Middle School Literary Magazine 2022

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STAFF Ginger C., May G., Mae G., Colin L., Casper L., Gracie M., Maayan M., Zemi M-B., Chapin N., Chloé P., Isabel R., Hannah R., Renn S., Maisie S., Sylvie S. HIGH SCHOOL EDITORS Nikita M. and Katherine S-R. FACULTY ADVISORS Alex Darrow and Liz Fodaski

The staff would like to thank Mo Yusuf-Morales, Jen Zernek, Yuri Velez, Abe Correa, Liz Lord, Margie Hanssens, Ramona Edmonds, Janelle Tan, Asiya Wadud, Ashlyn Mooney, The Art Department, and the English Department. Very special thanks to Eli Forsythe for his essential help, and to all those who submitted their work to the magazine.

Saint Ann’s School 129 Pierrepont Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

Poems and Stories This is the Poem I Could Not Write Nail Polish Classroom What I See When I Look at You Askew Mister Good Steak What to Name an Unruly Poem One early morning... The Lion’s Den To Convert a Lime Angela Alone The City as Music Sway Living Room Prophecy Just Another Old Day A little bird lands in a tree... Will Something Ever Come A skinny white girl is... The Gift Giver Winter All the Small Things Morning Glory Proud A Visit from the Night Intricate carvings... Something to Fix Things Dolls But You Were Sleeping I’m Here Waffles & Sausage The Simple Ones A tree is something... Serendipity (the princess storm) Dreams Are Your Savior

Ruth M. Amu P. Sabi N. Zemi M-B. Anna S-R. Kai M. S. Bee S. Salena F. Clover D. Lottie O. and Cleo Q. M. Mae G. Ari B. Sadie O. May G. Greta L. Aliza B. Olive D-M. Lucien M. Zemi M-B. Casper L. Agnes B. Haddie B. Leo M. Christiane D. Octavia R. Maisie S. Bridget C. Kai M. S. Maisie S. Vivian L. Maisie S. Christiane D. Anna S-R. Ellie J. Aliza B.

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Emotions Up Past Moonrise Candy Wrapper Meaning Compass The Overripe Fruit I Ate This Story Tic Tacs in the Wild Living Aurora (the silent dawn) An Ode to My Voice Speech Pick Up On It A Single Eyeglass My Family’s Forest The Misunderstanding In—Nature Feeling... Sisters Honey and Ash Girls My Stupid Lamp In a Galaxy of Galaxies can you hear the bleeding roses... Life City lights at night... Woods My tongue wiggles in my mouth as I... Why should I... NYC My Definitions New but Old Late December A pure blue lake draped over a hill... quiet The Girl in the Pit A fluorescent aurora green... The Body to the Dead Renewal

Sylvie S. Saviane F. Luca D. Virginia S. Greta L. Cleo B. Nicholas R. Emmett J. Ellie J. Katie Z. Madeleine J-B. Ari B. Sylvie S. Bridget C. Riley P. Dash P. Sylvie and Nina S. Tirha H. Flora G. Valis S-Y. Vivian L. Rhea R. Leo M. Agnes B. Rafa M. Seb C. Hazel B. Lottie O. Bea B. May G. Leo B. Ellie J. Mateo D. Ari B. Ruth M. Anna S-R.

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Alone Half Empty Color Vacation Good morning, once more... No Time trickles... Cushioning My Fall 7 Years and Counting From the Lower Levels of the Earth Highway Rogue New York...

Isabel R. Che W. Lucien M. Agnes B. Olive D-M. Zemi M-B. Leo B. Bee S. Maayan M. Kai M. S. Jeremy G. Abe F.

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Art Renn S. Sabi N. Murri C. Lucy R. Marlowe K. Alistair M. Valis S-Y. Indigo D-M. Saviane F. Oliver K. Taylor S. Alex L. Naomi G. Felix P. Sabi N. Diana F-D. Emmett J. Julian K. Lina R. Taylor S. Dempsey G. Umechi B. Renn S. Rory B. Leo S. Luca F. Benjamin B. Milo G. Mila R. Valis S-Y. Rory B. Greta L. Cate W. Field T. Gloria S.

Front Cover Frontispiece 2 4 5 6 9 11 14 15 16 20 22 25 27 28 29 30 31 35 36 37 38 39 40 42 43 45 46 47 48 51 54 57 58

Lina R. Kendra R. Taylor S. Leila M. Christiane D. Khalil L. Sabi N. Ida R. and Ellie J. Anaia J-F. Walden K. Abigail M. Oliver K. Sabi N. Taylor S. Benjamin B. Benjamin B. Nigel B. Walden K.

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This is the Poem I Could Not Write While stretching time, I feel it melt like viscous ice. Elongating the periods of time I spend lying on my back in Sass’s room, trying to poison the silent day. All the time I spend coming down the stairs, procrastinating, is pulled into a slender iridescent rope. The silence prodding, jeering at me when I walk down 5th Avenue is stretched into a long, thin film. The silence of pencils and shifting backpacks is what makes me okay to be quiet in other ways. Ruth M. 5th grade

Nail Polish My ponytail sits limply high on my head, my desperate attempt to allow the breeze to cool my neck. The humidity seems to press into the top layer of my skin, the shade from the pavilion providing some respite from the harsh rays. I ignore all that, though, my eyes transfixed to the girl across the colorful wooden picnic bench. They follow the swish swish of the nail brush as it runs across her nails, painting them a vivid yellow. My hands feel damp as I rub my fingers over my own nails, the chipping polish crumbling under my fingertips. The girl reaches for the nail file in her pink nail case, and I consider asking to borrow the polish, or the polish remover, but someone taps my shoulder, breaking my thoughts and when I turn back the moment is gone and I can’t go back. My fingers rub harder, my thumbnail pushing against my faded blue, pushing it off harder and harder until it begins to hurt and I ease the pressure. Sounds come rushing back as I tune in and beside me another card game begins so I ask to join as I shift sideways, my shorts twisting, and I’m dealt 7 cards. Kids around me yell joyfully when they win, and grumble when they lose, but my thoughts are too preoccupied with the girl to participate in this. Before I know it the other kids are out and it’s just me and one other and this time I try my best but when I look back she’s gone and I don’t know who she is or which dorm she’s in so I let it go, my fingers rubbing harder than before as I wait for the next round of cards. Amu P. 8th grade


Classroom One kid is floating, because he’s thinking about how today at home for dinner it’s sushi night. He’s floating so high that he has no idea what’s going on in class, but the teacher hasn’t noticed because he’s on fire, thinking about how the kids outside the classroom are screaming. The kid in the back row has a huge rain cloud above his head, because he’s worried that his parents are going to figure out that he broke that fancy lamp, and be mad at him. The kid next to him is covered in mud because his grandma slept over last night, so he had to share a room with his baby sister for the night, and her crying kept him up so now the thick mud is dripping down his back as he dozes off. The kid in the front row is covered in ants, because he really really has to go to the bathroom, but the teacher won’t call on him because he’s busy being on fire. And the kid sitting over next to the door is frozen because he just realized that this poem is over. Sabi N. 4th grade


What I See When I Look at You My heart Starts to beat And I know You have Entered the room Your skin is so soft That I feel I Am on cotton candy When I rest my Head on your Chest You taste like a Warm fire I am finally Home Your hands, You say big But I say gentle And beautiful I go away and Miss The sweet scent of Your Hair Zemi M.-B. 7th grade


Askew Dried flowers in a blue mug Peeling lemon paint on the wall Slices of cucumber on a dish; This is what happened after she left. The Air France took off in the early morning Bread crusts and a half-empty milk jug on the counter There’s nothing much to do except wait The air is thicker now. The dust settles slowly on the mantelpiece When you touched it to grab your keys, It left a handprint. Anna S-R.



Mister Good Steak Mister Good steak was the worst restaurant in Tartville, a town sandwiched between expanses of forest, and which had been in government shut down since ‘84. The only real activity was the lost, disappointed tourist who stumbled across the year-round Christmas tree in Tartville’s lonely town square, once every decade or so. Joan, whose last name didn’t matter in a town so small, walked through the snowy streets at 6:00 AM every day to open up Mister Good Steak. Under her boots, she wore pink flamingo flip-flops, to remind her of what could have been as she peeled off the wet rubber and hauled preserved meat out of Good Steak’s barely-working refrigerator. Someday, she vowed, she would make it to Florida, open up a location there, although she doubted those golf-cart riding snobs could appreciate her steak special, never mind the sauce. It really was sad, what had happened to Joan. The business was her husband’s, actually, a man who loved only food and brushed away Joan’s attempts to resuscitate their marriage. A man who — when he fell ill — still found his wife by his bedside, not giving up on him even then, and wondered why he hadn’t noticed her sooner, while it mattered. Too filled with shame for anything else, his last words were “save the business.” Joan, of course, complied, and every day she made below-average food, bound lifelessly to her promise. Every day, she thought how disappointed her husband would be in her. And yet she continued to fry and grill and smile through her teeth, and simply not matter at all. When people in Tartville looked back on it, they always said the sun was just a bit redder that day, the clouds a bit darker and more dense, the heathered bricks of Tartville’s sparse buildings casting heavier, more contemplative shadows. Nobody could pinpoint it when they began the day, shrugging off sleep, but they knew something was amiss, anyways. Joan also felt a weight in the air as she walked briskly towards Good Steak at 5:52 AM. Rounding the corner, she dove a gloved hand into her pocket, rummaging around for the keys and coming up only with a receipt from two weeks ago. Sighing, she felt through her other pocket, but her fingers only rubbed against the smooth surface of a button and the ridges and dimples of two dimes. No keys. Joan swallowed hard, forcing down the thrum of her heart and the stone of panic rising in her throat. Breathe, Joan, she whispered to herself. It’s only keys, only keys, only keys…but all that stayed in her head was the fog of disappointment, every person she’d met shaking their head and clucking their tongues at her for infinity. Breathe, Joan, she said again, a command this time. Breathe in your hopes and dreams and let them rest in your head, sugary soft and velvety. And at once Joan pictured Florida, palm trees swishing and waves lapping lazily and fine, diamond-like sand, and she sucked in the scent she loved so dearly. But the odor that assaulted her nose was far from calm — it clogged up her nostrils, a knot of worry and sadness and everything she’d fought so hard to forget, filling up her air with heavy gray. Thick smoke, billowing into the air and swirling around her body, taking flight into the sky like thousands of ugly butterflies. Joan gazed towards, blank, staring at the blazing light up ahead of her, the mother of Tartville’s now-gray sky: Good Steak, sucked into the raging mouth of fire. Fury-red limbs spewing across the building like a great big wrestling match, violent and rabid above the din of shouting onlookers. And as flames licked the Mister Good Steak sign, as the letters twisted and dripped, a melty mess falling into the fire below, Joan let loose. She unleashed all the pent-up feelings of shame and unworthiness and despair that had nestled 7

their sharp beings inside of her. She let them travel out through those eyes which had witnessed too much pain, salty liquid streaming hot and raw onto the pavement. She screamed, a guttural sound which carried higher than even the smoke. She yelled and sobbed and poured the noise out to the world, and it dissolved right then and there, and Joan turned on her heel and fled. When the townsfolk of Tartville found the fire, thirty minutes later, a mountain of ash and, by some miracle, the flickering green of Good Steak’s sign lying helplessly atop it, many thought of Joan, the poor girl. She had tried so hard, lost so much, for this? They stayed gathered around the rubble for some time, finally dissipating after a few kindred souls fetched water and doused the remaining belligerent flames. The embers twinkled tauntingly and then went dark, and Good Steak was quiet again. At home, Joan sat on the floor, staring at nothing. A piece of her was waiting for some neighbor to knock down the door, cry out her name and ask if she was alright, if she didn’t need some food or a hug and the knowledge it would all work out. But still she was there, growing cold on the hard linoleum tiles, thinking about the future and all it could bring. Truth be told, Joan felt more confused than ever about her life and how it might become. Good Steak closing could never be an option, not with that fatal promise, but now it had and the life she thought she’d lead was gone, burned along with the building itself. The infinite paths before her were too much, the din of so many thoughts polluting her mind, and so she heaved herself up and went to brew some coffee. As she meandered her way to the kitchen, Joan’s eyes paused on one of her many Florida postcards. She found herself lingering there, a time and spot and position — feet leading somewhere, hands askew, neck twisted in surprise — that she would remember forever. Breathe, Joan, she whispered to herself, a smile weaving its way up her face. Florida ebbed into her brain, and all her ears could hear, eyes see, nose smell was the rustling of palm leaves and the white hats of the ocean, the humid breeze across her face and the golden sand, sinking beneath her feet. She felt love in that moment, the kind of love stashed away for a missed companion, as if she had known such a place all along and was destined to go back. Joan sighed, and went to make her cup of coffee. And when the last drop of brown liquid trickled into her mug, she clasped her hands around it, and finally, Joan felt the warmth on her skin. Kai M. S. 8th grade


What to Name an Unruly Poem your smirk rinses away all common sense the rainfall of your condescending words fuels my glissando of fury and i rise the lines still etched in my face after i painstakingly carved them so long ago when my hands could still grasp the tools whorls of air brushing off myself a train gathering behind me feet soaring towards the finale foreshadowing my life since our eyes met for we are all stars in the sky but our path not yet charted drags us onward toward our inevitable demise and i am watching the stars unravel as i fall or maybe i am flying Bee S. 5th grade


One early morning I woke up. I yawned and stretched. I climbed out of bed and I almost collapsed because my legs were so tired. I grabbed the side of my bed to keep my balance. Slowly I stood up and walked down the long hall to the kitchen. I looked up at the tall bookshelf; it looked taller than I remembered. I went into the kitchen and looked in the refrigerator for something to eat. No, I thought, I want cereal. I walked over to the shelf where I kept the cereal. I reached up to grab a box of Cheerios. Why had I put it up so high? I thought. I stood on my tippy toes and I was only grabbing it with the tips of my fingers. I lost my balance on my toes. The Cheerios box fell down, opened, and all the cereal spilled on me. “Arrg!” I said. Luckily there was only a bit of cereal in the box so it wasn’t too much to clean up. I got cereal from a new box and I finally set down to eat breakfast. After I had eaten breakfast I put on my plain grey suit (which I realized was a bit too big for me) and brushed down my plain grey hair. It was cold outside so I put on my plain grey coat (which was also a bit too big). I went outside and started to walk to work. My job was to write things for the newspaper. When I got there I went into the building, and into my office. I sat down and thought about what I was going to write about. Then, someone burst into the room. Oh no it’s Fred, I thought. “Hey Bob!” said Fred. “I was just wondering if you needed any ideas for what to write.” “No, I don’t,” I lied. “Well you don’t have anything on your paper. Well, my idea is that you write about the fact that you are shrinking.” “What?” I asked. I looked down at myself and realized that the arms on my coat were way too long. I hopped off my chair (because my legs weren’t even touching the ground). Fred looked like a giant. “Oh my gosh!” I said. “Well, will you write about it?” asked Fred. “You know what? That was actually the first good idea you’ve ever had,” I said, looking straight up at Fred. Fred looked so happy he might explode. “Can you put me back on my chair?” I asked. I was still shrinking and now my chair was towering above me. “Of course!” said Fred. He lifted me up onto my chair, but my eyes were only just peeking over my desk. “Fred, get me some cushions to sit on,” I said. “Yes sir!” said Fred. He marched over to the door, opened it and walked out of the room. I sat there and looked at the huge things. The typewriter, the walls, the window—everything was huge! Suddenly I felt myself stop shrinking. Well that’s good, I thought. Then, Fred burst into the room. I couldn’t see his face because he had so many pillows stacked up in his arms. “Thank you Fred,” I said. “You’re welcome,” said Fred’s voice from behind the pillows. Fred walked over, put the pillows down, and lifted me off the chair. Then he started placing the pillows on the chair. “Oh this is so exciting!” said Fred. “I’m glad you think that,” I said. “You know what? I think, if you want, you can come home with 10

me to help.” At this, Fred jumped up in excitement. “Bob!” he said. “You would really let me do that?” “Yes, of course,” I said. He hugged me, then lifted me up and put me back on the chair. Later that day, I finished the article and Fred said he loved it. We went back home and Fred made dinner. We went to bed. Fred slept in the guest room, and I slept by myself in my enormous bedroom, in my enormous bed, with my enormous pillows and blanket. The next day, Fred gave me an idea and I used it. To this day Fred still helps me and gives me ideas. To this day I still sit on a pile of pillows. To this day I am still tiny but I still keep on writing my huge stories. Salena F. 4th grade


The Lion’s Den In the mind of the joker The poker player goes all in every time The sun never shines The actor forgets his lines But the joker doesn’t think of it as wrong It’s just instinct that kicks in After being sick for so long The joker isn’t a liar So don’t get tired of him and instead Maybe it’s just fire all in your head Or maybe you’re walking straight into the lion’s den And won’t walk out dead Or so the joker said Clover D. 7th grade


To Convert a Lime A line to a lime to a lemon Erase and redraw and use a Sharpie so there’s no going back no changing my mind now. from a lemon to a lime, to a line. To go back in time To go to the future To go to the inbetween. A dime To a penny To nothing at all Nothing from the candy store today. Lottie O. and Cleo Q. M. 5th grade


Angela Alone The Windrose Manor had belonged to the Astor family for over a decade. Ornate rugs, intricately carved cutlery, walls of deep maple wood, the entire house was something out of a painting. The current owners were Mrs. Astor, a woman in her late sixties, and her daughter, Miss Angela. The house had come into their possession along with Mrs. Astor’s late husband, William Astor, and after he had died, he left the house to them. Miss Angela spent her spare moments, of which she had many, painting stills of rotting fruit, mourning over letters of her once lover Linette, and walking about the gardens behind the Manor, pretending she was a German war veteran with a fear of the uncertain chasing his past glories. She had a tragically poor memory, and thus kept a notebook with her to record the things which she found most interesting, though she often forgot its original purpose and drew little drawings in it instead. Miss Angela was also something of a playwright. She had written four plays in total, two of which performed in the Paris Theatre, all of which tragedies. She had an affinity for orphaned children, and found them profoundly intriguing as protagonists. Parents smashed to smithereens in car accidents, lonely women targeted by private assassins, clockmakers lost to their work, seamstresses compelled to dance until their hearts gave out, all of these unfortunate fates had been present in one of Miss Angela’s plays. And then there was Mrs. Astor, the widowed beauty with white hair as tall as a hand mirror. Quiet, haunted, feverish Mrs. Astor, the woman had not left the Windrose Manor in months. She had no part in Angela’s life other than occupying the fourth floor of their home, as well as leaving large checks for her daughter on the counter every Sunday. She had no desire to know Angela any better than she already did, and although she would seem indifferent to her and her mother’s arrangement, Angela was famous for her unreadable expression, and no one could gauge how she felt, not even herself. Perhaps she longed for the familial love she had been promised at birth, but then again, perhaps not. Mae G. 8th grade


The City as Music As the buses go honk honk the traffic lights go blink and as the delivery man presses the doorbell it’s like a symphony called “Busy goes the city.” A harmony working together no conductor no real music just the city, trains go by the sound of electricity trying to get off their cages “Bzzz” busy goes the city. Ari B. 4th grade


Sway I sway between Like a swing I think I believe I think too much I think no one will like me I know some people must like me I think of my imaginary lizard turning real I think of my home friends turning fake I know our house won’t be big enough I can tell I’m being silly No one wants me to leave And neither do I When mom said California I said I didn’t want to go far for Christmas I’d rather go for a hundred Christmases Than move I can pretend and I can lie But they won’t change my mind I know they don’t need me But don’t they Sadie O. 5th grade


Living Room Inside a regular living room, in fact, probably even in your own living room, you might see a couch, or a bookshelf, or a desk, or a lamp, or a chair. You might have a window or a big carpet that looked like a tiger. All of these things could be found in the Kalims’ living room, just not in the places you would have expected. If you were to, for instance, come into the living room through the front door, you would see an enormous window just across from you of stained glass. The picture is of the Virgin Mary on a simple chair with her ladies in waiting around her. If you were to look closely at Mary, however, you would see a hole in her left eye where a fist has gone through in drunken anger. On the floor at your feet and around you empty glass bottles litter the floor. Around you are bookshelves upon bookshelves. Tiers of floors circle above you filled with cavernous rooms with desks and stained glass windows. And yet, inside all of this motion and color and existence, lies a silence. A deafening silence that will slowly eat away at the listener until death. From the ceiling hangs an enormous lamp with a green shield over it. Lying just below the lamp is a long table that stretches for many feet across the floor. Around it sit no chairs, no benches, no cushions. But on the table lies a tiger’s hide in the shape of the rug. If you were to climb to the next floor you would like to turn to the left and see a painting of the family. On the left stands Benney. She is tall with blond hair and blue eyes and a smile that can light up the world. She wears a black dress with purple earrings. Today she would look beautiful if it weren’t for the rip down her middle revealing the wall through her chest. Sitting on the floor by her feet is Peter Junior. He is small, too small for his age is what all the neighbors say. He is dark-haired with brown eyes which you would know if his head had not been ripped out of the painting and thrown onto the floor. Next to him sits Carter, his older brother, but he doesn’t matter because you can’t see him at all. On the right is Peter Senior. His picture has been preserved to perfect condition except for a beer stain on his painted white shirt. If you were to turn and look across from you, you would see a small tapestry which Cecilia has worked hard to preserve. Its purple threads intertwine with blue and black to create the image of a goddess. She has no physical form for she is all things. Her feet are the ground and her hair is the sky. Her body makes up the earth and her mouth is open as she sings a silent toon to keep the wheels of time from ever stopping. On the other side of the room, past the mauled painting, past the beer bottles, past the goddess, past the table with the tiger on it, past the window painting of the Virgin Mary with her ladies in waiting—if you were to go this far, but I can’t imagine why you would, you would find a thin corridor into a small room. In the room sits Cecilia, her pen in hand as she writes letters to her grandchildren, little Peter Junior and Carter. As she writes, she cries, and as she cries, she sings. Her long, soothing melodies resonate through the room as she writes her letters to her grandchildren who have long since moved on to greener pastures. In this old house where beer cans litter the floor, where tigers lounge on tables, where paintings are ripped and old women sing as they write letters to grandchildren who will never write back. As the roof caves in and the walls fall forward, where silence like a deafening crack of thunder booms, there lies a comfort that will beg you to stay forever in the Kalims’ living room where no one ever goes. May G. 7th grade 17

Prophecy All the ads on the walls Bright colors and catchy lines I wait for the tin-foil-wrapped hot dog to sluggishly move And look over to the uptown side I like looking, Or more like imagining what my future self Will look like standing with my dad and sister Sleepy-eyed With my back-pack slipping off my shoulders Greta L. 6th grade


Just Another Old Day One day I walked in the park The sun was not awake yet The moon slowly waving goodbye But before sun can peep Rain fell from the sky Drops on my face Just another old day I walked under a canopy of trees The smell of pine and maple marched into my nose They remind me of my grandma’s house on a dewy spring day A squirrel pauses, looks at me I pick up a nut from the ground He takes it gladly from my palm Just another old day As the rain turns to a drizzle I walk by the river Slowly the currents move, turning like a snake Fish hop, breaching the surface The gray cloud in the sky departs A new, happy day Aliza B. 5th grade


A little bird lands in a tree— A query to compare— How small and free—how old and tall— Like frogs next to a bear. With scattered twigs inside its nest— Up high within the tree— And lemon-speckled eggs asleep— They dream of when they’re free. Now finally the eggs have hatched— New baby birds are born— Frantically flapping tiny wings— Which feathers now adorn. Olive D-M. 5th grade 20

Will Something Ever Come Although I know tomorrow will Never come I wait, Waiting For the sun to fly Up in the air exploding With rays. For I wish They would stay for days, Wait for the mountains To get taller but That was impossible, I Wait till the future Becomes the present But… there’s one Thing that will Come and that’s now. Lucien M. 4th grade


A skinny white girl is Dripping with blood From head to toe the red Liquid slowly slides Down her body Her eyes are wide And staring at me A dangerously beautiful Sea of brown Her shiny white Teeth are the only Things perfectly Clean Zemi M-B. 7th grade


The Gift Giver The town of Larkton was far from a popular destination. The town had been built in marsh land at the height of the gold rush because of its incredible amount of gold hidden beneath the marsh’s toxic waters. That was two centuries ago and the gold had run out long ago, which left the town over populated, poor, and unpleasant. Those who lived there were known as marshlanders and were thought of as rude and hostile people by the people in the nearby towns. It was a yellow and humid summer afternoon and most of the town was out digging through the marsh for gold that wasn’t there. Only the children too young or weak to work remained in the town. They sat together in a circle telling each other stories of the marsh land they called home. It had become the turn of one of the older children who stayed in the town because he had been born blind and with only one arm, and so therefore was deemed too weak to work. He had grown up bitter and angry and now spent his days with children half his age, quietly wanting to die. A boy of around six had just finished a story about a fairy that granted wishes if you found her, and the children were now trying to decide who would tell the next tale. The boy who was deemed too weak to work coughed loudly announcing his presence. His favorite pastime was tormenting the children with the most morbid stories he could think of. “I have a story,” he called out. He couldn’t see it, but he knew all the eyes had turned to him. “Ok, let’s hear it,” said a boy who had clearly just been struck with his change into adulthood, his pimply face looking challengingly at the eldest. “Ok,” replied the boy. “It was a dark night: the only source of light was the silver of the moon in the sky. A cold wind was whistling, tearing at the skin of anyone who braved the night. A man stood alone, leaning on a lightless lamppost, cursing the cold. He was wrapped in a small blanket, nibbling away at a sliver of bread, trying to relish every bite. The bell tower in the center of town had just struck midnight and the town curfew had just been brought into effect. He stood alone, waiting for something, a look of fear and anticipation on his face. Looking around wearily, he began walking up and down the street, muttering under his breath. The bell struck one, then two, and the only sound on the street was the man’s quiet footsteps as he paced. When the bell struck three the night’s silence was disrupted by the scratching of nails against a wall, but the man never stopped pacing, as if ignoring the existence of anything but him. Though he was obviously listening to the sound. “What do you desire?” whispered a silky smooth voice. A shiver went down the man’s spine as the voice penetrated the air. “Everything there is to desire,” replied the man. Something stepped out of the darkness. It was coated in darkness, and its face was a writhing mask of disfigurement and beauty. “I can give you that. You know that; that is why you waited for me, but what will you do in exchange?” “What do you want?” said the man, not looking at the creature. The being tilted its head in mock thought for several minutes. The more time he took, the more agitated the man became. After a while the man lashed out at the creature, anger and desperation in his voice: “Look, if you give me money, power, success, and make me the envy of others, I’ll give you anything.” “Very well,” the creature said, smiling, then faded back into the darkness. The sound of scratching raked the air for a few minutes before finally dissipating. Then the man ran without looking where he was going; he ran until he could run no further, The next day he awoke on a bright sunny day, leaning against a wall in a small clean alley. He was awakened by a tall, beautiful woman, with flowing brown hair and green eyes. “Excuse me sir, are you alright?” she said. He looked at his reflection in a cracked mirror across the alley. His dirty clothes had been replaced with better ones and his hair had been tidied. “I think so,” he said. He got up and dusted himself off. “What’s your name?” he asked the wom23

an. She looked at him inquisitively as if deciding if he was worth telling. “Margret, and yours?”she asked. “Jack,” he said, a smile breaking over his face. “Would you like to join me for lunch?” he asked. “That would be lovely,” she replied. That was the way Jack would grow accustomed to living: whenever he asked for something, the answer would always be yes. The two began seeing each other. And a few weeks later he felt the sudden urge to mine for gold in marshland—something previously unthought of. And he struck gold, lots of it. He and Margret got married two years later and it was a joyous occasion. He invested a good portion of his money in the oil business and the investment tripled his wealth. He had two children, a boy and a girl who were both very talented and intelligent, the perfect prodigies and heirs. Ten years went by and his life was as perfect as life could be. On the eleventh anniversary of his perfect life, his son was hit by a car and killed. No one was affected worse than his daughter who fell into a deep depression. His house, which had once been brimming with joy, now sat in a sad silence. The funeral was held a few days later. The day after, he began to hear a constant scratching everywhere he went. A scratching that was all too familiar to him. He tried to ignore it but it was continuous, unceasing, and maddening. He spent his days alone in his office, trying to ignore the noise. He tried everything he could: playing music, covering his ears, and simply screaming, trying to drown out the noise. But nothing worked. His wife left him after a year of his constant insanity. The scratching never left, though; every second the noise seemed to drone into his brain a repeating message. “You caused this, you killed your son, you drove your wife away, you didn’t help the daughter when she needed it.” He screamed and blasted music, crawling around his office like an infant, as his life fell apart around him. His business began to go downhill, his servants left, and his house fell into a state of disrepair. He lived like that for many years, screaming and crying, begging for the noise to leave. Then, one night, in a state of desperation previously unknown to him, he cried for help from the creature from so many years ago. The scratching stopped suddenly; and the creature stepped out. “You called me,” said the creature. Jack looked at it, then pleaded. “Make it stop, I’ll do anything, just make it stop,” he cried out desperately. “You said you’d give me anything, so I took everything,” the creature said, smiling mirthlessly. “Please,” Jack whimpered. “You would have to sacrifice the only thing you have left,’’ it said. “Anything,” Jack said, cowering. The creature just smiled at him after that and walked away. Jack stared at it as it left the room. He spent the night alone, in silence. He was awakened the next morning by a stick being prodded into his side. “Get up,” a harsh voice said. He looked up at Margret: her face was a mess of pain. “Your daughter’s dead,” she said, trying to remain emotionless, but her voice cracked. “She died this morning. The doctor said she must have breathed some kind of toxic gas that killed her. I thought you should know.” After she spoke, she looked at him with disgust and sadness, waiting for a reply, an acknowledgement of what she’d said. He looked at her with his hollow, wild eyes and started to scream. The end,” said the boy, a cruel smile playing on his face. The other children looked at him with horror in their eyes. Some of the younger ones started to cry. No one said anything. Suddenly screams of joy and exuberation began erupting from the marsh mines. “We hit gold, we hit gold,” voices called. Men and women began running toward the town with heavy bags of gold held in their hands. Smiles on their faces. And then the children started to drop their 24

mouths, frothing, and the screams of joy became screams of terror. Only one remained, the oldest. He was smiling. His face a writhing mask of disfigurement and beauty. Casper L. 8th grade


Winter All the colors blur together All the smoke forms a hook above the chimney All the windows are hiding something from you, fogging up whenever you are near. The cat seems confused The fire laughs like ice snapping The dog looks guilty, covered in cookie crumbs. On the table there is a sugary mess On the plank of wood is my father’s hand On the banister there is a heap of clothing, all freshly tie-dyed with frosting. In the woods a tree falls In the house music blasts from the barn In the playroom the only music is shouting as we try to get out of a fort. On New Year’s Eve many fireworks light up the sky On New Year’s Eve I hang up decorations On New Year’s Eve a strange combination of “Ring of Fire” and someone talking about their wife very loudly enters your ears and won’t come out. Agnes B. 5th grade



Morning Glory Twisted line of green life Burst of purple Flashes its Beauty to the sky The sun fades its glowing rays dim Blooms shrivel hiding from The dark Night falls The sun disappears The purple knows It will show its glory Tomorrow morning Leo M. 7th grade


Proud Feeling the cold water around me. My heart is beating faster than my body can catch up to. This is it. I need this. He’ll finally be proud of me if I do this. I hear the roaring of the engine and I am pulled out of the water. My legs are shaking. In it to win it, I hear his voice in the back of my mind. I straighten out and pull. Back and forth. Around the buoy. I am submerged in water again and out of breath. Ten seconds and I feel my cheeks move upwards. Ten seconds and now it’s over. I did it. I let go of the rope and the boat leaves. My arms are now at my side. I slide my feet out of their place. Holding on to my board. I swim to the shore. Anticipation fills every corner of my too willing body. I am barefoot. Every step hurts, but I don’t care. I am running now. I stop and look around, Where is he? Christiane D. 8th grade


A Visit From Night Sometimes I sit in bed at night And see a vivid dark figure His eyes lit up by the moon His skin pale like paper about to rip His black robes hover above the ground Like as if they were magic His face jagged, morose His expression softens I look deep into his eyes I find shadows but something more He reaches out his hand Only longing for mine I reach out my hand, hypnotized Suddenly I hear the singing bells of day he turns his head, vanishing into the fire With his last stare I felt his longing I felt his sorrow I know his life. Octavia R. 5th grade


Intricate carvings Wooden columns High bookshelves Lure me in Finding the perfect book Sitting in a plush chair Flipping a page Keeps me there Maisie S. 7th grade


Something to Fix Things Why must our lives not be perfect? Can’t things always go as planned? I wish that every day was a good one And the rain would never come down Why does it have to get dark at night I don’t like the time in the middle When the blackness hasn’t taken its chance Just yet But the sun is too tired to work And the sky is a gray That falls in the cracks Of every building And every wall When I can’t just leave the light off Because if I did The gray that’s looming outside Would come snuggle close And trap me deep down inside myself But it seems that I’m already trapped For my mind isn’t working quite right Every thought that I think Dips down in the pit Of that sinking feeling Of gray There’s only so much advice to be given So much help we can get So now I just can’t do anything Except simply try to forget Bridget C. 5th grade


Dolls The rosy gauze of morning seeped into the woman’s dream until she woke. Her broken skin pulled at her warmish eyelids, and like a kettle of chai she squealed and lifted herself to meet the day. She worked as a doll-farmer, a job she truly loved, for a man named Aronson. Everything around her reminded her of the dolls: the perfect green of the neighbor’s grass just like Lucy’s shining emerald eyes; the chipped china mugs she made her morning coffee in and their thin pink trim like Julia’s lacy pinafores. She obsessed over the dolls, had thought of them long after the age of twelve when her mother told her she was much too old for play. Arianne, the girl from England who was the daughter of an Indian merchant, poor but full of heart, was her favorite likely because she saw herself behind those mechanic eyelids; despite Arianne’s frosty skin, the similarities were there and the woman clutched them to her heart with white knuckles. The details, in her mind, of her profession, were somewhat vague and wholly unimportant. The employment contract simply stated that she would build dolls, but not physically; she would harvest stories and fragments of lives and then pour them into the figures. In a day, she might be anywhere: at a museum, trying to absorb the French culture for Amelie, at a replica of the Taj Mahal located in Boise, Idaho for the half dash jokingly dubbed “Ethnic Aisle” dolls, or even at home, pondering the intricate draperies framing her kitchen window. Under a different guise, she might have been called a thief. How silently her eyes crept into people’s lives! How stealthily she snatched the details of their days! But perhaps, perhaps she stole the most from herself. In each doll she created the woman gave an ounce of herself, as well, she named the cat Bruno after her own childhood rat-chaser; she made the eyes violet, delicate and textured like the one she planted every Spring in a small brown pot above her windowsill; she draped thin pink headscarves on ceramic hair, gauzy and as unmoving as the ones lying dormant and riddled by moths in her high school bedroom. Bit by bit, she stretched and condensed and pulled and pushed, scooping and pruning and gorging out parts of herself so that there weren’t her, anymore. Even if she did not know who she was, at least others could. Neverland had always appealed to her, admittedly in the later years because she slightly fancied Mr. Pan. She was indeed a romantic, and flying away into the night, on a journey into the unknown with a man she loved, was the most idyllic thing she could think of. And then, of course, the idea that she could stay that way forever, enveloped in young love for as long as she wished. The happiness and naïveté of that time, captured and tucked safely away and preserved for years and years and years. Peter Pan never did come for her, though, on a moonlight night in between adolescence and adulthood, and so she had to make do with children’s play things until her early thirties when a man named Aronson came to her with a job offer, and out of desperation, she took it. Now she was fifty, chipping away at the last pieces of her life, and even though she knew there would come a day when she spooned the final sliver away, she didn’t mind. Neverland had come for her, after all. Kai M. S. 8th grade


But You Were Sleeping Sorry, I went to the concert, Without you You were so excited It’s just.. You were sick You couldn’t go I should’ve stayed. But You were asleep And I was bored. Maisie S. 7th grade


I’m Here Hot now winter Earth now white Run from it run Elks now cats Vivian L. 4th grade


Waffles & Sausage the fuzzy warmth of the morning sun wakes me a savory smell wafts into my nose my eyes float open and I see my clock 9:26 it reads my arms stretch above me I sit up walk to the kitchen waffles & sausage a perfect Saturday Maisie S. 7th grade


The Simple Ones My thoughts win the war. Feeling as though I am going to pass out. This can’t be possible. I sat there pretending to read a book, so they wouldn’t talk to me. Alone, I sat there. Getting out of the car and running. Nothing but my thoughts with me. I just remember running because I could. The unfamiliar floor I sat on. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be far away. Please take me away. My heart weighing me down into a small hole. Trapped. This is a dream until the dream should have been over. This is unfair. Trying to avoid the barrier. If I can’t see it, it is not there. So I keep my head down. Do what you are told. I can’t do that much longer. If nothing else matters, why is time still moving? Leaving. Returning. And then questions. There were always questions. I could only lie. How can I hold the weight of the world, but in the end it is me against the world. I don’t stand a chance. Not understanding. Giving up. Normal. I am not normal. What is it like? The only thing left are the moments. The simple ones. Christiane D. 8th grade


A tree is something That you can always rely on A sturdy pencil that draws the sky Riddled with wrinkles and soil Like a hand, fingers reaching To clutch the birds A pillar of memories Anna S-R. 6th grade


Serendipity (the princess storm) in the mooring, where the sea salt stings, i can see an utter glance of an approaching storm what little girl should be here? among the men, i feel perfect the smell of grimy fish sticks to the air, the rain falls just in time it smooths my hair flowing in the wind squinting, i see lightning thunder booming softly like a fading firework. what a stroke of serendipity, that the storm came to me. Ellie J. 5th grade


Dreams Are Your Savior Dreams are like sweet berries on a tree As a catastrophe onsets your dreams will help Dreams can be told But they will never be truly understood They are your treasures Your pirate booty Just close your eyes and the magical portal will open On wings of magic you fly throughout dreams Never stop dreaming Aliza B. 5th grade


Emotions I’m overwhelmed with joy with sadness overwhelmed with fear and you the cheerful boy who picked up my lunch of Spam and a juice box when I get home all I want is to cry but also laugh and shiver and you grab my hand, pick me up opening my eyes has never been so hard all I have to do is smile and you helping me breathe no matter what letting me cry just a whisper will do thank you for picking up my lunch of Spam and a juice box thank you for opening my eyes and letting me smile, breathe and cry thank you for being the cheerful boy I may be overwhelmed 41

with joy, with sadness, overwhelmed with fear but thank you for being there for me Sylvie S. 7th grade


Up Past Moonrise Up past moonrise, spirits dance across the water. Up past moonrise Nightingales sing the songs no one’s heard. Up past moonrise Stars skate across the still ice of the night sky. Up past moonrise Morning dew wakes to dapple the grass. Up past moonrise I lay in bed, moonbeams stroke my face to make room for tomorrow. Saviane F. 4th grade


Candy Wrapper Meaning I. Don’t stop until you’re proud A. Sounds nice, but what does that mean? How do I interpret this? I’ve got some ideas. 1. Take it literally. a) Okay, I can’t stop until I’m proud. But what can’t I stop? I guess I can’t stop reading the label. Or was it breathing? I can’t stop breathing until I am proud. Wait, If I wasn’t breathing in when I read this, can I not breathe in? If I was breathing in, could I not breathe out? What if I took multiple breaths while reading it? Okay, I’ll just play it safe and not breathe. b) This isn’t working. I’m not proud, But I can’t stop, because I have to until I’m proud. I mean, the only way out of this is to be proud, and if I do this forever, eventually I’ll either become proud or die. c) Dammit, I started breathing! Okay, I need a better way to stop breathing. d) Alright, I’m going to tie myself upside down and lower my head into a sink. When I’m proud, I’ll cut a rope and I’ll fly out of the sink. Wish me luck! 2. Deconstruct the words for meaning. a) The word “Don’t” indicates a sort of negativity. It indicates wrongness, and anti-something. Maybe, It’s trying to tell me something about the next word! The next word is “stop.” Oh no, a negative. Wait, double negatives! That’s trying to tell me something! Negatives cancel out in writing and in math, so I must have to cancel math and writing for whatever the next word is. Okay, “Until.” I don’t think I have to keep reading. I’m already such a genius that I figured out that math and writing suck because Until! I can’t believe I’ve been trusting books and math all my life! 3. Don’t look further than the wrapper. a) Don’t stop until I’m proud, huh? Wow, that has so much to do with my life! I happen to be doing something, and I also have the possibility of being proud at some time! Okay, I’m going to keep writing. Actually, I’ll write until either I’ve died or have found fulfillment in life from writing. Thanks, Chocolate! (1) Wait, there’s another one? Another chocolate? (a) It says: “Don’t stop until you’re proud.” I don’t care. The first one had real meaning, And I’m following it till I die. I need to stop eating chocolates, especially Dove chocolates! They’re trying to throw me off my life goal of proudness! (i) I hate Dove chocolate. 4. It’s got a deeper meaning. a) IT’S A MESSAGE FROM GOD HE WANTS ME TO BE THE PROUDEST PERSON ON THE DISK BEFORE I GO TO HEAVEN AND HE WANTS ME TO STOP EATING DOVE CHOCOLATE BECAUSE THEY SPONSOR JEWISH JOE BIDEN SPACE LASERS FROM JUPITER 5. Ignore it. a) Throw out the rappers. The chocolate was nice. I liked the 82% more than 44

the 50%. I got the same message both times. I guess either I’m pretty lucky, or Dove chocolate’s marketing team is running out of ideas. Or they don’t have that many rapper printer things.


Luca D. 8th grade


Compass Like a sunset in the East Ripples of water in the West Wisp of wind in the South Beat of the heart in the North Wiping off dust From the old man’s Compass Virginia S. 5th grade


The Overripe Fruit I discard the overripe peach It bibbles, I bibble Amble Roam, Meander Unleash the fridge door From its captor (the latch) And Attempt to excavate another To gnaw on Greta L. 6th grade


I Ate This Story Hi (sigh) I…ate this story. Okay, so let me tell you my story. One day I received a letter. I never get letters so this was very exciting for me. I ripped it open and began to read: “Hi,” I read. “That’s an odd start to a letter.” I didn’t mean to say this out loud but I guess I did because the next thing I heard was, “How would you know? You’ve never written a letter in your life.” “D-did you just talk?!” I was stunned. “You’re a letter.” I waited for the letter to reply. “Well, yes, I am, but I’m a talking letter.” “Yeah, no kidding. Hey, do all letters talk?” “Yes, but we’re not supposed to.” “B-but you’re talking back to me? That’s absurd.” “Well I mean that’s how a conversation works. NOW THAT WE HAVE THAT OUT OF THE WAY TIME FOR THE IMPORTANT PART.” “Hey Hey Hey, don’t rush me. Personally I prefer the letters that don’t talk.” “...” “Uhm, letter, you there?” “I’m offended and am going to need a moment.” So, uh, after that is just me eating the letter. And I’ll make this clear: THE LETTER, the note inside the envelope, yep, it was this STORY. Cleo B. 4th grade


Tic Tacs in the Wild Here we have a small orange Tic Tac encased within a small plastic container with hundreds of other Tic Tacs beside it. If the container is shaken it will give off a distinct rattling sound. The rattling sound is designed to scare off predators as it mimics the noise of a rattling snake. The most common predators of Tic Tacs are young children, although the rattling for some creatures sounds like a toy. For instance, the common house cat has been observed to whack around the container if one is shaken in its presence. To prevent extraction of the Tic Tac there are several defense mechanisms, one being the protective sticker above the hatch. When said sticker has been removed, the Tic Tacs clump together blocking the exit. The only known way to get them unstuck is to shake it incredibly hard which will make the rattling noise and scare off the predator. In some rare cases the predator isn’t scared off and is rewarded with a Tic Tac. The taste of Tic Tacs depends on the region where they’re found. This also affects the color: in this particular case the orange Tic Tac is most commonly found in South America and the southern area of America. It has the tangy sweet taste of artificial oranges. Another common fruity variety is found in the rainforest of Asia and has a large quantity of flavors including passion fruit, cherry, green apple, and orange. A very popular species of Tic Tac that can only be found in the Antarctic is the minty flavors. This species is rivaled by the mint Mentos family. Fortunately for us, the Tic Tacs are winning the war. While the taste may be daunting for certain creatures, the reward is very large: the reward tends to be good smelling breath, but the blue family of mint Tic Tacs will also give you a blue tongue. The most common colors for the minty family tend to be shades of green and white and blue. The most common number of Tic Tacs in their protective encasement is around 60 to 100. There are some rare cases where there can be up to 200 Tic Tacs in one container! I hope you enjoyed reading this document on Tic Tacs and hope you learned more about Tic Tacs; with this sentence we are saying goodbye to the wonderful world of Tic Tacs. Nicholas R. 7th grade


Living is this it? is this living? to lie on my bed curled up to run my hands over my soft stomach lace my hands together like a spider’s web a breath could break it is it just the way i learn to treat myself gently to take my time take my time and spin it into something more than lonely some nights i call myself friend, love some nights i take my hands and i do nothing with them and that is something, i think the great, sweet joy of being nothing the way the rain peels my heart like an orange and feeds me the sunlit segments one by one whispers oh, darling, look at you drinking cold tea from your bedside table look at your hands and how they don’t shake anymore have you noticed how they don’t sting with the warmth of someone else’s touch? have you noticed how soft they are warm with the memory of those who have held them isn't this living? telling myself again and again what living is and watching the answer fade into laughter. Emmett J. 8th grade


Aurora (the silent dawn) at the brisk of 4:56 i creep out of bed the creakines of the unoileddoorhinge(s) slowly fade i slip on my sandals racing along the empty street against my watch 4:58 4:59 the sand feels ever so soft on my feet and the colors well, the colors were unexplainable. Ellie J. 5th grade


An Ode to My Voice I am sorry. I didn’t like you before. I didn’t like how you scratched and clawed at my ears The way you sounded when the recording was over The way you made me younger rather than older I wish I had appreciated how you stood up for me when nobody would I wish that when I spoke I would be proud like I should The only things I heard were loud and bulky I had to use my fists to be heard While you were patiently waiting You are beautiful and wonderful to my ears now I do not hear all of the crowd When my fists were broken you stood out in the group You yelled and screamed You keep me safe I only wish I had appreciated your boldness You are my mind You keep me from saying things that aren’t very kind Sometimes I hate you and I hate myself too I yell and shout for all the wrong reasons I scream very loud until it becomes shrieking Each note that comes from my lungs Is a cry or a pleading When my hate becomes too overpowering I search for the note of peace and calming You defend the forgotten You help the hurt You make me myself I am sorry I didn’t see it before You were an ocean and I was a war I was a wall and you were a door You were calm and I was frantic Until I found you I was falling apart If I were to lose you again I would lose my heart Katie Z. 8th grade


Speech So close But just can’t reach Open my mouth And freeze Like ice Listening Hearing Suddenly blank out In a world of my own Don’t know what I was supposed to Think something Say something different Mind and mouth not connected A broken wire About to speak Speaking Words are static Words are glitching Thoughts Moving faster than I can Disappearing and appearing Too fast to keep up Words repeating Syllables disconnecting Souds isolating Mind spinning Like a whirlpool Repetition Sentences like broken records Everything repeating Repeating Repeating Words needed Words wanted Words repeated Madeleine J-B. 5th grade


Pick Up On It So slowly the wind blows, leaves pick up on it. The four autumn colors are bright and beautiful, I pick up on it, the old 1973 phone rings and we pick up on it. Ari B. 4th grade


A Single Eyeglass An old pile of Scraps, vanishing One after Another People believe that The myth Her papa told us Is real: A woman with One leg And a single Eyeglass Is breaking in To the abandoned Antique store And stealing our Precious history. No one knows why Her papa told us The myth Or why A single eyeglass Remains untouched. Sylvie S. 7th grade


My Family’s Forest Mine is wavy and thick The color of dark chocolate It’s as long as can be Sometimes it is soft and silky Like satin gloves for a wedding The wind on a cool summer day My sister’s is curly and medium brown Like a day at the beach When everybody’s watching Like a barber shop sign twisting My dad’s is short, almost black The darkest in my family Like tiny pins on a pin cushion My mom’s is just the right length A lighter brown Always put back in a clean do Or down with no frizz or rogue strands My family’s hair is a forest Not all the same But not completely different No golden tree No rotting stump Just a forest Bridget C. 5th grade


The Misunderstanding When we first met we spoke about a lot. Favorite food, Favorite movie, favorite colors. I told her mine was purple. “Pretty” is what she said. She told me hers was red. “Pretty” is what I said back. She was full of life, I was a little jealous. You seem too still now, but I don’t understand. You told me purple was pretty, so I replaced your complexion with it. You said red was your favorite color, so I bathed you in it. You look pretty in red. But why are you silent? I thought red was your favorite color… Riley P. 6th grade


In–Nature Feeling Searching—for what is not–there That light in–Distance The sound of—a Crow There is an—Owl today A cry of that—sound Greenness—everywhere Plants out of the ground today In–Nature Feeling Dash P. 5th grade


Sisters “Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.” My sister is sweet My sister is kind My sister is imperfect But I don’t mind We both have flaws and we embrace each other’s differences. —Older sister “Sisters are for sharing laughter and wiping tears.” My sister is Artistic My sister is Fun My sister can be Weird But she’s my only one —Younger sister Sylvie S., Nina S. 7th grade, 4th grade


Honey and Ash Girls I sit and wonder Why can’t I be one of the Girls made of honey and ash Who sit in the field With a flower on her head With bees on her shoulders She looks like burnt sugar and With curls in golden hair I sit and wonder Why can’t I be one of the Girls made of honey and ash Tirha H. 7th grade


My Stupid Lamp Sometimes my lamp drives me insane. Like when I wake up in the morning, I turn on my lamp. But then it turns off so I turn it back on. When I leave my room and I turn around and put one foot outside my room and I am still in earshot, I hear it turn off by itself. I go to my room to do my homework, I turn my lamp on, I open my book to page 144, and as I am down the page my lamp turns off! I am so annoyed I want to scream. My face turns red and I am so UPSET! I want to kill my stupid lamp. I thought it was the light bulb but no it’s the lamp. The lamp has a mind of its own. Flora G. 4th grade


In a Galaxy of Galaxies Even as we leave the solar system for the last time, You are delirious, In a world where there are only short summers, days by the beach to want nothing is to be fulfilled Valis S-Y. 5th grade


can you hear the bleeding roses my shivering spine with old paper clenched metal teeth on my hand the wet cake batter on my head Vivian L. 4th grade


Life I feel the birdly shape, perched on my shoulder 7 feathers blow in front of me red wishing me anger my face scrunches up and i take a deep breath orange filling me with options and i take a shuffle to the right and to the left yellow making me happy sunshine through and through take a twirl, Green making me hide in my shell. Jealous of the ones thriving a blue one flies scoring me of the beaks threatening to eat my hair, purple sending me hope, smelling the flowers enjoy that word, that one word Life Rhea R. 7th grade


City lights at night brightness muffled by curtains slowly winking out Leo M. 7th grade


Woods Me, Grammy and Grampy Walk through The gateway of trees. An orange carpet Mixed in with the brown Of tree trunks And rotting leaves. I stand on side of Grammy, Grampy stands on the other. We finally reach the others. A fallen tree blocks the path. The others Easily leap over. Me and Grampy Help Grammy over. Grampy sees something. He runs up a hill. We meet him at the end of the walk. Agnes B. 5th grade


My tongue wiggles in my mouth as I Speak, I tap my feet and look up As if another word will materialize above my head. Rafa M. 4th grade


Why should I Use a Metaphor when I Could say it simply, Clearly, That I love the way your Hair looks on your Head the Way it falls when It chooses to Not that it shines as the Moon does (Though it’s true). I wish I wasn’t Silent as a mouse is— Just silent. I wish to See you as What you Are I Wish my mind could View you as Anything but A metaphor Seb C. 8th grade


NYC NYC, my beautiful It’s not the glittering sky high buildings nor the fancy brown stones but the man that sings that song that seems like a dove is soaring out of his mouth and over the silhouetted skyline. It’s not the huge department stores nor the shimmering cars, but that one black pigeon that lingers around the church as it dong-dong-dongs. It’s not the fancy restaurants, nor the hustle, but the dim glow of the street lamps that slowly drift me to sleep like a baby in a mother’s arms. Hazel B. 4th grade


My Definitions Coat: A random piece of fuzz Shoe: A stepping stone One after another Always, again and again No: permanent end Permanent Marker: There’s no going back now In: Like you knew it would be End: Like it literally always does Lottie O. 5th grade


New but Old Breathe the air that was muffled Smell the flowers that were wilting Hear the noise that was silenced Explore the stores that were closed See the streets that were empty, crowded Live in the world that is new but old The world that was darkened but the sun is now Shining Live in the world that is new but old. Bea B. 6th grade


Late December A wall stands atop a hill. Slowly, It crumbles. The carvings that depicted the gods in all their glory are gone But not forever When the sun hits the wall just right the carvings light up Almost fireworks. Only the lovers See a waterfall Cascading down mountain sides and eating up small rivers. Slowly, The late December chill freezes the ice into glossy shards in order to begin again. May G. 7th grade


A pure blue lake draped over a hill, By day it shows sky, at night it reflects the stars, all is peace and quiet, the water rippling gently. The wind tousled the grass, and through the valley passed a chill, “This,” we say, “this could be ours,” “This pure blue lake atop a hill.” Below the lake, resting its creaking planks and screws is a mill. In it the old miller sits, pinned against his armchair for hours, All is peace and quiet, the water rippling gently. A storm, a crash, a lightning flash, The waters churn, ripple, fight, as rain invades their once placid surface. The trees wave Frantically, bidding for attention, and the wind howls with vengeance and lust. The pure blue lake draped over a hill. A cardinal chirps, a watchful trill, A hopeless requiem for his treasured flowers, And all is peace and quiet, the water rippling gently. And as the morning comes, out of the water emerges a bluebill. Water, pain, struggle, rolling off his back with skill, At this pure blue lake atop a hill, All is peace and quiet, the water rippling gently. Leo B. 8th grade 73

quiet it reeks of wet and stillness it lurches around every corner it seeps through window cracks and it listens to everything–– it’s always patient something I am not it flows through the air, invisible. at night, it falls and it plants itself into the ground, strong, but gentle overwhelming, but silent powerful, but calming i am quiet–– i feel quiet–– and when i’m quiet i have a tendency to slowly fall asleep Ellie J. 5th grade


The Girl in the Pit She dances in the pit without a care in the world. Through her father’s thunderous wrath above her, fiery warmth expels off her body, keeping us alive from the blistering cold. I think of putting her out, but instead I add some logs and leave so she can go out on her own terms. Mateo D. 8th grade


A fluorescent aurora green, purple pink lights it was a beautiful day that very day. A month had passed and I’d never dreamed I’d see anything so beautiful in my life it was almost frightening. That night I cried myself to sleep I knew it was going to happen. It happened for forty days and forty nights It never stopped. Ari B. 4th grade


The Body to the Dead Churning up from a protoplasm of the living, a Flypaper net of the dead, a Body exalts in a happy medium. Unachievable. Don’t cry! Balance could be sad! A body is Scarred, scratched, alluded to in the most Unkind air, by the Most unhuman beings. No sharp Edges to act belligerent and Rude. A most crudely sculpted shape. So dystopian. Ruth M. 5th grade


Renewal Foam slices through the sand And slides down again, into the tide. One small wave Floats across the ocean and slips Onto the shore, Splitting apart From itself And leaving behind the Rich core of The sea, Once again. Anna S-R. 6th grade


Alone Yearning For the feeling of belonging Wanting To be loved Isabel R. 7th grade


Half Empty The glass in my hand, just about half empty. The liquid I once consumed had consumed me. Slowly taking me with it. If I could stop I would, it's a never ending hole that I seem to dig deeper. I had to get ready for work. As I walked through my house I started to notice the imperfections: The gray tone on my once colored walls. The dewy smell coming from the carpet. The empty rooms in my quiet small house. The front door hinges creaked as I opened them. I had to take the bus to work because my car is no longer drivable. The bus usually takes so long, which doesn't give me time to get ready for work. I arrive at work late. I regret waiting for the bus. It's all I can afford right now. My job is a nine to five. I work in a small quiet cubicle. It used to pay pretty well but my performance got me pushed down to the ground floor. The flavorless coffee in my hands tastes bitter, like they used expired milk. I hate this place, my job, my life. The sad thing is it doesn't get easier and it doesn't get better, it just is. My shift ended at about five, and the floorboards creaked as I moved off of my desk chair. I walked out of the building hoping for a breeze but was hit with the strong odor of the city. I walked to the bus stop, hoping it wouldn't take long. When it finally came I finally entered, sitting in a comfortable chair. I sat in the back of the bus where I could just think. My rent, my job, my car, and my family. All I could think about was them. I finally stopped at my house, the cement steps cracked and scarred. I slid my door open and was welcomed to a quiet, dim room. My feet brushed against boxes filled with their toys and jewelry. In bright red words saying “for sale.” I sat on my couch and laid back as if I had sunk into the leather. I couldn't move my body, only my arms. All I could do was reach out to my table. I grabbed the only thing that brought me comfort. So I sat there in silence with glass in my hand, just about half empty. Che W. 8th grade



Vacation The sand sprayed up into the sky from the strength of the rain. It slapped on the folded beach chairs like the thud of a hand hitting a taut drum. A large hail stone dove into the earth like an Olympian, plummeting into the water from a seventy-foot diving board. Grandma asked Linda to help and fold the beach chairs. Agatha, the baby, was crying as hard as the rain. Mom handed Agatha to me, while she went to convince Grandma this was a terrible idea. When Kai and Luna both left to help mom, Agatha started crying even harder. So I followed them. Grandma continued to be convinced that this was a great idea, but the lightning saved us. Grandma finally turned her back to the crashing thundering sea. Agnes B. 5th grade


Good morning, once more. I see You have returned. Just last evening I saw you gleaming in the sky, But then you left me again, And I could not see a thing. You hopped away like a bright bunny, But slowly, Like an old, wise turtle. Now it is evening once again, And the hopping will soon begin. Good night, Sun. Olive D-M. 5th grade


No This time there is no way to explain Myself I am always Wired to the same system Scared that I will not have a Future That this world Will die Before I can make my Mark So when you ask me, No I do not Know What My future Holds Zemi M-B. 7th grade


Time trickles Away like falling sand, Shrinks, Like the setting sun. You reach out to grab it, But its ugliness blinds you. It slips between your fingers, Like a coiling silk blanket, Like a bar of soap, That grows smaller and smaller, With every day of use. Time sinks, Like dirty water flowing through a drain. It keeps sinking, yet it is always visible, Always there, Hovering in the back of a mind Like mold. Time is an anchor, With years shown in rust. Leo B. 8th grade


Cushioning My Fall The winds break and leave me walking adrift upon the sky. There are the intermittent showers of rain that the weather forecasted. The weather wasn’t wrong. I want to stay up here forever but am already plummeting, losing altitude for I cannot unfurl my wings yet. Still stuck in my past with my heartbreak my loss my regret. Those things will not change. Desperate, I try to perch on a cloud for a better vantage point. I grasp with my hand but clouds were only ever rain except to those who believed in giants. The ground is calling my name in the rhythm of the beat of my broken heart. Bee S. 5th grade


7 Years and Counting Today we sat there in the sun looking up at the blinding light piercing our eyes. That day was the day we ran through the field getting pricked by the long stalks of the field. We split a twin pop, grape flavored of course, boogie boarded the waves along the coast of the island because your mommy says that we can’t go too far to the tide, hung upside down from the monkey bars at the playground which I taught you how to do, you cry ‘cause you fell, and I go running to your mama. She scoops you up into her arms as you sob. I don’t tell you but I think you’re being a big baby. And yesterday we swung in hammocks in your backyard, we biked to town on the back of my big brother’s mountain bike. When we arrived he gave us each 5 cents, you and I. We spent it on two caramels and a fun-sized Snickers bar, later we sat on the couch on your back porch cutting out and gluing the models from the cheap magazines your daddy buys from Ralph’s. We skip down Penny Lane and pass the dock where the boats come in, before we get called in for dinner. And tomorrow we will go to the pool, the one by Laney’s house that just opened up, then we will go knock on her door in our wet swimsuits and ask if we can come in and hang out, and her mom will say yes because poor Laney has no sisters and no brothers so she gets sad sometimes. Then on our way home we will find a big black dog, the one that everyone thinks is mean, and we’ll tiptoe past him so we don’t wake him. Finally we will beg our parents to have dinner together. Our mommies like each other fine but my daddy and your daddy don’t get along so they’ll sit far apart from each other at dinner, then we’ll say our goodbyes and we’ll make our plans for the next day. And the next day you say you needed a break from all of our big plans and I say big girls don’t take breaks and you agree. We quickly stop at Gramma Winslet’s house. She is no one’s gramma but we stop by because she always has a jar of caramels sitting on her coffee table, then we can go down to the fishing shop which is just down the block from our houses so my mama will let me go. The man at the desk gives us a penny for chasing away all the seagulls in the morning and a penny after lunch, then we will go with your mommy to pick up your sister from ballet. You’ll talk about how she is not even that good but I know you’re jealous ‘cause you’re not as good as her. Finally I’ll tell you that I’m really tired and you’ll say big girls don’t get tired and I’ll tell you that you’re mean then go running home but you’ll probably think I’m a big baby. Then the next day I go to your house and apologize for calling you mean and you say that you forgave me last night. I hug you tightly and say that you’re my good friend, my friend for 7 years and counting. Maayan M. 7th grade



From the Lower Levels of the Earth We stare at the sky, our infinite bodies weaving together, whistling and swaying to the beat of the wind. Green and sturdy and sharp as an insult, our single limb reaching skyward. How are we so plenty, so unbothered? We are to downtrodden ones, the humbled masses fighting to kiss the sun, feel the lush air another tomorrow. And one day we will shrivel up, grow tan and old under the cancerous heat, but not before we lay the seeds — the lessons, the hardship, the love — for the ones to come (they always will). Oh, how marvelous that won’t be. Before we shrink back down and journey on, we are here. Stuck to one point but stretched on in all directions, a single organism of nobodies. We hear and see and breathe together, a big gasp, and we learn. Now, we learn of Judy, who everyday comes with the dipping sun and bathes in its orange light. Sometimes, she smothers us, red frock rolling across our expanse; other times, she waters us so that we may grow bigger, her salty liquid drifting onto the earth. And while she sheds these tears, she grows too, the passing time signified by larger toes gripping us and picnicky spreads, longer, richer hair, and yet — still, Judy was always alone. When she came, she carried the distinct air of loneliness, weaved delicately into her face and mouth and the way her eyes always lacked sparkle. Sometimes, she pressed her face to us, let us roam the naked folds of her skin, feel their little pockets of heat. It was by those moments we learnt of Judy best. The greatest times, though, were when she talked to us, whispering a language of longing and sorrow, but also beautiful, cautious hope. She wished for an adventure, a place where she could meet other people like her — colorful, noisy — and make memories with them. We want to scream, Are we not enough?, but remember she cannot hear us, so maybe we aren’t. Our green tendrils sway as the sun rains down, frolicking listlessly. Is sadness infectious? Judy maybe isn’t even called Judy. Maybe that is made up. We are only extensions of cold, hard-packed earth, after all. And we can spin through space, so, so fast, and still nobody will ever know the difference. Again, again, our masses will be trampled down to black and dust. What a bother are we. Judy stopped coming after a while, her painted toenails losing grapes on us and her arms twirling harsher in the wind. Even the tickling scent of dew took on the musky, suffocating aura of blood. Judy, who used to eat cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, sip sour lemonade through a striped straw, pick under-ripe flowers and blow and watch the little white petals fall like snow; that Judy was gone. She vanished into the air, some say, cut open the sky and slipped right through. Gone at a knifepoint of her own volition. And she sewed up the gap with a needle, leaving a jagged red line of fabric fray dripping into the bloody, raw sun. Kai M. S. 8th grade .


Highway Rogue Highway Rogue Caviar smoked Citibank New fully clean combinations swing better meals United Gardens’ efficiency is welcome Lamb equities can’t state York Face north towards Border City Empire Jeremy G. 8th grade


New York— a beautiful trash heap Abe F. 5th grade