The Torch 2019

Page 1


EDIToR'S NoTE Art is a snowman that melted a decade ago but lingers on through ink. Art is a conversation held in the early morning or during Sunday lunch. It’s an out-of-focus boy behind a fence or an owl mid-flight. Art is some bowls—whether they hold buttermilk or not. It’s a few stanzas on a concentration camp. Jouissance. A grandmother who gets her daily iron in a roundabout way and a well-chosen font. I joined The Torch staff my freshman year with no idea what art was. I’m writing this editorial four years later, and if I’m being honest, I still don’t know. But I know art when I see it, and I see art in these pages. I hope you do as well. — j.clark hubbard 2019


Poetry Paradox of Preservation Joel Holland Staying Up Late Ian Malone I Was Bald Too Faith Sturgeon Collection of Colors: Tinted Descriptions Katie Chappell Curdled Joshua Mays The Stone Flower of Jasenovac Will Choate The Storm Emily Chapman From Dust Kaylee Troxel Mandolin Amber Kelley Autobiography After Reading Zeno's Paradox J. Clark Hubbard

PRoSE 18

The Woods Behind My House Joel Holland

ART 05 A Village I Know Abigail Wolfzorn 09 To See the Unseen Haeun Shim 13 Bowls Jennifer Hatch

photography 07 Sunday Lunch Campbell Padgett 14 Warehouse Deconstruction Hannah Kate Heckart 16 Step David Bowman 21 Metamorros, Mexico Haeun Shim 22 Fishing Line Hannah Kate Heckart 24 Smoke Break J. Clark Hubbard 27 Anna Elaina Widen


04 06 08 10 12 15 23 25 26 28


PARADoX oF PRESERVATIoN Joel Holland When my sister was six, she spent most of her Saturday building a snowman. The rest of us put forty-five minutes into the structure, but Liv stayed outside all day. Tracking slush on the tile floors, she came in and out, asking for gloves, beads, and a “fancy scarf.” We’d peek outside to see her rolling yet another mound of slush. When the sun started to set, she fell through the door, sobbing. “Daddy,” she said, “they ruined him.” Three dirty-blonde punks pulled over to the side of our yard and tackled our new four-tiered neighbor, kicking him mercilessly into sludge. Before my sister could wipe her frozen nose, we were in our minivan, chasing down the perpetrators for an apology. We got it. “Sorry about your friend,” they fumbled. Her toothless grin said, “Retribution for his destruction was more fun than building him.” Back home, when her rebuilt friend started to deconstruct again, shifting him to the shade of the small shed only did so much. Even when he was inches high, we’d check to see the sun’s latest damage and reapply his carrot nose. Perhaps preservation is caring for what we fear won’t last. Consider roommates transcribing their tattered quotebook or an eleven-year-old staying up extra late the night before his brother leaves. Consider keeping Christmas lights up just one week longer or every time you’ve ever dragged out a goodbye. A dad that pauses the TV every time a character makes an eighties reference to explain it to kids born a decade too late, or a mom that keeps perfecting her mother’s recipe until it tastes like it used to. Or tastes like it could.


a village i know Abigail Wolfzorn Oil on canvas, madder root, linen fabric 4 ft x 4 ft



STAYING UP LATE Ian Malone It all depends on the cicadas, you see— on their evening chorus replacing the screams of crows hidden behind reddening trees. Their moonlit serenade fades as we speak. No longer needing to shout to be heard, we say more, reveal more, rapt by the way each other’s eyes reflect the lunar glow of the streetlights. Not the moon—that’s far away. We focus on what’s here, in front of us. Like our watches that tick toward two a.m. Or the cold tips of each other’s fingers. A strained yawn that echoes from your throat to mine and a long silence. We both say we should go to bed. And then, we keep walking.


Sunday lunch Campbell Padgett Digital photography 2017


I WAS BALD Too Faith Sturgeon I was bald too. During winter, I remember finding frozen ponds green from duckweed breaking through where ice skate skids left near-cracks. William picked daffodils when spring was close. Once we swam in summer, William, and your gilded sunglass frames fell, sinking nine feet to the mauve brown, blotted by the inky algae clinging to ankles. Your eyes were like olives. Farewell to beach memories and your dimpled knees. We loved autumn’s auburn grasp. You were magic. Lightning bugs would let you catch them. You picked up leaf skeletons and arranged them woven through and around porch swing chains as a lullaby to pinecones. You cried, you slept, and chemo took its toll. Tears drip down my cheeks and across insurance papers, splitting them. The swing unmoving on the porch. Finally, the winter came again. Both of us bleached gray. Time reigns thickly mortal in the Dakota sky. Dinner time, a careful claustrophobia of being alone. Sailfish, blue flesh boiled not fried. His arrogant mohawk defenseless. This marlin, one of many netted, caught, and dried. Knives of comfort to a stomach mangled by loss. The last trip at the beach, you reached deep for the sunglasses. Paddling with your indigo noodle, you netted your forehead and declared you would do anything so long as the sun did not sting my eyes. It is spring again. I did what you used to, but the daffodils wilted the second day. 8

To See the Unseen Haeun Shim Oil on canvas 3 ft x 3 ft 2018 9

CoLLECTIoN oF CoLoRS: TINTED DESCRIPTIoNS Katie Chappell RED: JoUISSANCE Bleeding poppies drip dew, lazily caressing petals. The liquid seeps farther down until it can’t seep down any further. oRANGE: ELLE EST RETRoUVÉE The morning brushes strokes against a soft sky. Sun meets sea, horizon of eternity. Fusing colors abound––light wakens. YELLoW: BEES ARE DYING AT AN ALARMING RATE Amber honey sticks to fingertips, which are shoved inside laughing lips— licking and suckling bees’ glue absently stolen from the hive. 10

GREEN: MoSS-STITCHED CoMPASS Nature’s velvet grows on trees, soft and green. It points north as gliding hands become guided bodies: a jade blanket that gives direction. BLUE: RECoLLECTIoNS oF A WEST CoAST CHILDHooD White foam laps on feet against the shore while wet salt clumps with sand between toes. The grazing sea returns and retreats like a shy breeze.


CURDLED Joshua Mays

Jacob’s ladder of feathers And heaving bodies Shaking and corn-starved White wings against A plastic-figurine-away-in-a-manger-baby-jesus blue sky Spiraling specks to cluster and go Each drip and crackle of ice an incantation Each fleshy goose neck an incarnation What is taken away is more important than what is given I can see a goose struggling on the ice. It is separate from the rest. I cannot quite make out its eyes. I rest my hands on the fence post and wonder if––in his eyes–– I would see fear or the calm apathy of an animal brain. The grass is dry. It has been that way for weeks now. It looks bitterly on at the scene and is shaken into a death rattle by the wind. The goose dies there on the ice. The universe is coagulating Like buttermilk settling at the bottom of a bowl


Bowls Jennifer Hatch Ceramics 2019


Warehouse Deconstruction Hannah Kate Heckart Digital photography 2015


THE SToNE FLoWER oF JASENoVAC1 Will Choate The screen of a blackened forest on a ground too stubborn to accept snow on this autumn afternoon. Dead roses laid up on a plaque, some sitting on that path of rotten planks. Not a sound but the creaks of gilded grass. From the rooftops of Sarajevo, I saw the bombs level what remained of the Habsburgs. The embers of my classmates landed in my eyes as I walked down freshly shelled streets,

My mother told me (yes…it was my mother who told me) that I was still alive if I heard the shot crack, but I still knew the stages of collective death: first came Anger, followed by Grief, and soon you were too weak to hold a block of firewood or even a loaf of bread.

watching some bread thief swing from an olive tree, with a fly on his tongue, the children praying in ashen suits.

1 Jasenovac, the “Auschwitz of the Balkans,” was a concentration camp run by the Croatian Ustaše during WWII, which killed an estimated 700,000 people: Serbs, Romanis, Jews, and political dissidents.


Step David Bowman Digital photography 2018




“The Woods Behind My House” sounds like an awful movie I would refuse to see with my roommates, even when MoviePass was in its prime and financially plummeting. Granted, these woods hold so many stories that you could at least write a miniseries about them. When I was in middle school, my cousins and I would go back to this black-charred barn and take pictures of an old glove on a spike. Every few weeks, the glove would change positions from a peace sign or a spider-man pose to


the unspeakable. Deep down, I can’t help but wonder if one of my cousins snuck back there and changed it themselves, but the woods held other memories that were harder to explain. While I was growing up, my dog ran away frequently, leash dragging through the dirt. For whatever reason, he always ran straight towards the trees behind our house. Twice I found him back there, tangling with a bull. Twice. Believe what you want, but I know what I saw. Both

times, we unclipped his leash, he collapsed, and we had to carry him back to a large bowl of water before he started walking again. I thought it happened a third time, and so my father and I went looking for him; he was just drinking from the pond. On our search, someone stationed in the tree above us let out a shrill whistle. We looked up to see a stranger in camo, smiling, and I’m convinced he spent his Saturdays out there scaring people. He claimed that, until the end of the day, the field would be a hunting ground, and we had better get out of there before his relatives found us. I didn’t know what that meant, but I followed my father home. We spent most of our family walks in the woods over the summers, but in the winters, I’d often go alone. One year, my younger brother, Luke, agreed to join me on a walk to take some pictures. I stood on the edge of a frozen pond, trying to capture the snow-fallen image of crystalized limbs. I took a risk to avoid pixelation and stepped forward instead of zooming in, mistaking the cracking ice for snapping twigs, and plummeted into the water. After I pulled myself out from the ice, Luke screamed for me to go back home without him. I told him I couldn’t. Racing beside him as my legs started growing numb, I stumbled through the door to a heater, chicken noodle soup, and

an afternoon wasted on GarageBand. The cold is cruel, and seeing as I didn’t even get a picture, I don’t know how DiCaprio did it. As spring stretched towards summer, I would spend more evenings in the woods. The smoking barns were in full use. There was a tree near the edge of a lake that often dried up, where I would pray over things I didn’t understand. I cried there twice over the same girl. I sat on the end of the dirt path, waiting for her once before I moved to college. After an hour of talking, she started to worry her car was stuck and wanted to make sure she could back out into the road. She did just fine. I hollered, “See ya later, Kid,” and peeked inside the box she gave me to find a note that said the same thing. When I’m not waiting for answers, I’m wandering, but maybe that’s the same thing. Behind the lake, there’s a field of bones, and behind the bones, a graveyard filled with tombstones for the Damon family. Dates of children that passed away before the age of eight are inscribed on three or four of the faded stones. About twelve yards past those stones sits a two-story cabin. On the first floor, there are countless scattered dancing shoes trailing off from an open cabinet, and on the second sits a rocking chair with a tattered blanket, facing towards the only open window.


Once a white truck followed my friend and me through the woods. It may have been there for the beavers. Their webbed feet have been roaming around those trees ever since I can remember, and trucks drive back there every year to rig the dam to blow. Four-foot long beavers scatter with their paddle-shaped tails until their homes are completely shattered, and then they start again. It’s an age-old battle of stubborn mammals fighting for their territory. I was home for spring break, and we heard the explosions again. Before I left for school, those beavers were baring their orange teeth to start again.


If you visit the woods behind my house, the old tree I prayed under is withered to the base, but there’s some water back in the lake, and the dam is being rebuilt. You can see from the path our small brick house and the light on in our living room, indicating that someone is watching a late-night episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. You can see our twelve-year-old dog running back and forth in his pen, somehow still energetic in his old age. From our living room window, though, looking out past our field to that lined wall of trees, you can’t see much of anything. Maybe the woods aren’t meant to be seen or understood. But the woods are still there.

Metamoros, Mexico Haeun Shim Digital photography 2019 21

Fishing Line Hannah Kate Heckart Digital photography 2018


THE SToRM Emily Chapman In Imitation of Mary Oliver’s “Hawk” The sky fades; smoke-colored clouds bid the rains to come. Inside, the television flickers in denial, but I listen to the rain crumpling up the atmosphere. It’s coming, like a locomotive now. I shiver in delight, listening, listening, listening. The thunder howls as the leaves cower. And if it weren’t for an age-old promise, I would consider erecting a ship to weather my soul through the rocks. The television, unaware, dwindles as I open the front door to the clattering storm. Droplets touch my hair, and my cares flicker away as I dance in my rain clouds.


In 73 CE, after months of siege by Roman oppressors, 960 Jewish rebels committed suicide in the fortress Masada. In 1964 CE, the Surgeon General of the United States linked smoking to death.


smoke break J. Clark Hubbard Film photography 2018

FRoM DUST Kaylee Troxel My grandmother first craved the taste of dirt when she was six. Pulling weeds in the backyard garden and stuffing a fistful of mud in her mouth when her mom wasn’t looking. Granite and silt stayed wedged in back molars until her mother scolded them out with a bristle brush. Anemic blood teased her mind every time she made mudpies or planted cabbage with her parents. You need iron, it screamed, eat dirt. Eat chocolate, her mother begged. It was never enough. She snuck pinches from potted plants and licked the dust from window sills until the day she died. We buried her in the graveyard across the street last summer. Five feet above her, a million stacked below, until eternity presses down and her chest fills with enough dirt to keep her alive forever.


MANDoLIN Amber Kelley

Wrist trembles with rhythm–– Tremolo, tremolo. Skin presses between double strings, Plectrum into skin. Slender leather strap Melds with unmoving shoulder. Fingers left smelling Of nickel, wood, and steel.


anna Elaina Widen Digital photography 2018 27

AUToBIoGRAPHY AFTER READING ZENo'S PARADoX J. Clark Hubbard For Abigail Before I can die at ninety, I’ll have to make it to forty-five, the perfect age for a midlife crisis with kids in college or getting pregnant, when my hair starts to grey and migrate away from my forehead, when the car I bought from a friend of a friend has sat in the garage for years, dripping oil and antifreeze onto the cold stone floor. Before I’m there, I’ll be twenty-two or three, writing this poem in Springfield, Illinois, trying to pass the time before a happy marriage that will end in sixty-seven years with our simultaneous September deaths. Before I got here, I had to be eleven or twelve, reading every Verne novel cover-to-cover, except for Michael Strogoff, a thriller set in Russia, during Tsar Alexander II’s reign: I couldn’t get through it. Too political. And then I was six years old, clinging to a tattered blanket, a baby-blue square that I slept with nightly, holding it as I watched the second tower fall, comparing the building to the postcard my father gave me.


Three years old, riding my thunder-bike, the gravel crunching under my plastic wheels, the neighborhood dog watching as I round the cul-de-sac. And I’m one and a half––entering the blur now–– probably staring at the ceiling, burping and laughing at myself. Nine months. Four months. Two months. One. Two weeks. Seven days. Three days. One. I grow smaller, frailer, weaker, approaching zero, but never quite there, never dying, never conceived, a living asymptote, extending into the infinitesimal side of infinity—


DAVID BoWMAN is a junior marketing major who will destroy all those who own rolling backpacks, for they are a sign of danger. emily chapman, junior graphic design major, secretly hopes to one day find

herself in competition with the owner of Fox & Sons Books (F-O-X). Senior English and French double major Katie Chappell is a modern day Jael, driving a stake through the stubborn head of misogyny. Senior English major Will Choate wants Wesley Snipes to make another Blade movie. Jennifer Hatch is a senior art major who loves jigsaw puzzles, fantasy, and manga. Junior public relations major Hannah Kate Heckart is an enneagram 7w8, so fight her. It took senior Christian studies major Joel Holland four years at Union University to learn that not all capes wear heroes. Senior English and political science double major J.Clark Hubbard is scared. Emily Johnson, alumna, didn’t get her bio in The Torch last year, and we wanted to make up for it here—so sorry, Emily. Amber Kelley, sophomore English major, is somewhere on campus quoting The Princess Bride to someone who doesn’t care. Ian Malone is a senior English major who is secretly an infinite number of chimpanzees slapping their fists against an infinite number of typewriters. Joshua Mays is a senior conservation biology major who loves to collect everything from shells and lichen to troll dolls and bird-themed plates. Campbell Padgett is a senior digital media communications major and is currently in the Bowld looking for his keys. Daniel Patterson is a junior English major who is still praying about what to put in his bio. Samuel Sadler, sophomore English major, really wants to pop an alligator on the nose. Sometimes, junior English major Lillie Salazar meows during Karate I. Haeun Shim is a senior art major, and she lives in the studio. Maria Stewart is a senior graphic design major and survives off of vending machines. Faith Sturgeon, a senior ceramics major, was arrested for three minor crimes, including scuba diving in Indiana without a bike helmet. Sophomore nursing major Kaylee Troxel is this magazine’s token B.S. editor and dedicates her bio to every worm that died on the sidewalks this spring. Elaina Widen is a freshman art major who enjoys burying people for fun. Junior sculpture major Abigail Wolfzorn likes Thursdays and donkeys.



EDIToR J. Clark Hubbard

assistant editor Lillie Salazar

Editorial Staff Katie Chappell Amber Kelley Daniel Patterson Samuel Sadler Kaylee Troxel

DESIGN EDIToR Maria Stewart

Ben Fuller Christen Harper Josh Kasper YooLim Moon Haeun Shim

Faculty Sponsor Bobby Rogers

PRINTED BY Tennessee Industrial Printing, Inc. in Jackson, Tennessee, 2019








Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.