Pillars of Salt Winter 2023

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The Archer School for Girls

Los Angeles, California

Volume: Winter 2022-23

Issue: I

f Salt Literary Magazine

Editorial Board and Staff

Co-Editors in Chief

Coco Greene and Zoe Griffin

Editor in Chief (Production)

Rachel Heyman

Junior Editor in Chief

Ella Gray

Editorial Staff

Mia Ronn

Sophie Altemus

Isabelle Verdery

Chloe Resnick

Georgia Ehrlich

Daisy Marmur

Chloe Terani

Faculty Adviser

Kathleen Keelty

Staff:

Marin Terry '23

Hannah Heyman '24

Ijeoma Nwafor '24

Natsnet Habtu '25

Uma Nambiar '25

Lucine Stephan '25

Table of Contents

Poetry

Dear Margaux by Anaiya Asomugha '24

A Fleck by Gemma Wyles '25

Next Up Forever by Maia Alvarez '24

Believe Me by Lucia Ponti '24

girlhood by Sophia Landers '24

Summer Daze by Melinda Wang '26

Spring Equinox by Anonymous

What's so Bad About Pink? by Uma Nambiar '25

Brutality of A Mind Maze by Genevieve Sive '23

Risen / Fallen by Natsnet Habtu '25

the other side of the window by Ella Gray '24

Seesaw by Chloe Terani '23

Swan Song by Daisy Marmur '23

Warsong's Lover by Coco Greene '23

Buzz by Mia Ronn '23

Prose

Empty Wrapper by Stella Leland '26

Hole Punch by Sophie Altemus '23

Wonder Land by Natalie Kim '23

Innocence by Mina Mohammed '23

Modern Times by August Kohn '25

Metamorphosis by Isabelle Verdery '23

Shadows and Footsteps by Lucy Brodsky '23

A Typical SoCal Day by Miya Nambiar '25 Reminisce by Mia Makower '23

by Samantha Garibaldi '23 Stopped by Chloe Resnick '24

Sonder by Martha Castro '23

by Rachel Heyman '23 Untitled by Allison Stein '23

3
25 Something about clean love
Ehrlich '23 26 "Did you hear!? There’s a Crumbl cookies opening next week on 5th Avenue!" by Ijeoma Nwafor '24 27 Moon in the Eye of a Pond by Page Goodman '23 28 The Monster Under My Bed by Anonymous 29 For Him by Marlow Simmons '23 30 Genesis by Lucine Stephan '25 32 Insomniac Reasons on the Seasons by Zoe Griffin '23 33 Ending Man by Coco Greene '23 34
Art Untitled by Linda Zhang '26
&
by Georgia
Años*
Belleza Tras los
The British are Coming by Lucy Lassman '23
Renaissance
I'm Going to College? - The Essays by 2023 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 22 23 1 3 6 8 11 12 16 17 18 19 20 21 24 34 35 36 *Beauty After/Over the Years

A Note from the Editors

Firstly, we hope this magazine finds everyone happy and healthy. Health is key to appreciating the beauty displayed in this magazine.

We are truly honored to have been able to curate and create this issue for the Archer community. It has been a pleasure being able to experience the amazing writing and artwork sent to us. We appreciate all of you for supporting us and showing us your liminality.

The word Liminal means the space between objects or the transition time between two 'occupations.' As seniors, we are in between two times and existing at the edge of Archer and the beginning of a new world. We hope you enjoy this Liminal edition of Pillars of Salt and we hope it brings you some comfort in a time of transition.

Remember, Submit to Lit.

Coco Greene '23

Zoe Griffin '23

Rachel Heyman '23

Editorial Policy

Our staff welcomes any and all Archer students to submit their works Staff make make as an extra-curricular and as part of the creative writing class. Works are solicited in a variety of ways, including pithy posters advertising our email address for submissions, teacher encouragement, and word of mouth. At meetings, works are presented anonymously and members anonymously vote yes, no, or maybe on each piece Pieces that receive a greater number of 'yes' votes than 'maybe' or 'no' votes are awarded publication in the magazine with the understanding that editors exercise discretion regarding inclusion at the time of production. Visual work is voted on independently from literary work. There are no strict limits on the number of works that an individual can have in the magazine, nor are there limits to the number of works featured in the magazine.

Mission Statement

Through Pillars of Salt we hope to showcase the diverse pool of writers and artists we have at The Archer School for Girls. Because of this, we accept as many submissions as possible. Submissions are subject to feedback from a panel of editors, but changes are only made after consultation and with permission from the artist.

More Information

The Archer School for Girls

11725 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049 archer.org

(310)-873-7000

3108737070

500 Students and 143 Faculty

Published February 2023

240 Copies Printed

Pillars of Salt graphic design by Coco Greene '23 on Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop

Cover designed by Sophie Altemus

Fonts: Open Sans Light, Garet

Empty Wrapper

Stella Leland '26

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PoePoetry

Hole Punch

Linda Zhang '26
r have to worry about me I have my thoughts to keep me company.”
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Sophie Altemus '23

Dear Margaux

I’ve gotten used to the space a broken heart occupies in my chest

You were the first to ever crack it, and not even the photos of us dancing together in your living room or the feeling of your arms wrapped around me after all this time could ever come close to repairing it You slipped out of my fingers as quickly as sand and drifted off into the sea

Disappearing within the rocky waves I never thought to dive into

And I know life is always changing tides I just didn’t expect you to go along with it.

Dear Margaux, Your absence taught my lips the shape of silence I exhausted your name in my throat and it echoed throughout my mind and body when I ate those chocolate chip cookies you loved But you’d walk past me as if I were a ghost and the sheer coldness in your eyes trapped me like a rose in a painful, eternal winter

And with their hands in mine they lead me down roads disguised with poppies and lavender only to run away and leave me alone in the dark People leave many bruises, sure but nothing hurts like your invisible scars

Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for years we bloomed side by side My roots are coated in your laughter and I still see your brown eyes in the petals that have fallen to the ground

It hurts when you realize that you aren’t as important to someone as you thought you were But our friendship is lost in a crowd of other lonely thoughts from over the years that are nothing but observers collecting their dust

Dear Margaux, My friends don’t know your name And your favorite songs no longer play on the radio Our friendship bracelet fell off of my wrist in the park and I couldn’t bring myself to pick it back up

I thought I had no more room in my soul for pain but people still find ways to chew me up and spit me out

Margaux, I have no energy to fix what you left broken Because sometimes late at night I cry But these tears are no longer for you

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Wonder Land

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Natalie Kim '23

Next Up Forever

Maia Alvarez '24

Who am I when this is done?

I sit in the corner of a star fountain courtyard, Watching.

I could hear some laughter, some yawns, chatter all around.

I try smiling, It doesn’t work

Do you have instructions?

They don’t answer back.

I’m the sole audience member for a show I watched from behind the looking glass

I’ve found comfort in watching ‘Cause if all I am is a watcher from a window, A faceless being, With a hurricane of a mind, One that too often drowns me,

Who am I to swim up to the surface?

I’ve made a home in the eye of the storm. A bed. A desk. A TV. Watching.

A knock on my door

I blink and shrug it off, thinking it's just another thunderstorm.

Thump, thump, thump

The knock persists.

I peer through peephole and freeze

On the other side stood a girl I could barely recognize And yet know completely With boundless energy.

With more naivety than she should.

With the ambition that had evaporated from me long ago

I can’t stop the shaking in my hands. The grip on the handle

She was interrupting my show, why-

“I have a question Miss!”

Where did it all go?

I glance back at the TV when a commercial appears.

‘In just a year and a half, you could-”

I mute the TV

A year and a half

What will you do with the time left?

If you’ve spent so long in a bubble, what do you do when it pops?

What should I do?

Because all I can think to do is watch

I’m scared

Scared about when all this is through, what will I have to show for it?

I know I gotta grow up sometime

But I don't think I'm ready yet

I’m scared to open the door

And be completely jealous of who I once was. But the clock is ticking

And the bubble is shrinking

And I wonder the worst if I don’t face the past

With a deep breath, I open the door. “You opened the door!”

For the first time in a long time, I saw stars

A glimmer of hope on the path ahead

I glance back at the TV

I wonder if there is a chance I don’t have to watch anymore

I wonder if I don’t have to be next in line forever.

I take the little girl’s hand and hold it tight

“Where shall we start?”

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Innocence
'23 Pillars of Salt - 8
Mina Mohammed

Believe Me

Lucia Ponti '24

I walk up the stairs

Stains of mascara on my fingers

Under my eyes

On the tip of my lashes

She sees me

Is it that obvious?

I am still in the hoodie

The sweatpants

The underwear

The socks

Every inch of my body is covered

How could she see me?

How could she know?

But yet I can’t see her

I can only feel her

As her body runs to grab me

To comfort me

Yet I feel no comfort,

I don’t believe her

I don’t believe

as the words spew from my lips.

The words that changed so much,

Yet also so little

I feel in that moment exposed: Take. Me. Home.

It was my fault for getting in that car

My fault for choosing that room

My fault for allowing a friend to sleep in my bed

Yet everything that proceeded, was his.

Thankfully, I understand that now.

I watch the waves of Malibu crash

The California air fills my covered, lifeless body. I get out of the car, walk up the stairs of my home

Now, they can all see me Same hoodie, Same sweatpants, Same underwear, Same socks. Yet this time, I believe them.

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girlhood

Sophia Landers '24

girlhood is waiting patience is a virtue

I wait in the bathroom for a friend my reflection stares back fluorescent skin pinched between painted nails looking through my flesh in the mirror down to my bones waiting for the moment I begin to morph a new me, void of imperfections girls are vain

girlhood is words unsaid

I cross the street briskly when he whistles “let me take you out honey!”

I smile silently no eye contact

I’ll draw less attention that way be a rose without thorns admired, never feared other women whisper “I’ve been there” in their eyes and smile lines girls are asking for it

girlhood is pretending to hate hating her because I heard she hates me to hate romcoms makeup stars in the sky ashamed to love things designed with me in mind rejecting all things feminine defending my intelligence girls are conniving and shallow

girlhood is growing pains

I was confused when there were sixteen candles instead of eight barbies sleep in plastic bins knotty hair and painted faces

It seemed that only yesterday I was swimming in my mother’s long dress the extra fabric pooled around my innocent feet when did it start to fit? girls are naive the expectations and judgments have weighed me down the way i’m perceived now is truly what counts I keep on anyway for fear of failure

if I am not perfect, only my flaws will define me girlhood is knowing how to look put together while falling apart

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Modern Times

August Kohn '25

Summer Daze

Melinda Wang '26

The days are strange When their sunsets become bearable

Like I’m wrapped up in the heaviness of an anchor Until the hotness of the day settles

I call it Summer’s Fatigue

A way of calm loneliness, Of late nights

Smelling the light scent Of the dark air A way of living Through the colors of Everyday life, Bartering for Sun-dried and detergent smelling Versions of them

Such calmness, in familiar peace

The humming of afternoon planes

The chirps of crickets near Wildfire smoke lingering on the walls

Whirring, of a single fan

I wonder

Looking through the round summer moon

In a quiet sky

Indeed, I wonder When will fall arrive?

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11

Spring Equinox

Anonymous

Snowy white flushed into tawny gold

Barren branches snapped and iced, thawed into tight green buds

Which hug themselves too hard

And bitter green

Until the last of frost subsides and creamy petals unfurl

To supple bright shoots which break through half-frozen earth

And reach out, tendrils curling into morning

Snapping the bars of the ice-glazed cage and creeping out into a mossy garden of—

Newness and youth

Buttery sunlight spilling like liquid over the age-ed stone

And slickery warmth

Isabelle Verdery '23

Metamorphosis
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What's so Bad About Pink?

Uma Nambiar '25

What’s so bad about pink?

Is it because it’s too girly, Or is it because it’s the color

Of a Barbie-esque utopia?

Is it because it’s the color

Of a so-called woman?

And to like it would be

To take a stance back

From decades of feminists, Of suffragettes, Of the inequalities we faced?

Is it because

Pink = girl

Pink = weak

Pink = helplessness ?

But really, It’s just red and white, Colors that fly through Opposite ends of the spectrum

Refracting and twisting

To create a beautiful aura

Of a color

To me, pink is A candy cane glistening

With the sweetest syrup

Sweet as raw sugar

To me, pink is The taste of Christmas

Of peppermint and Late-night Starbucks runs

To me, pink is

A flowing melange of harmonies

Slipping through my fingers

Gliding through yet

Sticking like the warmth

Of a mother’s lullaby

To me, pink

Is the emblem of survival

A nod to the women

Who have become sick

Facing consequences

Of having breasts

That feed our young

To me, pink is Miraculous Beautiful

Stong

Fierce

So tell me, what’s so bad about pink?

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Brutality of A Mind Maze

Genevieve Sive '23

I am from the zoom screens, they light up like silent screams. Blinded and surrounded by the stench of panic, I cry for help.

Echos run through a cavernous hall, my mom races to me, witnessing my horror. she wraps me in fleece-like warmth. I sink into her arms for one moment, catching my breath, believing I’m ok.

My mind conjures imaginary tales, pulling me from reality. I scream until my throat stings, until someone hears me. Poisoned air circulates my veins–as if bees had injected venom into my lungs. Trapped in a glass box, the spectators – mom, dad, and Charlie –watch me in terror.

I am from the deepest ocean, isolated. Crisp, rich turquoise wraps me in a chilling cold, until I’m numb.

Risen / Fallen

Natsnet Habtu '25

As I sit along the edge of the lake looking Ahead of me seeing the tall, thick, green mountains

But the day turns to night

The crescent bright moon reflecting

the other side of the window

Ella Gray '24

a desolate christmas, as usual, ancient radiator, crackling fury, straining to exude heat. fairy lights strung along the bare christmas tree twinkling, illuminating the dark, miniature apartment, new york city. she sits alone on the sofa, like every year, engulfed in furry blankets from christmases past. sighing into mugs of warm apple cider, paying little mind to the film on screen, instead gazing outside, watching winter’s heavy snow fall gracefully into trees, onto panes, blanketing the ground. amid gentle flurry a couple hand in hand, chuckling with their child, jumping and shrieking joyful such an enchanting white holiday. heart aching, yearning for christmases like theirs. sighing, diverting her attention back to the movie, downing her newly cold apple cider, accepting the inevitability of forever being the one on the other side of the window.

Shadows and Footsteps

Lucy Brodsky '23

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A Typical SoCal Day Miya Nambiar '25 Pillars of Salt - 17

Seesaw

Chloe Terani '23

You linger

As much as i move forward, you linger

Weightless

Like the air i breathe

Yet unbearable

Like a never-ending seesaw, swinging me back and forth

One step forward, a look back

A reflection of the imprint i never knew you made

A looming, shadowy figure

I feel you watch my every move

Judging, critical

Whats good and bad and right and wrong clash together until illegible

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Reminisce Mia Makower '23

Belleza Tras los Años (Beauty After/Over the Years)

Samantha Garibaldi '23

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Warsong’s Lover

Wave me goodbye Because I'm going to battle And I need to memorize the color of your eyes.

If I die, They'll write a war song about me, But I'll still keep you in my memory.

I'm always walking away, Searching for new horizons, They’re magnetic.

Forgive me. Write a war song When I die, To justify Leaving you Behind.

Stopped Chloe Resnick '24

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Lucy Lassman '23

Swan Song Daisy Marmur '23

I had planned the perfect goodbye

Without realizing the permanence of leaving you behind

No grandiose gift or cruel prank would live up to what you had given me

Like a cavern filled with lilies

You brought delicacy disguised as beauty

Like a forest exposed to moss

You grew over what I’d gardened

Though you’ve instructed not to interfere with those who rule fate

I had planned the perfect goodbye

Without realizing I’d be letting you move forward without me

And though I claimed I was a swan

Graceful in the way I move with wind

Farewells like swans are feathered

An embellished reason to make up for what I’ve given up

I had planned the perfect goodbye

But no one teaches you what to do when you’re aware of your regrets

No one prepares you for the end when you are truly ready

You take your last leap and accept the peace that follows

Until your heart seeps out all of its temporary love

And I choose to leave still saying thank you for my childhood

And I pretend I have orchestrated the most perfect goodbye

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Buzz

Should I wish you a happy birthday today?

I certainly do not. Wish you a happy birthday, I mean. Not really. I wish for you to spend your eighteenth equally miserable as my seven I hope that I am as inescapable to you, even in parting, as you were to When I heard what you said the morning of my day

It is your eighteenth birthday today. I hear that buzz everywhere I turn.

In fact, there has been an incessant buzzing in my ear ever since you s Since you sat, wallowing in self-serving silence over the ocean, willfully burning a thousand feet below you.

Willfully ignorant to how I lay, cheek to Tears fizzling out the candle on the cu She thought I’d have an appetite.

Now, on a chilly October afternoon, I To how I’m sure You are celebrating now With the simpler girls, the quieter one And yet here you are buzzing in my ear once again Like Metis pressing against the interio

But, like Zeus, I suppose have condemned myself to By spending my seventeenth birthday

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Sonder

Martha Castro '23

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“You never have to worry about me being lonely. I have my thoughts to keep me

Something about clean love

Georgia Ehrlich '23

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit last week. Her room was a mess the whole time. There were crumpled-up spindrift cans on the floor, ripped tissues scattered around the trash bin, and clothes sprawled out like hair spun on the wall of bigfoots shower. Her room was stuffy; like the “before image” in a Marie Kondo room revamp. It made me think.

When I was in a relationship, the same was true for me. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. My room would be pristine. He would come. And when he would go, he would fail to take two dirty towels, a glass of unfinished water, a pair of hole-filled underwear, socks, and me with him. I cleaned up the mess.

After saying my dreaded goodbye, running up the stairs, and finally laying back in my bed, I would get this sinking feeling–I would realize I just got away with detaching from reality while my room suffered the consequences. Time and time again my room became the personification of my abandoned responsibilities. It became the regurgitation of the relationship’s slight careless dysfunction: the bed sheet flipped sideways, wet swim shorts soaking into the hardwood floor.

Even though it might take some time, I am looking forward to a clean love. Yes romantic, sweet, and warm, but clean too Clean first

Now, this is not me being anal It is just what I deserve I deserve to coexist in an equal space where reality does not warp but melts. I deserve someone who wipes the splashed water off the side of my sink, who makes my bed for me while I continue to lay in it I deserve a clean love

Yes, a clean love

Windex for Valentine's Day

What could be better?

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you hear!? There’s a Crumbl cookies opening next week on 5th Avenue!" Ijeoma Nwafor '24

“We don't need another Crumbl Cookies” I said to my sister exasp the news. She seemed upset at my distaste. As if my lack of excite confectioneries was some kind of personal slight unto her. She sco mumbled angrily as she stalked away.

"We don’t need another Crumbl Cookies” I repeated to my friend her envy at my situation. “But it’s literally a block away from your h whenever!” she whined to me I said nothing I countered her expe indifference and slight annoyance. When it was clear she wasn’t go wanted, she sighed “Bruh, I cannot stand you sometimes,'' she sai “You don’t know how good you have it.”

“How good do I have it?” I thought to myself

Good would be being able to go to the mall on Saturdays. Instead because Harry Styles is having a concert 5 blocks away

Good would be being able to go to that small Ethiopian restauran Wednesdays. Instead of driving by there and finding that it’s been

Good would be going for a walk at the local park that’s been there of seeing on Twitter that it's been bulldozed and turned into luxur

This isn't good.

This is elderly people getting pushed out of homes they've lived in no longer afford their mortgage

This is small businesses closing down because they’ve lost all thei Wienerschnitzel’s

But hey what do I know? It’s totally not like I’m making an observa by the people who have the most power in America And I’m totall forced displacement.

No, I just hate Crumbl Cookies.

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"Did

Moon in the Eye of a Pond

Page Goodman '23

In the darkness, there’s a band of lily pads underneath the dock. A bullfrog cries at the turn of the bend. It’s a different taste of peace here, crisp like ice and salty like snow. I can feel the wallow of the wind cascading down the shore. It grabs my wrists and pulls me towards the water, towards you.

I leap ankle-first into the shallow, toes greeting the weeds with a hesitant hello. The richness of this shade of green is potent, desirable only to the heart of the unloved. A twist of my head leaves my fingertips kissing bliss and my torso turned towards infinity. Here, at the crux of being human, we dance. A splash of water hits my face. The current drags against my stride. You giggle, and I think I hear a wind chime. Your arms are outstretched, and it’s outlandish and foolish and beautiful and I’m falling into them for evermore. We spin upwards as wisps of the eve, as daughters of the dell. I can feel a heavy hang in the air as we tango away from the worries of the world. There is nothing else for us but this. There’s a moon in the eye of the pond, a glittering pupil in the glass of the swamp. In the chaos of a storm she’s the only one who knows where to go, and she always ends up here. Entangled in affairs she can’t claim, oceans she can’t scale. She doesn’t run from me, and I take it as chasing. We’re dancing in an empty ballroom, gowns sweeping the dust off the floor. We’re dancing and she smiles, and her face splits in half as she slips right through my hand. I could’ve sworn these were champagne problems. She didn’t even drink.

My heel is pruning in the thick moss. It’s just me and the moon, here now. It’ll always be just me and you, waltzing in the water to the brink of dawn.

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The Monster Under My Bed Anonymous

We were raised to fear the monster under our beds that kept us up at night and haunted our dreams, convincing us there was no escape. We were told to call for help and to lock them in the closet. We couldn’t even bear to look at them because that would mean they were real. And you don’t want them to be real. But I think we went about it all wrong. Because the monster under my bed was simply preparing me for a nightmare I never saw coming For months, I burrowed into myself and with wide, haunted eyes, stared into the night. I tried my best to ignore the monster telling me how bad it was gonna end, and how hurt I would be. I hid under my blanket and sang myself to sleep with stupid, innocent tales I wished were mine. And throughout the day, sometimes I’d remember the monster was there. Even in the leonine yellow of high spring, the monster was always there. It was kinda like a curse I couldn’t get rid of. It told me to not be afraid and to let my guard down ever so slightly, simply to put into perspective how numb I was truly feeling. And that if I didn’t, my life would twist into something it was never meant to. But I refused to give it any thought and shook my head “no” until it pounded louder than the monster’s screams could ever be. But then the pounding wouldn’t stop. So I called in my mom to tell the monster to leave me alone. She looked at it with solemn eyes and greeted it like an old friend. She told me it’s there for a reason and to trust that it’s for the best. I didn’t understand so I forced myself to block out the endless pleads from the monster. I broke away from its desperate grip and taught it to skip to a different tune. And with a little time, I somehow managed to reach a point where I forgot the monster even existed at all.

I look back now and wish I would’ve heeded its warning. I never thought it’d be possible for something that seemed so terrifyingly unreal to save me. Because we were raised to fear the monster under our beds that kept us up at night and haunted our dreams, convincing us there was no escape. We were told to call for help and to lock them in the closet. We couldn’t even bear to look at them because that would mean they were real. And you don't want that to be real But we went about it all wrong Because had I believed that inescapable voice telling me to walk away months ago, I would’ve realized much sooner that the real monster was you.

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For Him Marlow Simmons

This is more a story of a boy than my own. A little boy named, well let's call him Avery. Dirty blonde hair, too long for him to take care of, rosy cheeks just beginning to sprout acne Just standing there, he’d look like any average twelveyear-old boy. Lanky, confused by his newfound height, stuck in a perpetual state of movement, jerky limbs reminiscent of those of a foal. That is where the normalcy of this boy ends.

“Just hit him if he tries to touch you.” What?

Turns out Avery was the reason none of the female staff or clients liked to wear skirts. When he first arrived at the facility, he was mute and would behave like, in all the ways that counted, a baby. He’d crawl on the ground, cry and wail when upset, glued to his favorite octopus Jellycat stuffed animal, soaked with various bodily fluids By the time I got there, that had begun to fade, and in its place were grabbing, groping hands, a boy who knew how to pretend to act sweet and sick just so he could touch you. When he wasn’t sexualizing someone else, he was sexualizing himself, making vulgar gestures, and generally presenting himself in inappropriate ways And so people did. Hit him, to be exact. Never more than a slap or a push, but it was still a beating. A hand on your ass, elbow him.

A brush of knuckles on your breast, shove him and scream. It was essentially like training a dog, yell enough and the poor thing realizes what he’s doing is bad. And it kind of worked, but I always felt bad. I hated this kid, really truly hated him, but I did my best to never lay a hand on him. Usually, a stern voice was loud enough to make him clam up and sulk off somewhere I remember the clinical director’s expression as she would claim he's made no progress, that he was a lost cause. I can still hear the crackling of the intercom as his mother held his adoption over him, making him feel guilty for being given parents, insinuating that she wished she never signed those papers that made him her’s Avery was used as a baseline insult “You don’t want to be like Avery do you?”

“Avery’s a retard, you’re not a retard.”

“If you keep acting like this you’ll end up like Avery ” There’s a game you're forced to play in treatment. It has no official name. See, the premise is, HIPAA ensures nobody’s reason for being in the facility is common knowledge, so we are left to guess. When I arrived, sunken cheeks, a chronic case of tachycardia, flesh that clung to my bones, my plates being reviewed after dinner by a clinician, it was easy to discern my demons Another person starts to show signs of withdrawal, anger, heightened emotions, you know their vice. The best clue you can get is if ‘the bell’, a Christmas decoration with no inherent insidious values, is hung on a client’s door. We all know what ‘the bell’ means.

Avery had very few clues

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He was autistic, that much was obvious, and clearly tormented by something His parents weren’t dead, just out of the picture I was nearly certain you can’t get admitted to inpatient for being a creep, so what was it?

And then, in the second month, he told us.

Avery was being threatened with long-term. To those who don’t know, long-term is the scariest thing you never knew could happen to you. You’re sent to a hospital, a real one, where you’ll be forced to stay until you’re eighteen, in round-the-clock care, trapped in white walls and wire bed frames with real padded rooms for years on end Usually, those places can figure out how to keep you past your eighteenth birthday It’s as close to a life sentence as you can get as a teenager Remember, Avery was twelve That’s at least six years of sterilized rooms, needles in the ass, and socks with suction cups on the bottom That’s six years of no lace-up shoes and no hanging out with your friends. You could get weekly visits from your parents and a trip to the park if you’re lucky. Six years of not eating at your favorite restaurants, being poked and prodded and zapped and strapped to mattresses, no jewelry, no birthdays, no internet. Everything you take for granted, gone in an instant. In a fit of desperation, to appear more open and willing to participate in treatment, to be redeemable, to be anything but a ‘lost cause’, anything but a ‘retard’, Avery told us what happened to him It was mumbled, said in short sentences, ashamed, and so very quiet

He deserves better than me telling you all what happened to him But let’s just say, he didn’t just learn how to grope women on his own. No, he was taught. Turns out the best students are the victims themselves... and a child’s best teacher is their father.

At that moment, I thought back to how this boy has been hit, and screamed at, treated like an animal, but I also thought back to those once dreaded nights when I agreed to teach him how to play the piano, his talent for swimming, how he loved to make us the world’s shittiest lemonade, but we drank it because he looked so proud, how every night he would say goodnight to every one of us and leave little trolls all around, how, after all this, he loved God so much, that he would pray late at night

I decided I would try and be kinder to this boy

Sometime later, all of us sat about in the nurse's office, playing dungeons and dragons, and waiting to get our meds.

“I want to show you something.”

He looked so excited, the other clients shook their heads, begged me with their eyes to say, ‘no, no please go away,’ but I couldn’t. So, instead I said, “Okay, sure! I’d love to see.” Another boy, my age, he’d been there longest, gave me a look that very clearly said, ‘whatever happens next is your fault’ The foal-like boy came galavanting back into the room, something round cupped between his scabbed, calloused, sticky palms He proceeded to present to me, with great drama and flair, a small Nemo plush, gesturing for me to pick it up.

“Do you want to hold him?”

“Yeah! Thank you so m-” I screamed.

The plushy was caked with a substance that made it rock hard to the touch, rough and crusty in my hand, and he smiled maniacally up at me In that moment, sheer disgust took over I screamed at him, I’m sure I called him names He was never the same around me after that

And I don’t think I’ve ever washed my hands so many times in one day

Two weeks later he was pitched onto a bus, and driven to long-term.

He’s still there today, as I enjoy the sunshine and the company of my friends, he sits in a controlled hell, with four more years to go. Avery will not leave that place until I’ve graduated college. A lot of the time I try not to think about all the ways that I failed Avery, how we all failed Avery, but it’s telling that my first instinct when I’m told to write about my own life experiences, is to, instead, write about him

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When I was younger, I used to love watching Planet Earth. I remember what I loved most was how it told several stories of the animal kingdom and of all the remarkable things that such creatures did to survive.

I learned that a species of ants support their entire colony underground by cultivating fungi, something that no other creature could do. They taught me to work hard Great sea birds, albatrosses, migrate across huge distances, and still, they have a partner for life. They taught me endurance and patience.

However, at the end of every show, the narrator would always say how much help our planet needed. How it was slowly in decline. How these small, beautiful wonders wouldn't last forever.

I always dreaded hearing this. I would stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, curl up into a tiny ball if I could. I was knee-deep in denial. It was hard for me to accept that the icebergs will eventually melt, and with it, all of the life that depends on them. It hurts me to even consider deforestation in the Amazon, and that the Great Barrier Reef is slowly losing its rainbow hue.

To me, there was only one possible thing left for me to do in those instances. I would ignore it. I couldn’t bear to hear it. I would block out the noise while the rest of my family watched in solemn silence. I couldn’t watch the beautiful pictures and knowledge that I built up all around me crumble so easily.

And then, sometimes after the show, my parents would say a phrase that echoed in the crevices of my mind. I was to “be the generation to fix the past generation’s mistakes.” In their eyes, my generation held onto the weight of fixing this overbearing issue that was to come We were to be the first act of justice, the morning light.

No one should be measured by burdens just because they are younger or have more time to complete certain goals. For humanity, the only possible solution to be let out of problems, such as quarantine, was for tons of people to take the vaccine, and even then, it is still going on to this day.

We’re all responsible for how we treat our planet. The only way to ever progress is for people to cooperate We can’t just acknowledge it, sit on the sidelines and let other people feel burdened because of such.

After all, this is our one and only earth Our fragile, delicate home. One planet in 60 billion that has the capability of sustaining life.

No one should ever have to feel like they have to walk alone to be the change

"You are going to help fix this world."
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Genesis

Insomniac Reasons on the Seasons

I’ve decided I like winter. It's always much moodier than spring, so when I don’t like the colors and when my blood ices over people think she's just cold, in a good way. It's always calmer than the summer; I never do enough, go to enough places, or have enough friends. And the fall is hell. It's not the season specifically, I have nothing against the small screams I hear as the leaves I have never quite noticed fall to the ground brushing my arms and legs in their free fall. Instead, the eerie feelings that come out of their hunched shady hole to sit on my chest and my back, and my heart as soon as the light begins to raise its head later in the day; they whisper sweet nothings in my ear and hold the bar higher than I can reach. They let me jump for the bar, telling me I’ve almost got it as I stand on the precarious precipice looking out towards my future on the other side of this year-long ravine.

But I like the winter, the snow is too cold for the eerie feelings that demand too much, everything, so they must retreat back to their cave. I wave merrily as their hunched backs explode with darkened spots and gnarled flesh grumble and tumble down into their damp home. I am mostly at peace. And at any time of year, mostly as much as I’m hoping for.

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Ending Man

Coco Greene '23

When I die, I want to die next to the lake. It can suck me in after I’m cold. I don’t think being swallowed by it would be too bad. I sat there, my back against my tree, it was sturdy and its dark brown trunk was painfully textured. It dug into my back, but it was a good reminder Pain is life and must come with joy. It must. The bank was made of damp brown sand and small rocks. Circles of dirt and moss peppered the bank where trees or bushes grew and the sky was a crisp pale blue. The lake wasn’t gentle, it was only soft in summer when the tourists and teenagers came. On a winter day, like today, the sun never really rose to its full zenith. It was small-town Normandie Two jagged mountains that resembled witch's talons from a kid’s Halloween movie framed the back. They were harsh and jagged peaks of a sickly gray color. They took on the hue of the sky most of the time. When I crumbling moun would fall right o thousand feet. It whenever I came

Most people thin lake alone in win

They think I'm an popular opinion, was happy. I cou watching.

So I sit here and travel and the wa

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Renaissance Rachel Heyman '23
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Untitled Allison Stein '23

I'm Going to College? - The Essays

The Class of 2023

Dear Colleges,

Villanova has the same positive energy as a chocolate chip cookie. This metaphor of cookies and happiness extends to both the community and academics. As a part of the community, I would be encouraged to continue my current volunteer work with Best Buddies. I would have a community that values compassion and truth which is very important for me as a as an aspiring student and future business leader. In the school of business, I would be supported by peer and faculty mentors who would guide me to my ideal curriculum. Villanova acknowledges the gender divide in business and offers a class, Women in the Economy, which is important to me as a future female executive. I would be supported academically and spiritually. I could grow as a person and I in turn would be able to add to the community with service and the knowledge I gained.

BU excites me for a multitude of reasons: i) a broad-ranging curriculum with an emphasis interdisciplinary learning, ii) a diverse and talented study body that is perfectly medium in size, iii) ideal location within a vibrant, international city, and iv) an overriding commitment to ethics, diversity and inclusion. I am passionate about poetry and writing, but also have great interest in STEM, and may ultimately choose to major or minor in the newly formed undergraduate Data Science program. Data Science is among the fastest growing industries in the world, and BU’s new commitment to this field of study (and large investment in the new CDC building) is extremely exciting and indicative of the University’s desire to adapt and lead. In addition to specific fields of study, The Hub provides the opportunity to explore the full myriad of my academic interests, while also exposing me to new areas of study that I have perhaps not yet contemplated. BU is of course a research institution, but it also functions as a liberal arts school, offers a full complement of top-tier graduate programs, and features a variety international study opportunities (which I would fully plan to take advantage of).

As I weighed the pros and cons of the offer before me, thinking about what he said, I reflected on the other times when I agreed to things I wasn’t sure of or that had come to my attention without notice. When I was twelve, I ended up in Carlisle as one of the studio’s youngest dancers for a summer intensive. Three summers ago, against everyone’s urging that dancers avoid anything physically straining (to keep our slender figures), I backpacked my way through Green River, Utah. Last June, at a ballet camp in Miami, I met Zooey, a girl who walked pageants and cosplayed online. Looking back, some of these experiences turned out to be the most exhilarating: seeing Amish up-close in their buggies en route to CVS, crossing icy rivers in the wild with other campers, meeting one of the baddest girls alive. Accepting this available page role for the L.A. Ballet School’s Christmas show, I reasoned, wouldn’t be the first time I’d be taking a leap of faith. I pulled up Ms. Colleen’s email and replied, “I’m there!”

I believe that no truth exists. Every person has their own truth which is untrue to a different person. As humans, we can have the same eyes yet see different shades of green. That green would then be untrue to one of us. For myself, the truest thing I know is that I have to cut my nails. For a very long time, I had a horrible habit of picking at my nail beds when nervous. I would scrape off my skin and my fingers were bloody and raw. I tried fidgeting and creating new habits to stop this as it was getting to the point where my nails were not growing properly, but this changed because of my 2020 new years resolution. I forced myself to stop and held to my resolution and suddenly, I had longish nails. It was strange, but I was proud of breaking a habit and accomplishing something. I looked at my long nails and saw trophies. This brings me to the problem which I know is the absolute truth: I must cut them. They are a centimeter long. I can barely type and I need to be able to reach into my backpack without the fear of chipping a nail. This brings me to my second truth: I don’t let things go. Some people may disagree with me on this trait as truth is not absolute, but it is a character flaw. I can’t cut my own nails, nor can I purge my candle collection, or stop thinking about what could have been. I get so lost in the past that I forget I have healthy nails and that I can move on. I don’t need long nails to not be ashamed anymore. That is my truth, though vain and simple.

The Dublin, Ireland STEM Program is of particular interest to me because of X, Y and Z. BU seeks well-rounded students and promotes deeper learning, but also prioritizes ethics, social conscience, and positively impacting society. These principles are consistent with my values, and I want to be part of a BU community that strives for these standards.

It also wouldn't be my last.

For your consideration </3

When faced with choices throughout my life, in dance or any other venture, there were times I was scared and had no clue how to do something. But as I determined the best course to take, taking to heart what my dad said and following my instincts—along the way, I figured it out. Things didn’t always pan out; even then, I discovered, invariably, how I gained things in the process: valuable lessons, newfound passions, best friends, and unforgettable memories.

As someone with epilepsy, I can’t stay up too late or eat too much junk food or be too stressed or feel too ‘alive.’ It started when I was six; I fell out of bed while seizing. At first, I mystified doctors, but I was soon identified as the newest child with an extra special brain. Being epileptic means losing control of my body. I can’t exercise for long periods of time without my left leg giving out, nor can I be medicated without feeling fatigued and dizzy, but I still thrive. I regain control by doing small things. For the past two years, every Tuesday, I buy a baguette from my favorite bakery, and on Fridays, I buy challah bread to share with friends. These small comforts provide consistency to otherwise unpredictable days. My epilepsy has taught me to treasure what I can, and I have turned this into a source of strength. I can stay calm when everything is crumbling, provide for myself, and lead others, but I’m still scared of falling off my bed while sleeping. Having experienced all of these struggles and setbacks, I’ve been able to conquer challenges in other aspects of my life. I may never be able to fully overcome these medical issues, but I will always have bread and art. Because you’re reading my common application, you’re now one of the few people who know that I’m an artist. I pick up mediums like pennies and tell no one. Art is the last undiscovered part of my world. I keep this a secret so no one can judge me or control my creations. I am free to be whoever I want to be. My disability means that I could seize on any given night, but art is my solid, sacred place. Art is one way that I’ve been able to take back some control when everything else is chaos. This has helped me cope with stress, failure, and sadness. When the world feels like it's falling apart, I paint watercolor portraits. Without outside influences, I can work alone, create art, and process immense stress.

As a poet frolicking in a metaphorical field and a person passionate about data science, BU is perfect for me. I would be able to take a class like Reading in the (Post) Apocalypse to learn how the apocalypse was re-invented with modern dystopian literature. I could potentially collaborate with poet laureate Robert Pinsky and his graduate students in the Creative Writing MFA Program. I could also learn from and work with an amazing scientist like Dr. Margrit Betke and research how data and media collide in the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Media research group. BU would allow me to explore a multitude of academic fields, enabling me to achieve my goal of having a positive impact on our world.

And this is how I found myself hunched over in a scratchy costume, flailing my arms about menacingly on one of the world’s most preeminent stages Christmas Eve. I had arrived for the page role rehearsal at 12 sharp when they threw me into a rat costume with three minutes to learn the part. Not what I’d expected. But when the lights beamed to our corner of the stage, shone brightly over our pack–me being me–I slipped into character, exaggerated my gestures and hissed emphatically as I prepared to take a giant jump forward.

As detailed in the Strategic Plan, BU offers a sense of community despite being a large school in a major city. This is evidenced by its numerous clubs, activities, and involved students. I could join the Literary Society and share my writing, and participate in the Undergraduate Women in Science and Engineering club for support with the rigorous data science curriculum. I would continue my service commitment to Best Buddies by joining BU’s established organization on campus. One of the reasons I love BU is because of its students' passion and activism. I want a community composed of people with different backgrounds and experiences, and I don’t want to feel lost in the crowd. Because of this vibrant culture, I know I will be both supported and academically challenged.

BU excites me for a multitude of reasons: i) a broad-ranging curriculum with an emphasis interdisciplinary learning, ii) a diverse and talented study body that is perfectly medium in size, iii) an ideal location within a vibrant, international city, and iv) an overriding commitment to ethics, diversity and inclusion. I am passionate about poetry and writing, but also have great interest in STEM, and may ultimately choose to major or minor in the newly formed undergraduate Data Science program. Data Science is among the fastest growing industries in the world, and BU’s new commitment to this field of study (and large investment in the new CDC building) is extremely exciting and indicative of the University’s desire to adapt and lead. In addition to specific fields of study, The Hub provides the opportunity to explore the full myriad of my academic interests, while also exposing me to new areas of study that I have perhaps not yet contemplated. BU is of course a research institution, but it also functions as a liberal arts school, offers a full complement of toptier graduate programs, and features a variety international study opportunities (which I would fully plan to take advantage of). The Dublin, Ireland STEM Program is of particular interest to me because of X, Y and Z. BU seeks well-rounded students and promotes deeper learning, but also prioritizes ethics, social conscience, and positively impacting society.

What happened? Why do we now love wandering? Cowboys happened. For the past century, the American cowboy has been shamelessly romanticized and glamorized in countless books, television shows and movies. They wander across the Great Plains drifting from place to place with only a gun and a horse, fighting for justice, taming the frontier, and heroically saving women and children along the way. They are portrayed as hard-working, patriotic (many were former soldiers), and willing to explore ‘new’ land (manifest destiny), or steal it depending on one’s perspective. Thanks to Hollywood, cowboys are often tall, handsome, sexy and mysterious. Clint Eastwood always gets the girl, and never seems to get shot. Cowboys are big business - they help sell cigarettes (the Marlboro Man) and fashion (Chaps by Ralph Lauren). They are also presidential. Both and Lyndon B. Johnson often wore cowboy hats and boots in public appearances.

My ballet studio had just received news of dancers coming down with COVID. With several girls forced to withdraw on the eve of the premiere at Dolby Theater, they scrambled to find replacements. “Would Ava like to come in today and learn all this? Rehearsal at 12:30.”

Just to think–that all it took to be here was by saying, yes.

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