Pathos - Fall - 22/23

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Thank you for sharing your time to discover the wonderful works that the PSU community has to offer. Within these pages, you will find beautiful works from unique and amazing individuals.

Each term that I am here with Pathos, I am filled with more and more appreciation for the people who make up this community. I have learned just how incredible and creative we are, and how capable we are in expressing that creativity. There is power in this, and it fills me with strength in witnessing it.

So, I encourage you to embrace that power and use it to create something you truly resonate with. I encourage you to embrace that power to build, to create, to explore. As the great Robin Williams said, Carpe Diem – Seize the day.

I wish to say a huge thank you to Kelly Zatlin, our Copy Editor. Kelly has graduated and is off to greener pastures. Thank you for your contributions to Pathos and this community. We hope the best for you and your future endeavors! We’ll miss you!

I wish a warm welcome to our newest member of the Pathos team, Stephanie Gresham, who will be stepping into the Copy Editor role. We are excited to have you on board, and have you be a part of our passionate team.

Also, a thank you to Kelsey, our Creative Director, and Camden, our Social Media Manager. We couldn’t be where we are now without you.

To our volunteers, Ana, Emily, Corey, Brit, Jules, and Clover: Thank you for being with us.

To you, fellow reader, thank you for sharing your time with us. Best of luck to you this school year.

See you around,

fall term 2022

front and back cover:

Backstabber dreW crino Digital photograph. The Echo and The Shadow ·························································· 2 Only You ····················································································· 3 Moss 4 Semblance 5 Fruit Still Life ·············································································· 6 The Garden ················································································· 7 The British Museum ·································································· 7 Beach Date 8 The Lighthouse 9 Triston on the Butte 10 Castilleja ···················································································· 11 Remember the Druid ································································· 12 Crossing Over ············································································ 17 Identity 18 Noviembre / November 19 Latourell 22 ··············································································· 20 Sabios Y Olvidados / Wise and Forgotten ································ 21 A House Like a Rosary ······························································ 22 Marshall 24 Truce 25 Black Dress 26 Vanitas Self Portrait ·································································· 27 Termite Connection ··································································· 28 /FRAGMENTS/ ······································································· 29 Contrpointalism 30 Space Rock 31 Burning Chemicals ···································································· 32 A Lack of Color ········································································· 33 Quitado ······················································································ 34 Flock Behavior (Small Talk) 36 What Does It Say About Me 37 Industrial Revolution 38 Impian Kuil ··············································································· 39 Flight, Fight, and Forceful Separation ······································· 40 Oxy ···························································································· 41 Generaciónes 42 Burnside on a Fall Afternoon 44 They’ve Starved Their Purple ··················································· 45 The Dance ················································································· 46



Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance.

It began incredulous enough streets emptied like the end of days on borrowed time, earth’s atmosphere renewed The Himalayas seen from Delhi once again a long lost friend San Gabriel’s range rose like an apparition Angeleno memory returned everywhere, this unfamiliar purity of air a quieted glance into a world anew like a lambent star that beams an echo of its past like a shadow that recedes in the apogee of light.


Only You

avielle jannsen

Digital Photograph.



Briana Citron


The moss we love looks an awful ’mount like mold spurred on spores your splendid fits of haze burrowing in every cell

functions to fumigations frantic unfurling of hazmats

you looked up at me at what was left and grinned choked vibrations of your throat outpouring fermented bits of previous organs: “I look like an old tree, moss on my bark!” giggling, you shook bits of past internal gore now saturated clouds outpouring disintegrated lines of your previous

unflinching now— the moss we love looks an awful ’mount like mold more and more and more invasive from within.


I planted a tree outside your old house. I can’t bring myself to visit. How could I bear the site of that possibly porous moss masquerading passive unsure itself what it is.

I’m told the new owners of the house plan to tear down the tree anyhow. Something about lichen and rotting wood.



Hannah Crabtree-Eads

skipping rocks, pussy whipping the willamette, N64 ness moon shone, your speakers blared finally something new—my unlaced striped socks made me feel like a clown—but i already was, so i shut my eyes

while the steely cheese-dipped night hungover my head (full of filth—only moon, that crystalline bulb, could drive it away) but when the cloud cover comes it probes me with shadowy whispers

of not-yet-forgotten hands grabbing and pulling me away into the night imitating desperation—men who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer

i sleep in dream-lit corridors, pulling my covers tight, left ajar from some sad semblance of safety


Fruit Still Life

laura sWingen

2020. 14” x 20” Watercolor on paper.



Dani Himes is a puddle a rumination of autumn rain a ripe heirloom tomato a heart has disengaged and sits in the mud next to one of the dog’s toys

a sister fruit more purple than red sits in the kitchen waiting to be eaten it grows closer to rotting each day that we do not


Kamerin Villagomez

jointly given probably from likely obtained gifted by: memorial fund Mr and Mrs loaned by foundation

whose village was pillaged? whose island colonized? whose child’s small hands mined the diamonds that I view displayed in this small glass container?

whose belongings were stolen just so we could know? whose bodies were disrupted so society could grow?



i saw you at the beach today.

you were there in the ropes of gray seaweed, combed across sand by the hand of the sea and abandoned like hair at the bottom of the shower

you were there in the bleached piles of driftwood bones, in the ribs and the femurs and that one slice of scalp with the knot in it, severed at the neck and beaten smooth by saltwater an old, bruised eye awaiting blindness

you were there in the little stream of rainwater on the final leg of its journey, carving a thin branch through the skin of the shore before losing itself in the sea a finger melting into heaven

you were there in the waves, too, or at least in one of them the one that took a deep breath before rushing in

and fireworking itself against the black rocks testing how far the pieces of itself could fly

and you were there in the presence of god, or the lack thereof no wait, on second thought that’s you right there lingering in the question

you always preferred asking over telling, probably because you don’t like the pressure of keeping your own promises but actually, i think you’re pretty good at it

last year, you said you’d go to the beach with me and you were there, i saw you.


The Lighthouse

abby morse golub Digital Photograph.

Digital Photographs.

Triston on the Butte v ottaviano


There are enough words to describe who I am And that is the most terrifying of all

A taxonomy exists for my being, my soul

The entirety of my life can be defined by a few choice words


Precise and concise

Sterile and unforgiving


Bright colorations

“Non-native species but with selective adaptation”

Common for the area, but striking for the location

“Made to be picked, not built for the moisture in the soil”

Early in the growing cycle

“We are unsure if the specimen will last the winter”

BURR · 11


Kody Koenig

the World Was busy. Twenty minutes away, Chicago was filled with the sound of horns and the smell of exhaust, but out here, nature ruled. The birds outside were singing as one beautiful choir. The golden grain rolled like waves as the breeze danced through each blade. The first beams of light shone through the cracks between the off-white curtains of the Riverside home.

The house was peacefully quiet. A man lay in bed, dreaming sweet stories. Down the hall, in the kitchen, a woman with white, curled hair set down a kettle and listened to the stove click until the gas lit. She tried every morning not to wake him, he definitely needed the rest these days, but her fatigue made her clumsy. She was nearly asleep at the table when the sound of a jimmying key rattled her awake.

“Morning, Don.” She sat up and fingered through her thin hair.

“Morning, Mom.” Don shut the front door behind him, trying to make the squeak of the old hinges as quiet as the rest of the still sleeping house.

“I just put tea down.” Her head slumped into her wrinkled hand.

“Sounds great, Mom. Thanks.” He set down one folder after another on the granite counter. After setting down his pen, the final piece of his load, he asked, “Dad awake yet?”

“No, he’s still out. Doctor said he’d probably be sleeping more.” She moved awkwardly to the cabinet for two mugs and the sugar.

“Carter is coming at 10. I should probably wake him, huh?” Don rubbed an eye.

“Oh, probably.” She set one cup on the counter and used the other to point at her son. “Be gentle, he probably doesn’t remember.”

Remember. That word felt like it had different meaning now. A sicker, twisted meaning. Don remembered mornings in the Whitman household when he was a boy. Mom would wake up early to spend an hour or so in her greenhouse. By the time he came down from his room she was washing the dirt and fertilizer out from under her fingernails. His father would be writing in one of his many little notebooks. It was usually a new monster inspired by one of the kooky characters on the cereal boxes. Before bed, Don remembered being his father’s test audience for a new story that he’d slaved on all day. Sadly, Don would often miss how the story ended, because he’d fall victim to sleep.

“Morning, Dad.” Don sat on the side of the bed and gently touched his father’s shoulder, much like his father had done to him when he was younger.

His father shook slightly, but ultimately, he continued to sleep. Don didn’t know why he didn’t try to wake him again right away. He sat there, partially sunken into the layered blankets, and looked around the twilight room. Next to the bed was his father’s nightstand topped with his glasses, his watch, a small bowl containing his morning meds, and a sticky note: “Morning, love. Take your pills and meet me in the kitchen for tea.”

“Your little druid.” Mom always signed with something to do with her Swords &


Spells character from back in the 70s. She claimed it helped him keep things together up there.

Across from Don’s seat at the bed, was the door to the bathroom. On it was another sticky note: “The left switch lights the torch over the tub, the middle one lights the ones over the basin, and the right one makes the wind howl from the heavens.—Your little druid.”

His Mom had been married to a writer for nearly 50 years, and it showed by the way she explained simple light switches and the bathroom fan.

Don had almost forgotten why he was there in the dark. He turned and tapped his father again. “Dad, hey, it’s time to get up. Good morning.”

The mound under the covers awkwardly squirmed to see who had awoken him. “Good morning,” the father said slowly, confused.

“Ready to start your day?” Don helped his father sit up. He looked over at his nightstand at the note.

“I need to take my pills and meet the druid in the kitchen for tea,” he said, pointing a shaky finger at the note.

“Yep, that sounds like a good plan.” Don sat up to get his father some water from the bathroom. He heard his dad speak as he lit the torches.

“Who is this druid?”

Don let out a chuckle as he watched the glass fill. “Ruth,” he called from the bathroom. “She’s quite the lady. I think you’ll really like her.”

“Oh, yeah. Ok.” He took the glass from

his son and worked through his pills one by one.

While he waited for his father to finish, Don fetched his father’s robe, which was draped over a chair in the corner. On his way back, he stopped at his father’s desk to clean up some papers and pens.

“Hey.” His father pointed at the note again. “I’m supposed to meet the druid. Who’s she?”

Don wasn’t in a cute mood the second time. It hurt him deep down. “Ruth, your wife. You remember she played the druid with you and Carter and William?”

“Oh, yes. Ok.” He nodded with a face that showed he was still searching for answers.

Remember. Don remembered seeing his father’s books in commercials on TV. Kids rolling dice and shooting over-acted smiles directly to the screen. “Buy Swords & Spells now and unlock your imagination!” Don never really got into playing the game like all of his friends did. He had already heard all about the dungeons and monsters from his father. He remembered waking up in the middle of the night as a child and seeing Mom, Dad, Carter, and William huddled around the kitchen table with the sound of plastic dice skipping across the wood.

“Ready for tea with Mom, Dad?” Don helped his father up, wrapped his arm with his, and walked with him to the kitchen.

“Morning, my mighty warrior.” Ruth held up an imaginary sword next to her cheek with both hands.

Dad let out a little huff with a smile, not quite a laugh, but close. “Morning.”


She came over and kissed him on the forehead and caressed his stubbly cheek. Don sat down next to his father at the table to keep an eye on him while he ate. The druid made her way back to the stove to tend to her scrambled eggs.

“Hey, dear, Carter will be here soon to say hello. I thought you could sit in the garden again. You two seemed to like it back there so much last time.”

Gary, the mighty warrior, was battling his fork. “Who?”

“Carter. The red mage, dear.”

“Ah, the red mage, I like him.” He chomped down on his fork.

“Here’s your tea, dear.” She delivered it with a warm smile. Her rosy cheeks made her eyes almost disappear.

“Thanks.” He looked at her with a blank stare but a genuine smile.

After breakfast was finished, it wasn’t long until Carter showed up. He took over the watch on Gary, but the druid was never far. Carter took him to the garden, just behind the house, where they sat in white wicker chairs with dusty floral cushions.

“It’s good to see you, Gary. I missed ya.” Carter stared out into the flowing grain. “Do you ‘member me?”

Gary’s brow furrowed, and he looked down into his lap. It took a second, but he looked back at the sprawling field. “You’re the red mage.”

“That’s right, bud.” Carter cracked a smile as his eyes started to water.

Remember. Carter remembered the day Ruth called him about Gary’s diagnosis. They said it must be Alzheimer’s. It made

sense. The late-night writing sessions had been getting more difficult and less productive. Some days Gary forgot him and then tried to pass it off like he remembered, and other days Carter didn’t even know if Gary had worked out their identities over the several hours they were there. Carter held onto the memories of his best friend from years ago, because he was all but just about forgotten now.

The two had sat there long enough for the day to grow colder and a bit darker. Carter had told stories from memory about their old adventures, bad rolls, and laughs around the table. Towards the end, Carter grabbed one of the rule books and read from near the back, where Gary wrote some sample stories for the creatively challenged, which he never had trouble with in his prime. After the Midwest air got a bit chilly, Carter helped Gary in, said his goodbyes, and left for the evening.

“Did you have fun with the red mage today, dear?” The druid was gliding around the kitchen preparing dinner.

“I like him. I wish he’d come over more.” Gary was unaware that Carter had been coming every free moment he had.

“Don’t worry, love. You’ll get to see him again real soon.” She broke focus from the boiling pot to hold her husband’s hand for a moment.As she turned back to the stove, Don entered the kitchen with his folders and binders. Ruth couldn’t shake how much he looked like his father at the same age.

“How’s studying going?” She stirred her cauldron.


“Ugh, finals start next week, and I don’t feel like I’m prepared at all, Mom.” He set down his things to slip his arms through the sleeves of his dark trench coat.

“Well, it doesn’t help you’re always here. I’ve handled your father this long, you know. I was the one that pulled him from the Cavern of Anguish.” She lifted a small steaming spoon to her lips to taste her creation. Don chuckled.

“Mom, that was many years ago, and in a game I might add.” She only responded with a quick glare and a dismissive wave.

“Good night, Mom.” Don weaved around the counter and bent over to kiss his mother on the head. He stopped at his father on the way to the door. “Night, Dad. See you tomorrow.”

Don shuffled his things to one arm to give his father a hug with the other.

After their son’s departure, the druid made up two bowls of soup, poured two glasses of milk, and set the table for her and her mighty warrior.

“Here, love. Just for you. Potato soup, your favorite.” She placed a towel in his lap and sat next to him.

“Thank you—uh—”

“I’m the druid, dear.” She looked up from her bowl with a smile. “You remember me, ya goof.”

“Ah, yes. Thank you.”

Remember. The druid remembered the night she fell for Gary. He had taken her dancing a few nights after they wrote the first pages of the rule book. Gary was a terrible dancer, but just like with everything he did, what he lacked in skill,

he made up for with enthusiasm. Even away from the table and dice, he was her knight in shining armor, so strong and passionate. The day Gary learned he was going to be a father was magical. He called up everyone he knew, even his publicist, and screamed in their ear about how he was going to be a dad. Nothing made her love him more than that day.

“Sweet dreams, love.” The druid pulled up the blankets and snuggled him in with a hug. “I’ll meet you in the kitchen for tea in the morning, okay?”

“Okay.” He smiled as she planted a kiss on his lips.

The house fell calm for the night as the two drifted off.

The next morning Gary slowly worked himself awake. He didn’t want to wake up, but he felt he needed to be awake. He shakily sat up in bed and scanned the unfamiliar room. The note next to his bed said he needed to take his pills. He needed water for that. He worked himself to his feet and shuffled to the door to the bathroom. This note told him how to get the light he needed above the sink. He returned with his water and sat on the bed. Gary wondered why he had needed this glass again. His eyes caught the yellow post-it on his nightstand. Oh, yes, his pills. He didn’t see them in his bowl, so he must have already taken them. He sat against the headboard, again scanning the room. Sticky notes were scattered around on every surface, like dull stars against the dimly lit room. Gary looked down to his right and saw a woman, so peaceful. She


was very beautiful; she rivaled the day he met her.

“Ruth, is it time to get up?” Gary fleetingly remembered how warm she always felt, but when he touched her cheek she felt cold.

“Ruth?” He gripped her shoulder.

Remember. Gary didn’t remember much. He couldn’t call it remembering. It was more like a television playing in the background of a conversation. He picked up pieces but most of it was lost. Gary saw Ruth, with her gray hair, a gentle way about her, and his head labeled her as the caring druid. He spotted a small boy, brown hair like his, and he was named son. He stood no taller than a hobbit if he recalled. A young man with swept-over, graying, red hair and a beard to match, was in his head somewhere. He knew him as the red mage. Gary felt there was another character, but the faint memory never came to visit him anymore.

Carter opened the front door for the EMTs. The house was silent, all besides the rattling and whining coming from the gurney wheels. He shut the door behind them and sat in the front room. He could hear the tires crunching their way down the gravel driveway. The mage didn’t know if he could stomach the loss of another party member. She was a mother of one but treated everyone around her like one of her own. She couldn’t go. Not now.

Don was just inside the kitchen. He stared blankly. Emotions were going to war inside him. He was petrified, depressed,

and guilt-ridden. The thoughts of heading anywhere near the bedroom made his stomach twist. Tears careened from his eyes and became lost in the sweat of his face.

He had lost his mother, best friend, and the person that inspired him to major in agriculture. He had to force his legs to move. This normally simple walk felt like a perilous quest he wouldn’t return from. Don nudged the door open and peered in from the hall to see his father sitting on the bed. It took all his strength to step into the room, and he had to muster even more to sit next to his father without collapsing into tears.

The house was eerily quiet. A son and his father sat on the bed, not knowing what to do. Down the hall, in the living room, a man with graying red hair sat with his face in his hands and tears escaped through his fingers. The kitchen was still. Every dish was stored. The worn appliances would now get to rest.

Gary turned to look at the young man to his right, oblivious to his pain. Raising an unsteady, aged hand, he pointed to the little note by his bed.

“I’m supposed to have tea with the druid this morning, so I better take my pills.”


Crossing Over

madi lou alexander Shot on Polaroid B&W 600 Film.


elle pittman Screenprint illustration.



Cada vez que el otoño murmura entre los árboles y obliga a las hojas flotar lentamente, zigzagueando hasta posarse silenciosamente en el frío y húmedo suelo de Noviembre, año tras año hay un búho, camuflado entre las ramas, intentando responder a su propia pregunta ¿Cuál será el último pensamiento de las hojas antes de desvanecerse entre el rocío y la tierra? El búho con el tiempo encontró una enigmática respuesta, pero de tanto observar, descubrió la oculta belleza que tiene el delicado e intrincado proceso entre el principio y el fin de las cosas...


Every time autumn murmurs among the trees and forces the leaves to float slowly, zigzagging until they settle silently on the cold and wet November ground, year after year there is an owl, camouflaged among the branches, trying to answer its own question, What will be the last thought of the leaves before vanishing between the dew and the earth? Over time, the owl found an enigmatic answer, but after observing so much, it discovered the hidden beauty of the delicate and intricate process between the beginning and the end of things...


alexis phillips Digital photograph.

Latourell 22


Raul Cueto Osorio

Olvidado sendero, quien sabe cuantas veces has visto el sol aparecer entre lejanas montañas púrpuras, ese mismo sol que se desvanece en un eterno, infinito y melancólico océano de tonos anaranjados. Enséñanos cómo encuentras espacio entre la esperanza y la resignación.

Solitario árbol, tú que te resignas al adiós de tus hojas cada vez que el otoño murmura entre tus intrincados e irrepetibles patrones, semejantes a olvidadas constelaciones que no ascendieron a las alturas. Enséñanos cómo abrazar la adversidad como una oportunidad para aprender de los obstáculos y desafíos.

Olvidada y solitaria casa, espero que el opaco y silencioso vacío que deja la presencia del invierno y su fría respiración no te borren del camino. Recuerda que el sol seguirá enviando calor y la luna seguirá orbitando mientras se compadece de tus solitarias noches.


Raul Cueto Osorio

Forgotten path, who knows how many times you have seen the sun appear between distant purple mountains, that same sun that fades into an eternal, infinite and melancholic ocean of orange tones. Show us how you find space between hope and resignation.

Solitary tree, you who resign yourself to the goodbye of your leaves every time autumn murmurs among your intricate and unrepeatable patterns, similar to forgotten constellations that did not ascend to the heavens. Teach us how to embrace adversity as an opportunity to learn from obstacles and challenges.

Forgotten and lonely house, I hope that the opaque and silent emptiness left by the presence of winter and its cold breath do not erase you from the path. Remember that the sun will continue to send heat and the moon will continue to orbit while taking pity on your lonely nights.



You are small in the hospital bed. A phantom of your former self, fading daily. I lie beside you, holding your hand, running my fingers along the fine bones. I breathe deliberately. My breath pulls in smoothly, stretching out moments, and marking time. I begin to spin a filament made of words with each exhale. Twisting fragments of fractured thoughts, I weave a net to capture you, tethering soul to body, holding you fast. I build a sanctuary around you.

Enter through the kitchen, the front door is for strangers, death, or marriage. My grandfather carved hearts into the dark wood cabinets, binding love and sustenance. Come through to the dining room. Gather around the table. It’s the same one you’ve eaten at for your entire life. We both have played on its knees, under the tablecloth. Next is the living room, with the davenports, the fireplace where stockings were hung, the cast iron radiators with their bowls of water rimmed with fossil-like deposits left from the well water turning to vapor.

I am summoning ghosts, people and places who were gone before you were born to carry you on their shoulders like St Christopher across the deep river that is this night.

The nurse arrives, increasing the heat in the room, relieving the stress from your heart. I continue my seance.

There is more downstairs; the front parlor with grandma’s African violets and sewing machine, grandpa’s piano (first the upright, then the grand, an evolution of musical joy), the den with its matched rocking chairs. But, let’s go up the big mahogany staircase, rub the newel post as you pass. Passing the four bedrooms, we go to the attic door, up the tight twist of the forbidden stair into a magical, storybook place, where as a child I found forgotten medals, school awards, agates and smooth rocks, desiccated birds who lost their way, and generations of bygone joys.

Your heart rate drops below 30.

22 · MARS

Wait. There’s more. I recite rooms like a rosary. The laundry room turned sunroom, the old garage with its colony of feral cats, the new garage with grandpa’s shop, the three porches, the cellar doors. The cellar. Wooden steps descend, worn concave with footfalls, to part earth, part finished space, moist, earthy and cool. Shelves house generations of preserves, deeper than the arm can reach; clear glass, turning to blue, ring lids reverting to hinged, a time machine of jam, pickles, tomatoes, preserved harvests from decades previous, new year eclipsing the past.

I pause, listen to the machines sounding another alarm. You start to cry. The scant weight of your body hurts your bones and joints. You are so tired.

Begin again. We enter through the back door. The front door is for strangers. Stay with me, in this red brick house with white trim where I can keep you safe like a memory. I cannot make you well. All I can promise is that I love you more than all of these rooms and everything they contained.

MARS · 23
24 · CRINO
Marshall dreW crino Digital photograph.
CRINO · 25
Truce dreW crino Digital photograph.

BLACK DRESS Angela Griffin

One day my mother comes home with a length of soft, dark fabric draped over her arm.

Because, she says simply, meeting my questioning eye, every girl should have a black dress.

What she means is that I am growing up. Soon there will be art galas, Christmas dinners, and band concerts where the silver horn in my lap will twinkle in the stage lights, bright against the night of my dress. Family reunions, professional photos, and graduation days robed in white and blue.

What she means is that the whole world is growing up. Soon the girl in the grade ahead of me will die of leukemia. I’ll play the piano as my sister-in-law’s father is eulogized in Spanish, drop a tear on my grandmother’s cheek, serene in her silk-lined casket. I’ll stand on the edge of a verdant lawn as my cousin, whose name I learned last week, is buried in a cemetery I have driven by every month for three years.

What better reminder of my mortality than that black dress? Every day I stand at my closet, calculating the sum of my mood and the weather. My fingers sift through flannels and florals, sweaters and sportswear, the measured clicking of the hangers a heartbeat of days and occasions. And at the end of the rack, at the end of everything, is that black dress.

Someday, my mother was saying, your life will rustle in the wake of someone’s passing. You’ll slip the sleek fabric over your head, stand before the mirror, smooth the neckline, and settle your soul.

Every girl should have a black dress.


Vanitas Self Portrait

laura sWingen

2022. 80” x 36”

Acrylic on salvaged door.


Termite Connection

raja timihiri 2022. 18” x 24” Colored pencil, graphite, and watercolor on paper.


there is more empty space than stars meteor showers shed fragments of eternity

fall fast - now break and blaze into the night the bigger i am the smaller i get black holes swallow years

pluto is no longer a planet and i am so far from whole /hamster, doorknob, ballet/ self destructing satellite growing smaller by the second time-space slips through my fingers the bigger i am the smaller i get

time’s hands can’t catch me a satellite with no memory

/dolphins, cheetah print, headbands/ catching fire as i redshift through the atmosphere

patching the charred edges of my space suit i no longer feel what created me

/hydra, dipper, pegasus/ fragments of eternity

break off and blaze into the night there is more empty space than stars

/horseshoe, peter rabbit, goldenspring/ black holes swallow years the bigger i am the smaller i get

mile markers fade in the distance

/33, four square, strawberry milk/ there is more empty space than stars

i can’t contain it

/holocene, ripped jeans, split-ends/ memories leak through the ozone twenty-One, 10, zero



laura sWingen

2021. 20” x 30”

Acrylic on canvas.


Space Rock

alex schotzko

Digital photograph.



We’re standing out back from the shop and you’re burning chemicals in the old fire pit. Blues and greens. The slight wind picking up the acrid smoke and carrying it over the yard and past the house.

“I don’t think you should be burning chemicals,” I say.

“Why? It’s just gonna end up in a landfill anyways.”

I hesitate, knowing that’s not right, but not having the words to convince you otherwise.

“Well what about mom and the baby? They’re up there,” I point towards the house. “That can’t be good for them.”

“The wind will carry it away,” you say.

We stand looking at the burning fire that smells sharp and tastes like how I imagine cancer would taste like and I try not to breathe. We go back to the shop where you’re showing me how to prep a fender for painting. Clay bricks. Sandpaper. Fine dust kicking up in the air and into our lungs.

“Shouldn’t we be wearing masks?” I ask.

You shake your head.

“I don’t wear a mask when I do that,” you tell me.

I laugh. Not because it’s funny but because you’re so stubborn. I say as much and I work the sandpaper over the primed fender. The dust particles thick around me and I try not to breathe but I know it’s only helping so much.

There’s music on the radio that drifts through the garage. Christian rock. I hate it and think it all sounds the same but I don’t say anything because I rarely hear

you listening to music.

After I finish sanding, you look over my work. Looking at the fender from every possible angle. Pointing out spots I missed with the sandpaper.

“You see how it’s still shiny from this angle?” You point to a spot in the middle of the fender. “If you take your time the first time, you won’t have to go over it twice.”

I re-sand the spots and you show me how to clean it so that it’s ready for the first layer of paint.

When I’m done, we stand outside in the sticky sun and you look for other things for me to do.

“The lawn needs to be mowed, the bushes need trimming, and your mom wanted to paint the upstairs hall. I haven’t had time but I have the paint if you feel like doing that.”

“Didn’t you just mow the lawn?” I ask. You look tired. Standing there with your arms folded across your chest. The sunlight catching the silver hairs all throughout your head and beard. The deep canyons beneath your eyes.

“I did and it’s time to do it again.”

There’s a hint of impatience in your tone, threatening to spill over, remnants from when I was still a kid.

“The work never stops. Lots of upkeep on a house like this. If you’d paid more attention when you were younger, you’d know, but it seemed you were too busy playing games and screwing off to know what I did back here.”

I don’t say anything.

“You’ve got to take care of the things


you care about,” you tell me with a softer voice now. “Otherwise, they’ll go to shit.”

I nod and tell you that I’ll start on the front lawn.

In the back, I gas up the mower and fiddle with the throttle and choke before getting it started. I remember the time when I was still a teenager that you came back from Hawaii a few days early. When you found my cat had gotten herself stuck in the kitchen where the doors had been

locked behind her. How she’d made a mess of the floors. I remember the feelings of my hollow insides when Mom told me that you’d put her outside. The certainty that I’d never see her again. How I never got to say goodbye.

I pull the mower around the garage and start up the drive towards the front lawn. There’s a deep purple-tinted smoke hanging low over the house.

You’re burning chemicals again.

A Lack of Color



this is a touchy subject for me you may not understand or you may my hands shake as i decide how to start something that’s been so hidden from my mouth–to share this, i only ask a few things from you; acknowledge the loud uncomfortableness as i type these words know the intrusive lack of confidence i had before telling this understand absence and its entirety.

my dad left us before my 365 days, now this may not mean much to you but it means everything to me. when he left, he took my identity the ability to be. i was no longer Latina. leaving me with a white mom, in a household that only spoke English. my quinceañera turned into a sweet 16. El Día de los Muertos se vuelve en Halloween. Cinco de Mayo was an excuse to drink. what does it mean to be Latina?—


Have dark skin–

I do not Speak Spanish– I do not yes, i do not carry those qualities but, nothing Let me finish tal— to qualify, you must meet normal requirements.

All my life

I have been white.

All my life

I have been Latina. I love my culture, I love the colors that’s not enough it could have been different If they saw me holding hands with my dad instead.

i do not miss him i miss what he could have provided the security to be accepted the chance to live without the question of “what are you?” following “no you’re not.” the connection to a world i may never get to call home.



Heather Mars

Do not expect me to perform like a magpie, to trill and chitter, nattering on for your delight.

Fickle like a bushtit busy in my wariness, suspicious of an audience looking for a pat refrain. I wheel and deflect returning your call, a swallow in the eventide gathering in your words like moths drawn to light.

With the satisfaction of a heron, I take my leave, sharing nothing in my wake, moving slowly through the stale waters of a gathering I never wanted to attend.

36 · MARS


Angela Griffin

about us, that this morning, when I opened my window to a cacophony of shouts and car horns and screaming,

my first thought was that there must have been a shooting? A protest, or at the very least a car crash,

rather than rightfully interpreting the clamor as the jubilation of 11,000 students who had just crossed a stage and moved their tassels from right to left?

Have we walked so long in darkness we can’t see a great light? Does not even the real gold glitter?

Yes, I know the world is burning. And yet

I can’t help stopping midsentence, mid-thought, to scan the trees. Even if the magpie is a nuisance. Even if the starling is an invasive species.

Am I wrong to hold desperately to my contributing verse in Whitman’s powerful play? To the dazzling hope of Oliver’s one wild and precious life?

Why? I howl my doubts to the heavens. Why shine at all? When those who need the light refuse to see it?

Oh, bright one, the skies whisper back. Even those who are blind can savor the sunlight.

Even those on the deepest of oceans still navigate by the stars.


Industrial Revolution

kristin leitner Collage on canvas board.

nancy gunaWan Digital illustration.

Impian Kuil


perfect synergy. a concept you’d be hard-pressed to find within my lovely little family. I truly can’t recall a single moment in which we united toward a common goal, and our trek around Europe was certainly no exception. With my directionally challenged stepfather leading the charge, we spent nearly half an hour roaming a train station easily three-times the size of any American counterpart. Through blind confidence alone, he guided us around corners and down hallways of which he had no reason to believe were the correct route. Each wrong turn provided my sister and I another opportunity to let out an irritated sigh. We had many a sarcastic remark on our mind, though it was nearly impossible to get a word in amongst my mother’s artful insults for my stepfather. Arguments were our family’s bread and butter, and one was quick to erupt no matter the scenario. With minutes until our departure, it was no surprise that the Ruble family opted to cause a scene. I had never felt like more of a foreigner until the moment I found myself briskly walking ahead of my parents as they hurled roaring accusations at each other in the middle of an orderly Swiss train station. Nothing like the motivation to get away from my family to propel me forward. I would reach the platform, and whether they were with me or not it truly did not matter. This twelve year old was getting on that train. Finally, we spotted it, a deep red bullet train with “Lausanne” flashing along its side. We didn’t know much but we knew our destination. With a sizable distance

to cover, we watched as the last of the commuters entered through its doors. I’d inadvertently doomed myself by walking so far ahead of my family, as it took no time for my Mom to begin yelling at me to run for it. I began to sprint, my rolling backpack bouncing along the cobblestone platform. I leaped onto the rail car and before I could even so much as turn to hold the doors, they closed behind me. Off I went, watching as my mother shouted and waved, running alongside the now moving train.

It was the longest forty-five minutes of my life. I sat and dreaded how I  might survive alone on the streets of Switzerland, a mere seventh grader with zero knowledge of the language or the surroundings. I waited rather impatiently for the announcement of my destination, for fear that a conductor may come by seeking a ticket that only my stepfather trusted himself to carry. Eventually, the announcement for Lausanne came over the intercom. If I was to be stranded alone, at least it was in the most beautiful place I’d yet to encounter. I exited the train and sat on the nearest bench I could find. My patience for waiting grew thinner, as did my hope for finding my family. It was nearly an hour before another train rolled onto the platform. I searched the departing crowd, wishing so desperately to see the faces of those I had earlier tried to escape. Finally, I spotted my sister, and my parents weren’t long behind. I ran over to them, and instantly we erupted into laughter. The situation had shifted from stressful to hilarious, and all it had taken was the sight

40 · RUBLE

of each other. In that moment, the conflict and endless argument faded into memory. Nothing was more comforting than my family in front of me.

Oxy mae cossu Linocut.


Stinging eyes, clenched throat

Common symptoms of a brown girl with no place to call hogar, home

I keep reminding myself, I used to be happy. Say it enough and you’ll believe it

Say it enough and you’ll “manifest” it?

Keep telling yourself it’s destiny

Watching a little brown girl grow up in front of you

Teach her to talk, use her voice

Teach her to write, fingers aren’t meant for just dishes, for just flipping tortillas

How can you connect to your culture and become a human being?

My grandfather used to hang my mom

I’m amazed at the strength of adobe brick.

I went to visit her childhood home once.

Ruins of a childhood, heaps of hay and rubble

Open fields that she wasn’t allowed to freely roam

5 am rise and shine, small hands making tortillas, small hands shucking the corn

Watching a grown brown woman learn to use her voice


Teach her to talk, use her voice

Teach her to write, her fingers are meant for more than just packing lunches and making dinner

I heard my step dad yell at my mom

“Asi te dieron tu licencia? Ni sabes como manejar!”

“Even like this, they gave you your license? You don’t even know how to drive!”

Age 5. Making tortillas, making desayuno, the occasional cat on the back if it’s burned.

Age 7. She left her home, Almoloya de Alquisiras, Mexico.

Age 11. Working full time, a different city in Mexico.

Age 17. Working full time, Tijuana, Mexico.

Age 24. Married with 3 kids, San Diego, California.

Age 35. Divorced.

Age 49. Still married to the machismo.

We were parking in front of my favorite Chinese place, La Imperial. I swallowed my anger as she laughed the insults off.

Generations of dancing the same fucked up canción.

Stinging eyes, clenching throat.

Common symptoms of brown women trying to find their voice.

Please body, don’t give up on me.

I want to use my voz


Burnside on a Fall Afternoon

miles Wierer-huling

Digital photograph.



Dani Himes

1. There are too many purple sea urchins off the Pacific Coast

I hear from the voice on the radio

A tangerine passes from hand to hand I can hear the thud of fruit in palm over airwaves

The sensation is almost too much Emerald trees line mountain roads like bedroom curtains barely hiding the clearcut nudity inside and nature-seekers drive on, delicate psyches protected

Some people learn to tattoo on citrus flesh and we used to stand barefoot on summer sidewalk

There’s no emerald curtain on the edge of a clearcut kelp forest no artifice for the starfish

Some of us know what happens on hot night in warm waters


I do remember the sea otters from my first grade animal report I drew them on the computer and I painted them purple

The voice says it’s all purple sea urchins and barren rock but I look for myself and see that they’ve starved their purple, and science divers smash millions, and can’t you hear it’s the sound of clanging plates in the dish room, and I myself have never eaten uni

On walks in an old neighborhood I’d pass by four houses with artichokes planted in their gardens and when they bloomed I was delighted

Hello purple land urchins!

I eat an artichoke and my teeth feel so soft

HIMES · 45


Claire Olmstead

You know what you need to do, And you try

To keep up with the music

And your fellow dancers. Keep the beat…

(...two, three, four, one, two, three, four…)

Spot a point on the wall when you spin, Return to it with your eyes on every rotation (it’s supposed to help but you still get dizzy).

For God’s sake, whatever you do,

Don’t look down at your feet

Unless you want a round trip ticket

To the floor and back.

Madame Devereux

Has been imparting these lessons to you for years

(with all the patience and compassion of a drill sergeant).

Still, you wobble in your pointe shoes, Stumble out of arabesques, Crash to the earth out of jetés.

Cheeks burning you press through,

Thrice weekly during the school year, Five come recital season.


You meet your own eyes in the studio mirror, Chin raised like the little soldier you are (marching grimly towards your mother’s approval).

Keep the beat.

Spot the wall.

Don’t look at your feet.

Madame taps her cane on the ground, Her irritation obvious

At the state of her clumsy ducklings.

You remind yourself (again)

That it’s her job

To twist you into the swan she believes you could be.

You trundle across the stage one by one

(ducklings indeed).

Now it’s the choreography that plays in your head on a loop:

Pirouette… jeté… pirouette…

Then the delicate dancers run off the stage, Heels never touching the ground.

In the

Corner of your mind

That doesn’t care about

The beat, or the spot, or your feet


Wonders if your heels will grow wings (when you finally run off the stage for good).



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