Cymbals 2014 COVERS.indd 1
5/13/2014 6:21:42 PM
princeton day school 2 014
Untitled by Jamie Maher X: collage
cymbals cymbals is the creative writing and arts magazine of Princeton Day School. This year a volunteer staff of students met numerous afternoons to review the myriad examples of artistic excellence submitted by their peers. All submissions were kept anonymous. The defining criteria for inclusion involved artistic vision, sustained and individualized voice, and well crafted form. Enjoy.
Table of Contents Untitled by Anna Williams, XI: collage..................................................................................... Cover Untitled by Jamie Maher, X: collage..................................................................................................2 Untitled by Jamie Maher, X: collage..................................................................................................6 “Wolf Dog” by Rhys O’Connor, XI: short story................................................................................7 “Song of The Keep On Drummers” by Mallory Richards, XII: poem............................................. 11 “You Drive Stick?” by Michael Tucker, XII: short story.................................................................12 “Blindness” by Sean Hudson, XII: personal narrative.....................................................................13 “Temporary Housing” by Dani Stevens, XI: short story..................................................................14 Untitled by Ali Marshall, XI: collage...............................................................................................17 “Sister” by Kathleen Crowell, XI: short story..................................................................................18 “Papa” by Chloe Berger, X: poem....................................................................................................19 “Looking Out” by Jamie Thomas, XI: photograph..........................................................................20 “Knafeh Nabulsiyeh (Knafeh of Nablus)” by Maysa Amer, XII: poem...........................................21 “Trans Fat Day” by Chloe Berger, X: poem.....................................................................................22 “Ode to the Kitchen Table” by Mimi Matthews, XII: poem............................................................23 “How My Parents Met & My First Memory” by Megan Formica, XII: personal narrative............24 “My Bunny Lies Over the Ocean” by Navin Rao, XI: short story...................................................25 Untitled by Anna Williams, XI: collage...........................................................................................26 “Flying into Sanity” by Dani Stevens, XI: poem.............................................................................27 “Pasta Fasul” Natalie Szuter, XII: short story..................................................................................28 “Mother Country” by Chris Henry, X: photograph..........................................................................30 Untitled by Natalie Szuter, XII: collage...........................................................................................31 “Hot Air Balloon” by Julia Marshall, IX: photograph.....................................................................32 “Green Vase” by Emily Dyckman, XI: photograph.........................................................................33 “Caterpillar” by Rowan Schomberg, X: photograph........................................................................34 “Nude” by Jade Koch, XI: collage...................................................................................................35 “Lazuli” by Anna Williams, XI: collage...........................................................................................36 Untitled by Jade Koch, XI: collage..................................................................................................37 “Army Man” by Douglas Stearns, X: collage.................................................................................. 38
“The God in Foxholes” by Mallory Richards, XII: poem................................................................39 Table by Ryan Bradley, XII: wood...................................................................................................40 “Barbie” by Rowan Schomberg, X: collage . ..................................................................................41 Bowl by Georgia Wong, XII: ceramics............................................................................................42 “Doing Dishes in Mamaroneck” by Mallory Richards, XII: short story..........................................43 “Alone Again” by Alex Zhu, XII: short story...................................................................................45 Untitled by Sarah Parks, XI: charcoal sketch...................................................................................46 “Sprinting in Circles” by Anna Williams, XI: poem........................................................................47 “William Duane” by Michael Tucker, XII: personal narrative.........................................................48 “The Hummingbird” by Ruchita Zaparde, X: poem........................................................................49 Untitled by Jade Koch, XI: collage .................................................................................................50 “Birthmarks, Cheese Fries, and Other Memories I Looked Back on in December” by Julie Goldberg, X: personal narrative................................................................................... 51 Untitled by Alex Ling, XII: drawing................................................................................................ 52 Untitled by Julie Goldberg, X: short story ......................................................................................53 “Bruises” by Hope Anhut, X: poem.................................................................................................55 “Legs” by Emily Dyckman, XI: photo.............................................................................................56 “Slide Projector” by Anna Williams, XI: personal narrative............................................................57 Untitled by Anna Williams, XI: collage...........................................................................................58 “Secret Portal” by Chloe Berger, X: poem.......................................................................................59 “Where I’m From” by Isabelle Empedrad, XI: poem......................................................................61 “Hot Air Balloons” by Mallory Richards, XII: poem.......................................................................62 Untitled by Robin Linzmayer, XII: ink drawing..............................................................................63 “Eye Contact With God” by Robin Linzmayer, XII: poem..............................................................64 “Fire” by Navin Rao, XI: personal narrative....................................................................................65 Untitled by Erin Murray, XI: short story..........................................................................................66 “Jane” by Megan Formica, XII: personal narrative..........................................................................69 Untitled by Morgan Mills, IX: charcoal drawing.............................................................................70 Index.................................................................................................................................................71
Untitled by Jamie Maher, X: collage
Wolf Dog When I first see him he’s covered in blood. It’s streaked across his fur and drips down from his white teeth. Bits of frozen rabbit and elk and carrion are flecked on his snout and up the bridge of his nose, and our eyes meet as he puffs into the food, cold breath fogging into the air. He has my eyes. He has the same light blue eyes, circled in dark. The woman tells us he’s a messy eater. We take him home in a crate and he whimpers whenever we look at each other. I crane my neck around in the back seat of the Volkswagon to see him sad. He’s called Wolf Dog. He’s part husky part wolf and he’s different and mixed. Tame and quiet, he sits on the floor when I eat breakfast, and he curls up beside me on my bed. I snap my teeth at him and he snaps his mouth back slowly, copying me. In the middle of winter I slap my chin forward harder than usual, and my tongue gets caught as I’m explaining to Dad about the TV show we’re watching. I keep doing it even after I’ve bitten through the top of my tongue. I keep snapping my chin forward and lean back on the couch, blood spilling out from my mouth and down my chin. Dad pulls away my blonde hair, braided in two sections, and tucks them into the back of my sweater. I apologize. “It’s alright, sweety,” he says as I spit blood into the bowl. The Wolf Dog is by the couch quickly, and I watch him lap up red droplets on the hardwood floor. He looks up at me and grumbles quietly.
“Into into into into into.” My mother wipes down the counters, seeming much taller, and I watch her struggle not to tell me to be quiet. “Into into into into into,” I keep on, breathing quietly, trying to bite down to stop. I don’t chomp anymore because I’m afraid of biting my tongue again. “Ahoo ahoo ahoo ahoo ahoo,” Wolf Dog howls at me, his voice pitched high like mine. “Do you want to read?” Mom asks me. She smiles but I can tell she’s annoyed. “Into into. Yes, into into.” I reread the book with the drawings in it because it makes me laugh because the pictures are lame. It’s called “Tourettes and Control,” which seems very serious. I read it again but it feels like the first time with the Wolf Dog at my feet. It can be embarrassing, especially when you’re with your friends. Make sure they know about it, and they know that you cannot control what you are saying. Wolf Dog watches me when I’m sleeping and I can’t tell if he sleeps at all. I’ve never seen him sleep; he curls his body and his long neck stays up, light blue eyes bright even at night. When I dream it’s of fur and thick gray rippling like when I’m up close to him but I can’t see further away and I’m not sure if it is him. I wake up and he’s watching me. I pet his head and get out from the sheets and he follows behind me close, his wet nose brushing my calves. continued on next page
My friends and I sit together at school and they smile wide and ignore it when I shout, “Helicopter helicopter helicopter,” and then, “Into into into.” I reach out for him at my side to clench down on his fur but he’s not there. I dig my fingers into the back of my leg hard. One of my friends, Nicki, starts to braid my hair and I don’t know why. I hate that she’s touching me but I keep quiet and let her little fingers grab at my hair, tugging hard and weaving it together. He’s at my side in the snow, walking beside. He doesn’t watch me anymore, but hovers at my hand, and I sometimes put my fingers through his fur and press against him. We look at the misty black mountains together and I wonder if he can tell that half of him is from there. He could go past the line of black trees into black mountains and finally over the white peaks. He would run through the Yukon and live in Alaska. I snap my teeth together and choke on “helicopter” in my throat. It’s like sneezing words. When I’m outside in the back yard where the trees are darker I’ll sometimes let myself say them because I feel like I’m pushing my teeth out when I clamp down, and I hate that. The book explains that getting a control of it with a chomp can help prevent it permanently, and when I let myself go it feels bad. I hate saying the things, making the sounds. It’s not a sneeze because it doesn’t feel good because you’ve got to sneeze again and again and again.
“Into into into into.”
“Ahoo ahoo ahoo ahoo.”
I only whisper anymore because I think that then the words I’ll shout will be quieter, too. A week ago I screamed “penis” when the boys walked by me at recess and they giggled and my friends did too. I got written up by the substitute teacher and I didn’t want to give her my card that says what I am. Now I whisper, but all it’s got me is the things I want to say quieter and the things I don’t much louder. I think it’s winning over me. Wolf Dog is good and I can tell he is loyal now. I don’t pet him and he still stays. I want to cry from joy when he stays even when I ignore him. I love him a lot. I love him more than I thought I would. I love that he’s quieter now too. Dad turns on music and dances with me and my Mom as well. He plays steady slow music that I like. I have an older sister in high school but she’s in Vancouver but we’re north of it and she boards there which means I don’t get to see her much. But she’s home now and just meeting the Wolf Dog. I dance in the kitchen and I watch her in the living room listening to music with her headphones on in silence, not moving, not speaking. Wolf Dog sleeps beside her, head on his paws. Dad’s long fingers grab my hands and he spins me around, and I say, “Helicopter, helicopter,” quieter, and he can’t hear me over the music. My sister pets him and his fur ripples. I hope he hates it. I hope he hates her.
Michael W. in school calls me “penis girl.” I told my sister and she thought it was funny. I told Wolf Dog and he stared up at me, wide eyes light and aware. Neither said anything I wanted to hear. My sister says Michael W. likes me, and I roll my eyes. Why would he like me and call me names? Why would he say names if they weren’t what he was thinking? My sister says, “Maybe he had Tourettes.” Kyle is Michael W.’s friend and I like him. He doesn’t laugh when I say things. He saw me cry once and I think he’s afraid of me now, but I enjoy his respect. He’s got nice eyes and his eyebrows are dark but his hair is lighter. I sit behind his seat in our science class and his shirt isn’t tucked in correctly and I can see his green boxers with brown buffalo’s on them. I hear me say, “Penis penis.” He doesn’t turn around. I hear me say, “Kyle.” He turns around and says, “What?” My heart pounds hard and I feel the heat in my cheeks. “I like your boxers,” I say, hating myself. He smiles uncomfortably, embarrassed, and quickly tucks his shirt in. My teacher ignores it all.
I tell the Wolf Dog.
“Ahoo.” I tell him I love him and he says it again.
“Into into into into into,” I say.
“Ahoo ahoo ahoo ahoo ahoo.” I kiss him on his ear.
My sister goes back to school and I feel a little guilty for getting angry at her for liking Wolf Dog because right before she gets on the train she tells me, “You can say what you want whenever, alright?” I smile, and Wolf Dog curls his lips but keeps his mouth shut. He whimpers as the train moves out, but he’s quiet again when we walk back to the car. Now he sits in the second seat with me and he’s quiet, and I still don’t pet him. I can tell that my whispering is making my parents concerned. They look at me with sad dog eyes, and I think of my sister who said to say what I want. It doesn’t seem as nice now that she’s away from home. I say more than what I want. My parents say, “If you keep whispering then you’ll get used to it and never stop whispering.” I cry in my room with Wolf Dog because I realize that I might always be like this. It might not ever go away. I’ll never stop whispering. “Will you stay quiet, too?” I ask Wolf Dog on my bed, tears on my sheets. He cries at me. “Into into,” I say. In school I wave at Kyle, even when he’s with Michael W. He won’t wave back and he usually looks away. Michael W. calls me “penis girl” still, and I’ve heard Kyle say it too. It made me sad at first, but I think it’s just because he wants to stay friends with Michael W. and he calls me names even when he doesn’t want to. I still hate it, though. I chomp my teeth out of habit in science class and sometimes say, “Helicopter, helicopter,” and slam my chin into my neck. Kyle doesn’t turn around, but Michael W. laughs. I want to yell at him and tell him everything I read in the book, and tell him how I can’t help it, and how he can. But I whisper them to myself, and I hate myself a little more each time. continued on next page
I cry on the school bus when I think about Kyle calling me names, and I cry because I know I’m making my parents sad. They want to hear me yell things I want to say. They don’t want to hear me yell helicopters. They want a lot from me I think. I get off the bus and my Mom and Dad are both there which is different, because my Dad is usually still at work. They’re tight lipped and stone faced when I walk up to them. “What’s wrong?” I ask, sinking in my chest. Neither of them says anything for what seems like a while. Dad touches my braids. It’s the Wolf Dog. “He died today,” Mom says, tears on her dimples.
“How?” I ask immediately. My chin hits my neck. “How?”
“He ran out from the back yard this morning. He was hurt by a mountain lion or something big out there.” The hot wells up again behind my eyes. “He was hurt pretty bad, sweetie. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” My face is twisted up and my throat feels like it’s swelled. The thought of talking through it seems impossible and I just choke, sobbing into their arms. They rub my back and lead me inside. He’s out on the deck, limp and bloody. Mom and Dad say, “Don’t look,” but I run outside and they don’t follow. His eyes are half-open.
Tears drop onto his fur and onto his nose, running into his mouth. No sounds come out of my quiet throat. My fingers run through; he’s caked in blood from gashes by his neck. I don’t know how to fix it; no words come to tell me how. I don’t know what to say. I’m shouting out over his body, by elbows tucked into me, sound raging through, but there’s nothing to be heard. I can’t make noise at all. I put my hands on his side and feel him cold, than I know what to do. It’s what I knew when I first saw him, even if I’d never thought it with words. It’s always been in my path and I’m here now, at it. I open him. My hands sink into his back and he is hollow inside. I slip my arms into his and find that he fits snuggly, like clothing sewn specifically for me. My head dips in next like a sweater, my mouth squarely along his jaw. My eyes are where they’ve always been, and they don’t need to be filled in again. I pull in my legs and stretch out inside, rising up to fit into his skin, into mine. I feel my throat and clear it, howling out loud; yelling a scream that curdles the blood and skin of those who hear it. This throat is only used for me. I keep on crying through my fur, but it doesn’t sting as much because it doesn’t drip down skin anymore. I howl with all of my breath, slowly, long, and with purpose. I howl everything I’ve whispered. It sounds much better with the high-pitched voice of my Wolf.
— Rhys O’Connor, XI
Song Of The Keep On Drummers I lived with Oman the summer I was eleven Her hair smelled like rain and her eyes Were two moons She smoked cigars at night and asked me Not to tell my mother. Back then I hated to lie. When I cried because of the sunburn On my shoulders, With the moon leaking light onto my soggy eyes, She said, “Keep on, keep on, keep on”, “Keep on what?” I whispered To Oma’s half moon eyes But keep on was all that she said. When I got no letter from mom for two weeks Keep on was all that I heard. This time I asked no question, Because Oma looked tired, Her eyes wilted. With thinning hair, her bare scalp was my sun, But keep on was what Oma did back then. When mom drove up in the dog days of August, She asked me to say goodbye. Oma’s eyes were starry, red cheeks listless, “Keep on, Oma,” the song in my head.
— Mallory Richards, XII
“You drive stick?”
He showed me how to do it. Just a few times. Not too hard, a bit of extra hand-eye coordination. Brake in. Clutch in. First gear. Ignition. Release the brake, hit a bit of gas, go. Simple enough. But when I climbed behind the wheel, it was like piloting a 747. My left foot kept coming off the clutch too fast causing the entire car to jolt back and forth like it was being tasered. Or I’d forget to release the brake. Croak. And on the rare chance I finally got rolling, shifting into second was as likely as a preschooler solving a differential equation; I sputtered to a standstill. So I decided that I was going to master the steps and intricacies of the clutch tango. In hindsight, I probably looked like a madman just sitting there in a car pressing the pedals and moving the stick. Clutch-brake-gas in-out-in-out first-second-third, until the patterns to start, shift up, shift down, and stop programmed into the muscle fibers of my ankles and my right arm. Take two. The engine, irked from my abuse, begrudgingly pumped to life. The wagon began to roll, and when the tachometer hit 2000 RPM I let my feet and legs do the rest. Shift into second. Then Third. Slow and downshift to make the turn in the cul-de-sac. Reverse into the driveway. Smile.
I’ve learned the language of the motor and developed a built in tachometer; the whine of the engine alone tells to shift. I control the rapid fire blasts of each piston and propel the torque and power right across the asphalt. The road responds as it grips me, powering through each apex. When I’m in the driver’s seat, there’s nothing else I’m doing. Except maybe switching between alternative and classic rock. It’s not everyday in today’s world, being bombarded by billions of tweetsnotificationsemailstexts, that I can just concentrate on one task. There’s always some buzzing phone or a friend with a physics question or my dad needing tech help. And while the shifts were slow and jumpy, it took all summer to get to the point that my toes would creep off the clutch as slyly as sneaking into the house after eleven. Today I can drive that ’00 Saab station wagon, left hand on the wheel, right on the stick, feet tap dancing on pedals. Driving is freeing. It’s rolling down the windows on a cool autumn afternoon and just letting natural instinct take over. One goal, no interruptions. Just a road ahead of me and the need to escape.
Clutch in. Shift up. Go.
— Michael Tucker, XII
Blindness It’s story time and Mrs. Gallagher is pointing us over to the back corner of the first grade classroom. We all follow her legs over there holding our stack of plastic cubes. We are supposed to hand Mrs. Gallagher a cube when we talk when she is talking. It’s very embarrassing to give up a cube. Nobody wants to lose a cube and if we lose all of them we have to sit back at our seats in shame. Only Chelten lost all of his cubes once. We sit down on the dark blue, hard carpet and Mrs. Gallagher begins reading Miss Merry Mack. I like the book. The sentences are fun and roll off the tongue. I hum the tune in my head. The pages are very colorful and have pictures of big elephants and bright fireworks on them. The book ends and playtime begins and I continue to hum the song. I only remember the first two lines. Miss Merry Mack, Mack, Mack. All dressed in black, black, black. I go over and play at the block table, continuing to hum the song. I start forgetting words from the song and eventually I end up humming Miss Merry Black, Black, Black.
comes over and asks Brandon why he is crying. Brandon points at me and says that I called him, “Miss Merry Black.” Mrs. Gallagher looks at me with sharp, non-joking eyes, the way mom looks at me when I fight with my sister. I don’t understand why she is angry with me. It was a harmless joke about his shirt. “Why did you call him that?” she says. I choke out “He’s wearing a black shirt.” I feel my eyes tearing up. Why is everyone mad at me? What was bad about the joke? I don’t understand.
— Sean Hudson, XII
I like Brandon and want to show Brandon my block tower. Brandon’s wearing a black shirt and so I start joking and call him “Miss Merry Mack all dressed in Black” and sing what I remember of the song at him. His face turns reddish and I don’t understand why. He tells me to shut up, but I don’t understand why he is so upset about me joking about his shirt. Brandon starts to cry and Mrs. Gallagher
Temporary Housing Waking up feeling like if I don’t sprint to the bathroom, I’ll pee all over myself, has become far too common for my liking. Nevertheless, I heave myself out of bed for the third f---king time tonight, and start waddling to the bathroom. The clock’s glowing green numbers mock me, shining “4:17” as I stumble by the bill-covered nightstand. As I enter the bathroom I flick on the light, and grimace at the sight that greets me in the mirror. I glare with baggy eyes at the bulbous lump protruding under my t-shirt—I’m f------ huge. I rub my stomach as I relieve my abused bladder, and comfort myself with the knowledge that this won’t last forever. When I’m done, I wash my hands, turn off the light, and traverse the darkened hallway back towards my bedroom, and the Valhalla that is my bed. I start to drift back to sleep, so I send up a quick prayer, to a god I don’t believe in, that I won’t have to get up before 8:00. On my way to the clinic, I weave through the shrieking children playing in the park. Some stare at me with confusion or wonder. One wanders over and puts his sticky hands—covered in unknown substances—on my ever-growing stomach. There always seems to be one kid that doesn’t understand personal boundaries. His cheery mother scolds him for not asking permission, but looks at me the way you look at someone who doesn’t really
mind—someone who might be enjoying the attention. She’s wrong, but I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me— there is no point in explaining myself to a person who will never understand. Instead, I try for a smile—that probably looks pained—and excuse myself, hurrying away from the picture-perfect family-types. As I pass by a Starbucks, I greedily gulp in the addictive aroma of coffee, and curse Matthew and Graham for the thousandth time for depriving me of the least expensive thing I want most. At the clinic, Dr. Kevel goes through the routine that by now, I can do myself, but he’s still nodding and taking notes like my unremarkable answers are of any interest. No, I haven’t felt any ridiculous amounts of stress or headaches lately. No, I haven’t had any strange discharge. Yes, of course I feel it moving—it f------ keeps me up at night. Yes, my entire torso still feels compressed, like it’s twisted up in knots. Yes, this whole business is inexpressibly uncomfortable, but no, nothing really hurts, yet. He measures me, checks for swelling, and collects urine samples, all the while taking notes. He used to try to chat with me, but seeing as how his usual banter doesn’t go anywhere with me, he keeps himself mostly professional. He wishes me a good rest of the day as I leave the exam room, and kind, smiling Andie
waves at me from her post at the receptionist desk as I walk through the sickeningly sweet mother-and-baby filled office. I wave back and return her smile, and make my escape outside. When I arrive at Matthew and Graham’s, I let myself in with the key they gave me in my eighth week. I call out my presence, which results in both of them coming out to kiss me on the cheek. They’re both in ratty sweatpants and t-shirts, and Matthew’s covered in flecks and swipes of light blue paint. I laugh at the isolated dot that’s made its way to Graham’s large nose, and ask them how the renovation’s coming along. Graham grins back, grabs my hand, and drags me—with strength you wouldn’t expect from a man so scrawny—towards the room they’d emerged from, where I can see the nearly complete transformation from a blank white box to a blue soon-to-be nursery. They bring me back to their living room, where they have a mountain of newborn “essentials” from their parents, all of which Graham enthusiastically names and shows off, while Matthew rolls his eyes with a soft smile on his face, and picks at the drying paint in his auburn curls. Occasionally, one of them will reach over and press his hand to my stomach, and gaze at me with a mixture of gratitude and longing. They never ask to touch me, because
I never wanted them to have to. I figure that it’s only fair— if I can have access to their apartment, they can have access to their baby. It’s part of our deal. We talk about everything and nothing—Graham’s consulting work, Matthew’s skate-shop, my studies and my applications to overpriced universities, and my plans to visit my mother—that cannot possibly inspire more dread. This feels incredibly normal, and not so bad. But the moment I say my goodbyes, get my hugs and see-you-soon’s, and their door closes behind me, all I can feel is the weight on my back and the pressure on my ribs as I breathe deeply. It’s two nights later, the night after the trip to my mother’s, that I wake up in a freezing sweat, having just dreamed of a cannibalistic demon-child clawing its way out of me, snapping at me with sharp teeth and threatening me with burning, black eyes. I feel tears flood down my cheeks as I gasp for breath, tug my choppy hair and clutch my hand to my mouth, covering a scream. I don’t go back to sleep. She looks at me the way she always looks at me—with the everlasting contempt of a woman who admittedly never wanted children. She complains about my goodfor-nothing father and my cheap-as-dirt clothes and my fit-for-a-crack-addict apartment; the men she’s been doing continued on next page
the favor of dating. She somehow manages to slip in insults directed at me while whining about Dad’s slut wife and the outrageous cancellation of her favorite trash reality show. As I pointedly ignore her perpetually brandy-spiked coffee, I wonder, once again, why she can’t even go to the trouble to ask about my day. This time I’m not muffling my screams, as pain rips through me and I feel my body being torn open, as I clutch the lovely nurse’s hand. Dr. Kevel sits between my legs, giving me updates and encouraging me to push and just keep breathing, telling me it will be over soon. With a strength-sapping shove, the baby’s giant head is out of my body, and it’s only a few more adjustments and pushes until the rest of it is out too. Another nurse whisks it away to check it and clean it off as soon as the cord is cut and the baby’s cries fill the room. Thankfully, the afterbirth doesn’t put up much of a fight, and I don’t need too many stitches, so there’s only the awkward massage of my swollen stomach until I’m just lying there waiting. I’m panting and sweat is soaking my hair, but it’s over. I feel light. The nurse brings the swaddled baby girl over to me and lays her in my arms. We stare at each other, and I’m both happy and sad that there is no “a-ha” moment where I feel love bursting through my chest at this tiny human
in my hands. She is—happily—not mine. I’ve only been temporary housing, ever since I spread my legs for the needle nine months ago, and now there is only relief. Matthew and Graham have their arms wrapped around each other—Matthew’s tattooed arms wrinkling Graham’s dress shirt—when I find them, beaming through the glass of the nursery window. I’m jealous of them, the way I always seem to be—not because they got a baby, no—because they got each other. Despite their obvious differences, they are the most loving couple I know—have ever known—the most deserving of this happiness. When they see me, they disentangle themselves, wipe some stray tears from their eyes, and hug me. They’re thanking me and squeezing me, and I’m so sore and I’m so tired, but I squeeze them back, and all of a sudden I’m sobbing, and I don’t have it in me to try to stop.
— Dani Stevens, XI
Untitled by Ali Marshall, XI: collage
Sister You trail behind your sister with a worn blanket dragging behind you. One hand grips the faded pink strands while the other thumb is tucked carefully into your mouth. She is revealing each task that needs to be completed for all the dolls in the playroom. Ellie has a broken heart that can be fixed with a Barbie Band-Aids while Sasha needs to find a dress for the ball tonight where her prince will be waiting to meet her. The first time you had your heart broken you still believed it could be fixed with a Band-Aid. If it worked for Ellie then it must work for you. You dressed in a frilly pink dress, whirled around the living room on your daddy’s toes, and forgot boys existed. The next time you “dated” someone it was awkward. Your relationship had consisted of short instant messages and a few Friday nights at the movies with a large group of friends. You two held hands and when you kissed during the previews you could not wait for it to be over. Everyone not-so-quietly whispered about it in school the next Monday and you ended it before it could happen a second time.
By the time you stepped into high school you thought you were experienced. You had french kissed a boy at a dance in front of teachers which meant you were invincible. But when he touched you in the basement between empty beer bottles and loud music you never felt so small. How could you say no to a senior? For the first time, someone listened to you when you silently screamed no. When he looked into your eyes you knew you would never need Barbie Band-Aids or therapy again. He colored in all your empty parts and you became full again. When your family met him they wept with joy because he gave them back their little girl. You trail behind your sister with a smooth train gliding behind you. One arm is interlocked with Daddy’s while the other hand carries a bright bouquet. She stands at the alter waiting for him to give you away with tears in everyone’s eyes. You would not be here without your sister and thanks to her, Ellie’s heart has been healed, Sasha discovered the perfect dress, and your prince is finally standing in front of you.
— Kathleen Crowell, XI
Papa When Papa goes to work His feet hover between air and ground He sits on god’s knee A young boy bouncing on the edge of electric wire He dangles at the dwindling string’s last will Where there are no more steps at the end of the stairs And people clap for a poor man to dance To sit in a line and be encased in metal Turning into industrial steam Papa said this isn’t why he came here He never meant to be a nobody Working on a nickel an hour His breath worth less He comes home in a shroud of coal and shame Exhaling smoke and inhaling nicotine Momma brushes the dust off him like he is a long forgotten picture And a chore that she must attend to begrudgingly As the cigarette butts shrivel up Papa comes home when the fire’s out And Momma’s stopped waiting I sit shuffling in sleep Until I hear the creak of the door And the smell the slap of rum
When I tug on his sleeve to kiss me goodnight He falls into a drunken whisper A punch of fingers on the cheek Papa tells me there is nothing like the sound of a good deal And the taste of rust A clatter of dice The hissing snake eyes Slithering into his soul The rowdy voices of men All different and special All noticed by the police That used to spit on his footsteps He makes a solid mark now And they tremble While he only shakes when he gets home And in his absence Papa has become reptilian He leaves his pride hidden in narrow alleyways Hovers between life and death Never do snakes cry They slide between the cracks that have been left behind Make do with the evil left for them And live in the place Momma has left bookmarked in her bible Praying to a hidden god about sin While I wait for a Papa that can never come back
— Chloe Berger, X
“Looking Out” by Jamie Thomas, XI: photograph
Knafeh Nabulsiyeh (Knafeh of Nablus) My feet glide across the aged stone Path Weaving in and out of narrow alleyways The buildings worn and tired Stones creak Beneath my weight, they whisper to me their rich history Stretching back hundreds of years Awlad Falasteen, the children of Palestine Run all around, they rush towards a sweet aroma Run “la wein ya awlad?” where are you going my children? A grin Appears upon the street vendors olive toned skin Aged like the stone My nose follows the sweet aroma Indigenous; the aroma Native; the aroma Aboriginal; the aroma For it is Palestine in its purest form
Mouth waters I lay my eyes upon the final masterpiece Layers upon layers Thick cheese Pistachio walnut Crushed Like the bones of resistance The recipe passed down Through word By hand This recipe known appreciated Soaked in ahtr Sugar turned syrup Orange blossom water Let it cool Knafeh Nabulsiyeh — Maysa Amer, XII
Trans Fat Day It’s a trans fat day The clouds are closed drapes Even though you see the sun through the window She can’t feel it Today is glaze on top of the doughnut Lightly dripped, not to be touched Or put in a bikini Today is a candle that has been blown out again Puttering under un-pierced ears Unknowing eyes Belonging to a revving motor That ran out of gas Today is supposed to be something like the aisles of Home Depot Cluttered and clean Shoved into wax like Q-tips Rubbed against a down feather stuffed yawn Today she breathes like cookies And 70% reduced Chex 70% less paint on a house peeling like nail polish 70% less strings on a harmonica
Added up until it’s all whole and ok Until she’s 70% pretty And 70% silicon Juiced out onto cheekbones And lonely love handles Wrung out and tired after a nap Like all the women who are leftovers Of a girl Soaking in a doggy bag of picked apart pieces Soggy on a “children are starving in Africa” plate Bubbling on a “children are starving in the bathrooms of school” bowl Counting how many times the whip cream stares back Shoving sugar away They said this one would work So she puts on sunscreen and sits in the shade Watching them dive into water like glass Breaking into something fragile That dreams of food like a relic On the cross and barely bleeding Barely breathing Strung across your aunt’s neck But on Sunday morning she’s counting calories like compliments Chugging coke zero until she’s negative
— Chloe Berger, X
An Ode to the Kitchen Table A prayer starts the meal every Sunday night. Little green grace book in hand I don’t choose the prayer, It chooses me. It climbs off the page As the tender words rhythmically glide on the steam of a hot meal Catching the dim lights that sing the softly hummed song of sleep. A sleepy haze lingers above us And I breathe gratefulness into my mind For gratefulness is not only prayer, It’s a smile, it’s a please It’s a thank you and an: I love you, Mom It is the smell of security in my mac and cheese And it’s the wide smiles and puffy cheeks, Chipmunks preparing for winter Faces lighten and stomachs grow Jeans unbutton, the corners of mouths reach upwards, and eyelids slowly close as they lose their battle to the humming lights that sing of slumber. Half full glasses of ice water condense as dew dances down its sides, seeping into placemats.
And I, too, sit at this table when the sun goes down and when it breaks back over the trees, Working and wondering and working But why does x=4? Let’s build an airplane out of legos At the table Let’s paint with watercolors and sip tea with our pinkies up At the table Let’s stay up all night and listen to the silence that finally opens the dam that blocks my reservoir of dreams. The school bells and bumping of backpacks cause spillage as thoughts trickle down the inside walls of my private chamber And when the sun sets and silence sets in, The dam will burst and bust and bleed memoirs and guard every quenched seedling planted in my wandering mind And they will sleep in peace At the table My body will come back to the table at dawn, Grateful for the coffee ring on my placemat And greet the sun in the same place I was when we last bid each other goodnight.
— Mimi Matthews, XII
How My Parents Met & My First Memory Aunt Cackie and Uncle Bill are in the middle of building their house and because Dad and his brothers own a construction business, Aunt Cackie and Uncle Bill hire them to build the porch in the backyard. Aunt Cackie talks to Dad and discovers he is divorced, available and, alas, goodlooking. Aunt Cackie gives Dad Mom’s number, If you’re interested, she says and hands him a torn piece of paper with messy numbers, You would hit it off, she says. The porch is to have a built-in bench and dad asks how big they want the bench to be and Uncle Bill says, Big enough for my sister-in-law to fit on it. Dad has a slight look of terror on his face knowing that he just told Aunt Cackie he would call a morbidly obese woman after she told him they would hit it off, but he laughs it off and builds the biggest bench he can. Dad calls Mom and they talk for hours and mom thinks he’s well-spoken on the phone and they plan a date and she is excited. Aunt Cackie calls mom and says, Bill might have joked to Mike that you are obese, she says, warning her not to be upset if he doesn’t show up. Well, of course he did, mom says because she is not surprised. Mom gets to the restaurant first, waiting only five minutes and certain that he will not show up. Dad walks in and looks around trying to find a woman sitting alone and he asks the hostess if there is a Mary Beth O’Neill here and the hostess points to her table and he sees her and she is not obese. Aunt Cackie and Uncle Bill move to a different house and I am five now. Dad still works construction but not as much as he used to and Aunt Cackie and Uncle Bill want him
to build another bench for them because they like benches on their porches. Mom stands on the finished half of the porch with Aunt Cackie and they talk and cackle and glance over at my sister and me because we are being goofballs. We stand on mountains of mushy mulch and dirty our white velcro sneakers. We share a pack of peanut butter crackers and we each get three but she tries to steal one of mine when I turn away because I like to keep my crackers in my pocket. I have my mountain and she has hers and we run to the top and jump off like we are skydiving. We find plastic grocery bags and hold them above us as we jump off the mountains because the bags are our parachutes and they help us land safely. It’s time to leave but Aunt Cackie and Uncle Bill say, Come back whenever you want, because we’d love to have you, and when we go back in two weeks the mountains are gone and we don’t want to be in a big house with shiny floors and big windows. We want our mountains of mushy mulch back but they will never come back.
— Megan Formica, XII
My Bunny Lies Over the Ocean I knelt on the tan grass, bound by a white-lattice pen, with a rabbit slowly licking my neck. I realize now how sensual that might sound, but it was entirely platonic. It’s curious that we use platonic to mean not sexual. I mean, Socrates, Plato’s teacher, was charged with “corrupting his pupils.” Sexually. It was a she, according to our 12-year old neighbor, so that must be true. She was black with white spots, or was she white with black cutouts of ellipses? It’s the classic zebra dilemma. We, my sister and I, named her Oreo because we liked the way she tasted. Rabbits, at least my Rabbit, have really winsome tongues. If I could, I’d just keep the tongue as a pet. It’s pink and soft, and damp, and warm and great at cleaning things. I’m a very tactile person. Nothing turns me on like a sheaf of heavy, thick, fibrous, textured paper. I think I have a stronger sense of touch than most people because I’m partially deaf in my left ear, a sensory overcompensation for which I’m generally thankful— I can tune out dumb people and revel in Egyptian-cotton sheets with a high thread count. It blows when I get a paper-cut, though. Also, sudden changes in feeling really spook me. Like, when Oreo stopped licking me and instead burrowed her great white tusks into my recently-deflated lymph nodes… that was disturbing. I didn’t really flinch about the blood loss, or the holes: it was just a flesh wound. But I mean, it was also really psychologically trying. Talk about mixed signals! I know some people are into the whole “bite me” thing, but it was too soon for me.
I think I swooned then, overwhelmed by Oreo’s lust. When I opened my eyes, she was napping on my thin chest, sweating pheromones through her beautiful black-white coat. What a gal. You’re probably wondering by now how she dies. You might be secretly hoping that I strangled her out of revenge, so you can make up your mind about me. Or that I’m some sort of mutant with poisonous blood, which inadvertently killed her. Oreo died from a heat stroke. That’s what our neighbor said. We kept her outside because she shat up a storm, and after a record high temperature she started smelling. And not moving. I know my sister cried quite a bit, but Oreo and I had a complicated relationship. Despite protests that she should be cremated (Oreo, not my sister), I built a wooden box made of broken Karate boards and we buried her later that day. I smiled during the ceremony, because of its spontaneity: it reminded me of Dobby’s funeral. I still have two small scars, which I trace when I’m distressed. It brings back the whole affair— an emotional skydive sans parachute. On the plus side, my lymph nodes rarely swell up these days.
— Navin Rao, XI
Untitled by Anna Williams, XI: collage 26
Flying into Sanity I used to dream of birds in the dark, they were screeching, cawing, clawing their way through my open chest, leaving me drained, empty, ravaged trapped in the dark huffing escaping air afraid of time unconscious. The years came by, kept passing me, growing my legs and my mind, they brought me you to stand by, to hold, to cry on when the dark took over. Now the birds, they float so sweetly, softly wings of roses scent the air as they swish in that beautiful metronome, to the beat of the blood strolling through my veins, the breath pushing into my lungs tilt my head back close my eyes keep the dream going, just a bit longer.
â€” Dani Stevens, XI
Pasta Fasul Teresa Raibaldi loved helping her mother cook. Her favorite part was dicing up the fragrant rosemary into tiny little pieces to then dump into the steaming pot of broth on the stove. Her mother was carefully slicing up the bacon, the ditalini was boiling, the cannellini beans were carefully rinsed and ready to be thrown in with the pasta. Teresa loved ditalini because they were like mini versions of penne. They were cylindrical, but petite, and were about the size of the cannellini, so she thought they made a perfect match. She thought the pasta fasul was a bit like a wedding. Two families, the Ditalini family and the Cannellini family, had come together to celebrate the marriage of their daughter and son. All the herbs and flavoring were like the family friends that came to see— they didn’t really have the main part— but the wedding wouldn’t be the same without them. Sunday evening dinners were what Teresa looked forward to the most. Her mother always spent the day shopping, with what little money they had put aside for this occasion. Actually, it was an occasion-less occasion. It was just a simple dinner for maybe a normal American family, but for her it was a banquet. Her mother just felt it was necessary to have a nice meal once in a while. Shopping for the ingredients for the pasta fasul was always exciting. Teresa and her two sisters always accompanied their mother, talking to the butcher, a big, porky kind of man named Mr. Lorenzetti, and the owner of the tiny Italian deli, Mrs. Magnoli, who was always helping out behind the register. Teresa’s youngest sister Patricia
always called her Mrs. Mango. Teresa’s older sister Josefina preferred to call her Mrs. Magnolia. Her mother always glared at the two children when they used these nicknames when either talking about or addressing Mrs. Magnoli. Teresa took great pleasure in being the angel child and calling the owner by her proper name. Her sisters were setting the table and her father had just arrived in through the door, wearing a big, dark coat and his only hat. He had little dustings of snow on his shoulders, just barely visible and now melting with the warmth that the kitchen produced, filling the tiny house. It was nearly Christmas-time and he was working extra so that he could save a little to buy each of the girls’ dolls a new outfit this year. Teresa tried to slice the Italian bread but she was much too small for the bread knife, so her father took over. The girls jumped around excitedly, yelling about how hungry they were. Her mother shushed them with a slight smile. Finally, the table was all laid out, with a beautiful china bowl full of the pasta fasul, the bowl reserved especially for these occasions. The bread was laid out, sliced neatly, and the butter was in the dish. Everyone held hands to say grace before digging in. Finally, it was time to eat! Her father reached for the ladle. Teresa glanced up and saw the gas lantern on its rusty chain dangling from the ceiling, hanging right above the bowl of pasta fasul. Before she could even blink she heard a splash and a crash at the same time. She opened her eyes which she didn’t even realized she closed. The dusty, rusty, disgusting lamp was submerged in the soup. Her mother’s mouth formed a perfect O of shock, her father was just
silently staring at her mother, as if waiting for something to happen. The youngest daughter, Patricia, began to sniffle and cry. Her mother sighed and began passing around the bread and butter, silently saying that there is absolutely nothing they could do. The soup was ruined and dinner was now consisting of Italian bread and butter. The family went to bed hungry that night. Teresa, who shared a room with her sisters, sat bolt upright, waking up Josefina, who shared the bed, and startling Patricia. She whispered she was hungry. “What are you going to do about it, Terry?” Josefina said sharply, “Dinner was ruined. We just have to wait until morning and maybe Mother will make eggs.” “I’m hungry too,” whined Patricia. “Patty, shush!” Josefina said. “Pa will hear you!” “I’m sneaking downstairs to get something to eat and anyone who wants can come with me,” Teresa announced. “I’m going,” Patricia piped in. Josefina looked helplessly at them both. “You’re going to get in trouble!” Josefina warned them. “Be quiet, Jo,” Teresa said, unafraid of her older sister. Patricia however whimpered a little and her head turned back and forth, looking from one sister to the other. Finally, after a few moments of silence, Josefina gave in, not through words, but through the sound her stomach made. “Fine! Let’s go, but make it quick!” The sisters crept down the wooden stairs, each step making an excruciatingly loud and exaggerated squeak. They made it to the last step and then quietly shuffled in their slippers to the kitchen. Teresa opened the pantry and
then stood back, all three sisters searching hungrily for something to munch on. Suddenly, the kitchen light flicked on and their mother was standing behind them in her robe. Patricia let out a squeak. However, their mother’s look softened when she realized what they were doing. She pulled down a box of salt crackers from the top shelf and sliced some aged romano cheese. Her mother even ate some crackers herself. The girls and their mother talked quietly, in ever so slight a whisper, so they wouldn’t wake up or anger their father. However, he appeared at the kitchen doorway in short time. The girls all froze, staring, waiting to be ordered back to bed. However, he only smiled and asked if he could have some. They all sat around the kitchen table, talking and munching on crackers and cheese, and Teresa suddenly felt happy as if she had been able to eat a delicious bowl of pasta fasul. She realized it was not the food that made the Sunday dinners special, although it helped, but the atmosphere of being with her family and talking and eating. The dinner table was such an important part of her life, and she decided then that she would never let that tradition die out. Her daughters and granddaughters would spend evenings and holidays enjoying time with their family, just sitting around the dining table talking, laughing, telling stories and most importantly, eating. And hopefully her granddaughters would love and cherish that tradition, and continue to pass it on.
— Natalie Szuter, XII
“Mother Country” by Chris Henry, X: photograph
Untitled by Natalie Szuter, XII: collage
“Hot Air Balloon” by Julia Marshall, IX: photograph
“Green Vase” by Emily Dyckman, XI: photograph
“Caterpillar” by Rowan Schomberg, X: photograph
Nude by Jade Koch, XI: collage
“Lazuli” by Anna Williams, XI: collage
Untitled by Jade Koch, XI: collage
“Army Man” by Douglas Stearns, X: collage 38
The God in the Foxholes And if I’ve learned one thing, Your Honor, it’s this: Denounce the number on the tag Of your blue jeans, Embrace the deep, blue oceans instead, Find God in the foxholes, God in the Fireflies, Love the world in spite, Of its problems, And because of its strength, The way it chugs through the railroad Track of the mind you lost, In the rain of last April, But found again in the summer stars, Wear the uniforms of the lands You’ve never visited, Become your own leader, But respect the ones in the papers, Touch everything, Notice the humming smell of ink, Feel the grains of sand, Ride the ridges of your hands, And when you put those hands together, Warped ancient and magical, By the sands of time, Be sure to pray to, The God in the foxholes.
— Mallory Richards, XII
Table by Ryan Bradley, XII: wood
“Barbie” by Rowan Schomberg, X: collage 41
Bowl by Georgia Wong, XII: ceramics
Doing Dishes and Mamaroneck I get home only to see that there is a pair of blue socks on my bed like a sign that Dad’s gotten home from San Francisco or Los Angeles, one of those places so special that it has two names with such similar letters, I’ll never keep them straight. Mom will want me downstairs if Dad is home, asking him how his trip was, how much he missed me, and thanking him so so much Daddy for the socks, which said a million words, none of which were I love you. When I was six I got a splinter in the lifeline of my right palm from ours and now the line diverts off in this meandering way like my hands are a series of rivers and deltas leading to tenuous fingertips. The line stops eventually, returning to its original path. When mom pulled out that splinter from my clammy hands with my face hot and red, he swore to high heaven almighty that he’d fix the banister as soon as he could but we that was the first time we talked about religion in my house. Dad had made promises like that for a while, he didn’t even know how to fix a bannister; he’d never grown up with one. I never understood how you could live without a banister. When I got downstairs I thanked him for the socks and asked all the proper questions and he gave all the proper answers. We hugged and I pressed my head into his chest and it felt like his heartbeat lived inside of my ear, rattling its thumpthump around my head and I’m scared his heart will hurt my brain. We stayed there, and I don’t know why I can’t remember hugging him when I was younger, and why we can’t remember the things like the heartbeat of our fathers of the exhalation in our mother’s smile but some things, like thunder and the sound or the lock clicking on your sister’s door are sticky in our memories like raspberry jam. I breathed him in and it felt like smoked flowers overflowing my lungs. He smells like nicotine and burnt rubber but it feels special like visiting the country house in Mamaroneck, only half existing. What did you learn in school today but his voice sounds hoarse and I don’t know what to answer because I have always learned too much about nothing or too little about something. We learned to write in cursive and studied different kinds of trees, the difference between coniferous and deciduous and I learned that I love life. He looked dissatisfied by the answer and I knew I’d said it wrong and he frowns with his forehead and tells me that isn’t what they send me to school for and I wonder why I do go to school. continued on next page
We are standing in the kitchen, Mom and I, her washing the dishes and me drying them. It’s dark out and the windows reflect the two of us standing there and I can’t tell whether I look like my mother or not, glancing back and forth between us. Her eyes shine in the window and I look over to see that tears are coursing down her cheeks like silver jewels and she tells me that tears are special but why do I only cry when I’m sad but she can’t answer because the jewels are coming faster and faster and soon her whole face is coated with their riches. She’s bent over the sink and I think she might be sick but the water is still running and she’s telling me keep drying, I’m falling behind and I can’t figure out the words to ask her why she is crying and whether it is my fault. She says we reserve the jewels in the caves of our hearts and when our hearts have too much inside of them, the jewels squeeze their way out and I can’t help but to think of falling off of my bike and feeding the crux of my palms and arms to the earth, licking off beads of blood afterwards, my lips inked with ruby. I want to find the words to tell her I love her but all I can taste is blood in my mouth and I wonder if that’s why my father can’t tell me. There’s always too much blood when it comes to love. I’m on the bottom bunk below my sister, and I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking about because when you’re only seven and your sister is already ten, then she knows everything. There is only one way to happiness and to love and she has found it. I wonder if all the particles floating around our room are happiness and sadness and she is monopolizing the happiness but if I am happy then I am using up her particles, and I don’t know if it’s okay yet, to be happy and to make your sister sad. I can hear her turn over and I hope she is awake and thinking about me but I’m only seven so what is there to think of me yet when she is already ten. There’s a noise in the bathroom and I know Mom is awake, but it’s late and pretty dark in the hallway and so I don’t get up. The footsteps stop in the bathroom but I can feel her still there, I haven’t heard the door open and close again and the water is running in the sink, which means it’s flowing out of her eyes too. Mom’s falling apart, she whispers from the top bunk. And dad’s falling asleep, and I’m falling in love with life. We’re all falling in different directions, and I am nervous that soon we’ll be so far apart that we won’t ever come back together.
— Mallory Richards, XII
Alone Again 1:19 AM, New York City streets. I passed an apartment with crawling vines and weeping willows as we made our way from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Made my way downtown. Washington Square Park is where I met Emily from Indianapolis. Emily and I never spoke more than a few sentences. Go go go. Run run run. Hi hi hi. Bye bye bye.
I met this girl named Hannah from Seattle at the Cameo Gallery on North 6th street. She held a mustard yellow LP in her hand along with a copy of the New York Times. We had a brief conversation. Seattle. New York. “Were you at the show yesterday?” “Yeah.”
On the gray L train from Bedford to Union Square, Diane held onto the railing.
“My friend and I were just running around in skeleton costumes. Like kids.”
Gracefully. We never spoke on the train. Pause. Glance. Candy pink cheeks. Blush.
We didn’t talk about riding bikes or laughing in summer sun. We met. By accident.
Silence. My eyes Coke red from exhaustion. Her eyes were perfectly hazel. Every time I wanted to speak I didn’t feel like it was my place. Cage my thoughts. I tried giving her my hand but all she did was grab my fingers.
Michael is standing outside some bar on North 7th Street with his flip phone from 2003. It had medical tape holding it together. Beep beep beep, 212- , click. We talked about tight security, the weather, and the vacant basketball courts across the street. A gentleman with a faded blue blazer came out to greet Michael. They left together. 3:48 AM.
Brooklyn punks walk on the streets with their studded leather jackets and cold breaths longing. I’m about to have a nervous break down but it’s the ones who realize it, delay the explosion into pure oblivion.
— Alex Zhu, XII
Untitled by Sarah Parks, XI: charcoal sketch 46
Sprinting in circles I don’t go for runs. I go for runaways. They masquerade as dog walks and errands and are best served cold in autumn. I know I’m there when the soles of my feet are too hot to stand on and my inhale tastes of blood and kitchen foil. I like not having anything to carry. My pockets filled with twine and dust. I didn’t know what time it was. I thought about my father’s youth. Riding his 10-speed bicycle home before the streetlights came on. Hoping the boys would play war again tomorrow.
— Anna Williams, XI
William Duane My parents tell me that he loved plopping me on his knee and endlessly reading Dr. Seuss. I imagine that being odd. He was such a serious man, I’ve been told – a Harvardbred corporate lawyer at some legendary firm in the city. He had very little patience for my dad, his brothers, and their pranks – probably why he sent them off to boarding school. But perhaps all that legal jargon and sobering demeanor helped him tell the story of thneedes, sneedles, kwiggers, or zlocks. It didn’t matter. I had a smile on my face. I know my dad has his tarnished silver Rolex in his dresser. Mingling between balls of socks and stripped boxers. I’ve never seen my dad wear it. Maybe it’s just the sight of ticking hands every morning – a reminder of fond memories and time’s one-way indifference. He must’ve really enjoyed seeing my toothy grin. Even at 6am on a Saturday. I ran into his room before he was awake, jumped onto his bed and yelled “Wake up! It’s pretty nice out!” Had my dad or uncles did that, they’d most likely get the yardstick to their asses. He just laughed, rolled out of bed, picked me up and brought me downstairs.
The train runs by every time we visit his grave. “Like clockwork,” my dad says, “he’d walk the mile to the train station each morning and hop on the 6:04 out of Pelham.” I can imagine him on the platform, tar-black leather bag against his trench coat. Eyes peer past the brim of his nose, through looming glasses to his silver watch, ticking away the seconds until he heard the whistle. The stampede of metal clambering towards him. 6:04. I wish I really knew him before the stroke. When he was the brilliant man everyone knew. Most memories are of him in his wheelchair, IV in arm. Silent. Watching my sister and I tell him and grandma all the new classes we’re taking in school or the water sports we did at camp. He was practically dead. I hate to remember him that way. A soulless stare and implanted memories from stitched stories.
— Michael Tucker, XII
The Hummingbird The hummingbird Struggles against the Cold steel jaws of a clamp That grips its white belly, Anchoring the delicate Bright blue bird to the earth Far from the clear cerulean sky, Caged far from its home, Its haven, Its life. It lives now, A prisoner. The strong-willed birdâ€™s beak sharp And pointed forward, Unyielding, unwilling To give up, To give in the urge to quit.
Its eyes glaring and narrow, At those incapable of seeing Its pain, Its struggle, Its determination, Its fight. Wings slicked back, Beating frantically, Pounding the air, Thrashing about, Trying to break free. The bird bows its head in shame, Lowers its tail into Its small crumpled body Like a weary soldier Dead on a battlefield.
â€” Ruchita Zaparde, X
Untitled by Jade Koch, XI: collage
Birthmarks, cheese fries, and other memories I looked back on in December 12/1/13 We were lying on your roof laughing at the oddlyshaped birthmarks etched into your skin in the creases of your left elbow and for a moment so infinitesimal it barely happened at all, I thought that it would be funny to toss you over the edge and watch you cascade to the ground, I mean just see your limbs swinging about and your face looking up as gravity pulled you down and later I could wipe off the blood and make you a chocolate milkshake and it seems like I thought about this a lot but I really didn’t, it came and went so fast and then I was laughing again and you never even noticed that I had stopped. 12/9/13 We shared a plate of cheese fries and you ate the last one and I stared at the paper that had been hiding the whole time, collecting grease until it was saturated, thinking that you should have offered me that last one even though I would have said no because it was soggy, limp and lonely and didn’t even have a coating of cheese to mask its ugliness but I think guys are supposed to offer things to girls and hope that they say no and you didn’t but I wasn’t angry or anything because that’s just you and at some point your selfishness started to disfigure your beauty. 12/16/13 I laughed at all your jokes, even when they were racist or obscene and you sounded like a moron and you used to laugh at mine even when you didn’t understand them because I’m not very good with simplicity but you
don’t anymore so do you hate me or are you exhausted by my crossword puzzle humor or are you depressed because there’s medication for that but you don’t believe in nonrecreational drugs, do you. 12/22/13 The sun was still wiping the sleep from it’s eyes and you whisked the batter like a maniac and I sprinkled the chocolate chips and you laughed because I arranged the morsels into frowny faces and you placed your hands over mine and we moved as one as we flipped over each misshapen pancake but we waited too long and ninety three million miles away, the sun was burning too. 12/27/13 We played tug-of-war everyday for eight months and I gave my muscles a good squeeze and they are no stronger than they were before and your company has become enervating and you say it’s a tie and I nod my head but the truth is you hauled me through the mud then complained about the rope-burn on your palms. 12/31/13 It’s almost a new year and I’m still trying to figure you out but not sure who there will be to tell or what trophy I will get to flourish when I finally crack the code and solve you like a Rubik’s cube.
— Julie Goldberg, X
Untitled by Alex Ling, XII: drawing
Untitled My little brother has always been hard to read. He prided himself in it, I think, how he hid just about everything away from my parents and I. I always wished I could be more like him in that way. I was s--- at lying when we were younger. I still am. I get that glint in my eye. Or I get this goofy smile on my face. People always know. My little brother’s name is Ryan. Just last week he turned sixteen. He has dark, shaggy hair and forest green eyes. He’s prettier than me. He wakes up at 7 am on weekends so he can sit on our ugly floral sofa with a bowl of fruit loops and watch cartoons. He’s one of those people you think are shy until they open your mouth. Then you realize they just don’t like to talk much. Everyone listens when my little brother talks. He gets Cs in math class but he’s very smart. His mind is filled almost entirely with bizarre trivia and there’s not room for much else. I love him. He always beats me in monopoly. He says the top hat is his good luck token. I don’t have a good luck token, but I usually pick the battleship. Sometimes the Scottie dog. Never the thimble. Ryan always snatches up the railroads and I think that’s why he wins. He buys up all the cheap properties, the light blues like Oriental Avenue. I land on them every time I go around and that’s probably another reason why he wins. The point is, he’s much better than me at monopoly. And it’s one of the few board games that’s not a game of luck. It’s almost all strategy. Ryan has about three outfits that he actually wears. Well, one pair of jeans and three shirts. The first is a navy t-shirt with green stripes from the gap. The second is a red Henley that I gave him for Christmas a couple years ago. The third is the same as the first except it’s green with navy stripes. He likes those three shirts the most because they aren’t “itchy or too tight.” They give him room to breathe. My brother gets very, very sad sometimes. He says it’s not even sadness. It’s apathy. Nothingness. But that freaks me out and reminds me of empty parking lots in the middle of the night so I continue calling it “very, very sad.” continued on next page
He misses Tom and Jerry and stays locked up in his room until my mom calls him for lunch. He says he’ll come down but he doesn’t actually come down, not until my mom calls him for dinner. He doesn’t sulk, or glower. You would think he would but he doesn’t. He compliments my mom’s cooking and asks me about my life (and he always remembers everything I tell him about) and he laughs at our jokes and it’s strange because he seems happy. Sometimes I can’t enjoy my food too much because I’m too busy analyzing him. Worrying. Because I know it can’t be real, but he’s so good at lying that we all just go along with it and everything almost feels ok. But if it was real, and he was happy, why didn’t he leave his room all day? Why didn’t I hear him talking to his girlfriend through the wall at midnight like I used to? Why did he take a nap at three in the afternoon when he would usually be playing basketball on the driveway? Why has it been months since he’s told me something I didn’t know before (this used to be a daily occurrence…did you know Robert E. Lee was buried barefoot because the coffin was too small for his boots?) On these days, I miss my brother. Lately, they tumble over one another with no respite. So today, my mom took him to the doctor. I think he finally admitted that he’s not ok but I’m not sure. My parents don’t tell me too much. I bet he told them not to tell me. The doctors asked him lots of questions, but not like the ones you get asked at your yearly check-up. Not “do you take vitamins?” or “how do you get your exercise?”, but “have you lost enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable?” and “have you been experiencing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt on a regular basis?” I hate to think of my little brother answering those questions; of the look on his face as he decides to be honest and says “yes.” He comes home with a bottle of pills and asks if I want to play monopoly. I decide to play with the thimble. It’s not like the battleship has been such a miracle worker in the past. Of course, he chooses the top hat. We play for two and a half hours and when we finally look up from the board we realize the sun has set around us. I get boardwalk and park place but he somehow never lands on them. He wins. I’m relieved.
— Julie Goldberg, X
Bruises There will be bruises in the morning. Fresh ones, Purple and yellow with red specks, showing how hard he hit you. You won’t be able to wear a bikini for a while, until the scratches heal, and the navy marks disappear. Warm tears slipping down my face, sunburnt cheeks salty and wet. A black eye, already rising to the tender skin around my hazel eye. Blue glow of the television dancing in the window. You’re safe But only for now.
What will you do tomorrow morning when you have to go home and face him again? What will you do if you can’t fight him off next time? What will you do when the family’s not home and you’re all alone, and with beer on his breath he whispers once more, “Shhh this’ll be fun.”
— Hope Anhut, X
“Legs” by Emily Dyckman, XI: photo
Slide Projector I saw the afternoon in images. The kind that used to flicker on a carousel, while Ms. Carty’s Kindergarten voice said, “Slide 1.” Click. The stream. The bridge. The road that leads to the house I’d been warned against. The park I first played soccer. The park I quit soccer. Her hair twisting and mangling in the rush of traffic. The doctor’s office. The Prisoner Of War flag, wrapping hopelessly around itself. Click. Her smile was rare, and not easy to coax. That’s how I knew her laugh was real. Not the kind that’s canned like beans and stored for grandparent’s phone calls. I was happy to put my bag down in the cluttered hall. Framed school pictures, bat mitzvahs and diplomas greeted me at the top of the stairs. “Hello?” a chipper voice sounded on the right. “Hey Dad,” she said routinely. I went into his study. Uma Thermon stared at me from her Poster. Novels stacked on top of each other in the corner. I shook his hand and smiled. His temples crinkled almost swallowing his eyes. I told him we’d met briefly before, but that it didn’t really count. Her room was small, with sea foam green carpet and a rocking chair. I imagined her mother cradling her. Gliding back and forth until she stopped crying. Click.
Postcards from Europe. The book I’d lent her last April. Casio keyboard with Penelope’s Theme sheet music. Quilt with an ink stain. I don’t remember what we talked about. I remember liking it. We walked to town. Light parallel to the second story buildings. Kids on scooters zoomed past. She talked about Alistair. I can tell she still likes him. His name sits differently in her mouth, and she hesitates before she lets it escape. Click. We ate corn and cucumbers and tomatoes because that’s what you do when summer’s fleeting. I told her a secret. The kind that’s confessed, and stumbled through. She told me one. The kind that’s said matter-of-factly. Shamelessly. Click. We walked home, following the type of path only neighbors know. “He asked if he could kiss me,” she said sheepishly as we brushed the bushes to one side. Her house glowed on the col de sac. The street lamps came on and hummed in the night. Click. Her cat’s tantalizing tail, coiling around my finger. Candles illuminating pictures on her bureau. My eyelids at half-mast, dropping slowly like curtains.
— Anna Williams, XI
Untitled by Anna Williams, XI: collage
Secret Portal There’s a secret portal I’ve stopped using And nights that won’t fight to keep us together And mornings that forget the feeling of young hugs Tight as the Velcro on light up shoes Holding matching dresses and braids Like if we wrapped our arms around enough Time would let go As I stepped into your hand-me-downs And chased after footsteps Across the playground of princesses and pirates On a floor of lava And we said that if we jumped together We could make it far away Onto the backs of fireflies Beaming with the stolen light And whispering through a blanket of stuffed animals Stacked on top of each other like bunk beds I can’t tell you the when we started growing tall And the strands on the fabric stretched tighter Until our patterns collided It came with the clicking of a keyboard And boys that stole our crowns It was the red marks on reports that slashed through our clouds continued on next page
When we realized that the mirror showed two different people And I would never grow up to look like you That light was temporary and so was summer And with the cold dark we knew that nightlights wouldn’t save us That the braces buried my smile And the makeup masked your eyes Until we parted As I fell asleep You fell into the fiery pit And the burns still heat up the house We grew out of chances With apologies as a chorus But there were days you would do my hair And the curl came back with laughter Those were the days we could remember each other Days that I knew your song wouldn’t always echo the halls And your coat wouldn’t always hang next to mine That this roof won’t stretch to fit us forever Can’t you wait up a bit; I’m out of breath and running to catch up Tell me how I am going to follow the footsteps of someone who has left We can’t break this wall with whispers Because you’ll be a airplane away While I’ll wave goodbye this summer You’ll pack the light in your luggage And I’ll be stuck here missing you
— Chloe Berger, X
Where I’m From At 13 I’m from nutella toast and fried bananas with brown sugar From the swirl of classical music and echoing laughter Books upon books upon books I’m from mancala games played in the sunlight, coming in from the big window Bike rides for miles through green forest And the surviving cherry blossom tree in the front yard I listen to all the words to my favorite songs The melodic tune of the piano Haunting melody of the cello At 19 I’m from tear-stained pillows and black and white photos Expensive silk dresses and blood-red lipstick Sultry and come-hither smiles Remembering names and faces Riches and fancies A city that never sleeps Scintillating lights, twinkling I yearn for fried bananas To linger by the piano The smell of when spring arrives At 24 I’m from Carnegie hall and model shoots Lofty buildings and hasty reflections Vodka, wine, and cigarettes Fleeting, passionate romance Dark bags under my eyes Wondering what God has set for me in the future I sit near the window overlooking the city I look towards the thin line Of where I used to be from
— Isabella Empedrad, XI 61
Hot Air Balloons My sister always told me That when you’re thirteen you begin to fly She was twelve then I was only nine, And double digits meant a whole lot. I spent a few years Climbing onto the roof from the window With the broken screen Scratching and clinging at my legs And as I crawled I closed my eyes and they felt flooded with diamonds Because I took myself up and up and up Over tongue twister countries And places with colors that had never existed I was just getting strong enough To hold open eyes with heavy lids. But by the time I was thirteen I knew that flying was a myth That I’d spent years unraveling Only to find that the final script was fallacy Written with childhood’s distinct inkThat was the first time I felt Disappointed by age.
I stepped into a hot air balloon because I wanted to go up But all that I got Was further from truth I could touch Answers bled from my eyes Because lies can be painful And I missed my kaleidoscope skies You see, it’s all a disguise, you have to pretend not to cry Because sometimes we look for less, Space between thighs, Yes emptiness is more than a feeling And these are more than my words They’re tears I could never find From the years I pretended I was fine With the fact that I’ll never fly. I still have dreams about growing old The day silver hairs sprout from my head And my eyelids crease with secrets In these dreams I’m flying again, And I know I’m too old for that.
— Mallory Richards, XII
Untitled by Robin Linzmayer, XII: ink drawing
Eye contact with God I let my eyes fall closed and tuck myself into bed, not letting my breath drift so I can spill the words I want to say once I learn the language of prayer. But itâ€™s a language Iâ€™m not yet literate in, so I pull out a pencil and begin drawing to preserve my prayer in a picture. I think back to unopened letters taped to bridges, written to runaway lovers and lost daughters, littered on the sides of back roads and highways. Like cigarettes, dropped out of windows, feeding the pavement small scorches. Making crosses, to be decorated with roses and yearbook photos with unread dedications. So I do my best to connect dots and pull at corners, laying down pages and pages of prayers that spread like lines, attached at angles I can never explain. My list stretches back to day one So I weed the garden growing in my mind And tuck myself back under the blanket 64
â€” Robin Linzmayer, XII
Fire The orange spread. Swearing, I stopped and looked at the mess. S---. The can was empty; it’s soul now in my blue and white checkered tablecloth. Before me is a puzzle, about halfway undone. I need to finish it. It’s a compulsion. You wouldn’t understand. Or maybe you would. Either way, I still have a sweet orange tablecloth. I finished the puzzle. By the time I had finished, the tablecloth was ruined. The puzzle is a copy of the Last Supper. It even tries to mimic the chipped paint and feeble reconstruction efforts. I don’t like cheap imitations. So I took apart the puzzle. I went to see the actual Last Supper once. It’s in Milan. Milan was beautiful. The Last Supper wasn’t that beautiful. I saw it. You can choose not to believe me. But I still saw it. I went to the bathroom, then. The window was open, which is odd, because I’m always afraid someone will sneak in. I mean, admittedly, I live on the third floor, but it’s a possibility. And, if a burglar is coming inside my home, I don’t want him to see my bathroom first. Not that my bathroom is filthy. It’s cute, with white tiled floors, a baby-blue wall, and a black sink-toilet-bath combo. And there’s a bowl of potpourri. I don’t really know what’s in potpourri. I don’t think anyone really knows what’s in potpourri. But I felt dirty. Not a grimy dirty, or a perverted dirty, but an itchy-skin dirty. I came out of the shower later that night at a loss. My ex had just moved to Senegal. I should walk my cat. But I don’t have one. Or a leash. And I doubt my imaginary cat would agree to be walked. For some reason, I always picture cats to be female. Female felines. That would be a good slogan for an “adult escort” business. Not that I know anything about that. That’s not why Tina left. I sat down with a book to read. I don’t remember the title or the author. Or the publisher. Or the cover. Or anything. After lighting some incense, dragon scented, from a reputable store in Hopewell, I fell asleep. I woke up breathing fire and smoke, with an ashy book near my face. I smelled like a barbeque. Sirens called to me. At least I think they did. Not the alluring women of mythology, but the big red fire truck sirens. Escape! I padded to the bathroom window, where I found the wet tablecloth neatly folded on my Last Supper puzzle box, and I stepped out. Out of the shifting blackness and into a dead-yellow light. And then I followed a woman in a red bathrobe, carrying her cat in one hand, her purse in the other, and a wine bottle under her armpit. Suffocating under an elephant grey sweater, I brought my toothbrush. It’s funny what people choose to bring with them.
— Navin Rao, XI 65
Untitled In my neighborhood, I live in the house on the hill in the cold-da-sack where everyone rides their bikes or scooters and I don’t know how to ride a bike yet and my dad skates around and ‘round on his roller blades chasing the orange ball with a hockey stick trying to get it in the net. Because of this the bus doesn’t go past my house so my mom has to drive me in her sandy looking car to the bus stop where the other kids are standing and waiting with their moms too. I’m all ready for my first day of real school because the past three years didn’t really count since all we did was make pictures with shaving cream and play on the wooden pirate ship on the playground but Kindergarten is going to be great since we will actually start to learn hard things like how to add double numbers and read big books. Me and the other kids in my neighborhood take a bunch of pictures and now my face hurts from smiling and my eyes are kind of teary from having them open for so long but the bus is now here and my mom’s eyes are now teary too. I say goodbye to my mom with her teary eyes and she is laughing and I don’t know how she can be teary and laugh at the same time but I am not scared because I have people I know from my neighborhood on this bus and so is my sister so she can help me if I need it.
We pick up some more people before heading to the school and I’m so excited that all I can think about is my new teacher and the kids in my class and I don’t care who I’m sitting with or that I’m even on a bus for the first time without my mom. We finally are at the school and the bus driver is yelling throughout the bus for everyone to sit and wait for the younger kids like me to get off first and she starts listing the names of the younger kids and I’m standing, waiting to hear my name so I can get off the bus but she doesn’t say my name and I am confused and wait for her to remember that she has to say my name so I can get off the bus but she still hasn’t said my name. The other kid in my neighborhood, who is also in my grade, wasn’t called either but she is friends with an older kid so she already got off the bus with her so I’m telling my sister my name hasn’t been called and that I can’t get off the bus if my name hasn’t been called but she tells me that I need to get off anyways and she is walking off the bus and now it’s just me and the kids in third and fourth grade who are going to the other school on the next stop. The bus driver closes the door and the bus is starting to leave and I don’t know what to do but panic, but I’m not getting up because she didn’t say my name and I’m too scared to get off the bus and I look out the window and see all the kids walking and meeting their new teachers when I’m supposed to be
out there meeting my teacher too but I am stuck frozen in fear. As we pass the end of the school I see my mom on the sidewalk looking around and talking to others around her expecting to soon point out her little girl with the blonde hair but she does not know that I did not get off the bus and I start to cry but only a little so that and the other kids will not think I am just a stupid little kid for not getting of the bus and being too scared. All I want to do is disappear. I feel so embarrassed that I didn’t get off and now all the other kids who are still on are looking at me a little funny but they do not saying anything because they are not that much older than me anyways and do not know what to do when a little kid does not get off the bus, why would they care? We are only a minute away from the other school and I am trying to figure out how I tell the bus driver that I was supposed to get off the bus and I am scared she is going to yell when I tell her and that makes me think that it is hopeless and my mom is probably so worried since she did not see me get off the bus. We are at the school and all the kids get off and I’m left sitting and I still do not get up and now my face is all salty and I cannot stop crying and the bus driver yells back to me and asks me why I am not getting off the bus. I try to tell her but she can not understand me my crying voice so she tells me to
come up there in the front and I am so scared but I walk up since I know I cannot stay on this bus forever and that if I do not go up to her she will come back to me and that is more scary than me going up to her. I tell her that this is not where I am supposed to be and I am supposed to be at the other school and she asks me why I did not get off the bus and I tell her that she did not say my name on the list of little kids to get off the bus first. I’m still crying and she gets a teacher to take me inside the school I am not supposed to be at and I am getting some weird looks as I walk into the school but I know why, my face is all red and wet from my tears. The teacher takes me into the office that is outside the principal’s office and I am even more scared than I was on the bus because I do not want to go to the principal’s office on my first day of real school. The lady sat me down and explained the situation to the other lady at the first desk nearest the door who is sitting and talking on the phone and there are candies on her desk and I am still crying so maybe she will give me a candy because I am crying and they should feel bad for me. They lady with the candy on her desk is asking me what my name so I tell her Erin Murray and she also is asking for my mom’s phone number but I do not know it so I am starting to sob once again. She hands me a tissue and the lady in the third desk starts saying a bunch of numbers and continued on next page
the lady in front of me starts pressing the buttons of those numbers and holds the phone up to her ear and this tissue isn’t helping and I don’t know where to put it so I am just sitting here crying with this semi-wet tissue in my hand and it’s gross and I just want my mom. Since the phone is so loud and since I have started to calm down I can hear the ringing of the phone and I wonder if ringing hurts her ear because its so close and my ears always hurt when things get to loud but especially on the plane when I have to lay screaming into my moms lap and I want more than anything for my mom to just be here right now so I can cry and wipe my tears on her fancy black dress she wears to work almost every day. After three long rings I hear a faint voice of and I really hope that its my mom because I need her to pick me up and take me to where I am supposed to be since I am already late for my first day of real school and I’m already so embarrassed to be here in the first place. The lady is taking into the phone and saying words and she hands the phone to me and I hear my mom’s voice and her voice is different than it is in person and I wonder why that is, hopefully she is not getting sick but she asks me if I am okay and I try to tell her that I am fine and that I just need her to pick me up like right now and never talk about this again but instead I can’t seem to get any real words out and my throat feels like there is a rock clogging up my words
and making my breathing all weird and I feel a bit dizzy and lighter than I usually am. I finally get out that I just want her to come and she I think she is starting to cry but I can’t tell because I can not see her since I am on the phone talking to her through some sort of magic. I hand the phone back and all there is to do now is wait for my mom to come and pick me up. My mom finally is here and I am crying and she is crying and is telling me we all got on the wrong bus and the bus driver did not say my name because I was not supposed to be on that bus in the first place and that she is sorry she put me on the wrong bus but I know its not her fault its all my sisters fault for not helping me off the bus because my sister is always trying to be mean to me. My mom holds my hand and leads me to the car and makes me sit on the booster seat where she buckles me in and we are off to where I am actually supposed to be and where I should have been a long time ago. I hope I didn’t miss snack time.
— Erin Murray, XI
Jane In an instant, the salty ocean breeze dissipates as I walk into the gloomy, unairconditioned arcade. It is hard to hear myself think over the repetitive “bings” and phrases the machines spit out in deranged voices that will forever be imbedded in my brain. Sometimes, an hour break while working a double shift feels like only five minutes. All this time indoors means that my arcade “tan” is coming in quite nicely. Throwing my bag over the counter, I greet my coworkers of the day: Kate, a 21-year-old Russian woman obsessed with chocolate soft serve and Jake, a long-haired, bandana-wearing, Bob Marley-loving, 17-year-old boy. I open the door that weighs no more than a piece of cardboard and flick on the light to the long hallway known as the “stock room.” Double Bubble, bomb bags, miniature decks of cards and pig key chains that, when squeezed, shoot goo out of their eyes and rear ends, all greet me as I enter. I pile up the goodies in my arms until I can barely see where I am. As I fill up the display case with the mass-produced trinkets, I think of how I would come to the same arcade when I was young. I would grip my roll of quarters as if it were a winning lottery ticket and pace myself between two games: Batman Whack-a-Mole and Skee-ball. Bringing my tickets to the counter was the moment of truth. All I could do was pray that I would have enough to get something gooey and squishy to add to my collection at home. As I place the last few stuffed animals in the case, the memory of my time spent on the other side of the counter seems like long ago, but it keeps me from forgetting my purpose here—my job now is to create the illusion for everyone else.
A small girl with light hair and even lighter eyes comes to the counter. Shyly handing over her tickets, trusting me to take care of them, she reminds me of myself when I was her age. I count them gingerly: 60 tickets. Not bad for a rookie. Just enough for one sticky hand, I think. I guide her to the “slums”, the window with the small, cheap prizes. Fifteen minutes pass and she has narrowed her choices down to the sticky hand or the multicolored bouncy ball. We have an ongoing debate over which one is more fun to play with. We are both leaning toward the sticky hand. Meanwhile, Jake is helping a young girl who is having the same problem as my customer—indecisiveness. However, it lasts less than five minutes before Jake grabs two bouncy balls and slaps them down on the counter. She catches them before they roll off and looks at them blankly. I can tell she isn’t satisfied with her prize, but she doesn’t say anything and Jake doesn’t seem to notice—or care. I spend a couple more minutes with my girl—Jane, I’ve named her. I’ve always loved that name. I know if I were Jane, I would choose a green sticky hand, no questions asked. I can just imagine throwing it against a wall, then slowly peeling it off as it clings on for dear life, leaving behind its slimy residue. As I picture throwing the hand at a piece of paper, then reeling the paper back as if a fish on a line, an assured voice interrupts my thought, “The pink sticky hand, please.” Great choice, Jane, I think proudly. I hand her the pink sticky hand and she smiles. I smile back, wanting to say something more, but instead watch her as she leaves until I can no longer see her, swallowed up by a crowd.
— Megan Formica, XII
Untitled by Morgan Mills, IX: charcoal drawing 70
CONTRIBUTORS Maysa Amer, XII 21 Hope Anhut, X 55 Chloe Berger, X 19, 22, 59 Ryan Bradley, XII 40 Kathleen Crowell Xi 18 Emily Dyckman, XI 33, 56 Isabelle Empedrad, XI 61 Megan Formica, XII 24, 69 Julie Goldberg, X 51, 53 Chris Henry, X 30 Sean Hudson, XII 13 Jade Koch, XI 35, 37, 50 Alex Ling, XII 52 Robin Linzmayer, XII 63, 64 Jamie Maher, X 2, 6 Ali Marshall, XI 17 Julia Marshall, IX 32 Mimi Matthews, XII 23 Morgan Mills, IX 70 Erin Murray, XI 66
CYMBALS STAFF Rhys Oâ€™Connor, XI 7 Sarah Parks, XI 46 Navin Rao, XI 25, 65 Mallory Richards, XII 39, 43, 62, 68 Rowan Schomberg, X 34, 41 Douglas Stearns, X 38 Dani Stevens, XI 14, 27 Natalie Szuter, XII 31, 28 Jamie Thomas, XI 20 Michael Tucker, XII 12, 48 Anna Williams, XI Cover, 36, 26, 47, 57, 58 George Wong, XII 42 Ruchita Zaparde, X 49 Alex Zhu, XII 45
Lena Zlock, XI Web Creator & Editor-in-Chief Erin Murray, XI Print Magazine Editor-in-Chief Mallory Richards, XII Editor Chloe Berger, X Editor Niki Van Manen, XI Editor Dani Stevens, XI Editor
Faculty Advisors Jamie McCulloch Karen Latham
cymbals is printed on 50% post-consumer recycled paper
cymbals 2014 Published by Princeton Day School
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