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Note From The Editor If you are reading this, it probably means you are on the lit mag staff. If you are not on the staff, and are genuinely interested in the magazine, then great! Our labor was worth it. Because you took the time to read this, I will let you in on some background information on Rhapsody. Rhapsody’s theme this year was balance. We worked to achieve a balance between traditional and modern. Our cover art shows a balance between good and evil; a motif across literature, religion, and life. (The views expressed in the cover art do not necessarily represent the views of Rhapsody, Brentsville District High School, Prince William County Schools, or even the artist herself. Heck, even the snakes didn’t like Nazis.) The decision to include the image of a swastika - however small - on the cover wasn’t one we took lightly. The school and county administration balked at the idea, and it took about 11 drafts of this introduction to convince them. Junior AndreaEckholmcontrastedthepeace sign with the swastika to achieve balPolicy: ance. The historical connotations of Pieces are to be e-mailed to rhapsodysthe swastika representing evil and the before January 1 for culturalconnotationsofthepeacesign an early decision or February 10 as a representinggoodembody“balance” rolling deadline. Any untitled pieces, perfectly. if accepted, are gven titles by the staff This is my third year working on Rhapbased on the content and subject matsody, and it was not easy. Three seter of the piece. Rhapsody reserves the nior staffers were all named “Sara(h).” right to edit pieces for grammar and We strongly suspect the yearbook style. Authors will be notified whether kidsstoleourfoodstuffs,buteveryone or not their piece has been accepted. who bought a yearbook was forced to Art is gathered by the art editor from the buy a lit mag, so thanks, yearbook! art classes. All artists will be notified if their pieces have been accepted.RhapI wish next year’s staff only the best. sody reviews all pieces, art and literaUntil next time: good night, and good ture, anonymously. luck.


The font used in Rhapsody was originally used by Gutenburg to print the first Bible and we are making this up. The magazine was created using Adobe InDesign CS2, Photoshop CS2, Microsoft Word, and Paint. All art and photography was photographed or scanned at 300 dpi. Titles are in varying sizes and styles of the font AHJ Unitus. Bylines use AHJ Shot size 13. Page numbers were written using Monotype Corsive size 12. Text is in AHJ Della Robia size 10, and art credits are in AHJ Della Robia size 8. Italics are done at 13°. The dimensions of the magazine are 5.5” * 8.5”. Rhapsody is printed on 80# stock glossy paper. Cover Art: War and Peace Andrea Eckholm Watercolor and Ink

Brentsville District High School 12109 Aden Road Nokesville, Va 20181 (703) 594-2161 Dr. Robert Scott, Principal


20Rhapsody Staff 08 Volume XVI

Editor-in-Chief Santiago Melli-Huber

Assistant Editor

Business Manager

Sara Brooks

Layout Editor

Sarah Groves

Social Coordinator

Claire Morrison

Art Editor

Meaghan Winkleman

Submissions Manager

Hillary Swede

Publicity Directors

Jen Blank Jen Watts Victoria Jewell

Other Staff Robin Hutchins Carly Faett

Sarah Ramsden

Copy Editors

Courtney Pennabaker Kim Sheraden Sarah Ramsden


Kathy Smaltz

Special Thanks To...

The staff for your long hours... Starbucks for all the free coffee... Artise Gill for your boundless support... Jeff Reed for the 32� plasma screen TV... Pat Ennis for your guidance and patience... Jen Grant for excusing Sara countless times... Emily Surrena for supervising Coffee House... Dave Greth for all of your technological help... The English Department for promoting Lit Mag... Jon Grant for keeping us continually entertained... Our patrons and advertisers for supporting the arts... Dr. Scott for everything and anything you have done for us... Matt Kitchen and Dreaming of Eden for playing at Coffee House.

Ta b l e o f Contents P o e t r y Dry My Masterpiece Live That Much Longer Spin To Have...To Hold... Dreaming The Traveler The Man Who Rocked Crisp Winter Struggle The Road Less Traveled Depression Storms I Remember Truth Piano Dream Broken White Icicles As Good As Gold Welcome to My World Tangerine Midterm Break Snowflakes and Open Skies Sea Creatures The Last Train Home Ballet Safe Devil’s Trill

Sara Brooks Claire Morrison Gwen Corkill Santiago Melli-Huber Ian Shaw Jenny Watts Tom Sanders Linda Ye Kim Sheridan Sara Brooks Hillary Swede Alex Blanche Jenny Watts Kelly Wood Brittney Tines Meghan Graham Maegan Winkelmann Jen Blank Santiago Melli-Huber Ethan Pope Linda Ye Linh-Thi Nguyen Jordan DeGayner Linh-Thong Nguyen Kat McNeal Linda Ye Sara Brooks Courtney Pannebecker Robin Hutchins

Page the Fifth Page the Sixth Page the Seventh Page the Ninth Page the Ninth Page the Eighteenth Page the Eighteenth Page the Twenty-Third Page the Twenty-Sixth Page the Twenty-Sixth Page the Twenty-Seventh Page the Twenty Seventh Page the Twenty-Ninth Page the Thirtieth Page the Thirty-First Page the Thirty-First Page the Thirty-Seventh Page the Thirty-Seventh Page the Thirty-Eighth Page the Thirty-Ninth Page the Fortieth Page the Forty-First Page the Forty-Sixth Page the Forty-Eighth Page the Forty-Ninth Page the Fifty-Second Page the Fifty-Fifth Page the Sixtieth Page the Sixty-Third


Muse Over Butterfly Radio Traffic Lights Dead Man Safe Neighborhood Cactus Forever Something Blue Knock Knock See You At Districts Radio Phantomwise

Third Kim Sheridan Ayesha Philogene Hillary Swede John Blanchard Richard Martindell Sarah Groves Ayesha Philogene Victoria Jewell Sarah Ramsden Sarah Ramsden Tom Sanders Molly Hilberg


Pages the Twelfth ~ Seventeenth Page the Nineteenth Pages the Twentieth ~ Twenty-Second Page the Twenty-Fourth Page the Twenty-Eighth Pages theThirty-Second ~Thirty-Third Page the Forty-Second Page the Forty-Third Page the Forty-Fourth Pages the Fiftieth ~ Fifty-First Page the Fifty-First Pages the Fifty-Sixth ~ Fifty-Ninth

War and Peace Andrea Eckholm Mt. Baldy Santiago Melli-Huber Winding Gwen Corkill Christmas Eve Danna Ulrich Clover Forest Morgan White Daisy 2 Morgan White Wise with Age Morgan White Warm Morgan White White Fragrance Sompaseuth Chounlamny Puppet Master’s Hand Heather Kaehler Confusion Keri Wheelwright Bay Bridge Nicole Chakeris Grayscale Gwen Corkill Old Truck Tom Yatt Trucker Gwen Corkill Broken Sompaseuth Chounlamny Reclaimer Caleb Fletcher Girltree Gwen Corkill Roller Coaster Deanna Ulrich Muscles Cierra Dobson Word Reflections Deanna Ulrich Traintrain Gwen Corkill Hollow Dress Heather Kaehler Butterfly Catie Anhalt Self Portrait Kelsey Ekholm Daisy Morgan White Tree Orange Casey Weaver Self Study Caleb Fletcher Bonfire Cierra Dobson Ads Local Businesses

Cover Page the Fourth Pages the Sixth & Seventh Page the Eighth Page the Tenth Page the Tenth Page the Eleventh Page the Eleventh Page the Twelfth Pages the Fifteenth & Seventeenth Page the Nineteenth Page the Twentieth Page the Twenty-Fifth Page the Twenty-Seventh Page the Twenty-Ninth Page Thirty-Second Pages Thirty-Fourth ~Thirty-Fifth Page Thirty-Sixth Pages Fortieth thru Forty-First Page the Forty-Second Page the Forty-Seventh Page the Fifty-Third Page the Fifty-Fourth Page the Fifty-Fifth Page the Fifty-Seventh Page the Fifty-Ninth Page the Sixty-First Page the Sixty-Second ~ Sixty-Third Page the Sixty-Fifth Pages Sixty-Sixth ~ Sixty-Ninth

Mt. Baldy Santiago Melli-Huber Photography


dry Sara Brooks Insomnia; I’m awake, watching shadows phantasm into black holes on my ceiling. They’re screaming. I walk to my mirror, each step upon searing shards of past lives, wishes and hopes; all razed. I peer at my reflection as my lungs contract, I am your unwanted child. Face is bruised from blunt attacks, bleeding hatred. The alcohol burns as it settles in my stomach, twisting and turning. I am your shattered self conscious. Imperfections manifesting, swirling and conquering logic. I giggle and succumb. My demons crawl from the corners of the room, my mind. They surround me, a tormented sea of odium. I laugh and drown. We are the lost boys.


The sun hammers down from overhead As I shave away another delicate layer of ice. My gloved hands firmly sculpt the velvety powder Into my latest masterpiece. The wind thrashes Monday’s laundry in billowy waves With the same rhythmic motion, I graze and smooth my art. The same gusts assault my nose, my cheeks Until they’re scarlet and feverish. It is sweltering under my burdensome jacket and scarf But I carry on with my vocation, striving for flawlessness. My brother next to me collects more snow The growing heap shielding my already frozen feet. I substitute the shovel in my hand for some forgotten vegetables And set out to generate the face. The mound of snow that is his head began to crunch and yield As I forced the nose and eyes through the pallid barrier. We stepped back to admire our craftsmanship Pleased the frozen limbs were finally dead even. And we trudged back through the dense, ashen ocean Stealing a final glance at our new friend.

Gwen Corkill Winding Photography


Live That Much Longer Gwen Corkill

Sometimes, there is a certain gust of wind that hits my face, or I hear the mechanical precision of a woman’s voice that screeches on an unanswered call. The looming and wafting scent that stuck to him so well, or the light, gentle snow laying rest on the ground. The bitter cold we fought off so well. It is these things that remind me of him. They remind me of a time when love was free to think and was heard above a crowd. The way light hits someone’s face, or the squeak of mattress springs, these sensations are few, but when they reach me, I am filled with memories that boil over in my eyes and ears. These moments reach out to me, and when I recall these small, fleeting moments, I breathe a hard breath, and live that much longer.




Santiago Melli-Huber


S pin

To Have...

To Hold...

So much depends on Scratched, web-laced ABBA records Wanting one last spin.

You got those big dreams, kid. They’re right there, in the palm of your hand. So close and so easy to get to, so you think. Right in the snow globe the city lights do shine so lustfully. Monotone visions of a new life, new hope, a new you. So easy, just cut yourself a hole, escape from all that you knew. Ha, if you do, everything will explode, and fall and break onto the ground. Panicking, you will waste your time collecting the pieces. Instead, take some time and relax, go to the exotic beaches of the world, collect their sand. Meet some stranger who’ll listen to your story and will make the sand into glass for you. Then build yourself your own snow globe, with your real desires in it. Murals of beautiful boys, warm comfy fireplace ridden houses. It’ll be so much better than that idealistic constant heartless snow Ian Shaw globe.

Christmas Eve Deanna Ulrich Photography

F L O R I Clockwise from top right: Warm, Wise with Age, Daisy 2, Clover Forest, Morgan White Photography


I fell in love with a piano player.



She didn’t work for anyone, or not as far as I could tell. She just played piano at a bar not far from my work in the city. It was a place of minor consequence, at least for someone of my self-assumed stature, whose salary warranted the uptown watering holes of business men frustrated with barren marriages and growing bald spots. I repeatedly shrugged the lull and lure of the place moodily off my shoulders and stalked with willing ignorance into the corporate world. That was, until I found on chilly days that the chords cut through the brisk static air with the messy accuracy of a hornet’s sting, done not in defense but for sake of opportunity and reaction. It flirted and tempted me into one of the well-worn booths in the cozy place, where I’d stay and listen to her music-making. I had queried about her identity to the older man that served drinks behind the bar. His answer only awoke more questions in me. “She’s just someone who comes and plays in the afternoons.” “She just plays?” He shrugged, cleaning one of the speckled glasses with the intricate skill of an artisan. “I guess it’s just because there’s a piano, there’s a piano so she plays it.” The simplicity of this logic baffled me. Such raw reason for doing was something I believed long extinct, like a child’s affinity for play, not White Fragrance Sompaseuth Chounlamany Oil


done for any real reason but as the toys were there it seemed the thing to do. Her long fingers danced with the same instinct of nonchalant effortlessness, a splendid soothing waltz across keys and chords or a frantic foray through notes and measures, she never looked up from her work. Her focus was that of a tightrope walker: one mistake, one misstep, unforgivable.

I’d sit there in a booth close to where she played, concealing my stolen glances behind an over exaggerated adjustment of my hat or a sip of my drink, which was, by then, long empty. I tried repeatedly to make my presence and interest known though eye contact and muttered compliments. I even became so bold once as to leave her a note, so frustrated with being ignored it said very little and later I regretted not putting in more. All that she could read in the cramped space that my handwriting occupied were half-finished complimentary thoughts lacking the depth I wished to convey. The next day the note was gone, yet she paid me no mind. I was just another observer, another dotted note in an overplayed symphony of sharps and flats where she craved the perfect pitch. This perceived indifference didn’t stand to ebb the flow of my fascination, which soon bubbled over and I found myself absentmindedly humming measure after measure of Beethoven’s Fur Elise, the piece she played most often and most passionately. It emanated from my throat at the oddest times, not to be ignored in the middle of important meetings

I’d purchased the correct thing. I sat and studied them for close to three hours that night, feeling like an archaeologist translating some ancient cuneiform, looking for what made these dots and lines so special. Where was the secret…that beauty that drew me in and made me a prisoner at the mercy of her fingers on the keys? I was driven to frustration and the hopeless turning of indecipherable pages as I did my frantic and futile searching. The conclusion that I soon came to was that the music was art and thus required an artist. The sad fact that I was not one stared me in the face. So I thought to become one. In this spell of capriciousness I returned to the shop where I’d purchased the musical tunes and told the daunted salesclerk exactly what it was I wanted. A grand piano. Upon the instrument’s delivery I realized its dominance in my tiny apartment I had underestimated it in my haste. None of this mattered however, as I perched myself on the shiny dark wood bench feeling the regality and majesty of a bird of prey before the hunt. This inspired within me such a stirring that I felt I would burst…and so I played. If a critic of any sort were to have chanced upon hearing me they would’ve promptly left without even the acknowledgement of an insult, but I thought that it was

beautiful. The power to make music was alluring and intoxicating, causing my fingers to jump and hop in a wanton dance of drunken pulchritude. In this world of music I was a child and the act of being reborn enamored my senses into submission. For the next two weeks I played, turning the sound over and over, pausing only to tend the throb of pain in my wrists. I was, for that time evolving from what I used to be into what I wanted to become, and this guaranteed transformation let me be snug in my hermitage. I focused on my scales, the beginnings of all things musical, and I quickly mastered in my anxiety to move on to more elaborate works. The process was much like learning to ride a bike. I never grew depressed at my numerous botched attempts, only more resolute. My return to the world was severe in its quickness; I realized that I had to return to work as I sat down to play the only piece I had perfected, and I barely managed to tear myself away from my peaceful solitude and throw myself back into the world of law. I was met at the door to my office by a looming troll of a man exuding a hellish scent of sweat and the cologne of the city skyline with all of its smog and filth. It was obvious by the way he carried himself, or struggled to do so with the mass of his girth, that he had never quite received what it was that he wanted out of life. This may have caused the perpetually disappointed look on his flabby red face.


He growled deeply, declaring my wrongdoings in being absent for so long, saying the things typical of a man power speaking to someone he deemed an underling. I took my chastisement before my peers with a grin which seemed to further frustrate him when he reached his threshold of anger to strike an employee. He began to struggle his way back through the many desks, his hulking form knocking over his share of coffee cups. A few of my peers gave me an unmistakable look of respect as I headed to my own office opposite the troll’s recent place of disappearance. The rest of the day passed with the sounds of sonatas playing through my head and the symphony carried me with a content grin to the place were she played. It was incomplete today as no music swam through the air, a disturbing fact until the clock’s wise face informed me that I was an hour too soon to behold her. Alas, that day she didn’t appear. I couldn’t bring myself to leave even after the clock’s normally cryptic and silent mouth opened to gush at me the hour and her absence. I wanted nothing less than to hunt her down but without even a name she was a figment of my imagination, and my isolation for the past weeks only stood to heighten the possibility of her being long gone.

I felt actual physical pain. My throat seized up as a wave of melancholy crashed over me. The feeling was akin to that of losing a close friend, akin to losing myself.

The old man shuffled over wringing his hands with a rag so dusty and crumpled that it was hard to tell which was cleaning which. “It’s nice to see you back.” I gagged on my response but he continued, kind to my unvoiced words. “I was worried about you. There

Puppet Master’s Hand Heather Kaehler Pen

was a shooting down the street not too long ago, I thought it might’ve been you.” My blood was so thick with my own problems that I felt no sympathy or sorrow for his distress on my behalf; instead I coughed out a noise of cynicism, just small enough to bypass my throat’s clog. I stared coldly at the wooden surface and wished for a swift return to the past. “She missed you as well,” he said. I felt my ears turn red, he continued speaking, “She never talks about people, I‘d always thought we were

men and women were living and not just being. Somewhere, I was blind too. Then he lowered himself below the bar, his body working against him with creaks and moans and after a few moments of shuffling, he emerged with a square held in his hand. He cradled it like a treasure and glanced from me to it, “I had always wanted her to talk with me about something,” he said softly. I realized then that the bar was desolate except for us. “When that something just happened to be you, I was a more than a little disappointed.” With reluctance, he pressed the square softly to the wood and slid it toward me. “Of course an old man like me can‘t compete with someone like you can I?” He mused almost inaudibly. I picked up the square and it relit the smoldering into an anxious and passionate fire that caused an itch to erupt across my skin. His hand grasped mine and shook it vigorously; the smile he gave held regret in the wrinkles around his mouth that I saw even as he spoke, “Well?” I left the bar within minutes, throwing bills on the wood in hopes of repaying him, something I knew I could not do within the bounds of finances. It was icy outside and lacking the funds to fuel myself a taxi I instinctually took off at a sprint over the icy sidewalk. The man had entrusted with me an invitation, one that would’ve ap-

peared very formal had it not been scribbled in little spiders of ink and graphite. From the looks of it she’d been taking notes over a long period of time as indicated by the many different writing utensils used and lack of space left blank. The cramped words read things such as ‘goes right when leaving’ and ‘orders a ginger ale first’. As my eyes flew over these things, I realized they were all written about me. The most minuscule of details recorded in her hand proved to me that I had misperceived her indifference. No not indifference. Apprehension? Fear? I hadn’t a clue; but at the bottom, beneath the typed address for the location of her piano recital were the words, ‘I’ve been meaning to give this to you.’ As I ran I finally saw what was around me. The filth and the beauty all in one. The filth was not the litter or the vandalism but people and the beauty was not pretty clothes upon the people but the scribbling of souls in the buildings and actions that filled this city. I checked the address four times before gripping the freezing surface of the door knob and turning tentatively. The warmth hit me in the face with the weight of an anchor, and I slipped into the dark comfortable space as if I were intruding, opening the door only wide enough to enter and closing it immediately behind me. Sweet sounds filled my ears, causing me to forget that I was an alien here and stagger in the direction of beauty as if drunk. Light blinded


me as I stepped from beneath an could halt her progress as she leapt overhang and out where the music from it and landed on her feet. She belted proudly for waiting ears. A offered me her hand, smiling, and crowd sat in tiered seats, staring tosaid, “Would you play for me?” wards a stage celestially garnished The people watched as I was led, with ornaments of peace and dumbstruck, back “Herfaces fingers stopped, confusing theonto the stage comfort. Too many to count where she sat beside me, a godstared down at me, crowd bewitched that watched her.” in my ear. dess to whisper I stared by the sound, and I too turned at the music laid out, familiar with to see what thing hypnotized the song, allowed it to flow from them. There she was; dressed in a me as fluid as molten lava under my fingers. I picked up where she had left off; way that derived her from the stage, simple jeans and a shirt amongst the formal dressed orchestra pit and playing on the most wondrous grand piano that ever could’ve existed. I ran my fingers through my hair, surprised to find it moist with unnoticed snowflakes. I fell to my knees on that red carpeted floor in front of the angel of music. Tears streamed from a place in me that I had forgotten long ago and my hands clasped in a way they hadn’t done since childhood Sundays spent in high ceiling churches. The music lifted me up to my feet; the transcendent sound of Fur Elise serenaded me. Finally her eyes looked up from her keys and for the first time, took notice of me as if she’d been waiting this entire time. Her fingers stopped, confusing the crowd that watched her. I was saddened by the music’s sudden departure but excited by the fact that she was standing and moving in my direction. Not even the edge of the stage

Beethoven’s prodigy rising from me and bringing me away, far away. Perhaps, I thought, to where the old man saw or to where she had always hoped to go. The last note I held, the final comment on my transformation and the silence pressed in at the close before a harsh sound assaulted my ears. Applause. Confused at the appraisal, I looked to her then to the many golden faces that clapped for me, my fingers still lay proudly on the ivory keys and her hand covered mine; there, on our stage. “You play beautifully.” I stood up and took my bow.

Puppet Master’s Hand (Reproduction) Heather Kaehler Pen

g n i am


s att W y enn


I once did dream of a night so cold, Lonely and detached I watched the flakes And leaned against the post Waiting for someone to come. I once did dream of a night so warm, I thought I heard your voice in my ear So sweet and discrete But I thought you were there. I once did dream of a night so alarming, An empty bridge To cross alone Waiting for someone to come. I once did dream of a night so enchanting, Your hand fit in mine And we walked side by side And I thought you were there.

The Traveler Tom Sanders It is night. Another clap of thunder booms Lightning flashes Illuminating the hills, briefly; Where a horse wanders, lost A hawk winging far over head looks down to see: The broken body of a traveler Who was riding the horse, Which, startled by the thunder, Threw him and now wanders, lost. The man is dead; But his travels continue. Like the hawk his spirit soars Upwards.




I can find the fragments of your face scattered across the moonlight in the backseat of your car.

Confusion Keri Wheelwright Watercolor

Flecks of blue caressed with grey stare inches away from my face and hands too big for the door handles wrap across my back We lay here barely touching, never kissing And the car hums against your chest with each gentle breath as you drift to sleep. I can hear the wind whisper through cracked windows and heat surounds us. Two bodies clinging for coexistence on a cool May night. You slept for hours within your own mind and I awakened you within minutes to the fact that we were only a dream And much like before I wouldn’t be the shoulder you could fall asleep on in the passing headlights of stars.


Hillary Swede

Bay Bridge Nicole Chakeris Photograph

Twenty-First We climbed in the car. “Sorry,” she said. “I know it smells, but you’ll get used to it.” It smelled like rotten fruit, and I could never get used to it. I wasn’t used to her driving either. She switched lanes when she wanted. “Why are you--this is the wrong lane!” “I know, I just got tired of the other one.” We came to a halt at a red light. She noticed, but didn’t slow down for quite a while. She liked the sudden jolt of the car when you tried to brake too fast. The redness illuminated our faces. She peeped over at me and giggled. “Are you hot?” she said jokingly. “Or are you mad?” “Oh. I get it. The red. Okay.” We drove on. As a matter of fact, though, I was hot. It was so hot in that tin can of a car. It was almost uncomfortable. She still had her coat on. We approached a yellow light. She slowed. The yellow brought out the brassiness of our hair. The turn signal of the person in front of us flickered in her eye. She stared patiently. The light was red now. “Let’s follow them.” “What? Why?” It was so random. She clicked on her blinker and followed when the coast was clear. “Why are we following them?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I want to see where they’re going.” I didn’t protest. I reached for the radio knob. She sensed my every move. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw me. I wanted music. She slammed on the breaks. “Jesus! Wha—why did you do that?” “No radio,” she said. I wanted to ask why, but I didn’t. “I like the color of that grey car in front of us,” she said, changing the subject. “It’s gold.” We argued. She flashed her high beams. “Look, it’s grey.” I played along, but I think she may have been serious. “I bet you ten billion dollars that it’s grey.” “Oh yeah?” I said. “I bet you ten billion dollars it’s gold.” “Well, why don’t we ask him?” she grinned. The accelerator buzzed and soon enough we were right next to the grey/gold car. She rolled down her window with one hand and simultaneously tried to control the speeding vehicle with the other. Thank God we eventually stopped. “Hey!” she yelled to the driver of the other car. “Hey!” she signaled for him to roll down his window.

“Hey, excuse me, my friend and I were wondering if your car was grey or gold?”

and struck the vehicle...She was 17....” The story went on, but I panicked.

The man hesitated. “Uh, it’s silver.”

“Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.”

She would not accept defeat.

My cell phone rang. It was her house calling to tell me the bad news, I thought.

“Yea, but is it more of a grey silver or a gold silver?” “Well I guess it’s grey,” said the man, puzzled. The light turned green and the man sped off. But she stayed still. The green light reflected on my face and magnified the jasper color of her eyes. “Hey, Mr. Hulk, where’s my ten bil’?” “I’ll get it to you someday.” She silently agreed. I got dropped off and woke up in the morning to the sound of the news blaring in the living room. I knew something was wrong. “Last night a teenager was killed when a drunk driver ran a red light

“Hello?” I answered with tears filling my eyes. “Hey,” said a sleepy voice. “You okay?” I almost lost her. “I am now.” I breathed a sigh of relief. There was silence over the phone for quite some time. She sensed it, just like she sensed everything. “So, I accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cash, checks or any combination of the aforementioned.” She giggled the way she giggled when she was in the wrong lane, and hung up.





Back and forth. Back and forth He rocked. He crossed his gangly legs together, And he placed his hands on the jutting knees. Still, back and forth. Back and forth He rocked. In front of him was a small wooden bowl, Passers-by stopped and threw in some coins, And still, without saying a word, Back and forth. Back and forth He rocked. His saliva precariously hung loosely at the side of his mouth. Left and right, Left and right, It swung. All of a sudden the man sprung to life, Wiped his saliva on his shirt and grabbed the bowl. With a swish and a blink of an eye, He disappeared into the crowd, As he made a call on his PDA.



A dead man hugged me last autumn. I was volunteering as an interpreter at the local free clinic when a nurse asked me if I could assist one last patient. She told me the man simply needed some test results read and a document translated. Because the man said that the only thing wrong with him was a large freckle on his nose, I was expecting to open the file and find a report on an irritated skin condition and a prescription for a salve or antibiotic. I could not have been more wrong. Like many of the patients at the clinic, the man was an “illegal.” He was a young Hispanic man, and he strolled through the door, looked me directly in the eye and shook my hand with a smile. While we waited for the nurse to bring his chart, he showed me a picture of his wife and four children, all of whom were barefoot, and explained that he sent 75% of his monthly wages to his family in El Salvador. We made some jokes about living in the area and he asked about my proficiency in the Spanish language despite my fair complexion, so I explained to him that I was of a mixed background. Reviewing his residency and income information, I noticed that he was not residing in Prince William County, and that he was thus

not eligible for care from our clinic. I asked an assistant to check the address for a clinic in the county where he was residing, and we were both dismayed to discover that the county in which the man lived did not have a free clinic. The second I opened his chart, I felt the moisture in my mouth: the warm liquid that hits the gums right before vomiting. A single letter from a doctor who had removed a portion of the man’s freckle for testing lay on top of a pile of test results. The letter asked me to inform the man that his sample had tested positive for advanced malignant skin cancer and that he would die in six to eight months if it remained untreated. Even worse was the fact that the county the man lived in did not have a free clinic and he could not apply for new residency because his visa was long expired and he was supposed to be back in his country. I knew from others at the clinic that cancer treatment for illegal immigrants was difficult to obtain, and that the overwhelming odds were that this man would never get the care he needed. As I translated the letter aloud, the man’s eyes filled with tears and he began to rock back and forth, asking me how he was supposed to support his children. His concern was not for his life, but rather for how his wife


Gwen Corkill Grayscale Photography


cRISP Kim Sheridan

Crisp No more shining silver fences Only the wasted potential of slum fortresses and those alley-way cowboys with the hard stare of brooding locals. No admittance to twinges of emotion in a twisted political cartoon of snap-crackle-pop-culture.




gle Sara Brooks

Together, We will become silhouettes against the sunrise; Hungry from the first light of day until The last light of dusk dies with the remainder of the world. The cracks the traveler makes as he walks through the snow

The Road Less Hillary Swede

Despite its beautiful scenery I haven’t dared to venture down this road For quite some time But when I am forced to take the road less traveled, I remember how I used to speed On that wide stretch of asphalt Feeling the pain in my throat As I got closer to my destination. Most times it would go away, And I would be disappointed There were as many hills and curves on the road Then there were between us But I loved the ups and downs And that double yellow line That separated us more than it brought us together Cringing as I flip my blinker It’s a shame that I have to take this road today I’d rather avoid it Because I know you’re still waiting at the end


T r a v e l e d

Depression alex blanche

I woke this morning to suck a morose day. Not feeling the same, I went on. It’s days like these where one must wait, and have trust in a better day. Fear not these days and live them not in anguish. Feel not broken, or ruined, but Good.

Old Truck Tom Yatt Photography



A lot had changed in the little neighborhood since the last time Jim had walked through. The streets were clean, the night was quiet, and there were few people outside. As he approached that fateful intersection, Jim felt a shiver race up his spine. He put his cold hands into the pockets of his long dark trench coat and continued toward the edge of the sidewalk. Although in the pockets of his coat, Jim’s hands didn’t feel any warmer as the cold coat only kept his hands the same temperature. Jim gracefully laid his hand on the picket fence running along the sidewalk.




Looking up, Jim read the signs near the intersection of the suburban area; Buckingham Way and Turpentine Blvd. A few cars zipped through the intersection, the wind picking up the tips of Jim’s trench coat.

He soaked in the dark and quiet neighborhood and then proceeded to cross the street. As he did so, a car roared through the stop sign to the right of him and continued on straight through him. Jim heard the whoosh sound of the car passing through and felt the breeze made by the car. The driver didn’t notice him until the very end. The car screeched to a stop and fish tailed in the intersection. Jim just stood there, as if nothing had happened. He continued on to the other sidewalk as he had before. The driver of the car got out and ran to the spot that Jim had been standing before, only to find nothing there. A chill went up his spine and he returned to his car, lowering the volume of his radio and turning off his phone. Waiting a few minutes to calm down and make sure there wasn’t anybody on the road coming back outside, he then continued driving, this time obeying the speed limit. The car going through Jim felt weird this time. Rather than just break his body across the hood and the windshield as it had before, the car just passed through him. Perhaps the little neighborhood hadn’t changed

“The driver didn’t notice him until the very end.”



Trucker Gwen Corkill Photograph

Jenny Watts Slowly I snuck into your room, The storm crashed outside. My silhouette casting shadows on your face. As the faint howl seeped through your walls Gusts of wind rattled your door And water dripped into the crevice and onto your floorboard. I hadn’t the courage to leave you, my breath fogging your window.

Balance 2008  

The publication of the BDHS Literary magazine for 2007-2008, courtesy of Rhapsody staff.

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