the anthem. Spring 2018
Letter from the Editor Dear Readers, It’s a little hard for me to believe, but writing this letter means that my term as Editor-in-Chief is already ending. Thinking about this past year has got me thinking about why exactly I love The Anthem so much, and I realized I love the synergy The Anthem represents between the different facets of the art community. Our editorial board closely read and debated upon every writing submission in this magazine. Our writers thoughtfully responded to our feedback; some worked with us through several rounds of revisions before both the writer and the editors felt the piece was fine-tuned to be the best possible. Our artists worked on pieces for months before submitting them. We carefully selected and then intentionally paired all our visual art with our writing. What you’re holding in your hands right now is the result of collaboration between photographers, painters, poets, writers, sketch artists, and editors. That’s exactly why I believe it’s so beautiful — it brings the art community together.
my paragraph-long texts and impromptu board meetings. And thank you, our readers, for caring about what we do and caring about the art your fellow Hoyas are producing. Last year, we were very proud to present to you a 64-pagelong annual issue. Last semester, we were ecstatic about presenting our 50-page-long semesterly issue. This Spring, we are so incredibly honored to present you with this 63-page-long issue of The Anthem. For a moment, I was worried that we might have exhausted all of Georgetown’s creative spirit with our Fall issue, but our art community has made sure that The Anthem continues to grow. I can’t wait to see where you all take this magazine next. Huneeya Siddiqui Editor-in-Chief
And so I want to say a huge thank you to every single member of that community. Thank you to all our wonderful submitters — it goes without saying that our magazine would not be what it is without you. Thank you to our dedicated editorial board for staying back during meetings that regularly ran long and for wholeheartedly believing in the Oxford comma. Thank you to everyone on the executive board for remaining committed to The Anthem and bearing with
Editor-in-Chief Huneeya Siddiqui
Secretary Emily Greffenius
Treasurer and Website Director Christopher Stein
Campus Outreach Director Emily Arnold
Layout and Marketing Director Courtney Lee
Sad Girl Eats Cake (Alone) / Christopher Stein
Staff: Karena Landler
Juliana Vaccaro De Souza
Table of Contents POETRY & PROSE 1
Yoel Fessahaye Emily Arnold
Black Ocean (9) / Moon in the Room / The Diner (12) / Persistence (14) / Certainty (21) / Lost (24) / Lucid / Pop / Spotlight / Adoration (41) / Flourish / Rustle (55) /Skylines (58) /
On the Corner of 16th and Envy
In Like a Lion
Of a Different Drug
Blink and She’ll Fade Away Into A Sea of Gray (3) /
Lady and the Tramp
Wine Drunk on Heartbreak (46)
I want to die in winter
Giantess / Pillar (53)
Myiah Smith Christopher Stein Jubilee Johnson
Yingchen Yang Christopher Stein
26 CryptidMatch 28
My Longest Relationship
Karena Landler & Danielle Devilier
Hostage Taker’s Demands At First
Mint (6) / Cave (13) / Dew on Petals (17) / Lean (27) /
Plummage (12) / Outlook (22) / Shadows (43) / Portal (50) / Wonder (51) / Arches (58) Mark Keffer Urban Solitude (28) One Half (38)
Our First Time (And Every Other
Time After That)
From a crossing below an alpine pass
How to Make Friends
Do Not Go Down Clover Creek Road
Jenna Creighton Robert H. Feiler Christopher Stein Regina Andreoni Juliana Vaccaro
´ To play in the yard in Oswiecim
Prometheus Saves Mankind with Fire
VISUAL ART Front Cover: Pastel Opening, by Megan Howell Timothy Brezinski Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (23) / Perfume River (32) / Louisville, Kentucky (33) / Golden Gate Bridge (60) Ryan Davis Boom. (36) / A Kiss Goodbye (49)
Elevation (15) / Selves (18) / Soul (19) /Carolina (23) / Burst (56) / Emily 1 / Emily 2 (57) Adele Marchant
A Night in the Jungle (62)
Lake Norman (44) / Halstatt (49) Leonor Morrow Looking In (34) / Everything Is Blue (48) Sheel Patel Mall 3 (4) / Mall 4 (5) / Subway (21) / City Skyline / Dumbo / Mall 10 (22) / NYC (29) / RowHouse (43) Alyssa Pullano Reach (52) Andrew Switzer Welcome Home (22) / Sheep of the Aotearoa (23) / Watch Out! (34) / Reflections (42) / Midwest Morning / Shanghai Sunrise (43) Theo Symonds Mura mura (37) Sonia Vohra Winnie’s Honeypot (28) Ulie Xu 3am in Bangkok / Reminiscent (11)
the entertainment Emily Arnold
The cake is in the oven biding time while I cook myself in the warm summer rain whipping through memories like a howling wind tearing water from the lake these stolen dances are fiery fierce while I wonder what memories would replace those of twirling leaves on girlâ€™s-side-dock and the march of the trees into the lake where dwell the pots and pans that we threw because we couldnâ€™t get them clean can you get me clean? of you I mean, get me clean of you? or throw me into the lake like that rusty kettle that everyone knew lay un-used, un-loved, and past its due. already Iâ€™m nearly done, turn the oven up to 400, in just a minute please serve the cake to the entertainment.
Fiona Kennedy Though I should live to see a thousand years, I would not dare to chase the night with day But every moon would mark my vigil here-My lady loves in phases, but I stay. For in the darkest hour she alights, With starry matter drifting in her wake A crescent crown adorns her tresses bright, And for the night her hand is mine to take But when she goes I whiten at the thought Of sunlit hours and silence so unsound-The single shade that Time and Fate forgot, I am the only ghost above the ground For like the tide, at moonset she recedes The cruelest constant nature has decreed.
Blink and Sheâ€™ll Fade Away Into A Sea of Gray / Margaret Hodson
On the Corner of 16th and Envy Myiah Smith 16TH street envy. Wish it was me. Ward 7 is where I live, Wish it was Ward 3. That grass sure is green. My side of the city consist of train-tracks and “strange things”. Don’t look, can’t you see my hatred is consuming. My side of the city is doomy and gloomy. Got told that in two weeks the city’s ensuring my community displacement and community foreclosing. It’s said from our displacement they’ll build the foundation that’ll house the new people moving into the city. My city, DC, my city against me.
On 16th they’re living, potlucks and gala shows, I should know, I was invited to be shown. A reminder of a place that was never home. A reminder of a place that I wish I could go. Media reminds me I’m nothing to society. Another thug on the street capable of only running. ‘Cause we’ve always been running from someone and something. I’ve always been running to find what I’m searching. Tell me a place exist where I could call home. A place where no one roams alone. A place where hands are stretched to help. Where they teach children to help others is really helping yourself. A place where hatred is something taboo and the greatest success is to find an inner you. So, that’s the place I’m running to. When I can’t find it, I’ll make it come true.
A struggle so hard, there is a difference between surviving and living.
Mall 3 / Sheel Patel
Mall 4 / Sheel Patel
Cause in my mind the sun shines even when it’s dark. In life, at certain times, that dark feels like all I know. But somehow, storm clouds always seem to go. In the midst of storms, my boat seems to flow. It’s divine intervention, one I’ve always know. I got to get to where I’m going, no time to fall below. Don’t stare in the dark chasm cause I might fall to unknown. No time for despair, I can only grow. I can make it, It’s all I’ve ever known. 16th may be nice, But 16th ain’t home.
I’m making my home a place in my heart. Building walls of resilience where I was torn apart. Setting stones of foundation, Concrete mind for concrete creation. I’m gonna make it. No more definitions, boundaries and titles. No more “you belong here” And “those are your idols”. Cause I’ve got ideas and courage and life. Wherever I go, I’ll be taking my time. No need to rush and no need to long, I’m already where I need to be, Loving myself, all along.
Mint / Megan Howell
In Like a Lion Christopher Stein
there is nothing more embarrassing than seeing yourself in a mirror and not knowing the eyes that blink back black and empty because I have shredded my insides greedily willingly I love the night but loathe the dark and half of this is in defiance of the heart that beats and beats and bleeds and bleeds and claws at the torpid skin of my chest it never breaks out no matter the rage so I go to sleep and hope that I wonâ€™t get up for I never want to look into that mirror again or feel the silver expanse of glass like a portal that fails to take me out of myself no matter how I bang it demanding to be let in now until that world shatters before me and silver is like a gentle rain in a half-remembered April and my heart rages like a storm in March
Of a Different Drug Jubilee Johnson Yajaira Sepúlveda is going to get traction alopecia. At least, that’s what her mother says when she watches her daughter getting ready to go out. “You’re too rough with it,” Estella speculates from the toilet. “And all that pomade. Dios te bendiga.” Her mother buried her face in her hands. Yajaira, or Yaya to the outside world, momentarily set down the hard bristle brush and observed the woman who she called Mami. Then, she rolled her eyes and continued to slick her hair into the tightest bun she could. Of all things, that’s what her mother feared. That her precious hairline would recede from the excessive force she exerted to get the style she wore nearly every day. It was a sleek bun, the front of her hair coated in Vaseline-thick gel so that every follicle would yield to a smooth and firm hold. She liked doing her hair this way, but to spite Estella she’d cut it all off. Her mother’s dramatic and flamboyant behavior wasn’t even entertaining anymore. If anything, it compelled Yaya to hurry up her process (which she really quite enjoyed) and speed to finish grooming. “You know, why don’t you wear it down? It’s so pretty down.” Her mother stood to put her hands in her daughter’s hair. “Mami, don’t touch it! Stop, you’re gonna mess it up.” Yaya shrugged away and struggled to place the ponytail holder around the boulder on top of her head.
“Don’t you ever get bored of that style?” “Never.” “Oh you’re so stuck in your ways! Like your grandmother!” Her exasperation always sounded brand new, like Estella didn’t make the comparison as often as she did. “Besides it bothers me when it’s on my shoulders.” “But you look so good. Like Pocahontas.” She wanted to scream at her mother to get out, but her mouth was full of bobby pins. Instead, she lamented her impulse and decided to accept all of her mother’s annoying tendencies. In less than fifteen minutes she would be out of here. All she needed to accomplish was the bun. One last pin…finished! As her mother was in mid-sentence, she quietly walked out of the bathroom. Loyally, Estella followed, trailing her daughter like a younger sibling. “Also. Don’t wear anything too revealing like the last time. I didn’t say anything last time, but this time it should be said.” Estella sat on the bed while Yaya had her back to her. While she was selecting jewelry from the top of her bureau, she made faces. In what world did her mother ever hold her tongue? Scoff. The last time she had gone out? Granted, Estella hadn’t said anything. Not with her mouth, that is. Her expressions had said it all, though. She’d been wearing a diapha-
nous halter top (tasteful in her opinion), and the whole time her mother had made these blatant looks of reproach. Indeed, she’d been grimacing up until her daughter left the house deliberately without bringing a sweater. So badly had she wanted to say something, make a perfectly sweet inquiry, “Excuse me, Estella Maria Sepúlveda, but is something wrong?” That would have been her most facetious response. But the entire time she’d just been silent, absorbing her mother’s tacit disapproval as well as her laconic ones. Deftly, she picked out a pair of hoops and a thin gold chain. As far as makeup, she was only concerned with a light application of mascara. Finally, she withdrew a demure black blouse, skirt, and sandals from her closet. She was ready in five minutes. “Okay. Goodbye.” She grabbed her purse and left the bedroom. “He’s not going to come upstairs?” “No Mami. We’re late. And you know who it is.”
She gave her mother an obligatory kiss and left. Halfway down the stairs of her apartment building, she screamed. Jamie Livingston was parked in front of her building. Through some divine intervention, he’d found a spot directly in front of the awning of the 800 building. The driver’s seat and passenger seat windows were rolled down to their full capacities as he waited with his arm draped over the side. It was cool, not humid and viscous like the other day. He’d been waiting for a little over ten minutes, which he didn’t mind. In his pocket were two blunts he’d rolled earlier. When Yaya materialized, he waved. She approached the car like a mirage, and until she was inside, lacing the immediate atmosphere of the car with the smell of her essential oils, he hadn’t assumed the fact that she was real. “She was talking shit about your hair again?” “Of course.” Yaya reported, closing the door. She leaned over the console to give her face to his. After the greeting, he drove off. “How was your day?”
Black Ocean / Yoel Fessahaye
“It was a joke. And Mariah quit so now I don’t even talk to nobody during my shift.” “Why she left?” “I don’t even know. She didn’t even do it formally. She just stopped showing up and today I walk in and meet her replacement.” “Maybe she went to California like y’all was saying was the plan. To pick up and leave and just go. Wasn’t that the plan?” “Yeah and the bitch forgot about me.” Yaya was looking outside. It was just getting dark. Days were so long in the summer, she remembered being in high school, walking the city for hours. Afternoon seeped into evening when she and her friends roamed the streets like vagrants. On a night like this is when she met Jamie. She and her friends were trying to break into an old Camry so they could hotbox the car. No one knew how to do it, except Jamie who had seen them a block away and told them the proper way to unlock the car. As some approximated exchange, they invited him to smoke. That was years ago, and now they were still doing the same thing. Yaya retrieved the lighter from her purse. She accepted the blunt and lit up. Immediately, she was calmer. Sometimes she never realized how much tension she carried in her shoulders. Even when she thought she was okay, weed always reminded her that her natural state was stress. It was Estella’s fault. She passed the blunt to Jamie who didn’t even look at her as he took it. His whole life was smooth and automatic. One hand on the steering wheel, the other at his mouth. Nothing seemed to faze him, and for that Yaya worried. He was too comfortable. She asked him if he was saving money for the trip they had been (she had been) planning. “Yeah.” No. “We’re probably smoking our vacation anyway.” She said to him. “And when were you ever complaining?” “You already bought the weed. What I’mma do when you offer it to me?” “Exactly.” He pulled into the parking lot of McDonalds. Such was their routine. Yaya was so high, but she was vexed, and suddenly she didn’t feel like eating. But she walked beside Jamie and bought the same thing she got every time: apple pie, two hash browns, and a large Coke. Her selection disgusted her, but she
finished it all. Back in the car Jamie put on music. She reclined her seat. There was nothing to their spending time together. It was this. Driving around the city while high. And she was bored of it. But it was better than staying home with Estella. But sometimes everyone got on her damn nerves. From the side of her eye she looked at him. Him used to be the apple of her eye. Him used to be gold standard. But she’d never even been outside of New York and that scared her. And he didn’t want to leave. “Do you want to go in the backseat?” Jamie asked. “No, not really.” She turned to face the window, and moments later she realized she was being driven home. There was a shift in the dynamic between them and she was conscious of it like the weight of the bun on her head. Her building seemed like a façade. Jamie had his one hand on the wheel, looking down at her since she’d leaned her seat all the way back. “You okay?” She nodded yes. “Walk you up?” She shook her head no. “I love you.” “I loved you too.” She said. She said it to see if he’d catch it. He did not, and she smiled. He was so smooth and automatic, and so oblivious. He was the same as the day they’d met and whenever she was around him she felt fifteen and stupid. But she had loved him, and he’d showed her all she would see. She got out and closed the door gingerly. She walked up the stairs and made it to her door. Her mother was asleep when she got home. In the dark she put her clothes in the hamper. She was fully naked in front of the mirror. Streetlight illuminated parts of her that she could see: breasts, stomach, face. Carefully, she removed the pins and bun. With gentle hands she dislodged the gel and stared at Pocahontas. F
3am in Bangkok / Ulie Xu
Reminiscent / Ulie Xu
Moon in the Room / Yoel Fessahaye
The Diner / Yoel Fessahaye
Plummage / Julia Hyacinthe
Cave / Megan Howell
Black Atlas. Olayinka Martins They call me, Black Atlas, cause even though itâ€™s cool that you hold down your team, me, I plan to lift up everyone. My brothers and I is Black panthers. That means we wakanda Path to higher stories, in search of all things grace and glory, and from the past, back to the future, we open up all the doors, like, McFlyâ€™s DeLorean.
Persistence / Yoel Fessahaye
Elevation / Courtney Lee
Lady and the Tramp
Daniel and Adelaide. Daniel and Lady. Daniel, always Daniel—he’d gnash his teeth if you called him Dan. Lady was nicer to him than anyone, but who knows if she actually liked him. Liking Daniel Valente was a hard thing to do. He was nice to look at, it’s true—they both were. Beautiful people in their beautiful world with beautiful problems. It’s better to have a thousand beautiful problems than one ugly one. Everyone looked at Daniel, and Daniel looked at Lady, and sometimes Lady looked back. It was her quest to save Daniel’s life. She was the one orchestrating the whole thing—who to speak to, what to say—but she wasn’t pretty about it. She knew the shortest way to Hades and who to bribe to get back. Maybe that was the problem. Daniel Valente was a hard thing to like, but Adelaide Kalla was a hard thing to please, and she had the death of some god on her rap sheet to prove it. Daniel’s life, it seemed to us, was defined by all the places he had already gone for the last time. His father’s house, for one; the throne of a tyrant. It was Daniel’s dwelling, but never his home, and when he finally escaped he could never go back. He lived in other places: the lyceum, the apple orchard to the east, Main Street where he did odd jobs and bought himself a strawberry ice cream on Sundays. But each odd job lasted a week
or ten days or a month until the original solution to the employer’s problem—new parts for a dishwasher, the end of a typist’s vacation—manifested. So Daniel collected places he could never go again, and wrote them in a little book. We worried, or hoped, that he would run out of places to be. For Lady, on the other hand, life was a constant struggle to keep various objects and persons from killing themselves. She was convinced that Death came exclusively from the self: nothing in life had the power to kill another thing, but nor could it stop that other thing from killing itself. She had a magical foresight, we thought, that granted her this wisdom, but it became a burden. This Lady wanted to break her own law. And she tried, and with passion, too. My friends, everything she did she did for a reason, and there was none more compelling to her than the reason of Daniel Valente. We can still see the scene now, clear as snow. Us, singing the same songs: Daniel is shallow. Daniel is gorgeous. Dannyboy’s never slept a day in his life because if he shuts his eyes too long his old man comes and plucks off his lashes. Lady, snarling: Don’t talk that way about Daniel. (If poor Dannyboy is there, he says: Yeah, I can hear you fu— Shut up, Lady snarls.) So she would keep Daniel from suicide by self-de-
fense. Because if he had finished a sentence like that, we would have slaughtered him. But he wasn’t stupid. We used to think he was that special kind of timid jerk, but he just had an unlovely problem. He had lovely ones too—the love of a Lady, for one—but Adelaide was no lady, Adelaide Godkiller Kalla was a fury among us who only loved beauty and saw in every moment with every optic nerve the things she could save and the things she could drop. Her short, sorry life was spent keeping strangers from dying or threads from fraying or vases from hitting the floor and shattering into a thousand glass pieces that spelled out this is your fault and learning the hard way that when you kill a god the god stops doing its job and it’s you who’s left to take over. Maybe that was cruel of us. She loved beauty like a daughter. And we think she loved Daniel, too. But of course they’re gone now, as tends to happen when bodies die. Lady wasn’t ready to be divine, so she killed herself. Daniel killed himself too, which is to say he let Death get to him in the form of the tyrant Valente one summer night that he dared to stop by the house and ask for his overdue library books. But our Lady—she really killed herself. Kalla stopped caring and let the vase tip. The rumor was an old gyp-
sy drew her Death and The Empress so she slit her wrists to find out, but the truth is even a fury can’t drink gods’ nectar and that’s what our Lady tried to do. She decided to stop saving and start dropping, and then, and then, her each and every bea-u-ti-ful problem reared its true head and then they were a hydra and gods was it hideous and all because small small Adelaide took one step too close to the black hole of Hades. So red went the bathwater with a slick quiet slide. Sin’s a delicate thing, it seems. We don’t remember which one of them went first. That doesn’t matter, because Daniel was really dead the moment he stepped out of his father’s house alive. But here’s the truth, my friends. At heart, Lady was reckless and alone and she loved it that way, and at heart, Daniel just wanted to live in black and white. Neither of them gave the other what they wanted. But we saw them kissing on the back steps of the lyceum and dancing every Friday like a couple of humans, so there must have been something worthwhile. And Lady had it coming—it’s Daniel we feel sorry for. Daniel Valente whose life we ruined because we painted his problem as beautiful. Or maybe we didn’t ruin it— maybe we were a grain of sand on the scale—but it’s good to repent for something. F
Dew on Petals / Megan Howell
Selves 18 / Soul / Courtney Lee
The Gaze Yingchen Yang
On the night of December 5th, 2017, in the very last scene of the Twelfth Night performance at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the actor who played the Jester looked into my eyes and smiled for more than an entire minute as he began to sing the ending song. As if you perceived my almost tangible unwillingness to leave. Those glistening, sardonic eyes I stared at throughout the show have now turned to look on me. With the most comforting smile, you created a reality known only to you and me. Two whole hours of frivolous dreams. Lasting laughters in countless scenes. But no more of all these. Minutes before my returning to a world of â€œthe wind and the rain,â€? your sweet gaze has paralyzed me. Henceforth all my sorrows shall find relief. Enclose me eternally. Stretch this fleeting dream with you into all I will be.
I want to die in winter Christopher Stein I want to die in winter because every shovel should be a fight so that they force their feet against it and sever the roots of frozen sap sickly sweet I want an open casket funeral so that I can see you all one last time before the organ plays me off I want them to bury me at the bend in the river above town where the grasses grow waist-high in summer I want a simple headstone and I wonâ€™t need an epitaph Iâ€™ve been plenty clever during life and death is my holiday I want you to leave a wreath every year against the heap of my headstone by the river I want someone to come upon me in a distant age and see my name and ask their companion as they stroll by the river what people set him out here all alone?
Certainty / Yoel Fessahaye
Subway / Sheet Patel
City Skyline / Sheel Patel
Dumbo / Sheel Patel
Mall 10 / Sheel Patel
Sheep of the Aotearoa / Andrew Switzer
Welcome Home / Andrew Switzer
Outlook / Julia Hyacinthe
Carolina / Courtney Lee
Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil / Timothy Brezinski
incident report Luke Adams
itâ€™s a cold language with short sentences and clear messaging but death is like that it gets the message across
Midnight Outcast Sarah Griffin
The scene is dim these days and the buzz comes at a higher price than it did in earlier years it is the terrible sign of growing older watching younger people doing things you were afraid to trying to pin down the loneliness that lives inside you contemplating futures in rooms that are too small people unfamiliar pouring your own drinks with hands that have grown cold.
Lost / Yoel Fessahaye
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Lean / Megan Howell
My Longest Relationship Karena Landler & Danielle Devillier You were there When I woke in the morning; When I was so sure That you would go. I remember you Sweeter than you are, Pure honey on my tongue. But milk sours, Life grows stale, and you grow stale too. I fear the unknown Of finding another. My morning heart Is terribly bored, and you Are reliably boring. Heart healthy, But always in my heart
Urban Solitude / Mark Keffer
Winnieâ€™s Honeypot / Sonia Vohra
NYC / Sheel Patel
Hostage Taker’s Demands Is the lily moo shu really gluten free? / I only want one scoop but you could add a bit of each kind? / Something that tastes. . . sympathetic but also a bit of glee? / This cranberry relish is shit; could you get some orange rind? / Fried rice but hold the egg, chicken, sauce, sprouts. . . maybe just rice? / Your green is okay but I prefer red chimichurri. . . do you have food dye? / Another shot of rum, you know, to help keep me. . . nice? / Do you know why the rice cakes need to be made with lye? / Why are you working here if you’re white? / Is it too late to have this cilantro taken out of my guac? / You know having your hair down is unsanitary, right? / Could you spit out that goddamn gum before you talk? / Nice skirt. Actually, can I feel it, is it— nylon? / I only came here for a shoulder to cry on. /
At First Sight Of course, I’ll make sure that much is withdrawn. Our branch is actually a recent honoree. No worries, we can move your account up an echelon. Unfortunately, we don’t keep spares of client keys. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to mock. Don’t worry, this will never be brought to light. I’m not authorized to make purchases of stock. Sorry, but, it’s not my place, I can’t help your fight. It’s not that I don’t understand how to be kind. I can’t make myself sad when you sigh. I don’t want you to have to mind. I dislike your humor; it’s too dry. My associate will show you the door. I don’t think this is love anymore.
Andrew Sedlack 29
Eagle Night “Louis pissed himself when they came for him.” “How do you know that?” “David told me.” The boys were huddled around the fire behind the gazebo where earlier that afternoon they sang “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island” for their families. But now the families were gone, packed away into suburban minivans and disappeared twenty minutes across town. “David is lying.” “Yeah, David doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” “David kept the ice-pops to himself today!” “That’s right he did!” Another scream from beyond the gazebo. -FH“David isn’t lying.” It was Derek who broke the silence. By now only five boys remained around the dying fire with Derek. To his left was Johnnie, the first boy to successfully climb atop the jungle gym and stand on the tyrannosaurus rex slide, before slipping and falling onto the slide. To his left was Jack, who had almost been asked to not return to Featherhair Summer Camp after an incident the previous summer in the female counsellors’ changing rooms. None of the other boys were quite sure how he was allowed to return. To his left was Nick. He had been dreading Eagle Night the entire summer because he had heard the stories from David of Eaglets who never returned. The older Eagles had shown him the scars on their arms, their proof that they had survived Eagle Night. To his left was Snickers. His real name was also Nicholas, or Nick, but the boys decided after two days of camp this summer that having two Eaglets named Nick would be too confusing. To his left was Cid. Cid was quiet and always wore long sleeve shirts. The boys noticed that Cid was never
the first person picked up at sundown to go home. No one had ever seen him leave, but Cid promised that he did and that he had no special knowledge of what to expect tonight. He had never stayed overnight. None of the Eaglets had. To Cid’s left was Derek, asserting that David was not a liar. “David isn’t lying. He—” “He was an Eagle, then he became a counsellor!” Johnnie shouted. “So?” “So he wants to mess with us! Get in our heads! Louis didn’t piss himself, and they aren’t going to cut us!” Johnnie leaned back and looked to Jack for affirmation that he had won the debate. Snickers tossed his smores stick onto the dead fire. “But then what about the scars on the other Eagles?” None of the boys had an answer. Suddenly they heard a rustling, the snapping of twigs in the grass, and a shrouded figure emerged from the gazebo. “David!” They shouted in discordant cracking squeaks. “The next ‘Eagle’ shall be.... Cid!... Cid?” David had not moved. “Cid!” “Yes?” Cid finally looked up from where the fire had been. “It’s time. Come on, you’ll be fine.” Cid did not move. The boys turned to face Cid, to see if he would join Louis in infamy. “Cid, you’ll be fine.” Johnnie said. “Will they really cut me?” Cid slowly stood, his shaking legs smacking against the tree-base he sat on. David put his hand on Cid’s shoulder. “Look, everyone has to do it sometime. As for the rest of you,” David said, turning his attention to the five still sitting, “knock it off, otherwise Jason will come after you. You know who Jason is right?” The boys made no movement. “In case you have forgotten, decades ago when Featherhair first opened, every night was a sleepover
night, like tonight, like Eagle Night. But then one boy drowned in the lake back there. The hut thing wasn’t there back then, so you had no marker of where you were in the darkness. So one night this boy gets up to do whatever—” “Were they playing tag?” Everyone turned to Nick and commanded his silence. “Sure. Whatever. Anyway the kid drowned, then the year after that another Eaglet died. His hands had been removed. Then the same thing happened the year after that. Whole classes of Eaglets disappeared. Then one night, the Eaglets had an idea. They cut themselves on the wrists by the lake, and no one else died. Jason’s ghost can’t harm you overnight if he thinks he has already come for you. That’s why you all need these scars to become Eagles and be able to sleep here every night instead of going home. That’s how you become men.” The six boys, even Cid, stared at David in awe. Of course, it made perfect sense. “Anyway, come on Cid, maybe you’ll be the first to make it through the night.” Then they were gone, shadows disappearing beyond the gazebo. -FHThe boys stared down at their shoes. Nick silently traced the Featherhair logo -FH- over the dirt in front of him. “Derek, you better tell us.” It was Jack breaking the silence now, standing up. Or rather, it was the shadow that the boys assumed to be Jack; it was difficult to know for certain in the obscured moonlight. The trees around them seemed to climb up higher than any of them realized, staring down at the gazebo, staring down at them, staring down at the lake someone named Jason may or may not have died in and now haunts. “What?” “You have to know.” “I don’t!” The shadow assumed to be Derek rose up to confront Jack’s. “He didn’t tell me!” “He’s dating your sister! He has to know!” The others knew to stay silent when Derek and Jack began to speak like this. “They’re just friends!” “He has a car!” “She’s a freshman!” “He has a car!” “He’s only a sophomore, it’s his dad’s car dumbass!” One of the shadows suddenly fell into the pit where
the fire had been. “You son of a—” “Now you shut the hell up Jack! I don’t care if you’re starting seventh grade soon! You shut the hell up about Marcie and David! They are friends, and he was like us!” “He’s lying to you because your sister—” “What about Marcie?” Derek was yelling. A scream. Another scream. Cid must not have made it. “Derek, get over here now!” David’s voice boomed across the dark woods from the gazebo. He held a flashlight in his hands, and the boys could finally see what had happened. Jack was covered in ash, marshmallow residue, and leaves. “It’s your turn, Derek. Come here.” Derek turned without another word and walked to David. Johnnie, Nick, and Snickers remained seated. Jack returned to his seat in the circle. He thought he heard something, maybe a dripping sound, but did not want David to call his parents again. -FHThe remaining boys heard the crunch of Snickers placing a stolen cookie in his mouth. None of them bothered asking where he hid his food anymore. “Jack?” “What is it Nick?” “How come you’re always a dick to Derek?” “Derek is a... a....” “No, I mean why you always bringing up Marcie? She’s nice.” Snickers swallowed. “Wait, do you really not know?” “Know what?” Jack grinned. “You tell him Snickers.” “Tell me what?” “Everyone lean in.” The boys obeyed Snickers and pulled closer together, their shadows merging over the former fire. They could finally see one another’s eyes and teeth, smell their marshmallow-and-Gatorade breath, smell their sixteen-hour sweat and chlorine. Snickers coughed. “Well word on the street is Marcie has a tattoo.” “A tattoo?” Nick sounded scandalized. That was something only adults and Leery Pete had. “Yeah, it’s an arrow.” Snickers coughed again, and Nick felt bits of cookie on his knee. “An arrow?”
“You know what an arrow is, you idiot?” “Yes.” “Well, you see this arrow points straight down from her belly button right to her—” Another scream. The boys instinctively pulled away from one another. Deep down, they expected Derek to be the one who made it through Eagle Night. “Maybe Louis was right to piss himself,” Nick said to no one. “Hey, look,” Johnnie began, “there’s no way they actually try cutting our arms and then miss and cut our arms off. First, there is no way Mr. Brodsky could screw up that many times. Second, there is no way this place would still be in business if they actually did that. Third—” “Snickers!” They knew it was David’s voice, so they assumed the figure standing at the entrance of the gazebo must be him. The light emerging from his hand focused its gaze on Snickers. The boy felt commanded to stand and walk toward it before the light, and Snickers himself, disappeared. “At least he doesn’t have to think much about his Eagle name.” Jack kicked something into the pit. “You know yours?” Jack was unsure whether this was Johnnie or Nick. Their voices were so similar. “I’m thinking Guitar Eagle. You know because—”
“Yeah I got it.” That had to be Nick. Right? “I thought it was—” “I know.” “Okay, is it Johnnie or Nick?” Jack thought that maybe if it were brighter, or if there were a fire, he would be able to better tell the voices apart. At the moment, the two sounded like a single voice complaining from the darkness. “What?” “You can’t tell us apart?” “No, I—” “Did you go in the changing room because Marcie was in there?” A branch snapped and fell somewhere, the sound coming from opposite the gazebo. The boys flung their bodies forward toward the dead fire They sat in the ash in silence. Nothing. Finally they stood. The moon was gone, swallowed by the trees, wrapping their fingers in the sky, hugging Featherhair between their palms and the earth. -FH“Did you have a name?” “No.” “I had one.” “What?” “Star-Wars-Videogame-Eagle.” “That’s stupid.” “You’re stupid!” “Wait I can’t see. Who is —” “Shut up!” “You shut up!” “Wait guys I don’t know!” “Jack?” “No it’s Nick!” “Wait—” “Jack just thinks
Perfume River / Timothy Brezinski
Louisville, Kentucky / Timothy Brezinski Marcie is hot—” “She is!” “I agree, she is.” “She is! But that doesn’t mean—” “Boo!” Someone fell. Snap. Twigs crunching like dead insects in an Indiana Jones movie. The scary one. Snap. Whoever it was must have been rolling around. A scream. Snap. “Nick!” It was David again. The thing had returned from beyond the gazebo. “Nick, get over here. Everyone else has failed tonight, and we can’t have you three killing each other, otherwise Jason might come for us.” In the light Nick could see the fire pit, dead and defeated. He could see Johnnie, covered in twigs and dirt and soot. “Where’s Jack?” Johnnie shrugged. David sighed. “I’ll find Jack later. Nick, just come here. Eagle Night is almost over.” Nick looked at Johnnie, gestured with his head toward the pit, then turned and walked toward David. The light shone brightly in his eyes. David was just a shadow behind the brightness. Nick heard Johnnie behind him calling into the woods opposite the gazebo. “Jack? This isn’t funny! I don’t want to get in trouble!” Nick passed through the threshold of the gazebo. The light had faded, and now David’s features could be seen. He certainly looked like someone who was an adult. Someone told Nick that David was going to take
Marcie to the freshmen mixer and go to junior prom with Louis’s older sister. Were boys even allowed to go to both? Nick stepped down the steps of the gazebo. He saw the lake. There was no moonlight, not like in the horror movies. Jack told him about one with camp counsellors dying at a lake like this. By the lake he saw the table. Mr. Brodsky sat at it, his oversized Featherhair Summer Camp tank tied into a bandana. “Take a seat Nick.” “Yes, Mr. Brodsky.” David squeezed Nick’s shoulder then was gone. Nick turned around. “Look at me, Nick.” The boy turned back to Mr. Brodsky. David must have gone to find Jack. “You enjoying Eagle Night?” “Yes... yes, Mr. Brodsky.” “You ready to become an Eagle?” “Yes, Mr. Brodsky.” “You are ready for the responsibilities of what it takes to be an Eagle? To let your wings out and fly?” “Yes, Mr. Brodsky.” “You are ready for all the privileges and rewards?” “Yes, Mr. Brodsky.” “Turn, look that way, look to your right, down the lake.” The moonlight pierced the trees and skipped across the lake leading to... them all. Derek. Snickers.
Looking In / Leonor Morrow
Watch Out! / Andrew Switzer
Cid. Louis. All the other Eaglets. All of them, a heap beside the lake, covered in red and silver. Then the moonlight was gone, and they became a mangled shadow mountain. Nick breathed in. He knew he was next, that he was going to be just like them. “No, I...” He began to stand when Mr. Brodsky grabbed his arm and pulled him closer to the table. That’s when Nick saw it, the machete. He blinked. It was in Mr. Brodsky’s hand. “Do you want to be an Eagle?” “Ye- yes.” “Do you want to die?” “No!” “Then do as I say!” Nick felt the machete against his wrist. It was cold and sticky. “What is your Eagle name?” “Star-Wars-Videogame-Eagle!” “Are you serious Nick?” “I was.” “Well then, I guess you have to pay more for that name.” Mr. Brodsky moved the machete up toward Nick’s elbow. “No please you don’t have to.” “Nick! By the authority invested in me by the ancients of Featherhair Summer Camp, I christen thee Star-Wars-Videogame-Eagle! Now to appease the spirits of this lake, we must offer a sacrifice of flesh and blood, and should you pass, you shall become a fullfledged Eagle.” “No, no, I, I...” He was pulling, but was weak and could not move. He felt the cold machete and tried to pull but was stuck, trapped, a victim. “One.” Mr. Brodsky raised the machete and slowly lowered it against Nick’s arm. He felt its touch, its threat. “No, please...” He could try and get away. He could kick Mr. Brodsky maybe. If only his legs were longer! If only he were bigger! If only he were in high school! “Two.” The machete raised and lowered again. “No! I can’t play hockey without an arm!” He could never do a lot of things, or so he thought he had been told. He pulled and pulled. His arm was stuck, caught in a vice. Oh god, Derek, Snickers, Cid. They were stuck here. Why did they not yell out to him? Those selfish ones! Why had they not tried to warn them? The older boys were right! This is what it comes down to. It all was this. Jason, the lake, the ghost, the deaths. It was all real. He was going to die here, die during this first Eagle Night. He never gave Marcie that picture he
stole from Jack’s desk. He was stuck. He was going to be dead. “Three.” He suddenly felt the lake pour over him, consume him. A shock. A jolt. The cold. Cold. Nick snapped his eyes open. He still had both arms. The light was back, but it no longer blinded him. The flashlight was on the table. The machete was on the ground. Nick realized he was wet. David stood over him with an empty water cooler. “Scream,” David whispered. “What?” “Scream. You just lost your arm.” “Oh... right.” Nick screamed. His memories of the monster beneath beds, the prospect of having lost his arm, the ice pieces stuck in the back of his shirt tracing their way down his spine. “Damn, that was a good one.” Mr. Brodsky reached down and pulled out a bottle of ketchup, handing it to David. “You did good Nick, and I think you will have a great time next Eagle Night across the lake with the other Eagles.” “Come on.” David was pulling Nick by the back of his shirt, guiding him toward the bodies of the other Eaglets. Nick heard the other boys failing to contain their laughter. “Get on them,” David directed in a hushed command. Nick threw himself on top of Derek. Derek coughed and called him something. Nick felt a wetness squirting onto him. Ketchup. He was not sure why they bothered with the fake blood. “Now remember guys, be quiet. Let’s hear the last two scream more loudly than Nick, alright? Just remember: playing dead is how we do that!” “Wait David!” “What, Nick?” “Did you go back and see where Jack went?” “No, I was getting the water. Now remember, be quiet, and be dead.” Nick rolled over and looked to the sky. He rubbed his hand in the ketchup on his shirt. He never liked this shirt much anyway. It made him look too much like a sixth grader. He looked up and tried to find the moon, but it was gone. There was just shadow. He thought he should worry about if Jack actually fell and was hurt, but David and Mr. Brodsky would know what to do if that happened. Could freshmen like Marcie even get tattoos? The moonless sky refused to answer. F
[---coyote * songbird * roadkill---] Anonymous
You see, amigo, you are...
And the ‘amigo’ grimaced and nodded:
Illuminating as the Lighthouse of Alexandria to a mariner with GPS; Salubrious as a Roman aqueduct to a tourist with Purell; Verdant as the Hanging Gardens to a gardener with Miracle-Gro
Man supplants monument; monument supplants man, with thirty feet of concrete thirty thousand kilometers of wiring and thirty billion kilobytes of video But the homeland is all it can protect— and we forgot the NO VACANCY sign Coyote; songbird; roadkill
Boom. / Ryan Davis
His voice trailed off like a 4x4 in the tallgrass. The man with khakis the color of sagebrush, whose shoulder-patch blazed the warning of the hornet, whose gun and badge were held as tenuously as his grasp of the tongue that illuminated the dance-halls where his grandparents met. A long time ago. A good deal south of here. Just the maternal set, he would grumble.
One Half / Fiona Kennedy
Pyriscence Fiona Kennedy
Like branches stark against the night Entwined in time gone by Three roots align in static earth: The future, past, and I And if these eyes regard the stars And trace the promised line Then will my days be prophesied And set for all of time But if these hands can fan the flames That bite at ancient wood The meant to be would be no more And fate would die for good So when the tree, afire with life, Can melt the heart of man And when these eyes, transfixed by stars, Can alter astral plans Then feed the ashes to the earth And sing me â€˜cross the sea For then I will have conquered time And time consumed the tree.
Our First Time (And Every Other Time After That)
Darling, I believe in love at first sight because the first time I saw you that night, I wanted to marry you. But in what church? For you were a Catholic noble, and I was a Protestant servant. We were both in France for the wedding—you attending, I serving. But we saw each other. You were supposed to hate me, but you smiled. You looked so beautiful that late summer night in 1572, but of course you know what happened next. For I was slain in the massacre on St. Bartholomew’s Day, and we were separated until— 1692— And Baby, I was a free-spirited member of the poorest family in town, and you loved that about me. You were a laid-back member of the richest family in town, and I loved that about you. Perhaps, I loved you a little too much because your mother was quick to notice. She accused me of bewitching you, and though my father pleaded, and you did too, it was no use. After all, who would believe someone like you would fall for me— poor and without decorum? They arrested me. I was hung a week later. And we were separated until—
You brought me water, and you brought me bread. I thanked you, but I couldn’t say another word. Perhaps I was too tired. Perhaps I was too shy. That night I helped you and your father clean after everyone had gone. You asked me what the new fashions were back home. I told you it was nothing that should make its way back to the colonies. You laughed, and your father laughed too, and I didn’t laugh like that again until— 1846— And Baby, you showed up at my father’s factory begging for work. He left me to show you around. In return, you walked me home that night. You should have never opened your mouth to respond to those men near the tavern. Your accent gave you away. They may have spewed crude commentary at me, but they hurled insults at you. Those insults turned to fists, and amidst their slurs, I could hear you shout, “Run!” I was concerned when you didn’t show up the factory the next day. My father wasn’t. He said you were probably passed out drunk somewhere like “your people” always were. But you didn’t show up the next day. Or the next. And we were separated until—
1765— And Darling, I stumbled into your father’s tavern. I 1947— didn’t have to ask. You knew I needed lodging. Your And Darling, you were black, and I was white, but unfather scowled at my red coat, but you hardly saw it. fortunately, circumstances weren’t as simple. I’d al-
Lucid / Pop / Spotlight / Adoration / Yoel Fessahaye
ways wanted to move up north, and there, we could be together, but I still had family down south. I remember the night I opened the letter saying my mother was going to die soon. I had to take care of my younger brothers and sisters, and it was too expensive to bring them all up north with us. You said you could hold out for me, but we both knew that we were out of time, and we were separated until— 1979— And Baby, my daddy was a southern preacher. I had heard him say many times that loving you was wrong, but I couldn’t help it—and neither could you. But it was you or my family and friends, and as much as it hurt, I couldn’t bear to leave them, and you loved me enough not to force me. I remember the night you told me you were getting married—in my daddy’s own church. I told you I was happy for you. I really was. But things were never the same, and we were separated until— 2001— And Darling, your family moved in the house next to mine over the summer. We used to play together all afternoon except when you had to go in for prayers.
The night before our first day of school, your mother invited our family over for dinner. I told you that you wouldn’t have to feel nervous about going to a new school because I would still be your best friend there too, and until the following Tuesday, our plan worked. School was closed on Wednesday, and when we got back on Thursday, even being your best friend didn’t stop the other kids from picking on you. Your parents wore the same sad expression you did. You moved in October, and we were separated until— 2072— And here we are tonight surrounded by our family and friends. Tomorrow we will pledge our love to each other forever, and nothing can separate us. And when loving each other gets tough, we can remember the trials and years we’ve been through. Life has finally allowed us together. We have finally found our peace. Perhaps, this means that when we meet our end in this life, it will be for the final time. But even then, so what? Because tomorrow, while we might look each other in the eye and say it, we know that even death will never do us part. F
Reflections / Andrew Switzer
Midwest Morning / Andrew Switzer
Shadows / Julia Hyacinthe
Shanghai Sunrise / Andrew Switzer
RowHouse / Sheel Patel
From a crossing below an alpine pass. Robert H. Feiler
Aloft! Like prone beast’s plated spine. Crests form a single shadow cast, and brindled peaks adorn ridge-line with ice where shade’s chill will not pass. Too, stripes of underlying life, where light has thawed the frozen tombs of ruts of beauty enduring frosted plight. It shines on through those cloudy cusps. Through masking fog and yielding whisps the soul of sight affects: from stern and harsh contrasting chrome, from crisp to smooth – tones deep and known. The beast or beauty? Shadows or rifts? The light it’s in hears no request. And suddenly, he steeped in shift, fearing stripes of his own mask and flesh. Then, growth quaked as it did for beast, and crags of fists and furrowed ridge from which his façade was conceived seemed all indifferent from this bridge. He peered down in thought below seeing his own shape appear in the creek he spanned, birthed fro’ his ill perceived, yet earthly peer. But reflected weren’t caring eyes, nor his depth nor gentle smile. Just the question of lightings lie, and some brief and cold profile.
Blue Memory Christopher Stein
They laid me in a tumble of stones on a hill shrieking every morning with the rush of the air through the rocks, and it was a hundred years before my brittle bones, yellow like marigolds, felt that air again the cloud clapped and the light leapt, mountains bow before the storm and tumble was the right word! I tumbled down across the sky in a clatter like a drunk man on drums a bone here, a bone thereâ€” the tap of the xylophone that woke me from a web: gossamer, the dreamscape like reality but brighter, death more vibrant than sepia life ploughing furrows so, I tumbled past homes puffing ash like flappers on cigarettes the ravenous ravine was a new home and like the blue veins run dry so long before, she bore me to the heart of things if cornflowers could grow here they would blush the sea is so blue it hurts the eyes like the memory of sun: phosphenes I find a new future lodged between the reef and the sand, and I tick away my days in electric blue splendor. Lake Norman / Adele Marchant
Wine Drunk on Heartbreak / Margaret Hodson
How To Make Friends Regina Andreoni
In kindergarten, I was such a loud kid that the deaf boy could hear me talk. No joke. This kid came up to me beaming like a broken streetlamp that learned how to flicker. He marched up and said, “I can hear you,” so I replied, “then do as I say and get your ugly face out of my way.” He heard me loud and clear. That was the beginning. He was too excited to get offended. It’s the best annoying thing about him. I stomped on his foot while making my grand exit, and even that didn’t shake him. I stepped on him, but he stuck. He trailed me for the next three years. Like a shadow, an annoying glued-to-your-side, hawk-eyed, aardvark-nosed, deaf-as-adoorknob-who-could-hear-one-single-person-talk shadow. He obeyed my every whim. He worshipped me good, the way all kindergarteners think they should be worshipped. I got used to it. At some point, I don’t know when, that tag-along became my best friend. But I’d never admit that to his face. Not even in a whisper.
Do Not Go Down Clover Creek Road
Juliana Vaccaro de Souza
Because his hair is red. Or maybe it’s brown. But you’re riding your bike so fast down the road that all you see is a blur of red in front of a white brick house. He’s sitting on the front steps, working on...something. By the time you look at his hands, you’ve already passed him.
(Turn around. Now.) Because you don’t see the blur again until he’s standing in front of your door, wearing that shirt that makes his hair look coppery.
Because you aren’t able to say anything. You just Because you’re curious. Is his hair really red, or is it stand there, mouth agape, as you hear one out of every just his shirt that it makes it seem so? What is he work- three phrases he says: “hey,” “wrong house,” “mail, ing on, outside on a humid July morning? And how, huh?” He hands you a letter and turns to leave. in the past three years living in this brick-house-afterboring-brick-house neighborhood, have you never Because you can’t let that be the end, but your palms seen a red blur like him before? are sweaty and your heart leaps up your throat. “Hey,” you say, barely registering the fact that you’re talking at (Please stop.) all. “Is your hair red?” Because you’re going around the block. You need answers, but he’s gone.
Because you wish for a meteor to fall on top of your head or for a hole to open in the ground and swallow you whole. He turns around to look at you, completely Because you start going down that road more of- puzzled. ten, even if you don’t admit it to yourself. You used to bike around the neighborhood, randomly racing Because he doesn’t laugh. Instead, he smiles in a down the streets just to get out of the house whenever way that almost gives you a heart attack. “It’s brown, I your mother mentioned “college” or “honors” or the think,” he says, pushing a strand out of his face. “But so-called “future.” But now? Now you notice how the red’s cool.” yellow weeds overtake the lawn, and how the mailbox is precariously tilted to the right, and how the windows (Please, just turn around!) are covered with dust. You bike around and around, convincing yourself that you’re going somewhere, but Because you keep getting on that bike, finding yourit’s a cul-de-sac. self clinging to its rough handles more often than you used to. You ride for hours, sometimes so early that
Everything Is Blue / Leonor Morrow the sky is still yellow, the grass is still wet, the street is still deserted. A yawn escapes your lips, but you can’t sleep, because sleep means going home, and you just... can’t. And you know that the mornings are when you can see him still working on whatever he’s working. Because you pretend you want nothing. You tell yourself that you don’t care that you don’t even know his name. He’s the red blur, and that’s enough. Because you wonder if he sees you as a blue blur, speeding in front of his house on your navy bike. (Turnaroundturnaroundturnaround) Because you know he does when he looks up at the sound of your bike wheels scraping the road. You comb a hand through your hair, even though releasing one of the handles causes your bike to jerk to the left. He waves at you and smiles, and you almost crash against the pavement.
Because he tells you how he’s been working on it for days, trying to fix his “stupid, broken skate.” “Got it done yesterday,” he says, giving another kick against the pavement. “But I guess you were gone already.” Because you smile. You remember how you weren’t able to get your hands on your bike, your parents putting you under house arrest until you finished yet another application. You remember fidgeting in your seat the entire time, feeling the walls close in. But you hide it all with a smile. “Not gonna lie,” you say, tilting your head to look at the skate better. “That’s a pretty awesome skateboard.” Because you don’t know anything about skateboards. It’s red, half taped up, and covered with faded stickers. This could be the worst one there ever was, and you would have no idea. But the wheels work fine, so that has to be good, right?
Because he’s filled with mischief in his eyes as he speeds up. “Race to the lake?” he shouts, looking back (STOP!) at you before kicking the pavement again. You squint as you watch him, his body in front of the rising sun, his Because he’s by your side before you can make sense hair almost as red as his skate. of it, on a roughed up skateboard. You slow down, watching him kick the ground back with his battered Because you laugh, moving your legs to bike faster. Converse. You’re still nowhere near the speed you usually move
Halstatt / Adele Marchant
A Kiss Goodbye / Ryan Davis
in, but it’s just enough to bike by his side. “It’s on!” disturbing the street’s silence. “Spiderman,” he says, you shout back, the wind blowing against your hair, scratching the back of his neck. “The one with Andrew and you keep going without a care in the world. Garfield, y’know?” “Wait, there’s more than one?” You ask, raising an eyebrow. He stares at you like you Because you two meet again and again all through- killed a dog. “You’re kiddin’ me, right?” out summer. You escape to his road. You hear how his wheels roll across the ground, his feet pushing them Because you two never meet outside the streets. You to move faster, and you smile. You look to your side, want to invite him over to watch whatever Spiderman meeting his gaze as he catches up with you. movie he’s talking about, but you can’t seem to form the words. And, when the sky turns orange, you watch Because you two stay together for hours, even though him skate away at that intersection where his road it’s the middle of July, and the sun beats down against meets yours. your skin, and the mosquitoes bite your arms mercilessly. You just register the wind blowing against your Because you have no idea what “you two” even means. face, the smell of freshly cut grass, and his laughter You’re just two blurs moving through this white brick piercing the air. house neighborhood. That’s enough. Because you two talk whenever you get too tired to race down the streets. You sit on the sidewalk, your arm brushing against his. You can feel the concrete’s heat burning you through your clothes, but you stay there until the sky changes to a faint orange. Because you two hardly know each other. You want to ask him where he’s from, but you never do. You want to ask him about the tilted mailbox and the yellow weeds and the dusty windows, but you feel like you shouldn’t. You wonder if he’s asked himself why you bike down the road so fast you almost disappear. You’re glad he doesn’t.
(I told you...I told you.) Because it starts raining. It’s pouring over your heads, the cold droplets a relief to your sweaty skin. You get off of your bike, laying it down on your neighbor’s lawn when you feel him grab your hand. He tugs on it impatiently, holding his skateboard under his arm. Because you know there are better places to go than under a tree in a backyard of a house that had been put up for sale months ago, but you follow him anyways.
Because you know that this isn’t a good idea. The branches stop about half of the rain, letting the rest fall Because you two know every meaningless thing on top of your heads. You’re both soaked. Your clothes about the other. “What’s your favorite movie?” You glue to your skin, and your sneakers are weighed down play with the bell on your bike, the repetitive ding! by the water. You see him shiver, his wet hair now al-
Portal / Julia Hyacinthe most black. You take a deep breath, about to suggest that maybe you should both go back to your houses, but you don’t.
Because you know that you should tell him about this. But you don’t always follow your gut, do you? (You never listen.)
Because you know there’s more to it when he wraps his arms around his legs, tucking his knees under Because he finds out when he skates by your house his chin, and mumbles, “I just don’t wanna go home, after you hadn’t shown up in a couple of days. You’re carrying out another box to the car’s trunk when you y’know?” see him. Taking a deep breath, you wave at him, hopBecause you hope he knows that you feel the same ing he wouldn’t just skate away. way when you lean your head against his shoulder, Because he doesn’t just skate away. Instead, he walks slumping against his body. closer to you, looking at the boxes in the car. This is the closest he has ever been to your place. “You leavin’?” (I told you to go back.) he asks. He’s got a half smile on his lips, but you can Because July flies by. It’s August in a blink of an eye. tell that this one isn’t real. Because you’re packing your things. Or your parents are packing your things for you. You’re not really sure at this point. “You’re gonna need this,” your mother says, handing you a couple sweaters. “Don’t forget your driver’s license!” your father yells from the other room. You keep walking around and around, feeling dizzy from only seeing boxes. Before you can make sense of things, half of your stuff is ready to be shipped off to somewhere where there are no bikes or skateboards or red blurs.
Because you can’t hide it anymore. “College,” you mumble, sticking your hands in your pockets. Because he knows there’s something wrong when you look down at your feet, hands in your pockets, shifting from one side to the other, not saying a word. Because he doesn’t ask. He just pokes your side, making you look up at him. “Hey, wanna go for a ride?” (But, please, just listen to me this once.)
Because you two ride for hours down the roads, up the hills, around the corners and cul-de-sacs. He makes lame jokes, and you throw your head back, laughing your heart out. He tells you that you better watch Spiderman while you’re gone, making you cross your heart and pinky swear to it. You race down to the lake, only to go back and do it again when he accuses you of cheating. The sun warms up your skin, and you see red to your side, and, for a second, you can close your eyes and pretend it’s July all over again.
bye, but you have to. Because you’re leaving. He’s not. Because he smiles at you. God, he just smiles like an idiot, and you love him for it. “I’ll see ya when I see ya, alright?” Because you smile back at him, the way you do when you’re trying to hide it. “Yeah, I’ll see you around.”
Because you turn around, walking back to your Because the sky turns orange, but he doesn’t skate house. You hear the familiar sound of his wheels getaway. He takes you home. ting quieter and quieter. You want to look to your side to catch a glimpse of the red blur once more, but you Because you don’t want to go back inside when you don’t. You know a glimpse won’t be enough. You reach your house. You look up at him, skateboard keep walking, even though everything inside of you is tucked under his arm, red hair falling on his face. You screaming: don’t want this to be it. You don’t want to say good- Please stop. Turn around. Now. F
Wonder / Julia Hyacinthe
Alyssa Pullano 52
Giantess Megan Howell
To play in the yard in Oswiecim ´ Andrew Sedlack
Do not let the mud-room door slam; Do not watch the barrack-board walls around it rattle in the aftermath; Do not notice the obvious spots of woodfill where the nails used to clamp boards that held in the cold; Do not consider that sort of cold (cold they call exposure) while you put on your jacket to hold in the warm. Do not trip in your new boots; Do not scratch your new boots on the train tracks under the snow; Do not let your boots get so scarred that they need a conservation staff; Do not let your boots get like the extra 110,000 boots and shoes that no one wears in this town of 40,000. Do not laugh at the neighbor’s cow mooing; Do not imagine a cattle car full of cattle while you laugh like you know you shouldn’t; Do not worry about there being train tracks in your yard that go a few blocks away. Do not think about being stuck standing in a cattle car for days on end. Do not stomp on the lawn; Do not kill the grass; Do not turn the grass that grows so well in this fertile earth brown and ragged; Do not connect slash and burn farming to why this grass grows so well; Do not compare the way the snow falls on this grass to the way that the ash fell on this grass. Do not mind the smell of burning bread, your father has never been a baker; Do not let your hair drift into the candle flames at dinner; Do not light a memorial candle on the grass for the ashes underneath it; Do not breath in the smell of burning hair; Do not think of a room of unburned hair; Do not look at the room of unburned hairs whose bodies were burned; Do not smell the smoke that left the chimneys decades ago; Do not smell the smoke that left the crematoria decades ago. Do not speak to the Russian kid at school; Do not talk about your grandfather’s resettlement to here; Do not listen to your parents arguments about affording a house elsewhere; Do not imagine trying to sell a house built on the world’s largest cemetery; Do not let six years of the recent past erase your family’s hundreds of years of history; Do not stop your life because of lives that ended long before yours began. Do not call your home by its German name. Do not call your town Auschwitz.
Flourish / Yoel Fessahaye
Rustle / Yoel Fessahaye
Carbon Emily Arnold
In a world of falling ash, I ask you to cover your left arm with the remains of a tree. carbon forms marching off into the night a mission of long-forgotten starlight stored away in layers of old flame and peat moss. somehow I feel this is where I began, a wordless poet a child on the surface of molten planet. memories marching off into the night echoing my breath in an army of bells cold flames grew restless. the world was drinking poetry before it knew itself a child on the surface of this wide reservoir, wordless, covered in star dust a spark . . . falling, falling, falling this timeless story, time is falling. captured in the sand of an hourglass, in the word of the universe slipping away the page on which I write, a live restless thing. vertigo: the desire to fall. in a falling world, what is vertigo? the desire to fall off the world or to experience the falling world more accurately bury me in these bed sheets of earth, let the rain fall upon my bare neck the kind of humming a man hears when he feels burning burning, burning, burning oh lord thou pluckest me out oh lord thou pluckest burning turning me into starlight lattice, riding mudwinds at post-thunder but first, let me write you a tree. then, you must plant it over my fallen ashes. the lines are roped ladders and you must paint yourself with the last branch, its ashes.
Burst / Courtney Lee
Emily 1 / Courtney Lee
Emily 2 / Courtney Lee
Arches / Julia Hyacinthe
Skylines / Yoel Fessahaye
ΤΩ ΠΥΡΙ ΣΩΖΕΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥΣ Ο ΠΡΟΜΗΘΕΥΣ (Prometheus saves mankind with fire)
Sasha Jovanovski It little befits a king of life to love To destroy more than to create, but kings Are not kings if they sympathize. For sympathy is the task of a champion, A test of daring and wit—the pretender knight Never won a heart. Nor among men Nor among gods has fate chosen the kind To be kings. The king who ruled the land called Greece Stole it from another; and hated it so fiercely That he wanted it no longer. A mighty god-king Was he, with fury like a torrent, who trusted Not the beasts below and was angered By their pride. So sent he them a deluge To wash away their sins, and the god-king made The world empty. There ends the story of Zeus. Here arises the champion from atop A mountain whose rivers ran red With righteous blood. But the eagle Tore only at flesh—its purposed victim, love, Grew but wilder in the titan’s heart, for In death and pain we all are equal. O Zeus, he broke free! and cherished the beasts, and Sired a son. The seaman, the son of the champion, escaped The god-king’s flood with the titan’s Two gifts: a raft of crafted wood, and fire. Fire by the name of Pyrrha, a woman Colored red, who rekindled Greece with her Mother’s bones, the still earth. Lo, our kings Never did love us; but our rebels and Queens always have. There ends the story of Prometheus.
Fraternity Katie Hyland
You get a text from Your best friend to tell you what she heard from Her sister about the brother Of your friend from middle school. Before Going to bed, you call your brother and Tell him, “I love you.” Things are quiet until they’re not, until The tapes are out and The questions re-answered and The messages un-deleted and the “What happened?” Now an 81-page report linked on buzzfeed. And you go on facebook and you See his mother write, “I want my son,” and you See his father spit At the cowards and The hypocrites who had the gall To call his son their brother, and you See his brother, your friend, share a Picture of his brother that’s been liked By your sister and by your brother, and it says “I miss you,” And it says, “I love you.”
Golden Gate Bridge / Timothy Brezinski
A Night in the Jungle / Yoel Fessahaye
Entr’acte Christopher Stein I live my life in five acts, my smile like an abacus: calculating and full of gaps. But, this is a lie. I do not smile. I. The dentist is a motherfucker like Oedipus but with a less gentle touch and a greater weight of sin. When the hammering and sawing is done on my house, it’s exciting—my beautiful tomb. II. I scream like a Peking opera mask when you catch my finger in the door like wool shears. Tradition means nothing to you. Politeness, though, is everything, so we wait for you before I slurp the soup with the flickering tongue of a coy snake. I’m always coy after a glass of wine. I don’t drink.
IV. Like ash, I am the grey flake that takes off from among the trees and rises like the dead toward clouds equally grey but lighter than my worries. What they never say is that the ash is dowsed by water spirits dancing, and so it drips back in freefall to the sea and ignominy. Unlike ash, I cannot be quenched. V. Artisanal cheese reminds me of myself— properly aged and with a good dose of salt; airy and cultured; sometimes blue, often crumbling. At least I know that, when you eat it like you live it, there is some pleasure on the way down. There is always the way down. There is always the let-down. Every tragedy needs a hero or the let-down would be a let-down.
III. I like a good Victorian with proper crown molding when the price is right. With the economy in this state, however, I’d settle for a mid-century bungalow like you, too short and rough with peeling stucco.
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