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Literal Impact Prospect High School’s student-run Art and Literary Magazine

Fall 2020 Vol. 3

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Cover art: Blueming 1, Tara Wu ‘21


Literal Impact Fall 2020


Letter from the Editors Dear Readers, We are happy to welcome you to Prospect's Art and Literary Magazine, Literal Impact! Here we aim to showcase and celebrate the fantastic art and literary talents of Prospect students. Also, we are happy to tell you that this time around we hit a record number of submissions, making this our biggest magazine to date! In this Fall 2020 Issue, you will see a variety of amazing student works ranging from photography to classic art painting and all the way to short stories. You will also see the uniqueness of the included works as well as their artists, whether it is in their style or message. We hope that you will enjoy this issue and that these works will encourage your own creativity. A special thank you to all of the wonderfully talented artists who submitted their work; this magazine would not exist without you. Also, a big thank you to Mr. Fisher, our advisor, for always supporting us. And of course, thank you to the whole Literal Impact team for putting all of this together. Without further ado, we hope you enjoy this is the Literal Impact Fall 2020 Issue! -Editors of Literal Impact

Literal Impact Editorial Staff Founder: Lucas Daney Publicity Director: Keerthy Reddy Graphic Design and Layout Editor: Sydney Lindman Copy Editor: Justin Lue Business Editor: Joshua Chavan Fundraising Editor: Valeriia Pak Art and Photography Editors:

Safa Ahmed Kajsa Morse Valeriia Pak Joshua Chavan Alden Hughes Lucas Daney

Prose and Poetry Editors:

Laxmi Cspur Keerthy Reddy Ishan Garg Evie Whelan Donia Zaki

Production Team:

Adrienne Ferguson Kajsa Morse Laxmi Cspur

Club Advisor: Mr. Fisher


Fall 2020 Impact Award Winners In every issue of Literal Impact, the editors work together to choose four pieces to recognize with an Impact Award, one in each of the four categories: Art, Poetry, Photography, and Prose Writing. Each of the award winners also receives a small scholarship. The award selection uses a blind submission process, whereby the editors do not know who is the artist or author of the piece, until after the winner has been chosen.

We had more contributors than ever to this issue, and many outstanding pieces. The editorial board found these four works to be especially well-crafted. It’s an honor to bring you the Fall 2020 Impact Awards: Impact Award for Art: “Dezitar” by Olivia DeSilets Impact Award for Poetry: “Persian Rose” by Adanna Todd Impact Award for Photography: “Munchin’ “ by Lucas Daney Impact Award for Prose Writing: “An Open Letter on our Education and the Institutions that Lie Beyond” by Parker Thomas Congratulations to the winners for their extraordinary creative abilities! You will find these award winning creative works, along with many other beautiful pieces, on the following pages.

Support our magazine! Impact Awards are funded solely by donations. If you would like to support the creative arts and writing at Prospect by contributing to the online magazine’s scholarship fund, please visit our donation link at Prospect High School’s Web Store. Thank you!


Welcome to the third issue of Literal Impact: Prospect High School’s Art and Literary Magazine! This publication is dedicated to the amazing creative abilities of Prospect Students. Our magazine’s goal is to, twice-a-year, call attention to the fabulous artwork and creative writing skills possessed by our students.

We are a student-run art and literary magazine. All Prospect students are welcome to submit their creative work! We publish a variety of art and literary works: ● ● ● ●

Painting Drawing Cartoons Graphic Stories

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Short Stories Poetry Six-word Stories 280-Character “Twitterature”

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Photography Photos of Sculptures or other 3D Design work Scripts for Short Plays

Do you want to be featured in our next issue? Literal Impact is accepting entries for our Spring 2021 publication. To learn about the submission process, please visit our website prospectalmagazine.wordpress.com and click on the menu item ‘How to Submit Work’.

The work featured in this magazine is the intellectual property of Prospect High School students. All ownership rights are retained by the student artists and authors. Literal Impact is primarily an online magazine; however a limited number of print editions will be made available. Please contact us through our website if you are interested.

ProspectALMagazine.wordpress.com


Table of Contents Artwork Beauty Underwater, Valeriia Pak.

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Ski, Luana Berani Lima .

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Passing breeze (16" x 20"), Yanci Rosales .

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Bloom, Mia Hinshaw

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Comasagua, El Salvador, Yanci Rosales.

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Frog, Sydney Lindman

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Screen Shot 1, Camila Udjan .

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Screen Shot 2, Camila Udjan .

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Screen Shot 3, Camila Udjan .

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Midoriya, Joshua Chavan

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Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova

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Dynamic Energy, Joshua Chavan .

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Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova

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Dezitar, Olivia DeSilets .

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The Major, Christina Zhang

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Train to the Next Scenario, Christina Zhang .

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Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova


Artwork (continued) Salvadoran Style Art 1, Yanci Rosales

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Salvadoran Style Art 2, Yanci Rosales.

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My World 1, Fnu Khushi .

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Ghost in the Shell, Christina Zhang

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Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova

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Imagination, Beyza Tepegoz

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Dragon Ball - Tournament Photo, Joshua Chavan .

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A Colorless World, Katherine Davis-Wallace

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Nice People Dancing to Good Soul Music, Yanci Rosales.

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The Cali Plex of Eight, Joshua Samayoa.

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Water Dancing Hand, Joshua Samayoa

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Character, Georgia Davis-Wallace

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We Are All Worth It, Katherine Davis-Wallace

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Persian Rose, Adanna Todd

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Dream, Reena Boddukuri

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My World 2, Fnu Khushi . Negan, Beyza Tepegoz .

Saja, Stella Hyolim Lee

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Poetry and Flash Fiction


Poetry and Flash Fiction (continued) Tomorrow, Adrienne Ferguson .

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You, in Sweet Lilac Dreams, Adrienne Ferguson .

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BLM, Georgia Davis-Wallace

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Fire Kidnaps the Stars, Evie Whelan .

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Crocheting, Adrienne Ferguson

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1:49 AM, Adanna Todd

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Everyone Needs Sunlight, Sammy Asrat.

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Two Six-word Stories, Reena Boddukuri

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Distant, Sid Banerjee

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Two Poems on the American Suburbs, Parker Thomas .

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The Yellow Meadow, Sonya Hu

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Photography Blueming 1, Tara Wu

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Blueming 2, Tara Wu

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Happy Birthday, Sarah Hahad .

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Community Nature 1, Katherine Davis-Wallace.

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Community Nature 2, Katherine Davis-Wallace.

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Morning Dew, Reena Boddukuri.

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Cover


Photography (continued) Community Nature 3, Katherine Davis-Wallace.

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Soar, Reena Boddukuri. .

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Scenic Photoshop Art, Anahit Tonoyan.

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Still Morning, Sarah Hahad

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In Navy Blue, Sarah Hahad

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Kisses, Sarah Hahad

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Lake, Fidan Jabrayilova .

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Community Nature 4, Katherine Davis-Wallace.

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Untitled, Alden Hughes .

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Untitled, Alden Hughes .

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Munchin’, Lucas Daney

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Palm Tree, Georgia Davis-Wallace

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End, Sarah Hahad.

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Red, Sarah Hahad.

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Quite Pretty in Pink, Sarah Hahad

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Small World, Sarah Hahad

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Grains, Sarah Hahad

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Lights, Sarah Hahad

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In MA, Fidan Jabrayilova

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Park, Fidan Jabrayilova .

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Sunsets and Smiles, Sammy Asrat.


Untitled, Alden Hughes .

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Community Nature 5, Katherine Davis-Wallace.

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Party, Sonya Hu

Fresh Greens, Reena Boddukuri.

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Photoshop Collage, Anahit Tonoyan. .

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Unrealistic- Piece 1, Sonal Sachdeva .

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Untitled, Alden Hughes .

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Untitled, Alden Hughes .

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Bridge to Tomorrow, Lucas Daney

Short Stories and Creative Non-Fiction Mr. Moon, Ana Khvediashvili

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Flowers, Anyu Hong

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The Key to the Abyss, Ana Khvediashvili

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Betting on Hydrangeas, Fiona Pape .

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Not Good Enough, Sierra Meisel

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The Chase, Tazmeen Ahmed

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An Open Letter on our Education System and the Institutions that Lie Beyond, Parker Thomas.

Stories for your Little Brothers and Sisters The Story of Doug the Dog, Daniel Bao

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Oli the Bunny, Yanci Rosales

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Mr. Moon Ana Khvediashvili ‘22 Back. Ted was back. After the lights had been on for so long, they had once more turned off. He was back on the roof of his apartment in New York, longingly gazing up at the moon hiding in the dark clouds. Heaving a sigh, he looked down at his hands, the scars making themselves apparent in the night light. There was nothing to do. No one to talk to. He was alone, he had made everyone forget about him. Looking at the moon, he closed his eyes and slowly lied down on the concrete roof. He shivered as his warm skin hit the cold surface, but didn’t mind it. It had been a while since he’d come up here to dwell on his thoughts. Tonight his mind was blank. “Mr.Moon, may I ask you a question?” He asked, pausing as if waiting for the moon to reply, before forwarding with his question. “Do you get lonely too, Mr.Moon?” He hummed for a second before letting out a bitter chuckle. “I’ve disappeared so many times, it seems my friends have forgotten about me.” He looked to the side, away from the moon, as a frown etched onto his tired features. “I know it’s my fault, I know.” He let out a breath, suddenly feeling hot. For a while, he lay there, as the moon gazed down at him. “Mr.Moon, Mr.Moon, Mr.Moon…” He mumbled in a daze, half conscious. He lay there for hours. As the hours flew by, and the morning approached, Ted began his way back inside. Climbing into the bathtub, he didn’t bother taking his pants off as he let the warm water engulf him. He sat there for hours, looking blankly at the white wall. The plants he had failed to keep alive danced around the place, singing in soft hues.

Blueming 2 Tara Wu ‘21


After changing out his wet clothes, he lay in bed. He lay in bed for hours, rejecting daytime. He didn’t sleep. He couldn’t sleep. His mind wouldn’t let him rest. He stayed there, gazing up at his ceiling, he was shallow. At nighttime, he made his way back to Mr.Moon. He sat under his gaze as he admired the dazzling friend. “Mr.Moon,” he began, pausing for a moment, he continued, “I don’t have any questions for you today.” He chuckled weakly. He kept his gaze trained on the bright Mr.Moon, today there were no clouds to hide behind. He lay on the concrete once more, this time his hoodie kept him warm. After spending a few more hours on the roof, he went back inside. He was back the next night. Mr.Moon was gone. Taking a seat, Ted frowned. Mr.Moon was gone. “Mr.Moon?” He called out to the black sky. “What do I do, Mr.Moon?” He asked, his voice strained. “Mr.Moon, please tell me what to do!” He was crying now, hot tears streaming down his face, but Mr.Moon wasn’t there to comfort him. “Please,” he whimpered, “I did everything, but lost everything!” He yelled, choking on his sobs. “Mr.Moon,” he began, voice barely above a whisper, “Please come back.” He let his head droop, tears hitting the concrete. “You’re all I have left…” he let out. Someone had popped the moon, Ted would never see him again.

“Mr.Moon?” Someone called out to him. Mr.Moon? He wasn’t Mr.Moon. “Mr.Moon?” He heard the same voice call out, now more clear. He looked around, trying to find the source of the voice. He looked down, and saw the whole view of the world. “Mr.Moon, may I ask you a question?” the young boy voiced. Ted furrowed his eyebrows, this was familiar. “Do you get lonely too, Mr.Moon?” Tears brimmed his eyes, of course this was familiar. Locating the boy sitting on the roof of his apartment in New York, Ted gazed down at him. It was him, Ted.

Happy Birthday Sarah Hahad ‘23

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Beauty Underwater Valeriia Pak, ‘21

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We Are All Worth It Katherine Davis-Wallace, ‘24

A persons Safety does not depend On the color of their skin. Ones safety should always be priority Not their skin or ethnicity. We are taught and told each day Police are supposed to protect me. They shouldn’t have to be so blind People like these are rare to find. No one should have to go outside each day, Thinking “this might be the end of me.” A person is worthy of defense Not racial discrimination and accusations of offense No person is above the law No one is guilty of a skin color flaw. We are all human, and we must work together. After all, We live on this planet, together.

Ski, Luana Berani Lima, ‘21

When a problem is spotted, One should be, Trying to keep everyone happy. They shouldn’t judge and get out of place They need to handle it with grace. All lives matter, Is what they say, But I believe the black lives are the ones we should worry. They are attacked and fear everyday No one should have to live that way. 15


Flowers Anyu Hong ‘24 Neither of us are capable of having children, but let’s imagine, just for a moment, that we can, alright? Even though it’s never going to happen, of course. And let’s name one Jacques, after you, and the other after Cheshire, which is where you used to live. Jacques All the children in your family were named Jacques for some reason. I mean, it’s a nice name so I’m not complaining, but it just seems sort of random, no offense. But anyway, I’m going to carry on with that tradition and name one of our pretend children Jacques. Cheshire From what I’ve seen of Cheshire, it’s a nice place, so let’s make our pretend child nice as well to match. And we should give them nicknames, too. There’s really no point in having spent hours on thinking up real names just to use nicknames instead, but whatever. I’ll take another few hours to think up nicknames and I’ll write them down later. Community Nature 1, Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24 16


The Taking I wanted to include a bit of action with this; since everything’s imaginary anyway, I figured we could get a thief to steal our children. Let’s assume some time has passed and both children are now around a year old, small enough to fit inside the average plastic grocery bag. So the thief comes along and shoves them both inside the bag and I chase after them, but he’s carrying a hammer and knocks me out, and all seems lost until suddenly you appear with a battalion of police officers behind you, and then the officers arrest the thief and return our children to us, and then I miraculously wake up even though I just took a hammer to the skull, and everyone is happy. Did you like my story? Thieves We were once strolling through a graveyard in Cheshire even though nobody we cared about was in there. I remember you immediately headed towards a grave covered in flowers and gathered an armful. I told you that you shouldn’t steal, especially from a graveyard. You responded that you needed the flowers more than a dead body. I said that you didn’t know what happened after a person died. You replied, “He was allergic to pollen anyway.” School People say that at school you’ll be able to meet people and make friends, but since the only friend I have was made an entire ocean away from my school, that’s probably not true. And besides, the only two options for schools a) learn the same thing over and over again every single year and b) pay half your annual salary so your child learns new things, half of which will not help them after they leave school. But I guess we’ll ship Jacques and Cheshire off to school anyway, since everyone else does and it’ll look weird if we don’t. Community Nature 2, Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24

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Love Life Wouldn’t it be sort of romantic if they loved each other? And maybe they could have their love overseas like we did. Hang on, I need to think up a way to engineer that. Maybe they could have flown an airplane to… not Cheshire, that’s too similar to us, but maybe Brazil? It’s not technically overseas; it’s not even over a river, but the distance between them is what matters. So Jacques gets lost in the jungle and Cheshire is kidnapped and forced onto an airplane to be flown back to California. And then they could fight their way through cities and jungles just to get to each other. They’ll be reunited at the end, of course, because I can’t think of a more original ending.

Pain

Morning Dew, Reena Boddukuri ‘24

Now that I think about it, giving birth would hurt, wouldn’t it? I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced it before, but I definitely haven’t. Do you think it would be worth it? I want to, but everyone says I’m inexperienced, which I guess is sort of true. And that’s the whole point of evolution, right? People think they want children even though they actually don’t, and the people who didn’t want children didn’t have children, so now there aren’t many people remaining that don’t want children… You can’t actually answer, but it feels better now that my questions are out there. 18


Horse Riding I remember when I was in elementary school—well, I’m still in elementary school, but this was earlier—I went to this horse riding place and rode a horse. It hurt a lot, but it was probably nothing compared to the pain of childbearing, and it was also probably nothing compared to the pain of the horse. I’m not a horse, so I don’t really know what it felt like, but imagine having someone sitting on you, squeezing your innards whenever they want you to go faster and pulling on a rope lashed around your neck whenever they want you to stop. Where I live, eating horses is illegal, but riding horses is not. Hilarious, right? Chess and Jacky I finally thought of nicknames! Hobbies What would Chess and Jacky be interested in if they existed? How smart would they be? I’m guessing their intelligence will be above average, since half of your genes will be in their body. In addition, they’ll probably enjoy writing about nothing in particular to nobody in particular, since they’ll also inherit half of my genes. Pets Are we going to give them pets? The problem with pets is that their lifespans are only a small fraction of the average human lifespan. Ideally, I want Chess and Jacky to die before their pets do (and preferably at the exact same time as well), so they don’t have to go through losing someone. I guess a koi fish could work. Do you think they would like koi fish? They’re not the most entertaining pets to have, but on the other hand they’re probably also not smart enough to feel sad when their owners die. 19 Community Nature 4, Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24


Afterlife I’m what comes after the afterlife~ Don’t worry, Chess and Jacky aren’t dying yet. I just have a song stuck in my head, and I know you hate nightcore, but there’s nothing really to hate about it. It makes songs much more interesting, and to top it off there’s even anime in most nightcore video backgrounds! Oh wait, you hate anime too. But even if they died, would it really matter? I mean, we could always just imagine some more, right? Flowers The whole concept is just odd. If someone dies, you should kill a few more flowers to put on their grave, because apparently two negatives make a positive. But here I stand over your grave with not only flowers, but also an entire story written on trees I as good as killed for you, that you’ll never be able to read. I love you. Passing breeze (16" x 20"), Yanci Rosales, ‘21 20


Persian Rose (Winner of Impact Award for Poetry) Adanna Todd ‘24 How can love and beauty be so foreign to us The queen of flowers wouldn’t settle for less These should be the essentials The floral empire would never settle for less We are without spiritual epiphanies We are without the fragrance of love How can purity, clarity, and balance be so alien to us. Red, love White, humanity Yellow, friendship Pink, appreciation Orange, enthusiasm Purple, enchantment The gardens are browning Weeds are imminent The world is losing aroma The sun is dimming

Bloom Mia Hinshaw ‘22

The doors continue to close The flower shop turns off the lights “Sorry we’re closed.” Come back next time 21


The Key to the Abyss Ana Khvediashvili ‘22

When he had fallen, the world was silent. His shallow breaths were slowly staggering as the blue sky seemed to dim darker and darker. The daytime moon, denied its glow, lay in peace. For once, his mind seemed to be at ease. For so long, this is what he longed for: the quiet. After years of torment from within, the feeling of serenity was unfamiliar but deeply hypnotizing. Now that he was sprawled out on the pavement, blood gushing from different parts of his body, everything seemed to finally be in its place. He rejoiced - in the quiet. Is this what it took to be at peace? People walked on the pavement which he lay on, people stepped over him, faces forward, stepping into his blood as they made their way to different destinations, his life-blood trailed under their shoes until it could do so no longer, eventually fading into the pavement. His restful breaths became slower and slower. He looked up to the moon one last time, gave it a soft smile, and closed his eyes. “Sir, wake up. We have arrived,” a gruff voice brought me back to life. I looked about him in bewilderment. Hadn’t I died? “Sir, please, I have not much time,” the man repeated, his voice coming out rough and demanding. “Y-yes,” I stuttered out, hastily opening the car door, fixing my coat closer to my body. “Follow me,” the unknown man in the black coat motioned. I slowly made my way beside him, keeping a healthy distance between us. “We’re here,” he snarled out before extending his hand to the tall standing building. “This is where you will be residing from now on,” training his eyes on me, he waited for my next move. I solemnly nodded my head, looking towards the windows which reached the sky, seemingly never ending. Frowning children stared back at me from the first floor, black balloons clenched in their tiny fists. The further up the levels I looked, the older the individuals became, the balloons still clenched in their withering hands. “Sir,” the harsh tone snapped me out of my daze, the man was already heading towards the entrance. I curtly followed behind. After successfully unlocking the door, he let me inside, and harshly closed the door behind me. I snapped my body back towards the door. What was going on? Where was he going? Where are the people I had seen through the windows? The silence of the empty corridors rang in my ears. My heart raced as I heard the key locking the door. Realization dawned on me. There was no one in the hospital but me. I had been tricked into isolation. I thought of screaming, banging on the door to be let out but decided against the idea. There was no way out, it was pointless. A red car pulled up beside the man in the black coat lighting up a cigarette. “Did you do it?” the mysterious figure uttered from under their hat, fixing their red coat closer to their form. The man in black dug in his coat pocket for a moment before extending his hand. “Yes, here is the key.” A gloved hand enclosed around the key, and they made their way back inside the red car. Looking back towards the building, they drove off. The once snowy road gradually turned into nothing but black oblivion. The red car halted, and the one in red made their way out of the vehicle, the key securely in their hand. They walked a little distance before reaching a red door engulfed by the black abyss. Slowly twisting the golden knob, the door slowly opened. Behind the door remained surrounded by pure void. The discrete figure trained their gaze on the key sitting in their hand. With apprehension, the key was thrown into the abyss. Shutting the door once more, the figure made its way back to the car. Taking off its hat, it was someone who I recognized. It was I. I had locked myself away. 23


Dream Reena Boddukuri ‘24

Somewhere in the sky, Where millions of dreams lie, Too high to be reached, Too low to ignore, Red, blue, gray, We’ve all been through it, Twists and turns, Ups and downs, Changes our life into something we never expected.

Comasagua, El Salvador Yanci Rosales ‘21


Tomorrow Adrienne Ferguson ‘23 Today is a new day New light glimmers through the wispy, skeletal limbs Gnarled, grasping against the tangible heavens Underneath the slim cast shadows Shelters a girl and boy Enveloping their figures like prison bars The shadows are a fraction of the once deciduous souls Souls that shriek for life, Yet lack company to listen Their crisp verdant leaves now disintegrated Only the angular branches remain. Ten miles away, the burning auburn rages Tomorrow, it will sprint down the mountain, Racing against only the howling winds of mid-July Clutching urbanization in its hands Crushing the effervescence of mother nature While gray ash lies in its wake. Today, it still grows, plaguing inch by inch Of bare, golden overgrowth. It longs for the left, it conquers; It conquers the crisp verdant leaves of Yesterday.

Soar Reena Boddukuri ‘24

Today, the girl and boy shelter underneath The barren landscape that cannot protect Its own lushness raped Fused into the smoky, acidic air Air that has gagged the vigor out of the forest Where technology and innovation thrive. This is tomorrow, they promise. But the girl and boy do not listen. For they know, shivering under today’s glimmering sun, There is no tomorrow.

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Frog, Sydney Lindman ‘21


Scenic Photoshop Art Anahit Tonoyan ‘23

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Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘22


You, in Sweet Lilac Dreams Adrienne Ferguson ‘23

On a breezy mid-summer night, we curl up by the campfire. In the pure tranquility and transience, lips open, beckoning, as we blissfully reunite. Stargazing, I pull you close and whisper into your arms that cliche phrase I know you love. Nose to the sky, I catch a whiff of warm chamomile and dandelion seeping into the night. You draw me in closer, this time to peck my forehead. I caress your face, drawing my finger along the perfectly imperfect freckles on your cheek. We are so effortlessly attracted, you and I, Love cascades through the union of our palms, though we’ve only loved for a week. Frequently, I ponder our fate. Is this rosy romance just part of the new lover’s charm? Will your name always bring with it thoughts of epiphany and hope? Do you promise safety or harm? Tonight, these answers I do not yet possess. And so allow myself to escape into the bright, twinkling juxtaposition of the black canvas above Which envelopes me, leaving only your protective embrace to resonate; Indeed, our old, naive souls joyously merge in the sky, dizzy with love.

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Still Morning Sarah Hahad ‘23

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In Navy Blue, Sarah Hahad ‘23

Kisses, Sarah Hahad ‘23

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Screen Shot 1, Camila Udjan ‘24

Betting on Hydrangeas Fiona Pape ‘21 To say that Einas enjoyed living in this village would be an understatement. She loathed it here. The local mosque was in need of repair, the town market was filled with filth, and the forest loomed overhead, dark and treacherous. Why her father brought her here she would never understand. While the town was unpleasant, she had been granted one small relief. The garden behind her house was in desperate need of repair, and her father had allowed her to do with it as she pleased. If she was to stay in this nothing town, she could at least create the most beautiful garden it had ever seen. She set to work, pulling out weeds seemingly a mile deep, setting up enchantments around the garden border to prevent the local wildlife from entering, clearing out dead plants that spilled across the paths. After several days of work, the garden was clean enough to begin planting “Hey, new kid,” Einas looked up from her work to spot a girl yelling at her from behind the fence separating the neighbor’s property from her own. ”Whatcha working on?” 32

“Are you talking to me?” She yelled back. The girl let out a sigh “Yeah, can you come over here?” The girl responded. Annoyed slightly, Einas placed her shovel down and walked over to the fence. As she neared her neighbor, Einas began making a mental list of the girl. (Shoulder length ginger hair, freckles, heart-shaped glasses, pink tank top…)


“What do you want?” Einas asked, staring at the girl. (Rings on her fingers.) “I wanted to know what you were up to.” “I was gardening.” (Blue flip flops.) “I’m going to let you know now, that no one has ever gotten that garden to grow. Carrots come out brown, flowers come out missing petals, magical bugs destroy anything that grows. Give it up now before you put too much work in.” “And how would you know that?” Einas replied. (Jeans shorts with embroidered flowers.) “Because even the best gardeners have been unable to grow anything there. Trust me, as someone who has lived here her whole life, no one can make that garden grow.” “I guess I’ll be the first,” Einas replied, a smirk growing on her face. The neighbor scowled. Don’t get your hopes up.” (Pointed nose.) “Try me.” “It’s physically impossible.” (Scar on her right shoulder.) “How bout this?” Einas exclaimed, “I’ll make you a bet. If I fail to get the garden to grow, you’ll have infinite bragging rights.” “And if you manage to get it to grow?” “Then you have to go to dinner with me.” 33


The neighbor jolted, staring at Einas with a perplexed look on her face. Einas froze, confused by her action. Why had she said that, especially to someone like her? “I’ll take your wager.” The neighbor stuck out her hand. Einas took her hand and shook it. “I’ll enjoy telling everyone that, that, what's your name?” “Einas.”

======================================== ============================= “How’s it coming along?” Ophelia yelled from the other side of the fence. Sighing, Einas stood up and

“Einas, I’ll enjoy telling everyone that you failed and that it was Ophelia Harrington

marched over to her, pulling off her gloves.

who bested you.” A bright smile lit up her face.” (She was strangely beautiful.)

“It’s coming along quite well. The topsoil was in “And I’ll enjoy our night out. Hope you’ll enjoy my dad's cooking.”

desperate need of replacement, so I ordered and replaced it with a new one. The first seeds have been planted, and I’m setting up the vegetable patch.” “Uh-huh, and the flower patch?” “I planted the first flowers a few days ago. I’m expecting them to bloom in about 3 weeks’ time.” “What types of flowers?” Ophelia asked “Hydrangeas, dragon snaps, tulips, and forget-me-nots. I’m planning on adding Amaryllis’, Frangipani, and Sweet Peas next week.” “Hydrangeas, huh?” Ophelia asked.

Screen Shot 2, Camila Udjan ‘24


“What about it?” Einas replied, staring her down. “Those are my favorite.” She replied. Einas froze, feeling her face flush. “Besides, I know that Hydrangeas take a couple of years to grow, so I have to wonder why you would pick a plant with such a long life?” “Because I can make them grow in a few weeks.” Einas boasted. Ophelia looked at her and burst into laughter. “I can.” “Yeah right,” Ophelia replied. “You’d have to be a magician to do that.” “I may not be a magician, but I am a great horticulturist. And when I say I can do it, I can do it.” “Then go ahead, new girl. Make that hydrangea bloom right now.” Ophelia challenged. Einas stomach dropped. “Right now?” “Right now, right now.” “Right,” Einas muttered, turning around and heading to her garden and sitting before the bed. Ignoring Ophelia's eyes staring her down, she focused on the seeds, forcing her every thought to be of them. She imagined the way they would bloom, how the flowers would smell, the lightness of their shape. She felt the familiar traces of magic move throughout her skin and focused them on the seeds before her. Opening her eyes, she found a bush of fully grown baby blue hydrangeas. “Hah, I told you so,” she exclaimed, turning to look at Ophelia, who was frozen, her jaw had dropped. “I told you so.” In a sudden movement, Ophelia catapulted herself over the fence and ran over to the flower bed, placing her hand on the bush, and plucking a flower. “No way.” She whispered, a look of momentary awe covering her face.

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Screen Shot 3, Camila Udjan ‘24 “I suppose this means I will be winning the bet.” Einas bragged. Ophelia's bravado returned. “Oh we’ll see, new girl,” She exclaimed, standing up and walking toward the fence, “You haven’t even had to deal with the firemites yet.” Einas felt her stomach drop again. “The what?” ==================================================== ================= True to her word, the firemites were just as bad as Ophelia had mentioned. For weeks, Einas had labored against the pesky creatures for dominion over the garden. The attacks launched by the bugs were relentless: every day, Einas found herself killing the swarms of bugs that made their home in the garden overnight. With every passing day, she found herself less and less willing to continue the uphill battle. But she was never alone, as Ophelia would return every day to gloat. There was a change in her, Einas noted, as she came bearing sweet tea and cookies with her as well. The two girls would lounge in the sun, Einas hard at work, and Ophelia making pleasant conversation. “Do you ever think of giving up?” Ophelia asked one Monday afternoon. Einas looked up, confused by the girl's question. “Why would I do that? I want to prove you wrong, don’t I?” Einas responded. Pushing her sunglasses off her nose, Ophelia stood from her chair and walked over to her. “Well, it's just, you seem so miserable doing this. I know I started the bet, but I really didn't expect it to go this far. To be honest, I thought you'd quit after a week, like everyone else.” “Well, clearly you weren't prepared for the greatness of my skills.” Einas bragged, grinning at the girl standing before her. Ophelia snorted.


“I suppose so. And if you want to keep playing this little game, I will. Just don't pretend you won't be upset when the firemites destroy your little project. ” With that, Ophelia turned around and walked back to her side of the fence. As Eina´s watched, she felt a flutter in her stomach. The girl before her seemed a portrait of grace and beauty, her every move being finely tuned and fluid. Einas didn't understand why her heart yearned to call her name and hold her in her arms. ===================================================================== “No no no no no!” Einas yelled as she ran to her garden. The protection spells she had cast around the garden beds were broken, and the garden left in shambles. Her work, the beautiful flowers, the vegetables, all destroyed by the firemites. Einas fought to fight back the tears that filled her eyes at the sight of the destruction. “Hey Einas, what's going on?” She heard a voice from behind the fence ask. If Ophelia saw what had happened, the bet would be off, and she'd have no reason to keep talking to her. It was strange how the afternoons spent with her neighbor had become the highlight of her days. “Nothing, it's nothing,” Einas replied, her voice wobbling. “Don't worry about it.” “I don't think,” Her voice was closer. Einas´ attempted to pick up her shovel to make it look as if she was working but stopped when she heard a voice exclaim “Oh Einas, I'm so sorry” “It's not as bad as it looks, I swear!” Einas frantically exclaimed, desperately trying to mitigate the situation while tears began to drop down her nose. Ophelia looked at her, a sorrowful expression on her face, before pulling her into a hug. Einas froze, unsure of what to do. "Ophelia, what are you doing?" "Hugging you silly. Look,” she said, “I know you're not going to admit it, but I can tell that this is really upsetting for you. And I want to let you know that I’m not going to leave you in a moment of weakness." Hiccuping, Einas leaned into the hug, allowing herself to lie in the arms of someone who cared about her enough to show her own weakness. The two remained there, holding one another for a good while until Einas calmed down.

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"So, I guess that means you won the bet," Einas muttered, wiping her eyes. "As the rules stated, you now have unlimited bragging rights until the end of time." "And I’ll be enjoying dinner with you and your father," Ophelia replied. Einas pulled away, staring at her in confusion. "What do you mean, you won. I lost. The bet ends there." "What if I told you I wanted to have dinner with you?” Ophelia looked at her in the eyes, a warm light glowing within them. “Einas, you are quite possibly the most interesting presence that has ever come to this backwater town." Looking shyly, Ophelia clutched Einas' hands into her own. "And I'll be damned if I don't get to spend more time with you. Releasing her hands from her grasp, Ophelia placed her hand against the side of Einas’ face. Einas let herself lean into it, feeling a sense of calm filling her. “Are you sure this is what you want?” She asked, cautiously. A smile lit up Ophelia's face. “What else could I possibly want then to spend time with you?” Einas felt her heart swell, and before she could stop herself, she threw herself against the girl, pressing her lips against the side of Ophelia's face. She felt herself blush and attempted to hold back her laughter as Ophelia turned several shades of red at once. “I take that you feel the same way as well?” “Very much. Shall I fetch you some flowers?” “Of course my dear.” Ophelia giggled, shifting to sit next to Einas, “Hydrangeas, please” “With pleasure.”

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Midoriya Joshua Chavan ‘21

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BLM Georgia Davis-Wallace ‘24

You all are saying “all lives matter”, But for black people living is much harder They can’t just go out and do what they want Without having to worry about being killed by a cop They’re being pinned down and caught by the throat But our president is focused on taking away our vote These people have never been able to feel fully safe Because our “protectors” are always on their case! Innocent people’s lives are cut short But putting those killers in jail is America’s last resort This whole thing should not be complicated It is obvious that black lives are in danger So let's do our very best To raise the voice of those who are oppressed

Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘22


Dynamic Energy Joshua Chavan ‘21 41


Lake, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘21

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Palm Tree Georgia Davis-Wallace ‘24

Community Nature 3 Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24

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Fire Kidnaps the Stars Evie Whelan ‘24

The sky is a dull orange As the clock nears six am Decades of forest smoke Joining hands above the rooftops Enhanced for my viewing By street lamps on desolate roads So foreign seems the blissful solitude Of a mountain at midnight Lying under three blankets With round white lights dancing In a navy ballroom My breath bated for the one To wish on A dainty pitter-pattering rain Joins the empty suburban sounds And just for a moment The musty amber is washed away Only two stars in the sky tonight We’ve stolen the others Captive in the open nature Waiting for the dreamer Who’ll bring them home Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘22 44


Crocheting Adrienne Ferguson ‘23

Raw tingling in her wearied hands Spirals up and tugs at her poised ponytail She droops, exhaling Warmth and that grand nostalgic feel. The voice tells her to let go; It drops the long braid of Frayed, cobalt yarn. Hooks and needles clatter below her feet Shedding ages of confinement An expectation of society’s burden Released, utterly gone. A singular rose blossoms from her bosom Plants itself in the rich soil of her soul She taps her head to the rhythm of the voice; The voice calls her homeward, Back to the safety of the countryside, Back to the steadiness of the marimba beat. There exists only her and the music: Synchronous, symbiotic, symbolic. Hell to this world! She triumphs. The rose quivers beneath her roots Like she quivered years ago When he towered above her, Throwing matrimony, household, duty At her slim figure.

Like she quivers now, Fresh golden tears Escaping the memory Of where home has disappeared. Music never fades from her mind It is dependable, tangible Paired with the rollercoaster of her life. The music carries the voice Empowers her to twist and shake Allows her tumbling curls to caress Her soft, youthful features And shed the world’s facade. The voice sings her a tender melody It thrusts her frayed, cobalt yarn aside It plants a rose garden deep within her chest The voice silences her doubts With a steady marimba beat.

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Untitled, Alden Hughes ‘21


Untitled, Alden Hughes ‘21


Impact Award Winner for Photography

Munchin’ Lucas Daney ‘21


Impact Award Winner for Art

Dezitar (3-D Sculpture) Olivia DeSilets, ‘21

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Not Good Enough Sierra Meisel ‘24 On the last day of sixth grade I’m watching my dad scan our boarding passes. It’s hot out, and my shirt sticks to my skin. We board the plane, and Harlan scrambles to the window seat. I let him because I’m not in the mood to pick a fight right now. Harlan sits down and I see he’s clutching a dinosaur. I say, “Aren’t you a bit old for that?” He explains, “It’s for the baby, Allie.” “Oh.” I take out my iPad and watch a movie. The flight is a direct one, thank goodness, and when we land at the Tripoli International Airport after fourteen hours, we’re all exhausted. I just want to go home, which is obviously not an option. We take a taxi to our hotel. It’s dark, and I don’t remember anything other than laying my head on Mom’s lap in the car and falling asleep.

End Sarah Hahad ‘23

I wake up early. I check my watch and the time says 4:15. The time change is messing with me. It feels weird to be awake at this time. I think about the baby. We’ll meet him today. Well, Harlan and I will. Mom and Dad met him in November. Harlan and I stayed with our grandparents. We’ve waited almost two years for him and he’ll come home next week. When I was nine and Mom and Dad first told Harlan and I about the adoption, I was shocked. They sat us down and talked for a long time. To be honest, I don’t remember most of it. I just remember the feeling I got and it wasn’t a good one. I couldn’t stop thinking, Weren’t we good enough? Why do we have to travel across the world for another kid? Isn’t having two kids enough? I don’t know the answer to that question and it always makes me angry, so I close my eyes and try to sleep. We get up at seven and go to breakfast. Our hotel includes a Libyan style breakfast and Harlan eats three eggs. He’s little, but that kid has a huge appetite. I barely touch my food. The time difference has my body thinking it’s a different time than it actually is. We have to drive an hour to the adoption agency. Dad explained that adoptions from Libya are rare, and I know it was expensive to get the whole thing sorted out. On the drive to the adoption agency, I look out the window. Libya looks insanely different from home. It’s like another world, but I don’t care. We finally get to the agency and go inside.


I ask, “When do we meet him?” “It’s going to be a long process.” Mom walks up to the front desk with Dad. I sit with Harlan on a sofa in the lobby. “Why can’t we get the baby now, Allie?” he asks. “It takes a while. We’ll meet him today.” He frowns. “When can we take him home?” I don’t know the answer. I’m not even sure I want him to come home. So I say, “Look, some books.” There’s a book basket on the table. They’re mostly in Arabic, but one’s in English. I pick it up. It’s a Clifford book. Harlan used to love those. I give it to him and he flips through it. We wait for over an hour. Mom keeps telling us it should be soon, but it seems that we’ll never go in. Just when I’m feeling so bored I could die, Mom says, “Guys? We can go meet him now.” We jump up and follow a lady down a hallway. We take some stairs up to another room. My first thought is, So many babies. There are probably thirty, if not more. A handful of women are looking after them. I see lots of cribs, some changing tables and a couple of mats on the ground. The babies are toddling around, examining the others, crying, or eating. “Which one’s him?” I ask the lady. She makes the follow me gesture. We go to the far side of the room, where three babies are on a mat. One looks really young and she’s laying down. The other two are older, maybe a year, and are standing up, grabbing each other’s arms. The lady picks one of the older babies up. “Here is Amare,” she says as she hands him to Mom. Mom’s eyes tear up and she hugs the baby. Dad smiles and kisses her cheek. Mom hands him Amare. My dad holds him for a long time. Then he puts him down. He toddles over to me and looks at me. I don’t say anything. “Ha,” he babbles and runs over to Harlan. While Harlan plays with Amare, Mom and Dad talk with the lady about adult stuff. I don’t think they notice that I’m just sitting there. I watch as Amare tries to pull on my brother’s curly hair and giggles when Harlan pushes his hand away. He entertains him for a bit while the adults talk, and then we leave. My parents kiss his black hair and say things like see you soon, my little boy and mama’s gonna come back tomorrow. Harlan waves goodbye to the toddler. Amare goes, “Bye!”

Red Sarah Hahad ‘23

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Quite Pretty in Pink Sarah Hahad ‘23


Sure, he’s cute. But I don’t want another brother. I’m happy with one. Not like I could tell that to anyone. After meeting him twice, Mom and Dad already seem to love him just as much as they love us, and they’re not trying to hide it. This makes me angry. Mom and Dad have discussed the baby with me countless times. They always say the same thing: We love you so much, Allie. And we need to open our hearts to the other children that need love. I know they love me. But it still hurts. In the car, Harlan whines, “Why can’t we take him home now?” “It’s a long process, Harls,” Mom explains. Harlan frowns. “It’s taking too long. I wanna go back home. I’m hungry.” I secretly agree. I want to go home and go back to being the four of us. When we were perfect. But I don’t say anything. Harlan can complain because he’s little, but I’m older, so I sit in silence the rest of the drive. When we get back to the hotel room, I scroll through pictures on my phone. I go to my “favorites” album. It’s full of pictures from the four of us; smiling on a hike, at the beach, and at Disneyland. Looking at these pictures always makes me happy, but now it makes me angry that we need to mess everything up with a new baby. The scary thought comes back. I’m not enough. Harlan and I aren’t enough for Mom and Dad. Mom interrupts my thoughts, “Earth to Allie!” “Huh?” I sit up. “I told you we’re going to walk around the town. Do you want to come or not?” I frown. “No. Go without me.” Mom looks concerned for a moment, but then shrugs and says, “Okay. We’ll be back in a half hour or so.” I glare at the ground and say angrily, “Fine! Go!” Mom looks surprised. “Allie! Watch your attitude!” “Bet you won’t tell me to watch my attitude when you have your new baby!” I yell. “You’ll be too busy with your NEW PERFECT BABY!” I go into the bathroom and slam the door. I’m fuming. I hear Mom say to Dad, “Take Harlan. Give me a minute alone with her.” Mom knocks on the door and I yell, “Go away! Go back to your new son!” “Allie that is so unfair!” Mom is angry now. Well I am too. “I said LEAVE ME ALONE! You have the baby! The one you had to fly across the world to get because WE AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU!” I wipe tears from my eyes. Mom is quiet.

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Then I hear crying. Mom is crying? I open the door and see her sitting on the floor. Her head is in her hands. I just watch her for a minute and then she looks up. “Oh, Allie. Come here.” Mom opens her arms. I’m still mad, but seeing Mom cry kind of shook me up, so I sit in her lap, even though I’m way too old for that. She puts her arms around me. “Oh, Allie. I’m so sorry, my girl.” Mom squeezes me. I squeeze her back. “I’m sorry, too.” Mom shakes her head and says, “You don’t need to be sorry. I knew this would be hard, but we talked about it, and you seemed okay. I thought that Harlan might be jealous, but…” she trails off. “I’m not jealous, I just… don’t understand.” I ask the question that’s been on my mind for months. “Aren’t we enough?” I’m crying, and Mom looks sad. “Allie, listen to me. You are perfect. You are my girl, and I love you more than anything. I’m sorry I ever let you think otherwise.” I crawl off Mom’s lap and look her in the eyes. She keeps talking, “Our love is not divided into parts. It’s always growing and I love you with my whole heart. I also love your new brother. And you will too. I know that. You might think it’s sudden, but that’s just how love is.” Mom kisses my forehead. “I know.” I sigh and put my head on Mom’s shoulder. It’s warm and comforting. She puts her arm around me. “Your father and I saw how many children needed homes. So many kids don’t have love, Allie. I want to help them and give them what you and Harlan have. I will never stop loving you guys. And Amare needs that, Allie. He needs us.” I nod. “I love you, Mom.” “I love you too, my girl.”

Five days later we’re back at the agency, ready to take Amare home this time. Back in the room with all the little kids. I look around. So many babies. These kids don’t have what we do. It makes me sad. I watch Mom and Dad hug and kiss Amare. I watch Harlan hold his hand and pat his head. I know everything will change. But the most important things will stay the same.

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Small World Sarah Hahad ‘23


THREE MONTHS LATER

Grains Sarah Hahad ‘23

“Allie! Breakfast! Can you wake up your brother?” “Yeah, Mom!” I call back. I go into Amare’s room. He’s asleep. He looks so peaceful. I put my hand on his forehead. It’s warm. At first, it was hard. I was afraid my friends would think it was weird, having Amare. I’d told them about it before we got him, but I was worried how they’d react. Everywhere, I noticed people looking at us when we walked by. I knew what they were thinking. It’s obvious he’s adopted. People staring made me uncomfortable, and I was self-conscious, being with him in public. Then, a month ago when we were walking outside, a lady walked up to us. I thought she would say something about adoption, but she said, “What an adorable little boy! I’m expecting twins soon.” Mom chatted with the lady for a while and I thought, huh. I realized she didn’t care that he was adopted. He was just cute. And eventually I started seeing that my friends weren’t weirded out, but that they loved him and called him “cutie pie.” People looking at us weren’t being rude, they weren’t thinking, That baby is adopted. They were thinking, What a cute baby. Even I started to see him differently. I stopped saying “the baby” and started saying “Amare” or “my brother.” He’s grown on me. I wouldn’t want to go back to being the four of us. Amare opens his dark eyes and looks at me. “Hi, Amare,” I whisper as I pick him up. “Hi, baby brother.” 55


Lights Sarah Hahad ‘23

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Park, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘21

1:49 AM -- by Adanna Todd ‘24 It’s a good day A good day to cross the bridge The bridge between now and then I still see it like yesterday Choosing to cross or choosing to stay Look what happens to first loves Cause they do neither So I’m willing to lose it all Dance with me I wish you were here The future is something I can’t quite see Still You owe me I’m crossing towards our yesterday I’m skipping in the ruins of what we had and could have again My yesterday is my tomorrow My future was my yesterday The moon is always full I can see you whenever I choose Everyone is watching us We’ll be friends forever, right?

In MA, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘21

I chose to cross and stay He’ll do the same I know he will Because heaven is a place where nothing ever happens


The Major Christina Zhang ‘22

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Train to the Next Scenario Christina Zhang ‘22

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Salvadoran Style Art 1, Yanci Rosales ‘21

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Salvadoran Style Art 2, Yanci Rosales ‘21

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Sunsets and Smiles, Sammy Asrat ‘24 62


The Yellow Meadow Sonya Hu ‘21 It was a beautiful flower Among all of the flowers, only one stood out Below the blue tower A blue flower sprout O’ how greedy and envious Were the other flowers of the blue flower Why it was almost hilarious How the whole mood was sour The blue flower had it all A beauty so radiant it made the sun cry As blue as the rainfall Yet despite having all this The blue flower was quite lonely All the other flowers were in bliss They had each other, only The blue flower felt alone No one or where to go In a meadow full of bright yellow flowers Stood a lonely blue flower The yellow flowers mocked the blue For she was not like them That fact was true The blue flower stood out like a sore thumb

The yellow flowers were bright Cheerful, content, and uniformed They shined through like a jewel in the light But the blue flower felt deformed The blue flower was different Sadness filled her heart She was sad, they were happy In the meadow full of flowers She painted her leaves yellow To try and fit in The yellow flowers only laughed at her And tore at her wings She was different and unknown Why was there one different flower among themselves? The blue flower was always excluded Until a great gazelle Came among the flower patch The gazelle started to graze Among the yellow batch Leaving the flower meadow abrase Until there was one left The blue flower Who realized she was now truly alone

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My World 1, Fnu Khushi, ‘21 64


My World 2, Fnu Khushi, ‘21

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Negan, Beyza Tepegoz ‘23

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The Chase Tazmeen Ahmed ‘23

“...and whoever you are to marry, you must be by his side at all times! Always be gentle with your guests, remain an image of a serene woman! Ah, yes, I think that's it,” an old woman concluded with a satisfied look on her face. She turned to the elder of the two other girls who occupied the room. “Do you have anything to add?” “No, I believe you covered it all Madame” she replied, then turned to the final girl. “Sister, shall we move on to inspecting suitors for you then?” The girl only shrugged and sunk deeper into her seat, diverting her attention to the windows as the elder walked across the room to begin discussing the subject with their aunt. On the other side of the window, she gazed at a group of girls outside dancing carelessly and laughing. They were probably content with their lives if they were that cheerful, she mused. And oh, how she longed to be happy too, to be twirling and leaping under the warmth of the sun rather than be here. Giggles interrupted her thoughts, and she tore her gaze away from the dancing girls to find tiny little winged humans (fairies, her mind supplied) gripping onto a familiar item. Her late grandmother's necklace, a prized belonging of the family. “Hey!” she shouted at them, “Stop!”. Her aunt and sister looked startled by her interruption, but she couldn't care less. When it became apparent that the fairies would in fact, not stop, and whizzed by her out of the room, she leapt from her seat to run after them, her sister hot on her heels. "Aesha”, her elder cried, “What are you chasing after?” They ran for quite a while, leaving the manor and endless fields past them as the fairies led them into a dark forest. When they were no longer visible to her, the girl ceased her seemingly pointless chase after the little creatures, who were most likely much deeper into the forest then the pair was right now. “Th-those little things!” she burst out, “They stole Grandma’s necklace!” The elder tilted her neck in confusion, “You chased after them for that? I have never witnessed you spare a second glance towards the necklace though? Tell me sister, why have you really run this far from home?”

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And for that, the girl had to stop and think for a long minute. Her sister was right, the necklace held no importance to her. She was never even very close to her grandmother in the first place. Truthfully, she had only given chase to the fairies to escape the lesson and find a little adventure before she became a chained down woman with no freedom. She was about to tell the elder so, when a familiar glow grabbed her attention. “Come”, the fairies whispered, “Follow us”. They waved her over with their tiny hands. Her sister tugged at her sleeve. “No, don’t follow them! Who knows what trouble they shall lead you into? Let’s go back home, we still have to find a suitor to find for you.” And oh, did those last words ring loud in the girl’s head. Maybe she would have gone home if the other had had a better selection of words, but the girl despised any thought of her distasteful future. The choice was easy for her to make. She tore her arm out of the elder’s grip and reached another towards the glowing little humans. They laughed joyfully, the sound reminding her of tinkling bells. “We know what you want; we can take you there.” They tugged her forward until she was falling into the lake that lay before them, the fall only fastening when her sister leapt at her and clung to her body. And thenOw, the girl thought. The duo had fallen from the lake into another forest, one more mystical then the previous forest they were at. There was an endless amount of trees that drooped low, glowing flowers littering the grass (as if they were magical, the girl noted), with a light fog rolling over the area. Turning her head, the girl spotted the fairies across from her in front of a tall cylinder stone building, beckoning her to come and see. Shoving her sister off her, she ran to catch up to them while her sister got up to chase her once more. 68

Ghost in the Shell, Christina Zhang ‘22


“Wait!” her sister called out. The girl did not wait, only running faster after hearing the words. After covering a good amount of distance, she burst into the building, out of breath. Surrounding her were beautiful floral vines that decorated the area, and colorful mystical beings seated all around on different levels of the building, clapping to the beat of the loud music ringing through the walls. But perhaps the most breathtaking sight for the girl was the one in front of her. Skirts were flying in front of her as creatures spun and pranced in front of her. It was a colorful mess, but the girl loved it. She longed to be the center of the festivities, to join the dancing, but a hand stopped her before she could go. She turned to complain, but was stopped by the thoughtful look her sister wore. “What do you truly desire?” her sister asked. “This”, she replied. “This is all I want. I do not wish to be chained down by a future I loathe, I only wish to be free like them.” The sister released her hand, a sad but understanding smile forming on her face. “What are you waiting for then? Your dream awaits you.”

Untitled, Fidan Jabrayilova ‘22

The girl wasted no more time, dashing forward to converge herself into the dancing, her skin slowly turning into a translucent pale yellow to match the palette of colors of the creatures around her. For the first time in a very long time, a smile crept onto her own face as she began to dance into the night among the rest of the skirts and beauties. This was what she wanted. This was what made her happy. 69


Imagination, Beyza Tepegoz ‘23

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Everyone Needs Sunlight, Sammy Asrat ‘24

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Untitled, Alden Hughes ‘21

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The Six-word Story is a genre of flash fiction that attempts to convey the emotion of a dramatic event using only (and exactly) six words. The most famous example is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn. This issue’s six-word stories center largely around the theme of COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place:

Two Six-Word Stories, by Reena Boddukuri ‘24

Fresh Greens, Reena Boddukuri ‘24

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Dragon Ball - Tournament Photo, Joshua Chavan ‘21

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Community Nature 5, Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24

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(Impact Award Winner for Writing)

An Open Letter on our Education System and the Institutions that Lie Beyond Parker Thomas ‘21 To myself, my peers, and the rest of you: I write this as an open letter to make some attempt at processing the ever expanding pattern of pessimism and angst I’ve felt within myself and seen in my friends, classmates, and others of my generation. I see, among other things, a generation staring the impending threat of climate change dead in the eye as well as a generation oppressed and disheartened by the web of socio-economic inequalities spun by the system. Perhaps what I and my peers are feeling right now at its very essence is a deep and inescapable atmosphere of alienation born from an education system that demands we shred our mental health to secure a spot in the most prestigious colleges, only for said colleges to spit us out into a workplace where we are denied fulfillment and must fight to secure our most basic needs. Alienation by its very nature is not something the individual can overcome, and I hope that in the process of writing this I present a framework from which our generation can build a collective sense of purpose and push towards liberation by fundamentally and radically reforming our education system and the institutions that lie beyond. In my eyes, the fundamental flaw of the American education system (and indeed the larger societal system in general) is its insistence on rating the objective worth of the individual. This flaw manifests itself in various ways throughout the system, most prominently in the focus on testing, grading, and ranking. I feel, as I would assume most would, that the predominate aim of scoring tests and assignments is twofold: to provide feedback to the student and their parents as a means of guiding development, as well as a way to provide educators with guidance on how effective the curriculum is. Beyond this, I see absolutely no circumstance in which grades should be used and presented as anything other than a vehicle for growth. A Colorless World, Katherine Davis-Wallace ‘24


With that being the case, why then should test scores and grades be thrust in front of students each hour of the day and placed on the pedestal they are in our academic culture? Could it be that grading helps provide students with clear goals they can work towards? I would say not necessarily, as direct feedback from a teacher can provide far more solid and specific goals to work towards than just an isolated number or letter grade. Could it be that grades are a more efficient and convenient way for teachers to deliver feedback? While a quick number or letter on an assignment is most certainly easier on a teacher’s workload, I think I speak for most students when I say that infrequent but detailed feedback is far more beneficial and less stressful than an endless barrage of letters and numbers that tell us little about what we’re learning and what we’re not. I can give no explanation then for the current purpose of a grade focused education system other than it serving to pit students against each other as well as support the notion that the sum of one’s knowledge can be objectively measured, ultimately creating a system built on competition in which those deemed to be valuable are placed higher in the order of things than those deemed to be less valuable. This ingrains the idea that society should have a clear and unforgiving social hierarchy, creating a society of young adults primed to accept and write off substantial inequalities as just a necessary part of the system. From all this I bring forward a proposition: that for the majority of circumstances, the grading system should not be used, or at the least tucked away from student view most of the time in favor of personal and direct feedback from teacher to student. Party, Sonya Hu ‘21 77


Another clear fix to the American education system and one that is significantly more talked about in public discourse is providing free access to quality public education at all levels. So much pressure would be lifted off of young people if you didn’t need to sacrifice your mental health and/or financial stability just to get into a good enough college to guarantee yourself a good job. And while I do believe that a good job (or in my eyes, any) shouldn’t be necessary to guarantee oneself a happy life, such a change would require such a drastic shift in the way our society works that I would rather not dwell on it in this letter. Nonetheless, policies like free college education and student debt forgiveness are essential steps in repairing the broken psyche of young people in America. But what of life after school? After all, what good is a reformed education system if the workplace it feeds into creates a sense of alienation even deeper and more oppressive than the education system. Without a doubt the state of labor in America is astoundingly more dismal than in other wealthy countries, yet America continues to push further towards an inhospitable workplace with each new generation. Hopeless as I make it sound, I only make the condition sound as dire as I do because of how essential yet simple I believe the solution is. This solution is one that I and my peers have scarcely been exposed to and is a solution that has been more or less banished from all areas of public discourse. This solution is unionization: the formal organization of workers within a company or industry to help democratize decision making and take power from the hands of upper management and distribute it more evenly to workers. I feel the subject of unionization rarely comes up in day to day conversations not because the people I talk to have no reason to form a union, as it is undeniable that working people of all backgrounds in America suffer similar issues, be it long working hours, lack of paid leave and benefits, and selfish decisions by upper management. These issues define the workplace that my generation is soon to be spat into, and all of these issues could be solved by the workers coming together and demanding to be a part of the decision making in their place of work. The key struggle with increasing union membership is that it requires more than just a handful of people independently longing for a union, it requires people to be communicating and constantly bouncing around the idea of organizing between them. This of course if impossible with every last remnant of a widespread American union culture being blown to bits during the 1980s under the Reagan administration. The American labor movement is dead, and I see it as the duty of my generation to revive it. I will make a commitment to make sure that the topic of unionization emerges in everyday conversations and I plead to my peers and all the rest that they do the same. I dream of an America in which an alienated working class recognizes they have the power to liberate themselves and come together to demand fair pay, basic necessities, time off, and lower working hours. So much of the feelings of anxiety, isolation, and tiredness that plague young working Americans stem from being deprived of necessary time to relax all while having your own wellbeing hinge upon the will of your employer. To unionize is to take a radical step towards lifting this oppressive plague off of us and I feel that it will be my generation that takes this first step. From social media to personal conversations, it is this generation's responsibility to combat the long standing corporate propaganda and reintroduce the topic of organized labor back into public discourse by all available avenues. Above all else, I want to make it clear that the technicalities I have presented in this letter serve to, at their most basic essence, to convey to you a particular sentiment: that should there ever come a point in your school or work where you feel isolated from other people and smothered by anxiety, recognize you are worth more than what the system says you are and that you are stronger united with your peers than you are on your own. This can mean casting grades out of your mind and viewing all other students as equals, or it can mean talking to your coworkers and making plans to start or join a union. This sentiment has been absent in the American psyche, and I feel it will (and must) be the current generation of kids growing up and going out into the world who bring to life the spirit of collectivism we have been missing for so long.


Photoshop Collage, Anahit Tonoyan ‘23

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Saja, Stella Hyolim Lee ‘24 80


Nice People Dancing to Good Soul Music Yanci Rosales ‘21

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The Cali Plex of Eight, Joshua Samayoa ‘21

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Water Dancing Hand, Joshua Samayoa ‘21 83


Distant Sid Banerjee ‘23 On the wall by his bed, From top to bottom, Lined up so nicely, In neat rows and columns. So every morning at nine, When his eyes first open, He looks at his wall, And reads his own poem. First of his childhood, From when he was… twelve? ...eleven? ...ten? The man tries to remember, Again and again, But he can’t, so he moves on, And looks at the next line. He’s older, he’s sure, A little hardened by time. There’s a girl in the picture, Smiling, center frame, For the life of him, he just can’t Remember her name. She’s tall with dark hair. But more importantly, She smiling, she’s happy, And so is he. Unrealistic- Piece 1, Sonal Sachdeva ‘21 84


The next line, she’s still there, But older and wiser, She’s got a facial expression He cannot decipher. He racks his brain, But it’s all a blur Below, written in pen, “Do you remember her?” He’s frustrated, and angry, And mad with the world, Because he doesn’t understand the photos, Of him or the girl. Then the next line, she’s gone, But the old man can see, A hole in the picture, Where she’s supposed to be. And the rest of the pictures, Have the same hole, And he still feels that same hole, Deep in his soul. He does not know the woman, Or why she left, But when he looks at her face, A melancholy suppressed, Comes forth and Reminds him of what he has left. Though his mind cannot remember, His soul cannot forget. 85

Untitled, Alden Hughes ‘21


Two Poems on the American Suburbs Parker Thomas ‘21

The line of salt grows thinner each day As the grains get caught in the westward wind Come down to be married with the dirt— Humans are made as sinners from clay And the few great ones from this dirt and salt Rise up to be anointed in gold— Or so they say But I have not yet been sold On this notion that contentment belongs to the bold— I can only pray That when the line fades away The salt of the earth may tear down the old.

And the salt blows ‘cross the pavement Towards the horizon of lights and dark smoke— And the people walk the evening by On roads paved of cash and false hope— Eternally free they won’t ever be Till the sun sets for the last time on these suburban streets.

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Character, Georgia Davis-Wallace ‘24


Untitled, Alden Hughes ‘21


Bridge to Tomorrow, Lucas Daney ‘21

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Next are two short stories we encourage you to read to younger siblings, enjoy!

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The Story of Doug the Dog By Daniel Bao ‘21

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Once upon a time, there lived a dog named Doug. He was the princess’s favorite pet and loved to help around the castle. Doug the dog loved to leave the castle walls and talk to Donald the Goose. Doug the dog said to Donald, “Hi Donald, where have you gone today?” Doug loved to ask this question to see what Donald the goose would say. “I’ve been to such an amazing field of grass where I rested all day,” quacked Donald the Goose.

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One day the princess brought home a baby. The baby was very noisy and every night kept everyone in the castle up. It even caused the princess to stay with the baby all day.

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One day Doug asked Donald “Have you ever been Jealous?” It was a question that had been pondering his mind for days. “Always!” said Donald, “I’m jealous that the goats rule the mountains; I’m jealous of the birds that mock me from up above.” “Yes, but have you ever been jealous of someone?” Donald the Goose then responded with a stern ‘No’.

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Doug felt like he wasn't wanted at the castle anymore so he decided to go on an adventure with Donald. The next morning Doug escaped the castle through an open door. He went into the forest and felt free from all of the burdens. The trees smelt great and there on the ďŹ eld he encountered Donald the Goose; or so he thought.

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Doug went to wake up the sleeping person on the hill before realizing it was a great big bear. The bear chased Doug down the forest and up the hills until the surroundings became confusing and the sun started fading.

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Doug slept on the hard dirt oor that night by the oak trees. He whimpered in the cold and had a dream where he was back at the castle with the princess and played with Donald the Goose. He then dreamt of the warm ďŹ res in the castle and then the baby. The baby he was so jealous of, made Doug realize his mistake and regret leaving home.

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The next morning Doug woke up back at the castle. The warm fire reminded him of comfort. Then he remembered last night, and how the princess carried him home. Doug walked into the Princess’s room and he realized that the princess still loved him, even if she didn’t show it. Doug wasn’t jealous of the baby anymore and in fact, found the jealousy ridiculous.

That afternoon Doug went outside to meet up with Donald. Doug asked Donald a familiar question, “Hi Donald, where have you gone today?” “I went to the top of the mountain and saw the world,” said Donald, and that was it. The End

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come

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“How so?” Oli asks, more curious than ever. “Good question little one! There are some rabbits colored brown like us; there are rabbits colored white; there are orange-colored rabbits; there are black-colored rabbits; and there are rabbits with mixed colors,” replies Pappa rabbit.

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After that day, Oli and Leo became best bunny friends and learned many things about the forest together.

The End.

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Thank you for reading the Fall 2020 issue of Literal Impact, Prospect High School’s Art and Literary magazine. We hope you enjoyed it!


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Profile for Prospect Art & Literary Magazine

Literal Impact, Fall 2020, Volume 3  

High School Art and Literary Magazine

Literal Impact, Fall 2020, Volume 3  

High School Art and Literary Magazine

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