Table of Contents 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
21 22 23 24 26 27 28 29 30
Echoes of Light -Victoria Nedder Shadow -Ope Olukorede Third Place Silence -Mike Paczkowski Inside Out -Ellie DeCaprio First Place Circuitous -Lindsey Ades Dot Box -Lizzie Thayer Flower Nova -Alexandra Gaither Facade -Jack Reid If Flowers Could Talk -Meghan Hornblower So Where is Waldo, Really? -Tessa Kadar First Place Chair -Anne Jennings First Place The Power of Deception -Meghan Hornblower First Place Surreal Perspective -Lindsay Burroughs Second Place Imagination Drive -Patrick Hennessey First Place Little Moose River -Emma Harrison Honorable Mention 14 Living Room -Caroline Rakip Clock -Rhea Teng Honorable Mention 15 No Light -Saipriya Valoth Geometric Illumination -Austin Drucker 16 Halmoni, My Forever Guardian -Jenny Park Remembrance -Austin Drucker 17 Illumination -Sydney Fisher Annisquam Light -Sam Higgins Wolf -Jake Levin 18 Surreal Self -Andrew Kaufmann Honorable Mention Lazy Sunday -Maddie Morgan Luisa -Anne Armstrong 19 Blue U -Connor Rooney Third Place Camera Box -Sean McGonagle 20 Union Jack -Sophie Brown La Tour Eiffel -Meghan Morgan Escape -Briggs Hupper Porcupine -Kate Mecke Second Place Squibble -Sal Sprofera Blue Swarm -Alexander Klein The Occupants -Saipriya Valoth Organic Signature -Leah Ciffolillo Third Place Different Paths -Rhea Teng Second Place Ball Player -Haley Burroughs Determination -Ian Francis Artichoke -Michela Thomsen Third Place Feed Me -Mel Mark Covered Jar -Emma Harrison Bridge Reflections -Sophie Brown Shimmering Cobalt -Marissa Birne Vieux CarrĂŠ -Michela Thomsen Second Place
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
Self Portrait -Bruna Lee Nature’s Sculptures -Alexander Klein Plaster Carving -Jack Hupper Cherie Imbécile -Tessa Kadar Honorable Mention Your Name -Anonymous Honorable Mention Limekiln -Emma Harrison Linear -Sophie Brown Teapot -Katie Sack Liquid Impact -Maddie Branka Honorable Mention After -Julia Strauss Third Place Out of the Dark Evening -Erica Chalmers Path -Emma Harrison Honorable Mention Cuttyhunk on the Dinner Table -Jen Lowell Insignificance -Kendall Young Self Portrait -Sarah Jarvis Self Portrait -Sal Sprofera Second Place
‘‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’’ Oscar Wilde
Editors’ Note The Current is dedicated to providing the Rivers community with cultural enrichment as well as a stronger appreciation for the arts through poetry, prose and artwork produced by Rivers students. This year we wanted to go abstract with The Current, with splashes of color and bold contrasts. We’re very excited about the way it turned out. Over this process, we’ve had a lot of help from a lot of different people, so many thanks are due. To Rindy, our amazing faculty supervisor, thanks for keeping us on task. To our judges, who devoted their time to looking at all the work we sent them and carefully making their selections of what they thought was the strongest. And, of course, to our staff, for all their tireless work. Thanks for everything!
Judges: Laura Rudman-2D Art, Dorothy Vosburgh-Prose, Julie Knisley3D Art, Evan McGlinn-Photography and James Lowell-Poetry Senior Editors: Andrew, Tessa and Sarah Staff: Saipriya, Maddie, Jen, Jenny, Sareena, Tucker, Sarah, Ian, Bruna and Katie Faculty Advisor: Rindy Garner
Echoes of Light Victoria Nedder
I am a shadow Grazing along the walls Following the girl that I used to know I am a ghost I come and go Following the girl that I want to be most My mind flees but my heart craves For the love of insanity I am just a shadow Just a ghost How can I run from her when Iâ€™m walking in her path? Ridiculous! Interesting! Foolish? Insanity...
No. Yes. Yes? No. Oh yes... yes! No. Ghost Shadow Ghost Slip slide dip glide swim scrape follow Appear scare fly spy grin follow Girl girl girl Ghost ghost ghost All hope lost Will I ever reach ---
zkows Mike Pac
e d i s In Out Elli
u o t i rcu
des A y dse
Dot Box yer ha T e zzi
Flower Nova Alexandra Gaither
If Flowers Could Talk
Jack Reid Ideas like to muddle with our brains, For we are naught but slaves to our own minds. Love likes to keep us all tied up in chains; Like a germ festering, creating binds. And you would be the fool, to misconceive, Approximations of the concrete prize. What we all have that yearning to achieve, That also can become our worst demise. From authenticity true love is born, The absolute can never be replaced. This great façade of love you shall adorn, And everything else is nothing but waste. You must find out what you are doing wrong, Or you’ll be left abandoned in the throng.
No, I’m not thirsty, but thanks for the deluge of water, anyway. Not like it’s going to take another three hours for my hair to air-dry or anything. The one annoying thing about being a flower or a socalled “inanimate object” (I mean helloooo I’m talking, you just can’t hear me. So rude.) is that humans get to rule your life. They place you next to your enemies and you have to share pots with them just because humans think daisies and tulips look oh so nice together. Humans don’t even know the war us daisies had with the tulips in 1812. Then they expect us to sit in the same pot together? Ridiculous. Just ridiculous.
So Where is Waldo, Really? Tessa Kadar
At this point, Waldo has lost track of where he is. Everything has begun to blur together. He could be in Rome, he could be in London, Bombay, Shanghai, Los Angeles. The last place he remembers specifically is Melbourne, where he was nearly caught. They got Wanda that time. He didn’t stop to help her—she threw him the camera and he ran, not looking back. Those were just the rules. Had the roles been reversed, he would have been disappointed in her if she’d looked back at him before escaping. It wasn’t until he was on the boat out of Sydney, stowed away in the cargo hold, that he was able to mourn her, as he’d mourned her sister before her, and the countless others he’d lost. Waldo winds his way down the alley until he comes out into the sunlight. He looks around until he can place himself—Paris. The Seine is to his right, so he follows it until he finds a suitable crowd. Waldo can’t stand to be alone. He’s constantly jumpy, looking over his shoulder, paranoid that he’s being watched, because he usually is. When he finds himself in the middle of a crowd, people pressing in from all sides, he can finally relax. The crowd hides him, it swallows him, and he is no longer just one person; he is one of a thousand people. He finds security in anonymity. He could swear he’s only been walking for a couple minutes, but the next thing he knows, he’s at the Eiffel Tower, and it’s evening, the clouds making white streaks on the red sky. The crowds have dispersed somewhat, but for once, he doesn’t care. The loss of Wanda has hit him hard. It’s never been this bad, not even when his old mentor Whitebeard died, gunned down by Odlaw’s goons in the bowels of the New York City subway. It could be because her capture comes on the heels of Woof’s death. The dog had been the only constant in all of Waldo’s trials, following faithfully wherever he led until, at last, his little heart gave out, and he left his master to journey alone. Waldo finds himself climbing the steps of the tower until he can climb no higher. He’s completely alone. He figures he probably has about five minutes until anybody who has been tailing him finds him up here. He gazes over the railing at the pavement below, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the camera, the cause of all his woes. He has no idea what’s on the camera, or even why the enemy wants it. His brother isn’t really the enemy—Waldo doesn’t think Odlaw knows any more than he does. All either of them knows is that Waldo has the camera, and Odlaw wants it. Why? What could be on here that’s worth the lives of his mentor the wizard, the sisters Wilma and Wanda, and everybody else he’s ever loved? He turns it on, and is confronted with the same prompt for a code that he still doesn’t know, even after all these years. It’s ridiculous that this tiny device has caused all of this strife. Ridiculous, when all he would have to do is loosen his grip on it a little bit and it would fall down, down, down, to shatter on the pavement, never to bother anybody again. Why not, after all? Why not end everything right here? The camera slips; he grabs it back and holds it tightly. Why? Because if he loses the camera, then everyone he’s lost—Whitebeard, Wilma, Wanda, and even little Woof—will have died in vain. Something clatters a few stories down. Waldo snaps himself back into focus. His pursuer is here. He tucks the camera away and, with the instinct gained over many, many years of hiding, he flattens himself into the shadows and slips down the other staircase to escape into the night.
Anne Jennings First Place
The Power of Deception Lindsay Burroughs Meghan Hornblower Surreal Perspective
Go ahead— Assume what is false and let betrayal influence you. This so-called treason Accuses innocence and taints your actions to the core. Yet deceived you are: Not aware of an idea brewing. A blinded mind, a ruthless heart of stone, Will I end In time. Pluck, pluck, pluck. Insanity goes awry And reaches your usurped doors, From the woods near Dover: Effusing, And mastering the temples that Make You Tick. Anger bubbling and boiling, I fume. Yet loyalty’s snare binds me to my cowardice. I shudder and fall into step with your dark humor, And watch one’s jelly ripped, And strewn, Across the floor.
Second Place Unbearable, I break social bounds. Leaping through the gates of Righteousness, I defend. Courage now my aid, Pain and suffering now my fate, I draw. You vile creature, Hear my Reason or face the pains of death. Mad lady, I am bound to you for our likeness: Loyal selves stay true To the corrupted end. Justice done? I will greet you Above.
Imagination Drive Patrick Hennessey First Place
Little Moose River Emma Harrison Honorable Mention
Living Room Caroline Rakip
a T eng on
Menti e l b a r
‘‘Nothing,’’”a soft voice whispered in the pitch-black room as the wind blew crisply in the night air. A gentle snowfall blanketed the gregarious town for the first time this winter. Carefree yet careless, the wide-eyed children rejoiced outside in the comfort of the snow as if they had just witnessed a miracle, which is exactly what it was. When I emphasize the fact that I love the winter, people will often tilt their head to the side with furrowed eyebrows and are quick to mention my constant complaining of being cold. I want to explain to them that I don’t like being cold but rather I love it being cold, but they wouldn’t understand. The coldness of the weather corresponds with the coldness of my interior only three months of the year. The silence in the dark room is interrupted by the unwavering ticks of a metronome that rests on a dusty piano. The sounds of the metronome correspond to a heartbeat emanating from someone in the corner of the room. Although some seem to think of the voice as insignificant, they overlook a crucial fact; the voice belongs to a person, a person that feels and breathes just as they do. ‘‘Nothing,’’ the voice uttered that loathsome word another time. The owner of the voice is a reticent, teenage girl with chestnut hair and surprisingly light eyes. Somehow her eyes remain bright despite the fact that she feels as if her life has only been full of darkness and misery. She hugs her knees tightly with her shaking hands as a single tear escapes her eye, but she makes no sound. She used to spend her days creating elegant melodies, but now they make her spend her days destroying them. Her voice was ripped away from her, like a broken music box that will never play again. The light slowly flickers from her eyes and you start to see what they made her become: a monster. She is not like a monster you would see in a horror movie or hiding under a bed. Although she likes to hide, she is a monster of a different kind. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, but she kills herself every day. ‘‘I am nothing,’’ I whisper, for the voice belongs to me, repeating what society has ingrained into my brain countless times. I walk outside to join the innocent children with a feigned smile plastered on my face. My outsides may seem unharmed, but inside I am only broken shards of bottled-up feelings.
Geometric Illumination Austin Drucker
Halmoni*, My Forever Guardian
Halmoni...Halmoni...Halmoni...… one of the very first words my heart ever taught itself to treasure, a word I have naively repeated in bitterness, embarrassment, and thoughtlessness at times but eternal warmth, love, and affection your only response Halmoni...Halmoni...Halmoni...… at times my everlasting beautiful sunshine, my tears gently dry in your presence, the rainbow colored breeze like a whisper in my ear, giving me dreams and hope warm rain drops to wash away all my worries, replaced with comfort Halmoni...… my forever guardian...… Halmoni...Halmoni...Halmoni...… you have breathed into me the essential motivation, purpose, and meaning in life my love, yearning, and desperate need for you grow exponentially over time, beyond my control but time is my worst enemy, fear, and unimaginable nightmare, for I see how it weakens your bone, blurs your sight, and threatens to steal you away from me...forever...… Halmoni...Halmoni...Halmoni...… I have only taken from you… how to love, feel compassion, to live morally, impossible to list all, but so much a part of me now, I can only battle and race time until we are no longer separated by thousands of miles Halmoni...the word my heart will never stop repeating with every beat, for I am more than blessed to cherish you forever in my heart. *Halmoni: Korean pronunciation for Grandma
Remembrance Austin Drucker
17 Sy dn
t a n
i m u
l l I
n o i
Annisquam Light Sam Higgins
Enduring the wraths of a thousand storms, The white knight stands strong; He is my sanctuaryâ€™s safeguard, Guardian of the night. His beacon of light Daubs the ebony sky, Guiding weary travelers Safely to shore, His noble duty. Waters whip him, But he does not budge; No one else knows His beauty, My lonely protector.
Surreal Self Andrew Kaufmann Honorable Mention
Blue U Connor Rooney Third Place
Camera Box Sean McGonagle
Union Jack Sophie Brown
La Tour Eiffel Meghan Morgan
Es ca pe Br
in p u c r Po
Mecke e t a K
ce Second Pla
Al e Kl xan ei de n r
S qu i bb le
The Occupants Fear confidently marred its next, inexperienced victim, Unhurriedly creeping in an innocent mind. Pale hands tenaciously reached for thin bed sheets, But nothing visible inhabited the dark for her bright eyes to find. She bawled for help until her mom came to soothe her, Blinded by light as she stroked her blonde locks. The drawers were empty and the closets, rid of beasts, But an inescapable worry never transcended the little girlâ€™s voice box As light strands turned gray, the clock had betrayed her, Her wintry soul (she justified) provoked her to relent. And just like nightmares, the light came in waves, But no amount of warmth could mend the hole where darkness still pays rent.
Broken as the earth, internal rifts prolonged. A frequent lie had faltered her, the tenants were not real. But whatâ€™s to stop preventing them from teaching her to feel.
Org Sig anic nat ure
Rhea Teng Second
(SCENE: a hospital waiting room, two women sit side by side on blue cushioned chairs)
MARY: I guess I might buy less if there was a husband.
ELEANORA: (45 years old, wrinkled face, dressed in a sundress and sandals, smiling absentmindedly, admiring the hospital’s simple architecture) (then, leaning in left towards MARY)
ELEANORA:(taken off-guard) Oh, goodness. How terribly presumptuous of me. Don’t mind me, dear. It’s just that, I’m sure any lady as good looking as yourself would have no trouble reeling in a husband. (pause)(jokingly) But don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much.
Lovely shoes, dear. MARY: (a thin layer of powdery make up, 39 years old, dressed in a tan skirt suit and blue leather pumps, fidgeting with a rosary bracelet) (As if startled from a trance--) Oh! Why thank you. That’s nice of you to say. (pause) Your sandals are quite... charming as well. ELEANORA: (wink, a shrug of the shoulders) Comfort over beauty, my dear. No need to pretend I’m going to be in Vogue anytime soon. I think if I ever tried to wear anything like that, (pointing at MARY’s shoes) I’d probably keel over at the slightest incline (warm smile). MARY: (a tentative but bubbling laugh) Don’t worry, I find them just as hard to walk in. But personally, I think shoes are very fulfilling. I probably get a new pair every week or so, although most just stay in my closet. (Awkwardly laughing) Maybe the doctor can help me with that problem too. ELEANORA: (Breezing over the awkwardness) Every week! These old things (lifting left foot) have been with me for almost 2 years now! Joey, my husband, barely lets me step into a shoe store, let alone purchase a pair. You must be quite the homemaker...or your husband must be a saint.
MARY: (Now spinning the rosary beads at an even quicker pace, getting progressively more and more uncomfortable) It always smells like those awful alcohol swabs here, don’t you think? ELEANORA: I guess so. Though I think the maternity ward is fairly benign, as far as hospitals go. MARY: (nods) I guess so. Have you been waiting long? ELEANORA: No, not really (wrinkling nose). Plus, it’s really my daughter that’s getting all the work done. I’m just here to drive the car. She has always needed a little more help than the other children. She demanded that I come because she thinks that the car is too hard to drive with her belly and all. (pause) What about you though, dear? Have you been waiting long? MARY: A bit... I think I’m a bit of a rarity for them (gesturing to the nurses and workers). They either expect a bulge or a wedding ring. (ELEANORA looks confused) MARY: (leaning in to whisper) I’m trying to have a baby. ELEANORA: (confused) But I thought you said you weren’t married.
MARY: Right, but a girl can’t wait for too long. (trying to make Eleanora understand) I think my knight in shining armor is just taking a little longer than others. ELEANORA: (still astonished) A baby! By yourself... MARY: (suddenly feeling ashamed, trying to change the topic) The doctors here really do take their time (looking around). ELEANORA: (still astonished and ignoring MARY’s words) But how will you support the poor thing?... and without a father? What if it’s a boy? Who will teach him to play catch? Take him fishing? MARY: (getting a bit annoyed and frustrated) Obviously, I’ll be the one to support the baby. My job will bring in more than enough for him or her. And lucky for you, I can play catch! And fish! And dance! And sing! And.. (a doctor appears with a young pregnant woman) DOCTOR: (cutting off MARY) All done here, Mrs. Simole. Looks like your new granddaughter is doing great. You and your husband have quite the clan coming. (Turning to MARY) We’re ready for you now, Ms. Faretra. MARY: (curtly, to ELEANORA) It was nice meeting you. (EXITS STAGE LEFT, holding back tears, walking proudly, heels clicking) ELEANORA: (looks ashamed down at feet, briefly studying her sandals) (to her daughter) Let’s go, dear. Your father is waiting at home for his lunch. (EXIT STAGE RIGHT)
26 Ball Player
Artichoke Michela Thomsen Third Place
Feed Me Mel Mark
Covered Jar Emma Harrison
Bridge Reflections Sophie Brown
29 Shimmering Cobalt Marissa Birne
Chunky rubber soles slide into a sudden stretch of sand. Sand does not belong, alongside a walkway of cement, but its incongruity contributes to its intrigue. The boots’ toes wiggle to and fro, digging deeper into grains that have firmed from the cooling air. Lined up like crayons in a box, canoes lie. Their tips reach towards silent and placid water but cannot touch. Wide in the center and slim at the points, the boats are sleeping fish. Darkness makes itself known and brushes their tops; their colors are dimmed. Closest to her sits the boat the color of rust, alongside a boat the shade of charcoal-dusted blueberries. Third of the set is the boat the color of evergreen. Its ridge is nicked to reveal a smudge of white towards the head. Her eyes lift from the soundly sleeping fish to the cobalt expanse ahead. The sheet ripples gently. It seems that the effect is caused by a mother’s loving hands, settling the sheet over her son’s resting body. Confetti splotches rest atop the sheet like cotton candy. The splotches, nestled in the shining sheet’s ripples, glow in her eyes. Reflections of the clusters are found above the blackened horizon. The imprints are kisses from clouds above, deep indigo and rose. To the right, she sees a scarf being knitted in the sky, of yarn that is both indigo and rose. The yarns are intertwined. Above and slightly to the left is a wisp nearly the color of the pale blue sky but tinted with indigo, leading to three horizontal slices of cloud stacked and crafted in indigo. The horizon line separating light blue and cobalt is a silhouette of forest. Individual trees cannot be distinguished. All blur together to create a belt that is blacker than the ashes of a log burned in winter. The trees themselves are united with their own inky reflections. It is a blur, but it is defined. The whiskers of the reflection point down and bleed into the water. The treetops cut and pasted into the sky are more defined and points of varying sizes are visible to her eyes. From the far left a blushing ribbon rests atop the belt of trees. Her boots move her. First the rubber heel of her right foot, followed by the sole and the toes. Sand grinds like gravel and makes way beneath her feet. Her weight is shifted to the left and the right heel digs, preceding the base and toes. She makes her way to the dividing line and crouches down to be at the level of the glistening swells. Supporting herself with the fingertips of her left hand, spread like bones of a bat’s wing, she allows the pointer and middle fingers of her right hand to make contact with the surface of the sheet. Shocked with icy coolness, they linger for just a moment. She allows them to dip deeper into the water before withdrawing. Supported by her tensing calves, she pulls herself to a standing position. The crisp chill of the water lingers on her fingers. She enjoys the recent addition of bite to the formerly mild air. The shift in season is beginning to be felt. A breeze pushes past her and caresses the bare skin of her arms. All tension held in the joints of her shoulders and in the cubbies of her heart melts in the sways of the breeze.
Vieux Carré Inspired by A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Belle Reve is gone and I am to blame I’m overwhelmed- this is no longer a game I know I need help and that’s why I came I expected Stella to relieve me, yet she’s been rather lame I ran away because I was afraid My problems are all entangled in a braid I wish I could forgive myself for what I said I confronted my lover and now he is dead I bathe to cleanse myself from wrongs I often sing calming songs Although when asked, I say I don’t drink I’m actually hiding Stanley’s liquor under the sink For years and years I’ve felt alone The men at the Flamingo were nothing but cologne I want to be loved and flattered too Yet all I hear now is polka and the blues I assumed Mitch was different- better than the rest I can’t imagine what I did to fail his test I was hoping for marriage, a journey or quest However, I was stood up and left uneasy at best If only I could get Stella to see That she’s better off with only me And that Stanley is truly a monstrous beast Please believe that he raped me at least! I didn’t intend to cause such harm It feels like my brain is a ringing alarm I promise I will leave once Shep is here Our enchanting cruise is coming near I hear a knocking at the door Maybe it’s Mitch coming back for more It’s blatant that he loves me so Too bad, his loss, I’m ready to go
Self Portrait Bruna Lee
31 Natureâ€™s Sculptures
Plaster Carving Jack Hupper
Cherie Imbécile Inspired by King Lear by William Shakespeare
Tell me, truly— Did you love me? Did you love me as you promised him you would? I would have taken even that much. Half would have been better than None. I loved you. I loved you, you fool, you darling fool. I took you when you had no one, Penniless and dowerless, Bearing nothing but Broken love. I loved you, And in my blindness I thought You loved me too. But you, too, were blind, You naïve, foolish, darling, beloved. You returned to him who betrayed you, who left you with nothing, You had given up nothing for all, Only to give up all for nothing. Weep, France, Your Queen is dead; She traded a crown of gold for A necklace of rope.
Your Name Anonymous
Honorable Mention Memories press hot fingers into fresh clay. Pain dffuses. Kneaded and stretched, tender.
Sitting high on a shelf, one piece, finally whole.
Then your old name yields a painful cry. Falling Searing red flames from birth hardness. protection, shattering into An impenetrable coat millions of no longer of sharp, contracts beneath beautifully the scalding touch. perilous, pieces.
Limekiln Emma Harrison
Linear Sophie Brown
34 Teapot Katie Sack
Liquid Impact Maddie Branka Honorable Mention
I wake, stretching my plump arms to shake off the unrelenting clutch of slumber. As my eyes slowly blink open, my long eyelashes slowly diverging to expose the world beyond, I sense an absence. Something is missing. The feeling is as though my body is suddenly severed from my mind, and my thoughts cannot bring my arm to lift itself from the cocoon of blankets that surround me. I am not in pain, but I feel raw, exposed. I look around to see if I can find my missing parts, to put myself back together again. But when I look around, my hands, clenched in fists, lie at the ends of my arms, and my feet wiggle underneath the top layer of softest cotton. I begin to cry in frustration, a thin wail that grows to a shriek. Somehow, my scream sounds incomplete, as though a song in two-part harmony is missing the melody. I am missing my other part. As I continue to cry, a small light above my head begins to blink, and soon a stranger walks into the room. Dressed from head to toe in palest green, she looks similar to me, with long, chestnut hair tied back in a loose bun, her eyes crinkled into a concerned expression, her lips pursed in a pout. Although she was surely beautiful when she was young, her tired expression now overpowers her beauty. Her skin is different from mine, weathered from age. Still, she seems kind, gentle. She holds a bottle filled with warm milk to my lips, but I refuse to drink it. The stranger peers around behind her and then, seeing no one in the quiet corridor, reaches into my incubator and picks me up. As she slowly rocks me back and forth, I continue to cry, mourning what I cannot remember I have lost. ‘‘I know, Abby, I know,’’”the stranger coos, with unexplainable sadness in her eyes. ‘‘I have a twin too, I know how it feels to be without her.’’ Thoroughly confused, I stare at this stranger. She is a wealth of valuable information, but she only seems to add to my perplexity. ‘‘It’ll be okay,’’”she continues, with tears in her eyes. ‘‘It gets easier. When Mary moved away, I cried every day too. I felt like part of me was missing, as though I had been sliced in half. But each day, I missed her a little less. Some days I don’t even think about her anymore. It will get easier for you, too.’’ She seems to be comforting herself, but her words sound kind and full of warmth. I contentedly cease my wailing, and look up into her trusting face. Her eyes show pain and suffering, but they also reveal serenity and healing. ‘‘You won’t even remember her,’’”she murmurs, her voice breaking as she speaks the words. Suddenly, there are footsteps in the hallway. Loud voices beckon everyone to listen, and the cheerful sound of ignored pagers begins to overwhelm the corridor. The kind woman puts me down and quickly begins to inspect some of the lights that are clustered around my bed. Soon after, my mother drifts into the room. I can tell it is she because of the smell that wafts over my nose. At once, I am reminded of a distant memory, in a quiet, peaceful time. She hurries to my side. ‘‘Sara, was she crying?’’”my mother inquires in a tone that conveys pure, unadulterated exhaustion. ‘‘Only for a minute, Mrs. Foster,’’”responds the benevolent woman. She looks up from the lazily blinking lights and gazes straight at my mother. ‘‘Are you going to tell her about Clara?’’ ‘‘I don’t think so,’’”Mother responds. ‘‘At least, not for a long time. When she is ready, we will tell her.’’” I know this conversation is important, maybe in fact life-changing. But I am young, too young to understand the significance of seemingly simple chatter. I know this memory will become a blur. Eventually, I won’t even remember the kind woman, the one who has tried to comfort me. But it is too early for me to think of these things. I am too tired. Perhaps sleep will bring my missing part. And so, blanketed by the voices of my mother and a kind stranger, I drift off to a restless sleep.
Out of the Dark Evening
The evening rush had finally dissipated in the small Italian restaurant on the corner of Main. Frantic mothers had picked up their family dinner and the 6pm train already unloaded the city workers across the street. A woman entered out of the dark evening alone. She paused to take quick glance at the only other customers in the store, a young couple cozying over their dinner, then continued forward, her black boots clicking quickly across the tile floor. She placed her cold shiny keys on the marble counter and reached for a menu. ‘‘What can I get you tonight Ma’m?’’ asked the girl behind the counter. ‘‘Oh,’’”said the woman, looking up from the menu as if she were suddenly pulled out of a solitary place. ‘‘Well, I’m just waiting for, um...’’ Her eyes searched the small store. ‘‘Sure, sure.’’”The girl behind the counter said dismissively. ‘‘Take all the time you need.’’ In the swirling wake of the woman’s perfume came a tall man. He wore a pale collared shirt and faded dress pants. He acknowledged the same young couple with a warm, knowing smile then glided silently to the woman’s side. He placed a weightless hand on her back. ‘‘Well, let me see here,’’ said the woman. ‘‘Do you have eggplant parmesan?’’ ‘‘Yes, of course,’’ said the girl behind the counter, pointing to the entrées. ‘‘Oh, yes, I see, right there.’’”The woman twisted her ring, flipped over the menu, then twisted it again. ‘‘And does that come with any type of pasta?’’ ‘‘Yes. We have fusilli, spaghetti, rigatoni-’’ ‘‘How about ziti?’’” ‘‘Uh, yes, we do have ziti.’’” ‘‘Can I get the eggplant with ziti?’’” ‘‘Um, yes, yes you can.’’��� ‘‘Oh, ok, very good,’’ said the woman. Her words were quick and nervous. She put on her black rimmed glasses then took them off again, squinting at the menu, then up at the lights. Long permanent creases streamed from the corners of her eyes. ‘‘What do you feel like having, John?’’” The man next to her opened his mouth to speak the closed it again, smiling softly as he anticipated her interruption. ‘‘You know, John, I’m not really that hungry. We don’t need to eat here. Would you like to leave?’’ She fidgeted with her dark scarf then pulled it tight around her neck. ‘‘Are these your pasta dishes?’’”asked the woman. ‘‘Yes,’’ began the girl, ‘‘they’re all very-’’” ‘‘You know, John, I really do like eggplant. Oh John, remember Abigail’s 65th birthday? Wasn’t that spectacular! The eggplant was truly delicious. Remember, John how we danced? What a lovely evening it was!’’” The girl behind the counter considered the woman’s small waist, the way her black pants hugged her skinny legs. She suggested, ‘‘The eggplant with ziti is a good amount of food, enough for two people really. You could always have leftovers to bring home, Ma’m.’’ ‘‘You hear that, John? Enough for two. Why don’t we share it. What do you say, John? Would you like eggplant parmesan with ziti?’’” He murmured in the gentlest tone, enveloping the woman in his tender words, ‘‘I will like whatever you get.’’” The woman smiled to herself, then to the girl behind the counter. ‘‘I’ll have the eggplant with ziti, please.’’ ‘‘Sounds good,’’”said the girl, punching in the order. The woman now faced the store deliberating over where to sit. She rested her eyes, momentarily, on the tables that surrounded the entwined couple. ‘‘Ma’m?’’” The woman turned back to the cashier. ‘‘Don’t forget your silverware,’’”she said, sliding a single, cold set across the counter.
37 Path Emma Harrison Honorable Mention
Cuttyhunk on the Dinner Table Jen Lowell
Insignificant. That’s all we are to each other, just strangers that so happened to be on the same street. There was no cosmic significance behind our being there at the same time. It’s not in our fate to meet. Just coincidence. Pure coincidence. I’ll just pass by you the same way you’ll pass by me, failing to acknowledge that you are living a life just as real and vivid as my own. You have your own family, friends, worries, ambitions, anxieties, fears, secrets. We’ll never know intimate details of each other’s lives. I’ll never know if you were let go from work today, or if you finally landed that job you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little kid. Maybe someone broke your heart and you’re barley managing to hold it all together. Or maybe you were the one who did the heartbreaking. You might have even managed to break someone’s heart without realizing. Maybe you’ll never know. I certainly won’t. I won’t even wonder. We’ll cross paths and continue with our day just the way we normally would. In fact, we might have even crossed paths before in different forms. You were in the passenger seat of the car that cut me off last week. I was behind the lighted window of the house you passed as the result of taking a wrong turn on your way to that holiday party last year, hosted by a friend of a friend of a friend. You might not have noticed me any of those times. You were too busy replaying an argument you just had in your head. Or you were thinking about what you should eat for dinner. Or maybe you weren’t thinking. Maybe you were just wandering without purpose or maybe your purpose was just to wander. If you did notice me, you didn’t say hi or flash a smile, because your mother taught you to never talk to strangers. Your mother might have taught you lots of things. Or maybe she wasn’t around much. And maybe that hurt you more than you wanted it to or more than you’ll admit that it did. I might not have noticed you. The same way I didn’t notice the man who was paying for his coffee just as I was entering Starbucks, or the woman on the other side of the crosswalk. We’re justsimple, insignificant passerbys to one another, extras in the background of a single scene in someone’s dreadfully complex life. Or maybe we did notice each other, in a short, fleeting moment. We could have exchanged friendly smiles or laughed together about some odd occurrence. Our eyes might have met and for that small instant the curtains that hide all of our suppressed feelings lifted for a moment, revealing a glimpse of raw emotion. And that tiny human connection we shared may have changed us without our realizing. Maybe we were more significant to each other than we thought.
Self Portrait Sarah Jarvis
39 S e l f
Sal Sprofera Second Place
P o r t r a i t