Blacklist Journal Volume V

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BLACKLIST Blacklist Blacklist Journal | Journal Volume V| Vol. 3

VOLUME V Blacklist Journal blacklistjournal.com | Brandeis University


Blacklist Masthead Manging Editors:

Visual Arts Editor: Deputy Visual Arts Editor: Prose Editor: Deputy Prose Editor:

Nyomi White Nia Guzman Victoria Xu Viv Santana-Perez Polina Barker Siena DeBenedittis

Poetry Editor:

Cassie Schifman

Treasurer:

Cassie Schifman

Assisting Editor:

Cover Art:

Emma Lichtenstein

Nathaniel Brown


Table of Contents Poetry POISON IVY HANDJOB Aimee Seu

Homemaker, Homemaking 2 Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo

Marken in the Muirland Emma Wehrman

6 8-9 16

Surviving as Living

19

Shopping

25

Self-Portrait as Tumbleweed

26

Rrita Osmani

Connie Zhang James O’Leary

Eating a Mango Alone in Your Room at Midnight C. E. Haug

28

Dorothea

30

therapy with king midas

32

Stephen Michaels Nico Léger

Candy Nichelae McFarlane

Kentucky Jesus Alaina Bainbridge

36 44

Coop

46

BOXER

48

eclipse the trip lunar acid on

52

You Write; You’re Trying Your Best

62

Anna Platt Armando Sol Hazaveh Salzar Jaclyn Bellini Dan Roussel


Prose The Billboard

10

An Involuntary Adoption

22

Grounds for Acquittal

38

Hannah Ratner Grace Deaton

Shelby Weisburg

Decomposition Isabel Thurston

54

What You Learn About the Clogs Sophie Jonsson

58

Pierce the Starman

Visual Art

Nick Berger

6

Bedroom Still Life 3

9

Stellar

14

Where is My True Paradise

15

An Empty Gesture

17

Fancy in Dark Isis Mayfield

18

Pig A pocalypse

21

Watching a Balloon Rise

23

Thank You

24

Mad Light

25

Red Fruit Front Stoop Friends

27

The Red Light

28

Stina Arstorp

Neelam Shaikh Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee Neva Nobles-Alder

Nick Berger

Yiming Zhang

Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee Minseok Jang Magda Dumitrescu Zack Solomon


29

Wolfson's Throne Zack Solomon

31

Neptune

Lane Duckett

It's in the Horizon, A Secret Lies Below Neva Nobles-Alder

34-35 37

Confined Paige Warmington

43

Jar the God Killer Nick Berger

45

On the Way Home Natalie Elliott

Breakfast

46

From "Cruces"

47

Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee Steffanie Padilla

From Pier 2: Brooklyn Bridge Park - July 12, 2019

50-51

Anna Robertson

53

So Long, Marianne Asher Liftin

Two Images from "Lights Out" Series Sydney Krantz

56-57 61

The Black Pearl Isis Mayfield

67

Void 2

Roman Distefano

4


Content Warning: This edition of Blacklist Journal may contain sensitive content including but not limited to references to sexual assault, death, and oppressive behaviors. Please take proper precautions when reading this work.

Blacklist is an international, student-run journal based out of Brandeis University. blacklistjournal.com theblacklistjournl@gmail.com 415 South Street | Waltham, MA 02453

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Pierce the Starman Nick Berger

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POISON IVY HANDJOB Aimee Seu

I’m starting a punk band called Poison Ivy Handjob and you’re in it. For percussion we’ll break things we used to love—mementos and picture frames and glass bottles with notes curled inside them. I want an electric guitarist who closes his eyes & forgets he’s not alone when he plays. I want a harpist whose mohawk is stiffened with Elmer’s glue. We should have quena harvested from our ancestors’ graves, and interpretive dancers in bloody evening gowns and studs and faux leather. We’ll have eight xylophonists. I’ll get you that grand piano you’ve always wanted, clear plastic, its body filled with koi fish and lily fronds. I want to write a break-up song that goes Tonight the city glitters like the teeth of the girl whose ransom note never named a price and for our fans to know the words. I want you to come home to see how I’m not there. I want the lullaby your mother used to sing you, playing backwards on repeat and to sample recordings of suburban exorcisms and the chanting of monks stolen from temples in the cloud mountains and a grandfather clock rigged to whatever time it was when we first kissed, constantly chiming. I want a wolf on stage to howl, unmuzzled with no leash. And for all the men in the crowd to kiss, even if only with words. But not to feel pressured, the way girls are made to tongue kiss at sixteen for the older boys’ amusement or for them to buy us 40’s. Our lead singer will be the most beautiful woman you ever saw and not in a way you’ve ever seen. She will be TV’s worst nightmare, and a dragon will come out of her throat. She’ll be a graceful machete, have a voice like rosewater and lighter fluid misting the room. And she will sing everything like it’s her last words. I want to write out my most horrible secrets and they not sound so bad sung back to me in the mouths of the crowd.

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Homemaker and Homemaking 2 Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo

Place this new record player down on that bone-white linen carpet over there. A lack of furniture coupled with an excess of appliances reveals only sophistication beyond one’s means. And is that not what one should aspire to? Always more, and better too? And what can those eyes (behind your glasses) looking for approval reveal? Especially when looking at this body here buried in this blue gingham borrowed couch hidden in this brown pseudosuede cover your mother bought for it (for us) at Target? You ate like a bird today at lunch, but then again when don’t you? Covetous eyes and refined palettes don’t make up appetite, but rather shake it up, prop it up with illusions and hope, like the storm before the calm. Plus our infant monstera looks lively alright, as do your fingers, hungry once again, digging in your bag of spicy barbecue chips from Canada (the crumbs gathering between your brown hair and your bone white pajamas), and our music now blasts past screened windows and brown doors and even bone-white walls, with such variety of content and volume that no one could deny someone lives here anymore.

~ If my hands are really so goddamn sanitized and I brush my teeth twice a day with enamel-erasing fervor, how come there’s piles of dust and cobwebs and the crumbs of perforated cheeses spread at regular intervals as if on our cutting-board platters all over this floor we’ve lived on for less than two weeks? How come I never see bones nor spores anymore nor can I smell death fermenting in our closets or lining the carrington-stained baseboards of

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these spotted walls enveloped in peeling paint and tape fragments that failed to grasp our bent posters? If we swept and wiped more often, could that help me understand why I should? If we wore surgical masks everywhere, too would that clear the air at all, make it more real? And if I were to grab this forgotten bottle of cranberry apple juice up from our coffee table and put it where it belongs, in our fridge it would make

Bedroom Still Life 3 Stina Arstrop

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The Billboard

Hannah Ratner

There’s a new billboard up on the Turnpike. “Your Mommy Makeover Awaits!” it announces. “Liposuction, Tummy Tuck. 888.888NJPS newjerseyplasticsurgery.com.” On it is a very blonde and athletic-looking woman in a white bikini, winter scarf, and one of those furry hats with the ear flaps. They’re called Ushankas, apparently– I look it up when I get stuck in traffic. Derived from the Russian word ushi , which means ears. It’s a strange combination, the bathing suit and the winter wear, but I guess that’s how these ads get your attention. I’m driving home from my job at the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is on. The contestant’s doing pretty well, three for three so far. I look up and this woman in her Ushanka is giving me sultry eyes. She looks pretty good, if I’m being honest, and I start thinking about how Denise doesn’t have the body she used to. I’m not saying that I want her to look like the woman on the billboard, but a tummy tuck couldn’t hurt. For a second I entertain the idea of mentioning it to her. But then I remember the year when I had that mustache which Denise clearly despised, and how it would chafe the skin above her lip if we kissed too long while making love, and she would never say anything, would even insist that she liked it when I asked. In the twenty-three years we’ve been together she’s never tried to change a single thing about me. When I pull into the driveway Denise is working on the flower beds next to the porch. She’s wearing those awful orange gardening gloves that I bought her for Christmas; I’m terrible at gifts so I made her choose them herself. She hears me pulling in and looks up. I roll down the driver side window as she gets up to greet me, brushing soil off her jeans. “I was just thinking about you,” she says. She leans in through the window for a quick kiss. “Sweet potatoes in the crock pot, they’ll be ready in thirty.” Denise and I married when she was twenty-nine and I twenty-eight. We were introduced a year earlier by a mutual friend, who thought we might be a good fit, both of us being single, fairly educated, and approaching thirty. Our early relationship mostly consisted of pretending to share each other’s interests. A few months after we got married, Denise went through her reptile phase. She checked out library books on exotic snakes and lizards, and eventually decided that we needed a snake, that the illustrations and photos that filled her books were no

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longer sufficient. “I’ve always wanted a snake,” she said when I questioned where this obsession had come from. “But I couldn’t have one. And just last week I realized that my parents can’t stop me from getting a snake anymore.” So we bought a snake. I don’t think I would have agreed to it but it was a new marriage and during that period it’s so hard to say no. We drove to a reptile expo in Edison–I was frightened to learn that such a thing actually existed–and purchased a new member for our little family. Our first foray into parenthood, Denise said. It was a Dasypeltis scabra–an egg-eating snake–which Denise named Yolko Ono. Once a week, Yolko Ono unhinged her jaw, swallowed a chicken egg whole, and hacked up a neat package of eggshell. We had Yolko Ono for three months. Then, one day, I glanced into her tank and found it empty. I called Denise, who was at her parents’ for the evening. She being a couple hours’ drive from home, it fell to me to tear apart the house in search of Yolko. Denise joined me later that night. We never found her. Twenty years later, I’m still wary while cleaning out drawers. The Yolko incident seemed to put an end to Denise’s reptile phase, and I chose not to mention that our first foray into parenthood had been disastrous. I melt a generous amount of butter into the flesh of my sweet potato. Denise has hers plain. I think that we must look strange, sitting across from each other with single potatoes on large white plates. Like a surrealist photograph: The Domestic Life. “I knew I should have gotten a baguette,” Denise says. “We have the end of a sourdough loaf in the freezer,” I say. “But I’m fine without.” “Well I think it needs something.” She doesn’t move to get the sourdough. “Did you know,” I say, “that those furry hats with the ear flaps are called Ushankas? Derived from the Russian ushi, for ears.” “I didn’t.” “In Norway they’re called Bjørnfitte, which means bear’s vagina.” “My mother had a hat like that. I was always so mortified when she wore it, because it was real beaver fur and I was worried some animal rights activist would throw pig’s blood on us. But they never did. Do

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you think they ever really do? Throw pig’s blood, I mean.” “Well, it’s never happened to me.” “Nothing happens to you.” “Not true– today on my way home from work I saw a new billboard. Plastic surgery, lady dressed like she doesn’t know if she’s in Alaska or Hawaii.” “Well isn’t that something,” she says. “It’s like my body has an expiration date,” Denise said to me. We were lying in bed on a lazy Sunday, a week after Denise’s sister had her first baby. “I’m past my best-by date. Pretty soon I’ll be spoiled completely.” “Not you,” I said, “just your ovaries.” “I’m older. I was supposed to be a mother before her.” “I don’t think it works that way.” She sighed and stared up at the ceiling, seeming to look for a spot that wasn’t there. Something to examine. “I bet the baby ruined her stomach,” she said, “I bet it won’t ever look the same again.” “You’re probably right,” I said. Less than a year later, when Denise was 35, we found out that she was infertile. In the months that followed, she spent almost all of her time gardening. Most nights she was still pruning and weeding when the sun set. She didn’t seem to notice. Around eight I would come outside to get her; she was so focused when she gardened that she often didn’t hear me approaching, and would flinch at my hand on her shoulder. “Come inside,” I would say, or, “It’s getting cold.” She would get up and follow me into the house in silence. During those months I knew that any intimacy was out of the question, and I didn’t ask. She retreated into the bathroom just to change her clothes. It was as if she could not bear for her body, which had failed her so fundamentally, to be touched or even seen. I observed to a friend that, when she gardened, Denise did not seem to touch the plants so much as she allowed the plants to touch her.

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After several months I started to try to talk to her about it. I found a therapist nearby with excellent reviews. I printed out information on the adoption process. Denise didn’t want any part of it. “Next year,” she would say, “After you get your promotion. After we remodel the kitchen.” I gave up on the idea of having children very gradually. Eventually our friends’ kids were headed into middle school and I realized that we were old. “Why don’t we get another pet?” I said to Denise. “Another snake. Or a hamster.” “We could look into it.” “Maybe even a dog. A big one, a Saint Bernard or a Newfoundland that could sleep at the foot of our bed.” “A dog is a lot of work, you know,” she said. “You’d be sick of it the minute it started pooping everywhere and chewing up your shoes.” “I wouldn’t mind.” She sighed. “Once we clean out the spare room. Then we can look into a hamster.” Denise is still asleep when I leave for work the next morning. As I shut the bedroom door behind me I notice that her mouth is hanging open, drool pooling on her pillow. Outside, the air has the distinct smell of morning. In the car I tune the radio to a classic rock station and let my thoughts drift. I picture Denise asleep in our bed, her nightshirt sliding from her shoulder to reveal the top of a fleshy, dimpled arm. Her mouth still open, slack. I want to reach over and close it for her. I reach the place on the Turnpike where the new billboard is, and look up, expecting to meet the eyes of the blonde model. But of course, I’m coming from the opposite direction, towards work instead of from it, and I realize that the billboard, from this side, is one that I’ve seen countless times before. “Beyond Reasonable Doubt JESUS IS ALIVE! 855-FOR-TRUTH” It’s incredible, I think to myself, all of these people waiting around for Jesus to show up, constructing their lives around the idea that one day

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Jesus might arrive to reward them. What do they feel, when they realize that they’ve spent their lives waiting? I drive past the billboard and catch a glimpse of blonde hair in my rearview mirror.

Stellar

Neelam Shaikh

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Where is my true paradise Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee

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Marken in the Muirland Emma Wehrman

You sassie nach Outoon thither ay seets you Be naw frae aboot Needs be gumpty tae walken Muir you widnae leaf afore dae En blathenin wiffee local kenner Ah seet, you be ups Liding glide in mystly mire glaur Twixt wisty wisps of will Oh salix ynd tufts of Grassen muir Be marken markly Careful be canny No guider you ae ave Ynd them færies Fey be ide by you Ken fearty neary be Seet, glennen glaur be adjacier Ah Land oh Elphyne ynd fae be Slipperieses in tae muir Hither fey writhe in trees Lying lie ynd plantin Bluish unseelie seeds Growen roomy mush ringerses Tae trapper unfearty fowk Hoo walken no watchems Yee, waity for no kenners by you They’re waity for no kenners Tae ambly preamble neary Then they soond musyckers Make turn you turnie ynd steppen Swrongyly ynd be trappered e’er

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No lookie at me thawayt no lyer aim ay Was a no kenner once Ambled preambly with a lad He steppen swrongyly into the wring Him out they did he danced forem Fae laffied till he died Ynd ay ran away became a kenner Tae warn you sassie nach fowk Of the faeringerses so Marken markly ynd watchem stepper

An empty gesture

Neva Nobles-Adler 17


Fancy in Dark Isis Mayfield

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Surviving as Living Rrita Osmani

May 1998, Prishtina Kosovo My father offers names to my mother, as she holds me in her arms. Flaka- fire. Zerzele- storm. She prays no harm comes my way, as she looks outside, does not recognize her home. The city she lives in is on fire. The neighborhoods have so much rubble. Everything is grey. She says to God, I swear, I will raise this child with every ounce of me so long as we Survive. She names me Rrita. To grow.

May 1999, Bronx New York We Survived. My mother wants to go back. My father says there is nothing to go back to. There is a stench of not belonging in our household, masked with the stench of Burek being made in the oven. But anything is better than the stench of your city burning. My mother was a biology teacher. My father, a journalist. They both clean toilets now. Their youth has been lost. I think they left it back when they boarded the train to Stankovec, Macedonia. To the refugee camp. Or maybe it disappeared when they had to ask for help from cousins and uncles.

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They are careful not to be bloated with the worry that they are too much. So long as we can get on our own feet, my father keeps saying. There’s a tiredness. But not from the long hours on the New York City subway. Not from coming home at 4am in a city, unfamiliar. It’s one, sleep cannot cure.

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Pig Apocolypse Nick Berger

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An Involuntary Adoption Grace Deaton

Everything is muffled. Has been for a long time. From the sounds of the rhythmically creaking bed to the wailing of the baby that replaced it nine months later. I never had a baby. I ran out of time. And the dead aren’t permitted to make life. But today the baby is silent. It’s the parents who are wailing. I sit in a rocking chair that won’t rock, my incorporeal form incapable of worldly interactions, watching the panic stricken faces of new parents and a baby whose skin is slowly turning blue. He’s not quite the same hue as the cerulean onesie his mom’s sister gave her at the baby shower. He’s more like the pale stuffed dog in the corner of the crib that his grandmother gave him the day they brought him home from the hospital last month. Has it really been so short a time? The sound of a baby wailing makes each day sound like an eon, even filtered through the veil. And I don’t even get the recompense of holding him. The father dials three digits and screams at the operator. The mother holds the baby over her shoulder, trying to burp life back into him. I remain in my motionless rocking chair. Watching. I am eternally damned to watch. She wails. Not louder, but deeper than her son ever has. It shakes the foundation of the house. The windows panes rumble in their frames. My rocking chair creaks back and forth beneath me. I walk across the ocean colored rug that they bought the second they found out they were having a boy. I kneel beside the mother. She’s still cradling her still blue but now shimmering baby. He shimmers like me. I reach out, my translucent hands passing through hers until I touch the one thing I can, the one thing she can’t. I cannot remember the last time I touched something. Someone. I scoop the small transparent body out of the mother’s arms, but it is only a copy. The mother still clings to her matte blue son, still wails. I wish I could help her understand that she is no longer holding him. The father hangs up the phone and lets his arm fall limply at his side. He understands. I return to my rocking chair and hold the child close to my chest. His eyes open and he mirrors his mother on the other side. His wailing is much louder now.

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Watching a Balloon Rise Yiming Zhang

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Thank You

Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee

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Shopping

Connie Zhang

A glimpse of a rack of clothes; A knife stabbed through a pastel cake.

Mad Light

Minseok Jang

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Self-Portrait as Tumbleweed James O’Leary

Because I’d rather be dried up & circle-heart & only thorn bounce around empty dunes as ends loose or death, tumbling through barren; or because I have no home would you instead make of this thicket & soft bramble bones a gentle nest; or because a tumbleweed can’t grow apples; or because a wheel dried dead, having no between, only inside, cannot be asked what’s between your anything; or because I’d like to watch a cowboy die; or because it is impossible to see some unalive knot of knoll & not also yourself feel seen, some company in loneliness & wander; or because I’d like to get closer to jackrabbits; or because I too am dry, have been deserted; or because if I fall into a river it will be my sleep I could be happy hidden and/or held like that among smooth stones; or because this town was always big enough for the two of us & I will prove it by never existing in the same sand twice; or because I don’t remember the question I am cyclical like that; or because you can call a tumbleweed an “it” without feeling bad & I would never, ever want to make you feel bad; or because I am comprised of many broken things collected into one thin sawdust & snake tail tussle; or because a tumbleweed doesn’t have shoulders, is just all frizzy scrub & won’t get itself caught on anything short of that which kills it, which is how I feel when a pair of heavy boots stops in front of me at 2 AM on a dirt dark road, like a wind might send my turn to the sky; or because it is not the wind I feel but a storm’s calm still, moments before some violence thunders; or because after the dust settles the sheriff will be backdropped by a sunset blooded & I will have been blown away.

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Red Fruit Front Stoop Friends Magda Dumitrescu

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Eating a Mango Alone in Your Room at Midnight C. E. Haug

alone in my room at night i sit on the floor and eat mango till my teeth are full of fibers and my mouth is sticky with juice i hack pieces off with my swiss army knife the same one that sliced my thumb open when i was ten years old slivers of (mango) flesh too small to sate whatever my mouth/stomach/heart desires i chip away till nothing is left but heart and i bite it as i would a lover’s when there is nothing left but bristle and bone i wipe my mouth on my sleeve six year old legs dangling from the kitchen counter my mother meticulously slicing the mango into chunks small enough for my tiny wound of a mouth sweet like a promise and yellow like next summer’s corn.

The Red Light Zack Solomon

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Wolfson's Throne Zack Solomon

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Dorothea

Stephen Michaels

there is poison in this conversation and it is left alone. the rotting topic of the current architect, the builders of a nimble and evasive ideology. They are sitting at a table, warm, discussing potentiality and discursiveness. Agreeable! Greece is sitting on rocks, bottles have messages unread, unfound, they do not speak. The cartographers are left breathless in this illegible conversation. Fleeting and dependent. To find the matter is to find the whole of the archive. I hoped she would help find mine. Three flights of stairs are taken home, piece by step, left by the fireplace, long dead. Probability is a sickness, less the cure, the reflection in a pristine prism. Forgetting the silence of the table, the party peruses mediums and secret books. What treasures to leave behind! Cave drawings screeching into the swamp, bodies preserved in the shadow of a dumb idea, a bad question. Was not the work already done? Wasn’t the advertisement copied in ink? Flipped onto a glassine perversion, preservation? I shudder at the newness of my shadow, of the subway and the voice in my ear: behind my neck. Art is evangelical, I think. The square is supple except for when it is a rectangle. I adore it.

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Neptune

Lane Duckett 31


therapy with king midas Nico Léger

i. fool’s gold [confession]: every visible stitch is a reminder. of 16, coming out, a disease. how, then, dr. m coated the thread with his Y chromosome spit, magic [to make me whole]. nurse spiked my IV with serum from the vile “never the same again.” [for the better] then, iodine stained my chest a gold that made me imagine maybe i was king midas & vowed to never touch another [trans] body. of after surgery nausea, the spinning mind on percocets, & a small boy body [mine] in the long mirror after the bandages came off. now, a chambermaid on my knees, not a king, by therapist [non-binary], the first [trans] person i [non-binary] ever told: i avoid others who know my code -- the jester’s trick of binding, encrypted effects on HRT [the vacancy of monthly blood streams, of personhood of the bedchamber of [my] uterus, of tear ducts suffering drought] -- which belongs packed [beneath a zipper]. now, use these sessions drenching dionysus’ wine along the barren indents of a dime’s length scar. tempting the nipple to pucker & sting [& know that i will never regain sensation again.] i pour out words [of transphobia & denial] & drape them along my therapist’s room. they speak softly & it tastes like crestwhite & home. ii. gold casket then, i was daddy’s little girl if daddy’s little girl [wanted] to be a boy, then you don’t have to defend a love of worms, consumption of playground woodchips, bruising every Y chromosome on the block. legs spread & munching on gas station hostess cupcakes, cavities sprouting like leg hair that mom shaved off in fear, who fell asleep on bring-your-[son]-to-work day & all the construction men love her, love a girl who patiently waits in the truck while her father chain smokes outside. now, i mourn the mass in his lungs, itch at funerals, still get panic attacks when characters die in movies. worse, stable father figures, the word “kiddo,” [dad] jokes [that pierce like needles & bleed like castration. worse, being born without]. now, self-diagnosed [paternal] transference, misgender my therapist in the process [the mother & father my mother never was] who has TEN DER inked over knuckles, a reminder & art & [they] primed every knuckle but the middle, charging: all [trans] bodies are beautiful & fuck cisgender people who make [us] feel differently. & i promise, i [tried to] agree,reciting these words like lyrics to the anthem of my life [& wishing i never felt differently].

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iii. gold fillings then, a hypnotherapist, her smelly wet dog who made me sneeze & i was bored of thinking of clouds [when i was really thinking of exile, guillotines, treason]. then, an old lady, who said she once knew a trans woman [before she killed herself]. & he was great. who signed my papers, & a social worker who bartered my tears in exchange for the right ingredients for a royal feast, an MD who [lied &] said i was passing. [but i owned mirrors from since long before i possessed the courage to use them. to move between kingdoms because] now, a therapist. who made me surrender to myself. [revised confession]: i starve for three wishes: injections of normalcy, a life unconfined, trans bodies upon bodies, filled with every feeling that has stretched inside my head, idolizing the real king midas who can make me gold with a [TEN DER] touch. arrive at therapy sessions & say, look at my fillings covering the rot & the ache, they are fucking beautiful.

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It's in the Horizon

Neva Nobles-Adler 34


A Secret Lies Below Neva Nobles-Adler

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Candy

Nichelae McFarlane

It’s in candy canes found on brown skin and casual sexism, brought on by ideologies that are as foreign as the idea of snow in the spring in the tropics but it’s never raining when it can be pouring, even when it’s sunny outside, ‘di devil an him wife ah fight’ and you can’t get in between that, it’s the natural order of things, so you need a roof over your head, but ‘if yuh undah my roof, yuh affi live by my rules’. Rules that involve being pulled in two different directions, and not just in your own mind where you’re split in two, and half of you put on a cross to bear the burdens of the sins of those dependent on you, while the other half erases them on a stake. Both idols that are worshipped above all else, and there is no mistake. God makes no mistakes, except... There is no reasoning with the firmly entrenched beliefs that chocolate is better than hard rock mints or which flavour of ice cream is the best, but parents always know best even if you know you best. As long as you’re doing your best, right? As long as what’s best can checked off in little boxes on report cards that say ‘A-A-A-A-B-F’, and the ‘F’ is never questioned, because ‘I know that you can do better than that’ is knocked hard pon di table in a game of dominoes to give yuh six love, another complex to store with the rest of the sweeties in ah your pocket, staining the aqua blue of your tunic, a box of crayons left in the heat of the sun by careless hands and careless minds, and the next day you have more candy canes to share with your friends, the sweet taste of it lingering in the back of your throat.

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Confined

Paige Warmington

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Grounds for Acquittal Shelby Weisburg

Q. — A. First off, the heat was bad. You remember, don’t you, Your Honor? That week in August, right before all the schools went back, when it was 102 degrees for six days straight. I think this was the fifth day, maybe the sixth. Anyways, the temperature had been unbearable for a long time. A real raging heat. I listened to Judas Priest all week, if you know what I mean. My daughter left that morning for a weekend trip with some friends. I remember her coming back inside to hug me goodbye after taking her sleeping bag and duffle out to the car. We’ve always been close; she knows I would give her the world—or at least the chance to go to a prestigious college like her old man. Q. — A. I work at Millerman Custom Homes as a residential construction project manager and make a pretty great salary. Enough that, as a family, we take a two week vacation every year. My daughter has always been allowed to bring a friend—even on our cruise to Bermuda last summer. And I don’t just work—I would call myself an active community member and father. When my daughter was in elementary school, I took time off work to volunteer in her classroom. At church, I’m the lead parent sponsor for the youth group she participates in. I go to all her basketball games, no matter how late they end or how far away they are. Sometimes parents from rival schools come up to me at half-time and compliment me: they’ve seen her picture in the athletic section of the paper. They always smile, shake my hand, and say, “She must take after her dad.” Q. — A. I left for work after my daughter and her friends drove off. My wife had already headed out for the day; she was going to the gym and the grocery store. There wasn’t much to eat in the house because she hadn’t made it to the grocery store yet that week, so I made myself some coffee and decided to stop at a gas station on the way to work for some powdered donuts. On the way out the door, my foot caught on the heel of my opposite shoe, and I spilled scorching coffee all over the front of one of my nice button-ups. It seared my chest, made my shirt stick. I mean, I didn’t get an actual burn, but it definitely set me off for a bad day.

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At nine o’clock in the morning, the temperature was already warping the air around the asphalt. Even after changing my shirt, the car felt like getting into a hot tub with a sunburn. My AC had been screwy for a while. I’d tried to get it fixed the previous week, but the female mechanic who was filling in for my regular guy didn’t do it properly. The air still came out warm. I didn’t feel cooled-off until I got up to 35 mph with the windows down. My day only got worse, let me tell you. There was this kid cashier at the gas station who took a year to count out my change. I went in for what I thought would be two minutes to grab some powdered donuts—I was there longer than two minutes, for sure. The kid was pale and greasy, probably a video game addict or something. Definitely not a college graduate. Really tees me off to receive poor service from someone who has an easy job. When this kid finally handed me my change, the bills were all flimsy with sweat. He said, “Have a good day, sir,” as I pulled my sunglasses off of the collar of my shirt and walked out. I only let the temp girl at the office call me “sir.” I didn’t like when this kid called me “sir.” Do me the courtesy of actually doing your job and then you can kiss my ass, you know what I mean? Suffice it to say, I was pretty irritated when I unlocked my car door and swung in. The interior managed to return to broiling while I was inside, and the steering wheel nearly fried my hands off. Q. — A. Right, so I was rolling down the windows to cool off the car, slowly backing out of the space, when I heard this scraping noise. The woman said her kid was just a kid—that she really didn’t mean to open the door and rip a slice of paint the size of my pinkie finger right off the quarter panel. Not a chance a well-disciplined kid would open their door when a car was obviously backing out like that. I pointed at the scrape and asked for her name and insurance information. And she said, “Please, I don’t get paid for another two weeks; I can’t afford to pay for anything but groceries and gas until then.” And I repeated, “What’s your name and insurance information.” I wasn’t going to put up with any excuses. The woman got this meek little look and bent over into the car to get an old receipt and a pen to write down her information. When she handed me the receipt, it was sweaty like the bills. All soft and melted. I looked at the name: Marcy. I thought about cutting Marcy some slack. Females need help like that once in a while.

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But once I got back into the sweltering car, I forgot about cutting her some slack. Sure, it wasn’t the most forgiving response, but lukewarm air was blowing in my face from the broken AC vents and sun was glaring through the windshield. All the heat made me less relaxed than normal, more uptight. I called my insurance company to file the claim before pulling out. Perspiration dripped down my neck from my ears and soaked my shirt collar. There was a wet triangle on my chest. My jeans felt tight, my skin felt pinched and clammy. Getting off the phone with the representative was very relieving. Q. — A. Yes, I did go home early from work, but there’s a good explanation. When I arrived the property I was managing at the time, Phil, the homeowner, got on my back about something. Phil never just let us work. He’s the type that constantly looks over my guys’ shoulders and then yells at me about all the nitpicky ‘witnessing’ he did. I got a phone call at least once a day from Phil, I swear. The cabinets weren’t finished the way he wanted. He didn’t understand why the electrical wiring wasn’t done already. The toilet had a paint stain on it. Something ridiculous as usual. Typically, I kept my mouth shut, but in the blaring sun, I started feeling like a caged animal, like some tiger at the zoo. The tiger’s pelt gets all hot and maybe he wishes he could take off his coat, you know? Get some air flow to his skin. And then he’d be naked in front of all the little kids. Someone would probably call him a pervert, but that tiger is just sizzling in the sun. It’s not his fault the temperature was a hundred degrees or whatever. Q. — A. Yeah, so Phil yakked at me about something, and I just snapped. I yelled at him, said, “Well, then build your own damn house.” Phil paled a little—probably wasn’t used to getting snapped at like that—and said, “Get the hell off my property.” Sure, Mr. Millerman—my boss—wasn’t too happy I’d talked to Phil like that, but I explained the situation—the temperature and such—and he moved me onto a different job the following day. Not a chance he’d fire me. I’m the best project manager he’s got. Q. — A. Well, Phil’s house was the only property I needed to supervise that day. There was nothing else for me to do, so I drove home. The sugar on the donuts was all gluey from melting. I sucked the stuff off my fingers as I drove. My mouth tasted dry and sticky, so I decided to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey. I grabbed some root beer lollipops from the glass bowl on the counter next to the

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plastic tray of charity pennies. Even though the sun cut dingy squares through the store’s front windows, the air was cool—guys at liquor stores always know how to crank the AC on hot ones. I felt good for the first time all day. Q. — A. Your Honor, I know it’s illegal, but I opened the bottle in the car. After cracking the seal, I took a swig, just to calm me down. I was having a shitty day. I don’t usually drink much at all and never in the car. I respect the law. But that heat was a bitch. You have to understand—everything was hazy and wiggling. My throat burned briefly with the whiskey, easing the unbearable hot of my skin, and I started the ignition, turned on the radio loud. With my arm hanging out the window, I thumped my hand to the music all the way home. When I got back to the house, my wife wasn’t home yet. I parked in the driveway and got out of the truck with the whiskey. The temperature was fogging my head. Crossing the lawn was like stumbling through an oven. Heat radiated off the front door as I inserted the key and pushed inside. I went to the kitchen, got myself a glass with ice, and poured some more whiskey. Finishing the first glass, I poured a second. After that, I poured another. It soothed my nerves. Q.

A. Well, I don’t remember much about my wife arriving home. I was pretty drunk by that time, as you can imagine. I can vaguely picture her coming in with the groceries, still in her gym clothes, leaning over slightly to set them on the counter. I’m know she wasn’t expecting me home yet. I vaguely remember her calling my name as she began banging around, putting the groceries away in the cupboards. She turned to find me standing behind her, and I loosely recall her look of surprise. The rest is very blurry. Q. — A. No, I’m not normally aggressive. You can ask my mother— she’s sitting right over there. She can attest I’m not a criminal. I file my taxes early. I tithe at church. I’m a good father. Sure, I wasn’t always the best husband, but I’m no criminal. In my right mind, I would never have forced her. And really, I didn’t force her. It’s the twenty-first century; I have a daughter; I believe in women’s lib and all that, if you know what I mean. And it’s not like I was violent. I didn’t use force. I’m not a violent drunk. Maybe she had a headache and didn’t want to have sex, but she just gave in, submitted. Nothing unusual. I don’t think failing to make your wife climax constitutes rape, you know?And we were married for

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chrissake. When we stood up there, at the altar, in front of our families, my wife promised to God that she’d love and honor me. She promised to fulfill my needs, in sickness and health. It had been 103 degrees for a week, and I just had all this pent up energy. For once that day, I needed some cooperation. And my wife cooperates. She takes care of herself, goes to the gym, out on runs, that sort of thing. She looks great in workout clothes. I’ve always told her how attractive I think she is, how pleased I was she was my wife. Q. — A. I don’t have much else to say, Your Honor, except that, manto-man, I’m telling you: my wife should forgive me for whatever I did to hurt her. My daughter won’t talk to me until she does—I’ve tried calling her. The youth group won’t let me come back without my daughter’s permission. And I can’t get into the school to watch her games. My wife knows I’m a good man, a good father. We all went to church together. Her forgiveness would help everyone move on. Her forgiveness would heal our family. All I’m asking for is for her to find it within herself to see me as a man, one that’s hurting from our divorce, my daughter’s silence. I know you can’t force her to do anything, Your Honor. I know, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

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Jar the God Killer Nick Berger

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Kentucky Jesus

Alaina Bainbridge

There’s a place in Kentucky

where the grass grows sideways.

Where the ground is just dirt,

round the bend in the road past the beer trailer, lit up like Vegas

with neon Christmas signs. Where Jesus hangs

on a flashing plastic obelisk.

They say the water here

makes the whiskey good.

I wouldn’t know. On moonless nights

the Red River still runs

cold sober between my knees. Years ago,

I lost something here,

floating paper notes downstream.

Running barefoot I followed one

all the way down to a man

with dull eyes and a beer can.

Flicking a cigarette flare over his bare stomach

he told me the only reason I’d grown a mouth

is so he could taste it.

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On The Way Home Natalie Elliott

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Coop

Anna Platt

My grandmother feared her chickens. Little generals clawing the red dirt, Crowing at the spill of blood or grain. Beaks, to her, were butterfly knives Held haphazardly on the New York subway. Ecstatic murmurs from their coop at night Were spastic pipe dream expressions of rough sleepers On Eastern European streets. Black feather gleams blue and she sees clear and true The bloodthirst of a starving hyena after a year -long famine. And though she never made it to the Serengeti, Or Europe, or New York, for that matter, I imagine the chickens Still would have been her greatest fear.

Breakfast

Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee 46


From Cruces 2016-2019 Steffanie Padilla

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BOXER

Armando Sol Hazaveh Salazar

i. Basics There is no selfdefense in this sport. I am Defending my face. Hands up Hands Up. ii. Family My father had a belt, once, too Taught me: one, two. one-two-two-one Two years together, you and I Committed. I dance Around a ring At night. I hand you my battered fists, I promise tomorrow but I come home late Rehearsing combinations. One, two, one and lights out I put my son to sleep. iii. Cardio I run for and from this. The heart must beat Slow to be the best. Pound-for -pounding it’s all an exchange.

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iv. Motion I am cornered even when resting. The fight begins when you realize you are in the corner. dodging your own bent shadow. You cannot hit a soul, butv. Glassjaw -you can take the prestige of a man for your own. Mistake blows and kisses both ferocious. I know a man by his weakness, what he won’t say, and my fist aches for a soft landing. My son, Fists can only hold fists. Crumpled truths and pain. vi. Title I pray for A cross, a release, the ropes. This is the young man’s game: Boy vs. Boy. Boy beats Boy, becomes the Man, or beaten boy, or a mirror I see myself in.

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Two Pictures from Pier 2: Brooklyn Bridge Park Anna Robertson

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July 12 2019

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eclipse the trip lunar acid on Jaclyn Bellini

oh sidewalk you sly sand, quick pull my huaraches up out from under i’m sinking ego you went, you go like the sugar of coffee or the coffee of water sugar and coffee in water you get the point. because who am (?) i thirty-thousand kinds of love and a globe, merciful despite our execution attempts i want to go above it, spin the colossal thing myself, hand in the perforated. how many more of you are there? (third smallest, my ass.) oily sky, swirly indigos and juniper stevie nicks said she built her life around you well, actually the song was about lindsey, but i don’t know the clouds are marble men, dismembered configurations of david, perseus hailing tonight from the 607 won’t let them go anywhere first day of march and already i’m swinging trenched in the hell of high water for lovers taken and the comedown

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So Long, Marianne Asher Liftin

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Decomposition

Isabel Thurston

It’s a quick story, nondescript, destined for shelves of thrift stores and the elderly, for those who go out shouting in the streets; the echoes hear and will feel less alone. Yes, it’s destined for the compost at the bottom of the hill, behind that pine tree, there under the wet, thick bodies of the relatives, all with their stories to tell. Why do we recycle these stories to words, dog-eared, dogmatic, pedagogical, it’s so far from being a best seller— there are too many stories like this one. Fill the bin. Follow them now as they flock to the house, the fountain where people rent their eyes and their actions. The bobbing heads unite in an organic row, second nature, to be watered in turn. All cut flowers, regardless of type, require water in some form. Such liquids to drown in! These gold, silver, bronze waters of victory and preservation fall thickly from the watering can, and all may drink their fill. The lathered chins, the shining foreheads bend towards a sun that never sets from the high-ceilinged sky and look!—the stars seem to be out too, their pulsing, pronged arms alighting faces and floor. The very earth shakes in terrabic heartbeat, the world turns and they can feel it, they can feel it and sweet memory, that old burden, takes wing from their shoulders, one by one by one by one as the embraces begin, in ecstasy, in relief, backs arched in unconscious longing. These mock manifestations of love dissolve into sweat and tears, indistinguishable, and water the floorboards. When they’ve had their fill, they stumble onto the streets, these decaying, de-evolutions of man… They find me eventually, their eyes still filled with stars, their sweet

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stems weakened by the copper dew that came well before sunrise. The cyclical, spinning earth and its wet floors are all they have known, but now they see that it was never meant for me and this isn’t supposed to happen, she was the sober one, sturdy and rooted and now they twist around me, a keening growing in their throats, fierce grief is disguised as drunkenness once again. And it was reported, kind of, three months later, but—a cut flower begins to wilt after three to five days—the decay had long set in by then. I wish that the night could be reversed. So follow as they pitch and stagger back to the house, sucking their vomit from the floors, shaking and laughing their hyena laughs. They pluck vile garbage from the wet floors and suck the choking smoke back to their mouths and pens and blunts. Wilting limbs perk a bit as the earth resumes its shake, and these do-gooders sway in the breeze unseen. Drooling liquids of amber and russet back into can and bottle and keg, they sigh as sweet memory returns, one by one by one by one, and the young men tend to each bruised blossom, at last ripping themselves away as the flowers resume their bloom, the night coming alive with color once again. The sun and stars that never set perch grinning from the high-ceilinged sky, meticulously collecting the droplets that shine from forehead and chest, although all bend from their celestial invitations. Eyes are returned, once more filled with light, as they unite again in that organic row, curling to refined posture as if guided by a small wooden dowel. The fountain is filled to the brim with a promise that watches as they flock into the night, ripe and expectant, ready to inverse towards decay once again… Yes, I’m destined for the compost at the bottom of the hill, behind that pine tree, there, under the wet, thick bodies of my sisters, all with their own stories to tell. Why do I recycle this story to words, dog-eared, dogmatic, pedagogical, it’s so far from being a best seller— it makes the same amount of sense backwards. Fill the bin.

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Two of five photos from the "Lights out" paingint series Sydney Krantz

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What You Learn About the Clogs Sophie Jonsson

Compared to Heels Your little girl will want to wear heels. She has already gone into your closet and slipped her little feet into your red high heels even though her foot only takes up half of the shoe. She parades around the house, complaining that the plastic princess heels you got her were not real shoes. These were real shoes. But you know she cannot wear those. Instead, you take her to the shoe store and convince her to buy a pair of clogs. You tell her they are heels just like yours. You show her how they are elevated off the floor and she’s fascinated. She walks around tall and upright, in a shoe that is like yours but for her, trying to walk the way you do.

Origins and the Pair You Bought Traditional clogs are made entirely, or at least partially, from wood. There are three overarching types of clogs: wooden upper clogs (the whole piece is wood), wooden soled clogs (just the sole is wood), and overshoes (wooden soles with straps). Most of the clogs that you’ve seen in traditional cultures look too uncomfortable, so you went ahead and bought the ones that only had a wooden sole. Aside from that, it should be noted that clogs are worn in various cultures all over the world, each with their own variations. Cultures all over Europe (and Asia, but there styles vary to a greater degree), from Denmark and Sweden to Turkey and Germany, have their own style of clogs. The ones you bought for your little girl most resemble the Träskor from Sweden: wood on the bottom and leather on the top...well, faux leather. They were obviously mass produced, but you imagine when hundreds of people made them by hand one hundred years ago. There never was any known origin of the clog, just that they were worn and made by many. And now your little girl.

Dancing When you get home, your little girl tries to figure out how to walk in her new shoes. She stumbles, but catches herself quickly, as if to prove to you that she does want the shoes and that she can wear them. You can imagine her little toes inside, gripping the wood for dear life. Luckily, once inside, as her foot hits the shag carpet, it is as if she has just taken man’s first steps on a new planet. With nothing to slide around or skin her knee on, she zooms around the carpet. She is still leaning into the shoes to ensure that they don’t slip off, but her comfort and freedom are only escalating. She dances around and you watch. You make eye contact once, and you realize that her eye level

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is two inches closer to yours. And it's different.

Sound After a while, your little girl is comfortable enough to venture off the shag carpet. When she does, she quickly realizes the thing that you were subconciously dreading...the sound. The first step is nothing more than the small tap, similar to the sound the heels of your shoes make. But after that, it's as if the giant from "Jack in the Beanstalk" just entered the kitchen to ask for breakfast and a lunch bag. Eager to share her music, your little girl makes her way outside. You haven't noticed this. You are already out there. That day, you're standing outside, arguing with your neighbor about how he wants to put something over your property line. Finaly, when you've had enough, you turn around to go inside, and there is your little girl standing right next to you. She has now learned to be excruciatingly loud or remarkably quiet. You start to leave, expecting her to follow, but she stays planted where she is. You keep going, and then suddenly hear that loud stomping. Your little girl has whipped around to follow you, lifting her feet and loudly slamming them back down on the ground with every step. She is trying to get the attention of the neighbor, showing him what a nuisance he is to the two of you through a bold walk-in sound and manner. As the obsession with the clog sounds continues, you suggest a more 'traditional' activity that is similar: tap dancing class with other little girls. Your little girl declines and says she likes the clogs. They are all her own sound.

Different Colors Your little girl has not asked for another pair of clogs. Instead, she has changed the ones she has. So far, the wooden soles have been colored with crayon, marker, and now various paints, some of which have included: blue, purple, green, and currently red. There will probably be more colors to come.

Mother's Observations and Opinions You never really liked the clogs. If you're being honest, you never liked the clogs. But you got them to make your little girl happy. And perhaps you thought somewhere in your head that they would distract her from your heels. But now, after the tripto the store, the dancing, the insufferable clamoring sounds. and the layers of paint, your little girl doesn't wear clogs anymore. She wears heels. Real heels. She has gotten all that she could out of her clogs: the height, the attention, the feeling of complete uniqueness living in perfect harmony with the desire to be like every grown woman that has come before her. All of it.

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She's realized now that the clogs were just a placeholder that no longer fit her feet, and that really the only people who wear clogs are little girls and old women. She is neither of those now. And you've learned that, for all the annoyance, you would take it all back in a minute. But you can't. You remember that, to each culture, the design of the clog has remained the same for centuries. But what you have given to her is only a single pair, half made of wood. And wood does not last for centuries. Wood rots away.

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The Black Pearl Isis Mayfield

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You Write; You're Trying Your Best Dan Roussel

after Krysten Hill. You find yourself, sometimes, sitting in the white room without light or clock or name but with the roof torn off and under any suspended star’s watchful eye. You write your questions—what fires stoke sunset, how many good years left, where do your cacti go when they die, where do any of us— fold them in mock imitation of a constellation’s limbs—once, you heard the story where a thousand paper stars would cry out into the dark and be recalled by a small god of the night, who would unfold your origami heart and scribe a single answer. So you spent the week in bed again. So you spent the week in bed folding strips of paper into chunky little orbs. So you spent the week in bed recreating the sky in a jar and still no one came. So you write the same questions over and over again; Krysten said she writes to seed her grief but where do you plant in acrid soil?; what blooms in acid rain?; what is there to grow from grief if not a blue pencil crosshatch of loss?

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Contributor Notes Grace Deaton ’20 - Mills College Grace Deaton is a senior at Mills College pursuing degrees in both creative writing and economics. She spends most of her time either leading the Mills College tennis team as their captain or holed up in the library writing (whether it's for class or for fun). This is her first time being published. Shelby Weisburg ’21 - Willamette University Shelby Weisburg attends Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she is majoring in Creative Writing. She currently works as the EDI Coordinator for her university's campus recreation program and interns for the House Speaker of the Oregon Legislature. She has been published in the Oakland Arts Review, FLARE: The Flagler Review, and Argot. She is a former award recipient of the Frank H. Newell Creative Writing Prize in Short Fiction and the Mark and Melody Teppola Prize in Short Fiction. She calls Colorado home. Sophie Jonsson ’22 - Loyola Marymount University Sophie Jonsson is a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University and is currently pursuing a degree in English. Hannah Ratner ’20 - Wesleyan University Hannah Ratner is a senior at Wesleyan University majoring in English and Psychology. Her work has been published in Intercut Magazine and Reverberations Magazine. Isabel Thurston ’21 - Gonzaga University Isabel "Bel" Thurston is a junior at Gonzaga University, where she studies English, Leadership, and the art of making people happy. Her lifelong goal is to be an English Language Arts / ELD Teacher, helping young people express themselves amidst the terror and confusion of Middle School. Yes, Isabel Thurston is contented, but understands that the world can be dark and cold; we need to have the courage to spread the truth, for with it will come the light. Aimee Seu ’19 - University of Virginia Aimee Seu is a Poe-Faulkner Fellow set to graduate in 2019 from the University of Virginia's Creative Writing MFA for Poetry. Her poem 'Nikki Lyn' was recipient of the 2019 UVA Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poem '17' won the Academy of American Poets Prize at Temple University in 2016. She is a 25-year-old and a Philadelphia native. Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo ’20 - Vassar College Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo is a writer from Caguas, Puerto Rico, and an English major at Vassar College. Their most recent books are the Spanish poetry collections Yéndome (Publicaciones Gaviota, San Juan, 2018) and bocados (Ediciones del Flamboyán, San Juan, 2019). Their short fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines; two of their poems have been published in Blacklist. They also write plays, and contribute to the "Buscapié" column in the Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Día. Emma Wehrman ’21 - Oberlin College Emma Wehrman (she/her/hers) is an English major and a Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies minor at Oberlin College. As a reader and a writer, she is particularly fascinated by old fairy lore, feminist re-imaginings of the classic canon, and narratives that focalize on the process of healing from trauma. Rrita Osmani ’20 - Cornell University Rrita Osmani is a senior majoring in Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University. Her family fled Kosovo in 1999 during the war between Kosovo and Serbia when Rrita was 1 year old. They moved to the Bronx with the help of their extended family.

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Connie Zhang ’21 - Emory University Connie Zhang was born in the United States, but spent most of her childhood in Singapore. She subsequently moved to China to finish middle and high school, and is now back in the United States studying at Emory University. James O’Leary - Sarah Lawrence College James O'Leary (they/them) is a poet and short story writer from Scottsdale, Arizona. They have been previously selected as a youth ambassador to Chengdu, China as a member of the Phoenix Sister Cities program, and recently graduated from Northern Arizona University. Now, they reside in New York City where they are pursuing an MFA in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, where they also serve as a reader and blog contributor at Lumina. C. E. Haug ’20 - Smith College C.E. Haug is a mixed queer kid and a Senior at Smith college in Massachusetts, though they are originally from Berkeley, California. They have previously written for the New York Times' newsletter "The Edit." Stephen Michaels ’20 - Carnegie Mellon University School of Art Stephen Michaels is an artist and writer living between Pittsburgh and New York City. Working across drawing, video, portrait photography, sculpture, and installation, and poetry, his work is focused on the creation of a codified visual language across media. Nico Léger ’21 - Brandeis University Nico Léger is a Canadian-American poet who identifies as non-binary. He is studying Creative Writing, English, and East Asian Studies at Brandeis University in Boston, but is currently attending Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea for the next year. He can be found at @ nico_leger_ on Instagram. Nichelae McFarlane ’20 - Binghamton University Nichelae McFarlane is a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Comparative Literature and Africana Studies. In addition to her academic work, she is the President of Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society, a bus driver for Off Campus College Transport, a Student Assistant at Harpur Edge, and a member of the Binghamton University Speech and Debate Team. She has been previously published in Binghamton University's Undergraduate Research Journal, Alpenglow, Negritude (2019) and Bathroom Tales (2017). In her poetry, Nichelae explores concepts of antiblackness, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and all these intersections with life in college. She is particularly interested in drawing out the nuances of how her positionality with the world is portrayed and how best to guard against and embody herself within the world. Alaina Bainbridge - The University of Colorado at Boulder Alaina Bainbridge is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at The University of Colorado at Boulder. Her work has appeared in Cellar Door, Dreamer’s Magazine, and Sibli Journal, among others. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. When she is not teaching or writing, she is out in the mountains rock climbing. Anna Platt ’22 - University of St Andrews Anna Platt is a sophomore at the University of St Andrews doing a joint degree programme with the College of William and Mary. She enjoys birdwatching, Fleetwood Mac, and renaissance poetry.

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Armando Sol Hazaveh Salazar ’22 - Brandeis University Armando is a sophomore and student of art at Brandeis University. He writes when he can. Dan Roussel ’21 - Merrimack College Dan Roussel is a junior English and Sociology major at Merrimack College. When he's not working at his campus' Writers House, he's bouncing between radio shows, roommate conflicts, and the nearest Keurig. Jaclyn Bellini ’19 - Cornell University Jaclyn Bellini is a poet from central New Jersey. She is graduating this semester from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations. Her writing is not necessarily to knock your socks off but have you considered why you're wearing socks in the first place? Asher Liftin ’21 - Yale University Asher Liftin is an artist who creates art with immediate sculptural presence. In the current era the digital image has taken over and thus paintings are sculptures. The surfaces are 2D planes that share space with the viewer. Many of the paintings display a surface with thick paint swirled and tangled with itself to result in an image. This creates surfaces that buzz with energy but are in constant tension with their eternal stillness as a result of their nature as paintings. Asher Liftin grew up in Brooklyn New York and has never not been fascinated by art. It is this fascination in which he has formed a relationship with the world. Nick Berger ’21 - Ringling College Nick Berger is a cartoonist and dog person. Based in Florida, he tends to use a combination of digital and traditional techniques to create his art. He's very sleepy, but his ideas won't let him sleep. Stina Arstorp ’21 - Santa Clara University Stina Arstorp, originally from a small town in Connecticut, now a Junior at Santa Clara University is an Environmental Studies & Studio Arts double major. Influenced by the vibrant colors of her Northern California surroundings, her work is primarily focused on color and light that she finds in moments of her daily life. Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee ’21 - Carnegie Mellon University Jenny Yeon-Jin Lee, born in Seoul, South Korea in 1998, is currently a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. She finds that paintings of everyday objects can provide a powerful window into people's lives and her finished high-touch paintings often evoke powerful personal associations. She is constantly searching for subjects that possess just the right combination of strong visual appeal, a sense of whimsy or humor, and an element of social commentary through realism. They suggest instances of real-life experience; however, time has impaired the ability to fully recollect. Creativity and innovation replaces this disconnect allowing room to fabricate new meaning. Neva Nobles-Alder ’20 - The University of Iowa Neva works predominantly with digital photography, utilizing macro photographic techniques with specific interests in insects, arachnids, and a variety of microflora. A new part of her artistic practice has evolved to include the construction of 3D landscape sculptures out of foam and various other model implements made from a variety of materials.​ Her work seeks to inspire curiosity and bring awareness to overlooked small scale flora and fauna through beautiful imagery. Neva completed a BFA at East Carolina University, School of Art and Design in Greenville, NC in 2017. She is now a third-year MFA Candidate and Instructor of Record at The University of Iowa continuing her studies in photography and book arts. Isis Mayfield ’22 - Georgia Southern University A 19-year-old portrait and conceptual photographer who studies business and art. Zachary Solomon ’22 - Arizona State University Zachary is currently a sophomore, earning a degree in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Outside of school, he is a concert photographer. His work can be found in Sonder Midwest.

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Minseok Jang ’23 - Ringling College Minseok Jang is a freshman at Ringling College and currently taking up a bachelor’s degree in Fine arts where he was admitted with the Dean’s scholarship. As a passionate young artist, he finds great joy to continuously challenge himself in various fields from installation art, performance art even to fashion design, which allows him to try unusual experiments in art making, resulting in distinctive character of his pieces. Magda Dumitrescu ’22 - Georgia State University Magda Dumitirescu is a visual artist born, raised, and based in Atlanta. Her work spans media from drawing, murals, and digital animation; and centers color, movement, and storytelling. She strives to create a strong sense of place in her work, so each viewer may find solace, magic, and interconnectivity within it. She is a BA student of Anthropology and Studio Art at Georgia State University. Lane Duckett ’23 - University of Aberdeen Lane Duckett grew up on a farm in Eugene Oregon. It was here that Lane discovered a deep connection with the chaotic rhythm of nature. In every piece she wants to convey a deep connection between humanity and nature. She recently moved from Portland Oregon to Aberdeen Scotland to study politics and international relations. She hopes to bring her unique art style to Aberdeen. Paige Warmington ’22 - Stanford University Paige Warmington is an artist formerly based out of Southern California. The majority of her work reflects the ever-changing nature of the shoreline she grew up to know as home. Paige now calls Northern California home, as she is working towards a degree in Art Practice at Stanford University. Natalie Elliott ’22 - Vanderbilt University Natalie Elliott is a Sophomore studying Earth and Environmental Science at Vanderbilt University. Originally from Massachusetts, she grew up in a rural bubble of academia provided by the small college town of Amherst. Through attending university in a different region of the US, she became interested in the common experiences of adolescence. In her work, Natalie deals with themes of nostalgia, the importance of place, and the struggle of carving out a niche for oneself in the world. She hopes to bring connection between her work and her viewers by displaying her own personal memories as representations of a universal human experiences. Roman Distefano ’21 - Northeastern University Roman is a Design and Computer Science student completing his degree at Northeastern University in Boston. He is an avid doodler and is constantly creating. Roman also likes to rock climb, bike, and bleach his hair. Nathaniel Brown ’21 - Northeastern University Nathaniel Brown is a queer-focused Boston-based photographer, designer and visual artist. They are interested in radical self-expression, irrational optimism and the endurance of images. They want to be a part of something greater than the individual. Neelam Shaikh ’21 - Yale University Neelam is a junior at Yale majoring in Cognitive Science with a focus in Mathematics. Neelam has been painting since 6th grade and has had two solo art exhibitions. She has produced over 80 pieces of art, and aims to continue painting after college. Steffanie Padilla - Rhode Island School of Design Steffanie Padilla is a conceptual artist and currently a first-year MFA Photography graduate at Rhode Island School of Design. Her research interests focus on exploring the human-animal relationship, media-theory, and Mexican-American visual culture. Yiming Zhang ’22 - Yale University Yiming Zhang is a photo-based artist born and raised in Lanzhou, China. He is currently a sophomore at Yale University studying physics.

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Sydney Krantz ’20 - Carnegie Mellon University Born in Houston, Texas, Sydney Krantz is an artist currently living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. Primarily an abstract painter, her work depicts a world in flux: a world that is dissolving, or coming into being, or rupturing, or emanating light from its core. Formally, her paintings reference the things that reside at the edges of our awareness and understanding. Imagery of outer space, deep sea, unknowable land masses, holes in space and time, and windows to alternate realities emerge through her abstractions. She is pursuing a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University with plans to graduate in May of 2020. Anna Robertson ’20 - Savannah College of Art and Design Anna Robertson is a photographer from Florence, Alabama. Her work deals predominantly with the relationship between the human conscious and the earth, as well as returning to the natural world. She is happiest when she is photographing in the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry with her large format camera, named Kevin. She currently lives in Savannah, Georgia with her fiancÊ, their plants, and their extensive camera collection.

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