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Providence Senior High School volume XXI | 2016


PROLOGUE Monsoon Eggshell stratus clouds loose a slow torrent beneath a drunken sun, and he is meeting himself again. Beneath powdered snow and supple tree-branch fingers, he is petrified oak, a grandfather trunk with roots searching far past what they should in pursuit of freshly melted water. This downpour is painting him green again, bringing saplings tingling and tangling into his veins, and sometimes he, too daring for his years, forgets the rings beneath his skin. Glittering, impatient rivulets flitting into the crags between his creaking ribs, he starts to breathe in liquid stars. He finds universes in his melting ice, aurora black in amethyst, ever-shifting aquamarine in green. He finds himself again and again in smoother softness, a little less broken and a little brighter. - Alexander Brookins


Providence Senior High School Volume XXI $12.00 per issue 1800 Pineville-Matthews Road Charlotte, NC 28270 Phone: 980-343-5390 Fax: 980-343-3956 Printer: Herff Jones 2015 Awards NSPA — All-American Rating CSPA — Crown Finalist NCSMA— All-North Carolina and Tar Heel Award 2011 NSPA Hall of Fame Inductee 2011 CSPA Gold Crown Winner 2014, 2007 NSPA Pacemaker Winner 2013, 2011, 2010 Pacemaker Finalist

Cover Art: Tish Wilson


table of

CONTENTS Dear Reader, Welcome to the twenty-first edition of literary magazine. Our theme this year is vestiges, visible traces of something that is disappearing or no longer exists. We selected this theme after noting the myriad reflections on ending relationships, childhoods, and summers. Even those pieces not about the remnants of another time reflect stolen pieces of time, what’s left of a happier moment, and a chance that acknowledging each vestige will allow for fresh beginnings. The prologue invites you into the magazine by depicting a renewal by rainstorm: freshwater washes away leftovers from the past to reveal the brilliant colors that await readers on the next page. This poem also mirrors the beginning of the creative process when a writer begins pulling wondrous hues and feelings of the world to capture them on the page. The epilogue concludes the magazine with a reminiscence on the remains of a night spent in the space between dreams and wakefulness. This piece also reflects the more finite conclusion of the creative process when an artist brings life to the page and ends with a better understanding of the world which inspires the work. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us. Sincerely, Sam Claypoole, Managing Editor

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Fiction Icara, Thy Clockwork Wings Doth Sing Fanbreakers

Mamaw's House Smiling Scars

06 10 15 23

Remy Lucien

Pillar of Salt

Bhargavi Bhaskar

Humor and Humiliation

Katherine Welch

Here are my Dogs. Here's Me.

Zoe Knepp

Sunny Nights

24 49 58 65

Katherine Welch

Abigail Scheper Massiel Islas

Sam Claypoole

Nonfiction Worn Leather & Ice Cream

The Saga Continues

31 40

Twenty Countries for the Price of One

Hannah Magraw

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Andy Hill

Paige Thomas

Poetry On Loving Someone Bent on Being Broken The Effects of an Endless Humid Summer Fuchsia Flowers Technical Love Late Night

Vine Moment MuĂąeca Rota Hyacinth art . ist A Chemical Bond

09 13 18 20 27 28 33 37 39 43

Alexander Brookins

Gas Station Bathrooms in A Minor

Madeleine Page

Equally Standing

Amelia Johnson-Post

Falling Sky

Abigail Scheper

First Drive

Sam Claypoole

Beetles

Alexander Brookins

Dreaming, not Living

Alexander Brookins

Dropped

Andy Hill

Dying

Em Carter

My Brother and I

44 47 53 55 57 60 63 63 69

Hannah Wright Ashleigh Millinder Madeleine Page Hannah Magraw Madeleine Page Cayleigh Brown Katya Butte

Joseph Kim

Bhargavi Bhaskar

Marissa Parker Table of Contents

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Artwork Lauren Kassab

Remy Lucien

Yasmeen Asmar

Rebecca Melaku

Audrey Wright

Massiel Islas

Wyeth Folmar

Arjun Nag

Sean Ennis

Em Carter

Lauren Kassab

Rachel Haigh

Lauren Kassab

Sean Ennis

Rowan Bryant

Nina Davies

Rebecca Melaku

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collage, acrylic and micropen

Madeline Merz

pen and digital art

Madeline Merz

photography

Lauren Kassab

acrylic

Zachary Osmond

acrylic

Kaylee Market

photography

Teddy Perelli

acrylic

Yuxuan Chen

photography

collage

Annaliese Cofer

Audrey Wright

photography

Olivia Guillebeau

acrylic

Olivia Guillebeau

watercolor

Lauren Kassab

collage and acrylic

Marialana Kinter

colored pencil

Marialana Kinter

colored pencil

Ava Pomilla

colored pencil

Nina Davies

acrylic

Lauren Kassab

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acrylic

collage

collage and acrylic

digital collage

oil pastel

acrylic

colored pencil

photography

scratchboard

acrylic

watercolor

charcoal

colored pencil

collage

oil pastel

crayon and oil pastel acrylic

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Staff Alexa Arciero, staff Bhargavi Bhaskar, Nonfiction Editor Alexander Brookins, Copy Editor Em Carter, staff Sam Claypoole, Managing Editor Allison Debe, staff

AJ Di Nicola, staff Andy Hill, staff Remy Lucien, Art Editor Hannah Magraw, Publicity Editor Madeleine Page, Business Editor

Abigail Scheper, Design Editor Paige Thomas, staff Katherine Welch, Publicity Editor Hannah Wright, staff Marva Hutchinson, Chief Advisor

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07 39 35 Policy is published by the literary magazine students at Providence High School. Poetry, prose and artwork are submitted by members of the student body. Each written submission is judged anonymously by every member of the staff. The magazine publishes the prose and poetry selections that receive the highest scores and the artwork that best

enhances the written content. Roars and Whispers is an open forum for all students; the ideas presented in this magazine do not reflect those of the Providence High School faculty. However, as a school publication, Roars and Whispers does reserve the right to deny publication to those submissions that are deemed inappropriate for a high school

audience. All members of the staff share the responsibility for spreads; therefore, we do not specifically attribute any spread to any individual staff member. Roars and Whispers is the poetic voice of Providence High School. Whether through the strength of our roars or the softness of our whispers, we will be heard.

Table of Contents

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Remy Lucien

ICAR A thy clockwork wings doth sing

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n a cluttered workshop at the top of a great tower on the edge of the known world, she fastened the golden buckles of her harness over her leather jacket. She could see the dark clouds manifesting through the large open archway. The growl of thunder shook the scraps of metal bicycles stacked against the stone walls, but she paid no attention. Biting the chapped skin of her bottom lip, she pulled the straps until they pressed tightly into her shivering figure. The tiny gears clicked like clockwork in the structure of her metal brace, and the golden, paper-thin wings stretched themselves out in a semicircle, opening upward around her grease-covered face. Letting out a slightly audible breath of satisfaction, she placed the illuminated green lenses of her goggles

over her eyes. The world glared back at her confrontationally through the brightly lit glass. She met the challenge, plunging herself thoughtlessly over the edge of the brass railing and down toward the open seas. Waves taunted her, rolling over one another at the base of the rocky cliff to scrape at her falling figure. With the curl of her thumb and forefinger the wires along her arm became rigid, and the angle of her sumptuous lifelines shifted. The metallic clinking of sprockets falling into alignment was barely detectable over the rush of wind, but the reverberation against her inner ear was the loudest and most beautiful sound she had ever heard. The storm clouds withdrew to reveal the pale sun as her descent slowed and her body swung upward in a parabolic siege of the heavens

Lauren Kassab collage, micropen and acrylic

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Remy Lucien pen and digital art

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on loving someone bent on being

BROKEN I. Take his hands, his shaking hands, and lay them across the most vulnerable parts of you. Tell him they are his. He craves owning something that is not yet impure. Wait. Wait for his stained fingertips to make them impure. Move his hands to newer, cleaner parts of you, and wait.

II. When he does not want to talk, he will not talk to you. Do not consider yourself his special remedy. You are, but he will not treat you as such. He will hold you at arm's length even though your hands can still cup his jaw, can still flick away his sadness. Keep your eyes averted as you do so. He is making sure he does not cry in front of you. Indulge him.

III. He will call you at 2 a.m. and wake you up, crying, refusing to speak. Do not get angry. He needs you. Remember that he needs you. Always remember that he needs you. He makes you strong. He makes you very beautiful. Remember that you are trying not to need people right now. When you feel empty and fractured while alone, remember that you are trying not to need people right now. Remember that you are tired of making other people very beautiful. IV. When you wake up in the morning and know that he has not slept at all, promise you will never leave him. Cross your heart while crossing your fingers. Leave out all the almosts when you describe him to himself, leave in all the always and forevers. Convince yourself this is what you want. Convince yourself this is what you need. Convince yourself this is what you love. - Alexander Brookins Poetry

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FanBreakers "The turning spokes of the fan were the only indication of time passing." Bhargavi Bhaskar

T

he first thing he saw was the ceiling fan: whole mahogany wood, purely built, self-installed. It creaked slightly as it turned. The turning spokes of the fan were the only indication of time passing. Every morning for over a year, he awoke to the same scene. First, the fan rotating slowly. Second, the neutral green blanket pulled around him. Third, his wife, whose back was turned to him, curled into a ball, her white fingers a pillow for her head. With each exhale her back would push into the side of his ribs, almost in time with the ceiling fan. He bent his neck and kissed her on the cheek, his grainy stubble catching on her smooth skin—she did not even stir. There was a time when he awoke to his wife facing him, their eyes opening together, blinking out the sunshine and sleep. They would lace themselves into each other’s limbs, and he would rest his head on her shoulder. But just as one page is no more remark-

able than all the other pages in a set, everything became the same. Her shoulder felt bony now, and he struggled to find a place on her body that was exciting and comfortable. She grunted at his touch and moved away from him. He had always feared mornings trapping him in the same rotation as his ceiling fan, creaking as it moved around and around without going anywhere at all. When his wife awoke, there were only whispers of warmth left on the bed beside her. She grappled with the loss of human presence beside her before finally rolling forward to her feet and downstairs to the kitchen. Her husband was waiting for her, bleary-eyed and supporting a mug of coffee in his hands. The ceiling fan lay on the dining room table behind him in dismantled pieces. The wife paused, but she did not say anything. Together they sipped the bitter morning coffee, the steam rising over their hands and faces, the heavy broken pieces of the fan at their backs

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Yasmeen Asmar

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the effects of an

ENDLESS HUMID SUMMER The first hour of the hundredth afternoon of July has slowed to the length of three, but the cicadas refuse to call in the next restorative night. Overboiled thoughts drag through a sugary sludge, the residue of too many cherry popsicles taken like medicine for the wet heat. The grass has given all of its moisture to the sun, and the stems crunch beneath my back. I would melt between the atoms of the saturated air before I managed to pile myself over my feet and reach for the shade. I lie in the vapor of a sun-boiled lawn until my skin blisters into the same sticky red as the popsicle staining my lips. I am as close to bursting as the pockets of juice in an over-ripened blackberry against sharp teeth and soft tongue, and all my thoughts bubble, pop, leave no trace. - Madeleine Page Rebecca Melaku acrylic

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mamaw's

HOUSE Katherine Welch

When I was seven and you were five, we used to have mudpie-making contests. I pulled the hose across the backyard from the side of the laundry shed to the sandpit underneath our tree house. We let the hose drip murky water into our buckets before dumping the contents triumphantly into the muck. Hours later our mudpies emerged perfectly circular and baked crisp in the rural Carolina sun—flying ammunition with hardened exteriors but catastrophically moist cores. Mamaw fussed about the stains on our clothes, but in the end she always said that the size of the mess didn’t matter as long as we cleaned it up when we were finished.

Audrey Wright acrylic

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II.

mamaw's

HOUSE continued

I was convinced that I could single-handedly teach my entire baker's dozen of cousins how to swim. Each morning that summer, I stubbornly pulled you, the last one to learn and the bane of my success, out of bed. I marched you to the bathroom to put on your fuchsia swimsuit. We ate cinnamon rolls and waited precisely thirty minutes before tackling the freestyle. I threw you an orange noodle littered with battle wounds from water gun fights. Watching you struggle up and down the pool with a makeshift kickboard, I drilled you. “Keep going!” I commanded sternly when you stopped to ask if I planned to share my powdered donuts. “You're training,” I reminded you, my legs swinging from the end of the diving board.

III.

When you finally mastered swimming, I thought that you could teach me gymnastics. You spent hours with me, determined that I would conquer the back tuck. “Don't balk,” you commanded as I froze in midair and landed squarely on my face. “You have to see the ground coming!” I grumbled about how you can't see the ground if you're flipping over it, but you insisted that if I watched you do it perfectly enough times, I would be successful too. The next morning my entire body was stiff and catatonic. You brought the heating pad to the attic where we slept and laughed unsympathetically until Mamaw called us for pancakes.

IV.

I was the first cousin to get my

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golf cart driver's license. I practiced first with my mom and Mamaw, but then, when everyone else was asleep in front of the TV, you and I stole the key from beside the front door. We took turns driving and ventured through the fields, but we always stayed far away from the herd—we weren't willing to break that rule and risk being stampeded by Angus cattle. One day we got the golf cart stuck out behind Uncle Jimmy's house in the back fields. I was convinced that I could make the turn, and you told me not to try it. You were right. It took us half an hour of throwing rocks underneath the tires to gain enough traction to get out of the muddy ditch.

V.

When you broke your arm, we drove up to comfort you. I was sad about the end of your gymnastics career but delighted to visit once more. We stayed in bed the entire day watching Criminal Minds and went through an entire box of Fruity Pebbles. I even learned how to wrap your arm in plastic bags so that you could take a shower. The night before your surgery, we snuck the iPad under the covers and secretly watched PG-13 movies. I was convinced the excitement would keep your mind off the hospital trip in the morning. I fell asleep after Miley met her hero on the beach, and you woke me up a few hours later to tell me goodnight. In the morning, I had to pull you out of bed because you refused to have the operation.

VI.

Your arm prevented us from exploring outside, so we set up an exclu-

sive indoor clubhouse in our unheated attic. We stocked our mansion with our mothers' makeup and nail polish from Dollar Tree, and we performed makeovers on our helpless siblings. When we tired of painting blue eye shadow on each other's faces, we organized a karaoke performance for the entire household. We practiced Kelly Clarkson's “Breakaway” for hours, arguing passionately over who should sing lead on each verse. You insisted that you could hit the high notes much better, so I seized control of the choreography. We stacked our mattresses on the floor to create a walkout stage from the bed. Our concert was well-received by the applause of our grandparents, cousins and aunts.

VII.

You thought I was kidding when I suggested we pull an allnighter watching Reba reruns. “No one else wants to do it with us,” you said. We did it anyway—you and I, the brave duo. Throughout the day we hid a stash of soda, juice and Pop-Tarts underneath the blankets in the corner of our attic. After the TV lulled the other cousins to sleep, we switched the channel from Disney to DVD and started with season one of Reba. We made it all the way to episode eight before you fell asleep. I whacked you on the knee with a box of Pop-Tarts and handed you another grape soda that tasted like cough medicine. Six hours later, we were the only ones to see the sun come up and the dew glistening outside. We ran into the front yard and made footprints in the grass, the warmth of our feet dispersing the droplets gathered on the blades

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fuchsia

FLOWERS Fuchsia flowers bloom under summer-tanned skin, climbing up and down your shoulders. Purple vines creep down, down, down, tattooing your legs a stained-glass picture. Merlot roses arc across your back, reaching for the Morning glory blues that encircle your neck. A garden grown of love blossoms over your body, guarded by the wrought iron of my hands.

Massiel Islas

- Amelia Johnson-Post

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TECHNICAL ove Our romance is bound to technology, to the thrill that comes from the cool glass kissing my thumbs when I try to slide flirtation into only 31 characters and from pixels dismantled in cyberspace and reassembled on my screen to form a fleeting picture of you. Our veiled banter tests our boundaries with a calculated selection of emoticons and words that tease the line between best friends and lovers. In the late hours of our conversations, light emanates from my screen into the midnight shade of my bedroom and adds to the spark that already burns in the black of my eyes, winking back at you through the poor quality of my cracked front-facing camera. We connect limitlessly through a myriad of snapchats and texts on a network that hosts billions of people, yet it seems only you and I exist in the intertwined strings of code that translate into our bashful confessions of endearment and enrapture us with notions of ridiculous love. - Abigail Scheper

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Smiling

Scars

Zoe Knepp

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T It was then that I knew we were close, close enough to ask her the question that had been on my mind since that hazy August day.

his one abnormally humid summer’s day back in ’08, my parents dropped my sisters and me off in Alabama, claiming we needed to spend some quality time with our grandmother. Really, they wanted quality time with each other with no pesky children to interrupt. But I didn’t mind; Grandmama wasn’t one for creaky rocking chairs or rambling stories that no one wanted to hear. She didn’t tell them unless asked. When she did, her usually quaky voice surged with passion, commanding attention. We were sprawled out on the floor, stuck in a haze of heat, our sticky sweat slowly dripping and mingling with the fibers of Grandmama’s rug. Her outdated house wasn’t air-conditioned, and we were left to fan ourselves with the prescription drug pamphlets sales reps had so generously dropped at her front door. I had already stripped into a loose tank and my cotton panties, my sisters following suit. Grandmama emerged from her bedroom wearing as little as a woman of her age could: short sleeves and linen shorts. No floral skirts or unflattering blouses for her. A growling tummy egging me on, I followed her into the kitchen. Sipping my Kool-Aid and munching on buttery yellow crackers, I noticed the markings on her skin. My childish fear of confrontation overshadowed my curiosity, though, and I never found out what they were until Thanksgiving in her new Florida condo. I stepped outside, welcoming the warm November air as a relief from the frigid family atmosphere inside. Grandmama seemed to sense my distress, and before long she was at my side, offering me a drink. From the smell tickling my nose, I could tell she had once again slipped me something to “take the edge off,” even though I was only sixteen. I laughed but accepted the glass. It was then that I knew we were close, close enough to ask her the question that had been on my mind since that hazy August day. She led me back inside to her worn-out couch and rolled up her sleeve, revealing her tan, leathery skin. She gazed down at the fleshy pink lines and smiled, eyes crinkling at the corners.

“What happened?” I gasped. “Life,” she replied, still intently focused on her arm. After a few moments, she emerged from her trance and looked me in the eyes. “Each and every one is a memory.” She went on to tell me about the day she and her friends turned fence pickets into mighty weapons for their sword fights. The paint chipped off, flake by flake, as they ran through backyards searching for a place to build their castle and establish a kingdom—or, as she had called it, a queendom. “I hopped onto a wall, hoping for a better view,” she recalled, “only to trip on my skirt and twist my arm at an extremely unnatural angle,” she chuckled. The surgeon’s incision was still visible just below her elbow, leaving a trace of what went down on that memorable day. She paused at another scar. “I was just about your age, wallowing in self-doubt and despair, alone in the world. I was alone in my bedroom when I hastily ran a blade across my own skin, leaving scars that most would be ashamed of.” But not her. She flaunted them when she got to college and roamed the streets of New York with her friends. She recklessly jumped at the offer of a free tattoo. “I didn’t mind the greasy-haired man behind the needle; rather, I concentrated on adding to my collection.” Her own version of arm candy. The holes lining her ear were also marks of college confusion. “We’d sit in our dorm, an apple pressed up against a lobe, urging a friend to make it quick,” she cringed. “But the best scar of all,” she said as she lifted her shirt, “is the imprint your mother left on me. The doctor came in, nervously rubbing the hollows of his cheeks. He tiptoed with his words as he announced that my baby was not going to come naturally. Fifty years later, that day is still as clear as ever.” Yet she smiled. Sitting on that wretched couch at Thanksgiving, my grandmother patted my leg and rolled her eyes at my small-minded teenage problems, once her small-minded teenage problems. She looked back on her life and laughed, “I’ve gotten through it all.” She knew I would do the same

Arjun Nag

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PILLAR of SALT Katherine Welch er skin was flushed against the obscene purity of the fresh snow. She lowered her foot gingerly, watching for the moment when flesh caressed powder. Her toes became a rainbow, an iguana of color, darkening to red as blood rushed to the skin, then fading to a swirling galaxy of black and purple stains. She moved through the underbrush with familiarity bred from habit and laced with necessity. She scanned for broken twigs, twisted leaves, shuffled snow—evidence of her previous trips down the mountainside. The snow climbed to her calves as her toes sank into the white canvas only to be jerked away and forced into a new bank. Dancing flurries fell from the foliage above, littering her dark hair with ethereal snowflakes that melted her curls together into damp, matted knots. The town she approached seemed to grow out of the valley. The buildings were wrapped in granite and nestled in the armpit of the sierra. On the outskirts of the picturesque buildings, a familiar, cheerful sign shouted, “General Store—All Your Needs Here!” The shop preyed upon the unlucky tourist who wandered into the dismal village in need of heating packs and blankets.

The girl crouched in the forest’s dense undergrowth, balancing precariously on one foot before switching quickly to the other when the ice became unbearable. She watched for movement outside of the store, waiting for the shopkeeper to follow his daily path. The girl was rewarded when the shopkeeper stepped outside with the garbage. She flew with determination, skirting around the building and slipping through the hand-hewn oak door. She found her target quickly: a pair of work boots with rubber soles and waterproof leather. Grasping her spoils, she crouched under a shelf, waiting. In he came; out she went. Her body hurtled into motion before the shopkeeper could reach for the rifle above the checkout counter. She heard the gruff bellowing reverberate from the log cabin store, but the shopkeeper was no longer relevant. She had succeeded yet again, though it grew considerably more difficult with each carefully-planned robbery. Several paces into the woods, enough to hide her from his view, she paused and yanked the firm leather over her feet. Throwing a final, satisfied look back at the shopkeeper, she flung a handful of snow over her left shoulder. With a dry laugh, she continued back up the mountain

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Sean Ennis collage

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Em Carter

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late night I traced constellations on your back, a story map of all creation over your taut shoulder blades, the pulsating breath of your chest expanding and contracting to the distant hum of the birth of the cosmos, and you turned to me, your skin shedding stardust, and said, "love," - Sam Claypoole

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VINE moment She only exists for six seconds at a time. She will hate me for imprisoning her in six seconds, but I do not mind, because for those six seconds she is maybe mine, and perhaps that is all I am meant to have. One. Midnight and ivory, she is oblivious to the grace of her slender frame, the curve of her waist and tantalizing spine. She is so much more than her body, but she has only just started responding to “beautiful,” and I need to call it out as she saunters out my bedroom door. Again, she does not hear me. Two. Thumpthump. Thumpthump. My fingers tap drumbeats on her knee, mimicking her heartbeat against my ear. The gentle rumble of her voice is white noise against each thump as she sings softly, holds me in all of my glass-bottled fragility, and smells like home. Three. Blinkblink and I have fallen a little more in Love with her eyes. A little more Happy, a little more Curious; she breaks me with her innocence, sometimes, breaks my faith that no monster will hurt her. I breathe, remember I have hurt her already, and crawl back under the bed. Four. Her hips don’t lie, but she does, very well, just not to me. We both lie and lie, and her hips are alive enough to not lie, sometimes, alive and electric and burning

against my acidic body as I lie and lie and grin from my empty, creaking ribs. Five. Silhouettes dance behind her imperial feet, bending light around her vibrating skin. The shadows and I kneel under her power as she stares down blazing headlights and stalks toward the inferno. More conquering is the grin when her command breaks, the laughter bubbled up from her stomach, the “I love you” shouted through an open window. I remember she says “good boy” like I am not a disappointment, and I try to make her happy when she does not tell me to. Six. I am still in love with her eyes, green and grey and the only honest part of her tonight. A pair we make, a psychic and an oracle both scared of truth and ourselves but not each other. I want to make her say simple truths, but I know those are the most frightening, so we say “okay” and pretend it is enough. I treat her like a vending machine. I put in a quarter-trust, and out pops six seconds; I never treat her like she is mine, because I am too scared that she is already. I am too scared she will remember me in six seconds and think herself just as wicked. I am too scared that these are our only six seconds, too scared that she is leavingleavingleaving in six… five… four… - Alexander Brookins Lauren Kassab acrylic

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Rachel Haigh watercolor

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worn leather & ice cream w

ooden bar stools, a shakes to wines, and “from beer Hannah Magraw pastel chalk menu and quaint to ice cream,” Chitwood said. “I checkered tablecloths welcome tend to eat everything on the the daily influx of North menu and try it quite often to Classic Southern history isn’t just Carolinians to sit in the cozy make sure it is where I want it to on the walls; it’s in the fresh and booths or sip iced tea under the be.” The staff also occasionally vibrant yellow, blue and red gathers for menu tastings, just to flavorful food too. umbrellas in South End. Pike’s ensure they continue to achieve Old Fashioned Soda Shop, with their decades-long mission “to its rich history and Southern warmth, is one of the last delight and exceed the expectations of our guests in a of its kind in Charlotte. Owner Randy Chitwood way that creates loyalty.” Moreover, all of Pike’s dishes, gladly carries on the eighty-five-year-old legacy of including their homemade creamy chicken and wild pleasant service, good food and a charming environment. rice soup, their classic B.L.T. sandwich and their Chitwood said Pike’s is unique because of “the strawberry milkshakes, come from ingredients that have history, the longevity behind it.” A worn yellow Pike’s “always been local and fresh,” and each of their sodas is Rexal Drugs sign, an old-fashioned octagonal drug store hand-mixed. The first non-Pike family member to own clock, vintage advertisements and a display case of antique the establishment, Chitwood became interested in products, including bottles and 1920s medicinal crémes, buying the restaurant because he and his wife “really signal Pike’s original business as a pharmacy. In 1931, loved to eat there.” Pike’s found a way to combat competition from chain Chitwood said he wants Pike’s atmosphere to be drugstores that made it difficult for family-owned shops “authentic in every way.” From the moment customers to stay afloat. The store expanded by adding a soda shop step in the door, servers behind the marble counters and lunch counter, and it became the new place to politely engage them in pleasant conversations about socialize since Prohibition had closed area bars. When how the customers’ days are going, the beautiful seasonal World War II began, the two co-owners, brothers Joe weather and the best items on the menu. Chitwood and Jessie Pike, shut the business down and went off has developed a hospitable staff that focuses on servto be officers in the Navy. After the war, these two ing guests well. He says they “work for teamwork,” pharmacists couldn’t forget the business and reopened the so when servers become busy, they can count on others drugstore and soda fountain. In 1998, the pharmacy and to assist and relieve them. This owner makes sure restaurant split. The drugstore remains as the “neigheveryone who is part of the service staff at Pike’s truly borhood family pharmacy” on Shamrock Dr. Pike’s soda cares about other people, both guests and coworkers. shop continues to prosper in its new location on Camden The comfortable, historic environment offers a St. Now adult customers who ate at the old-fashioned glimpse of the past. “The food and the ice cream are diner when they were young bring their own children to extremely important, and then, I think beyond that, it their favorite spot in South End. Given this unique goes to the people, the service and the atmosphere,” history and continued fame, Pike’s is “not like anything Randy Chitwood said. Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda else,” as Chitwood explained. Shop is a true remnant of the historical soda shop Pike’s classic Southern fare features delicious homeera with authentic pieces of history scattered across style cooking. Many of the items come from old the menu and walls and sincere people all around. The handwritten Pike family recipes. The menu offers sense of nostalgia, Southern dishes, hospitality and everything from homemade grilled pimento cheese originality provide the community a charming place sandwiches to honey-pecan fried chicken, from milkto eat, commune and remember history Feature 31

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Four years, five months, and I still speak to you, (four nitrous oxide years and five dead-man months)

muñeca ROTA

and you do not know you did anything wrong. A poisoned lab rat, (twitchingtwitchingtwitchingtwitching) I convulse and bring my knees to my chest, clutch my ears flat against the sides of my head and wait. At the end of my ear canal tunnels I hear (a light, right? There is a light at the end of the tunnel? I think it—the light—it’s) a murmur, saying this is a waiting game, and I stop listening because (I do not like thinking you are a game. I know) you thought I was a game, but your clammy, scrabbling hands around the back of my neck taught me (you were only playing practice-murder with my twisted child’s body and that) I am a cracked claw-machine toy. You were (pressurepressurepressurepressurepressure) against my cracking hips; you polluted my bedroom, and sometimes he lies in the same spot on my stained carpet floor, and sometimes she contorts in your same pickaxe-curve, except she smells (disgusting—no, that’s me as I crouch in the bathroom again at four in the morning in damp shorts and a cold sweat dripping off my violated skin) like innocence—you smelled like fear. - Alexander Brookins Lauren Kassab collage and acrylic

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Clockwise from the top left: Sean Ennis, colored pencil Nina Davies, colored pencil Rebecca Melaku, acrylic Madeline Merz, acrylic Rowan Bryant, colored pencil

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Hyacinth

Above the ebb of the sea, a mist began to yawn in on us, and you told me, “Hurry, come look.” My fingers blushed as they brushed over the rows of flowers, gentled along by the spiderweb strands between you and me, and halted at the edge of the reach. You drew back, viewing both me and the water with the hot crushed bone, the taste of ancient dust, stuck to your tongue. Grapes grew here before, but you needed to shake them out into reborn beauties, baby blossoms curling, trembling into the world. You plucked one and drew it to your lips, held lightly between middle finger and thumb, careful, careful, careful— and kissed it. A gold trace still weighed on the petals as you tucked it into my hair. Flower after flower, touch after touch, until you'd given me a crown. - Andy Hill

Madeline Merz collage

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art ist

His cracked fingertips draw circles on the back of my hand. His voice is soft, like a 9B lead, rolling and dark and blurry, and it crinkles at the end of sentences like the skin at the corners of his lips in pulled smiles. When he is here, we are art, with watercolor cheeks and gouache eyes and paintbrush whispers. We paint on each other's backs under Starry Nights and near Water Lily Ponds, murals of heart poured out onto sheets of skin. We give each other acrylic color. Together, we are splattered-paint masterpieces with violent reds and melancholy blues, elated greens and hopeful hues of yellow. We are a mess of color that only we can understand. - Em Carter

Lauren Kassab collage and acrylic

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SAGA CONTINUES THE

Paige Thomas

Zachary Osmond digital collage

A

short time ago in a movie theater not so far, far away, moviegoers clamored to view this generation’s refurbished sci-fi guilty pleasure Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The collective uproar of excitement generated by the title is sustained throughout the film. Beloved characters from the previous episodes appeal to 1970s Star Wars junkies and spark a massive interest in a new generation of Jedi addicts. The film reestablishes the thrill of the prior trilogies while harnessing a newfound fascination for science fiction and the idea of space exploration. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga, begins with a battle between the Resistance and the First Order, the only remnant of the evil Galactic Empire remaining after its collapse in Episode VI. The First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is attempting to obtain a Resistance map with the secret location of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Poe (Oscar Isaac), an X-wing pilot for the Resistance, hides a fragment of this map inside of his droid BB-8 when he is captured by the First Order. Finn (John Boyega), a disillusioned Stormtrooper, joins forces with Poe, helping him escape the Starkiller

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Base and ultimately completing his mission to recover the droid and the map. In the wastelands of the desert planet where they land, Finn finds that BB-8 has become a shadow to Rey (Daisy Ridley), a metal-scavenging orphan, following her everywhere despite her constant efforts to disengage. When the First Order attacks, Rey and Finn embark on a classic adventure to escape death once again and return BB-8 and the map to the Resistance. The Skywalker myth unravels during their journey, and Finn and Rey begin to understand their role in the Force with the assistance of former Star Wars heroes such as General Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Comedy relieves the tension of gripping action scenes. In the previous episodes, Solo was typically the character who interrupted the drama by adding humor and condescending one-liners, such as responding to Skywalker’s achievements by exclaiming, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky” or referring to his furry companion, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), as a “fuzz ball.” However, in Episode VII, even Stormtroopers and droids become more relatable by exhibiting entertaining reactions in

outrageous circumstances. BB-8 cracks up the entire audience by simply stretching out its welding torch and popping up a flame resembling a thumbsup. Finn’s awkward demeanor and teenlike crush on Rey offer plenty of opportunities for humorous quips. When he seeks Rey’s comfort by holding her hand, she says, “I know how to run without you holding my hand.” She has to repeat this statement numerous times throughout their journey, highlighting Finn’s comical social ineptitude. In the prequel trilogy, director George Lucas focused his time and money on creating explosions and battles using computer-generated imagery (CGI). While the new Star Wars movie could have showcased the latest advancements in CGI technology, director J.J. Abrams took a different approach by concentrating on executing the effects in real time, with little to no editing, to create a more realistic style. From Finn and Rey’s sprint away from a blast in the desert to the set composed as the interior of the aging Millennium Falcon, replacing CGI and green screens with prosthetics, makeup, robotics and practical effects makes scenes and characters from Rey’s home planet, Jakku, more realistic.

Although Abrams creates an actionpacked addition to the Star Wars saga, too many unrelated scenes condensed together essentially ruin the pace of the film, and certain characters receive limited screen time. Prolonged staring between Luke and Rey on a mountaintop could easily have been awarded less screen time than the almostinstantaneous destruction of the entire First Order headquarters, or even carry over to the next episode of the saga to help eliminate the inconsistent, whiplash-inducing timing of the plot. Compelling characters like Poe remain undeveloped when the backstory and motivations are sacrificed for an additional tedious battle scene. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an engaging film that has reeled a new generation into the exciting world of Star Wars that previous generations have grown to love. The influence of this movie could single-handedly bring science fiction into cinematic spotlight and cultural popularity that could last decades. This post-modern yet retro version of such a cherished classic is rekindling a prior passion in Star Wars enthusiasts, while generating much excitement for the release of Episode VIII

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a chemical You’ve always thought in numbers, in mathematical equations and in scientific theories, trying to deduce our love, the chemistry between us, but there aren’t numbers to explain. I’ve searched the English language, scoured classics and modern novels, investigated poetry by the Romantics, but no feeling like ours was explained; no quote could truly describe the love and the strength we share. I searched other languages, too, the eloquent Greek and the sweet Japanese, and even in my own words I tried, but, darling, we can’t explain everything with equations and diction. The only cliché I’ve found to be true, the only quote that has ever come close to measuring and describing our love is that there are no words, no way to describe the physical and chemical emotion of a bond like ours. - Marissa Parker

Kaylee Market oil pastel

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GAS STATION

BATHROOMS in A minor

Her gnawed Black as Midnight nails conduct the orchestra of clicking cockroaches, broken gas station lights and her own primal hum. The low buzz of the bulbs reverberates in time with the dainty trickle of the faucet. Clumps of gold hair wedge between stiff, sticky scissor blades, and each snip crescendos as the chunks of hair accumulate in the hinges. Her feet dance over the trimmings, kicking up strands of broken history. The maestro’s snips quicken, and the vibrato buzz no longer sounds like trailer park tumbleweeds and men who like long hair. She raises her hands and the orchestra pauses, a water droplet holding its breath for the fall, for the moment she snips another lock of minimum wage jobs, dead ends and unresolved chromatic chords. She is the conductor of a new song, and the flat keys of the past melt into harmonies of opportunity and promise. - Hannah Wright

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Teddy Perelli acrylic

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equally STANDING

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They can drown their children in tubs of iridescent pink bubbles and force their tan bodies into dresses of lime green. They can weave wisteria vines into their girls’ intricate braids in hopes of brightening the frizzy strands of brunette hair. They can shove fluorescent light-up sneakers on their sons’ callus-covered feet to gloss over the reality of their children’s youth swiftly spiraling away. They can say that their children are naïve, sometimes even reckless, and have much to learn before they can enjoy the world for what it truly is, but the adults have just as much to grasp, as they have yet to see that their children already stand equally beside them, ready to seize the day. - Ashleigh Millinder

Yuxuan Chen colored pencil

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Annaliese Cofer

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Abigail Scheper

HUMOR AND HUMILIATION 'm eighty-seven percent convinced that my DNA reads A-W-K-W-A-R-D instead of A-T-C-G like everyone else's. I've thought of several other ways to explain why I can't go more than a few hours without premiering the newest installment in my series of bad timing, but I'm not the kind of person who believes in alien possession or voodoo or anything like that. Mutated DNA, however, that's a perfectly reasonable explanation. That's science. I could buy that. How else could it be that for five years now awkwardness has followed me around like the annoying sneeze that never goes away during allergy season? Thank God I don't have real allergies because I don't think I could handle both interminable sneezes and not ever being able to turn a corner without stumbling—sometimes, that's literally stumbling—upon another uncomfortable situation. My parents seem to think it's phasic, telling me, “You're a teenager; of course you're going to have embarrassing moments,” but I don't think that they understand that the frequency and intensity of this awkwardness is nowhere near normal. Perhaps they should consult my encyclopedia of awkwardness and reconsider their opinions. For example: Robby Mustick. Seventh grade. Sure, everyone has their middle Fiction 49

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HUMOR AND HUMILIATION continued

school crushes and struggles their way through confessing their supposed love, but I'm pretty sure most people don't end up accidentally holding their crush's hand on the way to lunch. I'm still not really sure how it happened, but it was in those days when you walked to lunch in a line with your class. Our arms must have been swinging perfectly in sync, because, next thing I knew, I was looking down at our hands, then up at his confused face, then at the back of a bench for the rest of lunch as I cowered in embarrassment. Also see: the Great Hemorrhage of 2011. Winter choir concert, eighth grade. I apparently took the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” a little too much to heart, because in the middle of singing it on stage, I got a massive nosebleed, and our director had to halt the concert to clean up all the blood. Four cloth towels and five concerned stage hands later, I was escorted off the stage to recover as a spotlight followed my walk of shame. For the rest of the year, my friends all called me Rudolph, and it went down in history all right. If other evidence is still necessary: the Freshman Year Face-Plant. First block gym class. My failure to notice the floor mat curled up a quarter of an inch at the gym door led to a nosedive, leaving me sprawled on the floor and staring up at my coach and classmates on the first day. Needless to say, my complete lack of athletic coordination wasn't shocking to anyone after that.

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I'm every screenplay director's dream; you just can't write the stuff that happens to me. I've been thinking recently about the possibility of turning my awkwardness into a screenplay, and if I were to ever win an award for my humiliating life, I don't think it would be fair to take all of the credit for my remarkable embarrassment time after time. Instead, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of those who have blessed my life with awkwardness. As if I'm not awkward enough on my own, I really appreciate my friends, family and acquaintances helping me out in my uncomfortable endeavors. No, really, I

“Do you want new underwear?” when the cute guy next to me in class was showing me something on Twitter. You have all helped me achieve levels of awkwardness I could never have dreamed of without you. That all aside, though, sometimes I think that my parents could be right, that maybe someday I won't be awkward anymore. Maybe I will grow out of the awkwardness, and I'll walk up to that cute boy in the hallway and be smooth, and he'll ask me out for coffee on a Friday night, and we'll go to a little hipster café, and I'll be relaxed and charming, and I won't say anything odd

For the rest of the year, my friends all called me Rudolph, and it went down in history all right. do, because without their help I never could have achieved the feats of ignominy I boast of today. I'm looking at you, Ms. Carmichael, my incredible choir director who thoughtfully sat me next to my ex-boyfriend for an entire year. On that note, thanks also to my private voice teacher, who feels it is her personal responsibility to give me relationship counseling. She taught my ex-boyfriend as well, and now she enjoys prodding me to imagine him when singing my love songs—which ends mostly in stammering and a flushed face rather than quality singing. And, lastly, Mom, your timing was truly impeccable when you texted me to ask,

or spill coffee on my pants like the last time I went to Starbucks. I'll make eye contact and hold his hand (on purpose this time), and I'll be confident. At the end of the night, we'll lean in for the perfect kiss and... SMACK! Nope, that's not smacking lips. Yep, that's my whole body smacking into a teacher who turned the corner carrying a glass of water, spilling the glass all over the both of us. That's one way to remind me to pay attention and not daydream in the hallways, but I can't say it's the first time I've walked around wearing someone else's beverage. My DNA spells A-WK-W-A-R-D. There's just no other explanation for this

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“Look at all this sky on me,” my sister says, soaked from her dance in the rain, shaking blue drops on the hardwood. She grins until her face might split. My sister says, soaked from her dance in the rain, "I need some sky on me too," and grins until her face might split. She pulls me into the rain. I need some sky on me too, and ozone drips from crinkled cheeks. She pulls me into the rain, and I go with her. Ozone drips from crinkled cheeks, her face washed in salt water, and I go with her, cheeks blotchy from the cold. Her face washed in salt water, she says, "It's just a bit of sky," cheeks blotchy from the cold understanding of his betrayal. She says, “It's just a bit of sky,” wiping drips of water from her eyelashes. Understanding of his betrayal comes to me, and she says, “It's just—” Wiping drips of water from her eyelashes, shaking blue drops on the hardwood, she comes to me, and she says, “It's just— look at all this sky on me.” Audrey Wright scratchboard

- Madeleine Page

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Drive

first

Blue crystals gushed in torrents across the roof, rolling down the tightly-sealed windows, finally splattering on the foggy side mirrors as the roadways grew grey and dim. Soft rock music beat steadily in the background as heat blared through the vents, warming brittle fingers— a masculine set dancing across the steering wheel and a girl's set pushed between worn blue jeans and cracked leather. Outside the flickering stereo lights' glow, thousands of gravel pebbles bounced off the drenched pavement as the small sedan wound its way through the dark night. Yet inside their hands met on the center console, instantly warming at each other's touch, petite fingers interlacing with large, rough palms. The first drive was like the very first kiss. The fierce rain blew about like coarse sand that scarred and gashed the little car, but inside, the storm's roar was only a calming blur of whitewashed windows as the two drifted into their own rhythm. The car rolled to a gentle stop where the drenched willows met the mud-slicked driveway. The dimmed light of an ivy-covered street lamp illuminated the girl's slim figure as she climbed over chilled leather and snuggled into warm, cozy arms. His hands ran over her sweet lavender-scented hair, and she gazed up at his sharp jawline, her slender fingers endlessly spinning her golden Claddagh ring round and round and round.

Olivia Guillebeau acrylic

- Hannah Magraw Poetry 55

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MY DAD TELLS ME a story about water beetles that climb the reeds out of the pond and turn into dragonflies with wings that keep them from the water, and then he tells me my grandma is dead. I don’t cry until my sisters are in bed, because my mom is at her parents’ house, and someone needs to hold their hands as they cry to exhaustion, but my dad always grips too tight. So I turn on the nightlight and wait until their faces are tear-stained but calm, and then I close my door. My mom and my aunt bring me with them to the funeral home and the church to check the preparations and meet with the priest. My blood pricks in anger under my skin when the priest talks about families that lost children even though we have not lost a child, and that is useless. It stabs harder when my aunt leans on me and cries in the funeral home even though grown-ups are not supposed to cry. I am angry because the last time I saw her, I kissed my grandma’s cheek and said goodbye, but that wasn’t enough, because everyone is crying and the pressure hurts, because dragonflies make me tear up, and I need to stop crying.

BEETLES After the funeral I say I am dying of thirst, and my brother buys me a slushie from the Dairy Queen by the cemetery. He tries it and says it tastes like strawberry floor cleaner and kiwi battery acid. I can’t taste it at all, but at least the liquid lessens the pressure enough that I don’t cry. The pool in the backyard looks the same but empty and still. My grandma always swam from one corner to the other, on a diagonal, to make each lap last longer. I see a dragonfly skim across the water on the same diagonal path she always took, and then it flies away. I catch my goodbye-wave before it starts, then turn to go inside. - Madeleine Page Olivia Guillebeau watercolor

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ere are my dogs. ere's me. Massiel Islas

have thirty-three vertebrae. So far, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t; if I have, no one has told me. The number of vertebrae isn’t exactly a subject that comes up in casual conversation. The seven cervical vertebrae are up top. Twelve thoracic follow. Then there are five lumbar. Then there are the other bones—the sacrum and the tail bone. There’s something special about those first twenty-four, though. They look like dogs. The bodies of the dogs are the main framework that holds my body up—and everyone else’s, for that matter. They create the tube, which many people know as the actual spinal column. Each has a similarly built anatomy either right above or right below, depending on how high the dog is that we are looking at. Then there’s the neck of the animal—two off-white slabs that extend away from the dog’s trunk, delicately curving into relatively thin ears, which are frail-looking compared to the body, yet still sturdy. The dog ends in a tip, its nose another plate that playfully pokes out between the two ears. Not everyone can see the dog—at first, I couldn’t see it myself—so whenever I explain what vertebrae look like, I refer to them as “the big part” and “the rest.” My lack of patience does not inspire me to spend time trying to help people turn a piece of bone into a dog. With my mom, though, I refer to each individual structure as a vertebra with wings, instead of a body with a neck. I know this is as far from medical accuracy as I can get, and I do have to admit that vertebrae look more like dogs than any-

thing else, but I like the idea of my backbones having wings. Enough about me and my dogs, though. Perhaps I should have told you a little bit more about myself before telling you about my vertebral column; explaining the shape and structure of my bones is a topic I usually don’t touch until at least the second date, so here are some things about myself:

This summer, though, my dad is getting me something even better. Two metal screws. Just for me. I love sports—anything from karate to field hockey. I like my milk cold, and sometimes it takes me a long while to fall asleep. Pretzel M&M’s are ranked high on my list of inventions that make human life possible and enjoyable, right after penicillin and just before the wheel. I love photography, and I asked my dad for a nice camera for about two years. So he got me one for my birthday. I got to pick the lens that I wanted and everything. He was in a good mood. I had to buy the case and the memory card myself, but after counting up how much money he spent versus how much money I spent, I came to the conclusion that it was a fair deal. This summer, though, my dad is getting me something even better. Two metal screws. Just for me. I wouldn't trade those for ten fancy cameras. Ten of them. With lenses. I’m getting screws because my second to last dog is broken. Right at the neck. It’s decapitated, if you will. This leaves

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the head of the dog detached from its own body, and the whole structure separated from all of its friends. I feel his pain. Quite literally. After all, I do have a dog floating free in the middle of my back. As an extension of my birthday present, a surgeon will open my back and insert the two metal screws where the dog’s neck is supposed to be. If that doesn’t make the little puppy stable enough, the doctor will put in another two, just to make it happy. Four screws means two bars would have to hold the screw together. Mom and I were sitting in the doctor’s office when he told us how much it would be just for the materials. Titanium is expensive. Now that I’m considering it, medical insurance should rank right after penicillin. Nothing personal against M&M’s, but surgeons don’t usually take those as payment. There’s something about getting backstabbed, though, that makes people nervous. Some of my friends are nervous, and my dad’s even worse. See, in my mom’s first surgery, they fixed her toe, just straightening it a little. My brother was so young he can’t even remember his surgery. He had his anginas taken out when he was three, and all he had to do for post-operative care was eat lots of lime ice cream. And here I am, collecting a spine surgery as my first trophy. That makes my oh-soprotective dad a little bit anxious. To be honest, I don’t mind. Plus, I won’t even feel it—which has me thinking that I should probably add anesthesia to my list. I’m actually fairly excited for this. I even have a countdown going. The way I see it, they’re screwing my wings back on

Lauren Kassab charcoal

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d r e anom i n g , t living He saw stars behind his eyelids, bright light and flame. But dreaming isn’t the same as living, and the stars were burning up. He drank black coffee sip by sip, buttoned his collar to the top. He kissed his mother goodbye and watched the violets’ sunrise breath wash the muted sky with rainbows— a masterpiece for his eyes only. The boy crawled through echoing tunnels and fields of tumbleweeds and journaled about birds. He took a girl to the movies, held hands with a daydream and thought it meant the end of alone. That night he didn’t howl to the voiceless moon, because he believed grief tasted better bottled and left to age. He saw stars, but only in his head, and they were dimming and coalescing. - Cayleigh Brown

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Marialana Kinter colored pencil

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Spilled paint splattered on cement, colors seeping through the seams running across the floor, outlining unseen grooves from years of scratches and cuts. They run from past to future, but no one thinks much of the cracks that divide the room. - Katya Butte

ropped ying

Dry, white, raggedy flesh— time to name the next of kin. His cheeks empty of any fat, he lies in bed with no life left. Hear the grinding of his bones, his grunting kidney stones, the emptiness in his raspy voice, the priest’s last prayer. - Joseph Kim

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sunny nights Sam Claypoole

T

he torches throw dim lights over the shadowed walls. A shadowy figure twists and hums in dance. Her tune, broken in places by the reverberations of boots on brick road, swings with her. People in cramped tenements turn off their lights to prepare for sleep, and her song echoes forward through the darkness. She pushes open the door to her own small apartment with a thump of her hip against the discolored wood. The light bulbs slowly flicker on. Running one hand along her flaking walls, with just enough pressure in her fingertips to feel the pits and peels of the white plaster, the young woman strolls to the back where vibrant layers of herbs, vegetables and flowers grow—a garden in the grimy corner of her back room under a window that gives no light. Ever-lit lamps are the plants' only source of life. “Now, now, now,” the young woman says. “It looks like somebody’s in need of a watering.” She fills a rusted water can and sprays her plants. Many of them are wilting: browning, flowerheads drooping, black bruises spotting stems. After plucking the weeds from the pots, she washes her hands and slips into bed. In the morning—if it can be called that when no sun rises—the young woman unfurls her limbs and stretches her smile, sleep still hanging heavily over her eyes. Then she pulls herself out of the bed.

Ava Pomilla oil pastel

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sunny nights CONTINUED

Somewhere up there is the blue, she knows. Somewhere, the stars.

“Some mighty fine lookin’ plants here!” she grins. “Keep on keepin’ on while I’m away today.” The young woman pats a mint plant’s leaves. The daily rhythm of teethbrushing and clothes-changing whirls her across the room. Soon she makes her way down the darkened city streets, lit by only torches and house windows. Ramshackle homes give way to tattered concrete buildings. She comes to a halt in front of one with a grey entranceway and fading red letters that read, “CLOTHING EMPORIUM.” The young woman creeps into the store. “Three minutes late again, Sunny!” the elderly store owner yells, flinging her wizened fingers in anger. “Get changed and open up the store. And hurry it up, girl! We don’t got all day!” “Yes, ma’am!” Sunny says. “Happy to.” As Sunny slips past and brushes against the owner’s side, the air turns venomous. Sunny can already feel the ghosting of the blow that the store owner wants to give her. She wonders what it is like to be so full of anger. The old woman only stalks to the back of the store. The store is busy that day, brimming with young girls who look jealously at older girls and older girls who try on dresses that never quite suit them, men who look for suits to help search for a job and women who try to find one clean object to brighten their households. Sunny smiles and serves, complimenting the teenage girls on the dresses that never flatter and reassuring

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the younger girls who stare. Morning falls into afternoon while Sunny works, although the darkness outside never changes. The store is still buzzing with customers when a girl dressed in a spotless skirt and blouse saunters into the shop. The girl’s smile is lazy and feral, a threat lurking in its upturned corners. Her fingers trail over the clothing racks, bored, and she casts her eyes more at the people who clutter the store than the goods on display. The other shopgirls all glance at one other and shake their heads in silent agreement to give the girl a wide berth. But Sunny, still whistling a little under her breath, approaches. “Miss, you are lookin’ lovely today. Need anything?” “Need anything? From a girl like you?” The sweet-smelling girl is no longer bored. “With your—what is that? That ick under your fingernails. What is it?” “Oh, this? It’s just soil. I’ve been keeping plants, you see, growin’ ‘em even down here and—” “Plants?” the customer says. “Plants, in this underground hellhole? Growing things are for the surface. Life is for the light.” “Yes, ma’am, I was just thinkin’ that maybe we could make some of our own light here, ya know, and—” “Ahem,” the store owner says. “Miss Customer, if you are going to buy something, please do. Otherwise don’t badger my employees.” The girl sniffs a little, the trace of a cruel smile on her upturned profile. “If

you don’t want my business, Madam, you could simply have said so.” The clean girl struts out of the store and into the dark, off to the upper world where she will feel the sun against her skin, the summer breezes and the whispering of the grass. When even the girl’s stainless skirt is out of view, the store owner turns to Sunny. “And you!” she shouts, “what the hell do you think you’re doing, girl, arguing with customers? You’ll be better, or you’ll be out. You’re done for the day.” Sunny smiles as she slips out of her uniform and back into the squalor of her own clothes. “Have a nice day, ma’am!” she calls to the store owner as she opens the door and walks into the street. Her hum is quieter as she walks home, face turned upward to the pitch sky. Somewhere up there is the blue, she knows. Somewhere, the stars. The sun. All the apartments still have their lights on, but their tenants can’t hear her tune until she is directly beside them. Sunny heads straight to the plants when she enters the gritty rooms. She touches one of the flowers, an orchid crumbling in on itself. For a moment, her smile falters. She digs her fingers into the dirt and yanks the dead plant out of its soil by its roots. She heads to the front door, trailing lifeless things behind her, and tosses it into the street. The door slams shut behind her. “I’m sorry,” she says to the rickety door. “I’m so sorry.” Sunny forces another smile. She turns to face the empty streets

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brother and I

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Nina Davies crayon and oil pastel

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Mondays are badminton days when my brother feels that he still has the strength to twirl his plastic bat like it is a metal weapon used to fight off lurking men in the shadows, instead of swatting plastic-bound feathers with a rubber nose. We play in the darkness so that each swat of our bat is a crack in the voluminous silence. The outdoors always has a way of feeling quiet and loud at the same time. The southern backdoor light washes over our faces, illuminating the sweat on half my brother’s face like he is glowing—ethereal, godlike— while the other half sinks into the darkness. Tuesdays are always drinking days. He hands me a Budweiser as our parents become quiet upstairs. It’s amazing how much they miss behind closed doors. I always take one sip, watching as he lets his friends in through the back door to lounge on our torn-up furniture. We crack a window, and I feel the malt coat my tongue as I imagine bursts of color fizz in my head. I wait until the bottle becomes warm in my hands before I toss the rest into the trash when I think he’s not looking. I stare for a while, watching the warm beer drip out of the bottle and into a puddle in the trashcan, before turning away. Wednesdays, my brother cries softly. Not always, but sometimes. When he does, he’s always looking out at the stars. “They’re just so damn beautiful,” he says. He wipes away his tears and tells me that real men cry. I dig my nails into my arms so that when the tears finally spring to my eyes, I, too, can feel like a man. Thursdays, he tells me that he is tired and that he must do homework. He shuts the door behind him. I stay outside his door until I am convinced that he is asleep. When I am satisfied, I pad softly back to my own room and count cracks in the ceiling. Fridays, he brings a girl over. Mom and Dad are usually out on date night. Sometimes it’s the same girl, but not always. They go into his room, and sometimes I can hear noises. I go into my own room and try doing my math homework.

By the time I have finished determining the root of x and have folded 50 paper airplanes out of my work, they are done, and the girl leaves with her hair all out of place and her clothes readjusted. I walk back into my brother’s room. We sit side-by-side on the floor near his bed in silence. Saturdays, I watch as my brother pours the last carton of milk outside, and the soil sucks it up within seconds. He tells me it needed it more than him. He tells Mom and Dad he’s going to the store to get milk. Mom and Dad remark how he must be growing, drinking a quart of milk in one day. When he finally leaves, I try to fill the silence with video games or the bouncing of a basketball on our cement patio— anything to keep me awake. I’m waiting for midnight when the phone rings. I pick it up since Mom and Dad are asleep and I wait for the drawl, the slurred letters connected like sloppy cursive. I wait for him to tell me where he is. When I am fifteen and Dad tries to teach me how to drive, he is surprised at how good I am. He does not know I learned years ago. I listen to my brother sob as the stench of liquid waste surfaces and sloshes onto the top of his shoes. I alternate between holding his head and driving him home safely. When we finally reach home, it takes me thirty minutes to drag his limp frame upstairs and pull the Spiderman covers over him. The next morning, we do not say anything, but in between bites of cereal and Dad’s talks about football, his bloodshot eyes meet mine, and I know he is grateful. When it is Monday again and I am taking out the badminton racquets, my brother pats me softly on the back as he opens the back door and steps outside. My brother is filled with holes, and I am a patchwork of his pieces. We both know we can’t keep living like this: He is determined to die, to decompose with smoke filling his lungs, one last puff of ecstasy and a smile on his lips. He can say that he has lived. I am determined only to keep him alive. I lace my shoes tightly, grab the racquets, and follow him blindly into the sun. - Bhargavi Bhaskar

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TWENTY COUNTRIES for the price of one Andy Hill

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uppose Mexico is a mango. Brazil is a cucumber. Puerto Rico can be a pineapple, and Chile is a cantaloupe. Add a dash of chili powder, and just like that, a flavorful fruit cup is born, identical to those found on the streets of Lima or Bogotá. The only difference is that this cultural fusion is happening in the middle of South Charlotte, just outside of SouthPark Mall. Established in 1990, Charlotte Latin American Coalition, or La Coalición, holds an annual Latin American Festival to celebrate the many cultures thriving in the region. The festival, a growing success over the years, is a favorite among the city’s community of Latinos. To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Latin American Festival, planners at La Coalición booked their space for two days instead of one. “We wanted to get it out, just make the festival bigger and more successful and bring in as many people and bands as we could,” said Whitney Smith, Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives. From October 10 to 11, more than 20,000 people came to enjoy the art, music and food at the festival. Even more impressive than the turnout was the musical lineup, which included Grammy Award-winning rock band Aterciopelados, famous salsero Ismael Miranda, and Chilean rap sensation Ana Tijoux. According to Smith, such impressive acts contributed to the event’s success because “the audience for their

music is very diverse in age and country of origin, so they bring in their big crowds now to our concerts at the festival.” Unfortunately, unless you are an internationally-acclaimed performer like Tijoux or Miranda, finding success in North Carolina is difficult for Latinos. According to 2010 census data, North Carolina’s Latino population is the fastest-growing in the country, increasing 111 percent between 2000 and 2010, but in 2012, Latinos also accounted for approximately 40 percent of the state’s population living in poverty, more than any other racial group. In order to create a voice for local culture and businesses, the Latin American Festival annually invites local Latino vendors and performers to set up booths at their festival. “It’s one of the best things about our festival, showing these local bands playing on the big stages to a big crowd and getting exposure,” said Smith. Many food vendors who participate go on to sell at more festivals afterward and even open their own restaurants. The festivals may seem insignificant, but Smith argues that the celebration of culture is just as important as integration and advocacy, that “all three of these pieces feed into each other. When we’re out there, we’re talking to people in the community. It’s personal, and therefore they are more willing to listen to what we have to say.” La Coalición also hosts

celebrations for Brazilian Carnival, the Day of the Dead, and cultures from all parts of Latin America. These allow people of different backgrounds to learn about one another’s experiences and create a platform to teach non-Latinos about the struggles Latinos face in the United States. Smith said that celebrations are only about a third of what La Coalición does. The organization also helps immigrants adjust to life in the United States by providing resources for learning English, understanding their rights and finding work. They also explain changing policies that target Latino immigrants, such as exclusive in-state tuition, which requires undocumented students to pay costly out-of-state tuition for schools in their state, even if they have attended school in the state their entire lives. Smith, who works to end such exclusionary policies, said, “Once you are taught about the injustice and you see it and you recognize it in the world, you can’t un-see it. You can’t un-know it.” La Coalición’s mission is to support Latinos by providing legal support and celebrating the lives of Latino Americans and immigrants. Thanks to the organization, undocumented immigrants are on the path to citizenship, businesses are taking off, and Latinos in Charlotte are succeeding. Synthesizing elements of integration, celebration and advocacy allows La Coalición to change the city for the better

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©2007 Herff Jones, Inc., All Rights Reserved

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Job # 14233-005 School Providence High School 3/2/16 11:45 AM

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Š2007 Herff Jones, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Submitted

Black Ink

Includes Spot Color(s)

Process 4 Color (CMYK)

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OUR SINCEREST THANKS Patrons 803 Elizabeth Bed and Breakfast Lane and Dick Carter Rob and Kim Carter Ann Watkins and Debbie Davis Beth and Winston Di Nicola Anne F. Egger

Brian and Vivian Hill The Martin Family McKee Dental Bruce Lindsey Stanley V. Michota Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Steven Scheper

Dr. Richard L. Spencer Kristin Thomas Andrew and Vinie Walters Gary and Wendy Welch Wells Fargo*

Forest Rim Technology Kevin and Donna Jones Robert R. and Jean L. Jones The Kane Family Noma Hair + Skin

Jasmina and Matt Polis Tom and Karen Racioppe Brent Thomas Jeff Wright

Leah Mell Richard Page Cherie Spencer Page Marilyn Polis Penny Polis William Posse Clarissa Rainear Angela Schlottman Anjie Spencer Julie Spencer Patti Spitz Claudia Strickert

David and Lynne Thomas Kristin Troglin Danny Turner Dana B. Vaden Cary and Alberto Viciedo Michelle and Drew Vigor Vicki Vila Tom and Karrie Wilkens Kelly Wright

Contributors The Andes, Magraw Family Mark W. Andes Sherri Bernier-Lucien Richard and Jennifer Carter Darst Dermatology, PC

Friends Kim and John Arciero Althea M. Barton Bhaskar and Family Brook Blaylock Anu Brookins The Brown Family The Debe Family Emily Debe Brandon and Kelly Dill Shoon Ledyard and Jim Goodwin Amber Ireland Jenny Kleven

For twenty-one years, has served as the voice of the students at Providence High School. Each year reveals new talents in our writers, artists and photographers. Each year also brings new challenges that we could not face without the backing of our teachers, administrators and community. First, we thank the students whose verbal and artistic prowess defines the magazine. We thank Ms. Daisley and Ms. Simpson,

our art teachers; Dr. Harrill and our school administration; Jessica Daniel and our publisher, Herff Jones; Ms. Lazo, financial secretary; Ms. Mann and Mr. Calandro; Whitney Schuner at Barnes & Noble and Tina Whitley at the Matthews Art Fest. Most importantly, we would like to thank Ms. Marva Hutchinson, who holds up the menagerie of producing this magazine. Without her indefatigable support, counsel, guidance and dry wit, the magazine (and we

Indicates Former Staff Member * Matching Grant Program

as individuals) would not reach and surpass the level of award-winning excellence our community has come to expect. Though the journey to publish this issue of the magazine has ended, we know that the journey of our voices is far from over. We hope that these words and this art stay with you long after you close this page. Our magazine is kept alive by your readership and support, and for that, our gratitude exceeds words


EPILOGUE Eventide Clouds streak golden between slushes of blurry grey. My toes trace a lazy waltz under shimmering rays of fading afternoon. Slowly, gently, I am bathed in twilight, and the warm kitchen hardwood tingles like home again. The sunset cracks the horizon orange and scarlet and magenta, creating living embers winking in and out of reality. I hear laughter in the wind, feel electricity in the clouds: fleeting, a thunderstorm setting my atmosphere ablaze with July energy. I sit in the evening crook of my rooftop, watching the sun drip below the skyline. Pinhole stars in a hazy indigo, a sleepy blanket, late nights under the disco heavens and me, penning madness, carving heart into the clouds between shallow breaths and constellations. I am the flickering diamond residue of the evening; I condense coal against yesterday’s bland exhale and surrender rapidly to black. Early sunlight peeks up from behind jagged trees, leaks in through the holes in the curtains, allowing soft baby light to wash my bedroom. I breathe a thank you into the monsoon-wake of the morning and rise to become more than just a freckle on the Earth’s shoulderblades.

- Em Carter

COLOPHON 2016 was printed by Herff Jones of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 100# matte paper with a circulation of 750. Body text is Bergamo 10. Credit fonts are Sans 8 and Sans Oblique 8. The standard sans serif font for titles is Function in the weights of Light, Medium, Book, LH Light, Light Condensed, Medium Condensed and

Demi. The standard serif font for titles is Bergamo in the weights of Small Caps and Italic. The theme text in the gallery is Avenir Next Ultra Light. Chicken Scratch and Inkburrow are used for the magazine title. All graphic editing was done using Adobe CS6. The magazine was created with Herff Jones eDesign on Hewlett-Packard

computers. The outside and inside cover pages were done in Adobe InDesign CS6. In compliance with federal law, CharlotteMecklenburg Schools administers all educational programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age or disability.


Profile for Roars and Whispers Literary Magazine

Roars and Whispers Volume XXI 2016  

The 2016 Edition of Roars and Whispers Literary Magazine

Roars and Whispers Volume XXI 2016  

The 2016 Edition of Roars and Whispers Literary Magazine

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