Page 1

Reflections A Literary Magazine

Volume III 2018 And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Parkway West High School 14653 Clayton Road Ballwin, MO 63026 (314) 415-7500

table of contents Dreaming - Eman-Al-battah Learn Love - Cheridan Welch Sunday Rides - Peyton Gaskill Peace - Cheridan Welch Death - Jason Zimbelmann “It’s kinda strange” - Kelsey Long Instincts - Eman Al-battah Eyes - Cheridan Welch 1352 - Kim Clyne In Times Like These - Kelsey Long Explode - Cheridan Welch Starbucks Struggles - Harper Stewart


6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14-15 16 17 18

Underneath the Skyline - Gabi Thompson 19 Thanksgiving Evening - Sydney Kinzy 20-21 Sleeping - Caitlyn Sapienza 22 “You remind me of someone” - Kelsey Long 23 Just Like Him - Sydney Kinzy 24 Hassle - Eman Al-battah 25 The Fallout - Sydney Kinzy 26 Antithesis - Jason Zimbelmann 27 Tying the Strings Together - Gabby Leon 28-29 The Barn - Zane Yates 30 Nightmare - Eman Al-battah 31 Difference - Eman Al-battah 32 Beauty - I.D. 33 Beauty, Frozen in Time - Tracy Wilson 34-35 The Creator’s Heart - Raven Knight 36 Art - Gabi Thompson 37


From the Sponsor Lately, it seems like no one gets along. Obviously, this is hyperbole, but it does seem like people are having more and more trouble connecting. We are finding arbitrary lines to divide ourselves; ones that make sure that you are not me. I discussed this idea with our editor-in-chief in the Spring of 2016, and our discussion eventually became the genesis for this issue of Reflections. In this volume, we decided to tackle the human experience. What makes us grow? What makes us succeed? What makes us fail? What makes us hate? What makes us love? We wanted our stories to be reflective of what it means to be a human in today’s world, for better or worse. Inside you’ll see beauty and pain; death and life. It’s not always pretty, but it is certainly human. What truly reinforced the human experience for me was November 12th, 2017. On this day, my daughter came into this world, small and fragile. In the hospital that day, as I held her in my arms, I imagined the life she might live and felt myriad emotions wash over me. I knew that there would be significant milestones like her first steps, taking the training wheels off a bike, graduations, etc. But I also knew that there would be pain in the forms of loss, rejection, heartbreak, and many more. To be human is to accept that experiences and your emotional responses are multi-faceted.


Fortunately, I can think of no finer group of humans than the Reflections staff this year. While 2018 brings a bit of sorrow because we have so many talented seniors leaving us for adventures beyond high school, it also brings renewed hope because some very capable underclassmen have joined our ranks, ready to assume the mantle of our literary magazine. I would like to take a special moment to thank our Editor-in-Chief for the past two years: Sydney Kinzy. Throughout her years in Reflections Sydney has demonstrated an incredible drive and exceptional talent. Through her writings, photography, and knowledge of Adobe software, she has led this club to achieve incredible things. Reflections would not be here today if it weren’t for her. I have known her for many years now, and in those years she has been a superb student, a leader, a mentor, and yes, even a friend. I wish her the best of luck as she moves forward. If you follow any inspirational social media, I’m sure that you’ve seen that humans’ DNA is 99% the same amongst all people. With that in mind, we hope there is something that everyone can relate to in this literary magazine. Enjoy the humanitas of Reflections: Human. — Dan Barnes

From the Editor We wanted to tell the story of humanity. Not the story everyone hears, of how humans evolved and took off to exploring their world. We sought out the stories that are often overlooked: the story of a bicyclist, a heartbroken lover, a hospital patient’s family. The little pieces in one individual’s story that sum up what makes all humans keep ticking. I couldn’t even dream of rewriting the definition of humanity in the matter of a couple dozen pages. But it’s a start. It shows the true range of the human experience. Lust. Greed. Remorse. Distress. Many of us have experienced emotions similar to these. And certainly everyone on this magazine, as we are only human, have experienced a handful of these harsh emotions over the past year while working through a book. In the end, it was the power of my loving crew that got me through the daily ups and downs of life. In fact, Mondays were the worst day of the week until Mondays became the day to create and grow. I always looked forward to eating Skittles, finally writing that story, editing that page design, and of course, all the hilarity that comes from Reflections meetings.

I definitely would not be the same without this magazine to ground me during my high school years. I’ve grown even solely within my senior year—from someone too stressed to put down a single sentence to having the ambition to complete a novella. I have witnessed the same growth in my peers; artists, writers, and designers alike have now gained the experience of new software, the publishing process, experimenting with different mediums, and advancing in their craft. I credit this to the wisdom and inspiration from Mr. Barnes, who saved this program my freshman year. Truly, our high school experiences would be vastly different without this creative outlet, the freedom to squeeze all our very human thoughts and feelings and fears out of our minds and into the pages you now read. I cannot thank him enough for this. In this magazine we unpack the emotions we have dealt with over the past few years through the lenses of experiences that are vastly different than our own. We use our art to understand the dark parts of our humanity, or maybe even go as far as sympathize with it. So go ahead. Turn the page. Take a good long look at the story we humans have woven. Whether good or bad, that’s for you to decide. — Sydney Kinzy




They close their eyes and dream. Dream of the things that make them happy, things that they want to complete, and things they want to feel. Deep into their dreams, it becomes real; it becomes their Utopia.

Those who commit crimes feel the thrill and adrenaline of doing so, while others live their lives trying to stop them. Some heal people with medicine, while others heal by speaking.

Billions of people around the world dream of happiness. Each and every person is different; each and every dream is different. Some dream of world domination, others dream of peace and equality. No matter what happens in this world, not everyone is satisfied.

We dream with hope, excitement, and sincerity to achieve our goals. We’re all different, but we all have something in common: we dream. — Eman Al-battah

Learn Love When do we first learn about love? When our mother holds us for the first time? When we first watch a Disney movie? When we get our first friend? Or is it when we meet someone who makes us feel? Who fills us with hope and puts butterflies in your stomach? Or is it when it’s taken away? When a family member dies? When your crush kisses someone else? When do we learn love? When we first learn how to dream? When we dream of someone confessing their love to us, Are we just born with it? Do we learn it? How do we learn love? How do we find it? How do we forget it? — Cheridan Welch


Sunday Rides The pleasant crunch of soft gravel underneath the bikers clipless shoes echoed through the crisp morning air as he walked his bike towards the trailhead. His padded half-finger gloves rested gently on the handlebars, guiding the 29-inch wheels down the beaten path. The unmounted bike’s chain made a rhythmic clicking noise as the warm summer sun glinted off the elegant geometry of the bicycle. Reaching the trailhead, which was a gaping hole in the treeline like the maw of a fantastical creature widening to swallow him whole, the cyclist clipped his black visored helmet tight with a satisfactory snap and in one sweeping motion lept onto the pedals sending himself down the rocky forest trail. The melodious chirp of birds was overtaken with the rush of the wind past his ears. Soaring oaks and maples flew by


on either side, the canopy of leaves swooping overhead letting in shafts of glimmering light, his tire solidly connected with the earth beneath him, and nothing but the flow of the trail in front of him. Rocks and roots passed under with ease, and berms and ramps were taken with speed. In these moments the rider was in a state of total focus, one with the trail and his bike. It was not until he reached the summit of his ride, and he overlooked the snaking valley beneath him he realized the sweat that beaded across his body, and the dirt that caked his legs. He realized the burn in his calves and the soreness of his hands. Taking one last glance at the view he had seen many times before, the biker mounted once more, kicked the bike into gear, and disappeared down the trail. — Peyton Gaskill

Peace When the light shines on the new grown grass, I feel the hope to peacefully relax, I imagine myself lying in the hot sand, On a stranded island that would be so grand, To say that this place is real, For to my senses they do appeal, But sad to say this will never be. For life is a endless fantasy, Filled with hope and unrealistic dreams,

That hide the endless means, But it’s fun to dream of what could be, For who doesn't need a fantasy, To carry us through the hard times, That make it hard to even rhythm, And how hard it must be to string up rhymes, For I only do it to pass the time, But know I go back to those hot sands, And dream of the days that could be grand. — Cheridan Welch 9

Death I am Death I am the cold of winter The stark of deprived light I come at night - or in daylight I take all life All have perished before my scythe. In the spirit-chest one knows they cannot withstand fate. For Fate I am and fate I fill Black as the night, my cloak consumes all light Grass grows gray beneath my feet I’m a sin to life - its grievous sorrow I travel most lonely along the wretched track Remember not how ‘cruel’ I may be nor how ‘right’ is my path Many a men ask for but a moment more ‘Nay’, I say - I’m wicked with woe And with that they fade and once more I am alone I gaze before all of time All of its pride and decadence Its start and its end Is it a privilege or a curse? Am I right to take the life of all men, good and bad? It matters not - for I have eternity to wonder. — Jason Zimbelmann


“It’s kinda strange, ya know?” “What is?” “To finally breathe in your own air instead of someone else’s, and realize you want your own more.” — Kelsey Long


Instincts We see with our eyes, feel with our hearts, and act with our hands.

We close our eyes when feeling this pain, so we don't have to fight.

We see things happening, and feel the wrong, but can’t change it.

We open our eyes, hiding our feelings of what we did.

We pretend we never saw, ignoring the feeling, and keep to ourselves.

We see the red with no feeling, covered on our hands. — Eman Al-Battah


Eyes Eyes. All I see are eyes staring at me. I can feel them. I can feel them piercing through my skin, gouging into my soul. I feel them staring, judging. I can hear them. Hear their mocking and evil laughs. I can hear their need to tear me into millions of worthless pieces of flesh. That’s what I am. That’s what they think I am, so it must be. Why are they staring? What did I do? Just look down. Walk faster. Look down. Go into the bathroom. Look down. Make sure no one else is here. Look in the mirror. What is it? Was my hair too frizzy, nose too wide, eyes too far apart? What is it? Fix your hair. Adjust your shirt. Smile. No. Don’t smile or they’ll see your ugly teeth. Just look down. Hide your face behind strands of your dead hair. Hide your figure under baggy sweatshirts. Hide your feelings by never speaking. Just look down and you'll be fine. Just look down. Look down. Just look…...look down. Just look down and you’ll be fine. — Cheridan Welch


1352 The shrill ringing of the phone wakes you from a deep sleep. “He’s back.” You sigh and ask what room, pulling on a sweater and some shoes before grabbing your keys and heading out the door. “1352” the voice on the other end tells you. “East wing?” you ask. “He was in the main tower last time.” They reply with a sigh and end the call. Sitting at the red light you can’t help but wonder what it is this time. The liver, lungs, heart, maybe he just fell. Maybe the cancer came back. A car horn snaps you back from the torment of your twisted imagination, back to the green light, and back to the waiting news. On your way to 1352 the nurses recognize you and shoot you glaces full of pity. There is a small stuffed bear clutched to your chest. Occasionally you’ll get a little animal from the gift shop. The elephant in 287, the bunny in 343, and now the bear in 1352. 1352 is the worst. 326 wasn’t great, but it was better than 217. At least he wasn’t bleeding in 326. 217 was such a mess, the nurses even brought you scrubs to wear rather than your own bloodied clothes. There were other rooms too, all the same shade of yellow, the beeping of the machines resonating throughout the room the exact same. 1352 is cold, the beeping harsher, reminding you exactly where you are, forcing you to face the brutal reality.


He’s dying. His body is shutting down and there is nothing you can do to help him. The oxygen tube fell from behind one of his ears, and you catch yourself shaking as you reach up to put it back. Gently, your hand brushes over his cheek and down to the bear at his side before returning to your lap. You used to cry. Now you’re just numb. The beeping is the only way you know he’s still alive, lying there, so seemingly lifeless. That thought suffocates you, tendrils of misery wrapping around your throat, choking you. Your heart aches, forcing it’s way out of your chest and suddenly you’re lying on the cold floor, clutching at your stomach to muffle your sobs. You wake again, but this time you’re in the chair next to the bed. He is still asleep, so you go home, silently promising you’ll be back later. The pain of watching him grow weaker and weaker forces you back into a deep sleep, dreading the next time the phone wakes you. But then it happens again, this time worse than before. The phone rings. “You need to come back.” — Kim Clyne


In Times Like These We listen to music with the volume so loud to turn down our own thoughts. We eat so little to make us feel so full. We check our phones instead of ourselves. We beg for the attention of others, mistaking it for love. We say we value life but joke too freely about losing it. We compare ourselves to others and lose sight of our own self. In times like these, we tend to say the opposite of what we mean, Do the opposite of what we say, And be the opposite of who we are. — Kelsey Long


Explode Sometimes I just explode, I can’t deal with the nagging and bickering and stress and endless pain, The feeling always in my gut that my good times aren’t my real life, I wish they were but they’re not, I can’t help but feel that when I come home from school my fantasy ends and reality barges in, Where I cry over my parents’ fights and my siblings giving endless torture, Where I wish I could just run away, I would pack my things and go find myself a new and happy life, Or I could just suck it up a few more years until college where I can escape, Sometimes I imagine me dying a tragic death and police investigating, They would read this and see how messed up my life was and find my killer faster or something, I just feel a pit that is growing every day, Every time I breathe, and I just can’t cry anymore, I feel pain but know tears, and soon that will fade as well, I can’t get surprised by my parents’ divorce because I don’t care, I can’t feel sad my dad’s gone because I wished it, I also wished that I could turn back time to when my life was good, But now that I think of it, it never was, I never had a happy life, Happy moments that I like to remember but never just a happy life, Not one day where my life didn’t make me want it to end, For everything I’ve see, it has ruined me, I don’t believe in love at first sight, I don’t want kids until I’m married--if any, I can’t have a family without worrying about my brother, I can’t live, I can’t relax, I can’t breathe, I can’t wait until the day when all my memories fade, Those are when I’ll be happiest. — Cheridan Welch


Starbucks Struggles I smile nervously as I inch forward in the line, eyes riveted to the sticky green floors. The wait is agony, and yet I come no closer to deciding the life altering choice of an iced macchiato or a cup of passion fruit tea. I eye the cashier, taking in his messy top bun and handlebar mustache with fear. The preppy woman in front of me bounces off in her lulu lemon leggings, perfect plum acrylic, and nike sneakers. Once again, the slimy, juniper floors and the tips of my target sandals are all I can see. Why am I even here? I hated coffee; I needed coffee.

The third time, I manage to hiss “I’ll have.... This.” My eyes catch on the shiny wrapper, the title looping in intricate script: “Almonds”. Not just any almonds- buttered, creme brulee, lighted salted and sweetened almonds. Man Bun nods sagely, as if he had suspected my choice all along, and scans the item with a click. He hands the gift back to me, smiling widely, an expression I mirror on my face. Like the women before me, I bounce off, clutching my prize with clammy palms and a toothy grin, finally feeling at home amongst the smell of coffee, whirring of laptops, and clink of glasses.

“Miss, what can I get you?” My head whips up, hair catching in my mouth as I stare steadfast at the mermaid symbol in the center of the worker’s chest. I pull the hair out of my mouth, grimacing at the leering creature, her cream and evergreen tentacles taunting me to choose. Choose. I pick at my peeling manicure, my eyes drawn like moths to the shining menu board. Iced coffee options swirl and combine with cappuccinos, until there is no difference between a hot chocolate and a skim milk coconut latte with sugar. Choose. Choose. A soft, gurgling noise rises in my throat, and I cough once, twice.

Only after I leave the fluorescent green lights and odorous room do I halt, my ears turning a brilliant shade of crimson as I finger the almonds in my hand. I glance over my shoulder in shame, wincing at the green, smirking sea creature watching over the pretty girls dressed in athletic wear, sipping their double shot drinks while I squeeze my almonds tightly. I whip my head back around, the feeling of home completely lost as I feel the weight of my mistake settle over me. I walk away from the coffee, from the tight clothes, manicured nails, and shallow warmth inside, my cheap shoes echoing in the parking lot. — Harper Stewart


Underneath the Skyline There are towering behemoths Of glass and steel Rooted into the earth By man’s sheer will Underneath the skyline Glass capsules scuttle to and fro Carrying travelers Wrecked and weary Trekking well-worn passages Underneath the skyline Walk stars made flesh Street-hardened warriors

With thousand-yard stares Don victors’ laurels For they have had Their triumphs And tribulations No strangers to hardship Survived trying situations Underneath the skyline Lies the Universe’s greatest creation The fruit Of human innovation — Gabi Thompson


Thanksgiving Evening Smoke drifted through the ashen street as Old Buck staggered around whistling an old tune, pulling the rim of his rotten brown hat from his eyes. “What are you humming, Buck?” “A beautiful song!” Buck grinned through the smog. His front tooth was missing, and the one sitting beside it was askew, and every time he smiled the stench of whiskey crashed into my face. “Look what a gorgeous fall day it is, kid! Even he knows how lucky we are on this lovely holiday!” He pointed at a dog across the street from us, skin and bones, whimpering and gnawing at a bone. God knows what it was the bone of. A hand fell on my shoulder. “Just me,” Willy said to me. “Let’s go. Nice seeing you, Buck.” Buck tipped his hat with a wink, staggering as he tried to shake Willy’s hand. “Alright, kids. Work hard for ‘em rich folks.” Willy grudgingly shook his grimy hand, and as Buck stumbled away, he wiped his hand on his old flannel. “‘Work hard for the rich folks’?” Willy laughed. “He thinks it’s easy, don’t he? While he wastes away on hard liquor, we actually take this town by the reins. Or at least them in their big old houses do while we make the power.” He gestured to the mansions on the hill, their electricity glaring through the dim afternoon. “You still working for the Murphys?” “Yeah, they use up a lotta juice. They use so 20

much ‘lectricity I don’t know what they must be doing in them simulations all day.” “What do you mean?” “The Murphys are in those simulations all day, dreamin’ up a storm. I don’t know what business work they have been doing selling simulations but it must be good. Maybe they are programming a safari sim. I know Briggs did that awhile back. Or maybe a space sim? Who knows.” We strolled down the dirty, cracked streets towards a gaping hole in the center of town. All the men grabbed pickaxes from the shed while the women and children scampered into rotting cabins as a whistle pierced the air. A boom rattled the men, standing across from the explosion. They stared dead eyed like zombies, leaning against their pickaxes while they watched the dust cloud rise higher into the air. We tied our sooty handkerchiefs over our mouths and headed into the mines. While we toiled away until dusk, sweat dripping down our brows and staining our ragged t-shirts, the rich curled up in bed somewhere on top of that hill, sleeping in an artificial slumber, dreaming mechanical dreams. The Murphy children pranced around in the Stone Age, bopping tiny dinosaurs on the nose before they snapped their teeth. Their mother replayed falling in love with her husband, in some desperate attempt to understand why she ever said yes when he took a kneel one summer night before the War. Mr. Murphy spent his days programming his memories before they threatened to fade away. He propped his head back into the cushioned device, letting it draw

It was a Thanksgiving, cooler than last year’s but not as it used to be when he was a child. The kitchen was steamy with the scent of fresh baked biscuits his mother made. When was the last time he had a biscuit? It had to have been no more than a decade ago. Maybe not? His mother died eight years prior. The computer crunched the numbers before his eyes; his last

Thanksgiving was twelve years ago. I would give almost anything just for a biscuit, he thought, as we gazed up at his mansion rising out of the rubble, gnawing on fresh bread from the baker. It was the kind of bread the rich man could only dream of. — Sydney Kinzy


Sleeping Right now she is sleeping. Her face is pressed into the pillow, and her legs are tangled around the sheets. The restless night before has left a small worry crease on her forehead and streaks on her rosy cheeks. Her eyelashes are still dark from the tears she shed the night before. You want to wake her, but you won’t because when she wakes up, she will have to leave.

will wreck the rest of your day. You’ll be running late the first time you hear her song on the radio since she left. Memories of dancing together will flow from your mind like blood from a bullet wound. The leftover evidence of her presence will haunt you, and you will not find it all at once. That is, if you survive her leaving.

Her suitcases already sit like tombstones by the front door marking a grave about to be dug. Places where her belongings once sat are now only empty holes that will be filled by her ghost once she is gone. Despite everything she will take with her, she will leave behind a great deal of things as well. More than just you. It will start with the grocery list on the refrigerator door that’s written in her hand writing. Then perhaps you’ll stumble upon her favorite coffee mug in the cabinet, an old hairbrush in the bathroom, and then a forgotten pair of high heels in the closet. One day when you are paying for lunch, the photograph of her face will fall from your wallet. It is old and wrinkled and faded, but you love it. It will steal the air from your lungs, and it

You must live through the drive to the airport that will be as silent as a funeral. Neither one of you will have the strength to speak because anything you say will sound like goodbye. She will kiss you like it is the last time, and when she turns to leave, you will let her. She’ll hesitate as she walks away, turning to glance at you. For a moment you will hope that she will stay, but she won’t. She will inhale deeply in an attempt to keep her tears at bay, and she’ll leave before one falls. She will break your heart, but right now her face is pressed into the pillow, and her legs are tangled around the sheets. Right now she is sleeping.


— Caitlyn Sapienza

“You remind me of someone,” he said. And I knew it must’ve hurt, Because every time he looks at me, The memory is her. — Kelsey Long


Just Like Him The wind rustled the golden-brown reeds Lining the water A tawny shade (his golden hair) The rusting car I drove Its engine sputters Like a shaking body sobbing by the water (his stuttering, harsh tears) The sun burns into my skin Another breeze came through running Ocean waves across the pond (his tsunami of emotion) A bitter taste permeates my mouth I tiptoe through the grass towards the water Dipping my toes in the cool rippling surface (his eventual silence) Wading out deeper until I fade out into A memory A ghost (just like him) — Sydney Kinzy


Hassle To be human is a hassle. You need affection and if not given, you don’t grow up like others. You do stupid things, because your brain hasn't developed yet. To be human, you desire happiness, but rarely find it. To be human is a hassle. You want things you can’t have, so then greediness becomes a common trait. Things like jealousy can ruin relationships, because trust begins to drain away.

To be human, you find yourself angry and put it on others. To be human is a hassle. You do things for yourself, because everyone is on their own. You’re blinded by troubles, because it’s not in your bubble. To be human, you think more about happiness, But not for others. — Eman Al-Battah



Antithesis No thoughts, No story, No rhymes, Or hymns, Nothing. I see the world, Its colours plain. I hear the world, Its sounds fade. Food begins to taste all the same, Flowers’ scents no longer hold sway. I wake, I tire, I sleep, I hunger, I thirst, I eat and I drink, Interests all fade to resting all day, When I talk, I care not, no joy no play, Life’s glitter dulls away, No more laughter no more emotions: none today, My mechanical heart beats another day. — Jason Zimbelmann


Tying the Strings Together 1:36 A.M. With trembling hands, she picks up the different array of strings and chooses her colors. She struggles on what colors feel nice together: the dark shades of blue with purple or maroon? Five minutes passes and the girl finally picks out four colors: navy blue, white, purple, and light blue, snipping off the four pieces of string that are as long as her arm. Knotting the end marks the start of the bracelet and taping the end to the table helps stabilize the girl as her hands continue to tremble. She adds a sad, blue bead onto the taut string. She makes sure there is no chance of it falling out—almost as if the bead is imprisoned. Slowly, tears slide down her cheek as she fumbles to try and start the knotted pattern, tying the wrong colors together. Her long nails are able to peel the mistake out, as if it never happened. Another bead is added; this time a dark and stressful purple. Her hand muscles contract and tense with every knot added so she takes a break to relax her hands, clenching and opening them. 1:52 A.M. The girl’s trail back to her clock as if she is running out of time. She wraps it around her wrist, checking her progress; a little over halfway done. She adds the special maroon bead, giving it a pop of color.

The soft, dim light illuminates the dusky room. Bent over the bracelet, her shadow shields the light away. Without losing sight of the bracelet, she digs her clumsy hand in the box full of beads to search for the next bead to add. Beads fall from the order they were placed in the box, making a clinking sound against the hardwood floor. The dog, awakened by the noise, walks towards the beads, whining, but the girl is too focused, too close to being finished to notice him. With the whimpering bringing her back to reality, the girl bends down and picks up the runaway beads, finding the exact one she needed: the gloomy black. 2:04 A.M. She ties the last knot and admires her finished product. The way the navy blue blends with the bland white and the lavender overlapping the pastel blue embodies the feelings the girl endures. She picks up the bracelet with caution, as if the feelings would spill. Wrapping it around her wrist, she attempts to tie the bracelet with one hand. The bracelet is trapped on her arm, closing the feelings hidden within it. To others, it will be just another bracelet; To her, a collection of emotions that help hides her wrists. Satisfied by the end result, she moves her bracelets up her wrist, covering the marks left on her skin from past mistakes. — Gabby Leon



The Barn The ramshackle slat barnhouse crouched down between two gnarled oaks like rice between chopsticks. The trees clutched its warped walls in their grasp, and when the wind howled at night- and it often did- both trees and barn alike would shudder, the dry leaves whispering, murmuring nothing to the bright, bloodless moon. Corn grew here, wild and unkempt, the product of a farmer who, by unknown circumstances, vanished into the moonlight bleached forest one night to never come back. The barn waited, though, ever patient, for the companion that had kept its warm, stone-floored rooms swept, had slathered the white, now peeling, paint upon its rough hewn wood, and had spent hours keeping its roof water-tight with stout nails and a rusting hammer. But he never came. And when the nights grew long and the morning dew made its home on the frozen shafts of intermittent grass, the wind’s howl would take on a new meaning. It would be no more the howl of wind through creaking bark but the newborn screaming for its mother, the soldier yelling as another vanishes into the parched warmth of a grenade’s embrace, 30

and the moonlight would glare down, cold and unforgiving, revealing the flaws in the wind burnt walls of the barn as men huddled, shivering around small, dim campfires, dark blood trickling slowly into the thirsty soil. Some men would remain, their wonderstruck eyes forever grasping for the ethereal moon as the mice and crows made a feast of their torn blood-caked flesh. Othertimes, sounds would echo in the distance, brief screams and deep booms and the men would stagger into the clearing, men of both sides, to pay their homage to the distant moon forevermore. And still the barn waited, waited for the farmer who would never return. The nights grew longer, and the corn curled over it self like a beggar in death throes, rotten and withered. The roof ofthe barn, unmaintained, collapsed in on itself, spraying dark splinters and white snow on the once pristine interior while the corpses in the cornfield grew ripe with sins, and unsaid words, and the future that would never be. — Zane Yates

Nightmare We mask away our feelings, Because it isn't right anymore. If so, we’re called attention seekers. We’ve become our worst nightmare. We change who we are, Because others are more important. We become blinded by the trends. We’ve become our worst nightmare. We do what others do, Because you can't be different. We can't risk trying new things. We’ve become our worst nightmare. We grow up lost, Because we don’t remember who we are. We’ve become a disappointment. We’ve become our worst nightmare. — Eman Al-Battah


Difference What if animals had a society as complex as ours? Humans kill for fun And animals kill to survive. Humans are given a choice, they are given strong hands that they have full control over, but don’t use wisely. Hands are made to help, for yourself and others. But not many people do so, because there’s a much bigger advantage. They do things that their brain disagrees with and their heart beats with excitement. They steal. They hold so much power on the palm of their hands where they can create anything with the help of their minds. Animals live to eat and don’t have that power They breathe the same air but live completely different than us. Animals have a role in this world Almost like humans, but it's very consistent. A continuous cycle that never changes. — Eman Al-Battah


you jump from bridges & strip fat from your bones you don’t talk anymore You just scroll &s c r o l l staring at her cheekbones jawline hips eyebrows smile better than yours & you smile only for the camera never for the mirror it’s hard to remember you are beautiful when the world just keeps



but you are. — I.D.


Beauty, Frozen In Time


We filed into the stadium intermittently, unsure of what to expect. The scene looked normal for a high school event: students running around, chatting with friends, taking videos.

Engulfed in a ring of celestial light, the moon became gentle, yet hypnotizing. The ethereal glow of this phenomenon captivated our callow souls, the light of God calling on us by name.

But in the grand sky above us, something much bigger was happening. As the minutes drew closer, the excitement level slowly rose as each student took notice of his or her surroundings. We looked up.

Paralyzed, we stood in awe that in the calamity of the universe, she could reveal herself in empyrean serenity. A wave of tranquillity washed over the crowd like a wayward tide settling gently into the shore.

Bedizened with planets, the sky assumed a murky hue, as if preparing for the clandestine affair that was about to take place. A ring of rosy splendor rested on the curvature of the earth, making way for stars that hung so low you could ascend them to the heavens.

The moon hovered in the sky, boasting her size and for the first time, we were drawn closer, elevated among the stars that she often graced with her beauty. And yet, we felt small. We looked on at a wonder only seen with ancient eyes; a wonder that will be unknown to our grandchildren. How lucky we felt, to exist at just the right time to hear the moon sing her eternal lullaby.

The light began to fade into oblivion, fading as it might in a cinema before the start of a movie. Wind whispered through the trees, a bit of magic in every breeze. The air dropped a few final degrees and we removed our glasses, unprepared for what we were about to see. In that moment, we entered eternity.

Time marches on; it is unbending and unrelenting and even when humanity is but a wistful memory, the moon will still be here, reminding us that we were only here for a blink of an eye, that our world was merely a speck of dust. But we were not afraid of this revelation. No, we were at peace. — Tracy Wilson

“In that moment, we entered eternity...� 35

The Creator’s Heart We are Stonewood, A place where thinkers, think; And dreamers, dream. We are Artists, Ones that imagine the world in abstract colors; And ones who can change the world for the better. We are Writers, Who can make a world of our own; And make our imaginations come to life. We are in the land of Crystals, Ones that shine like the sun; And ones that are dark like the night. We are the Creators of the world, And we shall continue to create for as long as our hearts may go on. — Raven Knight


Art I admit, I had my doubts. Artists of all kinds don’t exactly have much luck in the job department. At least, not compared to those more inclined to the more objective subjects: science and math. One conversation about college got me thinking. And of course, my mind spiraled as it is wont to do. I started to overthink my future and how art--all art--played into it. It’s no secret that I want to be a writer. Ask any of my loved ones and they’ll tell you I’ve loved reading and writing from day one. I fell in love with words at a young age. Literature became an escape of mine, something to help me cope with the increasingly troubled world being revealed to me. It’s like as I grew older, a veil was lifted from over my eyes and suddenly I could see the truth. And the truth hurt. To go from being a wide-eyed, innocent kid, whose only concept of pain was of the physical kind (minor scrapes and cuts) to suddenly seeing all the pain this earth forced upon you was a culture shock. It was if Pandora’s box had been unleashed and all of the evils of the world were once more flooding the earth. Death and greed and malice and everything in between. I think that’s why we have art. In my opinion, art in its most basic form is the outward expression of one’s soul. By that definition, writing, cooking, dancing, painting all constitute as forms of art. It’s amazing and sad, really, how one conversation made me question all of that. That conversation buzzed in the back of my mind like an errant fly refusing to go away no matter how many times I swatted at it. I pondered the question, “Why do we have art?” until it seemed like my head was going to burst. And at 7 p.m, dancing around to “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man in my kitchen while waiting on a pizza to bake, I got my answer. Their song made me feel something. And based off of my earlier definition of art, music most definitely qualifies as an expression of one’s soul. “Feel It Still” made me happy. At a time when my mind seemed to be a tumultuous whirlpool of self-doubt and confusion, it provided an outlet for the restless energy that had built up inside me. What I had realized is that art exists because we exists. Art is nothing but our souls bared for everyone to see. Without us, art would not exist. That, our unending creativity, our soaring imaginations, is what sets us apart from other animals. For some of us, creating is like a constant itch beneath the skin. Speaking personally, when I don’t write, my mind tends to go overboard. I get the shakes. My fingers twitch, itching for a pencil or a keyboard, anything. And I’m noticing and cataloguing every detail I see like my life depends on it. I can’t not create. I can’t go without doing something so deeply ingrained in human nature without feeling like I’ve lost my humanity in a way. My art, my writing, is how I connect with others. It’s my deepest depths, my heart, my mind, my soul, bared for others to see, criticize, and hopefully empathize with. Where would we be without art, deemed so “useless” by others? We’d have no movies, no paintings, no music, no books, to television shows, etc. You’re looking at a Giver-esque dystopia. A world without art, creativity, or imagination, is not a world I would like to live in at all. — Gabi Thompson 37

Staff Eman Al-Battah Cassie Cotrill Indigo Devium Erika Kline Tempest Knight Vince Knight Gabrielle Kuster Kelsey Long Natan Shpringman Gabi Thompson Vannia Ung Jason Zimbelmann


Editor-in-Chief Sydney Kinzy Erika Sponsor Dan Barnes













Art Index Cassie Cottrill Spook - 15 Sleep - 22 I.D. Waving Memories - 9 Details - 30 Mascot - 32 Mixing Creativity - 35 Allani Gordon Untitled - 2-3 Sydney Kinzy Humanitas - Front Cover Sunset in Outer Banks - 7 Misty Ride - 10 Locked - 11 Beachfront Dreams - 17 Memories of a Lake - 24 The Fallout - 26 The Dark Side of the Moon - 34-35 Erika Kline

Morning in a Starbucks - 18

Gabrielle Kuster Bike - 8 Enchanted - 13 Tangled - 27 Consequences - 31 Mary Claire Moriarty Untitled - 33 Sophie Spaulding Untitled - 19 Untitled - 23 Untitled - 25


Vannia Ung Bubbles - 6 I See You - 12 Words - 16 These Days - 20-21 Ribbons - 29 The Dark Side of the Moon - 34-35

Reflections Parkway West High School 14653 Clayton Road Ballwin, MO 63026 (314) 415-7500

Reflections 2018:Human  

The Parkway West High School 2018 edition of our literary magazine Reflections. This issue focus on what it means to be human.

Reflections 2018:Human  

The Parkway West High School 2018 edition of our literary magazine Reflections. This issue focus on what it means to be human.