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The women of Chestnut Hill wake up early every day To make cheesy scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast and pack lunch boxes And drive their kids to school. Julia started a Trip Planning Committee. The women of Chestnut Hill are on it. Every Monday at 11 they meet. When Eléonor mentions the earthquake in Alaska, the women dolefully say Too bad And Liz pictures her husband falling through a deep crack in an earthquake in Alaska, dying with a thud when his body ﬁnally hits ground. Then Sue goes on to talk about the best tour guide in Italy as the women look closely at her face. And Julia reports on the best restaurants in the south of France And no way are we taking our kids to Cambodia because it’s so poor Info packets are passed around and coffee and chocolate chip cookies. And Amy says global warming is ruining the coffee beans, And Julia says how? And Amy says it’s just too hot for them and fungus grows And they all look into their mugs, light brown from the cream and sugar. Then Julia mentions there’s work to be done. Should we choose Paris or Rome?
Sophia Glazer 7
40."5*$4"/$56"3: What if I took your soul and kept her safe. And I covered your body with ink and stood it up in the rain. And watched to see where whe the rain hit the ﬂesh and where the ink ran from the body into the gutters. And, after the storm, I’d observe where the skin was raw and visible. And these would be your body’s most vertically vulnerable points. And I’d see where whe the ink was still dry and your soul would squirm trying to crawl under that skin and hide, but I’d keep her caged, telling her, she wasn’t yet safe. Then I’d cover the body with ink again and prop it up outside so the rain hit it from a different angle observing both the vulnerable and sheltered skin. And I’d do this from every angle until I found the spot that remained dry and untouched. Layers of crusted ink suffocating the cells. cells And I’d release your retching, rasping, writhing soul into that part of the body. So it could cower. cowe Alone. Protected from the oxygen. Forever safe from the storm.
(3"/%.05)&3ĕ4)"/%4 Wrinkled, shriveled, green, blue, purple, and smooth. Lao Lao’s hands have always reminded me of the world. Where one hand clasps the other, the Northern Hemisphere embraces the Southern Hemisphere. My hands were hard, with thick protruding knuckles, unkempt nail beds, and my palms had a metallic sheen to them, probably from calluses and pencil lead. Lao Lao used to gently pinch her gossamer epidermis and watch the bunched up skin gradually fall out into the sea of wrinkles. Doing the same to mine, I was disappointed to ﬁnd that my skin immediately bounced back to its original composure. Lao Lao had the hands of a wizard. wiza Raw, dirty, pink, red, bent, and swollen. The familiar scent of the acidic yuzu essence and the ocean lingers as I wrap my hand in her hemisphere and press it closely against my nose. Though miles away from the sakura clouds and enigmatic forests, the smell of the sea could never be washed away from Lao Lao. Arriving at the city of grey clouds and endless crossroads, Lao Lao ﬂailed her delicate hands as a sea of men in black suits and women in tight tight skirts engulfed her. “Move to the city,” they said. “The city is a treasure chest of gold,” they said. Though Lao Lao’s once supple hands were now leathery and gnarly, the treasure chest slipped right through them as if they were lubricated with soft scented tr peaches. Drowning in this familiar yet foreign land while listening to these similar yet utterly different sounds, Lao Lao’s prowess laid in her hands. Snip. Goodbye countryside. Snip. Goodbye calluses. Snip. Goodbye ﬁngerprints.
I remember coming home with blue, purple, green blotches on my hands and a paper full of colorful swirly patterns. Ms. Carson told us that these paintings were a one of a kind masterpiece; no two are alike, like ﬁngerprints. Fingerprints are maps, passports, and unique artworks. Lao Lao’s was a blank canvas. No lines to deﬁne the vast, uncertain future. No ripples to disturb the pristine water. The lack of intricate creases beckoned the naive artist. Why did Lao Lao leave them behind? Were they washed away by the waves? Did they wash away from years of handwashing clothes? Why did Lao Lao’s ﬁngerprint disappear?
Kelly Cao 18
never cool not me not my Spent my school weekends at home butt, my too big t-shirt tucked into bell bottoms puffy braces gum pu loud and lanky and quite frankly real lonely now stuck in a perpetual state of other they were always in view impossible to reach, but still lurking In the corner of my glasses burdened eye, the all too cool kids; won’t get out for less kids; perfect eyes kids never able to discern what language they were speaking trading my tongue for another's squinted eyes, the all too cool kids were proof that when you reveal what makes you tick, I t’s simple for them to make you tok when they know which Jenga block topples the tower they’ve got you maybe i just wanted to be respected to be feared like them revered like them to be seen as someone worth interest worth your invest wo to be seen as someone who knew ‘what was up but i’ll never know ‘what's up’ and neither, will the all too cool kids experience of lukewarm when an existence is a wink Standing still ‘ Till my eyes dry out
You don’t know them, but they know you. They know you because they think they know all black people. They think they know you because your silence is mistaken for a green check of your approval. At age 6, 6 you came to America with your rustic black dreads that stretched to your upper thighs. You adored them like how you adore summer after a brutal winter. In class some white girl with golden locks tugged your dread. It feels like rope, she says. At age 10, your dreads are gone and your hair is in beautiful cornrows. At the end of the braids were little beads that rattled. In class, the teacher said that the beads made too much noise, so you had to put your hair up. While you do it, she walked by your desk and intentionally touches your hair to satisfy her curiosity. It feels like rope, she says. At age 15, 15 you arrive at NMH, your hair polished and pristine for ﬁrst day of school. In class, you sit down next to a white girl. This time she asks to touch your hair. She pets your hair and then begins to braid your braids, which she thought was the coolest thing ever. I love your hair; it feels like rope, though. And so on… You wished you weren’t silent. You wished they felt like silk. You are not silent now, but you were once. Now I just want to hide it. it Wrap it up in a patterned scarf, gold durag, or pink bonnet and hibernate in my comfort; my blackness.
Ngone Fall 36
Winter’s chill wind brings A ﬂash of inspiration My ink has frozen
A single thin squirrel Sifts through freshly fallen snow Searching for his stash
High up on the wall Sits a stopped and silent clock Sun passes o’erhead
Rain blocks out the moon Darkness ﬂoods the concrete paths Towards the journey’s end
I can’t breathe anymore so I stumble outside and desperately drink the air glittering puddles of ice mirror the sky like golden coins embedded in the pavement and clouds hang like angels against a twilit expanse I stagger past gray g treetops splintering heavenward, spindly reaching ﬁngertips, and suddenly I am struck by the thought of your hands: thin, dry, curling open like shy fragrant leaves, smelling like springtime Last night, after dragging myself home, snowﬂakes circled like locusts and stung my face, whipped my hair, gripped my eyelashes, suffocated me I don’t know if I miss you and I want to be what you were for me but if i you scream here it will echo for miles and another snowstorm will tear me apart I walk down asphalt paths leading to shivering hills the sun melts like a candle ﬂame and the mountains drown in dripping wax feel the night falling like sleet? I don’t care, because I can see spring cradled c in your hands One day you’ll touch me, and when I scream, April blossoms will split from my throat One day, when I can breathe again, I’ll start running and never stop
No matter how I go, it takes an hour Driving up through the hills to get to church, So Sunday’s I’m up at dawn to shower, Caffeinate and, inevitably, search The slumbering house for my truant specs. Our sweet dog, dog who was a pup when we wed Died in November and lies buried next To the crabapple, so now from my bed I hightail it straight to the backdoor where Luna, our new dog, threatens to rattle The shadows of the old farmhouse with her Urgent yelps. As she goes out, the cat’ll C ome back in – it’s the changing of the guard Woe betide the squirrels in our backyard.
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Northfield Mount Hermon's Art and Literary Magazine. 2019