Lions-on-Line Spring Issue 2022

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Lions-on-Line

Spring Issue 2022


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Table of Contents Organized Chaos, Artwork by Macy Hoeing…………..……Cover “Watching,” Poem by Carissa Palazzolo………………………….5 Grandpa, Artwork by Kayla Hess………………………………...6 “Letter to Death,” Poem by Valeria Obregon……………………..7 “The Corpse in the Blue Casket,” Fiction by Kaylie Frede……….8 Detached, Photograph by Alyssa McRoberts……………………11 “Movies and Rollercoasters,” Poem by Rachel Laughin………...13 The Distribution of Wealth, Artwork by Alyssa McRoberts…….14 “soulmates,” Poem by Carissa Palazzolo………………………...15 “Saturday Sounds,” Fiction by Jean Schenkewitz……………….16 Identity, Artwork by Emma Garner……………………………...18 “Honesty,” Poem by Rachel Laughlin…………………………...19 “A Walk with Solitude,” Essay by Rachel Winkler……………..20 Abuse, Artwork by Emma Garner………………………………..21 “stained glass,” Poem by Carissa Palazzolo……………………..22 Waves and Rays, Artwork by Macy Hoeing……………………..23 “Epiphany,” Poem by Rachel Laughlin………………………….24 “Back to the Future Featuring Harriet Tubman,” Fiction by Eve’Lynn Jackson……………………………….25 Photograph by Elana Radigan……………………………………27 “Annabeth,” Fiction by Chloe-Rose Ramsey……………………28 Submission Guidelines…………………………………………..30

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Watching Poem by Carissa Palazzolo i am sitting on my balcony watching. watching what, i couldn't tell you, but i am watching. watching and searching. there are children shouting somewhere in the distance and the muffled sound of cars reverberates around the enclosed space of my unfurnished balcony. the crickets are loud, each playing their own song so it comes together and sounds like they're each a different instrument in the same orchestra. mosquitoes buzz through the air, every so often settling on my exposed skin and biting me. uncomfortably itchy, i am left with a choice. i could go back inside and face the empty couch, the quiet television, the silent hall. i could lay in the too-big bed staring at a clock that does not pass time fast enough. Or i could stay and let the bugs slowly eat at me. thinking that i ever had a choice to begin with is laughable. i know i'll stay out here, letting my physical essence be consumed by pests far before i'll be consumed by the pain of being alone. i am sitting on my balcony watching. watching what, i couldn't tell you, but i am watching. watching and searching.

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Grandpa, Artwork by Kayla Hess

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Letter to Death Poem by Valeria Obregon When she left, the sun rose like it always did. The coldness of winter came with a bitter taste of nostalgia. Time flew away like it always did. Everything was the same, yet so different. Time kept walking forward, his cruel steps only attempted to erase her sent and image of my head. Everything was the same yet so different; lonely and numbed. As cruel as he was, time kept walking without hesitation but somehow managed to stand still as a routine, only to torture me with her memory. Everything was the same, yet life felt different; empty and hopeless. Purpose jumped out of the window.

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The Corpse in the Blue Casket Fiction by Kaylie Frede I stare blankly at the corpse that lay in front of me. The corpse in the blue casket. The corpse that I once knew. Even though I knew it wouldn’t happen, I half expected the corpse to sit up and open his eyes. A smile and laugh would erupt from his mouth. But nothing happened. He lay as still and silent as stone; a corpse. Everyone around me moves and whispers quietly as I stand still. A cross lay on the lid, a rosary in the corpse’s hands, and an ironed suit on his body. He wasn’t even religious. A video plays in the background with pictures sent in from friends and family. Mostly from mine. Soft music accompanies it to fill the space between the whimpers and whispers. The world moves slowly and steadily, but my heart beats through my chest. After what feels like a decade, I feel a gentle hand on my back pushing me along to keep the line moving. Cookies and punch wait at a table across the room as if this were a solemn prom. It feels almost disrespectful. Beside it stands a garbage can filled with plates, crumbs, cups, and tissues. About twenty tissue boxes are scattered across the rooms for people to use. The line of people raps around the halls, through multiple rooms; people laughing about warm memories, crying for loss. Familiar faces pass in a blur as I’m pushed out of the room, outside into the cool spring morning. I walk to our van down the street. All I hear is my shoes clicking on the cement. The world seems distant as the van starts up and we head home, away from the corpse. ………. The last time the corpse, Allen, talked to me was on the phone. And I almost let it go to voicemail because of a petty fight the day before. But 8


the next call I got the following day, from his mom, was the worst call I’ve ever experienced. When you pick up the phone and somehow you just know something is wrong before anything is even said, your stomach drops. The world came to a stop as the words came through the speaker. It felt like every nerve in my body was being fired at the same time, yet also like nothing was inside me. A feeling so overwhelming that it feels like nothing at all. And it all happens in a second. But what happens after is worse because I begin processing what’s being said to me. My body begins to shake as sobs begin to break through the confirmations I give Allen’s mom. I don’t even remember hanging up the phone, but I remember calling Nic shortly after. She never met Allen, had no connection to him, but I needed to tell someone else. I needed someone to tell me I was making this up. But she had no way of telling me the lie I wanted to hear. She didn’t know Allen. So, I stayed in the chair I received the call in until I had nothing left to cry. Then I went to bed. ………. The five minute drive home feels like thirty as my eyes gaze heavily on the century old houses I know all too well. We always talked about these houses; how old they were, the crazy or bland colors the owners painted them, the obligatory rocking chairs on the porches, the cute flower gardens some had, which ones we would want to live in when we were older. When we were older. If we got older. I felt my stomach start to churn again as it finally sank in where I just left. The nausea moved to the rest of my body, making me feel like muck. And all I could do was stare at the old houses passing by. ………. “I thought you might like to visit it before I leave,” Allen took my hand and walked me over to the large tree with a tire swing. 9


“Allen!” My smile was as wide as it could be as I began realizing his plan. We were out of high school now and he was throwing his own going away party; a party for two. He was only going to be living two hours away but he made it seem like a cross country move. Allen had taken me to visit the place we first met when we were seven. It was the tire swing outside of Mrs. Harwood’s house. She had a giant old house that she turned into a bed and breakfast after she was widowed. Her yard became a playground for the neighborhood children. And we were some of those neighborhood children who played there. Seven year old Allen had just moved in across the street, but he already knew where to find the best places to play in the area. He was always like that, somehow knowing all the information before he even got started. “Go on, get on it!” Allen beamed with joy. ………. Back in my bed, still thinking about the old houses, all I can listen to is silence. Everything is too loud, but the silence I’m listening to is deafening. I let that silence fester. Whenever someone dies people tell you “they would want you to be happy, move on.” But I’m sure Allen would just want me to be alive. That’s all he would ask of me, that I make it one more day without him, and then another. And I know it gets easier with time, but grief is like the ocean. The ocean of grief ebbs and flows bringing sudden intensity before returning to somewhat normalcy. That's the hardest part. Sometimes this flow of grief catches you off guard. Just when you begin to feel fine, one thing changes it and then it’s all downhill from there. But I got up today and did the unthinkable. I saw a corpse of someone I love. And it hurts like hell, but here I am. I made it through. I made it through all of the crying people and the mountains of flowers and the old houses. And that's all Allen would ask me to do. 10


Detached, Photograph by Alyssa McRoberts

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Movies and Rollercoasters Poem by Rachel Laughlin Georgie, run away from the sewer Danny, don’t go into room 237 Carrie, don’t go to prom I know what will happen I know the horror that awaits It’s inevitable And I can’t do anything to change it Don’t worry, Harry Potter defeats Voldemort Don’t worry, Chris Gardner gets the job Don’t worry, Jo March gets her book published I know what will happen I know the excitement that awaits It’s inevitable And I can’t do anything to change it My life is a movie I can’t change the outcome But I don’t know what’s coming Wishing I could change it when my friend has to watch her father die Never knowing I would meet people I love so much What horrors and exciting events will arrive? What fate awaits me? I’d like to believe in happy endings Where Daniel wins the fight and George discovers it’s a wonderful life But what if they end in loss like Hazel Grace losing Augustus Waters? Movies like my life are rollercoasters They go up and down with unexpected turns 12


One moment I can be going up a hill And the next I’m sliding into a dark tunnel I can only hope and pray it’ll turn out okay I can only do the best I can I cannot change what happens to me I can only change how I react My life is a rollercoaster Creeping up and plunging down the hill How will I brace myself for the outcome?

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The Distribution of Wealth, Artwork by Alyssa McRoberts

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soulmates Poem by Carissa Palazzolo the ancient greeks were right— soulmates were one body that a god a split apart because when i hold her and my nose fits to the contour of her jaw and my hand matches the curve of her waist it feels like we were once one soul, one body split apart by a god destined to find each other again

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Saturday Sounds Fiction by Jean Schenkewitz Crack-ck-ck – bloop. Crack – sloop He cracks the eggs in half and the vibrant yellowy-orange yolk and slides into the bowl. Glug-glug Milk swishes out of the carton and swims around the eggs. Tink-whiskkk-kk-kk. Tink- whisk-kk-kk The whisk clinks on the side of the bowl as he stirs the egg and milk together into a single frothy mixture. Clink. Clink. Clink The measuring cup hits the side of the canister as he measures out the powdery flour. Ta-dink. Ta-dink The spoon rhythmically knocks around the bowl as the different ingredients fold into one another and form the runny batter. Ppppsssssssss. Butter sizzles, pops, and dances in the pan as it melts in swirls. Kkkkkksssssss As the batter pours into the puddles of melted butter, it sizzles, puffs up, and releases tiny bubbles. And then I smell them. Delicious, mouth-watering, homemade, I’m-so-glad-it’s-Saturday, yummy-licious pancakes.

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“They’re ready! Who wants some pancakes?” Dad calls out to whoever is awake. Plidder-pi-dip-dip Still in pajamas, my bare feet scamper across the hardwood floor. I don’t even care that my feet are cold. My pancake breakfast can warm me from the inside. Swish-scump-shuumk My older sister slowly shuffles down the hall. She is not really a morning person, but we are not the save-you-some-pancakes-for-whenyou-finally-decide-to-get-up kind of family. So, she plops down with the rest of us, not wanting to miss out. Suuuuuurp My mom quietly sips her tea and hugs us as we come into the kitchen. She gets out the juice and maple syrup as my dad flips some more pancakes. Orrrrarrrrufffff. Ufff My giant moose-like dog, Mops, stretches into a perfect yoga up-dog pose and circles around us, searching for scraps. I imagine she would happily eat all our pancakes in three drooling bites if we let her, but she settles for a milk bone and some ear-rubbing instead. Tink. Dink. Clink Our forks gently ease through the soft, fluffy pancakes and sound like a quartet of unskilled percussionists. I look around the table at my family and realize how special our Saturday morning breakfasts really are. “Thanks for the pancakes, Dad.” “I love you too sweetie-peetie.” Hmmmmmm The quiet sound of happiness in my heart. 17


Identity, Artwork by Emma Garner

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Honesty Poem by Rachel Laughlin I catch crows on my tongue They bite it Causing me to hold back what I really want to say Honesty is like teaching a hen to answer the phone Impossible except for an accidental click of a button A button rooted deep inside my brain When clicked will give you the truth Without the click, will give you what you want to hear I want to be honest with you But I don’t want to hurt your feelings I don’t want my words to cause conflict I don’t want you to eat my words like bullets I’m unable to speak the truth Because if I do I might accidentally breathe fire on you And burn your aura

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A Walk with Solitude Essay by Rachel Winkler I have never been too keen on spiders. It would not be dramatic to say I am on the verge of a phobia. Their bloodthirsty chelicera, pointy abdomen, and sinister eyes have no appeal towards my liking. Needless to say, why should I be so aghast by a creature that has never done me wrong? As I wandered through the woods, this very question surfaced within my mind as the spiders there gifted me not with contentment but with companionship. I invited the spiders to sense my awareness as I watched them protrude from the stacked rocks along the creek bed, swiftly crawling from one stone to the next. Thus, they did not feel the need to hide from my presence as my feet rattled their residence with every step I took. They had no quarrel with me, nor I with them. It was as if the spiders were pleased to share their home. As I stepped downstream, the spiders carried my feet along the piled rocks. Follow us; I believe they wished to tell me. Follow us deeper into solitude. The air felt crisper in these woods, cooler, as the trees captured the rays of the sunshine. We must not stop here, the spiders called to me. There is so much more to see. Indeed, there was. They introduced me to the buzzing bees, the whispering wasps, and busying butterflies. Even so, the trek soon came to an end. The spiders politely escorted me out of the grove, as I did not want to overdo my welcome. On my walk, I was alone, but I was not lonely. I found camaraderie with seclusion, with the spiders. Here, Mother Nature invited me into her solitary abode. She showed me her home, fed me her air, and introduced me to her children. I must have made a lasting impression with her, as she invited me back to visit again. Certainly, I will accept her offer.

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Abuse, Artwork by Emma Garner

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stained glass Poem by Carissa Palazzolo i am so desperate to see you in my life that i find stained glass shards of your light in everything color, refracted and glowing scattered through my day pieces of heaven gifted to me by the universe.

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Artwork by Macy Hoeing

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Epiphany Poem by Rachel Laughlin One day she had an epiphany God gave her a realization She feared what would happen If she stayed with him But she was reminded That love drives out fear Like the sun drives out the dark at dawn His eyes are ocean blue His personality is chocolate Sweet and once bitten into Cannot be forgotten

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Back to the Future Featuring Harriet Tubman Fiction by Eve’Lynn Jackson Harriet Tubman is sitting near candle light, thinking of what route she should take the slaves through. Her train of thought was destroyed as she is blinded by a flash of light. She dropped from her chair to the floor. She peeked her head up to look through the window to make sure it wasn’t someone’s master shining a light through the underground railroad looking for their slave. What she saw was a blue blob of light floating off the ground a little. After realizing it wasn’t someone’s master, she got off the floor and walked over to the door and opened it. As the cold night air hit her, she felt herself being drawn to the floating blob. Which caused her to walk closer to the floating blob. When she got close to the floating blob it sucked her in. Harriet flew through pretty colors as she started to spin out of control. Next thing she knew she was laying on the ground with a sick headache. Harriet stood up and dusted herself off and when she finished, she ended up back on the ground. Harriet, dazed and confused, looked up to see a light skinned girl standing over her. “I’m SO Sorry Ma’am,” The girl said apologetically, reaching out her hand to help up the woman she knocked down. Harriet looked around quickly and almost jumped to her feet as she gripped the girl by her wrist and whispered in her ear. “What are you doing out here?” Harriet continued. “What if your master catches you?” The girl honestly didn’t know if she should be distraught or confused but she felt more confused than anything. So, the only thing that could come out of her mouth was… “WHAT!?” The girl shouted. That’s when Harriet grabbed her and took her to an alley nearby. Before Harriet could say anything, the girl beat her to it. “Ma’am, I don’t know what kind of shit you’re on, but you might want to get off it.” The girl said as she tried to walk away but got grabbed again. 25


“Lady what is your problem? This is not slavery times anymore it’s 2019 so, I would really appreciate it if you leave me alone.” The girl said as she looked at the woman’s facial expression change to a lost expression. Harriet thought not slavery times anymore, what does that mean? She questioned herself. Which cause her to say… “What is a 2-0-1-9?” Harriet questioned knowing she didn’t pronounce that word she said with numbers. The girl’s faced looked even more confused than she already was. This lady must really be lost the girl thought. “It’s pronounced 20-19, It’s a year the year we are in now,” The girl explained. Harriet was still confused it was just 1849 how could it be 2019 she thought. “I thought it was 1849?” Harriet questioned looking at the girl. “1849!?” The girl shouted. What happened in 1849? She questioned herself thinking. A light bulb went off above her head. “The underground railroad happened then and that makes you- “The girl stuttered but couldn’t find the words so Harriet finished for her. “Harriet Tubman, but how did you know?” Harriet questioned. They stared at each other until the girl found her voice again. “Well in school I learned about you,” The girl stated. “The famous Harriet Tubman who helped freed the slaves through the underground railroad.” The girl finished. “So, did I make a difference?” Harriet questioned looking around watching a white and black couple walking down the street holding hands and a white and black boy playing and running around. The girl smiled. “Yes, you were one of the reasons why and how change happened and we thank you.” The girl said as she smiled at her. She watches Harriet cry happily. Harriet was crying because all her hard work paid off.

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Photograph by Elana Radigan

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Annabeth Fiction by Chloe-Rose Ramsey It was the hottest day they’d had all summer, the kind of day where the air shivers so tremendously with heat that everything seems to have turned into one giant mirage, where the pale blue sky and parched earth seem to melt into each other like running paint, and nearly all the citizens of the small sleepy Californian town were resting in their cool air conditioned homes. Out of the stifling heat came a tiny little girl with red pigtails so dark they were almost crimson. She was wearing a funny black lace dress with feathery red flowers hanging off it and carried a red bunny doll in one hand and a leather pouch in the other. She was skipping down the sidewalk, unbothered by the heat everyone else had shunned, babbling nonsensically to he rbunny and swinging the pouch up and down, when the nearest shop’s door opened with a jangling of bells and a man asked “What are you doing out here?! Where are your parents?” The little girl stopped mildly surprised. When she didn’t reply he reluctantly left the comfort of his shop to stand beside her. She was very young, he realized as he crouched down so they were face to face. She couldn’t be more than two years old. “What’s your name?” He asked her. “Annabeth.” She had a clear, tinny, piercing voice that strangely reminded him of glass. “Are you lost, Annabeth? Do you know where you live?” She pointed back the way she came. They were at the edge of town, the only thing out the way she’d pointed, other than desert, was that new mansion resembling a castle perched on the edge of Death Valley. A weirdly gothic family had just moved into it, he’d seen them around town a few times. They were always polite and neighborly but there was something about them that gave him the creeps. Despite being drenched in 28


sweat he shivered at the thought of having to knock at their door, then wondered how the little girl who must have walked here from her castle/mansion which was at least five miles away wasn’t perspiring. “Come on, I’ll drive you home.” He finally said. Annabeth gave a little cry of protest and began rummaging through the contents of her little black pouch. “What? You want to show me something?” She handed him things from her bag; some marbles, several valuable looking gemstones, small bones (one of which looked for all the world like a human finger bone), then a battered old wallet which she waved triumphantly in her chubby little fist. “Whose wallet is this?” Annabeth blinked up at him and started sucking on her bunny doll’s ear. He flipped it open. Inside were pictures of a woman with her daughters. The woman looked just like Annabeth. An expired driver’s license sat opposite the photos with the name Annabeth on it. Strangely the middle and last name were smudged. “Is this you?” He asked in a trembling voice. “Is it?” She mumbled. She spit out the bunny ear and gave him such an intense look that he backed away. Her big light brown eyes became shiny, her look earnest. “Is it?” She whispered.

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Submission Guidelines Initiated in January 2005, Lions-on-Line is a literally collection of works by the students and alumni of Mount St. Joseph University published online with the cooperation of the Liberal Arts Department. Lions-on-Line is published online twice yearly, during the fall and spring semesters. When our budget allows, Lions-on-Line goes “in print”. We take submissions during all twelve months of the year. If you are currently affiliated with Mount St. Joseph and you would like to see your work published, you may submit your work to LOL simply by emailing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction or artwork to LOL@msj.edu. For full submission guidelines, consult our website. Lions-on-Line is always looking for new staff members. If you’re interested in joining LOL, please contact faculty advisor, Elizabeth Taryn Mason, Ph.D. at the following email address: elizabeth.mason@msj.edu.

Editors and Staff Editors:

Miah Harvey Kayla Hess Chloe-Rose Ramsey William Sack Ariana Spencer

Faculty Advisor:

Elizabeth Taryn Mason

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