Volume 31, Issue I

Page 1

Silhouette Volume 31, Issue 1, was produced by the Silhouette staff and printed by Franklin Graphics, located in Nashville, TN. e paper is 80 lb. Porcelain with a 100 lb. Porcelain cover. e fonts used throughout the magazine are Adobe Garamond Pro and Lights Out BRK, and Papyrus. Silhouette Literary and Art Magazine is a division of the Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, Inc. (EMCVT), a nonprofit organization that fosters student media at Virginia Tech. Please send all correspondence to 344 Squires Student Center, Blacksburg, VA 24061. All Virginia Tech students who are not part of the staff are invited to submit to the magazine. All rights revert to the artist upon publication. To become a subscriber to Silhouette, send a check for $10 for each year subscription (two magazines) to the address above, c/o Business Manager or visit EMCVT’s e-commerce Web site at www.collegemedia.com/shop. For more information visit our Web site at www.silhouette.collegemedia.com or call our office at 540-231-4124.

Welcome Welcome Welcome to the fall 2008 issue of Silhouette. As this is our, Jenna and Hali’s, final issue, we would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who over the past two years has taken part in making this a great magazine. We have been lucky to have a wonderful staff and dedicated submitters and readers. Without all of you none of this would have been possible. We appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the arts in Blacksburg and at Virginia Tech. is issue is special to us not only because it is our last but also because of the tough submissions process we went through to bring you the best of the best literature and art our campus has to offer. We strive to show the community the variety of artistic styles and the artistic passion of the Virginia Tech students. We are proud to bring art and literature to a traditionally science focused university. And excited to say that the submitters come from all different types of majors, not just English and Art. In addition to the representation of English and Art students this issue has work from students in Industrial Systems Engineering, Architecture, Industrial Design, Civil Engineering, Biological Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Philosophy, International Studies, Natural Resources Conservation, Political Science, Computer Science, and Communication. It is exciting to have an issue so representative of the different backgrounds of the Virginia Tech student body. We would also like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make our last Greeks v. Geeks so wildly successful. We had four fabulous bands play at Awful Arthur’s this semester: Simply Supported (Geek), e Frat Pack (Greek), e House Floor (Geek), and Always Morning (Greek). Jennifer Johnson, our Special Events Coordinator, worked hard to make the event absolutely successful. We had a great turnout and raised more money at this benefit than Silhouette has done at past Greeks v. Geeks. We hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Silhouette as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We are proud to bring you the fall 2008 issue.

Hali Plourde-Rogers Editor-in-Chief

Jenna Wolfe Business Manager

Literature 6




e Light-Keeper



From the Depths of the Asylum



How It Happens



March 9, 2008, 11:05 , Route 81



Second Grade in a Chrysalis



Soul Food






I Live Inside









Cow on a Hill



Charlottesville Stairwells



As Long as You Don’t Like Argyle



I Remember Her By Our Saddest Moments






African Child



Handle with Care


Fine Art & Photography 7

Her Dried Summer Noons



Savegely Beautiful



Eiffel Tower



e Most Beautiful ings in the World






Airport R&R






Holding it all Together



Peeking Out



Jewish Museum, in Berlin



An Altered View






Snorkel Splash



Post Shinning Path



Quenching the Summer





“she preservers, rubs the black base of the steel pot and cleanses her soul”



“Yogah karamasu kaushalam” 1 Bhagwad Gita

and she scrubs the black base of a stainless steel pot that stayed too long over the hot, constant beating of the blue-orange flame. e black milk, once white and bubbling in the cauldron of the bright, shiny steel is now condensed and concentrated. She pulls a ball of coconut fiber, all brown as earth itself. In each strand, wiry-thin and identical, she catches a hint of ash from burned logs and like a drop of water that falls on the same spot of stone over and over again to form a smooth depression, she preservers, rubs the black base of the steel pot and cleanses her soul.

Yoga is skill in action. Efficiency in work dictated by being one with the task is skill in action. 1

Her Dried Summer Noons, Abhijit Pattewar, Pencil


Feeling like a forlorn traveler, missing her compass and drenched by the rains, I find myself compelled to pull out that rustic, old lantern. î “e black wrought iron handle must have, in its early years, been clutched by the worn hand of a tired mother, creeping in the darkness to bed late at night. Covered in small, round beads of glass, the bell-shaped glass hurricane surely magnifies and extends even the faintest flame. Now, it sits in my apartment closet, collecting dust and awaiting the next dark day that this lantern can brighten. My mother gave it to me the day we closed River Creek Gifts, our six-month-old whimsical country gift store. Depressed and out of sorts, she loaded it with a sigh into my arms, into the last box of unsold merchandise: a hand-painted teapot clock, frosted pinecone and cranberry garlands, a scallop-edged rooster tapestry. After promising to get rid of it all, I found myself in a Salvation Army parking lot with that tattered cardboard box in my lap. I grabbed the cool, iron handle and gently lifted it out. î “e smell overwhelmed me immediately: cinnamon bun, apple butter, and banana nut bread. Candles had been placed inside to show the scrutinizing shopper its function (and to hopefully entice them to purchase a handful of overpriced candles). I couldn’t help but take it home, hoping it would fit in somewhere. It really just fits in my closet. It fits in a dark corner bombarded by pumps and purses. Days like today, it fits perfectly in hands that miss my mother.

Savagely Beautiful, Courtney Myers, Photography

Eiffel Tower, Erik James Stange, Photography

Name tags claimed my stuffed penguin was just a stuffed penguin, a cotton construct only. Her black button eyes, drops of ink holding nothing. Cardboard beak bent into a perpetual grin. And tiny felt feet, worthless legs keeping her in one spot. But she shivers when I shake and how is that different from people? Do I see people as empty beings? Or is it that even the smallest comforts reflect humanity? Besides

From the Depths of the Asylum GRAHAM WYNINGS

she’s alive because they say she isn’t. Denial’s a tradition, dating back to jealous priests preaching the earth’s sexy curves into straight lines. Really preaching that God’s as clueless as the rest of us. He, too, breathed life into dirt. I saw Him the other day, in the face

of a waitress whose rage held the seeds of an ascendancy beyond coffee and eggs benedict. She hurled dishes against white plaster walls. She’d had enough, but I had to grin at the irony of having seen God and flying saucers in the same sentence. I joined in the chaos and I shouted, “Hit the windows! Hit the windows! Break them!” Because who wants to live in a world with shuttered windows where every door always opens to the same room and where stuffed penguins never came alive?

How It Happens


at’s how it happens, I suppose— like the storybooks say, whether I want it to or not— you, visiting a Synagogue in New York on summer vacation, write me a lengthy postcard description of that overly-spiritual open-minded child-oriented dark curly-haired single business woman with a New York accent and a breeding rich family, sitting in the back row thinking, “My God, he’s it!” and how you looked up and stopped praying for your dream because it arrived one blue Friday like a Tiffany’s box, delivered in white ribbon laced around her waist, trimmed just for your hands to come undone while I’ll get the stamped, official part of you, tattered sentimental, engraved “New York is beautiful and perfect,” shriveling in my hands because we’ll both know you really meant to say “New York is New.”

Moriah O’Brien, e Most Beautiful ings In e Entire World, Digital Art


March 9, 2008, 11:05 a.m., route 81

stop. what is the first thing I remember. the first thing that matters. was it: riding the ponies in the park, was it: hiding under the raft in the pool and kicking my legs to avoid sea monsters, was it: the red tricycle hat squeaked when I turned left, was it: burying dead roly-polies in the dirt, was it: picking my first dog and how all the puppies climbed over me in a hurried frenzy that made me giggle and my parents smile. smile. my parents. I can’t remember us ever being together. but then I think I know that we were. when my father’s beard was brown and when my mother smiled in photographs and. when I would tiptoe to their bedroom at night and. stop. what does it lead to. it leads to thisthe road ends quiet literally and all I’m left with is the sound of my breaks like they are a part of me and then the quiet right before, and it’s grey and there is an incredible heat and my arms go up and my head goes back. and John Lennon stops singing. and I think of my parents and I think of what I would say to them. I need you. the car stops crumpling and my head is buzzing and my heart is racing in my throat, each beat crawling through my veins, and my right arm goes numb and I push the door open and step out and feel the nausea of life and the sickness washes over me and I am happy. because the first thing I remember is jumping in rain puddles as my father watches and my mother wipes mud off my cheek.

Limit, Courtney Myers, Photography

Second Grade in a Chrysalis HOLLY KAYS

I am walking through the scratchy, tall meadow grass with my big sister, Audrey. We are looking for Monarch caterpillars. e air is hot outside, like summer. Some leaves are turning dry and brown, though, like they’re getting ready for the fall. Every year at this time, Audrey finds a bunch of the squirmy, striped caterpillars and takes care of them until they become Monarch butterflies. I tried to do it last year, but my caterpillar died. Audrey promised me that this year she would make sure my Monarch hatched. I can’t wait to have my very own butterfly, just like Audrey. School is the other thing I can’t wait for. is year I will be in second grade. at means that I will officially stop being a little kid, because I’ll go to class up on the second floor with the big kids. I can’t wait to climb those steps in my new, blue sneakers, and to see my friends, especially Jenny. is summer she went to stay with her Grandma in Alabama, and I haven’t seen her since June. It has been two whole months since we made silly faces in the mirror or played a game of tag. Mom told me that some things might be different this year because of what happened this summer in the pool. Stuff like it had happened before, like the time I was rolling down a hill and suddenly realized that I couldn’t see or move. It scared me, but I never said anything. I thought that maybe it happened to everybody. is time was different. I was doggy paddling in the deep end of Bridgefield Pool when, suddenly, my body just stopped. I could still feel the water – swirling my hair and then filling my nose, creeping down my lungs. I could hear the other kids yelling and splashing. I saw the

bottoms of their feet, high above me. eir voices sounded like bubbly fish language. But I couldn’t move. I just sank and sank. My legs bumped the bottom, and the world turned black. I woke up in the hospital. A nurse came in and told me that I had slept for a long time. She said that she had to do some tests on me. ey were different kinds of tests than what we did at school. Instead of giving a grade, they said that I had a bump in my brain. Mom told me it was called a tumor. She said it wouldn’t go away, but I had to take medicine every day now. She said that if I always took the medicine, then the thing that happened at the pool wouldn’t happen again. Mom told me the word for it, but it was really weird-sounding, and I can’t remember. I think it was sasure, or seejur, or something. en she told me that the bump was the reason that so many things, like writing, talking, and self-control, were so hard for me. ********************************************************* I walk to the bus stop on the first day of school knowing that this year will be different. I will have to go to the nurse every day to get medicine, and Mom says that I will have a special teacher to help me talk better. I don’t worry, though. After all, I am wearing my new, blue shoes. I will go to the second floor today, and I have my very own Monarch caterpillar at home. At school, I find out that I’m in Mrs. Burkett’s class. She is wearing a long denim skirt and a T-shirt with little kid’s

faces sewn on the front. I give her a hug and say, “Hi Mrs. Burkett!” Mrs. Burkett doesn’t smile like the kids on her shirt. Instead, she says, “Go find your seat, Gracie.” I go look for the desk with my name written on the red apple sticker. It is right next to one that says “Jenny.” My best friend! I see her coming to her seat from the coat closet. Before we sit down, I wrap my arms around her real tight and shout, “Hi Jenny!” I get my first “Shush” from Mrs. Burkett. en she starts telling the class about rules and how the class leader is picked. I want to be leader, and so I make up my mind that Mrs. Burkett will like me best. Our first assignment is to write five sentences about our summer. I try my very best, even though, for me, writing is the worst part of school. I think about my family’s camping trip to Maine. at was fun. I start to write, “is summer I went camping in Maine.” It takes so long. I lean over to see how far Jenny’s gotten. ere are already three sentences on her paper in pretty, round, big kid letters. Suddenly, Ashley raises her hand and says, “Mrs. Burkett, Gracie is cheating off Jenny.” “I wasn’t—” I start to say, but Mrs. Burkett interrupts me. “Get back to work, Gracie, and keep your eyes on your own paper.” Everybody else lines up for lunch, but Mrs. Burkett says I have to finish my sentences. By the time I write the words and get my medicine from the nurse, everybody else is eating at the new cafeteria tables. I see Jenny, sitting with Ashley, Marissa, and Lauren. ere is an empty chair beside her, and I start to put my tray down. en Ashley says, “No babies at this table. is is Amy’s seat.” At first I don’t think she’s talking to me. Ashley came to my birthday party last year. She gave me a purple Polly Pocket Locket. I thought we were friends, but she is looking at me. “I-I’m not a baby,” I say. I look at Jenny, but she is staring down at her plate of gluey macaroni. “Yes, you are,” says Ashley. “Big kids can write, and they don’t hug teachers either.” Marissa giggles when she says that.

Jenny doesn’t say anything. My throat burns as I turn and sit at an empty table, my back to my best friend. I don’t understand why she won’t help me. I can’t figure out why Ashley doesn’t like me. I just want to go home. ******************************************************** I walk in the door and head straight to my bedroom. I want to see my caterpillar. Before I get there, Audrey grabs me from behind and pretends to be angry, yelling, “What are you doing here?” It’s a game we play. She tickles my neck, and we both laugh. I forget for a minute that I’m sad. en, I run to the pink, plastic cage that holds my monarch. Its yellow and black stripes stand out like fabric paint on a white T-shirt. I take it out of its cage to feel its suction-cup legs crawl on my skin. To it, my knuckles are mountains, and the floor is deeper than the bottom of the Grand Canyon. at’s kind of how I feel, too. Like I’m so small, and everything around me is so big. It is so easy to fall and get hurt. I make sure my caterpillar doesn’t, though. I am careful to always keep my other hand under the one it crawls on, just like Audrey taught me. I don’t tell her about what happened at school. My eyes get wet whenever I think about it, and I’m sort of afraid that maybe she’ll agree with Ashley. Maybe I am a baby. ********************************************************* I wake up dreading school. I am afraid to sit next to Jenny all day. In my mind, I take back the hug I gave her yesterday, and replace it with something else, like maybe a stinky, muddy sock on her seat. I tell Mrs. Burkett that I can’t see well enough from the back of the room where Jenny and I sit. I feel bad about lying. Silently, I tell God I won’t do it anymore. But I can’t sit with Jenny, I tell Him silently, hoping that He’ll understand. I move closer to the front, next to a new girl with red hair named Trish. Trish’s dad is in the military, and she’s lived in a lot of places. She even lived in Germany for two years! I ask her if she knows any German, and she teaches me to say “Guten tag.” It means “good day.” Trish and I eat together at lunch, too. I tell her all about

my Monarch caterpillar. “Does it have a name?” she asks. “No, I didn’t, um, kno-I mean, think of that.” I reply. “Why do you talk like that?” asks Trish. She doesn’t say it meanly, like Ashley would have. She looks interested, so I tell her all about almost drowning and being in the hospital. “You almost drowned!” she shouts, impressed. “Wow.” “I- It was kind of – I mean, pretty, um, scary,” I say. “Well, we should name your caterpillar,” she decides. “Is it a boy or a girl?” “I don’t know,” I reply. “But it’s white and yellow and black.” “ose are boy colors. It’s a boy,” Trish says firmly. I think about my knuckles being mountains. “How about Cliff?” I ask. “Because it sort of, um, seems like he th-thinks that, um, my hand is, a cliff.” “at’s a good name!” says Trish. “I want to come over and see Cliff sometime!” e next Saturday, Trish’s mom drops her off at my house. She can stay for five whole hours, her mom says. e first thing we do is run up to my room, where Cliff lives. But Cliff isn’t there. Instead, hanging from a short, black thread at the top of Cliff’s cage is a beautiful milky green thing. It is shaped kind of like a really smooth shield. ere is a drop of gold on each point. Across the wide part is a line of gold on top of a line of black. It is beautiful, but where is Cliff? “Audrey!” I call. As soon as I see the beginning of her shadow come in the room, I ask, “Audrey, where is Cliff?” She looks in the cage, and says, “Gracie, that green thing

is Cliff. He made a chrysalis. He’ll stay there for two weeks or so, and when he comes out, he’ll be a butterfly.” Trish and I draw in our breaths when we hear this. Squishy, squirmy Cliff, turned into a beautiful jewel? ings are changing, I think. Trish makes me promise to invite her over when Cliff hatches. She wants to see the miracle too. ********************************************************* Only, something happens before Cliff turns into a butterfly. at Friday, Ashley comes to school with a bag of pretty, rainbow-colored cards. She is turning eight, and her party is a week from today. ere are twenty-five other people in the class, and twenty-four invitations. I do not get one. Trish does, and so does Jenny. I ask Mrs. Burkett if I can go to the bathroom. ere are enough tears inside me to make one of the toilets overflow, but I hold them in. But then one leaks out, and after that it’s like I am a balloon, and someone has made a hole in me. I sit in the handicapped stall until the tears are all out of me and my face is dry. It takes a long time. Next Friday, everyone else gets ready for the party. I go home to stare at Cliff. When I get to my room, I see that his chrysalis is black. Cliff is dead! I can see the outline of his bright orange wings on the inside, but the beautiful, green chrysalis is as black as school bus letters. Cliff is dead, and I am alone while everyone else is playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey at Ashley’s. I lie down on my bed and cry. Mom knocks on my door, carrying a pile of laundry. She sets it down and strokes my hair. at makes me cry even harder. She rubs my shoulders until I stop sobbing. I don’t want to tell her what’s wrong. I don’t want her to know that everyone thinks I’m a baby. If my family agrees with Ashley, then who will I have? “What’s wrong, Gracie?” asks Mom, stroking my hair. I don’t say anything; I keep my face buried in the quilt. “Come on, honey, you can tell me.”

Just then, a red Jeep pulls up into the driveway. I see someone with red braids get out. She is carrying a pink package with a bow. It’s Trish. I wipe my face on my pillow and then race downstairs to pull the door open. “Trish!” I yell, giving her a big hug. “Why, um, aren’t you at h- Ashley’s?” “It’s more fun to come here. We’re best friends, and you weren’t going to be at Ashley’s,” she says. “And, she didn’t invite you, and that’s mean. But I got her a present already, so how about we pretend it’s our birthday? Can I go see Cliff?” At her last sentence, the smile that has been growing on my face drops a little. “Cliff died,” I say. Trish opens her eyes wide. “I don’t believe it! Let me see.” We climb the staircase to my room. “See?” I say, waving my hand towards his cage. “He turned all-” “He’s not dead!” Trish interrupts me. “Look! He’s a butterfly!” She’s right. All that’s left of the black chrysalis is a clear, thin shell. Cliff’s orange-red wings are wrinkled and wet, but even now I can see them getting straighter. I call Audrey and tell her all about how Cliff came back from the dead. “He wasn’t dead,” she explains. “Monarch chrysalises always get black like that a day or so before they hatch. It’s not as pretty as the green, but it means a butterfly is coming soon.” I tell Cliff that he chose the perfect time to hatch—right when Trish came to see him. en I want to see him fly, but Audrey says that it will be a whole day before Cliff’s wings dry out enough. Trish calls her mom to ask if she can spend the night. She wants to watch Cliff fly away too. Next, we open Ashley’s present. I kind of feel like I’m

getting back at her, taking her birthday present for myself. It feels good. Beneath the pink, flowered paper is a game called Pretty Pretty Princess. Inside the box is a game board and all kinds of plastic jewelry. We play, and I win! e winner gets to wear the only tiara in the box, and when I put it on, Trish steals it from me. I try to steal it back. Soon we aren’t playing Pretty Pretty Princess anymore. Instead, we’re playing tag with jewelry on. We don’t sleep much that night. Still, we wake up early and rush upstairs to check on Cliff. Last night, he hung quietly on his empty chrysalis, but now he flutters impatiently around his cage like a trapped bird. I go shake Audrey so she can come watch Cliff go. She’s a little grumpy that I woke her up at 8:00 am on a Saturday, but she comes. I open the cage, but Cliff can’t find the door, so I reach my finger in and let him grab on. His thin, black leg tickles my finger. I pull him out of the cage, and he rests on my pointer finger for a little bit before spreading his wings and sailing into the air. Trish and Audrey and I watch him go. I feel so happy. I think how much I like Trish. I have more fun with her than with anyone else, even maybe more than I had with Jenny. I knew things would be different this year, but maybe different doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Cliff flies over the tallest pine tree and disappears. I watch him with Trish and Audrey, and then we go inside. Trish lists all the fun things we should do before her mom comes. I don’t think we’ll get to do it all this morning, but I know that there will be lots of other days.

Soul Food I said, “Whaaat?!” “Ya don’t dance in the kitchen?!” “Ya don’t dance in the kitchen?!” Good lookin, stop your cookin.


Toe tap on the tile. Clappity clap with the hands. Badabing badaboom. Ping pang on a pan. Stool pigeon! You’re missin out. Cause the kitchens where I got my soul! Shake a leg, shift a shoulder. e oven ain’t the only thing that’s hot. Bend low, turn it up. Raise hands and whirl about. Overhead spotlight sets the stage. And my apron? Hell, my apron? It glitters! e audience, dog & dad, stare. Cha! Cha! Cha! Cause I’m so talented. And I’ll fry that up in a pan. I said, “Didn’t your mother ever teach you to dance in the kitchen?!” You know, some things are just more important than others… And my mother, well, she taught me to dance in the kitchen! Cause a watch-pot, baby, it never boils.

Airport R & R, Jeff Smith, Photography

Are small dreams still blooming by the oak tree in the backyard, underneath that little dead swing the breeze kicks? I know Sunshine died last year when clouds became cancerous. î “row the circuit breaker. A fork is being put to death in the bathtub.


Do children still grow against the fence, and twist and climb their way to the roof of the house?


I mailed you my lawn mower this morning, in one of my prettiest envelopes, for you to cut your roses with when it rains.

Frozen Lake, Aimee Drysdale, Photography

I Live



I live inside a music box, spinning to the high notes, resting on the low Watch my feet dance adorned with satin and lace Gracefulness wrapped in a pretty pink illusion e invisible audience lauds the performance My arms are growing weary holding this perfect pose Bound to someone else’s wooden box painted white

I live inside a light bulb, romanced by the evanescence, frightened by the speed Watch my skin glow to the manufactured promise of natural light Brightness trapped inside a fragile glass shell An intentional switch and the world fades to dark My eyes aware of the persona mimicking the sun Blinded by the energy of someone else’s masquerade

I live inside a volcano, comforted by the heat, cautious of the explosion Watch my body reflect the crimson embers of magma Energy suffocated beneath the surface of the earth e imminent release threatening destruction or change My body trembling beneath the promise of decompression Broken by the mutiny of someone else’s revolution

Holding It All Together, Lina Garada, Photography



Sitting at a red light, the paint on the car beside me catches me off guard, the windows graffiti-ed with words that will not be washed away. e date, in what was once maroon, has faded to a crackling dried-blood red in a gruesome reminder of where we’ve been. ere is a name, painted on the back window, and I feel a connection to someone I don’t know, someone I won’t know, and to the girl who smiles as she drives right by. She looks happy and I wonder who she is, who he was to her, how she gets from day to day. I wonder if he sat in that car, if he held the steering wheel that she now runs her hands over in a familiar motion, if he changed the radio station and held her hand, both of them laughing in that same small space. In my mind’s eye, I watch her carefully write the letters and date she knows so well, tears falling as she does, staking a claim and promising to never forget, the way we all have done.


î “rough dark fen and dense fog, by frigid night and freezing rain, I wander on fatigues and weak, dragged down by bitter pain. My eyes are lashed by stinging winds but if my eyes were not, Still I would cry, and still would I let fall where all else rots, A trail of life- small beads to burn bright and light the dark.

A cow named Caramel waited on a melting hill, shining snow festooned with red Camellias like a festival whose clipped grass odors floated like childhood memories. Mooing


and squishing mud, Caramel stood apart, her two brown spots shaped like Texas and Africa, waiting for the farmer whose cobbled wooden cart rolled over the sticky dirt and whose hands so often stroked Caramel’s fur, not even aware that Caramel waited for his touch.

Peeking Out, Holly Ann Nicholson, Photography

Charlottesville Stairwells MARK LAWRENCE EARLEY, JR.

the stairs pushed up hard against my backside the walls a pale, smoked yellow with small bumps masquerading the device heated my hair, ear and burned into my head and left my hand clammy as she cried my eyelids pinched together as two magnets my breath was hot and moist enveloping my thumb and forefinger the scratch and quiver of my voice annoyed and goaded me an arm was down my throat the fist pumping expanding and contracting the cold replaced the warmth, but I was still hot the brick replaced the walls, but it was still hard my brother replaced the phone, but I still couldn’t speak he crackled and recoiled I motioned, unhelpfully, non-descript he opened, I opened, bit what was said explain to him something explain to me something the silence, the only accurate thing.

Jewish Museum In Berlin, Erik James Stange, Photography

As Long As You Don’t Like Argyle JACQUELINE LAMB

A simple phrase, “I like your shoes,” he says. I am sitting cross-legged on a bench outside the middle school where I sit and read everyday, but I’ve never seen him before. He likes my shoes though, and I must say he has good judgment. Now, had he chosen something dumb (like my marshmallow coat or peacock earrings), I probably wouldn’t bother to explore conversation. But to notice and appreciate my navy blue Chuck Taylors—now that intrigues me enough to grant an eye-lift off the page of Anna Karenina. “ank you,” I say. is boy seems to be a fan of plaid. At least, he’s wearing a red plaid shirt and also holding two or three similar ones. “I like your plaid,” I say. is statement is somewhat true. I do like plaid, though I’m not sure what I think about an abundance of it. “ank you,” he says, and continues on with standing. I continue on with sitting, and after a moment passes without any occurrence worth attending to, my focus is back with Tolstoy. A few sentences later, I look up to see that my plaid visitor has left, extra shirts clutched to his chest. I uncross my legs, then re-cross them. One thing I really appreciate about this bench is the smoothness of the wood; I’ve never once been inconvenienced with a splinter. It’s such a kind bench, of a brown nearly the same shade as my hair (which makes me think we are of the same family). No matter how tired I am after the school day, I come here, and the atmosphere always feels like morning newness. Sometimes I swear I can even taste the happy nausea of daybreak in my throat, with that impression of sticky sleepiness still tugging across my eyelids. I’ll open a book and awake in a new world,

forgetting the dreary drip of school. e bench sits to the side of the school, framed by a few lumps of forgotten shrubbery. It’s a pretty contrast against the brick of the school wall, kind of like a disheveled Christmas display that no one has cared to look at for a very long time. ere’s a path that moseys its way in front, and, sometimes, I’ll see people walking by. Usually it’s not highly-frequented, though (or maybe I’m too busy frequenting fictional landscapes to notice). He shows up the next day, too. “No plaid today,” I say, observing his charcoal-colored shirt, and he shakes his head, shifting from one foot to the other. “What’s your name?” he asks, and I tell him. “Margaret,” he says. en again. “Margaret,” as if my name is a great new theory to be contemplated. “May I walk you home when you’re done reading?” A pause to slow my spinning thoughts. “What if I’m not going home?” I ask. I’m not rude about it, but I do think it is a legitimate point. After all, I could be sitting here waiting for a ride. I could have big plans to skip through the soccer field later. “I guess I didn’t think that through,” he says. “Maybe you don’t have a home. Some people don’t.” Fascinating. Although I certainly do have a home, it is a valid possibility. I smile a little just because I’m so amused with the idea of being homeless. e boy attempts a few smooth head-nods as he leaves my reading zone, nodding away like a broken robot.

e next day my eyes are scanning sentences, but my mind is attuning to every foot-shuffle and grass blade-shift in the vicinity. Sure enough, he bumbles by on the path after a few minutes, charcoal-topped like the day before. His eyes are set on some fixture straight ahead, but I can tell by his stride that he is very much aware of my presence here on the reading bench. “I do have a home!” I say, and he stops his bumbling to absorb my sentence. “Hello Margaret,” he says, feet changing direction. “Hello... you.” “Ervin,” he says.

“Well, let me walk you home today,” he says. “How about tomorrow,” I say, though I’m not sure why. “Okay.” He bumbles back to the path, and I notice a scrap of plaid material peeking through the opening in his knapsack. e next day he is wearing that same charcoal-colored shirt again. “Are you ready to walk?” he asks. My Chuck Taylor feet are ready. So we bumble on together. My house isn’t too far; a few blocks past aspiring forests, a leap over criss-crossing railroad tracks. Soon we are going down sidewalks sparkling of suburban glory.


“Do you read on that bench everyday?” he asks.

“Yes.” My plaid-loving friend has quite the name.

“Yes, but only every day that is a weekday,” I say.

More standing on his end, more sitting on mine. It’s not the kind of silence that makes you want to start fidgeting and adjusting your clothes. More the type that makes you curious about what’s to happen next. We both inhale at the same time, ready to offer a phrase to the encroaching quietness. en, there is the simultaneous laugh-chuckle that follows. en, another sharp inhale and coinciding syllable utterance. What an offbeat verbal rhythm. en, finally. “I’m glad to hear you have a home,” says Ervin. “I wouldn’t know what to say to you if you didn’t.” “Yes.” Maybe a full-sentence response would have been more encouraging to this exchange.

“Maybe I’ll sit and read with you sometime.” is idea pokes at my armor somewhat. “Maybe you will,” I say, because sure, there is a chance that he will (in the vast blurry spectrum of potential future events). My head feels like a bowling ball. After all, Ervin seems to have a thing for plaid—and who knows what else? Maybe argyle, too. ere is certainly no room on my reading bench for anyone with a penchant for argyle. e next day is not a weekday, and neither is the following one. On Sundays, I wake up sometimes with a surge of immediacy, usually corresponding with a jump out of bed that propels me towards my closet. I’ll find a dress

out of the filed like row of clothes and comb my hair before hiding it away in a braid. By this point, my mother is awake, having surfaced from the sinking water bed where she sleeps alone each night. I’ll wait until she has anchored herself in the kitchen before emerging to brush my teeth in the hall bathroom. When she’s buried in a clatter of pot-banging and cabinet-scouring, it is usually safe to duck outside, and so, unconstrained by motherly inquiries, I’ll find my way to that path. Days like this one make me think I could be religious. e expansiveness of the world around me dispels any semblance of claustrophobic space (where burdens generally like to thrive). As I walk downhill, I approach the humble Catholic church. ere are round stones leading up to the door and in my head, I skip from each one to the next like stepping stones in a pond. rough the door into the much-darker sanctuary, I always choose a seat in the very back row. One time there were no seats, and I didn’t know what to do; so, I just pivoted around and walked the path back home. I wasn’t angry or anything; I have no defined place there. I just like to show up now and then because of osmosis, because I really just want some spirituality to diffuse in and fill me up. Today there is a space for me, so I climb over a few sets of knees and a cherry purse to fill the vancant seat. Father Gunter is a jovial man, with pleasant figural outlines and nothing angular about his face. Maybe he worked as a shopping mall Santa Claus before his righteous days; if so, he has since trimmed the beard, but other than that, he is still all that is merry and jolly. e sanctuary lays itself out in the form of an expanded square, with an absence of ninety-degree angles. e walls balloon from the corners, pushing to break free, and the result

is a feeling of openness that can really be quite terrifying sometimes, especially when the service makes you feel particularly guilty. (Another reason why I like to sit in the back.) By now, Mass is getting through its planned sequence of events. Father Gunter rises to deliver the homily, and I am hoping very much that it will be something good (not conscience-abusing) today. “God is our Father,” he begins and continues on to develop this four-word concept. God is the perfect father, he knows us better than any other father could, he has fought the evil forces of sin to adopt us. He will never leave us as our earthly fathers might. Now it is time for all designated Catholics to rise and partake of the holy supper. is means I sit here un-shielded, humming to myself while the others rustle by for crumbling bread and inexpensive wine at the front. To expedite this business, I usually turn to the pre-planned daydreams I’ve thought up beforehand. But today, there is no need for mindfilling. e service ends, and I stand up, stranded for a few minutes as those around me turn about and sort through their jackets and things. We all shuffle through the great, oak door and sunlight slaps our faces. God is our Father. He will never leave us. e phrases boil about my thoughts in my overactive teakettle of a head. Such abstract concepts; but they are beautiful ones, touching a smiling place often shrouded in my soul. e day after Sunday, and it is raining. An unfortunate occurrence of nature that loves to wedge itself in and disrupt my prose adventures. So Tuesday now, and Ervin appears with a book in hand. No more charcoal, the plaid is back. “e plaid is back,” I say, and his face becomes a strawberry. He looks down at the intersecting lines as if he

forgot he had chosen them that morning. “Yes... I didn’t mean... well…” What a strange boy. My book is closed now, and I’m staring at him. “Plaid... yes...” he says, but I am noticing his clementine colored hair, his eyes that remind me of my rusted metal bike in the corner of our garage. Usually I am not the type to care much when others are drowning in squirming speech. But Ervin is starting to become like the familiar railroad tracks I know, so I save him from his stuttering. Even though it is clear he wants to invade my reading bench, I say, “I see you brought a book.” But then, “Yes, it’s for you.” He displays the treasure. “I noticed you’re almost finished with that one.” He hands the gift to me, a novel by Kundera, and invisible pressures begin to pinch at my vocal cords. Although words of thanks fill my head, I know there is no sound in the cave of my throat to become even a feeble utterance. I nod my head like an approving drill sergeant. Ervin kicks at nothing and a strobelight smile flashes on the corners of his mouth. “What’s with the plaid?” I ask. ese words fall out with ease, with no obstructions in the passageway from thought to lips to sound. But then he leaves, bumbling back to the path. His tall figure shrinks and shrinks until he disappears behind a tree in the aspiring forest. I get the strange feeling that my reading bench has expanded, and I wish very much that there were just a simple park chair in its place. I see him going by the next day, and I know it’s my cue for a statement. He has gone back to his charcoal top (but shirts seem better left unmentioned). “Hello!” I say. Absorbing this word, his feet change direction. I’m weary already of inventing speech, but here is a second cue for something. So my apology for being plaid-nosy translates into a shift on the bench, and I allow him to sit next to me.

Ervin, now-beside-me, unfolds a ragged photograph from his pocket and offers it to my gaze. A man and a young boy, standing together in front of a ladder. Gleaming helmets, tools, and spacious smiles. Both of them wearing plaid. “is was my father,” says Ervin. How miniscule the bench is, seeming insufficient to hold the discomfiture. “My plaid...” he says. “I know it’s strange... my mom says I need to stop, and I try...” “You miss him.” “Yes.” In times of loneliness, I’ve often wished the bench could be a friend. Now I wish the same for Ervin, that my dear bench could swallow him up and hold him in sturdy wooden arms. I don’t have a gift for healing hearts. I don’t know how to bandage soul-deep abrasions. “God is a father who will never leave,” I say. Stolen words that have nestled in my being—and maybe they belong here? He goes on with his sitting, and I go on with my sitting, too. It’s the kind of silence that you plead with in your head to go away and return another time. “anks,” says Ervin, and his rusty eyes say, I know about you. A harsh breeze surprises the moment, the aspiring forest swaying and aching with our revelations. Ervin slides over on the bench to set a steady arm around my shoulders then yelps, springing up a little. He bends and finds the cause of the sudden pain: a splinter burrowed in the skin behind his knee. We go back to sitting, his arm around me, my head not (yet) on his shoulder. In the distance, just before the sparkling sidewalks, a train rumbles about on the criss-crossing railroad tracks.

An Altered View, Holly Anne Nicholson, Photography

Wait, Timothy Mullins, Digital Art

I Remember Her by Our Saddest Moments

GRAHAM WYNINGS I remember her by out saddest moments Like, when I realized we would never kiss again and she said, “yeah.” Or when I thought her hair was beautiful and she did not listen. She cut it short and I thought that was beautiful too. Often we met by the pond, pretending chance brought us separately. Among lily pads and soft willow trees, we sometimes talked. other times we just held hands. Once we stretched ourselves along the asphalt and drew pictures in the sky. I could not see the butterfly I pointed out. Most of all I remember that Valentine’s day: the rose I painted for her the bucket of words she gave to me Magnetic, attracted to me, and me to them for the first time and ever after. Now it sits on my fickle desk like a poem. Like all my poems, Hers but she doesn’t know. I hope she never does– these days I panic under the stars’ massive weights and hide in empty sheets of my bed. ey’re cold but they were not always so. Nor will they always be.

Snorkel Splash, Travis Church, Photography

Post Shining Path, Glenn Sorrentino, Photography

Mary ALISHA SCOTT Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, smoking cigarettes. Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, Mary, don’t you need a light? I can see her watching the cars go by on that bridge that looks so far away, and I know how she longs to be a night passenger instead of a driver through the blinding day. And I can tell that she wears all of her scars like electric lightning in the twilight. How I wish I knew what she could blame, but it’s these same phantoms that I fight. Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, smoking cigarettes. Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, Mary, don’t you need a light? e air is growing crisper every passing hour and the cold shore is closing in on her bare feet. It’s New Years Day now but the only way she knows is by the echoes drifting in from the street. Maybe it’s time she should go back inside to where the ocean’s glitter can’t provoke hidden memories. I know how she likes to dwell on these things, but I can see a piece of her floating out to sea. Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, letting go of her regrets. Mary’s sitting by the bay tonight, Mary, don’t give up the fight.

Quenching the Summer, Holly Ann Nicholson, Photography


He screams in terror when Dark forces pry him from his mother’s panicked grasp. His face is blushed red, an apple carved sad, trapped. Forms of dank prisons, wood, boats. He lies still. On dark nights he dreams of Jungles and plains, he dreams of his mother, gone now. He sings work songs with the others, but at night He dreams of his freedom. Left behind. ey came in white, clouded. Later, much later, sails turn to sheets, chains to crosses. Whips and work without pay to terror, unequal rights. Soon it’s an insult to Ride the bus. Men come to speak, stand tall ey have marches, they have sits, but most of all, dreams. Now we have freedom, Roots hold strong but don’t divide. Once we traveled underground, off to Canada, Now we live in some peace. Black and white.

Pipes, Claire Holman, Photography

Handle with Care


e cow to me means the entire sub-human world, extending man’s sympathies beyond his own species. Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives...e cow is a poem of pity; one reads pity in the gentle animal. -Mahatma Gandhi

Determination marks her forehead— the blood red bindi and crimson sindoor flowing as a perennial creek bisecting her henna-dyed orange-brown and black hair. A carefully draped turmeric yellow sari ballons round her legs and she pulls Pulls back the thought of her banana tree trunk legs into oblivion. With her heart pulsating like a fledgling bird scared of its life, she shields the bone china cup cupped in her palms. Tender as a flower stalk the handle on the cup seems feminine. Off-white, edged in gold, weightless. It is heavy in her hand. e artist in his moment of divinity, ego-less, drew a few strokes and there appears a mantra: honey pink lilies, bend as she bends, over tender grass-green leaves. A partner in her antiquity, the bone china tea set arrived two decades ago with her. She, a virgin bride, the set celibate. Complete. Carefully layered beneath crumpled accounts of the globe, it was guarded beyond a single crack. Made in Sri Lanka transported to India and with her to USA, it was only special people who toyed with its celibacy. Cool to touch, its translucence and off-whiteness talks to her in its nirvanic stance of intactness. Careful, with soft linen she touches her fine thin fingers to each

of the set in a buffing act. It is the time for a befitting guest to taste tea in the size of the closed tulip, the bone china. e eyelids of this special guest are like curtains without ripples, with a wheatish skin tone, at 4 feet 8 he stands tight and slim. As he holds the cup, she fears what if he dropped and cracked it beyond repair. He takes a sip, places the cup atop the transparent glass table top, clears his throat, “You know...” I know the cup “No. Yes. is cup has powdered ox bones that make it strong.” Bits of her beamed into the broken brittle.

Staff Staff HALI PLOURDE-ROGERS Editor-in-Chief LANA TANG Poetry Editor SUZANNE WATKINS Prose Editor JEFF ANDERSON Fine Art Editor KALYN SAYLOR Photography Editor MATT BRUBAKER Graphic Designer JARED CLIFTON Assistant Graphic Designer MELISSA BRICE Production Manager TIRNA SINGH Webmaster KATIE FALLON Faculty Adviser


JENNA WOLFE Business Manager JENNIFER JOHNSON Special Events Coordinator ELIZABETH MCCLENDON Communication Director KATI ANN LEONBERGER Distribution Manager JESSIE RAUDALES-PERDOMO Promotions Director DANIEL DOWNING

Alumni Relations Manager

ELIZABETH COLE Public Relations MONICA ALVANO General Staff ALEXANDRA FORD General Staff


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