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ABOUT US Montage is a student-run organization that celebrates the students that are creating amazing writing and visual pieces. We are a group who promotes the growth of emerging writers and artists. We want content that pushes boundaries, is different, and is inspiring. We host literary events, workshops, and put out publications. Our aim is to be a platform to give students a creative support system and to continue creating.

CREDITS Editor-in-Chief Rosie Persiani Journal Design Joelle Gray Cover Art Joelle Gray

CONTENT PANEL Tess Adams Kiana Arevalo Daniela Branchinelli Faith Carelli Cooper Filhaber Sophie Frank Elizabeth Hrywniak Kelcie Killian Nina Leopold Jane McNoble Jenna Sucato Jeremy Troetti


letters from us, kindly


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Table of Contents Anna Ciacciarella maine summer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Jenna Sucato 10:28 p.m. - 12:56 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Victoria Ward With a one sided relationship . . . . . . . . . 8 John Acker 85 mph in the Slow Lane . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Gina Tarolli I Am a Comet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Joelle Gray a letter to god, who’s not home . . . . . . . 14 Hassan Alshiyoukh The Way Down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chandran Tarika The Store is Selling Self-Doubt . . . . . . . 18 Kiana Arevalo Legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Alessandro Woodbridge A Tall Tale of Short Sorrows for Great Gains . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Tess Adams When the Sky Sobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


maine summer Anna Ciacciarella

i heard the voice of Nature in the waves of lake keoka, asking me to play; with joy, i flew and made it down the path— the earth at my feet, crumbling like coffee cake. my mother watched me from her red beach chair, her hair tossed lightly in the salty breeze. my father rowed the boat across the water, a pole beside him, hook glimmering in the light. my siblings waited for me at the edge of the beach, standing in line like a pack of highlighters, their jackets warmer than the august sun. i made my way to join the three—now four. together, we swam until we could not move; and then we watched the sunset in our towels. the night was young, compared to maine’s tall oaks, and time passed slow, like syrup over pancakes. but here, we watched our family grow like trees— and still i hear the waves in silent dreams.


10:28 p.m. - 12:56 a.m. Jenna Sucato

There existed certainly a more electrifying encounter possible in bustling New York than a spontaneous rendezvous in a stationary Honda Accord, yet it was challenging to envision what this experience might entail following a one-hundred-forty-seven-minute, twenty-eight-second conversation about the hopeful itinerary of an imminent romance, as “late for curfew” escalated to “really late for curfew,” the night sky growing darker through the glass of the windshield, ultimately fully concealing the visual distractions of the parking lot, wind rustling and whirling like unleashed passion, sustained eye contact, minutes passing, failed attempts at goodbye, charged silence, one more song playing on the radio, bright lights from a passing car, rushed declarations of affection, shared smiles, fog slowly forming on the dirty windows as the possibility of unconditional and extraordinary love first developed from timid vulnerability in the confines of an old car on a chilly, Tuesday night.


With a one sided relationship Victoria Ward

With the feeling of being in love. Without being loved. With a curfew. Without caring for it. With guilt when I closed my eyes and pictured another man. Without the man I have always wanted. With words tossed around like darts. With the devil on my shoulder. Without an angel. With him being four years older. Without telling anyone. With our little secret. Without him caring. With me fighting. Without him fighting. With stares lingering for too long. With sad songs that made me happy. With apologizing. Without a valid reason. With being too young for him. With my desperate attempts to conceal that. With boyfriends to replace the void. With them caring more than me. With me caring more than him. With false hope. Without reality checks. With the idea that someone who is 22 could love an 18 year old. With the smell of his cologne. Without shirts. With him using me. Without strings attached. With his hands leaving burn marks. With my finger tracing his jawline. With his tracing my waistline. With him telling me he has to leave. With that being his excuse


every time. With him swiftly kissing me before walking off. Without me going with him. With me watching him walk away. With me wanting to chase him. Without him ever chasing me.


85 mph in the Slow Lane John Acker

She looked pretty in the rearview mirror and I thought about what it would be like to touch her somewhere far away like Texas.  I wondered if she would taste like  sweet peach over-ripened with  soft sunshine, or if she would be bitter, tall, tart, like whiskey sour.  I thought about her skin  and how it glints and winks  like speckled porcelain when  the sun hits her just right.  I imagined her driving me  crazy with her hair, I imagined her  driving me up the wall with her  legs, I imagined her driving me to a small grocery store at 2:17pm  on a Sunday in a beat-to-shit car with no roof,  our clothes sticking to us;  stained and colored from spilt coffee,  disheveled and wet from the morning sex  shared in the middle of family feud and pancakes. I imagined myself sitting upright,  naked in bed, dizzy from love,


smiling on a dynamite stick, sun running  through the windows blind, stupid.  In another life we are two much smaller, much slower, people. People who have  all the time in the world to fall in and  out as slowly as we ought.  She looked pretty in the rearview  mirror and I thought about what it  would feel like to have kids  grow up with dirt underneath their  feet, with water in their eyes,   flowers in their souls, bees  in their hair; to have kids run towards the sound of dogs barking in the darkness, towards the sound of birds cooing in the trees, to the sound of fireworks unfurling their light. For a moment I thought about the other thousands of instances that we have run through, over, out,  and away from, and if any of them could feel like this one: with you wrapped around me,  with me wrapped around you,  with us sipping cheap pink wine out  of plastic cups in your living room,


slightly drunk off of one another’s smell, held up  underneath an itchy blanket covered in dog hair; your legs too long; your feet sticking out the end, with glow in the dark stars illuminating us and the darkened ceiling, with television trying its  hardest to keep you from shutting your eyes on me, me trying my hardest to shut the fuck up, us trying hard to stay quiet in the quiet air despite the thing we are feeling.


I Am a Comet Gina Tarolli

I want to fall hard and fast Even though I have countless times in the past But for once There is nothing I would like more Than to crash Into the arms of the center of my universe Instead of the floor Oh how I long to learn the Milky Way of my soulmate What makes their world turn What warms their heart, aside from the sun I want to be the one I am a comet I’ve already got the icy interior covered I want to calm my hurtling heart And stop relentlessly chasing After those whose visages I must keep erasing As they are like stardust slipping through my fingers with traces of my trust I want someone to pursue my comet tail Not just follow with their finger,, along my comet’s trail From millions upon millions of miles away I don’t know how else to say I’d go to the ends of the universe for you everyday And if you let me, I’ll succumb to your gravity


a letter to god, who’s not home Joelle Gray

take me back to a time that i believed in you, or to a time when i didn’t choke on your name. i would give anything to believe in you again— but in my head, in the space where you should be, there lies just a nametag of yours— hanging crooked off the wall, untouched by you (or any man). sometimes i walk the streets at night, looking for you even though i do not know your face. i know it is dangerous – but that is why i go. the streetlights that guide me are too dim to follow— even the street signs look blank from here. the world you made twists and turns under my feet. once i thought i saw you standing, waiting at the street corner. you only looked— you did not speak— and so i was afraid. book of me. chapter 1. verse 1. i am sick of being afraid of you, so scared to be scared that all i can do is run. every path i follow leads me to the same place— you are not there. t h e s e are my own sweet, sick holy words. never again will i drop to my knees for you, in praise or in submission, whichever it may be.


my amen will be the easiest to swallow because you give me nothing to believe. my mother always told me never to stand by a man who treated me like i was anything less than magnificent— you have never treated me like i was anything at all. to you i am barely human. i am sick of your unconditional love that somehow still comes with conditions. i will not bear the consequences i will not walk on egg shells— i will be my own woman on my own terms, untethered and unchained. and so, i set myself free from you— free from your rules, free from your punishments, free from your damnation. i will not be your victim. for a god that is meant to be sitting in a watch tower protecting his children— i do not feel at all protected. i am not safe.


you have put me in the imminent danger that y o u created. i am done wallowing in you now. forgive me father, for I cannot believe in someone who does not believe in me.


The Way Down Hassan Alshiyoukh

You harvest the red grapes out of the earth, crush, press, ferment, blend, bottle, from field to glass; to your mouth, to your head, through your touch and through your kiss. And from your kiss to her lips. Then your bottle is empty. Your cork is in her jar. You think you’ve made a mistake. You’re desperate to find your glasses, under her bed, or under her sheets, or on the nightstand. You exchange a cold goodbye, promise to keep the ropes that tied you together from snapping. You step out into the world. Your bright colored jacket renders you invisible under a gray sky. A sidewalk stretches nowhere. A sidewalk stretches everywhere. To your home, to your desk, back to her place, to your empty apartment. A sidewalk stretches to the synagogue and to the club; the the mosque and to the casino; to the church and to the theatre. And in the vastness of maps, your compass spins. When the crops are gray, there is nothing to harvest. A child is tugged out of your grandchild, and in a coffin, you’re lowered six feet under. On the way down, you regret the grapes. On the way down you measure the hours spent at the club against the hours spent on stage. On the way down, you regret choosing an empty apartment over home. On the way down, you wonder if a synagogue would’ve brightened your coffin more than a church. On the way down you wish you’d gone back to her place. And on the way down you’re incapable of comprehending that it happened the only way it could have happened.


The Store is Selling Self-Doubt Chandran Tarika

Once upon a time she wore The scent of confidence; overpowering yet calming. Everywhere she went, her Essence Lingered and captivated everyone in the room. She was bold, Bold like the deep red Determination That gushed through her veins. Once upon a time She was The Earth and the Universe, The Sun and the Moon, The Disaster and the Blessing. The stars and all the constellations. The store is selling self-doubt Go grab your new scent Wear it before leaving home, Trust me it’s money well spent. “Civilization” is your salesman And is insisting that you buy this new product, Because without it, your life will be dry. So she bought this new perfume, That the world was selling to her And she put it on Every time she left home To experience her life Which she now saw only in monochrome.


But one unfortunate day, The store stopped selling lavender perfume, Suddenly her world collapsed, Asphyxiating her with gloom. Someone stole the stars from the skies of her soul, now her constellations, Were left to be swallowed by a black hole. All this change was causing An earthquake, And she wondered what the Richter scale would say If it could detect the magnitude of her fears, Would it shatter and break? She cried for help But no one was around, Then softly she heard a melody, a tune, A rather unsettling sound. It was the song her inner demons sang; “Your scent has changed, Into something new, Made from dying flowers Left at your grave for you. Your confidence has decomposed Disintegrated into the ground, Withering away, With this curse you shall be bound.�


She thought there was no going back, She thought she was stuck, She thought she would drown in the scent of self doubt, And this was as far as she would get with all her luck. But in the depths of her mind Living with her demons Was an angel Far more superior than she had known. It brought back her strength, And gave her the will to fight, It tossed out her demons, And cleared out her mind. Now she was strong enough to walk back to the store And return the perfume of self-doubt. Now she only wore confidence Without any doubt.



Kiana Arevalo Can I be like you, mother? Hidden behind a heavily painted mask like you, mother? Breaking hearts without a second thought, my mother— with too many suitors to count – prided herself in not having one. Like my mother, I strive to be strong as steel. My mother frowns if I shed a single tear. Nothing hurts my mother— not the fire she inhales into her lungs. My mother has imbedded the sweet scent of smoke into my childhood. Mother, I chase that scent with a lighter under the veil of night. Am I like you mother? When I drown my senses in hard liquor I feel as if I am as wild as you, mother. I feel as if I’ve grown up too fast and am lost like you, mother. Trouble seems to have let go of you and latched onto me, mother, whispering in my ear with every reckless decision, “You’re just like your mother”. Although I truly do love you, mother, I don’t want my daughter to be like me.


A Tall Tale of Short Sorrows for Great Gains Alessandro Woodbridge

I’m sorry mum. I did not listen to next year’s promise, ‘Tis a tough tale of the toil, the turmoil, being too loyal to the tutt of King Tut himself, The midnight oil sadly sheds its tears fading away in despair, whispering disappointment, Sinking in the soil of failure that continues to boil Shrouded in the cloud of a crowd of looming ghosts and faded advice, Listened, but not heard as I live my college lyfe, Resting my head on a desk as I struggle to flex my academics, Rolling and tumbling away like a stray hay bale. I’m sorry mum. Yet, lend me your ear, don’t fret, don’t fear, The time is near to steer the future gear And accepting the yester-year Setting a helping hand under the Christmas tree. Our gift, Let’s lift up our hearts, We lift them up to the Future, Religiously following tomorrow borrowing faith from today for the journey ahead, “A piece a head, keep your head. Climb aboard the ship is here, onward to a new dawn, a new day, a new year, a New World”


Thank you mum. For softly, sweetly slowly humming your lullabies of the beauty of failure before I did rose, As the petals fell from the Rose in the Glass like the hopeful story of Beauty and the Beast, For I was Blind and Now I can see, Follow the bright white light, don’t fight, don’t bite, use your sight and that foresight, As you dance the Yellow Brick Road for the promised success that was meant for thee, Can’t you see? What failure was once to me, is the key that sees to free me.


When the Sky Sobs Tess Adams

Every time it starts to rain, I would like to cry----to let each tear roll at its leisure down my face and neck, pausing at my throat to freeze and crystalize into salt, and stick. At their leisure they should go; I never wish to rush my tears, only to be coated with the feel of them, which is warm and silent and freeing. An exhale----that is the journey of each, which does not necessarily share the rhythm of the heartbeat, which pulses faster, nor the lungs, which pant with greater dexterity for every breath that is taken through parted lips and stuffy nostrils, each moving parts of a machine, soldiers following the orders of the brain. To gasp with the shudders of the sky, to rock and quake with each blast from the war above, this is what I think about every time the weight of precipitation in the clouds grows too heavy for them to bear and they unburden their contents onto all that is below. I keep walking. I do not stop or stall or listen for the feeling of rubber soles against a saturated ground; but I wish I did. I wish that at times when it poured, that I could be the sole possessor of all land within ten miles of myself and that all the air, burdened by the rain, was mine to drink, the slosh in the streets, the mud in the fields, the pools in the cracks between the cobblestones mine to splash on and dance around and dine on.


A NOTE FROM THE DESIGNER I have taken such great pride in designing this Montage publication! I was inspired by the fact that just about every piece reads like a letter from someone to something-- thus, “Letters from Us, Kindly� was born. Thank you to the Content Panel for picking such beautiful poetry and prose for our publication, thank you to the authors who wrote them for letting us publish them, and thank you to Rosie, our fearless editor, for inspiring us all along the way. I am so excited for the future of Montage, and to see what 2019 has in store for us!

- Joelle Gray

Profile for Montage at Quinnipiac University

Letters from Us, Kindly  

This is the first ever written publication from Montage. Inside are pieces from the always talented members of the Quinnipiac community.

Letters from Us, Kindly  

This is the first ever written publication from Montage. Inside are pieces from the always talented members of the Quinnipiac community.

Profile for qumontage