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“Feet” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: photograph (body)


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cymbals Each year cymbals receives a myriad of literary and visual arts submissions. Editors and staff discuss and vote on each submission without knowing the identity of the artist involved. In 2016, the editors read and examined more pieces than ever; what also sets this issue aside from its predecessors is the way in which the cymbals’ staff decided to portray the material: after scouring through the submissions, we began to notice a recurrent theme: disembodiment. Despite differing ages, genders, stylistic choices and subject focal points, again and again the pieces seemed to encapsulate a sense of alienation—of separation from others and from self. From this observation rose the idea to create a waltz: a one, two, three rhythm that pays homage to the canorous qualities of the material whilst considering the themes of dissociation from body, mind, and soul. Thus, we created a composition that we urge you to repeat and consider as you browse through the longest edition of cymbals in our fifty years.

Dance away, The cymbals’ Editors


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Table Of Contents “Shana” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (mind)........................................................................Cover “Feet” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: photograph (body)............................................................................... 2 “Freedom” by Michelle Leung, X: drawing (soul)............................................................................. 7 “Evolution of Personality” by Sofia Bae, X: poem (mind)................................................................. 8 “No Headlights” by Julie Goldberg, XII: flash fiction (body)............................................................ 9 “Trapped” by Helen Healey, XII: photograph (soul).......................................................................... 9 “2 AM” by Caroline Bernstein, XI: flash fiction (mind)................................................................... 10 “The Marks of Age” by Michelle Leung, X: painting (body)........................................................... 12 “How the World Ends” by Victoria Lach, XII: poem (soul)............................................................. 13 “Deterioration of Mind Over Matter” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: poem (mind)..................................... 14 “The Mysterious Stranger” by Lucy Bailey, IX: charcoal (body).................................................... 15 “Tokyo” by Victor Gan, XII: poem (soul)........................................................................................ 16 “Lucy” by Elizabeth Brennan, X: photograph (mind)...................................................................... 18 “Plastic Daydreams” by Chloe Berger, XII: flash fiction (body)...................................................... 19 “Reflected” by Shana Levine, XI: photograph (soul)....................................................................... 20 “Your Sister’s In Tomorrow” by Austin Phares, XII: poem (mind).................................................. 21 “Necessity” by Sara Chopra, X: poem (body).................................................................................. 22 “Cityscape” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (soul)......................................................................... 23 “Snake” by Owen Felsher, XII: mixed media (mind)....................................................................... 24 “Him” by Hanna Freid, XI: short story (body)................................................................................. 25 “Moon Motel” by Ella Baseman, X: photograph (soul)................................................................... 27 “All the Company I Need” by Edward Nygren, XI: short story (mind)........................................... 28 “Looking Up” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (body).................................................................... 31 “Maybe I’m Related to Van Gogh” by Victoria Lach, XII: poem (soul).......................................... 32 “Horoscopes” by Sara Chopra, X: poem (mind).............................................................................. 33 “Galaxy” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)..................................................................... 33 “An Ebb and a Flow” by Kevin Deng, XII: short story (soul)......................................................... 34 “Mask” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (mind)............................................................................. 35 “Yawhgih” by Hannah Freid, XI: short story (body)....................................................................... 36 “Guilty” by Leo Nye, XI: flash fiction (soul)................................................................................... 38 “B” by Emma Shainwald XII: acrylic and ink (mind)...................................................................... 38 “Sinkhole” by Julie Goldberg, XII: flash fiction (body)................................................................... 39 “Already Half Way Down” by Zach Izzard, XI: flash fiction (soul)................................................. 40 “Whirlpool” by Hallie Hoffman, X: photograph (mind).................................................................. 41 “Self” by Emma Shainwald, XII: ink drawing (body)...................................................................... 42 “It’s Not You, It’s Your Daughter” by Katie Shih, XII: flash fiction (soul)...................................... 43 “Definition of Decay” by Catie Higgins, XI: poem (mind).............................................................. 44 “In Bloom” by Jamie Maher, XII: ink and watercolor (body).......................................................... 45 “Spring Came” by Spencer Wilkins, XI: poem (soul)...................................................................... 45 4

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“P.S.” by cymbals’ Staff: poem (mind)............................................................................................. 45 “Preying” by Hallie Hoffman, X: photograph (body)...................................................................... 45 “Have a Seat” by Maria Tkacz, X: photograph (soul)...................................................................... 46 “Little Shop of Horrors” by Austin Phares, XII: short story (mind)................................................. 47 “Blossoming” by Charlotte Eiseman, IX: ceramics (body).............................................................. 48 “Happy Place” by Julia Parks, IX: poem (soul)................................................................................ 49 “Live Your Life” by Abby Ling, XI: digital art (mind).................................................................... 50 “Growing Up” by Chole Berger, XII: poem (body)......................................................................... 52 “Sister Survivors” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (soul).............................................................. 53 “The Move” by Elaynah Jamal, XI: short story (mind).................................................................... 54 “Gossip” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (body)............................................................................... 56 “This Is the Only Way I Know How to Tell You That I’m Leaving You” by Catie Higgins, XI: poem (soul)............................................................................................. 57 “About Nothing” by Victoria Lach, XII: poem (mind)..................................................................... 58 “Desert Tracks” by Alex Neumann, XI: photograph (body)............................................................. 59 “It’s All About Me Anyway” by Morgan Mills, XI: flash fiction (soul)........................................... 60 “Rug Burn” by Rebecca Kuzmicz, X: ink drawing (mind).............................................................. 62 “Eyes on You” by Emma Shainwald, XII: mixed media (body)...................................................... 64 “The Scream” by Samantha Dwyer, X: ceramics (soul)................................................................... 65 “Automaton” by Owen Felsher, XII: conté crayon (mind)............................................................... 66 “Candy Land” by Ella Baseman, X: photograph (body).................................................................. 67 “Get Mossy” by Morgan Mills, XI: mixed media (soul).................................................................. 68 “Strings Attached” by Mary Schafer, X: ceramics (mind)................................................................ 69 “Pills” by Morgan Mills, XI: mixed media (body)........................................................................... 70 “Lemon” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (soul)......................................................................... 72 “Orange” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (mind)....................................................................... 73 “Seaside” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)..................................................................... 74 “Stars” by Emma Shainwald, XII: photograph (soul)...................................................................... 75 “Transcendence” by Chris Henry, XII: architecture (mind)............................................................. 76 “Evolution” by Noah Liao, XI: architecture (body)......................................................................... 76 “Dreamland” by Kiely French, XI: acrylic and ink (soul)................................................................ 77 “Skull” by Samantha Vareha, IX: ceramics (mind).......................................................................... 78 “I’m Sorry I Ruined It” by Lara Strassberg, XI: mixed media (body)............................................. 79 “Aquarium” by Chris Chai, XII: photograph (soul)......................................................................... 80 “Reflections” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (mind)........................................................................ 81 “Mirrors” by Cat Stevens, XI: short story (body)............................................................................. 81 “Outside the Museum” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (soul)....................................................... 86 “How Long Do We Stay Up Here?” by Nick Day, XI: poem (mind)............................................... 88 “Eyes” by Vasya Paushkin, XI: photograph (body).......................................................................... 89 “Kanyadaan” by Uditi Karna, XII: poem (soul)............................................................................... 90 “See You Later” by Jamie Maher, XII: photograph (mind).............................................................. 91 5

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“Severed” by Mia Wong, XII: charcoal (body)................................................................................ 92 “Maybe It’s Like This:” by Ava Herzer, X: poem (soul).................................................................. 93 “Little Lady on the Bridge” by Sofia Bae, X: flash fiction (mind)................................................... 94 “Monk” by Jamie Maher, XII; photograph (body)........................................................................... 95 “Defamiliarization” by Victoria Lach, XII: poem (soul).................................................................. 96 “Runner” by Tess Gecha, XII: flash fiction (mind)........................................................................... 97 “It’s Not What You Think It Is” by Nick Day, XI: flash fiction (body)............................................ 98 “Relaxation” by Michelle Leung, X: photograph (soul)................................................................... 99 “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Kevin Deng, XII: flash fiction (mind)............................................... 100 “Dust” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (body)............................................................................. 101 “I Owe My Innocence to the Creak in the Floor Boards” by Catie Higgins, XI: poem (soul)....... 102 “Distance” by Julia Parks, IX: poem (mind).................................................................................. 103 “My Hair” by Cierra Moore and Alexis Davis, XI: poem (body).................................................. 104 “Munchies” by Kate Laughlin, XII: photograph (soul).................................................................. 105 “What Could Have Been” by Sofia Bae, X: poem (mind).............................................................. 106 “In Motion” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)............................................................... 107 “Triumph” by Rebecca Kuzmicz, X: mixed media (soul).............................................................. 108 “Keep Calm” by Danielle Hirsch, XI: flash fiction (mind)............................................................. 109 “Lift” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (body)............................................................................... 110 “This Night Alone” by Chloe Berger, XII: poem (soul)..................................................................111 “Final Countdown” by Chloe Berger, XII: flash fiction (mind)...................................................... 112 “Blue Flowers” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (body)................................................................... 114 “Cold Water” by Sara Chopra, X: short story (soul)....................................................................... 115 “Watching Someone” by Morgan Mills, XI: ink drawing (mind).................................................. 119 “Just Don’t Think About It” by Morgan Mills, XI: flash fiction (body)......................................... 120 “Texas Porch House” by George Cole, XI: architecture (soul)...................................................... 122 “Bells in My Head” by Hallie Hoffman, X: poem (mind).............................................................. 123 “Growing Up” by Sophia Bae, X: short story (body)..................................................................... 124 “Old Man Waiting” by Michelle Leung, X: mixed media (soul).................................................... 125 “Your Therapist is Typing a Response” by Peter Teti, IX: flash fiction (mind).............................. 126 “Thanksgiving Weekend: The Prequel” by Leo Nye, XI: flash fiction (body)............................... 127 “Guard Boy” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (soul).................................................................... 128 “Finally Over” by Kiely French, XI: poem (mind)......................................................................... 129 “Trafalgar” by Sara Chopra, X: poem (body)................................................................................. 130 “Eye of the Earthquake” by Uditi Karna, XII (soul)...................................................................... 131 “I Hope You’re Happy” by Catie Higgins, XI: poem (mind)......................................................... 132 “Overlap” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: photograph (body)..................................................................... 133 “Melting Frostbite” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: poem (soul)................................................................ 134 “Suthers” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (mind)......................................................................... 135 cymbals Index & cymbals Staff (body)........................................................................................... 136 “Pop!” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (soul)...............................................................back cover 6

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“Freedom” by Michelle Leung, X: drawing (soul) 7

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Evolution of Personality I used to be tiny. A teeny tiny creature, A selfish little thing, Cozied up and warm, A cat, On a rug, By a fire, Content to simply be And not have to work for anything. A house cat. I used to watch mice run by and think, Why should I, One cat of many, Why should I Have to catch that mouse? I am not like that anymore. I hope. I’d like to believe, But now I am more of a fox, A little dissatisfied, A little untrusting, A little bit too alone For it to be any good for me But I prefer it,


The company of myself And the circus in my head of Colors and characters and lives, Dreams, Birds, People whose lives take flight And soar and flip and glide Through untouched, unconquered skies: I have them in my head, And I want to be them so bad. But I am just a fox. And foxes cannot fly. I will be, One day, I hope, A bird. Big and bright and beautiful. I want to be a grand sort of bird, One that people know of and speak of, Look up too. And with any luck, One they’ll never forget.

— Sofia Bae, X (mind)

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No Headlights It’s the end of the world. A six-year-old girl in Ohio told her mom that we should all just scratch whatever we’ve been doing so she started a petition to end humanity and everyone in the world signed it – this wouldn’t be possible without the internet – and some people thought it was a joke but others took it very seriously. Everyone will kill their neighbors. That’s how it’s going to be done, which means I’ll have to handle the short Guatemalan man who lives next door. I always forget his name; I’m killing him and I can’t even remember his name. It’s a large-scale, worldwide suicide pact. Some won’t follow through, of course. So the government will outlaw childbirth in order to discontinue the human race. Birth control pills will be forcibly administered, and any egg that manages to be fertilized will be aborted. When we’re all gone, there will just be the animals, left to roam the earth we have destroyed. A deer will cross the street and there will be no headlights. I’d just love to see a deer cross the street when the world is quiet and there’s no one speaking, not anyone, not anywhere, and there is no one folding a dollar bill into their wallet, no one laughing, no one crying, no one slurring words into a piece of plastic, and no one driving down a road at night and no one slamming, slamming, slamming on their goddamn breaks.

— Julie Goldberg, XII (body)

“Trapped” by Helen Healey, XII: photograph (soul)


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2 AM Someone once told me that home wasn’t where you are from, but where you are wanted. I guess I hadn’t quite found mine yet. Things at home were getting worse— Mom came stumbling home last night just before sunrise, the smell of whiskey seeping through her pores and spewing like venom from her mouth. I knew I had to leave sooner or later. My eyes burn from the 2am fatigue slowly blazing its way through my body, but I ignore the flames and keep my eyes locked firmly on the road ahead of me. With my left hand clutching the steering wheel and my right wrapped around a metal thermos of yesterday’s lukewarm coffee, I turn up the radio and brace myself for a long night to come, driving with nowhere to go. The highway in front of me is a never ending expanse of black tar streaked with flashes of red and yellow light that reminds me of Christmas, only it’s July and the last time Christmas actually felt like Christmas I was twelve and my dad hadn’t left my mom and me for Brenda From Work. For the past four hours I have been driving down the freeway alone with my thoughts, and I’m starting to realize that they made pretty s---ty travel companions because they never quite know when to shut up. Worthless, b----, and unloved all parade through my brain like they’re the performers and I’m the audience. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’ll do when I arrive, but every single bone in my body screams at me not to stop. The highway is littered with the bodies of cars, and I realize that in every single one is a person with a story, and maybe they are running away from something too. My dad had always said that 2 am was for the lovers and the lonely, and I have a pretty damn good idea about which of those categories I fit into. But when I roll down my windows and let the


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summer night fill my car, it tunnels its way down into the bottoms of my lungs, breathing a life into me that I never knew I had. The air smells like asphalt and gasoline and freedom, and in this moment it is the most beautiful thing I have ever smelled. My hair whips around my head like my own personal crowning declaring me queen of the universe. My universe. It’s one of those perfect summer nights where you can see every star in the sky, and I can feel them all shining down on me, anointing me with their light. The interstate signs all point me to a new destiny— El Paso Socorro, Las Cruces, each one cheering me on further and further until I find a place where I can be somebody new. On my right a black minivan passes by, and I can see two little kids curled up asleep in the back and the mother and father sitting up front with their fingers interlocked over the dashboard, a real family, and that’s when I realize that I’m crying. When those parents look into their children’s eyes, I’m sure that they see all the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, not missed opportunities and empty liquor bottles leaking disappointment. These kids knew what love feels like, the feeling I have been trying to catch like fireflies in a jar, but even fireflies go out eventually. Hot tears bubble from the brims of my eyes, streaming down my cheeks, and the more the wind rushes through the windows the more I can feel, somewhere inside me, an animal ripping its way through my skin and bones, sending its thick, guttural cries out of my mouth, and I’m pulled over to the shoulder clutching my knees tight against my chest like when I was five and our dog died and my dad held me in his arms telling me everything would be alright. Before my brain knows what it’s doing, my phone is pressed to my ear and I’m calling my father for the first time since I was twelve.

— Caroline Bernstein, XI (mind)


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“The Marks of Age” by Michelle Leung, X: painting (body)


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How the World Ends I look into the casket but it isn’t Daddy; his suit looks itchy, and they say not to touch. My hands slowly fall to meet not-Daddy’s cheeks, but they pull back because they don’t want to freeze like him. When I close my eyes, I crawl in with him; the padding inside cradles us until we fall asleep, my head in the space under his chin. When Daddy pulls the top of the casket down, he says he’s not scared anymore and asks me to stay, Mommy puts her forehead on his stomach, and she cries so hard that everyone in the room stares, Daddy smiles and runs his fingers through her hair. My hands wrap around his torso and I glue them there, and I can never leave, Until the priest starts to chant and pulls me out, and holds my hands behind my back. That night, after they throw him into the ground, and cover him with dirt and flowers with no roots, I dig up all the earth until my nail beds bleed but I can’t find him: the ground doesn’t end it just goes.

— Victoria Lach, XII (soul)


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Deterioration of Mind Over Matter I wonder if Otto Rapp looked in the mirror, before he painted this self-portrait. I wonder if he looked in it afterwards. I wonder if he marveled at the 2mm of cells that separated his insides from mundane infallibility and demigod immortality. I wonder if he rolled back his eyes, trying to get a peek at the red spiderwebs on white scleras, laying their eggs as time went by.

I wonder when he realized that though his teeth can be brushed for as long as he likes, age will begin to take its toll like blood orange lollipops, on halo-stained lips. I wonder if he reassured himself that the mind lives on forever, and I wonder when he stopped believing it. I wonder when mind over matter simply wasn’t, when rotting days-old human brain loomed over the corpse of who it was meant to always be. I wonder if he knew people were watching him die.


— Hadeel Eltayeb, X (mind)

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“The Mysterious Stranger” by Lucy Bailey, IX: charcoal (body)


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Tokyo You were striding forward, at a distant Osaka university, A smile on your face, your hazel hair flowing gently in the cool June breeze, That first and only summer of our Halcyon days, A shimmering morning sun shining above. We would be working when September came, Back to the grindstone, into the breach So I took your hand in mine and faked a smile. 
 That first day, we met in front of the noodle vendor at Shinjuku’s metro station, and walked the subway tunnels, the din of rushing trains punctuating our steps; Through the neon-laced streets, The sides of the skyscrapers and department stores covered in vivid, vibrant lights, 780-yen taxicabs streamlining from intersection to phosphor-lit intersection, Sharing club sandwiches at a fruit parlor, magic in the air, we strode, while Tokyo smiled. 

Each morning after, I’d call you, Yawning your name softly into the phone. We’d meet at noon for a lunch, Laughing as we munched on tangy seaweed rolls and stuck dull toothpicks in each other’s noses. Under an afternoon sky, Roppongi with its long hilly plains of well-cut emerald grass, Shibuya with its rustic wooden constructs in the middle of the urban jungle, We traversed the peaceful districts. In the evenings we would part, joking that only lovers shared dinner together, And I’d chuckle too, Wholeheartedly, Until that day when my laughter became dry and hollow— too much truth behind the words. 
 The cloudless days of June, Turned to pale, marigold-tinted vistas And we nodded at the shanty seafood markets filled with apron-wearing fishermen, carrying their nets filled with amberjack. We traipsed through shining clothing boutiques, The elegant French signage Juxtaposed with the blocky Japanese.

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And when I reached for your hand and held it gently, Your cheek blushed red— Or was it just the orange of the evening sun? 
 By August the sunset had turned cerise When we stopped at Yoyogi Park, its long dirt roads and earthy green deciduous trees, A deep viridian spot in the middle of our electric city. We sat on solitary benches overlooking deep, shimmering ponds, Staring out over the golden water of the evening, Talking about the noontimes we had spent over pork-and-rice boxed lunches, and the long afternoons, sipping from bubbling soft drink cans. 
 The Endsummer Festival in our quaint Japanese city, A day of festive spirit and euphoric cheer, city squares packed with the carts of spicy noodle vendors, cotton candy alongside squid pancakes, I held your waist on the merry-go-round.

Come nightfall, Leaning against a steel railing Overlooking the bright, radiating neon, staring straight ahead at the fireworks, I threw my arms around you as a red shower of sparks shimmered in the darkness. I tried to whisper to you as
a green rocket whistled into the sky, and exploded, making my voice inaudible, painting the night sky viridian. These streets are not the same now that you’re gone, The melon juice we used to enjoy is bitter, The rice-and-pork-cutlet tastes hollow, The bright lights lacing the walkways and bridges are muted 
 Winter Break is coming, and it’s snowing in Tokyo but it’s still summer at the Shinjuku metro station in front of that noodle stand and the fruit parlors, where we shared those club sandwiches near the bustling fish markets and the grassy districts. Only lovers take their last meal together, you said, all those months ago.

— Victor Gan, XII (soul)


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“Lucy” by Elizabeth Brennan, X: photograph (mind)


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Plastic Daydreams Pregnant Barbie’s name was Kate but she was just known as pregnant Barbie. Perpetually nine months pregnant, Kate was always on the verge of something greater. Her plastic skin held a magnetic detachable paunch. And inside her hollow stomach was a baby. Curled into a rolly polly fetal position, its toes stretched towards its mouth. Day in, day out, Prego Barbie’s belly was ripped off and sewed back on. Her flat stomach hidden beneath layers of plastic, always beating steady once the baby was gone. Like a pearl inside an oyster she was her own shiny thing. When her shell was off, she was just a woman.

She could try climbing up the corporate ladder without a Baby Bjorn strapped to her waist. She could join accountant Barbie and stockbroker Barbie on their trips to Manhattan. She could focus on me time, take a bubble bath. Maybe write that novel she always wanted to write. She remembers her mother saying how she always wanted children. Her sister cooing at babies when she was just ten. She holds a baby and her arms go stiff, go wooden. She holds a baby and doesn’t want to touch it, doesn’t want to break it. She doesn’t want to see it shattered. Her made-in-China heart burns when she thinks of owning someone. She doesn’t want to choke someone with her love. Doesn’t want to be strangled in return. Because she doesn’t have that nurturing touch, her fingers aren’t nimble and her voice isn’t soft. And she doesn’t want to stop being a girl. She wants to eat two servings of cake. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. She wants to jump on the bed until the springs break. She wants to watch morning cartoons until it’s 10 o’clock and the sun is midway in the sky. She doesn’t want to be bun-in-the-oven Barbie. She can’t be bun-in-the-oven Barbie. Manufactures might find her with a missing part. A fault in the assembly line. She can be alone without being lonely, doesn’t need to come in a set. She imagines throwing her belly away. Freeing her body. Her house barren but not empty.

— Chloe Berger, XII (body)


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“Reflected” by Shana Levine, XI: photograph (soul) 20

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Your Sister’s in Tomorrow You lie in bed staring at the ceiling. It’s Christmas Eve. You’re eight-years-old and your sister is ten. She’s out cold on an inflatable mattress at your feet. You lie there staring, the only one awake in the house. Maybe the only one awake in all of dirty Jersey. You lie in bed tonight, you’re eighteen, thinking how the time between falling asleep and waking up is insignificant. The last thing you ever remember is falling asleep; the first is waking up. Dreaming sort of blows your theory– semantics or whatever. You stare at a squashed bug or a water stain from a broken pipe, wondering if your sister is already waking up in the next day, ahead of you. Your stockings already fallen off the mantel, the nails pulled out with them. She’s opening her presents with Mom and Dad. You squeeze your eyes tightly, blocking out that squashed bug and desperately counting sheep. Your sister is in tomorrow, opening her presents, surrounded by the carnage of wrapping paper and bows.

You’re stuck, awake in last night so you shut your eyes harder. Mom and Dad sip coffee and turn up the heat on the floor boards. She’s crawling for your presents, foaming at the mouth and stalking her prey. You squirm in your bed. Her uncut nails claw at the gifts marked with your name. No one stops her ’cause you’re not there. Christmas is over and you’ve missed it. You didn’t fall asleep, so how could you ever wake up? You’re eighteen again, and your sister’s away at school, and your dad doesn’t live with you anymore. In a year, you’ll be gone too and you’ll come home and lie in bed, staring at a squashed bug on the ceiling, waiting for your stockings to fall off the mantel, wishing your sister still slept on an inflatable mattress at your feet on Christmas Eve.

— Austin Phares, XII (mind)


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Necessity I like my body when it’s with yours I like my legs when they’re under your palm and my eyelashes flutter between cough-syrup sleep and LED lights You’re caffeine-high and wide awake, you swear and your eyes don’t seem so tired but your whispers hang above the bed like it’s 3 am again and it’s really only 12. When you wake up I’ll be catching a flight and you won’t remember kissing me goodbye at dawn but the sheets where I slept will leave silhouettes and the hairs I shed on my pillow will tangle together

Tomorrow I will open my eyes to orange juice and cold milk a continental breakfast while you watch TV alone, lying in our bed staring at the ceiling like it’s 3 am again and it’s really only 10. I will butter toast as you fall asleep, almost jet lagged while the sun dots your nose and you drowse to the rhythm of talk-show murmurs When I fall asleep tonight I will be wrapped in white hotel sheets with only the sound of my own breathing to lull me carry me up and down like lapping waves I will follow you like the moon follows the sun and day chases night until we eclipse, and I return home again Back to you, your hands and your lips Back to one day and one night two suns, two moons back to where they chase each other across the sky, but not out of necessity.

— Sara Chopra, X (body)

with thanks to e.e. cummings


“Cityscape” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (soul)

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“Snake” by Owen Felsher, XII: mixed media (mind)


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Him It was dark, and my alarm clock read 5:57. I slapped down the snooze button. I had been in the middle of a dream when the clock’s roar had awoken me. He was buttoning his shirt, matching the button to the wrong hole as usual, and I was pouring coffee, my glasses turning white with fog as the steam rose. I got out of bed, got dressed, and headed out the door. I waved to Fred, the doorman. Tall, with one scrawny arm, the one that hailed cabs, and one with a big bicep, the one that opened the door, he smiled back, showing his missing front teeth. I always imagined Fred lost them a fight, his small arm making a mere dent in some proportionally limbed man’s face, at least that’s how I imagined it ever since he came to my apartment for the first time. Fred had flashed his empty smile at us, his breath turning white in the frosty air, and later that night, as we lay in bed, he ad-libbed Fred’s story to me, his cheek pressing up against his nose, as he turned his head towards mine and spoke softly. I turned left down Market Avenue to my usual coffee shop. I stood in line behind a small man with brown hair and a dark suit. His tie was crooked, the knot hanging off to the left, the collar tucked under on the right. I longed to fix it, to tighten the knot, to unfold his collar, as I did for him most mornings. I wondered if he would walk to work today, maybe his zipper down, his shirt untucked, his belt missing a loop in the back, or if the French manicured nails of her hands would repart his hair, tell him there is food in his teeth, give him his bag as he walked out the door. Would she remain at his apartment after he left? And fill the fridge with olives without pits and pulpless orange

juice? Did she even know that he only drank pulpless orange juice? Would she be there on Christmas when his parents came down from 40th street? And would she hear the story of the time he broke the window that one summer? Would she already know the names of his nieces and nephews? Would they already know her name? “Ma’am, are you gonna order or not?” The man with the sad looking tie had turned around and tapped me on the shoulder, as the cashier yelled to me. The cashier strummed his fingers one by one across the register, letting his nails click against the keyboard. He was short and could barely see over the register, but something about the scars on his face and his leathery skin made me forego asking them to use low-fat milk and put in extra sugar and substitute cocoa with cinnamon. I got a black coffee, drank four gulps before tossing it, and rounded the block back to 27th street. I arrived at work. I was a secretary at a small law firm, and although typing emails and answering phones and managing schedules was never a passion, was never something I wrote on elementary school posterboards when dreaming about being a grown up, it paid for a studio apartment, one meal out a week, and a small but mostly sufficient amount of shoes. I sat at my desk all day, taking calls, switching calls, redialing calls, and hanging up on calls (that man just did not understand that they did not do criminal law). I copied papers, faxed papers, mailed papers. I licked envelopes, replaced toner, refreshed the candy jar. It was 5:30; I left. As I walked out the door, I thought I saw his shadow on the ground, his broad shoulders and floppy hair

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outlined on the pavement as they were on days when he finished his work early and would wait for me at the door. On those days, we would stop at the park on 32nd street on the way home. We would sit on the middle bench— it had the best view of street—and watch as people fluttered by. A man with a padlocked briefcase would walk by. “He’s a spy,” he would say. A mother and two children would walk by. “She kidnapped them,” he would say. And I would laugh, and he would laugh because he thought I sounded “like a grandpa on oxygen.” Did she ever laugh like an elderly man? Had he ever put his arm around her on this bench? Had they ever seen “a former queen” or a “undercover rock star” together? But it wasn’t him. Water had leaked down from the second-floor air conditioning unit and had left a dark gray stain on three squares of sidewalk. I stopped at my P.O box on the way home, and as I left the post office, it had begun to rain. Holding a stack of bills and flyers above my head, attempting to preserve my dry hair with the advertisements of delivery pizza and announcements of walk-ins welcome, I leapt from awning to awning, catching thick drops on the pile as I reached the end of the tarp roofs. I dodged the flailing and animal-ear adorned umbrellas of young children and weaved through a crowd of old women, slowly making their way across the puddled streets. The rain got harder, drops falling from the ground up, hitting the sidewalk and splashing onto my bare ankles. Finally, I reached my apartment. I shed my raincoat and threw my keys and mail onto the table. Combing through my damp hair with one hand, water


softly hitting the floor as it fell from the ends, I flipped through the pile of mail. I picked up the top envelope. It was pink and square. Peeling back the top fold, I saw the white lace and the cursive script and his name. I threw the paper down. Did she pick out this stationary? Did she know his favorite color was dark blue and that he hated when she wore lace because “it looked ripped?” Had her parents already signed a check for a ballroom in June? Did he like her parents? Did they sit together on Sunday nights and eat spaghetti and look at old photos of her as a baby? Did she know that he is allergic to clams but not mussels? And that he likes it to be cold when he sleeps? And that he has a scar under his top left rib from the same summer when he fell off his bike? Did she know that he still loves me? I walked to the couch and sank into the lumpy cushions, my feet flying up as I sat. Heavy drops ran down my face, leaving the taste of saltwater in my mouth.

— Hannah Freid, XI (body)

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“Moon Motel” by Ella Baseman, X: photograph (soul)


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All the Company I Need In my mind I am a Saint. I always hold the door for other people. If someone doesn’t clean up their tray during lunch, I’ll clean it up for them. I don’t talk much, but I never offend anyone, and for that, I am a Saint. And I’m glad I’m a Saint. I’m glad because otherwise I’d have to learn to be more like the other boys and laugh hardy and make naughty jokes and talk about the girls in a way that should be romantic but the way they say it in their cracked voices trying to get attention sounds creepy. Or I would have to learn to be like the girls and maybe one or two of the other boys and just huddle up in corners and groups and talk and talk about what’s happening with who or what’s going on with me. But that’s not me. I hold the door at the end of recess and let the boys make naughty jokes and girls talk about what’s happening so that their lives are a bit easier and I don’t have to be any of them. Sometimes the girls will say I’m sweet. And sometimes the boys will say I’m cool. And that makes a bit of me smile, and I tickle a little on the top of my stomach. I fall behind again today, because I’m holding the door at recess and all the boys and girls crawl back into the middle school and scramble about in their lockers, and then I follow and scramble about in my locker, too. But today, as I depart my locker, I see a carelessly crumpled greenish paper left on the floor. I found a $20 bill. That’s enough for a couple of weeks of snacks at the school’s snack bar. I never get stuff from the snack


bar, because I never want to ask for money from my parents. What would happen if they said no? But here it is, money so I can get stuff from the snack bar that I always see people munching on while lurking around the playground. So I pocket it. I know that my parents keep snacks in our pantry, typical pretzels and apples one would expect from stuffy mathematicians. But the other kids get the other stuff. They crawl out late to recess with bags of potato chips deep fried and all sorts of assorted canned drinks with fancy fonts and rainbow puke on them and eat out of plastic wrapped-bags and I never see what’s in them because they always have their backs to me by the time they finish. And that stuff is probably a lot better than pretzels and apples. And today, I will get some. The clock ti-tick-TOCKs as it seems to do in our school, signaling the beginning of lunch. Most days, I do eat quite a bit at lunch because my mom yells at me if I waste money by not maxing out my available side dishes, so I’m rarely ever hunger the rest of the day. But this isn’t my parents’ money. So they can’t get mad. This is mine. A little gift for me. It’s the reward I get for being a good person, and the universe seems to always have a way worked out to reward good people. I usually go straight to the lunch line at the start of the period because I want to finish lunch fast because if I sit for too long alone, people always sit next to me and it’s awkward. But today I dolly myself to the front of the snack bar, gaping. A shiny, but slightly mushy, apple, a

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browning banana, a tray systematically lined with dozens of doughy cookies, a refrigerator of the canned drinks with fancy fonts and rainbow puke on them. I want to buy something, but something about the notion makes me ache-ily recoil. No one else is there. I have to wait for other people to be there, or else it wouldn’t make sense. So now I am getting my lunch late, and I sit down at a table by myself, and sure enough someone sits with me. It’s a social person, one of the guys who has earned the honor of being able to teeter back from the guys-group to the mostly-girls-group. And because of that, I know he’s one of those people who only sits with you because they pity you because they’re so sure that because you’re quiet and never sit with anyone or talk to other people and because they are all the opposite, they are better and have the right to pity me. And now things are awkward. “How’s life?” He asks. He says it as if making such a grand and general statement is somehow ironic and funny. I respond in an equally general way: “It goes on,” I explain. “Yep, I gotcha,” like he gets that all the time. “Hm,” acknowledging his response. Then silence. His eyes squirm in his head, trying to find something in the room to naturally latch onto so he can escape our brief and dying relationship. I eat my food intently, gobbling it down to reach

my only escape, which is to finish my food and leave. Normally I have nothing to talk about, and so I stay quiet. Soon enough, though, I find myself pitying him for his own backfiring attempts at good samaritan-ship. “I found $20 on the ground.” Instantly, his face lights up and his eyes stop wandering. “Aw, sick!” He exclaims. “You’re a lucky man. What are you gonna do with it?” I tickle a little at the top of my stomach. “I’m thinking of getting something from the snack bar,” I say between bites. “Nice,” he responds, taking the opportunity of a finished conversation to get up and move back to his usual seat with his clique. “See ya’!” He says, like he’ll talk to me again. I know he doesn’t really, but I can’t help feeling a little proud for succeeding in completing a social transaction while still seeming kind of cool. Maybe all I need is to have interesting things happen to me, and people will want to talk to me all the time. So I finish my lunch, put away my tray, and I approach the snack bar. I feel a mountainous fullness in my stomach, forcing my torso to drag my feet as I walk. That weight is partially alleviated when I find the snack bar crowded. It makes sense now. I’m in line, surrounded by an unfamiliar system of food preparation and people who seem to know what they’re doing. A large metal box radiates heat as a conveyor belt slowly rotates pop-tarts inside. I don’t know how that works, so I shouldn’t even touch it. Do

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I even want a Pop-tart? Will I get one and eat it cold? I eavesdrop on the others in line and hear the boys talking about the girls and the girls talking about what’s going on with who, and I’m here with my fist clenched around the twenty dollars in my pocket. But I’m going to get stuff. Just like everyone else gets stuff. I’m going to get stuff and eat it on the playground like how everyone else eats their stuff. I see one of those girls storm towards the snack bar while biting her lip. I remember one time I brought a bunch of the boys’ trays away and she called me sweet. I wonder what she’s doing since nobody ever comes for me. Does she want to talk to me? She stops in front of me, and I meet her in the eyes. It feels a bit too much, but she doesn’t want to break. “Is it true you found twenty dollars on the ground?” My eyes light up. “Yes!” She seems to tense up and raise her height a centimeter or two. “Well, are you just going to keep it?” I pause. Is she trying to cheat me? “I mean, I think so...?” I whip it out, conflict straining my cheek muscles. Her face goes a bit red, and now she yells. “That’s mine, I need it! Give it back!” My hand gives her the crumpled up twenty. “Ugh! There is so much wrong with you!” She stomps off and now I am standing in a line for stuff I can’t have and everyone stares like I am something and my cheeks are surely blushing a bright red since I can


feel them overheating and I just want to shrink into a corner and be invisible and disappear. I am on the playground where I usually pace back and forth on the sidewalk but today I don’t feel like I deserve that so I just lean against a wall and cover my face in my poofy blue hood so no one can see me. Now I don’t tickle at the top of my stomach; now I force my cheek muscles to push back my gums against a throbbing force in the back of my throat that is salty and stings. I did something bad. Why did she have to be so mean? I could have robbed her of money and then it would be a big deal and I would be a thief. But I am only a thwarted thief. I try to reason in my head why I’m right so that my face doesn’t feel so red and my throat doesn’t feel so salty. She shouldn’t have dropped it. I have a right to what’s on the floor. Besides, I’m always the one who cleans their trays when they don’t and hold the door for them so that their lives are a little easier. I imagine steam pumping out of my ears. I’m not holding the door for them anymore. See how they like holding their own door.

— Edward Nygren, XI (mind)

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“Looking Up” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (body)


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Maybe I’m Related to Van Gogh Van Gogh was named after his stillborn brother and there was someone that lost an ear but you don’t need to hear to paint

no words just strokes eventually he cuts his hand and stamps the blood

colors don’t make noises like mouths do they can bleed and cry and scream

desperate just to know he left something that was something that is him

the artist stabs himself like the hero but with the haired end of the paintbrush what makes him kills him

no smoking inside it seems like screaming behind glass

making for eyes to stare to be convinced that he knows what he’s seeing

you can say what you want with a mouth or some fingers or just with bones and breaths

a lifetime in a frame and hung up onto a white wall maybe even upside down

Vincent wasn’t a fake he was catholic who sinned a lot by mistake

putting a price on the insides of a person selling to people what they think they want halls of stories

and he painted the café where my grandparents met; he never thought about the café where they un-met


— Victoria Lach, XII (soul)

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Horoscopes waiting room, reading Cosmo, reading horoscopes rain falling on a sidewalk

a city window looking down:

red umbrella, twenty stories— the click of keys on glass, the buzz— blue LED lights

three streets down a clink of quarters a hearty bellow

green tea, Chinatown lights, Canal Street, almost midnight

loud crowds passing by tiny feet— children giggle

incense in her hair flames dancing on fingernails

smoke and oil— crackling tin foil the kitchen smiles.

blue flames licking silver saucepans, heaping bowls of pho thunder in the distance lapping up the steam

“Hello? Please hold—”

the candles go out

— Sara Chopra, X (mind) “Galaxy” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)


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An Ebb and a Flow It’s autumn and it’s cold outside. Dead leaves and acorns are littered about, flooding the walking space between the gazebo, soccer field, basketball hoop, and playground. Sometimes, usually during recess, the sun shines and creates shadows in strips starting from the base of every tree. It settles deep in the ground, heating the courtyard just barely enough to keep children outdoors. Up on the playground equipment, kids hop from piece to piece. Rope fastenings go taut and loose, and platforms on metal springs wobble and dance. Over at the gazebo, children sit and make a lunchbox pile like a bin full of jellybeans. On the soccer field, a game rages, players in sunlight thumping along as a ball sails net to net. The wind makes its way through. Acorns, hickory nuts, and dead leaves shift to the side, like pieces falling off a tipped chess board. They slide in the forest’s direction, many landing right around the shadow of a basketball hoop. Kids dribble and shoot. They shout and rock the hoop gleefully forward and back, until a whistle blows and recess is over. In the hours after recess, the courtyard quiets down almost entirely, save for a few special moments. On the soccer field, there are sometimes a few students who find enough free time to bring a frisbee or a stray tether ball out. They wind up and send the thing sailing, leaving behind a trail of either plastic colors, or loose string. It ends up in someone else’s hands, or directly in the woods. From

time to time, two people mess around on the playground equipment. They spin on a helix-shaped hinge until they can hear vomit knocking. Sometimes they hop from spring to spring, and sometimes they climb to the top and just talk until it’s time to leave. The gazebo sees two people who are sweet on each other. Every now and then, they sit down under the cozy roof and relax in the comfort of company. Sometimes they order pizza. Sometimes they don’t need pizza. The wind makes another pass, and though it’s cold and though they’d like to huddle, they don’t. As soon as recess ends, the basketball hoop doesn’t get much more than a glance from passersby. When there’s nobody around and the wind blows, everything seems to panic. The gazebo whistles a hollow yoo-hoo. The playground equipment, namely the molecule-shaped hinge spins like a weather vane. And a row of trees by the soccer field flaps like flags and sails on a boat. Branches crash into each other, and acorns and hickory nuts bounce near the goals. The basketball hoop gets little more than a resonance up and down its rusty pole, stagnant until the next recess. Between basketball games, it sees the sun shine right on the soccer field, playground and gazebo. Rooted deep in pavement, barely outside the gravel, dirt, and forest, it holds onto the idea of action. Students dribble and toss. They shout, eat, kick, and fall, without so much a care for the things they leave behind when it’s autumn and it’s cold outside.


— Kevin Deng, XII (soul)

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“Mask” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (mind)


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Yawhgih I climb into my car and drive on the highway—the same one where my car broke down four and a half years ago between Exits 10 and 11. The same one where Rico pulled over, in his four-door green sedan that had a busted left taillight and duct-tape holding the trunk down. When I feel the soft gravel of this road running under my tires, I remember how I was unsure at first, a man on the highway picking me up at night in his shell of a car, but by the time I reached Exit 12, I had already forgotten to call a tow truck. When I see the red lights of stopped traffic ahead, I pull down the visor and look at my face in the mirror. Red lines map the whites of my eyes and they remind me of what the rivers looked like from above the first time I went on an airplane, the time he took me on my first far away job, when he complimented my skill, called me a natural, and I wanted to fall into my seat and through the plane’s fiber glass floor until I could feel one of those rivers against my face. The traffic subsides, and I push down the pedal once again. As I pass Exit 13, a woman next to me honks continuously. I picture her manicured hand thudding against the wheel, creating a pulse, pumping the car’s heart back to life. In the split second when our cars pass each other, I see a small head rise from the window. I imagine he is trying to see what the commotion is. I hope his dad is at work, sitting in front of a computer in a city high-rise or riding first class on the way to a business convention or somewhere, anywhere.


I hear soft breathing coming from the backseat in my car, so I turn around. It’s the boy from the other car. He strains his neck and looks at me. He stares at my hands with his brown eyes. Feeling self-conscious, I look down at them, too. My nail beds are cracked and dried and red, and I pick my hands up from the wheel, and warm blood drips onto my leg, covers the wheel’s leather in the shape of five fingers. My heart starts to beat faster and harder, as if her manicured hand is striking it in rhythm with the horn. I turn back around, but he’s gone. His car seat and his brown eyes and his mom’s mini-van are all gone and my pants are stain-free. I change lanes and see the sign for Exit 12. As I pass this Exit, I try to restrain myself from tailgating the man in front of me, from gently nudging him forward with my front bumper. His silver Mercedes is rolling along at Sunday drive pace. He’s wearing silver aviators and a red tie, and he looks like some of my clients in his pinstriped suit. I imagine the inner pocket of his suit jacket filled with money, a thick stack of bills so thick that I can see a faint rectangle bulging through the fabric, so thick that I could forget that my trunk has been filled with his pearl-necked wives and grease-haired business partners. With my hand on the wheel, the dark pavement disappearing under my car, and all I can think about is Rico. I want to pick up the phone and tell him about the man I saw and how he looked like our client from three weeks ago. I can just see Rico polishing his gun as he answers, huffing his warm breath on the gun’s stained body. I can still remember its weight in my hands the day

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he taught me to shoot. Metal and cold, the recoil sent me back into his scarred biceps. It was four years ago, and I still hear him whisper in my ear, “Hold your breath and aim for the chest,” each time I pull back the trigger. When I see a car pulled over on the shoulder by Exit 11, its paint faded, matte, and peeling, with its hood propped up by an umbrella, I can’t stop thinking about how his voice would sound on the other line, how he would pause between sentences to blow out the ashy smoke of his cigarette, how he would laugh his deep laugh, straight from his stomach. By the time I decide to go help, I am already about a mile past, so I shift into reverse. As I drive backwards, all the cars on interstate 44 join in a chorus of beeps and honks and disbelief, but I stay focused, my eyes watching the rearview mirror as I keep my tires in between the two dotted white lines, cars swerving their heavy metal frames away from mine. I can see the car in the distance, its owner standing in front, flipping through the manual’s pages of diagrams and definitions. My phone rings, and Rico’s name lights up on the screen. I can just see him rolling over in bed, rubbing his eyes in his stained white t-shirt as he notices that my side is empty. I start to smile, but I stop halfway because it hurts where his knuckles pressed into my cheek last night. I let it ring. I edge towards the shoulder, my engine rumbling as my tires roll towards the guardrail. I shift into park, and start walking towards the broken down car. It’s dark, and the white lights of oncoming traffic blur my vision, but I can tell it’s gone. I scan the road for any sign of the car,

of its red, rusting sides. I listen for an engine chugging along or roaring back to life or a flat dragging, but all I hear are the low and soft sounds of healthy motors and freshly rotated tires against the pavement. I stand there, on the shoulder between Exits 10 and 11, for a little while and feel the wind against my face, its bitter November taste in my mouth, its sharp teeth biting my bare arms, and all I want is for it to cut me open, for my body to tear and spill until my blood runs across the highway in thick pools. I reach down to my phone and tell the police. Tell them about the first time I heard a bullet go through flesh. Tell them what it felt like to hold so many green bills in my hand. Tell them how I want them to lock me up. And when they ask, I spell out my last name slowly. I want to make sure they get it right, that when it’s on the news the vowels are all correct. Then I call the tow truck.

— Hannah Freid, XI (body)


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Guilty Even with my back to her, she still saw the lighter. I watched my friend get pulled by his ears into the house. Opening the door, she said: “Why don’t you enjoy the air for a little?” In the sweetest nicest most menacingly evil polite and most of all hurtful way. There was no high to be felt. No longer was I one of the good kids, no longer was I one of his friends she trusted. I wasn’t a nice boy. Pacing, pacing. There was no way I could wiggle out of this. I felt like I was losing blood as the jury determined whether I killed someone or not. There was no extra credit. There was no class participation. I failed all the tests. You can bet as soon as she called me inside I heard the words “Guilty.” My hand was shaking my body was shaking I was on fire.

— Leo Nye, XI (soul)

“B” by Emma Shainwald, XII: acrylic and ink (mind)


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Sinkhole They’re watching a movie that opens with a sex scene when he says, “I love you,” and she replies, “I’m uncomfortable, can we skip this part?” He drags the cursor and the screen flashes tableaus of skin on skin. She looks out the window, which doesn’t really look out onto anything, but rather stares blankly at the face of the adjacent apartment building. It’s a building much like theirs, old and brick, eight stories high. Linoleum tiles in the kitchens and shower heads that leak lukewarm water. He places his hand on hers and she can’t stop thinking about her fingernails, about how they’re stuck to their beds all of the time and for a moment she sees herself pulling them off. As she imagines this tearing of dead skin from flesh, he starts laughing at the computer screen. When they break up, she’ll take the silverware they bought from Anthropology. She’ll use it on special occasions. He’ll take the DVD of Freaky Friday and he’ll watch it by himself, in his new apartment that feels too small for his body but too big for his head. When they break up, she’ll take the Yankee candles and he’ll take the lighter. She’ll hold a candle up to her nose and breath in “Autumn Wreath” before tucking it back behind a picture frame; he’ll light a cigarette and stick his head out the window, flicking the paper to release the ashes, looking down at the people on the street and waiting for one of them to look up. She’ll be one of these people, following the shadow of whoever’s in front of her, turning down another street that looks about the same as the last, except for some of the colors have been muted and the people are walking faster yet talking slower, like half of everything is being fast forwarded. They skip the sex scene, which wasn’t very long anyway. The boy wins back the girl at the end of the movie but no one really thinks they belong together. Those three words, I and love and you, they’re lodged in his throat, forgetting they’ve already been spoken. So he coughs them up again as the credits roll and she walks over to the window and peers over the edge, down at the barren concrete, spotted with soda bottles and other forgotten objects, thinking how that empty space was a sinkhole.

— Julie Goldberg, XII (body)


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Already Half Way Down Towering beech trees. They grow to be 160 feet tall, native to Europe. Their leaves are their most attractive feature. Each leaf has its own story to tell. Some grow up too fast, turning golden-brown before the fall months. Like the girl who was getting wasted every weekend before she even set foot in high school. A rush of wind knocked a few leaves off of their post, sending them plummeting to the ground. They fell like the bum you saw jump from the George Washington Bridge last week when you were coming back from visiting NYU. And when you got home, you turned on the news and he was there. He was wearing a knit beanie, and a worn out old grey sweater with a baseball sized hole on the left shoulder. He had no friends or family to claim him. His body was found washed up on the side of the Hudson, found with a flask of Jack Daniels and a wallet with $24.37. As you stared, his portrait just stared right back at you. What if he changed his mind mid-air? It was your job to stop him. You knew it. But you did nothing. His blood was on your hands. His last cry for hope would evaporate as he ripped into the foamy water. Twistturnflop. Splat. Gone.


The leaf that you’re staring at begins to lose hope. Their mother slams the door in their faces, shutting them out of their home. Its beautiful malachite colors fade. It turns to a pale yellow, a color that you would find on third page of your grandfather’s copy of The Grapes of Wrath. And in an instant the leaf couldn’t prepare itself for the loss of its last friend. The leaf once resembled a brilliant spear. It had a sharp tip, and rough jagged edges. It is remnant of what the Native Americans used to slaughter bison. Carried by only the best of hunters, lethal weapons of destruction. The leaf has shriveled up, wilted away into nothing. Its sharp teeth are no longer strong enough to pierce the flesh of a buffalo. With one final breath, the leaf tries to convince itself that it’s worth it, that the pain will be over soon. Twistturnflop. Splat. Gone.

— Zach Izzard, XI (soul)

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“Whirlpool” by Hallie Hoffman, X: photograph (mind)


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“Self” by Emma Shainwald, XII: ink drawing (body)


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It’s Not You, It’s Your Daughter “Look at people when they’re talking to you,” Mom said as I looked over the menu. Head still tilted towards the chicken parm, my eyes rolled above the menu uninterested. “So how’s school going,” new boyfriend number two asked as if he were more interested in my multiplication skills than the fact that he just bought a midlife-crisis-red Porsche. “Good,” seemed like an adequate answer. For the both of us. For the nights after piano lessons when my mom will stop by his house on the way home. For the “I’ll be right backs,” when I will wait in the car wondering what’s taking so long. For the thoughtfully unthoughtful pens he will get me for Christmas. And for the next 9 months when I will just be some girlfriend’s daughter. “Good,” seemed like an adequate answer. Each conversation starter seemed to hit a dead end like the bubbles in my Sprite, evaporating until it was just flat sugary water. After lunch, he impressed my mother with his new used car that he got for a good deal and drove us around the parking lot with the top down. He lit a Marlboro red and went wild with the gas pedal. Except I was taught in school that smoking isn’t cool, so I held my breath most of the ride, hair blowing in the dissipated clouds of smoke. “So how was the ride,” Mr. boyfriend number two asked. I am nothing like the kids whose moms remarry and call their stepdad by his first name. “Good,” seemed like an adequate answer.

— Katie Shih, XII (soul)


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Definition of Decay Empty (adjective) – I’m so desperately trying to fill myself with transparencies and fluids to feel full again but water will not make my stomach lining any less toxic nor does it have the endorphins that I crave Substances (noun) – A method of coping I’ve never tried drugs but sometimes, I let my mind wander through trips I’ve never been on with flashing psychedelic lights and big pink bears petting my head to distract from the leaking hole in my stomach that once spat water and now reeks of moldy oranges To Heal (verb) – I don’t think that Lexapro ever fixed me “They’re not miracle pills,” my mom had warned me, as I let the first one glide down my eager esophagus nightmares often came with those magic little capsules Side effects (noun) – Uneasy sleeping I found it hard to touch friends whose hands slid up my thigh in the middle of the night they slipped further and further into a body they never got permission to steal Selfish (adjective) – People are getting shot by the second, and you have the audacity to be depressed?


— Catie Higgins, XI (mind)

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P. S. We lost our minds the day we laid out the mag, so please return if found.

— cymbals’ Staff (mind)

“In Bloom” by Jamie Maher, XII: ink and watercolor (body)

Spring Came like an ex-boyfriend, weeping with budding flowers.

— Spencer Wilkins, XI (soul) “Preying” by Hallie Hoffman, X: photograph (body)


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“Have a Seat” by Maria Tkacz, X: photograph (soul)


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“Little Shop of Horrors” You start gargling your blood and can’t mumble another word. The receptionist comes into the waiting room to get you. She’s cool, calm, collected, all covering an expression that otherwise reminds you of the fact that your t-shirt looks like an effing CSI: Miami crime scene. This is probably a good time to tell you that you sometimes faint at the sight of blood. Needless to say: don’t look down. She gestures for you to follow. You crane your head back at Mom the way your dog does before being pulled by a leash at the hand’s of the vet. *** Your surgeon looks at you with bulging eyes before scrunching up his very sunburnt nose, sending his unruly mustache rippling. He’s the sadist Mr. Potato Head. Just a few weeks ago it was summer. You were lounging on the beach in Bermuda. Now? Now you’re strapped to the electric chair. Potato Head snaps on a glove like MJ, and gets to third base with your mouth. Once he’s finished with the examination, he invites in the nurse who played Russian roulette trying to get the anesthesia IV in your vein this morning. Her glance shifts from your white knuckles to the bruises on the insides of your elbows, before recommending nitrous oxide. It takes an MD to come up with that level of brilliance. For us commonfolk: she figgity figgity effed up. They begin setting up the torture devices. If you die, you bet your ass you’re pissed if the last meal was Advil, chicken noodle soup, and pudding, washed down with a glass of your own blood and god knows what else. “Breathe normally,” Doctor Potato Head tells you. You hate to follow orders from the man that botched your first wisdom teeth removal, but a breathing strike

isn’t an easy protest. So you settle for glaring at him instead, and inhale normally. The machine behind you starts a low rumbling hum. It takes you a few minutes to notice, but eventually realize Walter White must be cooking up some premium back there. This s--- is great. Street name: laughing gas. You “breathe normally” deeper and deeper and are suddenly vibing to the sound of your own heartbeat, and Potato Head’s ’stache is hilarious. Also, apparently you’re a bone bleeder, and that’s the funniest damn thing you’ve heard all day. But play it cool don’t let them notice you’re giggling. They can deal with continuing that cryptic crap. “Strong stuff, huh?” At least that’s what you think the nurse says. It sounds like she’s underwater. “Mmmhmm.” “How’re you feeling?” “Mmmhmm.” You make eye contact with Potato Head, but he’s miles away. Peering down at you from 29,029 feet above sea level, he ties off the final stitches. Hopefully they’ll hold this time. The nurse tells the boys in the lab to turn off that Grade A gas. *** Your big sister texts you on the drive back home: “How’d it go? Mom said you had to have a second surgery?” “Trip. And. A. Half.” “You’re an idiot. Get some sleep.” “Christ, you don’t know the half of it.”

— Austin Phares, XII (mind)


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“Blossoming� by Charlotte Eiseman, IX: ceramics (body)


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Happy Place Smoke and the smell of a green lake. Tiny whispers of waves greeting the shore. Your mind trying to block out every single Shimmering rock on the beach, Trying to lose the feeling of sand Clenched between your toes. You struggle to wipe away the rough, clean waterfall of an old, rusty shower Only to be hugged by striped white and blue blankets and three dark wooden walls protecting you like a friendly dragon as you sleep. As a small sky of glow-in-the-dark stars Sings you a lullaby, You can’t lose track of the words to that bittersweet song. The watercolor paintings from a story about a rabbit Spin endlessly like a broken record In your painfully unfragmented memory. Your happy place holding onto you Like a persistent toddler. Whispering softly in your ear, “Don’t forget.”

— Julia Parks, IX (soul)


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“Live Your Life” by Abby Ling, XI: digital art (mind)


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Growing up He is seven and his front teeth are growing in Like grass underneath gravel They worm through the dirt Climb into the sun And curl into the heat His dog keeps pulling him And his body flies Like a kite Without a hand pushing down The cowlicks of his morning hair He drifts towards the daylight moon Hands to his sides Like he is pencil diving into the deep end He sucks in his breath And worries for a second that he will drown again That his toenails will scrape the cement As his mouth will fill with sour water While his mother sits by sucking the juice from pitiless cherries And this time no one will see him And this time he will fall into the drain

Next to the sleeping frogs And the twirling leaves And long nosed bugs Falling away Rising into the wind without a ripple His mouth an open lid Waiting to hold the sky The cotton rainbows The milky dew stars The stripes of color that live for only hours Half hours Before they fall into the night And as the rain enters his eyes He does not blink He reaches out His fingers stagger like he’s playing a piano Key by key Letting the clouds dissolve Like eggs in noodles Slowly drifting away from home Flying


— Chole Berger, XII (body)

“Sister Survivors” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (soul)

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The Move I love it here, the bunk bed I share with my big brother, the shower curtain with the fishies on it, and the big red slide outside. Mom says we’re moving tomorrow to I don’t know where. She says it’s bigger so we’ll have more room to “grow” but I don’t understand because I am little and I am going to be little forever and my brother is already taller than me so I can’t imagine how he is going to grow more. These giant men are holding electric screwdrivers and taking apart my and my brothers bunk beds and the tall men are taking out our play trunk. My mom says the big men are called “movers” and I am confused because we all move around so aren’t we all movers? They’re lifting mom and dad’s bed frame and the big couches and the TV. And now the moving men are gone and mom and dad are bringing their big mattress into the room that used to be our family room and now they’re bringing in blankets and they’re saying tonight’s our last night here, and I don’t want to leave. I ask why they didn’t take out the fishy curtain in the bathroom and I am sad because they said we have to leave them here and I don’t want to because they’re my favorite and how can my new bathroom be my bathroom without fishy curtains. Now we are lying, all of us, on the big mattress on the floor under piles of blankets and it’s a little hard to breathe under all that weight but it’s okay because I’m warm and snuggly and soon I’m asleep. The next morning I wake and mom and dad are already dressed and saying today is the big day, but aren’t all days the same size? We are moving and I am in my lucky blue t-shirt and Shadow, our tiny cat who scratched me last night, is in his cage and he won’t stop crying and that makes me cry and then I won’t stop crying and Mom is holding me and she is shaking a little and she’s rubbing her eyes,


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so I guess she is also crying because this was our first real home here in America and I don’t know what that means but I like hugging her because she’s my mom and she smells like lavender like the rest of this apartment and I hug her until she lets go and then we climb into our cars and drive to our new home. The new home is bigger and it doesn’t have the lavender smell and I’m scared to walk around because I think I’ll get lost and the basement is scary and dark and the mover-men are walking around and there’s a crash and Oh no, Mom says, they broke another lamp, and I am to stay away from the hallway because there is broken glass and I can’t find the cat and now I’m scared because I don’t want him stepping on the broken glass either, but Mom says he’s still in his cage and he’s safe and then we go up to where my room is going to be, and I don’t like it because my brother is at the opposite end of the hallway and I don’t want to sleep alone with him so far away because he used to sleep on the top bunk bed and me on the bottom and we used to have pillow fights every night but now we can’t because he is so far away and now I don’t know how I’m going to find him in the dark to crawl into bed with him when I get scared. But mom says we can paint my room whatever color I want to. I think we should paint it a nice lavender, she says, but I don’t want to see lavender, I want to smell lavender from our old apartment but now I’ll have all this space and I don’t want all this space though because we used to be so close together in our old apartment and now we are so spread out and I don’t know what the new neighbors are like and if we are going to have Barbie-Q’s with them still or if we are going to play outside with them or if we can sit and eat popsicles with them until our mouths look like rainbows.

— Elaynah Jamal, XI (mind)


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“Gossip” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (body)


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This is the only way I know how to tell you that I’m leaving you I tied the knot at 19 twisting each loop and crinkle in my rope I’m still unsure if I was planning to sail or hang myself

I sandwiched myself between his sheets in fact, it was a ham and cheese sandwich except he, the man I slept with while you were at work, was American cheese and you were an aged, white, sharp cheddar

Mona Lisa, when did you lose your sense of humor? what age did you stop smiling, because I’m awfully young to have wrinkles and no, they aren’t laugh lines

But the only problem is, I’ve never had a taste for the finer things in life.

— Catie Higgins, XI (soul)

I slip my ring off of my finger when I am reminded of you I twiddle it between my thumb and pointer finger finger fingers like mine were never meant to hold jewels my cuticles are wounded from the constant picking and the pudge of my hand rolls like the wave where we said “I do” my fingers were never meant to be a safe where you stashed your love


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About Nothing I’m thinking about what mom said how we forget things before they happen I don’t want to be old I don’t want: wrinkles, thin hair, bones that squeak me sitting here at this desk this will be gone maybe in hours, or days, or weeks but it will disappear I won’t look for this moment guessing where I sat what I was doing if I could wish I would wish to be in every second


again pain laughing bad hair concerts gross food I want to feel again to remember what it feels like to have felt everything we are nothing moments are nothing all of them soon will disappear maybe someone has every second on tape maybe you die and they project it on a screen for you and you watch but you don’t cry like at home videos where your dad’s voice is

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so loud you think he’s hiding that he’ll say, “gotcha!” you just smile or maybe you fake smile like you do now but cry on the inside how could you have missed so much already when half hasn’t happened why am I missing things I haven’t seen, people I haven’t met why can’t now last forever me sitting here writing this a whole world in the corner of a room I won’t remember any of you because it won’t matter just like nothing does nothing doesn’t matter

— Victoria Lach, XII (mind)

“Desert Tracks” by Alex Neumann, XI: photograph (body)


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It’s All About Me Anyway i. You (professional antagonizing force) You, in full You (the allocated second person pronoun/ focus of my pieces [American]), original etymology (German) euch, (born post The World Wide Web, during the year of Viagra’s invention, pre-911 [in an entitled Summer Solstice year, old style; in Millenial, new style], in Somewhere, America—currently alive [self-predicted death at an age before 20, face down in an alley-- Your Wonderland—Somewhere, America]), you are found not leaving me alone, carrying out occupation as a source of infatuation and/or figurative nosebleeds/real migraines (then—now), and often juxtapose words like “nihilistic” with “f---.” (Researcher’s Note*) Very eloquent but propensity to say ugly things; fingertips shake when you strike a match or when someone asks you to repeat yourself, yet you still tell others to “relax.” Would enjoy being referred to as “enigmatic” and would ignore the negative connotations associated with that word. Caffeine addiction issues (least significant of your addiction issues) and wears navies and jungles which prompts question thread of: are you a patriot of the earth or do you want to destroy it with boots and an automatic rifle? *{this entry’s formatting choice was loosely based off of Joseph Stalin’s Encyclopedia Britannica web-page— relevant details were altered where appropriate}


ii. Me (consistent worrier) Me, in full Just Me (English), original name (in Arial: Researcher’s Note**) Really It’s Just Me (born clinging to false ideals, imagining false realities, overly tempestuous [17.416 years ago], Melbourne, Australian Empire—today February 23, 2016, Princeton, New Jersey, The Only Country), and thinks that you’re cute (but you know: I’m biased), obsessed with the idea of Daisy’s White Roadster and types the following when prompted to “write about a time that you (Me) failed:” “Say things like: “relax,” “whatever,” “sure,” when he says things that make you blush-- blush in the chrysanthemum petals, crushed pearls, lavender sorbet bubble bath regard, not a nails in your left thigh, mouth opened to a moon’s crescent blush—because things that are easy are hardly rewarding. If he tries to kiss after coffee (only $1.65) or determine whether the lace is vermilion or scarlet after a moderate-casual, not moderate-fancy night ($14.50 for your entrée) then move your face to the side and let his lips touch rouging cheekbones. It’s acceptable to cheek-bone burn, but only if you’re wearing white and only if the hemline falls knee-level or below.” **{the researcher used Arial instead of Cambria (Body) to type this entry and feels very confident about the change—out of respect for the previous person that she was, she has not altered the Cambria (Body) font on any pre-existing entries}

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iii. Everyone Else (a consistent presence) Them, in full Them: Other People (Sounds), (born in a slow entering of bodies, fleshing out life in the empty space [initially a hollow room that swells with exhaled air clinging on to exorcised words and with the matter pushed to the sides of walls as motion excites the particles], Here and Now, The Present, Everywhere— until WWIII or a diminishing of natural/artificial resources), collectively construct a gaggle of emotions that manifest as girls in rosé sweaters (Researcher’s Note***), men with watermelon reading glasses, boys with violet hearts and indigo Nalgene bottles, periwinkle striped white socks to match the periwinkle checkered white button-up, children with white, make-shift, paper telescopes (Researcher’s Note****), poorly-received sextapes, things that are not “not beautiful”—just ugly and the consensus that “you realise that you just don’t fit here anymore.” ***{see Great Gatsby Quote: “I’d like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around.”} ****{see Ernest Hemingway: looking for hills or White Elephants?”}

— Morgan Mills, XI (soul)


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“Rug Burn” by Rebecca Kuzmicz, X: ink drawing (mind)


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“Eyes on You” by Emma Shainwald, XII: mixed media (body)


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“The Scream” by Samantha Dwyer, X: ceramics (soul)


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“Automaton” by Owen Felsher, XII: conté crayon (mind)


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“Candy Land” by Ella Baseman, X: photograph (body)


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“Get Mossy” by Morgan Mills, XI: mixed media (soul)


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“Strings Attached” by Mary Schafer, X: ceramics (mind)


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“Pills” by Morgan Mills, XI: mixed media (body) 70

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“Lemon” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (soul)


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“Orange” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (mind)


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“Seaside” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)


“Stars” by Emma Shainwald, XII: photograph (soul)

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“Transcendence” by Chris Henry, XII: architecture (mind)

“Evolution” by Noah Liao, XI: architecture (body)


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“Dreamland” by Kiely French, XI: acrylic and ink (soul)


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“Skull� by Samantha Vareha, IX: ceramics (mind)


“I’m Sorry I Ruined It” by Lara Strassberg, XI: mixed media (body)

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“Aquarium” by Chris Chai, XII: photograph (soul) 80

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Mirrors I’m looking down, but not focusing on my feet because I’ll trip, like I did yesterday. God, I know these sad gray carpets like I know my own mother. The same ones have been here for the four years I have, which doesn’t seem like a long time for a carpet when I think about it, but when I’m looking at it five days a week, forty weeks a year, it’s kinda like eating raisin bran for every meal, three meals a day. I notice the thin, black lace on my right shoe has come undone and it looks like a snake is trying to unweave itself out of the twelve metallined holes. What are those called? I don’t think they have a name. I start to count my steps. As I pass the chemistry lab, I see white Converse, stained with mud, probably from the rain all this week. She’s walking simply, with the bottom of her heel touching the ground the first, then the creamy white, waffle sole of the sneaker, then the toe, and then the same on the other side. Just like you’re supposed to do it. Heel, sole, toe. Heel, sole, toe. The apparent ease of her steps interests me, as someone who’s infamous for dragging my feet, especially in these tired halls. I have matching shoes, but they’re still bleached white because I barely ever wear them. Which I guess, if you’re the type of person who likes things to look the way they’re supposed to look, could be a good thing. I don’t know, that seems a little boring to me. You know what I mean? Anyone could have shoes that look like mine, but if they’re stained like hers, they’d be different. I mean, even if billions of “Reflections” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (mind)

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people had the same shoes that were also stained, no one would have the same stains, know what I mean? I don’t know. Maybe I should walk in the mud more often. I read online that you can tell a lot about a person from their shoes, and it seems like all my shoes have about as much personality as a depressed catholic nun. Converse lets out a shrill whisper of the word “oops,” followed by a forced, graceless giggle as she drops her pencil, embarrassed. The chewed up eraser end hits the floor first which makes the pencil bounce a little before it starts to roll along the carpet towards me. I’m looking down and I see the bright yellow coming at me fast and I panic and Converse saw me see it and there is no way she didn’t and she thinks I’m going to pick it up and I don’t. I keep walking with the words heel, sole, and toe swirling through my head like a broken record. Am I too young to use that analogy? It doesn’t matter, she thinks I’m even more of a b----, now, she definitely does. I look back as she crouches over her knees instead of bending over, a reason I rarely wear dresses unless I have to. Her hair grazes the floor for half a second as she grabs the pencil in one quick, swift motion. She rises and continues walking, looking at the dark blue painted wall ahead of her instead of down at her stained shoes. I feel guilty and I want to say sorry but then I think about how awkward and out of place it would sound if, after I didn’t pick up her pencil, I then apologized for not picking up her pencil. My face is burning up and my palms are sweating and I want to go home and turn on some music and fall asleep.


I park my car, taking up two spots, in the the back of the lot, just like my dad showed me how. I spent the entirety of my childhood hearing about how he hates when my mom parks too close to other cars. He has this weird thing for his cars, so I’ve probably spent at least a tenth of my life just trekking through parking lots, passing other perfectly good, open spaces on the way. If it’s raining, he drops us off at the front of the Olive Garden or the Cheesecake Factory while he routinely parks ten miles away because rain, or shine, “cars are not meant to be parked right next to other cars like some can of sardines.” Despite my recognition of how crazy my father’s practice is, I still manage to always park my car like he’s asked me to, I mean, he is the one who paid for it. That, and I still haven’t quite figured out how to park in between the lines. “Can you not park so far away,” Stephanie screeches, studying her nails or the ends of her hair, I can’t really tell out of the corner of my eye, but it’s definitely one of the two. I think I should ignore her, but I want to say, “can you not be such a b----,” but I don’t. “My dad makes me park like this,” I explain, keeping my eyes on the faded white lines of the Macy’s parking lot, hoping my car slides in just right so she can’t give me crap for being a horrendous driver, too, even though I am. She steals a look at me, and I can tell she’s gonna make some snarky comment about how my dad’s not here and she’s doing this for me and she doesn’t have to be here. “Just park,” she utters coldly. And I do. I turn off the car, but she doesn’t reach for the door, she just sits there,

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entranced by the light of her phone, and I wonder how someone could stare at a screen that long. “Steph,” I say, “You gonna come or…” Still staring at the artificial light, she says nothing. I get out of the car, and the door shuts a little harder than I intend it to. She does the same on the passenger side, but the door shuts a little harder than mine, and I think she wanted it to. I wait for her at the rear end of the car and I walk slowly towards the entrance of the mall, dragging my feet against the pavement. I can feel my shoe is starting to wear down at the toe, where it always skims the ground. They’re perfectly good shoes, though. Comfortable. And they match everything. Stephanie isn’t far behind me, and she manages to get halfway across the entirety of the parking lot before looking up from her phone. I imagine she’s sending flirty texts to her boyfriend, Justin, or maybe another guy, it wouldn’t be the first time. Probably something along the lines of, “the things I’ll do to you when I get home from shopping with this b----…” but I don’t know. I’ve never sent those kinds of texts to a guy before. I sometimes glance at her phone screen when she’s in another room, and the messages she receives from guys are always sexy. He tells her that she’s “looking good,” which I assume is in response to a picture she’s sent. Gross. Or that he’s “alone” and he’s “thinking about her.” But I’ve never seen her responses to these texts and I don’t exactly know how she responds, but I assume it’s nothing less than PG-13. I wonder if they ever ask her about her day or ask her to go out to eat

sometime, or if she’d even like it if they did. I wouldn’t be surprised if sex is the only thing she ever thinks about, it definitely is the only thing she ever seems to talk about. I think to tell her to look up from her phone, that she might get hit with a car trying to back out if she’s not paying attention, but I don’t. We’re inside, and we’re scanning the shoe section of Macy’s, and Steph palms the right of a black, coach sneaker, “This one?” she asks, looking up at me with tired eyes. “I don’t know,” I say, because I don’t, and she tosses it back next to the left one with disdain. She keeps searching, and I pretend to search, too. Steph is pretty. I mean, she’s not the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but she has good features, you know? And she’s definitely a lot prettier than I think I’ll ever be, and she’s only seventeen. She has long, thick chocolate brown hair that is mostly straight except for the perfect curls it forms at the very tips, the ones she’s always picking at, pulling apart her split ends. I assume it’s from all the flat ironing she does to it, and I sometimes tell her it looks better when she lets it curl, but she rarely wears it that way. Which doesn’t surprise me because I don’t think my opinion really matters to her. “Justin likes it this way,” she’ll say, and I try to imagine styling my hair to the likes of a boy, but I can’t. “What about these?” she’s holding up the right of a pair of white Converse. I step closer, and she hands me the sneaker. It’s bright white like Steph’s teeth, so bright that I can swear I see it kind of sparkle for a second.

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There’s a skinny red stripe that follows it’s trim and a matching blue one that runs parallel. I turn the shoe upside down, and run my fingers along the ridges of the bottom of the shoe. I laugh because it looks like a waffle and I don’t know what I was expecting because it looks like the bottom of any other shoe, but it seemed like something somebody would do when looking to buy new shoes, right? “I like them,” I try to say convincingly, but Steph doesn’t buy it. “Why’d you ask me to come help you find new shoes, if you don’t even care,” she demands, rolling her eyes. “Steph, you’re the one that insisted we come here to buy me new shoes,” I scoff with more confidence than I should. She’s staring at me and she knows that I hate it when she stares at me and I feel like I’m gonna cry and I don’t exactly know why because that doesn’t seem like something a girl does when shoe shopping with her best friend. Steph lowers her gaze towards my tattered, grey Vans, “You need some new f-ing shoes.” “Okay,” I say, my eyes tearing up. I push open the door to the girls’ bathroom, the one that’s in the English hallway because it’s the only one that has a full length mirror. I ordinarily don’t worry about where the mirrors are in school because I have a rule: I only look at mirrors when I’m at home. I don’t like to look at myself, but something about seeing Stephanie in the hallway and not picking up her pencil for her and how she probably has forgotten my name, made me want to look at myself. My shoes clack against the red tile of the bathroom, and there’s a sort of echo, too, which I


never really noticed before, but I like. There’s a straight path from the bathroom door to the mirror so I can see myself before I’m even totally inside, which means I kind of have to look at myself at this point. The mirror hangs on the brick wall like a painting and it’s framed like one, too. It’s long, and rectangular, and it sits above the aluminum trash can that is overflowing with crumpled up paper towels. My shoes clack four times, and I stop halfway in between the mirror and the door. I think about math class earlier and about how Mr. Foster had Rebecca Arlington stand up to demonstrate infinite limits. I used to be friends with her, too. She’s dating a college guy now. Mr. Foster asked Rebecca to walk halfway to the door, and she did. Then he asked her to do it again, and she did. And again, and again, and again. You see the point is, she kept getting closer and closer and closer to the door, but she never quite made it because she was only allowed to go halfway, so even when she was only an inch away from the door, her next step could only be half an inch, and then a quarter of an inch. So she never got to the door. I don’t know, I thought it was cool. I’m looking at this mirror and all I can think about is maybe, if there are some infinite limits involved, I’ll just never quite make it to the place where I have to look at my reflection in the full length mirror of the bathroom in the english hallway. The first thing I notice is that my pants are too tight, and it looks like I’m trying to appear to be skinny, even though I know I’m not. I lift up my shirt to look at

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my stomach, which is something I immediately regret. The tops of my hips are spilling over my jeans and my stomach folds in it’s usual place just beneath my belly button. I think about a story Steph told me once about this older guy she slept with and about how he kissed her on the same part of her stomach, and about how it made her go crazy. But her stomach is flat and I don’t even know if any of her stories were true. I put my shirt back down and I step closer. It feels unnatural doing this at school. My normal routine takes place just before I shower in the mornings. I take my hair out of its nightly fashion, rolled up into a messy bun, and it hurts because the hair tie has been in all night. Then, I take off my clothes and stand in front of the mirror. My face is both oily and dry at the same time and sleeping in all of my makeup doesn’t help that fact at all. I don’t know why I don’t take it off at night. I think I’m just lazy. My eyes are puffy and tired and encircled by black splotches. I study my body and I practice sucking in my stomach different ways to figure out which way makes me look the best, the thinnest. The white tile is usually freezing, along with the rest of my house in the morning, and my toes start to curl up if I lock my feet in one place for just a little bit too long, which is kind of a good thing because it makes me want to get into the warm shower sooner. Thinking about my morning ritual makes me wonder why I’m standing in front of the full length mirror of the girl’s bathroom in the English hallway, and I don’t know.

I take a step closer anyway. My hair is thin and short and dirty blonde. It’s frizzy, too, but that’s because it’s raining. I finger the first couple strands and place them behind my ear, revealing my pearl earring that I don’t remember putting in this morning. I step closer. My skin. It sucks. I step closer, again, and this time my nose grazes the edge of the mirror which leaves behind an oily orange smudge on the glass from my makeup. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the door open swiftly, and I throw myself backwards so fast, you’d think I was going to get arrested for looking into a mirror at school. I look down and begin marching towards the door as I leave the scene of the crime. The only evidence: the smudge on the mirror.

— Cat Stevens, XI (body)


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“Outside the Museum” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (soul) 86

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How Long Do We Stay Up Here? It’s been going on for how long now? I couldn’t hear him over her yelling and crying. I think he said like three years. Oh. That long? I think so. Why? Is that a long time? Three years is bigger than the gap between my age and your age. Does this mean what I think it means I don’t even know what that would mean though. What would happen to us? I think it does mean that. I don’t want it to. It absolutely does. Did you see how sad she looked Yeah. Did you look at him? I only looked at his hand make a fist and knew we should leave. When we got up the stairs a shatter echoed through the whole neighborhood. And she yelled. That too. I wonder if he’s deaf now. Do you think they love each other? It sure sounds like they don’t. Nobody has to love anybody. How long should we stay up here? I don’t know. Until it’s quiet. I just want to go to bed.


— Nick Day, XI (mind)

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“Eyes” by Vasya Paushkin, XI: photograph (body) 89

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Kanyadaan She—the object. Her body wrapped in an intricate red sari. Her hands and feet embroidered with henna. Her exposed skin embellished with jewels. Gold bangles. Gold earrings. And a golden hoop of a nose ring. She represents the fortune she will bring to her new family. Her uncle leads her to hear seat, where a cloth separates her from the bridegroom, a stranger, on the other side. Once the priest recites the initial mantras, the bride and groom must place a garland around each other— indicating mutual acceptance. The cloth falls. The stranger sneaks a gaze at his bride. They place the garlands. The bride becomes the Goddess Lakshmi—of wealth and prosperity. The stranger becomes Lord Vishnu—the protector. The Supreme God. And the bride’s father—is still her father. Her father’s next step will be the hardest, and most noble act he completes in his lifetime. He holds her hand. The day she was born, she wrapped her finger around his pinky. When she stood for the first time, she grasped his hand for support. On her first day of school, she held his hand tightly. Today, he holds her hand as her father for the last time.


She does not want to let go. She knows what is coming next. But this must happen. This will purify his family of sins. The is his sacrifice. She is the sacrifice. He places her hand on the bridegroom’s palm. Then places his own hand atop the two—his blessing. The priest pours the holy water on the father’s hand, and the water trickles through the crevices of the bride’s hand to reach the bridegroom’s. The father lifts his hand. He has let go. The kanyadaan is complete. She sheds a tear. Her father fights the urge. The bridegroom takes the red powder on his thumb, smears it along the line parting her hair, marking his territory. She can now lose her virginity. She is the gift of a virgin. She is a traditional Hindu bride. Lone in the celebratory crowd. Bereft in her adoption. Voiceless.

— Uditi Karna, XII (soul)

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“See You Later” by Jamie Maher, XII: photograph (mind)


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“Severed” by Mia Wong, XII: charcoal (body)


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Maybe It’s Like This: I’m 19 in New York getting into a taxi that collides with a red car and spins towards a truck gaping with garbage on 72nd and Lex. Bonfires of blackened gas flood my nose, clog my lungs. Glass fractures pierce flesh and I’m upside down. Christmas lights dangle, like broken stars. Or I’m 55, wobbling into the doorway of my home. My hair short and rough. A scar, my souvenir. How long has it been?

Or I’m 91, lying in a bed surrounded by pink tulips, cards from grandkids, balloons bobbing across my room as hands shrivel, shrivel,

shrivel. Life: petals,


— Ava Herzer, X (soul)


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Little Lady on the Bridge It was raining. It was night, and it was cold, and it was raining. It was dark and cool and cloudy, and it was sad. I was sad. Sad and hollowed out and done. Tired. Exhausted. Empty. I was empty. I was finished. Finished with everything.

And then I fell.

And the rain kept on pattering, down down down it came. Down down down to the ground and SPLASH it was gone forever, over, ephemeral, fleeting and pointless and constant. Down, down, down, SPLASH. Down, down, down, SPLASH. Down. Down. Down... Down.

It was regret. It was fear. For the first time in a long time, I felt alive. And for the first time in a long time, I wanted to stay that way.

And I, I was lonely. Lonely on a lonely bridge alone besides the constant drone of the rain going down down down SPLASH down down down SPLASH. Alone on a lonely bridge with silly rain and rolling clouds and a grey that stretched into the furthest parts of infinity. A haze and a dream, the lightening broke through the sky and scorched the air and I inhaled the faint smell of petrichor and tears and stared. Alone on a lonely bridge with pattering rain and rolling thunder and muted lightening and the torrential, angry waters underneath. I was ok. Except I wasn’t okay, except I was here on this bridge in the night in the cold, inching my way towards the edge towards the water towards the torrent that would hopefully, finally drown out the sadness and the emptiness and the exhaustion. Except I was here, a step from that edge, a step from death, in the slippery rain coming down down down down down DOWN and down and down and SPASH. Except I was here, chilled to the bone and wanting. Longing. Tired. Except I was here. Moving forwards. Onwards. Upwards? No. Moving on. Downwards.


It wasn’t, it wasn’t what I had hoped. It wasn’t muted or quick or final. It wasn’t an end. It wasn’t an answer to my call or a promise or an acceptance.

It was a slow fall, a long fall, a, a conclusive fall that was maybe a couple seconds, probably an eternity, and an infinity too long. I saw everything. I felt everything. I could smell and feel and taste the fear in my soul and the terror in the air. I was falling to my death, inconsequential and small and abrupt. Like the rain. Like the thousands of little drops of rain falling around and with me, down down down down. Down. Down. Down. I realized then that, everything in my life I thought was unfixable was completely fixable—everything except for having just jumped.* And down I went, and further still. I saw little things, things I had forgotten: summer days in the park, chilly nights warm in bed staring at a glowing screen. I tasted coffee and candy and sugary sweets I hadn’t realized how much I liked, and I felt fuzzy blankets and warm fires in front of me. I smelled again, in hyper-detail, the scent of rain and of flowery soaps, of bakeries and of trees. But worst of all was what I could hear. Laughter and tears, hiccups and voice cracks. Silent, painfully echoing cries of help me, I’m lonely, I’m lost. Quiet but voluminous. Silent but there, filling up the darkened corners of rooms.

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And I could hear it louder than everything else, a scared little voice that whispered through everything: I don’t want to die. Maybe I screamed, for one of the few seconds I was airborne, falling. Maybe it sounded like a screech of twisted regret and fear, maybe it was a catharsis, a letting out of everything and anything because in those few seconds, it was all too much. Or maybe I was silent in my descent, watching with wide, frozen eyes as the blackness of the water approached faster, faster, closer and closer. I remember the rain and the silence. The quiet so loud it hurt my ears and I remember crying, my tears chasing me down down down. I saw as they surpassed me, down down down. I finally felt the cold, sharp and real and important, down down down, and I saw the lights flicker in the beautiful silhouette of my city, my home, against the rolling grey of the skies and down down down. I saw my tears hit the water, down. Down. Down. SPLASH. And I knew that, I was next, and that I would drown, drown, drown. Splash.

— Sofia Bae, X (mind) “Monk” by Jamie Maher, XII: photograph (body)


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Defamiliarization I close my eyes and imagine all the places I can’t fit in; under the sink, in kitchen cabinets, behind the toilet. A question has me spinning in a direction that seems to be the wrong way, “Do you have a tattoo?” Clockwise. Maybe counter-clockwise. I fall into sheets with a face that isn’t mine, Something like a letter, writing to my father as if he were still alive, “I’ll see you soon.” I love for the hundredth time, wondering how something can be invisible and everywhere. Whatever comes next, you’re the thing after that. A hand brings a pin too close to a balloon, the word familiar. Let’s have a conversation… you asks a yes-or-no question and I shake my head. Light takes time to travel, everything I’m seeing is in the past, the world ends like it does every night but then it starts again in the morning. Being feels like a mirror that doesn’t know what it’s reflecting.


— Victoria Lach, XII (soul)

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Runner I write about pain but not my own pain because that’s too personal and I don’t like to get too personal because when I do I feel naked even when I have on my favorite red and white sweater and corduroy pants. I’m fast— really fast. Maybe that’s why I’m so good at running away from my problems. Ready set go—the bullet cracks through the air and my feet lift off the starting blocks and my eyes stare at the dusty orange track which only goes straight never looping around so there’s nowhere to go but forward. Sometimes my problems sneak up behind me and wrap their large hands over my nose and mouth and try to suffocate me. Sometimes in my dreams an dark forest lures me into its black shadows and once inside I step on broken dreams and shattered hearts and climb through webbed memories and pools of tears and finally arrive at a steel cellar hiding underneath winding roots and sticky leaves and the door rattles and shakes and I know something’s trapped inside but I don’t want to know what so I pick up my feet and make them move faster and faster until the soles of my shoes wear out and I reach the open sky. I don’t mind writing about other people’s pain because there’s a separation between me and them them and me and I like it because I can escape my own pain even just for a second while I transfer theirs into a notebook. I write about the girl sitting in the corner third period nibbling at a loose strand of hair that hangs over her forehead praying that she’ll somehow blend into the plaid green armchair as the clock ticks to fourth period. I write about the boy who feels like he’s choking

even though he desperately tries to shove his hand over the mouth of the boy hiding behind the thickness of his own skin who says yes you’re different but no you won’t accept it. I string together stories that fall into my ear from the boy with the messy hair down the street. One night we kicked at tall stalks of grain in the field by the park and swatted at the twinkling lightning bugs under the rocky round moon hanging so low in the sky I thought I could reach out and touch it. He stopped in the middle of the bright light and bowed his head toward the ground. What’s wrong? I don’t know how. How to what? How to live. I etch the story of the girl who showed me the tracks of her pain running across her smooth caramel skin into the white college lined paper. She told me how the tracks grew deeper, wider—how they began to take on different shapes and make different turns and how one time she carved the tracks so deep they drowned under a pool of blood and she became weak in the knees and fell to the floor. My hand hurts from gripping the pen so tight while making their pain real by writing it on paper but I’m relieved because the clamp around my neck loosens and my airway is no longer obstructed. My chest effortlessly rises and falls—expands and contracts. The salty droplets no longer slide down my cheeks—only my red eyes are evidence that I even shed a tear. My body melts into the chair. My legs stop shaking back and forth. I finally lie my feet on the ground without making them run.

— Tess Gecha, XII (mind)


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Its Not What You Think It Is When my mom was in medical school in Boston, she cut apart real people. The bodies were dead of course, called cadavers or something like that. A ‘cadaver’ sounds like something you’d put on a stick and swirl around in a clay colored sweet and sour sauce. When I first heard this as a kid, I almost called the police, reporting my Hannibal Lecteresque mom. I’d make sure the straight jackets she would get would have a high thread count or something like that because her skin gets irritated very easily. I got to hear about the insides of humans, what they looked and felt like. Why this was here and that was there. It’s one of those things you hate to think about but can’t get it out of your head. So it just lingers there, like when you’re having a conversation with someone and all you want to do is say goodbye. She told me about the brain. How ugly it was. How it was runny like watered down gray pudding and just slipped through your fingers and splattered onto the floor. It’s not what you think it is: pink, tightly coiled with neurons firing and synapses twinkling. It looks like something you’d see at the end of an urban alleyway next to a dumpster with flies buzzing over it. Maybe a stray cat or two sleeping in a neighboring box. All of us are controlled by this gelatinous creature, sloshing around in our skulls and fermenting in juices. The brain is a pretty arrogant considering the fact that it named itself. Thinking how this, my own brain, works. The dictator of my body. Do I tell my brain what to think? Does it think itself? It’s said we only use 10% of it or something like that. Maybe because the brain is selfish and knows things about us that we cannot know and it wants to keep them all for itself. I find myself trying to answer the question, “How does my brain work?” That’s a mystery. Sure, on a scientific level, we know all about the brain; it’s lobes made up a vast network of sensory highways. For me, these highways are constantly cluttered with traffic, loud honking and toll booths occupied by cranky operators wearing rubber gloves. Right now, my brain feels like a clogged up paper towel machine in a public rest-stop bathroom on the interstate. Yesterday, it felt like an ant hill in the middle of a thunderstorm. Tomorrow, it will feel like a bruised apple in the bottom of a landfill. Maybe one day, medical students will be looking at my insides. Thinking how all of this goop could possibly make us, us. Thinking how something so not human looking is actually what humans are. I’ll be bead. I’ll smell bad and have cold tight skin with dried, black blood and empty eyes. My brain will still be there, not as juicy but just as ugly. A young woman will be slicing me open. Later she will have children, a son and a daughter, and she’ll tell them how gross we are. — Nick Day, XI (body)


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“Relaxation” by Michelle Leung, X: photograph (soul)


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Down the Rabbit Hole A little wormhole runs loops in convolution, connecting the ear canal and the dome of the skull. After entering the new expanse, a new white noise forms and fills the sanctum. It sounds like two mountains being ground against each other, crumbling and pulling each other apart with a dull growl. From the inside, the sanctum looks not unlike a warehouse, only with the color scheme of the moon: white on the lit surfaces, black wherever light doesn’t make its way. And in the center of the vastness, sitting atop a pile of human meat and mucus, is a projector—the kind used for film. On top, where the reels would be, the brain sits—plop—and pours itself through the busted lens and onto the backs of eyelids left and right. People run in reverse, roses catch petals from the wind, children rip a snowman apart, and a pond ripples back and its ridges meet in the center. A news anchor reads random words and song lyrics off a teleprompter. And then, there’s a five-minute closeup on a spider eating another spider. The finale is black and white footage of a door opening and closing by itself. There’s nothing behind it. As the movie closes, the title arrives. “Haywire.” Roll credits. There’s only one name. It’s yours. The end. ­— Kevin Deng, XII (mind)


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“Dust” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (body)


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I owe my innocence to the creak in my floorboards They led me away from the heroin I kept behind my eyelids and the joint that always rested behind my ear They never once forgot to remind me that boys were not welcome upstairs “He is bad news,” they’d scold And I knew it too, as he passed the milky powdered snowflakes my way They kept me from the pills covered in sweat during 3 a.m. fits “Sing me a lullaby,” I’d ask them and they would hum the honey-colored melody of white noise


— Catie Higgins, XI (soul)

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Distance I rest my palm On the pale green paper Feeling the comforting weight of your Soft knuckles Where they must have moved Slowly across the page. I imagine what it must have sounded like, The faintest scratching Of your engagement ring Running along the little blue blossoms Entwined around the edge of the stationery. I picture your cotton robe with the roses on it, Rolled neatly up your freckled arm as you write. I curl my fingers around an invisible pen, Tracing your movements across Your swooping script. We’re not so far apart, now Our separation measured In the distance between our hands Folded neatly into a Small, green Letter.

— Julia Parks, IX (mind)


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My Hair My hair is not for public consumption. It cannot be fully understood within razor-sharp edges of magazines that threaten to cut off the strands that fall off the page. Curious hands tug at my follicles like the thousand hands of Kali, goddess of destruction, edging closer to my edges. Inquisitive fingertips pluck off hairs like sweet berries off unwilling vines, but it is not theirs to hungrily devour and throw away the stems. I remember when the only hands near my fro were Mommy’s, and the only tugging was when she raised up those cornrows on my little head, thin and always too tight. The only burns came from that peppery-tingly grease painted between my rows making my tender scalp shine, like Mommy’s wide smile when she snapped on the last bow barrette and said “All done, Sweetie.” And now a new fire licks at my mane, the sizzling metal of the flat iron that closes in on my rebellious roots. I singe off my memories of Mommy’s tugging and pulling, the smoke of the iron rising like black soot from a chimney. I pull it down, I tug it down, I raise hell like Mommy raised rows. 104

These locks are forever hers and mine, too heavy with my memories to ever be held in the palm of a stranger. ------------What happened to that fierce warrior? The protector of hair, of heritage, who had the courage to stare straight down the barrel of a loaded and fiery iron; to say no to that flaming-tongued serpent who hissed that her unbounded curls were sinful. She has fallen into the serpent’s trap, swallowed the iron bullet. She has assimilated. It is now thin, proper strands that occupy where curls once roamed. Straight-backed black soldiers march down the small of my back, all in line, in unison, the “professional” way. Mommy’s touch among the strands did not survive the heat, yet it is seared into my memory. And so these locks, however straight, still belong to me and Mommy, our precious moments hidden away within each follicle.

— Cierra Moore and Alexis Davis, XI (body)

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“Munchies” by Kate Laughlin, XII: photograph (soul)


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What Could Have Been A long time ago, Not that long ago, really, But long enough, I was whisked away, On an airplane, Tucked into rigid seats and overcrowding And air-conditioning, I was taken from here to another world. And maybe it was the air there, Thick with salt and humid, Maybe it was a mirage, But here I felt pretty, And others saw it too. Because while I was there, Away from everything pressing and important, I sat down and wrote, And a boy sat across from me and drew. Not so terribly significant, I know, But I’m so quiet usually, Or so awkward, It was nice to sit and write and sit and read, And occasionally peak at the person, The stranger, Who wanted to sit near me. It was in those brief glances up at him, Childish indeed— But I was and am a child in many ways, even now,


That I saw in hyper-detail, The slight curl to his brown hair, With little shining orbs of water Peaking through; Hands, Painter’s hands, firm hands, But strong ones, gentle, I remember, Handling the painting; And eyes. Beautiful eyes. The kind of eyes that Shouldn’t be possible Genetically, With hair so brown But he had eyes so green They shone when he looked up at the ocean. Shone, I like to think, when he looked at me. But wherever it is we were, It’s magic had run out. We had sat there, the pair of us, Quiet and contemplative, Both taking breaths, trying to speak But losing our nerves right before, For so long that the world grew impatient, And it started to rain. It had been a mad scramble, Fun as it was,

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To tuck away paintings and books And help respective families put toys away And then look up at the other, Sometimes both at once but mostly alone, Look and wish I wasn’t so shy, And at least said goodbye To those shining green eyes. And that was the first and last time I saw him, Wherever it is he left to, He left me behind. And I wasn’t terribly hung up by it, I think. He was a stranger. The first, not the last, But maybe the best. Because I remember, if nothing else, The brown brown hair And painter’s hands, And eyes greener than every sea Brighter than every precious stone, Ever.

— Sofia Bae, X (mind)

“In Motion” by Ashley Abrams, XII: photograph (body)


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“Triumph” by Rebecca Kuzmicz, X: mixed media (soul)


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Keep Calm Mom’s gonna kill me oh my God she’s gonna murder me I have to find it or else I’m never going to be allowed to have anything ever again. I think maybe it fell into the sock drawer so I open the drawer and tear everything apart separating each sock from its now lonesome mate and as I keep rummaging my hope starts to disappear and I’m never gonna find it because the sock drawer is empty now and I don’t know where else to look so I open the rest of the drawers and empty all of them and wish I had been more organized because if I were more organized maybe this wouldn’t be happening, and then all of the drawers are empty and I’m crying and trying to figure out where I put my necklace. Now I’m late for dinner with Michelle and Lauren and they’re gonna kill me too because this we’re celebrating Michelle’s birthday. They always laugh at me when I lose things because I not only lose the object, but also my mind and think that’s what’s happening now but I can’t stop it because all I can focus on is finding the necklace because it was Mom’s and I can’t lose something that was my mom’s because it’s more important than anything I’ll ever own but I know I’m not going to find it so I call my friends and tell them what’s happening and they try to calm me down but that only makes it worse because I can’t calm down and why can’t they understand that and then I hang up and keep looking and at this point my room looks like it has exploded so I sit down in my war zone and cry some more because what else can I do at this point but cry. Then I know I have to tell Mom I lost it and that is going to be the worst part of all because she’ll make

me feel worse about it than I already do because she’s a mom and that’s what moms are taught to do when they have children but I know I have to tell her so I call her and I interrupt her dinner with Dad and she’s wondering why I’m still at home and not with my friends and what’s wrong because why else would I call if nothing was wrong so I tell her I can’t find her necklace, the gold one with the D on it, and does she know where it is? But she doesn’t know and she’s annoyed because why would she know and she tells me to check all the drawers but I’ve already done that so she tells me to keep looking and to please find it because she’s had that necklace since she was thirteen and then we hang up and I keep looking and I try to put my room back together just so I can tear it apart again, hoping maybe it’ll appear among the rubble but it doesn’t so I go downstairs and call my friends to tell them I can’t go and no I can’t calm down and no I already told you I’m not going to dinner I’m sorry and then I hang up and grab my backpack because maybe I put it there but why would I do that I’m always so careful but maybe I took it off during the day and put it in that one pocket that’s really small but then I’m scared to look because I left that pocket open by accident more than once this week, and I would have noticed a necklace in there and maybe if it were in there before it fell out because I left the zipper open and why couldn’t I have just closed the zipper like a normal person? I stare at my backpack for what feels like an eternity, too scared to actually look for the necklace because I know it won’t be there but I know I have to look eventually so I pull


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it toward me and unzip that one zipper and take my ear buds out then my Chapstick and then that little sticky note my math teacher gave me at the end of last trimester with my grade on it. I reach into the now empty pocket and my heart drops because it isn’t there and I should have expected this but I had kept my hopes high that maybe I would find it there but it’s not there so I start putting my stuff back in the pocket, but I organize it a little this time because disorganization is the reason I’m in this situation so I better start being organized now so this doesn’t happen again. I throw the sticky away and go to zip the zipper to that pocket back up then I decide to empty it again. I stick my hand as far deep into the pocket as I can and all of a sudden I feel something cold and hard hit my fingers and I grab on as quickly as possible and pull it out of the pocket and there in my hand is my mom’s gold necklace with the D on it and it has a few knots but that’s ok because I have it with me and I didn’t lose it and I’m still disorganized but I didn’t lose it so I call my mom and say I found the necklace and she still isn’t that happy because moms are taught to teach their kids lessons by not showing too much emotion in stressful times but I know she is happy so I’m happy and when I hang up with her I call my friends and tell them I’ll be coming to dinner after all, and yes I feel so much better now and sorry I snapped at you when I was upset and yes it reminds me of that time I lost my shoes on the beach and no that was not funny but ok maybe it was a little bit funny and yes I’ll see you soon and yes I’ll be wearing the necklace.


— Danielle Hirsch, XI (mind)

“Lift” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (body)

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This night alone The belly of the moon Lies low in late June It is late before The sky becomes dark And I’m looking at the sunset  Wondering how many times I’ve missed it I’m practicing cartwheels across the singed grass My arms buckling Trying to hold the weight of my body Falling Curling into my belly I stop and look at the dying sky Sit still enough For little bugs  To crawl on my legs Like I am part of the ground Though the grass is itchy And mosquitoes have kabobed my skin With their long and narrow noses I’m a swollen type of full My stomach heavy and hurting My eyes water for no reason That I can think of

As the moon Skinny dips across the sky I can see it’s honey gold And my neighbors could too If they were up  It’s just me  Outside  While the air is still And the moon is at the bottom  Of its home And I’m right here Next to it Wondering if it’s enough That it’s only the two of us Sharing the silence — Chloe Berger, XII (soul)


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Final Countdown Someone mentions our book from summer reading and I think about how long ago that feels. How it was September then and so hot out I forgot that there was such thing as cold. How the desks have shifted since then and my copy of Cat’s Cradle is shoved somewhere between the dusty shelves of dog-eared pages. And the sun keeps dipping in and out of the sky like a buoy in the ocean. And the calendar is sinking into itself as it unravels into nothing. And little squares are set for final farewells and plans of hanging out one day in August. And then there is blankness. And the whiteness of it all isn’t scary or exciting, it just is. And its “is-ness” stares at me, waiting for me to make something out of it. And the juniors are now in college counseling and I only talk to Sarah Graham when I pass her in the hallway. She’s probably moved on to another girl who is looking for another college, because that’s her job. I wonder if I’ll fade in her mind. As she meets with a junior on the Tuesdays block when we did, talking about liberal arts schools, and slowly winding closer until it’s time for them to leave too. I wonder how long it will take for me to disappear. Because these carpets will one day lose my footprint and these teachers will forget my name as they retire and the freshman will become seniors and those seniors will wonder how they got here. And they don’t look as tall as the seniors did when they were freshman, do they? And I wonder if the juniors will feel old once we leave. If the chairs in the front of the auditorium will feel weird to them. I wonder how long it will take for them to start feeling like they own the school like we did. I wonder how many people have owned this school, and if it was enough for them that they could only own it for a year. I look at pictures of children who are adults now. And they look just like me, just like us. Happy and sad and tired and bored and thrilled and living and melting and breathing and captured into a frame on my computer-young forever. I tell my mom my expiration date. Seven weeks, I tell


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her I don’t know if that’s long or short. I tell her I don’t know if I’m tired or energetic. I tell her that it’s not that I want five years of high school, it’s not like freshman year was fun, and it all tasted like the artificial saccharine syrup at the bottom of a cherry vanilla slushy. I tell her that I think I’ll miss it, that I feel like I’ve done everything that was left to do. That I have no more time to know the people I never had classes with, to know the people I’ve had classes with. That this is it and I’m scared that I’ve wasted my time. How I am 18 now and I feel like no one ever told me I’d have to leave my home. And it’s not like I want another year at home. I just wonder if I’ll ever be as close to my mother as I am now. I wonder how many walks I’ll miss with my father next year. If I’ll ever drive my brother to school again. If we’ll ever listen to the radio together, and sing all the lyrics to the songs we’ve heard the day before. And how long it will take before the song will be dated and tacky. And if I’d even know the chorus by then. She tells me that endings are hard, but at least I have a beginning. I ask “doesn’t everyone,” though I know the answer to my question. She is quiet, says she doesn’t know. We both know. It’s quiet. Later that night my brother tells me that canned laughter was made in the 1950s and recycled. He says I’m probably listening to dead people laugh. My mom says that this is beautiful. I realize she is right. Looking out the car window, thinking of how nothing really ends. How even after some man is dead and everyone who knows he is dead, his laughter still echoes across my living room and into my ears. And then I laugh. Because he laughed. Because it’s funny how we can still laugh together like there is no reason to ever cry. About how yesterday doesn’t feel like just yesterday and a year feels like just a minute ago. And right before I start to forget about this all I’ll start to miss it all over again.

— Chloe Berger, XII (mind)


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“Blue Flowers” by Olivia Nini, X: photograph (body)


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Cold Water The gauges began to tick as the engine whirred. “Five minutes, Mr. Adler,” the captain called to the cabin. My father took a swig from his glass. “Wonderful,” he said, his voice already drawling from drink. “Arthur, bring me the Times.” A young flight attendant hurried to the front of the plane as Father rolled his eyes, stretching back in his seat. “Nathaniel, how is your mother?” he asked. “My flight from France came in early today. I didn’t get the chance to see her this morning.” Or you didn’t care enough to bother, I thought to myself. “She’s well. She just has a little cold,” I responded plainly. He raised his eyebrows, swirling amber liquid in his glass. “She misses you,” I added, sarcasm biting my words. “Does she,” he said, uninterested. “Yes, sir. How was Paris?” “Dry, I might say.” My father sighed. “The women there just aren’t the way they used to be.” I wrung my hands in my lap, suddenly interested in the tarmac outside. We had this conversation every time Father returned from one of his ‘business’ trips. Somehow, he still had the mind to think that Mother knew nothing of his affairs.

Arthur returned with the newspaper and handed it to Father, who waved the young man away. “But that was yesterday,” he continued. “How are you, son?” The door to the cockpit closed. “I’m doing well,” I said as the plane lifted off. “Yesterday, Mother and I went to the horse show I told you about.” “I presume you went with the Carlisles,” he said. He unfolded the newspaper and looked me in the eye. “Is that right?” “No, sir. You know Mother isn’t close with Mrs. Carlisle.” “Well, who did you go with, then?” he asked, eyes scanning the small print. “The Brinleys.” I held my breath. Father looked up from the paper, eyes verging on anger. “Is your mother trying to destroy our reputation? After last year, I thought I’d made it clear to her that townies are off limits.” I focused on his nearly-empty scotch glass. “She hasn‘t seen you in months,” I said, thinking of Mother lying in bed at home. Though Father thought his own excuses were impermeable, it was more than obvious that he had other women in over twenty countries. But he didn’t manage to see through Mother’s own facade; we hid her illness well. “What does it matter?” my father asked, putting

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down the paper. “After twenty years, she should know better than to associate with the Brinleys, of all people.” I kept quiet. After sixteen years, I knew better than to tell him that Norman Brinley was my friend from school. “I swear, Nathaniel, sometimes I just don’t know if that woman hears a word I say.” He sighed. “Arthur,” he called hoarsely, “another scotch. On the rocks.” Arthur nodded and quickly poured a large glass. I played with the golden buttons on my coat, twirling them between my fingers as Father downed his third drink. “Nathaniel,” he croaked, “you look tired. Get some rest.” His words thickened as his eyelids began to droop. “Yes, sir.” I nodded and stood up, eager to return to my seat in the back of the plane. My own eyes ached with heavy exhaustion; last night, Norm and I had stayed up late to help Mother with her medicine. There had been no horse show— that was just another lie to tell Father. With him having been gone for the past months, Norm and I were the only people who could aid my mother; she didn’t want anyone else knowing of her condition. Laying my head on the arm of my chair, I heard the rustle of newspapers and the pouring of another drink. “Arthur,” I called, “how much longer until we reach Anguilla?” “Seven hours, Mr. Adler.”


I looked at my watch, a diamond-encrusted gift from one of my father’s paramours. In four hours, Mother would be at her appointment with the oncologist. Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced at my father, dozed off in his chair after his fourth drink of the morning. I shook my head, astounded and disgusted. “Is everything all right, Mr. Adler?” “Just fine, Arthur. Thank you.” I closed my eyes, inhaling the crude stench of alcohol as the reek of scotch filled the air. • • • “How’s Yale been treatin’ ya?” I knocked back another glass. “As you can see, Craig,” I rasped, “I’m still here.” He chuckled. “Well, listen, Nate, I’m sorry I gotta say it, but we’re closin’ up soon.” He pulled a rag from under the bar and started to wipe the counter down. “I’ve done enough by keeping open this late for ya.” I scoffed and glanced at my wrist before realizing I’d lost my watch years ago. “What time is it?” I croaked. “Three twenty-seven. C’mon, Nate, get yerself home.” I stumbled up. “One more round.” I pulled a thick stack of bills from my wallet and offered it to him.

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“No, sir. I don’t want ya hurting yerself more then ya done already.” Craig shook his head, locking up the bottles and jingling the key. “Ya get yerself home and taken care of, ya hear?” Dropping him a few twenties, I shrugged on my coat. “Whatever,” I muttered as I tightened my scarf. Behind the bar, Craig’s eyebrows sagged as he watched me go. I turned away, brushing off the look on his face. “Have a good night, there,” he called as I left. “Ya have a happy New Year, too.” I mumbled a goodbye and walked out onto Lexington. The street was empty and moonless, with its sidewalks covered in icy, gray slush and falling snow. Trudging up to a dark traffic light, my shoes and socks became soaked in cold water. I cursed loudly, with nobody to hear me. In the distance, fireworks resounded like cannons over the Hudson, relinquishing the year past by setting New Year’s Day afire. At twenty-second street, a blaze lit up the corner. As I got closer, I saw that it was a group of students raising sparklers in the dark air. I pulled my scarf up to my neck and plodded around them, head down. Their laughs echoed off of the buildings and into the quiet night as they waved the blazing wands, drawing stars and spelling out their names. Some of them packed the freshly fallen snow between their hands and playfully tossed snowballs

at one another. I shook my head and dragged my ruined shoes through the slush. “Nate? Nate Adler? Is that you?” a loud voice called after me. I turned around halfway, my vision blurry. It was an awkward, lanky, young man, face hidden in the streetlights’ shadows. I scrunched my brow and continued walking, ignoring the stranger. “Nate! It’s me!” I looked back. The boy held a sparkler to his face, and in its warmth I saw Norman Brinley. Through my drunken view, I recognized his cleft chin and worn flannel shirt. Holding the fiery sparkler in a mittened hand, he smiled amicably. “Norm,” I said as I stepped closer, inflecting surprise. “I didn’t see you.” “How’s it been, Nate?” Norm asked, his face lighting up. “I haven’t seen you in years!” His other mitten held the hand of a small dark-haired girl. “This is Lisa, my girlfriend. Lisa: Nate Adler, my friend from high school. He and I attended Regis together.” Lisa smiled warmly. “I’ve heard all about you, Nate,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you.” She held out her hand and I shook it limply, absentminded. “What’s Yale like?” Norm asked me. “I’m sure your mother must be proud of the great things you’re doing there.”

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I scoffed. “Mother died two years ago.” A pang of hurt struck Norman’s face as he lowered the sparkler, casting himself into darkness. “I’m so sorry, Nate,” he whispered. The sounds of snowball fights and crackling sparklers faded out as he looked down. “You never told me.” “I never told anyone a thing, Norman. Do you think I still know those boys from Regis?” I shook my head, heat rising in my cheeks. “My family is gone. High school? It’s long gone. There’s no use in holding on to the boys.” Lisa backed away, leaving the two of us alone. Norman let out a ragged sigh, his breath forming a cloud in the frozen air. “It’s not all gone, Nate. You don’t have to let it all go like that.” I felt my neck grow warm as my vision swum. “You don’t understand,” I whispered. Norm looked away as his sparkler went out. As he turned his head, I saw tears in his eyes, as clear as day. “My mother is gone,” I said. “My father’s always been gone. I don’t have anyone— I don’t have anything,” I slurred, loosening my scarf. Norman pressed his eyes shut. “Nate,” he said, his voice straining, “what happened to you?” I looked away, watching his friends throw snowballs under the streetlights. “You used to be one of the rational people in my life. Now look at you. You’re nineteen years old, Nate, drunk on New Year’s, limping around the city alone.” I looked up and Norm’s eyes were locked on mine, his blonde lashes coated with crystallized tears and snow.


“You always said you’d never be like him, Nate. But take a look at yourself.” His voice cracked. “What are you talking about?” I clenched my teeth, my voice between a whisper and a hiss. “You say your father’s gone, but he isn’t.” I tore from his gaze, shaking my head. “You’ve become him, Nate.” “What are you talking about?” I shouted, but my voice came out as a croak. “You don’t know who I am now.” I pulled back my lip in anger. “You don’t know what you’re saying.” Norm kicked the snow with the toe of his boot— boots he’d worn since we’d met. “Man, I can’t even look at you. You say it’s all lost, it’s all gone, everything’s changed, that I don’t understand— you don’t see it. The one who’s truly gone, Nate, is you.” I stared at him emptily as the streetlight above us burned out. Without a word, he stepped back, snow crunching under his soles. For a second he glanced up, almost as if he was expecting me to say something. But I didn’t move, and for a second we held each other’s gazes; his was lined with tears, goodbyes. Mine was numb. He turned around and walked back to Lisa as I watched him, expressionless. “Happy New Year,” he said quietly, almost scoffing. He barely turned his shoulder. I said nothing; I only turned my back as well. My scarf falling into the snow, I stumbled on, the streetlights above me blowing out one by one.

— Sara Chopra, X (soul)

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“Watching Someone� by Morgan Mills, XI: ink drawing (mind) 119

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Just Don’t Think About It His He licked his fingertips and set her on fire. I want cigarette, he told himself, knowing his lungs were already pink burning plastic and knowing her imagined, phantom distaste because of it. He looked away from where she sat on the floor and cried puddles of ink. The fire had been as black and red as the feeling of her hair and the color of her laughter but then it warped her smile and she became ugly, so he looked away. I’m smoking a effing cigarette, he told himself, and snickered as his shaking fingers cupped themselves around his screaming nerves. The night was boozy in its sluggish transition from peach to black, and when he breathed he tasted the whisky sweat precipitating on the bark of surrounding pines. Air chewed on the sticky burial smoke and coughed it back into his eyes, leaving them drippy. I’m crying, he said quietly, and listened to the hollow way the words clattered against the dirt along with the realization that she was no longer his her. Thirty sucks of paper and tobacco later, he pivoted around and looked at the photo wilting in the fire. He put his hand into the fervor and grabbed the last of her from the heat. The only salvageable part of her body was her right foot: black heeled and b-----point toed. The glossy paper balanced composedly, mockingly in between the lines of his palm. He held her for the last time. Dizzy, he un-rooted stones and called it walking on the way back to their house that was now just his house. The rocks slipping over one another sounded like more shovels tapping the surfaces of coffins. He traced the pattern her lips liked to make in the air with his own around her favorite phrase: just don’t think about it.


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Hers She sipped first class bubbles and wondered when her life had stopped being ideas. Around the same time the wheels slurped away from tarmac, or around the same time that she flipped a penny on her life and talked numbers into the quagmires of that man’s life. A little neuron square in her brain had made the executive decision to lie: to talk herself into a shadow. But in this new him-less lifetime, she decided to be as white and opaque as a glass of full-fat milk. She had left her engagement stone on the bathroom floor between pools of airport goo and crinkly brown paper towels before the flight. At first she had faltered, then she remembered that it had been another hers engagement stone before it had been hers. Her mind told her not to feel bad about it all while her fingers looked for champagne. She woke up in a rectangle, the smell of homesickness and Airline cherry soap touching her through the vents of the bathroom. Pupils bright and New York-ed in their dripping streaks of caffeination blinked at her from the mirror. Her hair felt and looked thicker and blacker than car exhaust as she wound it around her fingers. Not wanting to see more, she accordion-ed the door and walked towards a screen that was set to a channel tracing the airplane’s body in its pixelated sidle across the Atlantic Ocean. She placed her left hand, fourth finger on the digital square that had been their digital square of America and let the artificial scalding burn her into a puddle. The veins of a new city sprawled beneath her like broken jellyfish tendrils sleeping on an aquarium tank floor. Her lips folded the air, set to rinsecycle: just don’t think about it. — Morgan Mills, XI (body)


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“Texas Porch House” by George Cole, XI: architecture (soul)


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Bells in my Head We pretended the bells were to train the dog to go outside, But he was the one who trained us to open the door. Ring, ring, ring. Door opens. Ring, ring, ring. Door closes. It used to be a happy sound, the kind of musical chime that Signals fresh air and nature and a cool breeze on a summer day Or the smell of a warm fire against the chill of winter. But something’s changed. Now I’m so fearful, so anxious, and the bells are an alarm. My heart stops and I’m convinced it won’t ever start again. I hear those bells, and I worry that cat will run out (Even though she wouldn’t) I worry the dog will run away because maybe the gate was open outside (Although I made sure it was closed) I worry the door is unlocked (even though I checked three times) And that a burglar will walk in while I am asleep Because I’m always hearing noises And I can’t breathe because the intruder must be right outside my door So I sit up in bed, planning my escape strategy so I can run when I hear footsteps (Although I know the creaks are just from an old house and a playful cat). I hear the bells once, and I know the door is open. Until I hear them again, I can’t relax while the house has a hole in it. The cat might escape, the dog might run out the open gate, A burglar might walk in through the unlocked door. Sometimes I miss the closing ring and it feels like a song that never resolved Leaving that funny feeling in your head as you wish the last note had sounded finished. That keeps me up at night, too – songs and words and thoughts that ended imperfectly. I repeat them over and over until it sounds just right (although that rarely happens), And then maybe I can fall asleep. But then the light is on outside, and I know something triggered the motion sensor So obviously I can’t go to bed until it turns off, or else I might not hear The burglar breaking in. My dad once told me I didn’t need to check the doors – A determined intruder would find another way in. Of course now I have to check the locks on the windows, too. And then there was the time I watched a tv show where someone hid under the bed So every night I have to take a quick look, just to make sure. The bells in my head never stop ringing. — Hallie Hoffman, X (mind) 123

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Growing Up I’m never gonna grow up. Never ever ever. Grown-ups are tired and serious. And sometimes sad. A lot of grown-ups are sad and serious and tired all the time. Mommy was tired all the time. Mommy was tired of being Mommy and playing all our old games together. We wouldn’t play tag anymore in the park. I miss the park. The park was big and green and beautiful, and sometimes there were dogs and there were a lot of brave squirrels that would come really close to me if I had food. Mommy used to let me feed them, but one day Mommy got serious about squirrels and tired of the park and sad at looking at all the young couples walking around and sitting and kissing. I wasn’t sad about them. But I don’t ever want to fall in love. Mommy told me falling in love was scary. Mommy told me I would hurt. But now we don’t have tickle fights, even though those were unfair because Mommy wasn’t ticklish anymore. I asked Mommy why and she said that’s what happens when you have siblings: you become tickle-proof. I asked why I didn’t have any siblings once a long time ago, and Mommy got so sad and so serious and so tired I thought the bags under her eyes grew bigger, and her spine bent and she sat down and almost cried. I read somewhere mommies weren’t supposed to cry. I read that mommies were supposed to be strong and nice and caring and that whenever I was sad Mommy was supposed to help me feel happy. And she did. Or she tried. And we used to color outside the lines in coloring books because Mommy said the lines were how people controlled other people, and Mommy and I prefer to draw when there aren’t any lines at all.


And I don’t want to grow up at all. Grown-ups need to do taxes and have crappy bosses and bad friends. Mommy says so all the time. And grown-ups do bad things too. They drink and smell like alcohol too many nights every week, and they get really mad, really really really mad and they throw things around the room and break plates and topple over cabinets and throw things out the window that hit people on the sidewalk outside, and say curse words Mommy tells me not to say when she’s good and not a whirlwind. Mommy is a storm. Everyone is a storm I think, but Mommy is a big one. She stretches on for miles and miles of rain and tears, and when she drinks the storm gets darker and the winds get rougher and she explodes in a fury of lightening and thunder and noise and rain the likes of which have never been seen before, even though she does this a lot. I think I’ll stay a child forever and ever and ever, like the angels in heaven who never get older and are always carefree and pretty and smiley. If I were an angel, I would fly and laugh and be nice to everyone. Curse words and alcohol won’t exist in heaven, so everyone up there would be happy. Except maybe Mommy, because she told me wine made her happy and without it she was sad and tired all the time, so I guess maybe Mommy wouldn’t be in heaven. Maybe no grown-ups would be in heaven, because they’re all so sad and serious and tired all the time. Maybe grown-ups are just people. Maybe sometime in their lives the angel inside them dies and left whatever it was Mommy and all the other sad grown-ups were. Maybe Mommy was just human, and maybe she would go “down there” and maybe I would go to heaven and be happy, and Mommy would be happy too with her wine.

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One time, when Mommy drank too much the night before, she came home in the morning and started crying. I didn’t know what to do, so I stood by her bed and asked over and over how I could help. She got so mad that time. So mad she decided we should play a new game. I was scared, because Mommy had stopped crying all of a sudden and looked so empty and so far away it was like she didn’t see me at all. Only past me. To a long time ago, when she had Daddy and I wasn’t born and the house was quiet and she didn’t drink and people were friendly and she didn’t have to deal with crappy bosses, she looked past me and saw all that and I was scared. But I wanted to play a game. It had been so long. She promised me that we would play this game a lot and it would be so much fun because it was a grown-up game. I was so excited to play this game with her, even though it was for grownups. She led me to my closet, and she said it was like hideand-seek, and she put me in my closet and she closed the door, and she walked away. I crawled out a long time later, and the sky was dark and I must have fallen asleep and Mommy must have forgotten about me. I crawled out of the closet and into her room but there were a lot of wine bottles and beer bottles and it smelled gross and I wanted to throw up, and I ran away back into the closet so Mommy wouldn’t know I left. I missed my children’s games, coloring and tag and tickle fights. I didn’t like Mommy’s grown-up games, but nowadays that’s all she wants to play. I don’t like alcohol and love and grown-ups, and taxes and storms and bosses and friends, and I really, really don’t like Mommy. I don’t like her at all.

So I’m going to be an angel and I am never going to grow up. Never ever ever.

— Sophia Bae, X (body)

“Old Man Waiting” by Michelle Leung, X: mixed media (soul)


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Your Therapist is Typing a Response Who are you? Why do I come here, day after day. Talking to you, baring this soul I have made for myself. I see you as a flashing message on a screen “Your therapist is typing a response” I don’t know who you are They told me to come here every week Talk to you for an hour Take my meds with dinner. Why should I do that? What keeps me from walking off into the sunset, Leaving your office and never coming back? I’m not sure He might find me again. Talk me into one of my old schemes. I could do it. And that’s why I can’t. I do not take action because I have reached the point where the friction of silence outweighs the comfort of safety. I have stood before the wall at that point and I have broken through, crashing into the rubicon beyond. And yet I am still here. Watching the same flashing message. “Your therapist is typing a response.” I have taken actions most men and women will never see possible. I have broken boundaries, destroyed limits for the entire world. I have changed the rules upon which the game of life has been built since the beginning of time.


And yet I am lower than the man making sandwiches. Lower than the boy who cries out in the dark. Lower than the pigs rooting in the mud and the dust and the ashes of our crumbling civilization. I look and I see the same expectations, the same rules that I have always seen. Take your medicine, do your job, talk to your friends. I don’t have any friends. I have few interests. I am the man you remember, not because he rode a unicycle down the sidewalk, Not for the bells and trumpets he played in his wake, But because you wake in the night and realize that I said sorry but you never heard my voice. You will see me again. If you traveled my streets once you must do it often, for it is not the way of the tourist, But I will see you as a sheep, and you will see me as a stone in your path, and we will avoid each other once more. We stand, torn. We must speak and yet, we must remain silent. How much of the wool could I pull off of your eyes before I am brought back down into the depths? How much longer can I stand to be among you? I must not move. But I will make a noise

— Peter Teti, IX (mind)

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Thanksgiving Weekend: The Prequel Friday, stressed and tired, I was refueled with nervous energy by seeing a girl — a friend — a girl. Watching Lilo and Stitch didn’t go exactly as planned, but the loud music afterward shook my inside ears up. Saturday, I played the waiting game, learning that the winner of the staring contest between Pages and Logic Pro 10 is always the latter, and of course, that I have no discipline. The essay was due at midnight. Zero out of five paragraphs completed. It’s 11:40 pm. Boosters and caffeine. Two out of five paragraphs completed. It’s 1:25 am, and I am an idiot. Stressed sleep started at around 3. Alarm set for 8. Sunday started at 9:30 with pleasant screams from my mom. After popping my meds, I leisurely started my day, knowing the world ended at noon. Getting minus five is ridiculous, it’s embarrassing. I am a menace, I am weak. I work and work and work and caffeine and tapping and stomach discomfort and sweat and work and work and work and the sound of music hits my ears. I finished. I am invincible. The sound of minus five still rings, but I don’t hear it. The rest of the day is a blur. The Jets lost, I met some baby, and I fell unconscious while reading Euro. That stuff’ll knock anyone out. Monday started at 1:00 am on Sunday. It ended at 3:00 am, then started again at 6:30 am, only to end again in my mom’s car at 7:30 am. Eyes opened again at 8:10 am in school, but this wasn’t too bad. I had a test, but both my histories happily showed movies. The caffeine and meds kept me blinking. Tuesday was the last day. A zero in the grade book brought me crawling to Q the day before. I hate caring about grades. It worked out. I kept my eyes open. Out of caffeine. Floated softly through halls, entered my classes, stumbled into chairs, looked at the teacher, looked at the clock, then around classroom. Back to the clock: it’s 3:15. Made it. — Leo Nye, XI (body)


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“Guard Boy” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (soul)


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Finally Over I’ll have to tell you in person I told you I’m busy all week. Maybe we could meet up for pizza and I could tell you. Yeah, maybe. Or we could go to the movies. I think I have too much homework. Well, I’m going to have to tell you sometime soon in person. Lily and I could meet with you tomorrow on my way home. I think it would be better if we could have some alone time. I’m always driving someone somewhere though. What about next Tuesday? I’m sorry, I have practice. No you don’t, I checked the schedule. My Coach told us we have practice and it’s my team, I think I would know. Well, if you don’t have practice can we meet up? Maybe. I might need to babysit. I could help you babysit. I know how to, but thanks. I need to talk to you in person. I just don’t have time for you right now. You do have time, you used to make time for me every day. Yes, and I also took that time to realize that you made me too weak to function and without you, I am an actual person. You were just a toy anyway. You are nothing without me. Please just leave me alone. He read my message at 11:07 p.m. And let it sit and sit. I thought things were finally over. But I woke up and he was there again.

— Kiely French, XI (mind)


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Trafalgar I come in searching and I don’t look twice into the eyes of pictures on the wall. Outside, I see the vision you enticed; a young mother, a pram, a porcelain doll. Trafalgar Square, mid-afternoon in May— I thought I’d wander by you here at last. But still it seems you’ll always run away. Two modest mice, never to be amassed. In waves of faces, people I once knew, we lose our way like a king and his crown; like stray dogs, we wander, our minds askew and ask ourselves, what becomes of us now? You held your hands, I always hid my heart and still I watch a shipwreck like fine art.


— Sara Chopra, X (body)

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“Eye of the Earthquake” by Uditi Karna, XII: photograph (soul) 131

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I hope you’re happy I hope you’ll be happy in your little town house with the golden autumn leaves encrusted on your roof and your bright crimson swing-set where one day you’ll let your gray-eyed children roam and play May your trees’ eyes gaze through your windows and peak at the pancakes you cook each Sunday morning topped with auburn maple syrup But I only ever wanted what was best for you I only wanted what was best for you Right now, I hope you’re happy with the late nights the cat fights and the bright lights from the alcoholic frights that wake you in the middle of those nights And sometimes I wonder,


Year after year the marigolds around that pond decide to bloom but when they do, do you think of me the way I think of you mid-June? How you craved longing and talking and prying and needing and crying but you still wanted so much more From me, From him You wanted a little house with the crusted leaves and algae covered pond And a happy husband who looks at you the same way he plays the guitar with passion and admiration and to him, you ooze beauty out of every single pore that lies on your soft pale skin You wanted what was best for you

Are you really as happy as I hope you are?

I only ever wanted what was best for you too

The moss that covers your trees will spread like a romanticized disease onto your pond whose whispers pierced into your same gray colored eyes

— Catie Higgins, XI (mind)

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“Overlap” by Hadeel Eltayeb, X: photograph (body)


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melting frostbite your parents were raised in the Sun. they are children of summer and sand and gritty water that could carve channels into the insides of your cheeks if you swished it hard enough. their smiles are wide, their chins are high, and their wrinkles could tell more stories than their words ever will. when you are one minute old, and memory is nothing but opened eyes and dilated pupils and heavy heavy, lids (because darkness is all you’ve ever known), you think the unsmiling smiles and ugly blue surgical caps (and cold fingers attached to colder hands attached to wrists of shards of ice) are the reason you’ve learned to frown so well. you have ears, and they would certainly frown if they could, you know this, but for some some some some some some some reason, the nurses did not. and it bothered you, immensely. you’ve always felt pretty cold but you think you feel like burning when you hear the stories, all said 134

with a smile, tumbling like water, out of your parents’ mouths. you don’t feel like Winter. you feel like frostbitten hands, mistakenly run beneath scorching water. you feel like the sun, billions of years from now, when it finally engulfs the earth. you can’t blame the nurses of course. you can’t blame them same way you can’t blame people in support of plastic politicians with lame catch phrases (make America from hope to revive and telling it like defeat the Washington great people over political again) and, hearts of ice, frozen to the brim, with infuriating ideals about their own superiority complexes. they’re products of their time, your history teacher would say. you frown. products of their time? is their time not the same, time as everyone else’s? or has time frozen, for them, caught in a standstill when people would certainly not benefit from again

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you feel like people should get out more. but how could they, when the weather is, so, so, so, cold? It is not their faults that they do not know Winter coats were invented for a reason: (but you could certainly blame them for not leaving their houses in the first place, to find this out). they do not know a lot of things, you think. they do not know you could hear the way the winds (a bitter, ugly, unyielding, storm) bit and cut and pulled at their flesh like tornado debris collapsing the walls of a paper house, the way their tongues stabbed and jabbed and prodded and pushed at your parents’ iron jaws. they try and try and try, but didn’t they learn anything in kindergarten science? sun beams melt ice not the other way around. they sipped their coffees made from beans grown in El Salvador

and adjusted their t-shirts manufactured in Bangladesh and punched numbers into their flip phones assembled in China, and complained about the difference between you’re and your. you fume. your parents were raised in the Sun. they are children of summer sand and grit and carbon steel spines brittle enough that you could snap them in half and use them as daggers if you tried hard enough. their backs are straight, their chins are high, and their smiles are so warm your family does not need a heater in the wintertime.

— Hadeel Eltayeb, X (soul)

“Suthers” by Erica Walsh, XI: photograph (mind)


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CONTRIBUTORS Ashley Abrams, XII, 33, 74, 107 Sofia Bae, X, 8, 94, 106, 124 Lucy Bailey, IX, 15 Ella Baseman, X, 27, 67 Chloe Berger, XII, 19, 52, 111, 112 Caroline Bernstein, XI, 10 Elizabeth Brennan, X, 18 Chris Chai, XII, 80 Sara Chopra, X, 22, 33, 115, 130 George Cole, XI, 122 Alexis Davis, XI, 104 Nick Day, XI, 88, 98 Kevin Deng, XII, 34, 100 Samantha Dwyer, X, 65 Charlotte Eiseman, IX, 48 Hadeel Eltayeb, X, 2, 14, 133, 134 Owen Felsher, XII, 24, 66 Hannah Freid, XI, 25, 36 Kiely French, XI, 77, 129 Victor Gan, XII, 16 Tess Gecha, XII, 97 Julie Goldberg, XII, 9, 39 Helen Healey, XII, 9 Chris Henry, XII, 76 Ava Herzer, X, 93 Catie Higgins, XI, 44, 57, 102, 132 Danielle Hirsch, XI, 109 Hallie Hoffman, X, 41, 45, 123 Zach Izzard, XI, 40 Elaynah Jamal, XI, 54 Elisa Kardhashi, X, 72, 73, back cover Uditi Karna, XII, 35, 53, 90, 101, 128, 131

Rebecca Kuzmicz, X, 62, 108 Victoria Lach, XII, 13, 32, 58, 96 Kate Laughlin, XII, 105 Michelle Leung, X, 7, 12, 99, 125 Shana Levine, XI, 20 Noah Liao, XI, 76 Abby Ling, XI, 50 Jamie Maher, XII, 45, 91, 95 Morgan Mills, XI, 60, 68, 70, 119, 120 Cierra Moore, XI 104 Alex Neumann, XI, 59 Olivia Nini, X, 56, 81, 114 Leo Nye, XI, 38, 127 Edward Nygren, XI, 28 Julia Parks, IX, 49, 103 Vasya Paushkin, XI, 89 Austin Phares, XII, 21, 47 Mary Schafer, X, 69 Emma Shainwald, XII 38, 42, 64, 75 Katie Shih, XII, 43 Cat Stevens, XI, 81 Lara Strassberg, XI, 79 Peter Teti, IX, 126 Maria Tkacz, X, 46 Samantha Vareha, IX, 78 Erica Walsh, XI, Cover, 23, 31, 86, 110, 135 Spencer Wilkins, XI, 45 Mia Wong, XII, 92

Editors (In the Mystery Van): Sara Chopra, X (Daphne 1) Caroline Bernstein, XI (Scooby Doo) Chloe Berger, XII (Velma) Catie Higgins, XI (Scooby Doo, too) Morgan Mills, XI (Daphne 2) Erica Walsh, XI (Daphne 3) Staff (Scooby’s Friends): Julia Marshall, XI Hadeel Eltayeb, X Sofia Bae, X Leo Nye, XI (Scrappy Doo) Emily Simons, XI Sanjana Dugar, X Shana Levine, XI Special Guest Star: Shana Levine, XI Faculty Advisors Mr. McCulloch (Fred) Mr. Q. (Shaggy)

cymbals is printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper

cymbals seeks to reduce its impact on the environment as much as possible. While the editors considered using 100% post-consumer recycled paper, we felt that the artwork would not be showcased in the way that it deserves. The color process is CMYK. The cover is printed on 30% post consumer fiber Chorus Art Gloss 100 lb., FSC certified, ECF and Acid free. The inside pages are printed on 30% post consumer fiber Rolland Opaque 80 lb., is FSC certified, and manufactured using renewable biogas energy. cymbals title is set in Avant Garde book, text is 10 pt. Times New Roman, and captions are 8.5 pt. Helvetica. The cost of each magazine this year was financed entirely by its annual budget. We printed 400 copies..

Princeton Day School, 650 Great Road, Princeton, NJ 08540 • (609) 924-6700 • www.pds.org 136

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“Pop!” by Elisa Kardhashi, X: photograph (soul)

cymbals 2016 Published by Princeton Day School


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Cymbals 2016  

Cymbals 2016