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Nation Ford High School Volume 12 2019


Volume 12 : 2019 A publication of Nation Ford High School 1400 A.O. Jones Blvd. Fort Mill, SC 29715 Phone 803-835-0000 Fax 803-835-0010

Soaring High, Amanda Cordle

Cover Art: Distant Romance Watercolor & Ink, Maggie Rumsey


Blown Away, Genevieve Stokes



istant swirling galaxies. Vast impenetrable darkness. Innumerable uncharted planets. What is more unconquered than space? We are. Within each one of us is a galaxy of our own, filled -- not with revolving planets or radiant stars -- but with stories and dreams. Despite the trials we encounter or demons we face, our minds are, and will remain, invicta – unconquered. This magazine is about what it means to be human and all the pain and beauty that comes with it. We may lose loved ones, become enslaved to fear, make mistakes, or feel alone, but with time, we can overcome and once again be joyful. We will once again be at peace. Through imagination, Invicta takes readers on a redemptive journey. Writing is a means to escape but also a way to face the past and present darkness. As you read, we hope you discover that humans have within them unyielding spirits which cling tenaciously to the promise of tomorrow. If nothing else, we hope that the stories in this magazine allow you to feel a little less alone. Sincerely, Amanda Cordle Editor-in-Chief


Art & Photos Genevieve Stokes, Tunnel Vision..........6 Marie Duprez, Chances..........9 Marie Duprez. Fake Jewely.........10


Jiya Benton, Skull..........13 Katherine Kaczmarski, Ancient Camelia.........14 Amanda Cordle, Redemption..........17 Amanda Cordle, Giant..........19 Sophie Pollock, Pocket Watch..........20 Lindsey Blumenfeld, Faithfully Caged..........22 Tate Cobb, Rusted Eden..........24 Natalie Gallo, Serenade..........27


Natalie Gallo, Bubbling With Joy..........28 Genevieve Stokes, Blade Grass..........30 Marie Duprez, Too Cute..........33 Sophie Pollock, Funny Faces..........34 Jeremy Willoughby, Lake at Sunset..........36 Anna Leach, Ursa Major ..........38 Joshua Cacciatore, Gondola Ride..........40 Marie Duprez, Toy Story..........42 Katherine Kaczmarski, Self Portrait with Cello..........45


Natalie Gallo, Luminous Mist..........47 John Williams, Stork-legged..........48 Maggie Rumsey, Back Home..........50 Sabrina King, Paper Heart..........53

Tate Cobb, Suspended..........55

Voices Policy


Voices, the literary magazine of Nation Ford High School, is produced by the Creative Writing classes. All students enrolled at the school may submit as many works as they choose. Those pieces are then selected by the magazine editors. The editors select art and photography on the basis of quality and suitability for the magazine. The Voices staff reserves the right to edit manuscriptsfor clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation. The ideas expressed by the writers and artists are not necessarily those of Nation Ford High School or the Voices staff.

Table of Contents Writing

Halcyon, Cigarettes..........7 Dylan Howington, Spring Cleaning..........8 La Escritora, The Lie..........10 Claude Hejl, The Working Dead..........12 Gilbert Davis, Claustrophobia..........13 Alexandra Cordona, Ode to a Middle Aged Woman’s Purse..........14 Justice Wehrmeyer, After Sunset..........15 Joshua Cacciatore, Prayer Card in My Wallet..........16 Matt Krebs, Superman..........18 Tate Cobb, Spinning..........20 Charlotte Pollack, Becoming..........20 Anna Cogbill, Porcelain..........21 Josephine Clark, Fate or Mistake..........22 Calanthe Torn, Learning to Pray..........24 Megan Bouchard, Pray for the Wicked..........26 Trinity Hansen, Hidden Strength..........28 Jessica Vanderwalker, Trash Out Front..........30 Anna Cogbill, Sunshine Personified..........32 Amber Kodell, What Won’t Wash Away..........36 Alex Hatcher, Mercury..........38 Anna Leach, Lord of the Arctic..........39 Amanda Cordle, Bay of Dreams..........40 Josephine Clark, Drifiting Away..........40 Ethan Reid, One Last Journey..........42 Elizabeth Reynolds, Little Thief..........45 JC Hope, Fireflies..........46 Erik Ortiz, Fear Less..........46 Trinity Sutton, Kingfisher..........49 Arthur Weeks, Remembering Lucerne..........50 Makayla Larson, So Much More..........53 Evie Tilley, Eyes of the Beholder..........54 Amanda Cordle, Sonnet for the Impassioned..........54 Colophon, Patrons, & Staff..........56

Tunnel Vision, Genevieve Stokes


Cigarettes Halcyon

Mom’s diseased coughs and wheezes we hear from inside the squad car. She inhales the guilt — tasting the bitter shame of a felony. Swallowing her pride, she exhales a wave of unclean gray. Breathe in. Breathe out. My sister inhales the loss of her torturous custody battle — the menthol filling the void where her son used to be. She exhales cesspools. Breathe in. Breathe out. My best friend inhales corruption — the remnants of her innocence stubbed out in an ashtray. Her childhood blows away like ashes in the wind. Nicotine makes her forget, and she forgot about me. She exhales murky smoke — right past me. Breathe in. Breathe out. I hold my breath — the second-hand destruction surrounds my head until the smoke dissipates. I exhale clean relief, but the stench lingers on my clothes and hair. I choke anyways.


Spring Cleaning


Dylan Howington

pril showers of Lysol, the ones they had hidden before the rain Febreeze, and endless brought them to the surface. scented candles. The blueWhy were they forgotten? Were they eyed soulfulness of George left to be stepped on, ran over with the Michael blasted from our mower, or thrown in a neighborhood television as my mother opened the wingame of cops-and-robbers? Where were dows. Clouds of dust from dumping the these forgetful squirrels? vacuum bag hit my half-awake There were acorns of a sort in my house, face. Everything lost was too -- acorns that no now uncovered, having They hid under the light rain could uncover. not seen the light of day They hid under the stove, stove, in the attic, since last May. in the attic, under the Navigating through washer. They made me under the washer. the maze of furniture, I not want to clean -- those They made me found my way outside. cracked red caps and the The dirt was soft from not want to clean – contents now gone bad. yesterday’s storm and the What they held was nevthose cracked red er good to begin with. rocks at the runoff are loose. It was common When my mother caps and the practice for my neighwent through the house, contents bors and me to lift them she sometimes found and see what crawled them. They were hidden now gone bad. underneath. You could from us when we were say my mother was doing the same inside, kids -- and hidden a second time after she but what she found was worse. Longwould find them. But then, as we got older, necked critters with translucent shells could they piled up in the trash. We could hear be found under every piece of furniture -them clang together like a bell as she took but they didn’t bite, or crawl, or make you them outside -- a sound I still hate to this scream. day. If you looked in the distance, you could At times I would find them. I liked see the waves of humidity rise off of the busting them in the woods. There are still pavement. Yesterday’s rain began to empties like the shells of discarded nuts evaporate. All that was left were acorns everywhere behind my house. -- thousands of acorns spread across my They’re all gone now – at least in all of neighbor’s yard, so many in one place that the places I care to look. Our fidgety, forhe couldn’t even grow grass. We’d see the getful squirrel hides them somewhere else squirrels run aimlessly, hoping to collect now. It makes cleaning easier.

Chances, oolored pencil, Marie Duprez


Fake Jewely, colored pencil, Marie Duprez

But it doesn’t matter if you live near a sewage plant or in a castle, life isn’t about the prestige of high social class. Life is about the happiness in ourselves that makes us powerful.


The Lie

La Escritora

umid air dampens my lungs. Beads with only three bedrooms and two bathrooms. of sweat cling to my shirt. On the To have a high social status is an addiction, a patio with a view of a Lake Wylie, monster, an illusion. the water drains brown sewage. The Green bills and three-story houses were not vivid green grass shrivels in the cool only our dream, but also a living nightmare. It will breeze. The children around me grip their phones, not be until we are living in a mansion, sipping mindlessly scrolling, while hummingbirds drink from champagne with the white, rich kids that my brightly colored feeders. mother will be at peace. I can hear the laughter of parents and their No matter how many times we adorn the friends as they drink wine from the vineyards of kitchen and bathrooms of our house with Madrid, vintage 1961. The children discuss their expensive tile, no matter the amount of clothes parents careers. Going down the line, their voices that no longer fit from Nike, Kate Spade, or Ralph high in pride, they tell each other: Polo in our closet, no matter the number of extra “My father’s a doctor and my mother’s an jobs my mom gets to earn more money — none engineer.” of it will ever be enough in her eyes. “My parents are both doctors.” She doesn’t understand the debt we’ll “My mom is a CEO at a firm.” accumulate from spending It was a lie. A lie When it gets to my sister and money we don’t have, the me, our eyes fall to the floor and dream that will eventually hit that was a rule my our faces blush red – but not rock bottom. That sometimes mother made for from the heat. “Well my dad I imagine a foreclosure sign works in homeland security and on our house, or that I am us. A law. Broken, it my mom is a... she doesn’t have afraid that if I spend one would be a travesty a job.” more penny, we will be It was a lie. A lie that was a eaten by the bank, or that I to her. rule my mother made for us. A wonder if we can afford to law. Broken, it would be a travesty to her. pay for college. She wasn’t drinking the special wine from Addiction goes beyond drugs or alcohol. It is Madrid made in 1961. No, she was cooking the something that makes people desire and want food, cleaning the plates, and throwing out the more and more of something even if they have trash. She cleaned their rooms and made their beds. enough. Addiction is a sickness that is planted in She came to Mrs. Mauris’ house every other week our society. A disease that brainwashes the mind to bleach her toilets and vacuum her rugs. into thinking that the amount of zeros on your From the time we were five, my mother taught net value is your identity. my sister and I to lie about her job. Once parents But it doesn’t matter if you live near a sewage began to stick their noses into children’s business, plant or in a castle, life isn’t about the prestige of my mother knew that we had to learn. high social class. Life is about the happiness in “When they ask about what I do for work, you ourselves that makes us powerful, how we live tell them I don’t work. I stay in the house, nothing our lives — not how much we earn. else. Understand?” The desire for wealth is an addiction that Though her words blurred from Spanish to can only be cured with personal happiness English, we understood her command. She came and health. Money is paper with power. It can home every day with the tips of her fingers cut and easily collapse and burn, but is the basis of our dry, her shirt splotched with bleach. Her arthritis foundation as humans. kept her from moving without pain. Money is only important because we put While we lied. value into it. We think that the number of zeros There was no pride in house cleaning. It was a on a paycheck dictates self-worth. disgrace, like the one-story cottage that we own Our real addiction should be pure happiness.

The Working Dead


Claude Hejl

iv has never been in love with the job, but as converted hangar on the edge of the town. Mr. Schmidt the clock creeps closer to the halfway point of claims he got it for cheap and the contractor was a friend her shift – 2 a.m. – she’s getting tired of brewing of his wife’s brother’s cousin-in-law’s college friend who more coffee and writing new scripts for the did the renovations for even less. Viv tested the paint for callers. There are copies to make too, and Mr. lead once. She thinks she’ll send it into DHEC if Mr. Schmidt Schmidt’s been on vacation down in Cancun all week, so ever gets it into his head that he should fire her. She’s his Viv’s got to fake his signature so the paychecks can go out first mate, after all. The captain is supposed to go down on time on Friday and no one makes it up in their mind to with her. start a witch hunt. She daydreams about Schmidt Pharmaceuticals getting The office has never run better. shut down while spinning in her desk chair. She thinks he * * * would try to go down in a blaze of glory, digging out the Three in the morning means Viv’s ‘lunch’ break, so she’s Glock everyone knows is in his desk drawer and yelling in the break room chugging the burnt coffee left in the obscenities at cops. FBI agents, maybe; even if none of pot. She’s pretty sure it’s the generic from Costco and that the drugs were ever shipped, the callers were still ringing someone is just reusing a bag of grounds from Starbucks, up numbers from as far away as Hawaii and draining but it’s better than nothing. She found a crushed granola grandmothers’ retirement accounts indiscriminately. bar in the bottom of her purse, and there’s some notViv felt guilty until she got her first paycheck. She treated completely molding fruit on the counter with no name herself to Frosted Flakes, instead of some generic, store attached - so she scarfs it all down. brand cereal that tastes worst Someone from the cleaning than Raisin Bran looks. Now, she’s Viv tested the paint crew was vacuuming the office the one calling in employees who next to hers, so she sits on her aren’t making enough sales. That, for lead once. She thinks phone a little longer than she she feels almost guilty about, but should. Marnie used to eat with it’s nearing the end of November she’ll send it into DHEC her, show her pictures of her kids and Viv likes the idea of turning and the family dog Huxtable, the heater on. She’s sure they if Mr. Schmidt ever gets but since Viv made the switch to do, too, when half of them have nights, it’s just her, the cleaning kids and the other half aren’t it into his head that he crew, whoever is still trying to meet particularly fond of hypothermia. their quota, and whoever is on the * * * should fire her. rotation to help Viv set up for the Five a.m. and Viv is checking next prescription once a month. her email for what feels like the She doesn’t miss days anymore, except when she’s the hundredth time when one pops up from Mr. Schmidt. She only one in the convenience store during an Earl Grey run considers ignoring it – the last four have been about his or the sun seems like it’s been gone for close to forever. vacation, some massage he got, and the way a girl looked It’s easier to stay in her little too-bright, too-cramped studio in her swimsuit on the beach while suntanning. when she’s got the consistent night manager pay instead She puts it off for five minutes before her curiosity gets of the faulty number of calls-to-call length ratio and trying her. It could be an urgent warning about another raid, to meet quotas and trying to get enough overtime so she or that someone tripped one of the door alarms, and can afford to eat. she needs to check it. Of course, when it’s just her, it will So nights are nice, even if she spends too much time be hard to shred everything in time. Callers usually have hunched over an industrial shredder. The one pro is that a script for the current drugs in their desks and on their she’s used it so many times she doesn’t get her hair caught computers. Without someone from IT, Viv can only do half in it anymore when she was getting rid of records of the job. Anegersian™, Clinically Proven to Treat Erectile Dysfunction The email is a picture of his fruity cocktail at some Without a Prescription!, before an FDA raid. The fact that beachside bar, illuminated by beer-bottle-shaped lights. It’s she doesn’t get hazard pay any more, as little as it was, is 4 a.m. there. less cool but livable. She shuts down her computer and locks the office up * * * tight. By 4 o’clock, she’s the only one left in the office – a Maybe she’ll see the sun tomorrow.

Claustrophobia Gilbert Davis

/,klôstrəˈfōbēə/ Noun


fear of spaces small enough to become captured in and too tiny to hide the revelation of what you’ve done to earn such a confined coffin

Skull, charcoal Jiya Benton

Ode to a Middle Aged Woman’s Purse Alexandra Cardona


orn-torn brown leather, stretched lines along the straps, gold chain turned to silver rust, skin caught on the zipper, dainty finger painting stains on the right hand pocket, chewed gum wrapped in scraps of paper, expired coupons in a ripped plastic bag, baby wipes in dried balls (good for random pit stops) toothbrush with last night’s dinner between bristles, cracked sunglasses from Bahamas 1999, fabric lining -- stained with black ink -- a sanctuary for littered bobby pins and hairbands, Advils that don’t help the pain, last resort tampons, receipts from your last spa visit which was 15 years ago, melted chapstick that your babies used as Play-Doh, a cigarette left in the hidden a pocket since you quit smoking 10 years ago -- but you think you might start again, a half-eaten granola bar from five months ago, mascara that is not waterproof, a condom you put in the pocket five years ago after your “spring fling” with your husband, used tissues stuffed at the bottom that you can’t throw away because then you will admit you have a problem, unsteady eyeliner, a small notepad with only a few used pages, cracked iPhone, hand lotion with no cap, a half-empty water bottle, a romance novel that sometimes gives you hope, a membership card to a gym you never visit, small Band-Aids that never cover the entire cut, allergy eye drops, pepper spray bottle you’re afraid to use, 50 SPF sunscreen, tattered magazine with dog eared pages on the places you would like to go.

Ancient Camellia, Katherine Kaczmarski

After Sunset


Justice Wehrmeyer

n orange, fiery glow beholds the slowly darkening sky with accents of yellow, pink, and red. A watercolor painting is messy, but we call it art You spill water onto my painting and the colors run together to create a canvas of black.

The Prayer Card In My Wallet


Joshua Cacciatore

he prayer card in the pocket of my wallet, worn from its trip through the wash, wears patches of white where bright blues, reds and greens once resided. In its suit of packing tape, the card shines like the sun. Illuminating the words on the back, In memory of Daniel Cacciatore, the man with one blind eye who loved all that is edible, the cinematic masterpiece “My Cousin Vinny,” and above all else, telling stories – stories of his youth, tales of innocence. Then he struggled to remember my name but never forgot those stories. He’d recite them as if each time was the first, and all the while, his eyes would shine, a mostly toothless grin stretching across his wrinkled face. I never told him I had heard them all before -I just listened. That’s why when the happiest man I’ve ever known broke down and cried in his Lazy Boy, I was shaken to my core. His hair, in patches of white, frizzled from holding his head in his hands. His memories became merely remnants, remnants that couldn’t be patched with packing tape. He still told those stories that brought him so much joy, the same stories now cemented in my brain as legends. Like the stories, the prayer card stays with me, a memento in the pocket of my wallet, until I pass the legend on.

Redemption, Amanda Cordle

Then he struggled to remember my name but never forgot those stories. 19


M Matt Krebs

failure, arterial clogging, lung complications. He would y dad was Superman. Sure, he was a 6 foot be flown out the next day in a helicopter to Piedmont and 2 inch, bald, beer-bellied FedEx driver, but nonetheless — Martin was Superman. He Orthopedic Hospital. The thudding of the chopper was drowned out by was always home early and always helped panic as we followed him to the next hospital, watching as my sister and me with our homework. He wasn’t perfect. He smoked and drank and had a gruff voice he was being carried away once again. The worst part was that my dad didn’t look like himself. that matched his goatee. He often got us into trouble, but All the fluids, drugs, and everything else made him look to my family, he was Superman. bloated, like an infected zombie from a video game. He My dad woke up at 4 a.m., got ready for work, and left was discolored. His weathered skin was various hues to do deliveries around five. He was off work by noon, of red, yellow, orange, and blue, colors unnatural to his and when I got home, he was napping in his chair, tanned complexion. legs propped up on the ottoman. He was everything to I remember spending the next night there at the us, a short-order cook, a reader, a coach, a husband, a hospital, somehow ending up watching episodes of “1000 father. His gruff voice got me kicked out of an after-school program once, but that’s okay. I got to ride in the front seat Ways To Die,” including one about how a boss locked his employee in a freezer, and how one woman’s heart of his Saturn with him for the first time afterwards. exploded after drinking an unhealthy amount of caffeine. My dad was Superman. If I ever had a nightmare, I It terrified me — I ran into another room to find cartoons could always run to his room and sleep between him and Mom in their queen-sized bed. And I often did this because playing in the early morning, just like when Dad woke me up on Mondays to watch TV. I found comfort between them. The people who tried talking One night, while I was with to me and consoling me faded. them, my dad woke up past My dad was Superman. The visitors in the waiting room, midnight. Yet it wasn’t four, and he wasn’t leaving for work. He If I ever had a nightmare, I could the doctors by the bedside, the words they said, all of it woke up clutching his chest, faded into the background. trying to be quiet. He was always run to his room and The diagnosis, the wishes, Superman. He couldn’t get hurt. the I’m sorrys never caught He was Superman. He was sleep between him and Mom in my attention. They couldn’t clutching at his chest, wheezing, be talking to me. My dad was panicking. While Mom was their queen-sized bed. Superman. The hugs and tears calling emergency services, and apologies, they didn’t stick she asked me to help him get — unlike the feeling of the cold downstairs. hospital, or the unsettling bright lights of the hospital, never I dragged him past Sam’s room. At nine–years–old I wasn’t even up to his shoulders, so it was a struggle to help knowing if it’s day or night. Family and friends. Sam’s softball coaches and Dad’s him down the stairs. I made it to the kitchen counter-top coworkers - people close to us visited. I don’t remember where we rarely ate, and I couldn’t help him anymore. I their names, and I can’t recall their faces. I sunk into a shell. tried and tried but I couldn’t. I wasn’t able to hold him up. Even though I was surrounded by people who cared, it felt He slipped out of my arms and crashed into the corner of as if I only had books for company. the counter. I failed. I never said goodbye, never said I love you one last time. The paramedics put Dad on a stretcher and rolled him I was stuck in denial that this could ever happen to us. To out to the ambulance. Sam and Mom were crying as the me. My life wasn’t supposed to be a sob story, it wasn’t ambulance rushed to the hospital. We all hurried into Mom’s new Sonata and chased after supposed to be an untouched subject that made people uncomfortable on holidays, that estranged me from my them, going 80 in a 50, streaking down the highway. The pain of not knowing what was wrong, not knowing friends. I was supposed to be a normal kid. I never said goodbye, and I will regret that. I talked to how long it might take, and how much it might cost, made my mom about her regrets, how she never made him go it a long night. We spent Saturday at the hospital, heading to the doctor, how she never made him stop smoking, or home well after sunset. On Sunday, we were called at 3 never spoke up about his pain. a.m., the doctors telling us he was getting worse. But we never really knew that Superman could The doctors told us that he had to be moved. His health get hurt. was deteriorating. I overheard something about kidney Giant, Amanda Cordle

Spinning Tate Cobb

Lodestone and iron, a needle pointing North alone -one way, one destination, The compass engraved with my initials shows me who to be. From the time I was a child I’ve been claimed by a concept foreign to me. At age eight, I fell -the glass cracked and the form warped. As a child, I was handed a compass, its aim all wrong.

Becoming Charlotte Pollack

I read Anne Sexton in the dark because it isn’t what my sisters want to see. I am the worst type of lost cause. I am deception. An Honors student with an off-white attitude and A predisposition for argument, a love of being woman in a place where fathers apologize for our physical inferiority Instead of blessing us for our periods and the sad poetry we read when estrogen is high and serotonin is low. I am A poet and a reasonable feminist, something they call oxymoron. When I read my poetry on Sadness Strength and Self-love, why do they call it unbecoming instead of accepting me the way I am trying to accept myself?

Porcelain Anna Cogbill

No bigger than the pad of my thumb You lie curled Fast asleep in my palm. A glossy porcelain cat, The color of clouds with blue sky drizzled on your ears your nose your tail. Forged in flames but so delicate now that if I should d r o p You, throw you, c r u s h y o u, you would be dust instead of asleep, a fragment of peace a piece of the serenity you used to be.

Pocket Watch, Sophie Pollock


Fate or Mistake?


Faithfully Caged, graphite Lindsey Blumenfeld

Josephine Clark

y shoulder grew tired from carrying the grocery bags full of milk cartons. A brisk breeze hit my face as I watched a few leaves fall off of a maple tree, the first signs that fall was approaching. It was only a few blocks back to the little townhome that managed to house six kids along with our foster parents. Three of us didn’t even count as kids now that Jack and Alyssa are 16, and I’m 17. Let’s just say we go through groceries fast, but I’m always first to volunteer to go to the store to pick up more. I’ll take any excuse to get out of that chaotic house. As I walked forward at a sluggish pace, I heard the rhythmic noise of heels clicking on the concrete behind me. A woman hurried past, knocking my shoulder. She didn’t apologize and continued at a speedy space onward. I wasn’t bothered by it though. She was clearly in a rush to somewhere more important than the grocery and back. The clicking of her heels grew fainter as I

watched her strut farther down the block. Her blonde hair was pinned in a high bun, and her gray business suit fit her slender stature and contrasted the black heels she managed to effortlessly walk in. Suddenly, the woman bumped another man, and a small, black, leather wallet fell out of her blazer’s pocket onto the sidewalk. I expected the man to pick it up, but he kept strolling along, unaware, as did she. “Hey!” I shouted. “Excuse me! Ma’am!” She didn’t slow down. I picked up my pace to get to the wallet before anyone else did. But when I reached it, the woman had already crossed the street, and the cars roared past me under the green light. Ah, crap. I looked down at the wallet in my hands. It was real leather — nicer than anything I had ever owned, but I was going to return it to her. After I unloaded the groceries and made sure the house hadn’t gone to hell while I was gone, I went outside, the only place I’d have a little bit of privacy. I knew all my foster siblings would be nosy and force

me to keep the wallet and all the money inside for the her gray work suit but had thrown an apron over it family. “Finders keepers” they’d say. with splotches of tomato sauce across the front. sat down on the dusty brick steps that “Um, hi,” I said in a quivering voice. Suddenly, a tall led up to the back door and pulled the wallet man who looked to be in his late thirties appeared out of my pocket. I opened the front snap. It at the door. He wore blue jeans and a collared shirt was stacked with twenties, a Visa and Master and was holding a little boy in his arms. The little boy card, a Bed Bath and Beyond card, and… Ahhad the woman’s blonde hair and blue eyes and ha! A driver’s license. attempted to hide his shy smile in his dad’s shoulder. Name: Samantha Fetzner. Samantha Fetzner. No, I My eyes darted back and forth between Samantha, the thought to myself, There’s no way, but I couldn’t stop father, and the child. Look at this family, I thought. This my heart from beating faster. happy, perfect little family. I never knew who my dad was. All I know is that “Um...I just wanted to return this to you,” I said and he left my birth mom early in the pregnancy, so I’ve presented her wallet. “You dropped it on Blackwell always had my mom’s last name, Fetzner. I’m Johanna Street earlier today.” Fetzner. “Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed, placing her I know. There are plenty of people hand on her chest. “Thank you so out there who have the name “I had a chance, a much! I thought it had been stolen. Fetzner, but I couldn’t help but notice This so sweet of you.” she had the same pin-straight blonde “Oh no worries,” I said, forcing chance to meet my a smile. hair and blue eyes I have, and she She shook her head at her lives in New Jersey, where I was first husband as they chuckled in relief. mom, a chance to She looked back at me, suddenly put into adoption and where I’ve lived my whole life in foster care. taking notice that I was here, alone, in I had a chance, a chance to meet have some sort of the dark. my mom, a chance to have some “Gosh, you came all the way sort of family. But what would I even over here to give this to me. Can I family. But what say? What if she never wanted to give you a ride home? Where are see me again? I’ve spent my whole your parents?” My heart sunk to the would I even say?” ground. If only you knew, I thought. life being angry at this woman for leaving me with no family. But now, I But I couldn’t do it. just wanted to meet her. “No no, I don’t live far. My uh, my parents are I knew no one would notice if I was gone, but I left waiting around the block,” I said. a note on the counter anyways saying I had gone for “Well, here.” She took the credit cards and ID out a walk. of the wallet and handed it to me, full of cash. “I want I’d have to take the bus to get to the address on her you to have this - for your honesty. It’s the least I can license, the nice side of town. do,” Once I made it to the subdivision, I found my way “Really, it’s OK,” I refuse. to a large brick house with perfectly trimmed grass and “No, no, I insist. Please.” She forced the wallet into a driveway leading up to a two-car garage. A black my hands. I nodded appreciatively and thanked her, Lexus SUV sat in the driveway along with bins of chalk turning before she could ask any more questions. Tears and a blue razor scooter. Kids, I thought. I could hear welled in my eyes as I cut through the grass back onto my heart pounding in my chest as I gripped the wallet the street. in my sweaty hands. Don’t chicken out, I thought. I couldn’t do it. Not today. There’s a reason why Seventeen years...seventeen years you’ve waited. she didn’t want me. There’s a reason she hasn’t I walked up the steps to the door. It was almost contacted me in 17 years. Maybe her husband doesn’t dark outside now, and warm yellow light streamed even know. I would be such a burden, such a bomb out of the windows. My hand trembled as I reached blowing up in her perfect life. out to ring the doorbell. After some 30 seconds, the Maybe when I’m older, I’ll go back. When I’m living woman appeared as she opened the door. She looked on my own and can support myself. Maybe she’s not surprised to see me standing there. even my mother. “Oh, hello, sweetie,” she said. She was still wearing Maybe it’s not fate… just a mistake.



Learning To Pray Calanthe Torn

We are all scarred and there’s nothing romantic about it but we are still beautiful. I used to feel defiled when hands left their mark on my skin, as if everyone could see the fingerprints, now I feel holy in the arms that hold me. If this body is a temple, my wrists are the sacred pillars withstanding so many crusades against this soul and you and I we are the humble pilgrims searching for sanctuary. We do not leave our fingerprints on the walls. We leave the rooms in better condition than we found them. I am no saint, but I know what worship is; it is praising God by holding his children without leaving bruises on their backs. It is the way you fold me into your arms, gently, carefully, almost reverently, as if you are afraid of breaking me, as if I am worth putting back together.  

Rusted Eden, Tate Cobb


“Pray For The Wicked” Megan Bouchard

Panic! At the Disco’s new album rocks


the album was an astonishing hit, selling 190,000 anic! At the Disco’s (P!ATD) sixth album, copies in the first week of its release and bringing “Pray for the Wicked,” raised enthusiasm P!ATD their first No. 1 album ever. among fans. The album was publicized Just when fans thought P!ATD couldn’t on March 21, 2018 by Brendon Urie possibly follow-up the impressive release of (lead singer) and released June 22, “Death of a Bachelor,” Urie surprises fans with the 2018. When announcing the release, Urie wrote release of “Pray For The Wicked” and changes in a letter on Facebook: “I pray for all the wicked the game once more. Naturally, the release of people doing wicked things and for all the good this album will be accompanied by many who people doing good things every day. I pray that want to argue that this doesn’t sound like the old my family stays safe while I’m on the road trying P!ATD. In several ways, that’s true. “Pray For The to share an incomparable experience with a Wicked” sounds nothing like their older albums million different friends. I pray, but not to anyone -- “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” and “Vices & specifically. More to myself, pleading to stay Virtues,” or even their fifth album release, “Death positive and loving and open-minded. I meditate of a Bachelor,” and it wouldn’t be P!ATD if it did. on what concerns me. The things I enjoy. The Instead, “Pray For The Wicked” is marking the changes I want to see in the world. The people new era for P!ATD becoming who lift me up. The people who influenced by Broadway. bring me down. I pray. So here’s Naturally, the “Pray for the Wicked” is a major a few more prayers from me and success, taking off with the three my friends. I pray you enjoy it.” release of this massive tracks ”High Hopes,” “Say P!ATD became best known for album will be Amen (Saturday Night),” and their upbeat rock and early song “King of the Clouds” exploding “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” but accompanied by all over the radio, followed up by vocalist Brendon Urie’s new solo “Dying in LA.” album “Pray for the Wicked,” is a many who want By far the most emotional song brave venture into pop rock. to argue that this is “Dying in LA.” Back in 2015 The original band varied in the release of “The Death of a genre -- some consider it punk doesn’t sound like Bachelor” track “LA Devotee,” rock, alternative rock or pop rock. is about being in love with the Urie has a variety of vocals and the old P!ATD. city of Los Angeles and chasing an ability to emote Broadwaysuccess. Urie turns the table in his style and is meshed well with ballad “Dying in LA,” which is the last song on the the rest of the band’s talents and melodies. album “Pray for the Wicked.” The band started posting online demos and This final track is about someone who journeys writing Blink-182 covers, which caught the eye to the California city because of its indulging from a like-minded band, Fall Out Boy (FOB). beauty and opportunities only to be broken by his Pete Wentz, FOB’s bassist, signed P!ATD to his past chances and possibilities and when success record label, and they still share a management proves evasive. company. “Pray for the Wicked” blew away many fans, Urie is now the sole survivor and only full-time and was overall an outstanding album. The songs member of the original band founded in high had good vocals and lyrics and also had a good school – no one suspected that Urie would finally beat. P!ATD’s songs connect with listeners and tell achieve his biggest commercial breakthrough on their fifth album, “Death of a Bachelor.” However, stories written from the heart.

... the album was an astonishing breakthrough, selling 190,000 in the first week...

Serenade, Natalie Gallo


Bubbling with Joy, Natalie Gallo

Hidden Strength Trinity Hansen

Undiscovered potential flowed through her veins Every challenge they said she couldn’t handle She did Every voice telling her no She hid Now when evil forces bubbled thoughts into her head She had the strength to close the lid


The Trash Out Front


Jessica Vanderwalker

very Thursday, my Southern neighborhood moves like clockwork. The garbage truck will be coming by 9 a.m., so the trash must be outside by 8:30, in case he is running early. Right on schedule people walk out to the curb to dispose of the unwanted out in the scorching heat to be taken away, out of their sight. But what if this trash, this garbage headed for the dump is more than that? Amid this ‘junk’ are pieces of my neighbors’ past and present– pieces of their lives they don’t want to be seen or revealed, diaries they leave out on the street and pray that passersby don’t examine too closely. I’d thought about it multiple times before the clock broke. Well, not my clock, not my neighbors’, but the trash man’s clock. I left for school one Thursday morning and everything was just as usual. I drove out of my neighborhood past the plastic bins standing like soldiers at attention in their green uniforms, protecting the information and secrets of each household. I continued to school without a second thought. But then when I drove home, something was different. The plastic soldiers were still on guard standing in place at the end of each driveway, yet now it was as if their uniforms were suddenly too small. The trash man hadn’t come. But more life had reached each home. Trash levels had increased, the lids lifted, and suddenly I could see what people were so desperately trying to dispose of. At first, I noticed only the items that peeked out– alcohol bottles, college letters, newspapers. Then I began to wonder about the stories each item held. Was that whiskey bottle from celebrating a promotion or possibly needing an escape from horrible news a family had received?


What about the college letter, maybe more than one of thousands sent out from a random school. Maybe it was a letter addressed to a student my age from her dream school, but she was too nervous to tell her parents she wants to attend. So she threw it out, tear-stained, into the garbage to help her forget. The once-perfect, bold yellows, blues, and greens from the Dream University’s letter are now smeared and the flat pages distorted, both by the power of salt water. To me, the newspaper couldn’t be just another thoughtlessly-tossed batch of recent history. It was now apart of the man’s story. He was looking for a job after being recently laid off and needed to find a new way to provide for his wife and new child. The soldiers had failed. Outsiders could see the secrets and hidden lives behind the peaceful facade of my neighbors’ homes. I pulled into my own driveway, and my head whirled. Had my family been doing the same thing? What stories did others imagine about us as they passed? Suddenly, I realized something. I didn’t want my life to be guarded by a soldier or locked like a vault only to give off the impression that everything is perfect and okay all of the time. I yearned for people to know me, not necessarily through the garbage on the road, but through how I live and the stories I told. I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be real. Now I strive to be authentic, a maker of my own mold instead of another carbon copy. It’s okay for others to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. How would we really be able to make genuine connections with people if we display only masks and false lives?

Blade Grass, Gigi Stokes


Sunshine Personified Anna Cogbill


or... Why Humoring People in Third Period Biology is a Really Good Idea

I’m not scared of being late, it’s just a nervous habit.” f you ask Caleb Kavanaugh, and I don’t know “Nervous? What are you nervous for?” why you would, the world is made a better place “Look, Caleb, I gotta do my work.” through endless chatter. “C’mon Charlie, what are you nervous for?” He tried to liven up every class with it. Math “I’m not nervous for anything, Caleb, I’m just stressed too boring? Tell everyone about that one time because of homework.” that a girl you don’t know set fire to a macaroni project “Why is it a nervous habit then?” in third grade. Science too difficult? Remind the kid next “I don’t know!” Charlie snapped. “Maybe I’m nervous to you that he used to have lice, and that’s why his hair that I’m never going to get my work done because is so short. Start with, “Remember that time when…”. someone keeps talking to me.” Charlie Adams had no patience for Caleb Caleb smiled. “You’ll get your Kavanaugh. Not then, not ever. He was work done, Charlie, don’t worry!” His He knew Caleb forever tormented by Caleb’s incessant attention turned to Biology. “Isn’t it noise, commenting on every little thing. was just talking cool? About the frogs?” The teacher wrote the wrong problem “What?” to talk, but maybe on the board, Alyssa MacCready’s “That thing about the frogs?” chewing mango gum instead of mint, chatting with him “What thing?” the clock is two minutes fast, all of them Caleb laughed. “In the video. The wouldn’t be seemed to merit some kind of pointless frogs in Indonesia without any lungs!” remark. too bad. Charlie rolled his eyes. He had And besides all that, Caleb seemed to a babysitting job that night, and he had to get his take a special interest in talking directly to Charlie. homework done or he’d have to stay up terribly late. “Why do you always do that?” “Please be quiet, Caleb,” he said, turning back to his Charlie looked up from his Biology worksheet. He paper, “I need to focus.” sighed. “Do what?” Caleb wilted a little. “Okay.” He tried to focus on his Caleb reached over and touched Charlie’s watch. homework. A few minutes later, Charlie felt a tap on his Charlie pulled his arm away. “Tap your watch.” Caleb elbow. “What?” he said, a little harshly. continued, “You always do that. Like, when you’re “What kind of movies do you like?” thinking. Why? Are you afraid of being late?” His eyes Charlie sighed. “Horror.” widened. “I learned from Marcie – you know Marcie, “What’s your favorite color?” right? Marcie Haywood?” Charlie didn’t have time to “Green.” answer. “Well, Marcie told me that Chronophobia is “Do you like sports?” kind of like the fear of being late. Do you have that? “Not really.” Chronophobia?” “How about flowers? Do you like flowers?” Charlie opened his mouth. “Caleb, come on man.” “It’s okay if you do,” Caleb continued before Charlie But Caleb said, “You didn’t answer my question.” could even start. “I have lots of phobias. Well, not lots, Charlie sighed. It was sort of endearing, he but you know what I mean. I have, like, acrophobia I supposed. Besides, no one ever seemed to take this think. That’s spiders, right?” much interest in what he liked. He knew Caleb was just “No,” Charlie said as quickly as he could. “That’s arachnophobia. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. And Continued on page 35


Too Cute, colored pencil, Marie Duprez


Funny Faces, Sophie Pollock

In the (extraordinarily green) envelope, there was a card with a little frog on it. On the inside it had the message... 36

Sunshine Personified continued talking to talk, but maybe chatting He stared for a moment, and when with him wouldn’t be too bad. he turned to Caleb, his face was “I like geraniums.” mostly obscured by a bouquet of red Caleb smiled, and scribbled geraniums. He held an envelope in his something illegible on his paper. Finally, other hand. Charlie thought, he’s done. Charlie pushed the flowers away from But of course, he wasn’t done. Caleb’s face, and was nearly blinded by “Do you like candy?” his smile. “Do you like it?” Charlie looked at him. He had freckles Charlie didn’t know what to say. and a bright white smile. A lot of girls He was generally ignored at school, had a crush on him, and Charlie could everyone at home was busy with their kind of see why. own stuff – nobody paid “Yeah,” he looked him any mind. Now the Charlie didn’t out the window. spotlight of Caleb’s grin was know what to say. directly on him. “Chocolate, I guess.” “What kind?” He offered his own He was generally “Hm? Oh, any kind.” smile, “Thanks, Caleb. This is ignored at school, amazing.” Caleb grinned and nodded. “Me, too.” Caleb’s smile relaxed a everyone at home And he was quiet little, though it didn’t dull. was busy with for the rest of the class. “Here,” he said, handing *** their own stuff... Charlie the card. The next day In the (extraordinarily Charlie settled into his seat, and of green) envelope, there was a card with course, there was Caleb. He was already a little frog on it. On the inside it had smiling, but when he saw Charlie, he the message, “Go with me?” and a huge positively beamed, “Hi Charlie!” He smiley face in glittering green ink. There turned around and pulled something were two tickets to a movie premiere out of his bag. at their local theatre. It was a ‘Tucker & Before Charlie even had the chance Dale vs. Evil’ remake, and Charlie didn’t to respond, a box sat in front of him on think it could be done any better than his desk, wrapped in grass-green paper it was 20 years ago, but apparently life with an emerald-colored bow on the was in the mood to surprise him, so top. He looked at Caleb, who nodded maybe it would be all right. enthusiastically. He nearly laughed that a boy had He tore the paper off, feeling a little just asked him on a date, and he was embarrassed. There were quite a few thinking about how crappy the movie people not-so-sneakily watching him. He was going to be. opened the flaps on the cardboard box He smiled at Caleb, who looked like under the paper, and his eyes widened. sunshine personified. For once, Caleb Inside sat a truly impressive array of wasn’t saying anything. chocolate. Kit Kats, Twix, Baby Ruths, Charlie looked at the card, and felt the Toblerone, M&M’s, Hershey’s bars and eyes of the other students on him. He even a round box of assorted chocolate. nodded. “Yeah,” he said, “I’ll go with you.”


Lake at Sunset, Jeremy Willoughby


What Won’t Wash Away Amber Kodell

It all started with the rain.

cold tile floor. We obviously continued laugh and play. My friend Sophia and I adored the rain. Distant rumbling We were in our own invisible universe, as we often thunder rolling towards the house always brought huge found ourselves. We had so many games, so many hidden smiles to our faces. We would watch the darkening sky worlds we would find ourselves in. We would pretend to excitedly while lying on the trampoline, whispering secret be super girls and control the weather or be magical cats messages that were comprehensible only to the two of us. with beautiful wings. My favorite part of the rain was always the moment just It wasn’t until we finished with our latest mermaid before the first raindrops came tumbling down, knowing game that we looked over the rim of the bathtub to see the experience was one that could only be known as mine the 2 inches of water covering the floor. and Sophia’s. It was in these moments she and I shared “Oh, wow,” Sophia mumbled, her eyes widening. Oh that we were the closest, despite any childish arguments wow? More like OH NO! over what to play or our lack of similarities, we always had “Grab some towels!” I said, hurrying to try to mop up the rain. the mess. We threw towels on the floor Sophia and I were total opposites. and moved them around the floor with As we all learn She was wild and outspoken, our feet; like we were figure skaters always having something to say and desperately trying to get as many laps in when we grow embracing every second of her life with as we could before the rink closed. We open arms. No matter the circumstance, went back and forth, making the warm up, it’s not only her hair was a mass of tangled curls, water on our feet splash onto the walls. her shirt a picture of some outdated We sighed in relief as some of the water our appearance kid’s show, her smile as big as the sun. It began to disappear, and we watched should come as no surprise that when the bathroom transform back into its that changes... the warm summer rain began to come (mostly) normal state. Little did we know tumbling down, she was all in for an what our incident had caused. it’s our souls. epic mud fight. Fun fact! The practice of leaving We raced out to the front yard, water running in a never ending bubble where all the best (and most disgusting) mud was to bath and flooding your bathroom may involve ceiling and be found. She smeared dark mud down my arms as I floor damage. The result of our adventures was a major attempted to gather watery handfuls to fling back at her. leak, which led to the replacing of our old wood floors All the while quickening rain pelted our backs. The mud with that of a dark earthy tile; prompting my family to finally was everywhere -- on our arms, clothes, faces, and even in renovate our old kitchen. our hair -- yet we had never been happier. It was amazing I moved out of that house years later, but the memories how something so simple could bring so much happiness. still live with me. Sophia and I attempted to stay in touch, The sticky feeling was hard to shake, especially as we but like the warmth of summer chased away by cool fall attempted to walk back into the house. My dad stopped us, breezes, Sophia blew away. I haven’t seen Sophia since frantically waving his arms. fourth grade and I can only think about the moments we “You two need to hose yourselves off before even shared together in hazy fog, but those memories helped thinking of coming back inside!” he ordered, but the smile carry me into my teenage years. creeping on his face told us he wasn’t too angry. Surprise Sometimes when it’s raining, I still want to go out and surprise, we decided to have a giant bubble bath. try again, try and reclaim the joy playing in the mud once “I think we should add some more bubbles.” Sophia brought me. But, as we all learn when we grow up, it’s not said. “The bubbles should go above our heads!” only our appearance that changes, it’s our souls. I can still Not a tall feat for 7-year-olds. We poured in over half remember the feeling of leaping into slippery mud puddles the container of bubbles just to be safe. Soon lavendertogether and throwing glops of mud at one another with scented bubbles began to grow, and grow, and grow. screaming laughter. I know those memories will continue We pretended to be mermaids and let the water continue to guide me into adulthood – because at heart, we are all to rise, and some began to spill over the tub and onto the a puddle of memories and dreams.


Mercury Alex Hatcher

Quick fluid movements Grace bathed in gold A heart uncharted by man A radiant mind untold Dances around me Mercury around the sun

Ursa Major, Anna Leach

(Triplet of haikus)

Lord of the Arctic Anna Leach

The soft white feeling Just like freshly picked cotton Bundled up in bags The beady black eyes Like the darkest drop of night With faint flecks of stars The feeling of home Wrapped up in that warm blanket Eternal haven


Gondola Ride Joshua Cacciatore


Bay of Dreams Amanda Cordle

“Children in the Sea” giclée print, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, 1909

Two mermaids in a magic bay, we spent the days with salt-knotted hair and sun-kissed cheeks, Grandma’s lemonade a short walk away. but when autumn came a world we built out of salt and sand crumbled. We walked a path of broken shells back to shore – our palace of sand swept away with the changing tide.

Drifting Away av iol en t bo at ca ug ht in .. A

ld or ew th

lli ca

g in ift r D

. ay w a

m fro es ey ur yo ds li n rb ate tw Sal

un der toe

Josephie Clark


yo ur n


Caught up in fierce slashing waves. You’re giving in to the storm You don’t see it but it’s a choice Open your eyes and you’ll see the arms Reaching out to you with a life jacket and a towel


One Last Journey cont. it has someone to operate it. Continuing with Jeep, equipment, and every uniform that had the task at hand, I revealed the contents of the ever been attained with my precious allowance. second package. I grabbed the old-timer to give him a once over. s the paper fell away, I saw him, With every imperfection, there was a memory. peering through a window of The rough patches on his head from constant reclear plastic. He was dressed to moval and replacement of helmets and caps. The impress, ready for anything. If he scratches and scrapes from the many missions didn’t have it, well, then it didn’t and adventures we had seen together. From exist. Webbing, weapon, helmet, uniform, boots the forests of Europe to the jungles of the Pacific, – it was all there. He was neat from head to toe. Patrick and I saw it all. Everything came flooding And the piece de resistance – a head adorned back. with red hair – just like mine. He was perfect. He Items were cleaned, sorted, rearranged, and was mine. As tradition in my family dictates, after then returned to their box for their new place in opening presents, we take a trip our new garage. Baby photos, to my grandparents’ house for old toys, clothes that no longer Patrick and his Christmas Dinner, and yes, more fit – everything went. The boxes, Jeep gifts. This would eventually end in labeled of their contents, were the adults discussing adult things did not return to placed on the new shelves my while children, or at least me, sit father built for them. And there the box. idly by. To keep me entertained they would stay, like time cap(and out of trouble), I was allowed Patrick made one sules to be opened the next time to bring one toy with me on my Mom and Dad had nothing last journey – the journey. Without hesitation I better to do. But Patrick, well, he chose Patrick – that was the name was different… his last dutiful on his dog tag. Patrick and his Jeep did not march. Well, in the natural order of return to the box. Patrick made things, I grew up. Six became one last journey – his last dutiful seven, then seven became ten. By fourteen I march. He had served me for years in ways was out of the toy stage. Video games, that was that I had only realized 20 minutes ago when where it was at. Eventually all my toys went into I rediscovered him. Now it was time for me to boxes in the garage where they would collect do the same. It was hard, but it had to be done. dust until one day my children will be ready for atrick now sits on my bookshelf for them. When it came time for Patrick, I hesitated. all to see. This is not just for me; to He was different; he was special. I knew that I remember the light and creative was getting too old for toys, but he was more wonder that was my childhood. It’s than just a hunk of molded articulating plastic – also for Patrick – to let him know he was a friend. I eventually bit the bullet. Up he that what he meant to me will always stay the went with all the rest. His jeep went with him, same no matter the age or situation. Though it though it had seen better days as well. may have drifted away with maturity and responLast year when my family moved to Fort Mill, sibility, that sense of adventure that can appear we were sorting through those same boxes to at any moment and will always be a part of my get rid of some clutter. I worked like a robot until memory. suddenly, I struck gold. I found Patrick, with his Gone, but not forgotten...



... he was more than just a hunk of molded articulating plastic – he was a friend.

Self Portrait with Cello, Katherine Kaczmarski

Little Thief Elizabeth Reynolds

Tippy toes on relevé, She climbs into Mama’s oasis of a bed — Simple heist of warm sheets, A symphony of snores congratulating her. 2 a.m. — a successfully stolen moment, Safe from the shadows at last.

JC Hope

I saw a firefly for a second on a cool summer night while walking home from the park on a dimly lit road, I clutched cotton candy ice cream in my hand... slowly dripping down my arm. In the thick air, the only sound was the chirp of crickets. Suddenly, I saw a bright, small flash from the corner of my eye. A firefly flew by blinking rapidly. Its mysterious chemical reaction attracting my eyes everywhere it went. I quickly pulled out my disposable camera, capturing as many photos as I could get. Many more lit my path all the way home like floating fairies, entertaining me with their light show, intermittant mating calls, a hopeful try to increase their declining numbers. Those little bugs seemed so insignificant at the time, but now I look back, and I see them as inspiration. They come and go as they please, and when they’re around me they capture my full attention. I can go months without seeing them or even thinking of them, and then suddenly they’re the only thing that captivates me. There are times when I want to write. I have ideas spinning in my head and begging to come out, but they don’t. I lack the inspiration. So I just wait, getting new pieces of paper again and again, hoping to get a sentence or two down – rarely succeeding. But in the most unexpected moments, I feel inspired. I see a firefly lighting the way. So I use my small moment of inspiration to collect all the ideas I can, hoping that the inspiration lights the way for my piece to be so much more than just an idea.

Fear Less

Erek Ortiz (Read & then read in reverse)


I can’t drink the dread Never will anyone tell you that I’m not deterred by danger It’s true that I have a porcelain mind You can’t say I have the ability to tame my fears Whenever I hear a footstep My bones tremble It’s a lie that I am lionhearted

Luminous Mist, Natalie Gallo


Stork-legged, John Williams


Kingfisher Trinity Sutton

Kneeling knightly I smile brightly and kindly look away from keen blues of the kingfisher that I see in knee-high green Knotted grass Kinfolk of the kingfisher kingpin down from their knoll kingdom clothed in cerulean and marigold kimonos They knead through each other quickly Kiln killer cats kick off, appearing from the kilt of basil colored grass Needlessly catching & kidnapping the kind hearted kimono birds A fire of kindred marigold stomached, birds kite through the


Needing to get away



Back Home, water color Maggie Rumsey

Arthur Weeks

Photos and paint cannot capture you yearning after pale pink skies and soft wind, the sun turning down to slip behind jutting navy mountains. Distant goat bells clanging, the real world falls far away. No picture I’ve taken can frame the itch of green grass climbing up to my knees, my soul swaddled in the serenity of somewhere unknown to me.


Paper Heart, Sabrina King


So Much More ...


Makayla Larson

it in silence and be still. Listen to the rhythm of your heart keeping you alive. As you sit, an electrical system controls the rhythm of the beats. We don’t consciously think about our hearts, but this persistent organ tirelessly performs every second of every day. The human heart, made of muscle and strength, is about the size of a large fist and weighs 10 to 12 ounces. It’s small and delicate enough we can carry it in our hands. Our hearts contain three outer walls, the epicardium, myocardium, and endocardium. Each wall surrounds and protects the center of the heart as it circulates the blood, constantly providing us with life. The deoxygenated blood leaves the heart, travels to the lungs, then returns as oxygenated blood to the heart. Two sets of arteries, like two people working as a team, bring oxygenated blood to the heart. Blocking these arteries can cause a heart attack or damage to the heart. After a heart is hurt, the rate of regeneration is so slow that it can’t repair the damage caused by a heart attack. Our hearts beat an average of three billion beats in a lifetime. Every heartbeat keeping us alive. So many stories are held in the heart from the first laugh to the first tear. When we look in the mirror and see ourselves, it’s not us at all. I mean, there are your eyes and your nose and your smile, but that’s not all there is to you. You’re not seeing your heart and all the lives you’ve touched. You’re not seeing all the people you’ve made smile and laugh. You’re not seeing how strong you are. In fact, all the battles you’ve overcome are completely invisible when you look in the mirror. You don’t see the story your heart contains. We far too often underestimate all our heart holds, our success and beauty. We don’t give ourselves credit where it’s due. Life isn’t easy, and every heartbeat is an accomplishment. A mirror simply doesn’t have the capacity to show you that. You are more than a lavender flower in a purple field, a grain



e h t f o


Evie Tilley

Glorious flora revitalize Chloe’s sea-green eyes. She is a Colleen. Pieris napi butterflies flutter alongside the River Rye. Green veins race up their white wings like thin branches sleeping on snow. The ardent sun paints ageless gardens on the crystalline canvas. Gems litter the river like a pathway to heaven. Chloe traps the secret gardens in her eyes. Christ the Redeemer’s Grace beams hot passion in Cy’s honey-hazed eyes. His outstretched arms guide Cy’s fingers on the guitar. The sun glows high above Christo Redentor’s head as Cy’s dreams leave the Favela, and his passionate eyes take him around the world. Michael runs his calloused hands up and down Jess’s waist. He feels the studded sequence and lace of her dress. He holds the happiness his icy eyes couldn’t see, but as he feels Jess’s body and wedding dress. He could already see the Beauty behind the darkness.

Sonnet for the Impassioned Amanda Cordle

My ink bleeds onto white pages in sentences written just to be scratched out, like sandcastles when a wave rages— my art that perfectionism soon will snatch. What beauty lies in those phrases unmatched— single lines with no beginning or end, no revelation, thoughts detached, just black scars my mind won’t mend. So I watch the starry night ascend to the heavens, hoping to catch a spark of the celestial lights God suspends. I need to escape this impermeable dark. But when at last my pen drips passion, I do not mind small imperfections.


Suspended, Tate Cobb


STAFF Hannah Blondo Joshua Cacciatore Josephine Clark Trinity Hansen Erin Hatcher

Jasmine Hope Dylan Howington Amber Kodell Makayla Larson Kylie Levosky

Trinity Sutton Evie Tilley Olivia Weeks Justice Wehrmeyer Delaney White



Tate Cobb Amanda Cordle Anna Leach Elizabeth Reynolds

Elizabeth Swann

PATRONS Lifetime


Steve Blair Rick Solt Elizabeth Swann Pioneering Software. Inc. Chuck Walker

Balto Sports Inc.


Debra Miller


Rudy Alt Arlene Blondo Stacy Cacciatore Kim Dixon Beverly Hayes Anne Johnson

Ethan Reid Sharon Reynolds Pam Parker Trinity Sutton

COLOPHON Voices magazine is produced at Nation Ford High School by the Literary Magazine staff and printed by Herff Jones in Montgomery, Alabama. A total of 300 copies were printed on 80# matte, and the total cost was $2,739.00. The fonts used are Eras Light ITC and Eras Medium ITC in 10 fpr point body copy, Eras Medium ITC 8 point for artist and photo credits and Franklin Gothic Heavy

with a 51 point font for headlines. Page numbers are Eras Medium ITC in 12 point. Invicta features poetry, nonfiction, photography, fiction, and artwork. The title was inspired by Maggie Rumsey’s artwork “A Distant Lover”. The layout was created with Adobe InDesign CC 2018. The magazine is distributed to Nation Ford High School and the members of Fort MIll community.

-Thank you for reading Invicta 56

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Profile for Beth Swann

Voices 2019 literary magazine  

With a theme of INVICTA (Unconquered), the 2019 Voices literary magazine was produced by the Creative Writing 1 & 2 classes at Nation Ford H...

Voices 2019 literary magazine  

With a theme of INVICTA (Unconquered), the 2019 Voices literary magazine was produced by the Creative Writing 1 & 2 classes at Nation Ford H...

Profile for swanne