and disappear. She didn’t walk out of your view, she just disappeared. Gone, in an instant… like she was never there.

“Walls,” Alex Ray, Senior

65


The World We Miss Emely Chairez, Sophomore White men with guns and motive are having a bad day But black boys walking home need to be taken away A woman wearing a dress is an immediate yes But a man with no sense of boundaries has got a long life ahead Immigrants are told to go back to their countries When the oppressors already bombed the home they had left The rich buy their way out of every issue to get fanned While the poor people can’t buy enough food to put in their hand

“Queen,” Rhea Poda, Freshman

A man and a woman can make a loving family Yet two boys kissing is a complete atrocity We miss the world where we could love who we wanted We miss the world where we could buy what we needed We miss the world where we could move somewhere freely We miss the world where we could walk home safely We miss that world but

“Pondering the Unanswerable,” Maryam Al Rubaye, Sophomore

66

the truth is we cannot miss the world that never was.


“We Laughed Knowing joy Would Tear the Stitches from our Lips” Ali Gazga, Senior “We laughed knowing joy would tear the stitches from our lips” The frustration dispersed into the air as our lips began to spread. Our eyes filled with tears. The tears streaming down our faces, The endless laughs begin. We wanted to stay mad but even the simplest look melted away the anger, The laughs would generate words soon. The words tore open the lips Beginning to let out all frustration with a good mood. The best way possible to solve problems is with laughter. The joy in our eyes, we knew everything would be all right. Our lips are no longer sealed, They have been set free, They are ready to roam free. As the laughter died down the tears still ran carelessly. Wiping away the tears off one another created one last grin, A grin to make everything better. “We laughed knowing joy would tear the stitches from our lips” from Ocean Vuong

“Crushing It “ Carly Smith, Sophomore

“Mini Golf Course Design,” Griffin Losee, Junior

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“What Do You See,” Maurrice Schaffner, Freshman

Moon Dream Andrew Johnson, Senior Dreams can be intense Dreams can have people you know randomly in it doing random things. Dreams feel like weird memories that you have no idea when they happen. Are memories of a past life dreams? They feel so real so powerful What do they mean? I would really like to know I have had so many vivid dreams They felt as if I relived memories I forget them like old memories But some dreams never leave They can be of friends or foes They have been real and unreal So how could they be memoires Seeing someone after having a dream about them makes something feel off No it must be something else - It could be possible futures - I wonder if they are for making us choose the right path and showing what could go wrong or right. That would be very interesting.Who really knows if dreams mean anything?

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Authors and Artists

Huetson, Brooke................20 Hyten, Julia.........................60, 63

J Jewitt, Madison..................65 Johnson, Andrew...............32, 68

A

K

Acosta, Alex...........................44 Al Rubaye, Maryam..............46, 66 Alyxander, Jackson...............64 Auxier, Madelyn...................23

Kairigi, Kinya.....................13, 54 Keith, Kailey........................22 Khuu, Kelly..........................62 Krutz, Natalie......................6

B

L

Ball, Katherine....................18 Bennetts, Nich.....................29, 40, 63 Bittle, Kathleen...................16 Booton, Josh........................41 Branson, Elyssa...................18 Bushard, Nicholas..............26

Laux, Sydney.......................7 Letyaeva, Daleela...............31, 39, 43 Loos, Trevin.......................33, 43 Losee, Griffin......................67 Loskill, McKenzie..............6

C Capps, Gabe.......................30 Caves, Ana.........................16, 25 Chairez, Emely...................66 Chandler, Katie..................52, 53, 55, 70 Cleary, Tianna...................29

D Dahlman, Evelyn...............24, 60 Davis, Alexandra................7, 15, 30 Davis, Connor.....................8 DeLancey, Chase................30, 45 Dhol, Aliet..........................41, 44 Dinh, Christina..................44 Dose, Sydney......................27 Dunn, Logan......................38

E

M McBride, Kynlee................13, 32, 42 McCord, Kadynce..............40 McGrath, Donna................54 Mensah, Joanita..................26 Merida, Yasmine................28, 43, 60, 61 Miller, Abby........................14, 15, 33, 52, 55 Miller, Nataly......................19 Mizner, Hailey....................27 Myers, Camron..................69

N Nadgwick, Haley................8, 11, 48, 57, 65 Nakagawa, Kenji................56, 57, 58, 64 Nguyen, Vi..........................27, 38 Nigh, Hannah.....................55 Night Pipe, Will..................12 Nuss, Landon......................12, 25, 51 Nyquist, Gunnar.................20

Ellismith, Kiah..................40, 51 Englert, Kalen...................60 Erickson, Eva....................8, 22, 24, 36, 51

O

F

P

Foster, Van........................16

Pike, Ella............................36 Poda, Rhea.........................66 Poessnecker, Kendall........13

G Gazga, Ali.........................31, 67 Glinsmann, Faith............20 Gross, Emma...................5

H Hain, Emma....................34 Harre, Barrett..................30 Harris, Ann.....................10 Hernandez, Diego..............5, 33

S Saddler, Emily....................5, 63 Sanchez, Bella....................20, 41, 54 Schadl, Serena...................56, 64 Schaffner, Maurrice..........68 Schinker, Isabel.................6, 10, 37 Schultz, Emma..................17 Severson, Shyann..............32, 37 Shaddick, Isabella ........19, 31, 37, 38, 39, 44 Shotsman, Jacey ................31 Smith, Carly........................47, 59, 67 Spangler, Riley....................11 Stepanyuk, Emily................21 Strait, Drake........................24 Synya, Anna........................9

T Thompson, Murphy............19 Tran, Raymond....................32 Troyer, Maggie.....................47 Tuma, Samara Mohammed......9, 12, 21, 46

U Ue-Bari, Abel.......................47, 61

W Walbrecht, Brooke Lynne...19 Watermolen, Jack ................48 Westlund, Brooklyn.............44, 51 Wilder, Eden.........................39, 42, 45 Wilson, Mia...........................63 Wilson, Teresa.......................56 Wood, Olivia..........................11 Wyatt, Aubrey.........................53

O’Brien, Molly....................64

R Ray, Alex............................10, 21, 65 Regie, Avery.......................Front Cover Reichmuth, Brady.............55 Reifert, Isabella..................26, 47 Renton, Morgan.................9, 20, 50 Rix, Madison......................13, 25

“Thicker Than Water,” Camron Myers, Sophomore

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“ Celebrate,” Katie Chandler, Senior

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