the juggler art, literature, design
literature, art, design at notre dame winter 2012 volume 75
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letter from the editor Thanks to the technologies of our time, we are continuously presented with outlets for self-expression. This ability to reveal thoughts, opinions, and ideas to a larger audience is the greatest power we have as intelligent beings. At Notre Dame, The Juggler offers students an outlet for their creativity, a timeless way for the student body to interact with each other. Your fellow students have opened their minds to be read by their peers, so thanks for picking up a copy of this winterâ€™s Juggler. We hope that the contents will help to cultivate your own thoughts, opinions, and ideas. If you like what you see and want to get involved, email email@example.com. If you would like to submit art or literature for our spring issue, please email your works to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, March 20. Please see our website, nd.edu/~juggler, for more details. Thanks for reading! Katherine Fusco
oil painting by Jordan Bai
taylor photograph by Lauren Fritz
jordan bai is a bo$$.
lauren fritz loves how music and photography give everything in life a little more sparkle.
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solitude photograph by Becky Jegier
becky jegier is just trying to keep the boat steady as she sails wherever the wind may take her.
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table of contents art selections cover 002 004 007 009 010 013 014 016 020 025 026 029 030
untitled by jordan bai taylor by lauren fritz solitude by becky jegier autumn by courtenay devlin figure in polychromy by christina shannon untitled by laura mcginn girl with a hoop earring by jordan bai la puesta del sol by becky jegier saudade IV by shelby grubbs cows by courtenay devlin race by lauren kalinoski untitled by shelby grubbs tempus edax rerums by marina kozak willow by lauren fritz
literature selections 006 008 011 012 015 018 024 027 028
molten by david howe punchline by sara mcguirk newborn mute by katherine fusco his journey into a far country by bryce taylor academic daydreams by britt burgeson bodies by leah coming and then it was silent by joshua whitaker among thieves by kim halstead (hollow) by sara mcguirk
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molten poem by David Howe How do the flakes from waking twilight fall Amid the deep trees black. A’floating round, Then dropping fast—the brown up wound (no sound) Grain-wrapping loose the star danced speck, the shawl. The darkling vines do hold, how clear the call Now choking coals—smooth heat caress. They’re bound Beneath pull leather weeds, yet center found In last pent flare, the smelt reversing all. Well did my trees know darkness—owls mid hoot And soil untouched. But swirls of flame became Transfigur’ed inside the furls of root Alighting leaves and bark alike. Untame These souls of fire, of fallen pyre—so lute And song may greet the dawn, Orion’s aim.
autumn photograph by Courtenay Devlin
david howe can dance in 27 different languages.
courtenay is not a typo. Her last name is devlin .
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punchline poem by Sara McGuirk
I’m the wit in madness, The spitting image of an actress, A two-bit fraud beyond the curtains, And when it drops Your applaud made certain, I’m the character that wants The flaws that wrought A purpose The shelled vessel Sought, still, but Felt worthless, It was not Merely will, But her lone wish, The sole thrill of Existence That crave To entertain This humorless pain, In a forsaken play, Courses through veins, The force of this craze And, call it deranged, The toll keeps me sane, Because up on that stage —There— My soul is laid down
My whole self is slain, My whole melts away, For the role that I play —I’m the clown— I’m a novelty, With no intrinsic quality past The wrath of the first laugh, —I’m a sham— A human proven numb, Nothing more than Some moment in an album, A reminiscence Of what you thought was Something more than Sordid silence, The kind that rises In my throat once, I’ve stifled my last joke —Until it’s dying— I’m alive in The punchline, I’m a lie with pun entwined, Flesh and blood, Breath and The byline: Spinelessly born, Stitched to perform, I’ll bow, you’ll adorn My rewritten life Don’t get too close, There’s nothing to know below This soul overthrown —By the role— By the lines,
art, literature, design 009 art, literature, design 9 By the lights In my eyes, The script full of lies In a human puppet’s mind And it’s no wonder why Once you’ve heard every line Damn right, you’d be sick of my show.
figure in polychromy watercolor paintings by Christina Shannon
sara mcguirk is an aspiring piñata designer with an affinity for festive violence. The vicious cycle of creation and destruction propels her merrily toward impending madness.
christina shannon is a fourth-year arkie who appreciates a devoted friend, peppermint tea, a smart floor plan, and the word perspicacity.
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untitled oil painting by Laura McGinn
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newborn mute poem by Katherine Fusco
What happens to what I cannot see? As a radio corpse Hammered heartbeat The book full of bullet holes I took a static shock of words last week It punched my throat Almost all the way down
katherine fusco believes in the luck of the whole rabbit, not just its foot.
laura mcginn is too short to fight the world.
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his journey into a far country poem by Bryce Taylor pietà: her palm pleads, Stop, now, stop — he’s dead; her fingers wrap around his neck to brush a beard unbathed fierce fingers plucked, a head that thorns & mob-mad spit combined to flush. stained glass: the island’s matchless scholar noosed; ten reasons scaffolded his bookish hopes; the cause of Becket, Fisher, More — reduced to corpses out of joint, discredit, ropes. back pew: a book-encumbered young man kneels: dejected, doubtful, image-haunted, split between the void his modern spirit feels & bone-deep guilt the void cannot acquit. you tourists: turn away, or be engrossed — no glamor here, but England’s tortured ghost.
bryce taylor is a dead cat, or rather would like to be one.
girl with a hoop earring oil painting by Jordan Bai
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la puesta del sol photograph by Becky Jegier
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academic daydreams prose by Brit Burgeson
I wouldn’t tell my parents. I wouldn’t tell anyone. I’d stuff my journals, cameras, shoes, cases of dew into the Subaru and drive through the stars. I’d traverse the Rocky Mountains, swim naked in glacial streams; my clothes would smell like pine fires. I’d meander back roads; shop for beanie babies at truck stops. I’d listen to the honey jar lady’s story. I’d mail myself letters and collect library cards. I’d leave poems on diner napkins. I’d ricochet from café to café and fuel myself on endless audiobooks. I would pole-dance for petrol. I’d get baptized in the swamps of Mississippi. I’d stop speaking in semantic words with semantic meanings. I’d learn to like whisky. I would drive to dehydration. Before California, I would disintegrate into cigarette night sand sunshine ash dust freedom.
brit burgeson likes to nibble on leather letters, dine on phonetic vibrations.
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photograph by Shelby Grubbs
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shelby grubbsâ€™ alter ego is Garth Algar.
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bodies short story by Leah Coming Her sons scraped the tree branches with a bamboo stick and pecans rained on the doublewide trailer. Hitting the roof, peppering the noise of tip-tip-tump which scared the rooster from his perch in the tree. The boys wrestled a hundred pecans out of the sky. Their mother sat inside, feeling up and down the crack in her foot and thumbing the split skin of her heel. Maddie’s thumb smushed into the crack, and she patched her heel with her thumb. One part of herself was in another part of herself. Maddie imagined that the crack grew so large that her fist fit inside her foot. Then the fissure would split her leg, and her arm would grope up to her stomach. The pecans dented the roof and rolled into the wild lantana flowers. The boys fetched the pecans and banged their paper-thin shells on the butt of their palms. Pecan shell shards dug into their hands and hurt them. Stop eating them, Maddie called from the window. Stop eating them or you’ll upset your stomach. She slowly tore the ridge of dead skin—the hardened rind pulled off of her heel, and she put it in her pocket. Tell your father to check that the gate is shut, she said.
He can’t, said Trevor. He’s sawing on the trees on the fence. Maddie’s breath tensed up in her thighs— she ran outside in a barefoot fury, hobbling on unfit feet, hopping over the prickly weeds to the fenceline. Her husband was bent over the handsaw, grinding away at the trunk of a sick baby tree. Don’t, she said. I’ll have to buy thicker curtains for the kitchen and the bathroom and the bedroom. And that will only protect the inside! I’ll have to pin sheets to the barbed wire! I’ll do it!
Don’t be stupid, he said.
I told you that I need these trees on the fence.
They’re dying. Look. The leaves are completely yellow. If what they have spreads over the hundred acres, we’ll lose all the trees. The nuns are not more important than every tree on our property. Paul—you know, she said. I won’t be able to be easy in my own yard or house. Don’t cut these trees down. But Maddie’s husband tucked his handsaw into the wound in the trunk and pulled it back and forth. Maddie pulled her stomach up and suspended it against her ribcage. To calm herself, she imagined that she was in a refrigerated greenhouse, floating on her stomach over a lawn of mint.
If you floated over a lawn of mint, you could close your eyes and smell it without bruising the leaves and grinding the green oil into your fingerpads. This is the safest place that Maddie could imagine—a sightless place of smell. She
art, literature, design 019 art, literature, design 19 would have erased the greenhouse and imagined herself in a colorless universe, a negative space neither white or black, but she liked the womblike feeling of the greenhouse. Maddie took herself to a void that smelled of mint whenever she thought about how the nuns could now see her. There were only three of them—the Young Nun, the Fat Nun, the Old Nun— and their convent house was only a snap call away from Maddie’s house. What do we need nuns for here? Maddie asked Paul from the hammock as he gutted a fish. I don’t know. The only nuns I knew took care of homeless people, he said. But if I was homeless I’d walk to Austin and sleep on a park bench. You’d have to be an idiot to be homeless and stay in Schulenburg. Paul threw the bowl of the fish’s guts into the firepit, and Maddie watched them fizz and melt. And if the fish’s cold, veiny tubes were to snake under the hammock, and curl up into her, and suction onto her insides—and if the fish veins were to river siphon her blood. Maddie closed her eyes and rolled onto her back to suppress the horrible, visceral pressing of her stomach against the netted hammock. To forget the fishy guts hidden under her bellybutton. Paul said, I sometimes see them around the dirty neighbors. That breed the dogs and don’t feed them. Maybe the nuns are taking care of the dogs. Paul smiled, wide-mouthed with his fish mouth, as he rinsed off his hands in the bucket that the perch had been swimming in.
Having never met the nuns, Maddie judged them based on observations from over the fence. They called the house a convent, but it was only a painted wooden house under a giant fig tree—only a painted house, like one a family might live in, but Maddie was sure that there was not a kitchen or a bathroom. Kitchens and bathrooms don’t belong in convents. Not even house-convents. The night after Paul chopped down the baby trees, she heard their singing voices through the open window in her bedroom. Maddie crouched to listen to the limping chant, in which two quiet and tuneless voices were answered by one stronger. As she listened, she rubbed the hairs on her shin. They were not tapered and soft like on her arm, but prickly and blunt from the last shave— and—she squeezed one between her thumbnail and first finger and pulled, trying to uproot the ungraceful fur on her legs. She imagined the nuns as balls of golden sound swirling around a white light.
To be a light. To be a part of the brightest light.
Paul opened the door and she stood up, guilty. She slid the uprooted hairs into her pocket as he sat on the bed and wiggled his boots off. Hey, Paul said. I don’t want you to worry about the nuns so much.
I don’t, Maddie said.
I think you do. And I feel like you think they are judging us or something, for being together. But of course they aren’t. They know hundreds of married people. Maddie said, That’s not it at all. That’s not even what I’m thinking.
020 the juggler• winter • winter 2012 20 the juggler 2012 She got into bed under the single sheet and smothered her eyes under the pillow. Maddie fantasized that she and Paul were water in the ocean and they were sucked up towards the sun but never, never fell as rain—that they were airy water drops floating in the sky.
Yes, he said.
I feel dirty next to them.
You’re not dirty.
I know. That I’m not dirty. It’s just something like that. I feel—I don’t know. They don’t have to look at their tree or their cow or their chicken and say, that’s my chicken. Of course they do, said Paul. They have a lot of chickens. They spend hours thinking. They don’t belong to chickens. I don’t know.
Maddie, he said.
And then Paul crawled under the sheet and took the pillow off of her face. He softed his dry hand on his wife’s ears and traced the outline of her eyes, her nose, her mouth, her fingertips. The more comforted she felt, the angrier Maddie
cows photograph by Courtenay Devlin
became towards herself—angry for responding to touch.
She lay, a still body.
Maddie woke up when the cows and chickens did, but lay in bed while Paul opened the gates and watered the new burr oaks by the pond. She heard Trevor and Danny clunk about the house and then slam the back door. This morning, Maddie imagined that a hundred flutes were fluttering on two notes that made a chord—and this fluttery chord was a wave that carried her into a pocket of cool air. But she must have slept crooked because there was a crick in her neck. Maddie could not forget her body. And then, she heard the boys shrieking and giggling from far away. Maddie propped herself up on her elbows to check the window, and saw the boys on the other side of the fence, running behind the convent. She sprung out of bed and ran down the metal steps leading out of the double-wide in her nightdress, holding her breasts still with a crossed forearm as she ran into the nuns’ yard.
art, literature, design 021 art, literature, design 21 Trevor! she hissed, as her older son came around the other side of the convent. Where’s Danny? Get over here. I want you to go inside and cover yourself. But as she grabbed his little wrist with her free hand, Danny ran into sight behind a stream of water. The Old Nun was hauling a limegreen hose and catching the boy in the stream as she watered the azalea bushes and the fig tree. Danny hopped over to his mom, water streams glittering on his little boy body. Hello, the Old Nun said in a springy voice. I’m Sister Cecilia. I’m so glad to finally meet you. The Old Nun walked towards Maddie with the snaky hose in tow, wearing green plastic gardening shoes under her black dress. She smiled and held out her hand to shake.
distribute around the diocese. I hope you’ll let your two strong men come and help us out. We can’t reach the top ones. But I know these two are some good climbers. You boys can eat as many figs as you can fit in your stomachs, of course. Sure, sure thing, said Maddie. Of course. Just call for them. And she excused herself to walk back to the house, every muscle seized and flexed in selfconscious shame. She leaned her head into the corner of the bedroom, sitting on her haunches, and pulled hairs out of the back of her head. When she thought to look, she found a mat of hair sitting in the pool of the crease of her sleeping gown.
Maddie’s toes curled as she lowered her right arm from her chest—she felt her breasts swing out under the cotton nightdress as she shook Sister Cecilia’s hand. She held her lungs against her throat. Shame of shames. Her breath sat in the shame of shames.
Maddie prepared herself for a duel to redeem her honor and dignity before the Old Nun. She stood in front of the mirror and scraped and scraped the dead skin on the ridge of her nose, but every scrape flaked off some skin but raised more. She rubbed her nose with a cloth and cold water to enervate the scaly flesh, but it always dried out after a few minutes.
The Sister said, the figs will be ripe to pick in a couple days. We’ll pick and can most of them to
Then, she picked a book and jumped on the hammock, sitting as sternly upright as she
leah coming is still thinking about it.
022 the thejuggler juggler• winter • winter 2012 22 2012 could in the floppy net. The book was chosen for a specially impressive effect, as she couldn’t pronounce the author’s last name. It had been Paul’s uncle’s favorite book, and Paul said it was about a man who writes angry philosophy underground and hates himself. Maddie imagined that she was sitting in a white room with the nuns, and they were all on their knees with their eyes closed. But, not closed, for each of them would be peeking through slitted eyes! She would be the only one who could keep her lids nearly shut without fluttering and revealing her spying—she would be the only one who did not tremble on tense calves, did not adjust her weight on her knees! Maddie would be still and beautiful, like she was really talking to God, and the nuns would have their eyes open to see it. Unfortunately, the nuns didn’t spy her from their chapel; they didn’t enter the garden to witness Maddie in her triumphant hammock, postured with a book. They were not in the convent. Maddie wondered where they could be. They belonged in their house. No, the duel landed on the trip to the butcher’s. Maddie had driven into Schulenburg proper to buy sausages at the tiny meathouse where some of her own beef was sold after being slaughtered and processed in town. She opened the jingly door to approach the counter, when—she saw the Fat Nun, and swallowed a gulp of air. With all she could muster, Maddie positioned herself behind the Fat Nun in line and lifted her eyebrows with aristocratic indifference. The nun’s black habit was stretched out and ridged on her back, and spread taut over her backside.
This should be enough for 20 people, with small portions, said the quiet butcher. That’ll be plenty! The families add up to quite a many people, but there are a lot of children, said the Fat Nun.
Would you like me to carry it for you?
Ah, that is sweet of you. But don’t worry. I’ll be able to get it on out. Thank you for your help. The butcher pushed a huge, wrapped slab of beef towards the Fat Nun, who shouldered it on her side. Maddie recognized the tag on the beef as one of her own…one of her own cows that ate her grass and shit in her field and brayed in the morning while she lay in bed. As the nun turned around, she locked her deep brown eyes into Maddie’s eyes and Maddie—
The Sister smiled cheerfully and set off along the gravel road on the two mile walk back to the convent. The blood ran to the surface of Maddie’s skin— she was the meat, blushing red.
Burning, burning she drove, smothered in the car with the windows shut and the air off, driving barefoot under a cloud-pressed sky. Maddie pressed her palms into the steering wheel on the bruised spot where she had crushed the papershell pecans. Two losses, two—indecent shamings. No grove of cool mint or wave of fluttering chords could lift this present—pressing—skin or the heat of bodyness.
art, literature, design 023 art, literature, design 23 Maddie drove recklessly homeward, scanning the road for the Fat Nun’s black habit under the darkening storm-ready sky. She did not know what she would do, but—she would. And then. A mass of black, swelling larger and larger, yes, in a yard, the dirty yard of Maddie’s dirty neighbors, the black habit darting around a gated pen. Maddie braked and shifted into park and pulled the keys from the socket and opened the door and ran across the ditch into the yard where the Young Nun crouched, arms outspread. Can you help us? Maddie’s dirty neighbor called from over her shoulder, rubbing her underarm to soak the sweat into her shirt. Both the women were creeping towards a vine tangle in the corner of the pen, slowly dancing their weight forward until the Young Nun lunged and a screaming chicken flew to the other side of the fence. The red bird hid in a forest of high grass. The nun and dirty neighbor stopped to breathe. Maddie could see that the fabric on the Young Nun’s armpits were sweatstained and greyer than the black fabric of her habit. We’re trying to catch him, the Young Nun said. Would you want to come on in and take the other corner? Maddie nestled her foot into the wooden fencerung and, trembling, lifted herself over and into the chicken’s coop, a chaotic primordial tangle of yellow grasses and apple balsam vine. Thanks, said the Young Nun. We’re trying to get her before the rain. The three women formed a legion to close in on the hen—they edged in, gliding bouncelessly
towards the wire fence. At the point of entrapment, the dirty neighbor lunged full-weight into the grass, but the bird escaped between Maddie’s legs. The rifle and cage were propped on the outside of the pen. The bird fled under the gnarled mesquite tree, a weed tree, vulnerable under its browning fans of leaves. The women crouched even lower for the assault. The Young Nun was bent at the middle and ready to spring at the calves—her dress was hiked up and gathered slightly at the waist. Maddie felt the stretch in her back and felt the tumult in her stomach. The dark grey sky settled a cool on the baked summer dirt, and the women moved in. The red hen shouted. The women pounced on her—both the Young Nun and Maddie lunged together and trapped her under their elbows. The dirty neighbor ran to fetch the cage, and the Nun and Maddie loosed him at its door. The chicken panicked, hit every metal wall, and then the dirty neighbor shot him with the rifle. Young Nun retrieved her black headcover from the grass and pulled it over her hair, smiling. Sister, I thought it’s time you’d normally be at prayer, said Maddie. The Young Nun smiled to the gums and brushed the caked red dust from her knees with rough, downward strokes.
Let’s help strip the bird.
Maddie followed the nun, moving easily as the red earth plugged the cracks in her bare feet.
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and then, it was silent poem by Joshua Whitaker
joshua whitaker cannot confirm or deny a God Quad cattle call or the persistence of the Southern hippie.
After days in the city when we would fight it, wrap ourselves in Rembrandt radio beats and ignore the car horns and curse words cropping up between songs. It crept into the walls made weak by the insults hurled by the couple next door, bouncing around the corners, bruising each other’s backs and the sides of their faces and settling with an unsettled reverberation into the plaster. The dry wall crumbling: the noise seeps in with the rats and the water damage. The pipes begin the clink and to clang and the radio a croaking disharmony laid over cold radiator rhythms. And we try to outrun it. Mom carries boxes on her hip. The suburbs seem still. But you were there, and you knew the deafening echoes of prayers murmured in the places where the music stopped. And, prayers sound like sobs through doors closed in the dark. I thought you sounded like angels singing in that drain pipe, a chorus of voices, trying so hard to sing harmonies to yourself. I knew you didn’t go home, and your home was no heaven. You let your tones flit about strong and mournful melodies because your languid voice could form no words and, back then, language was a parasite feeding on bodies with no music. Your father pounds his fist against walls. You weep out of key. You cannot just spit it out. By high school, you could tear words off the bone with your teeth and ravage conversations, beat topics unconscious with your tongue and, embarrassed, drag them back home into your gullet to keep. We had to shout over the crickets crescendoing brittle rattle snake shakes buzzing and bellowing sweet love ditties scratched out in three-eighths time to the beat of our feet in the dirt and our heartdrums quiet and out of rhythm. We took candles into the woods. Swallowing little flickering lights, we spat out fireflies and sang to them what we couldn’t say out loud.
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Our words rose like embers, went out like sparks in the air. Your hand runs up the dashboard. The engine churns. We make a cacophony of love. We noticed the shapes we rubbed into the dew on the window. We see the horizon tainted with light. We lie. And it was silent. Everything is silent.
race photograph by Lauren Kalinoski
lauren kalinoski will never eat Blue Bonnet butter again.
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untitled photograph by Shelby Grubbs
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among thieves poetry by Kim Halstead you say there’s honour among thieves a sort of singed camaraderie a sort of drunken shove underwater a sort of hush below floorboards i can’t sleep anymore, you whisper there are patterns of the concrete in your forehead it’s a hard life, but it has its own rewards which i haven’t been able to figure and you won’t tell me so i decide to point out how the dents look kind of like a map of the ny subway you say there’s honour among thieves a sort of shotgun trial together a sort of firing squad resolution a sort of roulette between friends but what about the honour of queens, saints, czars, lovers, liars, soldiers, geisha, monsters, beggars, frycooks, can we all be right? i ask and you, honourable thief, remain silent
kim halstead is a scarf and pasta enthusiast.
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(hollow) poem by Sara McGuirk Struggle between the wants and needs, The haunts of thoughts unseen, Waking worthlessly from the internal dream (Of self-conviction) A push and pull deeper than the Slip that meets the eye, As if between fingers, In the subtle hollow no one thinks of, The space in the spread Of a reptile’s webbed gloves Where—upon the intellect—there is nothing, but (A gap) Shaping purpose In the shell of another self, A hollow eternally vacant, In sight yet out of mind An emptiness un-like The infamous (Birthright) Of life’s emergence —Perverted— Or perchance... (Glamorized)
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tempus edax rerums drawing by Marina Kozak
marina kozak made this.
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colophon The Juggler is a semiannual student art, design, and literary magazine of the Notre Dame community. It is printed at Ava Maria Press in Notre Dame, Indiana. Editorial and/or business correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor, The Juggler 315 LaFortune Student Center Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556 The Juggler can also be reached via email at email@example.com. Poetry, short fiction, essays, art, and design are accepted at any time (preferably by email). The material in this publication is protected by copyright and may not be reprinted, copied, or quoted, except by specific written permission. The opinions expressed in The Juggler are not necessarily those of the University of Notre Dame or the student body.
willow photograph by Lauren Fritz
katherine fusco editor
sara mcguirk assistant editor
amanda carter art & design director graphic design
bob franken â€™69 advisor
robert sedlack â€™89 design advisor
writing selection molly shank aubrey butts maria fahs alex budz claire kucela hayley evans erin portman kim halstead christian coppa marissa frobes sian kresse
art selection amanda carter kassandra randazzo mia swift lina delmastro
the juggler â€˘ winter 2012