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Cel ebrat i ng 80 Y ears o f P u bl i CATION

the art and Literary Magazine of Morningside College

2018


“As human beings we need to know that we are not alone, that we are not crazy, or completely out of our minds, that there are other people who feel as we do, live as we do, love as we do, who are like us.� Billy Joel

On the Cover Blooming, consuming by Cassandra Warner sculpture


“As human beings we need to know that we are not alone, that we are not crazy, or completely out of our minds, that there are other people who feel as we do, live as we do, love as we do, who are like us.� Billy Joel

On the Cover Blooming, consuming by Cassandra Warner sculpture


Volume 80 2018

the art and Literary Magazine of Morningside College

4

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Kiosk15

5


Volume 80 2018

the art and Literary Magazine of Morningside College

4

Kiosk18

Kiosk15

5


Staff

Letters From the Editors EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ASSISTANT EDITORS VISUAL EDITOR

Madison Monahan Kristen Brown, Amy Jackson and Lindsey Smith Emma Miller and Alyssa Nehring FICTION

NON-FICTION

Associate Editor

Associate Editor

Lindsey Smith

Amy Jackson

Board Members

Board Members

Zach Hutchison Tyler Nordstrom Sondra Thoreson Kellan Walker

Hailey Barrus Jared Martin Marianna Pizzini

POETRY

COPY EDITOR

Associate Editor

Elizabeth Roop

Kristen Brown Board Members

Abby Maldonado Salguero Shelby Small Tara Meinen ART

Associate Editors

Emma Miller Alyssa Nehring Emily Knapp Megan Hart

FACULTY ADVISORS

Steve Coyne John Kolbo Terri McGaffin

About Our Judges: Michael Crowley is Associate Professor and chairperson of the Department of Digital Media at Briar Cliff University since 1989. He has also served as advisor for The Cliff News student publication. Crowley’s main area of interest is photography. His images have been exhibited at Northwestern College, the Plymouth County Museum, and the Sioux City Art Center. Crowley’s images have been on the cover of The Briar Cliff Review literary magazine and inside the publication many times. His photographs have also been published in the Sioux City Journal. Sarah Ricker is a graduate of Morningside College and native to Sioux City where she lives with her soon to be husband Corey, and calico cat, Patty. She currently works as a Reference Librarian at the Sioux City Public Library. She also focuses much time and energy into her small crafting business, Charlotte and Bones, where she mainly produces commissioned up-cycled signs and various visual art pieces.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a graduate of the University of Florida, Gainesville (Ph.D. English 2008) and has been living as a writer in Qatar since 2005. Mohana has co-edited and written over seven books, won multiple awards, and given numerous talks around the world. Mohana was Morningside’s Dimmitt Fellow in the spring of 2018. 6

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Someone once said, “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer.” I’m sure many writers, myself included, would like to disagree; we would say that, in fact, bad things do happen. Bad things happen every day, to everyone, regardless of the color of our skin, our income, location, or age. There’s a bit of a dispute on who originated this idea, but when Steve Coyne, Kiosk Faculty Advisor, passed this observation on to my Writing Poetry and Fiction class, he did have a point. Bad experiences, however awful, always have an ironic silver lining: they are writing material. Six months after Coyne gave us this snippet of wisdom, Morningside had the honor of hosting a Dimmitt Fellow, author Mohana Rajakumar. In my first meeting with Mohana, she mentioned how the stories we live and the stories we tell mean nothing if we don’t pause and give ourselves time to reflect and process on what those stories mean. When Mohana said those words, I couldn’t help but remember what Coyne had repeated. “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer.” The stories you’ll find in this collection exhibit what both of these accomplished writers believe: the heartache, sorrow, grief, fear, and hopelessness we all eventually feel are not for nothing. In pain, we find growth, and through our writing, we process, heal, and celebrate. The bad times we tell ourselves we’ll never get through suddenly become more bearable, knowing we have passed these experiences on to the world to help others. In turn, the good times become sweeter, tinted in our minds with a calm nostalgia. In our writers’ grief, we hope you find peace, and their joy, we hope you find laughter. There are so many individuals who deserve recognition and praise for their contribution to the Kiosk’s success. Marcie Ponder, without whom the English department would not survive; Steve Coyne, who put out fires and offered wisdom at every turn; the wonderful staff we had this year, including the associate and copy editors, Amy, Kristen, Lindsey, and Elizabeth, all of the board members, and the visual editors, Alyssa and Emma, for their expertise and attention to detail; the Art department for their dedication and enthusiasm; and most importantly, the writers and artists, for their incredible passion and courage. Lastly, I would like to thank Morningside College and its president, John Reynders, for their continued support and commitment to the Kiosk. Serving as the Editor-in-Chief this year has been an

unbelievable opportunity, an honor, and a challenge. I hope you, the reader, take what you need out of our stories, and become inspired enough to share your own. As long as you keep writing, nothing bad can ever truly happen, and as long as you take the time to reflect on your experiences, those stories will be meaningful.

Madison Monahan

Editor-in-Chief

Collaboration is the word that comes to mind when we think about The 2018 Kiosk. Being any type of artist can get difficult and it is always refreshing when you meet up with another creative person that you can bounce ideas off of. Being a Visual Editor for the Kiosk can be a difficult process with a lot of behind the scenes moments. From placement of each image, collecting art and literature pieces and hand creating several issue mockups. This year we were able to co-edit the publication and take on this amazing project together. The creative talent that is happening at Morningside is impressive and it has been amazing putting all of these pieces into one collective book. We would like to thank every artist who submitted their work to the Kiosk and encourage you to keep creating, and to not be afraid to reach out and collaborate with your creative peers. Thank you to Madison Monahan for her direction and vision for the feel of this issue. Lastly we would like to thank John Kolbo for all of the guidance over the years and all of his hard work on every issue that he has been a part of. Co-editing has been an amazing process to not only learn but has allowed us to grow together as graphic designers. This year marks the 80th issue of The Kiosk and we feel honored to be a part of this award winning publication.

Emma Miller and Alyssa Nehring

Visual Co-Editors

Kiosk18

7


Staff

Letters From the Editors EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ASSISTANT EDITORS VISUAL EDITOR

Madison Monahan Kristen Brown, Amy Jackson and Lindsey Smith Emma Miller and Alyssa Nehring FICTION

NON-FICTION

Associate Editor

Associate Editor

Lindsey Smith

Amy Jackson

Board Members

Board Members

Zach Hutchison Tyler Nordstrom Sondra Thoreson Kellan Walker

Hailey Barrus Jared Martin Marianna Pizzini

POETRY

COPY EDITOR

Associate Editor

Elizabeth Roop

Kristen Brown Board Members

Abby Maldonado Salguero Shelby Small Tara Meinen ART

Associate Editors

Emma Miller Alyssa Nehring Emily Knapp Megan Hart

FACULTY ADVISORS

Steve Coyne John Kolbo Terri McGaffin

About Our Judges: Michael Crowley is Associate Professor and chairperson of the Department of Digital Media at Briar Cliff University since 1989. He has also served as advisor for The Cliff News student publication. Crowley’s main area of interest is photography. His images have been exhibited at Northwestern College, the Plymouth County Museum, and the Sioux City Art Center. Crowley’s images have been on the cover of The Briar Cliff Review literary magazine and inside the publication many times. His photographs have also been published in the Sioux City Journal. Sarah Ricker is a graduate of Morningside College and native to Sioux City where she lives with her soon to be husband Corey, and calico cat, Patty. She currently works as a Reference Librarian at the Sioux City Public Library. She also focuses much time and energy into her small crafting business, Charlotte and Bones, where she mainly produces commissioned up-cycled signs and various visual art pieces.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a graduate of the University of Florida, Gainesville (Ph.D. English 2008) and has been living as a writer in Qatar since 2005. Mohana has co-edited and written over seven books, won multiple awards, and given numerous talks around the world. Mohana was Morningside’s Dimmitt Fellow in the spring of 2018. 6

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Someone once said, “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer.” I’m sure many writers, myself included, would like to disagree; we would say that, in fact, bad things do happen. Bad things happen every day, to everyone, regardless of the color of our skin, our income, location, or age. There’s a bit of a dispute on who originated this idea, but when Steve Coyne, Kiosk Faculty Advisor, passed this observation on to my Writing Poetry and Fiction class, he did have a point. Bad experiences, however awful, always have an ironic silver lining: they are writing material. Six months after Coyne gave us this snippet of wisdom, Morningside had the honor of hosting a Dimmitt Fellow, author Mohana Rajakumar. In my first meeting with Mohana, she mentioned how the stories we live and the stories we tell mean nothing if we don’t pause and give ourselves time to reflect and process on what those stories mean. When Mohana said those words, I couldn’t help but remember what Coyne had repeated. “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer.” The stories you’ll find in this collection exhibit what both of these accomplished writers believe: the heartache, sorrow, grief, fear, and hopelessness we all eventually feel are not for nothing. In pain, we find growth, and through our writing, we process, heal, and celebrate. The bad times we tell ourselves we’ll never get through suddenly become more bearable, knowing we have passed these experiences on to the world to help others. In turn, the good times become sweeter, tinted in our minds with a calm nostalgia. In our writers’ grief, we hope you find peace, and their joy, we hope you find laughter. There are so many individuals who deserve recognition and praise for their contribution to the Kiosk’s success. Marcie Ponder, without whom the English department would not survive; Steve Coyne, who put out fires and offered wisdom at every turn; the wonderful staff we had this year, including the associate and copy editors, Amy, Kristen, Lindsey, and Elizabeth, all of the board members, and the visual editors, Alyssa and Emma, for their expertise and attention to detail; the Art department for their dedication and enthusiasm; and most importantly, the writers and artists, for their incredible passion and courage. Lastly, I would like to thank Morningside College and its president, John Reynders, for their continued support and commitment to the Kiosk. Serving as the Editor-in-Chief this year has been an

unbelievable opportunity, an honor, and a challenge. I hope you, the reader, take what you need out of our stories, and become inspired enough to share your own. As long as you keep writing, nothing bad can ever truly happen, and as long as you take the time to reflect on your experiences, those stories will be meaningful.

Madison Monahan

Editor-in-Chief

Collaboration is the word that comes to mind when we think about The 2018 Kiosk. Being any type of artist can get difficult and it is always refreshing when you meet up with another creative person that you can bounce ideas off of. Being a Visual Editor for the Kiosk can be a difficult process with a lot of behind the scenes moments. From placement of each image, collecting art and literature pieces and hand creating several issue mockups. This year we were able to co-edit the publication and take on this amazing project together. The creative talent that is happening at Morningside is impressive and it has been amazing putting all of these pieces into one collective book. We would like to thank every artist who submitted their work to the Kiosk and encourage you to keep creating, and to not be afraid to reach out and collaborate with your creative peers. Thank you to Madison Monahan for her direction and vision for the feel of this issue. Lastly we would like to thank John Kolbo for all of the guidance over the years and all of his hard work on every issue that he has been a part of. Co-editing has been an amazing process to not only learn but has allowed us to grow together as graphic designers. This year marks the 80th issue of The Kiosk and we feel honored to be a part of this award winning publication.

Emma Miller and Alyssa Nehring

Visual Co-Editors

Kiosk18

7


Contents ART

LITERATURE

The Diner

Poetry

Dyad Moon

Poetry

Amy Jackson

8

Blooming, Consuming

C assandra Warner

Cover

Heather Eisele

9

Untitled

Jane Cunningham

9

Closer Looks

C assandra Warner

11

Hey School Teacher

Shaina Le

13

Hanging On

R ae Clinkenbeard

16

The Right Time

Fiction

K risten Brown

10

Language Barrier

Poetry

A llison Linafelter

19

Greg Guelcher

19

Misty Day

R ae Clinkenbeard

18

A lexi M alatare

20

Big Ben

Niccole Wolken

20

K risten Brown

21

The Thing In My Dream

Jordan Hernandez

21

Heather Eisele

22

Sad Summer

R iley Custer

25

Poetry

A lexi M alatare

Standout

Megan Stoberl

26

23

America Sea

Jesseca Ormond

27

Creative Nonfiction

K ay Goldsmith

24

Peering

Shaina Le

29

Solveigh Skarhus

26

Revenge

Jane Cunningham

30

M ari Pizzini

27

The Trap

R ae Clinkenbeard

33

M ariah Wills

28

Palm Springs Tramway

M ariah A llen

35

Mill By The Sea

Jesseca Ormond

37

Doe

Shaina Le

38

Japanese New Year Worship

Poetry

Poetry

I Saw Death

Poetry

Two-Generation Portrait Dead Babies Onset

Pen and Paper

Creative Nonfiction

Poetry

Moving Forward

Poetry

When Death Comes Knocking

Fiction

To God

Poetry

Jordan Hernandez

31

Rewrite

Fiction

Elizabeth Roop

32

All Strings Attatched

C assandra Warner

41

K risten Brown

35

Parrot

Lexa R ahn

42

Amy Jackson

36

Central Park Duck

Jessica Quail

43

Heather Eisele

45

Winter

L auren Chadwick

44

Abandon Dreams

Jesseca Ormond

45

A llison Linafelter

46

Lost In The Moment

A lussa Nehring

47

Heather Eisele

50

City Hive

R iley Custer

49

Oregon Coast

Emily K napp

50

Diversity Poster

Christina Vazquez

52

Eatable

A lyssa Nehring

53

Red Shoe Shindig Logo/Invitation

Emma Miller

54

M7

A lyssa Nehring

55

Revive The Reef Posters

Emma Miller

56

St. Lucy Campaign

Christina Vazquez

57

Sandwich Delights Tourist Trap Hellbore

Fiction Poetry

Last Moments Self-Love

Poetry

Poetry

Poetry

Page from the Past

The Thorn Tree and the Other Thorn Tree

Charlotte Walker Baker

48

All entries are considered objectively by the judges with no artist names or special consideration for any piece. Editorial staff are eligible for contest placement but not for prize money. 8

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9


Contents ART

LITERATURE

The Diner

Poetry

Dyad Moon

Poetry

Amy Jackson

8

Blooming, Consuming

C assandra Warner

Cover

Heather Eisele

9

Untitled

Jane Cunningham

9

Closer Looks

C assandra Warner

11

Hey School Teacher

Shaina Le

13

Hanging On

R ae Clinkenbeard

16

The Right Time

Fiction

K risten Brown

10

Language Barrier

Poetry

A llison Linafelter

19

Greg Guelcher

19

Misty Day

R ae Clinkenbeard

18

A lexi M alatare

20

Big Ben

Niccole Wolken

20

K risten Brown

21

The Thing In My Dream

Jordan Hernandez

21

Heather Eisele

22

Sad Summer

R iley Custer

25

Poetry

A lexi M alatare

Standout

Megan Stoberl

26

23

America Sea

Jesseca Ormond

27

Creative Nonfiction

K ay Goldsmith

24

Peering

Shaina Le

29

Solveigh Skarhus

26

Revenge

Jane Cunningham

30

M ari Pizzini

27

The Trap

R ae Clinkenbeard

33

M ariah Wills

28

Palm Springs Tramway

M ariah A llen

35

Mill By The Sea

Jesseca Ormond

37

Doe

Shaina Le

38

Japanese New Year Worship

Poetry

Poetry

I Saw Death

Poetry

Two-Generation Portrait Dead Babies Onset

Pen and Paper

Creative Nonfiction

Poetry

Moving Forward

Poetry

When Death Comes Knocking

Fiction

To God

Poetry

Jordan Hernandez

31

Rewrite

Fiction

Elizabeth Roop

32

All Strings Attatched

C assandra Warner

41

K risten Brown

35

Parrot

Lexa R ahn

42

Amy Jackson

36

Central Park Duck

Jessica Quail

43

Heather Eisele

45

Winter

L auren Chadwick

44

Abandon Dreams

Jesseca Ormond

45

A llison Linafelter

46

Lost In The Moment

A lussa Nehring

47

Heather Eisele

50

City Hive

R iley Custer

49

Oregon Coast

Emily K napp

50

Diversity Poster

Christina Vazquez

52

Eatable

A lyssa Nehring

53

Red Shoe Shindig Logo/Invitation

Emma Miller

54

M7

A lyssa Nehring

55

Revive The Reef Posters

Emma Miller

56

St. Lucy Campaign

Christina Vazquez

57

Sandwich Delights Tourist Trap Hellbore

Fiction Poetry

Last Moments Self-Love

Poetry

Poetry

Poetry

Page from the Past

The Thorn Tree and the Other Thorn Tree

Charlotte Walker Baker

48

All entries are considered objectively by the judges with no artist names or special consideration for any piece. Editorial staff are eligible for contest placement but not for prize money. 8

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9


P OETR Y

P OETR Y

The DINER

DYAD MOON

Amy Jackson

Heather Eisele

Sunday afternoons were caramelized onions and laughter, terrible puns paired with the finest OJ, omelets hissing in the skillet. We freed the yawns we’d swallowed all morning in the balcony of the Episcopal Church. You would reach across the tabletop and entwine our hands–mine slender, yours wrinkled leather, veiny and scabbed. “I’ve been taking you to this diner since you were three days old. I’d set your bassinet right there, on the table.” Your voice was such a tender thing for a man of your height, your weight– a low burr, the ticking of a grandfather clock. You and this diner have watched me grow from a tiny, squalling thing into a woman with more dreams than sense. The ghosts of ham steaks and smiles follow us. Even when our Sundays are made of antiseptic and hospital beds, when your cheeks are sunken and your skin ashen, you never let me leave with a frown. The memories cling to my tongue: red-eye gravy, your love of buttermilk biscuits, your bad jokes– and your final gift that last gray morning when you lifted your head and smiled: “I love you, Amy-Lou. Save our booth for me.”

A heaviness sags my heart. I’m alone, chained to my desk in the library. I try to make words do my bidding in verse, but she evades me easily as air. As if she had sensed me thinking about her, a message appears on my phone’s cracked screen.

“Come with me,” she says, and my world stops. She does that to me. “I want to run out through the woods tonight with the moon’s shimmer on our sweaty, naked bodies. I want to dance, glowing ghostly between elms and tulip poplars, with cricket-owl music and wind-leaf tamborines playing around us. Daling, come with me,” she says. I get up from my seat in the white-walled room to escape poetry homework and instead dance beneath the pagan moon. She must know that she is my poetry. Maybe if I go with her, she will finally come to me.

untitled by Jane Cunningham photography

10

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11


P OETR Y

P OETR Y

The DINER

DYAD MOON

Amy Jackson

Heather Eisele

Sunday afternoons were caramelized onions and laughter, terrible puns paired with the finest OJ, omelets hissing in the skillet. We freed the yawns we’d swallowed all morning in the balcony of the Episcopal Church. You would reach across the tabletop and entwine our hands–mine slender, yours wrinkled leather, veiny and scabbed. “I’ve been taking you to this diner since you were three days old. I’d set your bassinet right there, on the table.” Your voice was such a tender thing for a man of your height, your weight– a low burr, the ticking of a grandfather clock. You and this diner have watched me grow from a tiny, squalling thing into a woman with more dreams than sense. The ghosts of ham steaks and smiles follow us. Even when our Sundays are made of antiseptic and hospital beds, when your cheeks are sunken and your skin ashen, you never let me leave with a frown. The memories cling to my tongue: red-eye gravy, your love of buttermilk biscuits, your bad jokes– and your final gift that last gray morning when you lifted your head and smiled: “I love you, Amy-Lou. Save our booth for me.”

A heaviness sags my heart. I’m alone, chained to my desk in the library. I try to make words do my bidding in verse, but she evades me easily as air. As if she had sensed me thinking about her, a message appears on my phone’s cracked screen.

“Come with me,” she says, and my world stops. She does that to me. “I want to run out through the woods tonight with the moon’s shimmer on our sweaty, naked bodies. I want to dance, glowing ghostly between elms and tulip poplars, with cricket-owl music and wind-leaf tamborines playing around us. Daling, come with me,” she says. I get up from my seat in the white-walled room to escape poetry homework and instead dance beneath the pagan moon. She must know that she is my poetry. Maybe if I go with her, she will finally come to me.

untitled by Jane Cunningham photography

10

Kiosk18

Kiosk18

11


F I C TION

The RIght TIme Kristen Brown

T

he first bell sounds, high-pitched and frantic, like a warning at precisely 7:10 AM every school day. At that time, students flood the halls, chatting up friends and pausing by lockers before finding their designated classes. The first period bell rings at 7:25.

By keeping a trained eye on my digital watch, I am able to strategically map out the best route to keep me safe on the way to class. I have my mom drive me to school early with the excuse that buses are too crowded and give me stomachaches. This morning, like all school mornings, my mom smothers me with affectionate goodbyes. By keeping a trained eye on my I nod and wave her digital watch, I am able to strategically off, jumping to the ground and shoving map out the best route to keep me the old van’s creaking door shut. safe on the way to class. I walk toward the towering brick school, squinting at the familiar ache of the rising sun glinting from just behind its eastern corner. It is my first day of ninth grade, but our town is so small that the seventh through twelfth grades share one building. Over the years, on every morning that I have arrived, it seems like the only thing that changes is the position of the sun through the seasons. The building stays the same, my early arrival stays the same, and the way my book-bag hits the back of my thighs, even with the straps fully tightened, stays the same. When I’m close enough to the door, the shadow cast by the school shields my eyes and I can see Mrs. Lungly’s plump form blocking the doorway. I note that she hasn’t changed, either. “Good morning, Teddy,” she says. “Still Ted, Mrs. Lungly.” I aim to sweeten her up with a smile, which she returns. “I suppose you need to use the restroom, Teddy?” I push down my irritation. It’s Ted. Ted. Ted. “Yes, please,” I say. Students aren’t allowed in the school before 7:10, but I know Mrs. Lungly pities me and 12

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makes an exception. She steps aside and I heave the heavy door open. My summer before eighth grade was spent carefully crafting a routine to ensure a quick and safe passage through the school halls. Seventh grade was spent beneath mobs of upperclassmen, and my glasses were broken six times. So finally, I did something about it all. I came back prepared. It wasn’t a foolproof plan, but I had a seventy-percent success rate going. Block numbers on my watch tell me it’s 7:01. I walk down the halls, half heartedly scanning peppy posters that bandage off-white walls. I turn once and track down locker 332. On the first day of school, I feel like I can open my locker confidently, knowing I won’t find any of the usual vandalism. The gray surfaces are nice and bare. I remove my backpack to transfer my belongings. All binders and books go in a precise order on the top shelf. It’s a tough reach, but if I step in and onto the ledge of the locker floor, I can touch the spines of each item. I layer the door with sticky notes and tape a pencil to the wall. The bookmark I use is tied to a string, enabling me to hang my favorite book on the coat hanger with a mini reading light taped to the cover. Everything is just as it needed to be. I just need to pull down my biology book for first period. “Well, hello there Mr. Ted.” The husky and kind voice is familiar so I whirl around. “Phil! It’s good to see you. Still rocking the mop, I see.” I smile up at Phil, who is so tall that I have to crane my neck. His grin is wide and thin and outlined by a faint shadow of facial hair. He wears jeans and a brown shirt every day, and I almost never see him without a mop in his hand. “You know it, Little Dude,” Phil says. We bump fists and I notice my watch; the time is already 7:09. “I have to go Phil. Need to pee. See you later!” I close my locker and grab my backpack, flinging it over my shoulder. It knocks awkwardly against the backs of my legs as I hurry down the

hall towards the men’s restroom. The bell goes off just as I make it inside. From my backpack, I pull out a sheet of laminated paper and tape from my bag. The previous year I had stolen an “Out of Order” sign from the library, which I now brilliantly tape to one of the bathroom stall doors. Happy with myself and my plan, I enter the stall and lock it shut behind me. I perch on the toilet seat, bringing up my legs so nobody can see. For ten minutes, I sit and listen to other boys come and go, complaining that my stall is still out of order. I smile and hug my knees closer to my chest. When my watch says 7:20, I check my bag to ensure I have everything before executing my escape. But I don’t—I forgot my biology book when talking to Phil. I push my glasses up my nose and whisper a curse word. I purposely leave at 7:20, when most kids are already in their classrooms. It makes roaming the halls easier and safer. I pull my sign down and return it to my bag. But before I leave, I look into the full length mirror and regret it. It stops me. I’m stuck looking at my dirty sneakers, still green from that summer’s mowing. My denim shorts ride up my gut, trapped beneath a thin, brown belt like the one my dad wears. A white polo shirt that Mom bought from the secondhand store, which kind of smells like cigarette smoke, is tucked in. My face looks round because of my brown bowl cut, which went out of style before a few years ago. I have a small nose, and my thin, gold-rimmed glasses are too big on my face. I step close to the mirror, like the guys in movies, and I look into my own brown eyes and whisper, “You got this.” I must breathe too deeply, because the surface of the mirror fogs up and I no longer see myself. Warily, I take to the hallway. My locker isn’t too far in the opposite direction of the classroom. With some care and quick strides, I can avoid the puberty giants and the testosterone

titans that tread by. Embarrassed, I note that there are also eighth-grade girls who tower over my skinny, four-foot-nine stature. I keep my eyes down. I reach 332 and open the door. My biology book is on the top shelf. I step into the locker and balance on the ledge, my arm stretching up to pinch the book’s worn spine.

That is when I feel the the pressure between my shoulder blades, and before I can think, I am packed into my locker. The door slams shut behind me and laughter erupts and then fades beneath the calling of the bell. I wriggle, awkwardly turning so I can face the door and peer out of the slots. There are still a few stray students in the hall, but I’m too embarrassed to call for help. Tears well in my eyes as I lean back and plant my head against the back wall of the locker. I know there is no way out from the inside. It is only the first day and I’ve already messed up. What a rookie mistake to forget my first period book. Frustration harbors in my stomach and I carefully pinch my arm upward

Closer looks by Cassandra Warner conte crayon

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13


F I C TION

The RIght TIme Kristen Brown

T

he first bell sounds, high-pitched and frantic, like a warning at precisely 7:10 AM every school day. At that time, students flood the halls, chatting up friends and pausing by lockers before finding their designated classes. The first period bell rings at 7:25.

By keeping a trained eye on my digital watch, I am able to strategically map out the best route to keep me safe on the way to class. I have my mom drive me to school early with the excuse that buses are too crowded and give me stomachaches. This morning, like all school mornings, my mom smothers me with affectionate goodbyes. By keeping a trained eye on my I nod and wave her digital watch, I am able to strategically off, jumping to the ground and shoving map out the best route to keep me the old van’s creaking door shut. safe on the way to class. I walk toward the towering brick school, squinting at the familiar ache of the rising sun glinting from just behind its eastern corner. It is my first day of ninth grade, but our town is so small that the seventh through twelfth grades share one building. Over the years, on every morning that I have arrived, it seems like the only thing that changes is the position of the sun through the seasons. The building stays the same, my early arrival stays the same, and the way my book-bag hits the back of my thighs, even with the straps fully tightened, stays the same. When I’m close enough to the door, the shadow cast by the school shields my eyes and I can see Mrs. Lungly’s plump form blocking the doorway. I note that she hasn’t changed, either. “Good morning, Teddy,” she says. “Still Ted, Mrs. Lungly.” I aim to sweeten her up with a smile, which she returns. “I suppose you need to use the restroom, Teddy?” I push down my irritation. It’s Ted. Ted. Ted. “Yes, please,” I say. Students aren’t allowed in the school before 7:10, but I know Mrs. Lungly pities me and 12

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makes an exception. She steps aside and I heave the heavy door open. My summer before eighth grade was spent carefully crafting a routine to ensure a quick and safe passage through the school halls. Seventh grade was spent beneath mobs of upperclassmen, and my glasses were broken six times. So finally, I did something about it all. I came back prepared. It wasn’t a foolproof plan, but I had a seventy-percent success rate going. Block numbers on my watch tell me it’s 7:01. I walk down the halls, half heartedly scanning peppy posters that bandage off-white walls. I turn once and track down locker 332. On the first day of school, I feel like I can open my locker confidently, knowing I won’t find any of the usual vandalism. The gray surfaces are nice and bare. I remove my backpack to transfer my belongings. All binders and books go in a precise order on the top shelf. It’s a tough reach, but if I step in and onto the ledge of the locker floor, I can touch the spines of each item. I layer the door with sticky notes and tape a pencil to the wall. The bookmark I use is tied to a string, enabling me to hang my favorite book on the coat hanger with a mini reading light taped to the cover. Everything is just as it needed to be. I just need to pull down my biology book for first period. “Well, hello there Mr. Ted.” The husky and kind voice is familiar so I whirl around. “Phil! It’s good to see you. Still rocking the mop, I see.” I smile up at Phil, who is so tall that I have to crane my neck. His grin is wide and thin and outlined by a faint shadow of facial hair. He wears jeans and a brown shirt every day, and I almost never see him without a mop in his hand. “You know it, Little Dude,” Phil says. We bump fists and I notice my watch; the time is already 7:09. “I have to go Phil. Need to pee. See you later!” I close my locker and grab my backpack, flinging it over my shoulder. It knocks awkwardly against the backs of my legs as I hurry down the

hall towards the men’s restroom. The bell goes off just as I make it inside. From my backpack, I pull out a sheet of laminated paper and tape from my bag. The previous year I had stolen an “Out of Order” sign from the library, which I now brilliantly tape to one of the bathroom stall doors. Happy with myself and my plan, I enter the stall and lock it shut behind me. I perch on the toilet seat, bringing up my legs so nobody can see. For ten minutes, I sit and listen to other boys come and go, complaining that my stall is still out of order. I smile and hug my knees closer to my chest. When my watch says 7:20, I check my bag to ensure I have everything before executing my escape. But I don’t—I forgot my biology book when talking to Phil. I push my glasses up my nose and whisper a curse word. I purposely leave at 7:20, when most kids are already in their classrooms. It makes roaming the halls easier and safer. I pull my sign down and return it to my bag. But before I leave, I look into the full length mirror and regret it. It stops me. I’m stuck looking at my dirty sneakers, still green from that summer’s mowing. My denim shorts ride up my gut, trapped beneath a thin, brown belt like the one my dad wears. A white polo shirt that Mom bought from the secondhand store, which kind of smells like cigarette smoke, is tucked in. My face looks round because of my brown bowl cut, which went out of style before a few years ago. I have a small nose, and my thin, gold-rimmed glasses are too big on my face. I step close to the mirror, like the guys in movies, and I look into my own brown eyes and whisper, “You got this.” I must breathe too deeply, because the surface of the mirror fogs up and I no longer see myself. Warily, I take to the hallway. My locker isn’t too far in the opposite direction of the classroom. With some care and quick strides, I can avoid the puberty giants and the testosterone

titans that tread by. Embarrassed, I note that there are also eighth-grade girls who tower over my skinny, four-foot-nine stature. I keep my eyes down. I reach 332 and open the door. My biology book is on the top shelf. I step into the locker and balance on the ledge, my arm stretching up to pinch the book’s worn spine.

That is when I feel the the pressure between my shoulder blades, and before I can think, I am packed into my locker. The door slams shut behind me and laughter erupts and then fades beneath the calling of the bell. I wriggle, awkwardly turning so I can face the door and peer out of the slots. There are still a few stray students in the hall, but I’m too embarrassed to call for help. Tears well in my eyes as I lean back and plant my head against the back wall of the locker. I know there is no way out from the inside. It is only the first day and I’ve already messed up. What a rookie mistake to forget my first period book. Frustration harbors in my stomach and I carefully pinch my arm upward

Closer looks by Cassandra Warner conte crayon

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to

to the pencil I had taped to the wall. At least I am prepared. I just begin to write a list of possible offenders on a sticky note when the intercom’s high frequency vibrates the locker. “Goooood morning, Tigers!” the principal says. “It’s good to have everyone back for what’s looking to be an incredible 2001-2002 year! Don’t miss out on our back-to-school bash on August 24th. There will be food, games, and prizes. To start off the year, we have two birthdays…” I stop listening and angrily scribble myself as a stick figure in a coffin. I have no choice but to wait for Phil to pass The realization that it has on his rounds so he be a student fills the space can release me. Today is my first of my locker like gas. day as a ninth grader, and I glare at tiny, stick-figure me, lying in a coffin with x’s for eyes. I want to ignore the binder stabbing me in the butt from my backpack but it hurts. And I just can’t move it; I can hardly move my shoulders. If I were a normal height, I wouldn’t have a problem with getting stuffed into lockers or with the size of my backpack. I’ve always been told that I’ll grow into things. Two years ago, my mom had taken me to the secondhand store to browse their school selection. “What about this one, Baby?” She held up a green backpack with an image of the popular cartoon Chalk Zone. “Mom, I’m going into the seventh grade, not the third. There will be older kids there who would make fun of that in an instant.” Frustrated with my lack of luck, I turn an angry expression on her. “And don’t call me Baby. I hate that.” My mom raises her thin, brown eyebrows, obviously offended, and turns away. I feel bad for snapping, but she should understand how important this is. I try on a series of backpacks. They don’t

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have an extended supply, but I am able to find one I like. It has black padding on blue material and a fancy logo on it, but mom points out that it was more expensive than the other black one. The cheap pack doesn’t fit well, but mom ensures me that I am due for a growth spurt. She says that boys around my age begin sprouting like weeds. I wrongly believe her. The hope that I’d grow died over the summer. My bones and muscles ache from being cramped in the locker so long. I shift slightly in every way, and only stop when I hear the clipping of heels in the hallway. Leaning forward, I peek through the slots and spy Mrs. Perez prowling through the hall like a fierce she-cat. I try to weigh out the positives and negatives of being her prey. Every student knows Mrs. Perez as the sexiest teacher in our school. I hear that when she’d get mad at her English class, she would often rampage in Spanish, which all of the boys who couldn’t understand simply enjoyed. I don’t even care for girls much and I think Mrs. Perez is pretty hot. I don’t see her following anyone, but I notice the clapping of flat soled shoes approaching, and so does Mrs. Perez because she stops and whirls around, her black curls flying backward to show off the rounded neckline of her dress. I can see a curvy collar peaking out from beneath tight-fitting material. I’m glad nobody can see me stare, but I also can’t see who the other person is. “You shouldn’t be skipping class,” she warns. Her Spanish accent is thick and charming. Her brown eyes blaze in a way I don’t recognize in a teacher. “I had to see you.” It’s a man’s voice—low and slow. Can it be another teacher? “Go back to class before you get into trouble,” Mrs. Perez says. Is another teacher skipping class? Silence follows, but Mrs. Perez doesn’t move. Then, suddenly, a blonde guy walks into my view, and without any objection from Mrs. Perez,

wraps an arm around her curvy waist and plants a kiss on her full, red lips. My jaw drops as the scene unfolds. I’m mentally scrambling to identify the guy but I don’t recognize him as a teacher, and he isn’t dressed like one. He looks like he belongs on a beach. His dirty blonde hair is messy, as if it has just dried. His sleeveless shirt shows off his biceps and his cargo shorts go all the way to his knees. A jacket is wrapped around his waist and his necklace has a jagged tooth hanging from it. The realization that it has to be a student fills the space of my locker like gas. I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified of getting caught and being pummeled by this mystery man. “Jack, no!” Mrs. Perez pulls away and draws a finger around her lips. “I told you. We can’t do this anymore. I’m married and you’re a minor. This is illegal.” Mrs. Perez holds her ground. “But, Anna,” he says, “lower your voice, my Sweet Nectar. I love you. I’m eighteen in a few months. We can be together then.” His desperate tone clashes with his carefree, surfer-dude accent. I press my hands to my face and pinch my cheeks, hoping to wake up from this soap opera nightmare. Then I remember. This guy was in my math class last year. Jack Huey moved to Ohio from California, where they apparently don’t teach math, because he had been a junior in a room full of eighth graders. Now he’s a senior. Mrs. Perez sighs and shakes her head. “Go back to class. I don’t want this. I love my husband, and I should never have let this happen. I don’t want you, Jack. Now leave me alone.” The clip of her hard, pivoting heel on the floor could have pierced Jack’s heart. She turns swiftly away, her victim left suffering alone in the hallway. Jack’s tan face pales. His expression is stuck in a contorted mess of confusion, much like what I feel after witnessing this horrible event. I release a breath and lean back, my body shifting until I scrape against my favorite book. Only this time, by mistake, I loosen the tape

keeping the flashlight attached and it falls, clashing against the metal wall. The sound startles me; I flinch and hit my head on the shelf overhead. I realize the damage too late. The locker door swings open. Immediately, I lose balance and fall forward to the floor. “Dude!” I hear Jack say, “What the fuck?” A tug from Jack on my backpack hoists me up and soon I’m back on my feet. My spine hurts and I stretch it, offering Jack a smile. “Oh hey, there! Jack, is it? We had math together. Funny seeing you here. Are you just on a walk?” Jack’s blue eyes are cold, like the deepest depths of the ocean. I shrink back and drop my eyes. “You know everything, don’t ya Dude?” He takes a step toward me and I cower. Jack is easily a foot and a half taller than me with incred-

hey school teacher, i like the way you hold me dear by Shaine Le photography

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to

to the pencil I had taped to the wall. At least I am prepared. I just begin to write a list of possible offenders on a sticky note when the intercom’s high frequency vibrates the locker. “Goooood morning, Tigers!” the principal says. “It’s good to have everyone back for what’s looking to be an incredible 2001-2002 year! Don’t miss out on our back-to-school bash on August 24th. There will be food, games, and prizes. To start off the year, we have two birthdays…” I stop listening and angrily scribble myself as a stick figure in a coffin. I have no choice but to wait for Phil to pass The realization that it has on his rounds so he be a student fills the space can release me. Today is my first of my locker like gas. day as a ninth grader, and I glare at tiny, stick-figure me, lying in a coffin with x’s for eyes. I want to ignore the binder stabbing me in the butt from my backpack but it hurts. And I just can’t move it; I can hardly move my shoulders. If I were a normal height, I wouldn’t have a problem with getting stuffed into lockers or with the size of my backpack. I’ve always been told that I’ll grow into things. Two years ago, my mom had taken me to the secondhand store to browse their school selection. “What about this one, Baby?” She held up a green backpack with an image of the popular cartoon Chalk Zone. “Mom, I’m going into the seventh grade, not the third. There will be older kids there who would make fun of that in an instant.” Frustrated with my lack of luck, I turn an angry expression on her. “And don’t call me Baby. I hate that.” My mom raises her thin, brown eyebrows, obviously offended, and turns away. I feel bad for snapping, but she should understand how important this is. I try on a series of backpacks. They don’t

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have an extended supply, but I am able to find one I like. It has black padding on blue material and a fancy logo on it, but mom points out that it was more expensive than the other black one. The cheap pack doesn’t fit well, but mom ensures me that I am due for a growth spurt. She says that boys around my age begin sprouting like weeds. I wrongly believe her. The hope that I’d grow died over the summer. My bones and muscles ache from being cramped in the locker so long. I shift slightly in every way, and only stop when I hear the clipping of heels in the hallway. Leaning forward, I peek through the slots and spy Mrs. Perez prowling through the hall like a fierce she-cat. I try to weigh out the positives and negatives of being her prey. Every student knows Mrs. Perez as the sexiest teacher in our school. I hear that when she’d get mad at her English class, she would often rampage in Spanish, which all of the boys who couldn’t understand simply enjoyed. I don’t even care for girls much and I think Mrs. Perez is pretty hot. I don’t see her following anyone, but I notice the clapping of flat soled shoes approaching, and so does Mrs. Perez because she stops and whirls around, her black curls flying backward to show off the rounded neckline of her dress. I can see a curvy collar peaking out from beneath tight-fitting material. I’m glad nobody can see me stare, but I also can’t see who the other person is. “You shouldn’t be skipping class,” she warns. Her Spanish accent is thick and charming. Her brown eyes blaze in a way I don’t recognize in a teacher. “I had to see you.” It’s a man’s voice—low and slow. Can it be another teacher? “Go back to class before you get into trouble,” Mrs. Perez says. Is another teacher skipping class? Silence follows, but Mrs. Perez doesn’t move. Then, suddenly, a blonde guy walks into my view, and without any objection from Mrs. Perez,

wraps an arm around her curvy waist and plants a kiss on her full, red lips. My jaw drops as the scene unfolds. I’m mentally scrambling to identify the guy but I don’t recognize him as a teacher, and he isn’t dressed like one. He looks like he belongs on a beach. His dirty blonde hair is messy, as if it has just dried. His sleeveless shirt shows off his biceps and his cargo shorts go all the way to his knees. A jacket is wrapped around his waist and his necklace has a jagged tooth hanging from it. The realization that it has to be a student fills the space of my locker like gas. I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified of getting caught and being pummeled by this mystery man. “Jack, no!” Mrs. Perez pulls away and draws a finger around her lips. “I told you. We can’t do this anymore. I’m married and you’re a minor. This is illegal.” Mrs. Perez holds her ground. “But, Anna,” he says, “lower your voice, my Sweet Nectar. I love you. I’m eighteen in a few months. We can be together then.” His desperate tone clashes with his carefree, surfer-dude accent. I press my hands to my face and pinch my cheeks, hoping to wake up from this soap opera nightmare. Then I remember. This guy was in my math class last year. Jack Huey moved to Ohio from California, where they apparently don’t teach math, because he had been a junior in a room full of eighth graders. Now he’s a senior. Mrs. Perez sighs and shakes her head. “Go back to class. I don’t want this. I love my husband, and I should never have let this happen. I don’t want you, Jack. Now leave me alone.” The clip of her hard, pivoting heel on the floor could have pierced Jack’s heart. She turns swiftly away, her victim left suffering alone in the hallway. Jack’s tan face pales. His expression is stuck in a contorted mess of confusion, much like what I feel after witnessing this horrible event. I release a breath and lean back, my body shifting until I scrape against my favorite book. Only this time, by mistake, I loosen the tape

keeping the flashlight attached and it falls, clashing against the metal wall. The sound startles me; I flinch and hit my head on the shelf overhead. I realize the damage too late. The locker door swings open. Immediately, I lose balance and fall forward to the floor. “Dude!” I hear Jack say, “What the fuck?” A tug from Jack on my backpack hoists me up and soon I’m back on my feet. My spine hurts and I stretch it, offering Jack a smile. “Oh hey, there! Jack, is it? We had math together. Funny seeing you here. Are you just on a walk?” Jack’s blue eyes are cold, like the deepest depths of the ocean. I shrink back and drop my eyes. “You know everything, don’t ya Dude?” He takes a step toward me and I cower. Jack is easily a foot and a half taller than me with incred-

hey school teacher, i like the way you hold me dear by Shaine Le photography

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ible muscles. I stand no chance. “Please, I swear I won’t tell a soul. It’s none of my business.” Jack brings his hand up suddenly and I duck, bringing my hands to my face. Maybe I can at least save my glasses. When no punch connects, I look up in confusion and my eyes meet Jack’s equally confused gaze. “Chill out, Lil Dude,” Jack says. “Y’had some tape on your shoulder. I don’t blame you for overhearing, Man. I doubt anyone chooses to hang out in a locker.” He steps back and tucks his hands into his pockets. His body seems to subconsciously slouch. “Are you okay, Dude? Did someone hurt you?” His concern puzzles me. I crane my neck When no punch connects, at Jack the way I do to I look up in confusion Phil. “Um, no. I’m okay. It was just something that happened.” I’m embarrassed and look away. My nervous hands habitually move to adjust the position of my glasses on the bridge of my nose. “What about you?” I ask. Are you okay after that?” I can’t believe I dared to ask. Jack smiles and shrugs. “She’s been sayin’ that stuff for a while, Dude. But Anna is too feisty for her hubby to handle. That’s why she needs me.” I find myself gawking at the idea of a teacher needing a student. “You should head to class, my Dude.” Jack says. It snaps me out of my trance and I nod, grateful for the excuse to leave. “Yeah uh, thanks, I guess.” I turn to climb for my biology book, but Jack easily reaches over me and pulls it out. Then he hands it to me. “Th-thanks.” I give a thoughtless, silly bow of my head and close the locker. Before I can humiliate myself further, I scurry away, like some confused and frightened breed of rat, to my hole. “Hang tight, Bro,” I hear behind me. My day becomes less about class and more about scanning every crowd for Jake or Mrs. Perez. But neither of them show up—not that I 16

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want them to. I just still can’t believe what I saw. I plod through the rest of my classes until lunch, when I find a drawing inside my locker door. Someone had used all of my sticky notes and a sharpie to decorate my door’s interior with my face in the shape of a butt with big glasses. I had to throw away all of my sticky notes. I escape school with no bruises and only one tardy slip. When my mom arrives to pick me up, I tell her I had an okay day and that nothing new happened. She smiles and we go home. Over the next few mornings, I spend my time in the bathroom stall thinking. I want to know if Mrs. Perez is serious. But I’m afraid to push my luck with Jack, and this sort of topic isn’t something you can just bring up. I don’t think Mrs. Perez even knows that I saw her. Classes pass and I find myself spacing off to imagine the complicated fight I had witnessed between Jack and Mrs. Perez. I imagine them eloping. I also imagine them getting caught. It’s nerve wracking not to know what’s going on. I begin to think I might never know. Then, a few days later, a familiar voice floats out from the sea of chatty students. I turn and there’s Jack. I step back and lower my eyes. I fear that he has changed his mind and wants to threaten me to keep his valuable secret. “H-hey, Jack,” I say. “Howzit, Man? Doin’ good? Been stuck in any more lockers?” Jack’s kind tone surprises me into looking up. His cool persona, again, matches the laidback look of a beach boy. I shake my head and smile, as if it’s a joke I can just laugh off. “I don’t wanna bug you, bro,” Jack begins. It seems rehearsed, like he’s been practicing what to say. “But since that one morning, I’ve been kinda nervous ‘bout, ya know, you telling your friends stuff. You get me, Dude? I wanna know Anna’s safe. Haven’t heard anything yet, so thanks, but I hope it can stay that way.” Jack looks nervous, which in a way, is funny to me. To see someone so tall, handsome, and popular like Jack being nervous. It makes him look

more human than other bullies. “Y-yeah, it’s no problem,” I say. “I haven’t told anyone, and I won’t.” I have no one to tell. Jack’s face lifts with a grin and I suddenly feel pleased to make him happy. “Remind me,” he says. “What’s your name, Man?” “Ted.” “Ted, cool meeting you, Dude.” He shakes my hand and then walks away. Right then someone shoulder-checks me, and I drop my binders. For a second, I stare at the scattered mess, then at the girl who walks away, giggling to her friends. My happiness quickly drains as I pick up my stuff and go to class. The first week goes by fast. I do well in my classes, but I don’t connect with any of the teachers or subjects. Nothing resonates. Everything pertaining to school and home is a grayscale. Before I know it, it’s the day of the back-toschool bash. I can sense it in the unusual excitement vibrating through the crowds at 7:20 AM. None of it matters, because I’m not going. I went in seventh grade, and was barraged by water balloons that left welts on my back for days. After the last bell, I see Jack on the school’s front steps. He’s by himself, looking lost in thought. I don’t see my mom, so I amaze myself by walking over to him. “Hey, Jack. A-are you okay?” Jack’s shaggy blond hair shifts as his jaw angles towards me like an arrow. His blue eyes seem distant, but he smiles. “Ted! Thanks for checking, Dude. It’s women probs.” His eyes direct me towards the parking lot, where I see Mrs. Perez accepting roses from a man I assume is her husband. “You know how it goes, right, man?” I don’t, but I do pity Jack. “I’m sorry… Dude,” I say. I feel awkward. Maybe this was a bad idea. I should abort mission. “Y’know…” Jack looks back at me and lifts a pointed finger. “Tonight’s that school bash. I need heartbreak distraction, Bro. Let’s go. You and me.” “No, no, no. I don’t go to those bashes.” “Whaaah, Man? Why not?” Jack asks.

“They’re dumb.” Jack laughs and shakes his head. “Think it over, Man. We go together, we can make it way more cool.” “You must have other friends.” “I guess, but ya see, I don’t like alotta people at this school. They gossip and bully people.” “Tell me about it.” “But you, my dude, you’ve kept my huge secret. You’re a totally loyal friend.” “I guess.” Friend? How do I tell him that I don’t have any friends? I purse my lips and look towards the driveway. My mom’s old Chevy van is parked up front. “I have to go.” “Come on, Dude. Gimme your address and my bro and me will Before the seventh grade, pick you up.” Uncertainty and when everyone was the same suspicion drown out I had a few friends. the pleasure of being asked to hang out. If I give someone my address, it’s likely my house will get egged, and I can’t do that to my mom. “I’ll have my mom bring me after dinner,” I say. “Just meet me by the gate at seven.” Jack’s grin widens and his blue eyes clear. He lifts his hand. We bump fists and I turn and walk towards my mom’s car. Secretly, I am excited, but also terrified. That night, I make a point to find my coolest clothes. I wanted to look like Jack but I didn’t have anything surfer style. In the end, I pick a pair of basketball shorts and a white t-shirt. It could get cold, but I choose to wear flip-flops like Jack’s. It wasn’t a cool look, but at least my reflection didn’t scream nerd. “Mom?” I yell. My mom comes to the bathroom where I’m standing on the toilet to see how I look in the mirror. She smiles at me. “Yes, son of mine?” “Can you cut my hair tonight? To make it, I don’t know. Cooler?” My mom snorts, her smile becoming wider. “I’ll see what I can do.” She retreats from the bathroom to our supplies in the hallway closet. I sit on

height,

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ible muscles. I stand no chance. “Please, I swear I won’t tell a soul. It’s none of my business.” Jack brings his hand up suddenly and I duck, bringing my hands to my face. Maybe I can at least save my glasses. When no punch connects, I look up in confusion and my eyes meet Jack’s equally confused gaze. “Chill out, Lil Dude,” Jack says. “Y’had some tape on your shoulder. I don’t blame you for overhearing, Man. I doubt anyone chooses to hang out in a locker.” He steps back and tucks his hands into his pockets. His body seems to subconsciously slouch. “Are you okay, Dude? Did someone hurt you?” His concern puzzles me. I crane my neck When no punch connects, at Jack the way I do to I look up in confusion Phil. “Um, no. I’m okay. It was just something that happened.” I’m embarrassed and look away. My nervous hands habitually move to adjust the position of my glasses on the bridge of my nose. “What about you?” I ask. Are you okay after that?” I can’t believe I dared to ask. Jack smiles and shrugs. “She’s been sayin’ that stuff for a while, Dude. But Anna is too feisty for her hubby to handle. That’s why she needs me.” I find myself gawking at the idea of a teacher needing a student. “You should head to class, my Dude.” Jack says. It snaps me out of my trance and I nod, grateful for the excuse to leave. “Yeah uh, thanks, I guess.” I turn to climb for my biology book, but Jack easily reaches over me and pulls it out. Then he hands it to me. “Th-thanks.” I give a thoughtless, silly bow of my head and close the locker. Before I can humiliate myself further, I scurry away, like some confused and frightened breed of rat, to my hole. “Hang tight, Bro,” I hear behind me. My day becomes less about class and more about scanning every crowd for Jake or Mrs. Perez. But neither of them show up—not that I 16

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want them to. I just still can’t believe what I saw. I plod through the rest of my classes until lunch, when I find a drawing inside my locker door. Someone had used all of my sticky notes and a sharpie to decorate my door’s interior with my face in the shape of a butt with big glasses. I had to throw away all of my sticky notes. I escape school with no bruises and only one tardy slip. When my mom arrives to pick me up, I tell her I had an okay day and that nothing new happened. She smiles and we go home. Over the next few mornings, I spend my time in the bathroom stall thinking. I want to know if Mrs. Perez is serious. But I’m afraid to push my luck with Jack, and this sort of topic isn’t something you can just bring up. I don’t think Mrs. Perez even knows that I saw her. Classes pass and I find myself spacing off to imagine the complicated fight I had witnessed between Jack and Mrs. Perez. I imagine them eloping. I also imagine them getting caught. It’s nerve wracking not to know what’s going on. I begin to think I might never know. Then, a few days later, a familiar voice floats out from the sea of chatty students. I turn and there’s Jack. I step back and lower my eyes. I fear that he has changed his mind and wants to threaten me to keep his valuable secret. “H-hey, Jack,” I say. “Howzit, Man? Doin’ good? Been stuck in any more lockers?” Jack’s kind tone surprises me into looking up. His cool persona, again, matches the laidback look of a beach boy. I shake my head and smile, as if it’s a joke I can just laugh off. “I don’t wanna bug you, bro,” Jack begins. It seems rehearsed, like he’s been practicing what to say. “But since that one morning, I’ve been kinda nervous ‘bout, ya know, you telling your friends stuff. You get me, Dude? I wanna know Anna’s safe. Haven’t heard anything yet, so thanks, but I hope it can stay that way.” Jack looks nervous, which in a way, is funny to me. To see someone so tall, handsome, and popular like Jack being nervous. It makes him look

more human than other bullies. “Y-yeah, it’s no problem,” I say. “I haven’t told anyone, and I won’t.” I have no one to tell. Jack’s face lifts with a grin and I suddenly feel pleased to make him happy. “Remind me,” he says. “What’s your name, Man?” “Ted.” “Ted, cool meeting you, Dude.” He shakes my hand and then walks away. Right then someone shoulder-checks me, and I drop my binders. For a second, I stare at the scattered mess, then at the girl who walks away, giggling to her friends. My happiness quickly drains as I pick up my stuff and go to class. The first week goes by fast. I do well in my classes, but I don’t connect with any of the teachers or subjects. Nothing resonates. Everything pertaining to school and home is a grayscale. Before I know it, it’s the day of the back-toschool bash. I can sense it in the unusual excitement vibrating through the crowds at 7:20 AM. None of it matters, because I’m not going. I went in seventh grade, and was barraged by water balloons that left welts on my back for days. After the last bell, I see Jack on the school’s front steps. He’s by himself, looking lost in thought. I don’t see my mom, so I amaze myself by walking over to him. “Hey, Jack. A-are you okay?” Jack’s shaggy blond hair shifts as his jaw angles towards me like an arrow. His blue eyes seem distant, but he smiles. “Ted! Thanks for checking, Dude. It’s women probs.” His eyes direct me towards the parking lot, where I see Mrs. Perez accepting roses from a man I assume is her husband. “You know how it goes, right, man?” I don’t, but I do pity Jack. “I’m sorry… Dude,” I say. I feel awkward. Maybe this was a bad idea. I should abort mission. “Y’know…” Jack looks back at me and lifts a pointed finger. “Tonight’s that school bash. I need heartbreak distraction, Bro. Let’s go. You and me.” “No, no, no. I don’t go to those bashes.” “Whaaah, Man? Why not?” Jack asks.

“They’re dumb.” Jack laughs and shakes his head. “Think it over, Man. We go together, we can make it way more cool.” “You must have other friends.” “I guess, but ya see, I don’t like alotta people at this school. They gossip and bully people.” “Tell me about it.” “But you, my dude, you’ve kept my huge secret. You’re a totally loyal friend.” “I guess.” Friend? How do I tell him that I don’t have any friends? I purse my lips and look towards the driveway. My mom’s old Chevy van is parked up front. “I have to go.” “Come on, Dude. Gimme your address and my bro and me will Before the seventh grade, pick you up.” Uncertainty and when everyone was the same suspicion drown out I had a few friends. the pleasure of being asked to hang out. If I give someone my address, it’s likely my house will get egged, and I can’t do that to my mom. “I’ll have my mom bring me after dinner,” I say. “Just meet me by the gate at seven.” Jack’s grin widens and his blue eyes clear. He lifts his hand. We bump fists and I turn and walk towards my mom’s car. Secretly, I am excited, but also terrified. That night, I make a point to find my coolest clothes. I wanted to look like Jack but I didn’t have anything surfer style. In the end, I pick a pair of basketball shorts and a white t-shirt. It could get cold, but I choose to wear flip-flops like Jack’s. It wasn’t a cool look, but at least my reflection didn’t scream nerd. “Mom?” I yell. My mom comes to the bathroom where I’m standing on the toilet to see how I look in the mirror. She smiles at me. “Yes, son of mine?” “Can you cut my hair tonight? To make it, I don’t know. Cooler?” My mom snorts, her smile becoming wider. “I’ll see what I can do.” She retreats from the bathroom to our supplies in the hallway closet. I sit on

height,

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the toilet lid and face the yellow-white bathtub. The cut doesn’t take long. She makes it shorter, but I don’t lose a ton of hair. When I stand up and look in the mirror, I smile. I can see my ears and forehead. I wet my hands with water to spike it up and give my mom a hug. “Thank you. I really like it.” She hugs me back and plants a kiss on my head. “Dinner is ready. Then I’ll take you to the school.”

hanging on by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

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I finish dinner fast, keeping a trained eye on my watch to make sure we arrive right before 7. My dad sees my cut and stares, then keeps walking. He’s as old fashioned as it gets, so I take it as a good sign. It’s fifteen minutes before seven, and I’m hurrying my mom out the door. The drive gives me butterflies. Before the seventh grade, when everyone was the same height, I had a few friends. Some moved away, and others made new friends when we changed buildings. I was the only one who didn’t grow. Jake could be my first new friend. I try not to let my hopes get too high, but I can’t

help the pressure rising in my chest. I feel like a hot, quaking kettle and like steam is about to blow out of my ears. When we arrive, I excitedly tell my mom I love her and hop out of the van. She seems happy as she pulls away. I walk to the gates, looking for Jack’s blonde head. But I don’t see him. I wait awkwardly at the front gate and stare at the ground. People walking by snicker and stare. I think about running home and crying. But then a Firebird with bass that rivets through the cement pulls up. I spy Jack in the passenger seat and relief mixed with nausea fights in my stomach. Jack waves the guy off, who I suspect to be his brother. Jack spots me and jogs forward, still in the same clothes from school. “Sorry I’m late Dude. My bro stopped for beer. Your hair’s totally rad, Man.” We bump fists and I grin. Together, we walk into the grassy school grounds where a series of games are set up. I see bean bags being flung, and some kids are playing kickball on the far field. In almost every corner there are kiddy pools filled with water balloons. I even see a mime walking around. Other students who walk by stare at us. Jake doesn’t seem to notice but I do. They must think Jack pities me, and they might be right. “Let’s dunk Mrs. Lungly.” Jack points at the large pool, where, just over the surface of the water, Mrs. Lungly sits on a plank. The board seems uncomfortable under her weight, bending like an aching spine. Mrs. Lungly makes it worse by shifting a lot, throwing around her fists to gain attention. It’s funny seeing her in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. But her clothes look dry, and so does her curly brown hair, which makes it clear that nobody has successfully dunked her yet.

We get closer and Mrs. Lungly begins shouting, “I know none of you have any real aim! No aim, no talent, no chances of dunking me! Hah! Just try. You can’t do it!” Her jeers make me laugh and Jack is already reaching for the balls. He hands me one. “You can be my backup in case I miss,” he says. I smile widely and nod. Jack tries twice, but even though he whips the ball, he doesn’t hit the target. I step up to the white line in the grass and prepare to throw. I know I don’t have a lot of muscle, but if my trajectory is good, I’m sure I can do it. I bring back my arm and throw. It’s a miss. I pick up one m=ore ball. “You got this, Ted! Go, Ted!” Jack shouts. He keeps repeating his cheer. “Go, Ted!” He’s loud enough to turn heads. All of a sudden, there’s a crowd swarming us. All of them are cheering my name. “Go, Ted! Go, Ted!” they all say. Even Mrs. Lungly watches with anticipation. I take in a deep breath and I let the ball go. It takes flight in a parabola, upward and then downward, but in just the right spot. My ball hits the target and Mrs. Lungly drops into the pool. Water spills out from all sides and soaks my feet but I’m too happy to care. I throw up my fists and everyone cheers. Jack wraps an arm around my shoulders and we all hoot and holler. After that, the crowd disperses and Mrs. Lungly tells me ‘good job.’ I get candy as a reward and begin eating when Jack tells me he needs to use the men’s room. I nod and he takes off. I go in search of the mime. I’m walking and chewing gum when Frank Shetz, a bully, stops dead in front of me. Frank is easily half a foot taller than me, and his body is bulky with muscle and chub. “Wow,” he says. “Look at that sexy little hair cut of yours, Kiddo. You look just like that surfer asshole.” The two guys behind him laugh. All three of them are juniors and taller than me.

I step back. Frank easily severs the space with one long stride and brings an arm around my shoulders. “Let’s make this quick before a teacher sees, yeah?” Frank slaps the back of my head, hard. I grunt and the gum flies out onto the ground, and Frank picks it up. “Freshly chewed. Perfect.” I try to run but Frank grabs my arm and rubs the gum into my hair. A moment later Frank is being yanked away and falls onto the ground. I fall too and look up to see what happened. It’s Jack and he looks furious. His blue eyes are cold again and his fist is full of Frank’s shirt. “What the fuck, Man?” Jack yells. People look our way and teachers surge forward. “Let him go,” Mr. Garcia orders. His hands clasp All of a sudden, there’s a crowd Jack’s shoulders and pull swarming us. All of them are him away. cheering my name. Jack lets go immediately but faces Mr. Garcia and points at me. “Better do something about these bullies. It’d be fucking rad if you teachers did your jobs for once.” Behind it all, I see Mrs. Perez watching, her expression horrified as she watches Jack crack. The bullies are sent home and my mom is called. Jack walks me to the van and when I open the door, Jack immediately begins to apologize to my mom. I look at him in shock. His eyes are filled with tears and I feel like I’m not the full source of his crying. Still, I pat him on the shoulder and smile. “I had so much fun today, Dude. I didn’t think I would, but thanks to you, I did. I’ll see you on Monday.” Jack nods and wipes his eyes. He hands me a paper with his house number on it and I tell him I’ll call him after the gum is extracted. My mom thanks Jack and we leave. In the end, my mom has to shave my head to get all of the gum out. I would be angry, but I feel oddly calm, satisfied by the memory of my name being cheered as I dunked Mrs. Lungly. Kiosk18

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the toilet lid and face the yellow-white bathtub. The cut doesn’t take long. She makes it shorter, but I don’t lose a ton of hair. When I stand up and look in the mirror, I smile. I can see my ears and forehead. I wet my hands with water to spike it up and give my mom a hug. “Thank you. I really like it.” She hugs me back and plants a kiss on my head. “Dinner is ready. Then I’ll take you to the school.”

hanging on by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

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I finish dinner fast, keeping a trained eye on my watch to make sure we arrive right before 7. My dad sees my cut and stares, then keeps walking. He’s as old fashioned as it gets, so I take it as a good sign. It’s fifteen minutes before seven, and I’m hurrying my mom out the door. The drive gives me butterflies. Before the seventh grade, when everyone was the same height, I had a few friends. Some moved away, and others made new friends when we changed buildings. I was the only one who didn’t grow. Jake could be my first new friend. I try not to let my hopes get too high, but I can’t

help the pressure rising in my chest. I feel like a hot, quaking kettle and like steam is about to blow out of my ears. When we arrive, I excitedly tell my mom I love her and hop out of the van. She seems happy as she pulls away. I walk to the gates, looking for Jack’s blonde head. But I don’t see him. I wait awkwardly at the front gate and stare at the ground. People walking by snicker and stare. I think about running home and crying. But then a Firebird with bass that rivets through the cement pulls up. I spy Jack in the passenger seat and relief mixed with nausea fights in my stomach. Jack waves the guy off, who I suspect to be his brother. Jack spots me and jogs forward, still in the same clothes from school. “Sorry I’m late Dude. My bro stopped for beer. Your hair’s totally rad, Man.” We bump fists and I grin. Together, we walk into the grassy school grounds where a series of games are set up. I see bean bags being flung, and some kids are playing kickball on the far field. In almost every corner there are kiddy pools filled with water balloons. I even see a mime walking around. Other students who walk by stare at us. Jake doesn’t seem to notice but I do. They must think Jack pities me, and they might be right. “Let’s dunk Mrs. Lungly.” Jack points at the large pool, where, just over the surface of the water, Mrs. Lungly sits on a plank. The board seems uncomfortable under her weight, bending like an aching spine. Mrs. Lungly makes it worse by shifting a lot, throwing around her fists to gain attention. It’s funny seeing her in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. But her clothes look dry, and so does her curly brown hair, which makes it clear that nobody has successfully dunked her yet.

We get closer and Mrs. Lungly begins shouting, “I know none of you have any real aim! No aim, no talent, no chances of dunking me! Hah! Just try. You can’t do it!” Her jeers make me laugh and Jack is already reaching for the balls. He hands me one. “You can be my backup in case I miss,” he says. I smile widely and nod. Jack tries twice, but even though he whips the ball, he doesn’t hit the target. I step up to the white line in the grass and prepare to throw. I know I don’t have a lot of muscle, but if my trajectory is good, I’m sure I can do it. I bring back my arm and throw. It’s a miss. I pick up one m=ore ball. “You got this, Ted! Go, Ted!” Jack shouts. He keeps repeating his cheer. “Go, Ted!” He’s loud enough to turn heads. All of a sudden, there’s a crowd swarming us. All of them are cheering my name. “Go, Ted! Go, Ted!” they all say. Even Mrs. Lungly watches with anticipation. I take in a deep breath and I let the ball go. It takes flight in a parabola, upward and then downward, but in just the right spot. My ball hits the target and Mrs. Lungly drops into the pool. Water spills out from all sides and soaks my feet but I’m too happy to care. I throw up my fists and everyone cheers. Jack wraps an arm around my shoulders and we all hoot and holler. After that, the crowd disperses and Mrs. Lungly tells me ‘good job.’ I get candy as a reward and begin eating when Jack tells me he needs to use the men’s room. I nod and he takes off. I go in search of the mime. I’m walking and chewing gum when Frank Shetz, a bully, stops dead in front of me. Frank is easily half a foot taller than me, and his body is bulky with muscle and chub. “Wow,” he says. “Look at that sexy little hair cut of yours, Kiddo. You look just like that surfer asshole.” The two guys behind him laugh. All three of them are juniors and taller than me.

I step back. Frank easily severs the space with one long stride and brings an arm around my shoulders. “Let’s make this quick before a teacher sees, yeah?” Frank slaps the back of my head, hard. I grunt and the gum flies out onto the ground, and Frank picks it up. “Freshly chewed. Perfect.” I try to run but Frank grabs my arm and rubs the gum into my hair. A moment later Frank is being yanked away and falls onto the ground. I fall too and look up to see what happened. It’s Jack and he looks furious. His blue eyes are cold again and his fist is full of Frank’s shirt. “What the fuck, Man?” Jack yells. People look our way and teachers surge forward. “Let him go,” Mr. Garcia orders. His hands clasp All of a sudden, there’s a crowd Jack’s shoulders and pull swarming us. All of them are him away. cheering my name. Jack lets go immediately but faces Mr. Garcia and points at me. “Better do something about these bullies. It’d be fucking rad if you teachers did your jobs for once.” Behind it all, I see Mrs. Perez watching, her expression horrified as she watches Jack crack. The bullies are sent home and my mom is called. Jack walks me to the van and when I open the door, Jack immediately begins to apologize to my mom. I look at him in shock. His eyes are filled with tears and I feel like I’m not the full source of his crying. Still, I pat him on the shoulder and smile. “I had so much fun today, Dude. I didn’t think I would, but thanks to you, I did. I’ll see you on Monday.” Jack nods and wipes his eyes. He hands me a paper with his house number on it and I tell him I’ll call him after the gum is extracted. My mom thanks Jack and we leave. In the end, my mom has to shave my head to get all of the gum out. I would be angry, but I feel oddly calm, satisfied by the memory of my name being cheered as I dunked Mrs. Lungly. Kiosk18

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P OETR Y

l anguage barrier

I tell my mom the dunking story as she cuts my hair again, hoping to rid the sadness from her eyes. That night I call Jack’s house and his dad answers. When I ask for Jack, his dad says he is already asleep. The next day, I try again and this time Jack and I talk like nothing happened. We meet up and he buys me an ice cream from the gas station. He compliments my new look and says it suits me more than he thought it would. He also invites me over and has me try on some of his little brother’s old clothes. On Monday, instead of hiding in the bathroom stall, I meet Jack on the stairs and he gives

me a blue beanie. He says I look cool and we bump fists. Mrs. Lungly walks over to us, and compliments me. “I like this new style of yours, Teddy. Beanie, khakis, friends. I’m happy for you. Keep it up.” She pats me on the shoulder, and for once, I don’t get upset that she calls me Teddy. It actually feels warm. One day, Jack and I spot a seventh grader being bullied. I know him as Jacob from my biology class. We rush to his aid and Jack scares the attackers off while I introduce myself and Jack to Jacob.

An x and a y come together to make lines when they should make words.

japanese new year

Misty Day by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

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Allison Linafelter

Greg Guelcher

An old temple bell, Tolls the New Year’s first greeting… Her warm hand clasps mine.

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l anguage barrier

I tell my mom the dunking story as she cuts my hair again, hoping to rid the sadness from her eyes. That night I call Jack’s house and his dad answers. When I ask for Jack, his dad says he is already asleep. The next day, I try again and this time Jack and I talk like nothing happened. We meet up and he buys me an ice cream from the gas station. He compliments my new look and says it suits me more than he thought it would. He also invites me over and has me try on some of his little brother’s old clothes. On Monday, instead of hiding in the bathroom stall, I meet Jack on the stairs and he gives

me a blue beanie. He says I look cool and we bump fists. Mrs. Lungly walks over to us, and compliments me. “I like this new style of yours, Teddy. Beanie, khakis, friends. I’m happy for you. Keep it up.” She pats me on the shoulder, and for once, I don’t get upset that she calls me Teddy. It actually feels warm. One day, Jack and I spot a seventh grader being bullied. I know him as Jacob from my biology class. We rush to his aid and Jack scares the attackers off while I introduce myself and Jack to Jacob.

An x and a y come together to make lines when they should make words.

japanese new year

Misty Day by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

20

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Allison Linafelter

Greg Guelcher

An old temple bell, Tolls the New Year’s first greeting… Her warm hand clasps mine.

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WORSHIP

I SAW DEATH

Alexi Malatare

They say that my body is a temple for all to see, but when I look in the mirror I don’t see beauty. I see scarred knees and white lines tracing the hate I tried to dig out with Exact-o blades and kitchen knives. I see sun spots and stretch marks creating a road map of my travels between my size and the skies. Bruises litter my legs like garbage on a beach, patches of blues and green nestled in soft, sand-colored cellulite. Scratches and acne, but no beauty to see.

In the dead of the night, at the foot of my bed, lurking in the shadows was a white, horned head. Not a head but a skull that belonged to a bull until Death set it upon his shoulders.

They say that my body is a temple but it is not meant for beauty, instead, a space for worship. ravaged by others. Damaged walls declaring sentiment left by all who have visited, bursting at the seems with jagged pinkish-purple cracks, unable to contain the love housed inside. Scratches, bruises, and acne, proof of all that cannot be contained within. My body is a magnificent temple, come worship it with me.

Kristen Brown

I lay in my bed—not the bed I fell asleep in, but instead the bed of my dream. The bed where Death stood, proudly in a shroud of ebony, his chalky white skull sinking low so that hollow, black eyes peered at me promisingly. And it was perplexing—just how accepting I was of the unraveling realization of a single truth. I would die in my sleep. I could not move and my pleading call down the hall to my mother for help left my throat in pitiful whispers. And Death had gotten closer. I was horrified, paralyzed, petrified— Death knelt on my bed. I closed my eyes, felt the end, and opened them again.

Big Ben by Niccole Wolken photography

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Awake, I lay in my bed—not the bed of my dream, but instead the bed I fell asleep in. The bed where Death still stood, in the dead of the night, at the foot of my bed, where he raised his scythe and took my head.

The THing In My Dream by Jordan Hernandez digital art

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P OETR Y

WORSHIP

I SAW DEATH

Alexi Malatare

They say that my body is a temple for all to see, but when I look in the mirror I don’t see beauty. I see scarred knees and white lines tracing the hate I tried to dig out with Exact-o blades and kitchen knives. I see sun spots and stretch marks creating a road map of my travels between my size and the skies. Bruises litter my legs like garbage on a beach, patches of blues and green nestled in soft, sand-colored cellulite. Scratches and acne, but no beauty to see.

In the dead of the night, at the foot of my bed, lurking in the shadows was a white, horned head. Not a head but a skull that belonged to a bull until Death set it upon his shoulders.

They say that my body is a temple but it is not meant for beauty, instead, a space for worship. ravaged by others. Damaged walls declaring sentiment left by all who have visited, bursting at the seems with jagged pinkish-purple cracks, unable to contain the love housed inside. Scratches, bruises, and acne, proof of all that cannot be contained within. My body is a magnificent temple, come worship it with me.

Kristen Brown

I lay in my bed—not the bed I fell asleep in, but instead the bed of my dream. The bed where Death stood, proudly in a shroud of ebony, his chalky white skull sinking low so that hollow, black eyes peered at me promisingly. And it was perplexing—just how accepting I was of the unraveling realization of a single truth. I would die in my sleep. I could not move and my pleading call down the hall to my mother for help left my throat in pitiful whispers. And Death had gotten closer. I was horrified, paralyzed, petrified— Death knelt on my bed. I closed my eyes, felt the end, and opened them again.

Big Ben by Niccole Wolken photography

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Awake, I lay in my bed—not the bed of my dream, but instead the bed I fell asleep in. The bed where Death still stood, in the dead of the night, at the foot of my bed, where he raised his scythe and took my head.

The THing In My Dream by Jordan Hernandez digital art

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C REATI V E NONf i c t i o n

P OETR Y

DEAD BABIES

TWO-GENERATION PORTRAIT

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nfortunately, I’m on my way to class. It’s the fall semester of my senior year of college, and I cannot be less motivated: At least the reds and oranges of the changing leaves are pretty this time of year. I hope the colors last a while. I trudge past the corner of a building, but I notice a little green body sprawled unnaturally on the sidewalk. It brings me to a halt. I walk the three steps over to it and stare down at the little green hummingbird, dead, on the pavement. Its head is a little flat, like it might’ve flown into a wall or window of the building. My eyes well up with The trees and sunlight and tears, which really is kind lush grass continued to show of dumb. It’s not like any their loveliness, but my breath amount of crying can stopped in my throat. bring it back. I, of all people, should know that. I can’t help it though. This little dead hummingbird reminds me of another morning’s walk to class. In the spring semester of my freshman year of college, I stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk. Around me, other students kept moving. The trees and sunlight and lush grass continued to show off their loveliness, but my breath stopped in my throat. There, on the path between the toes of my boots, was a shattered bird’s egg. The fluid from inside stained the sidewalk a darker grey than the rest, and the splintered, pale blue shell was scattered a little around the little egg’s ground zero. I couldn’t help but notice the little body of the under-developed bird inside. It didn’t really look

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Heather Eisele

like a bird. It was more of a… more of a squiggly little line of a thing, almost like a tadpole but without the tadpole’s development. I wondered if it had suffered. I wondered if it could feel any pain at all. I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer. I looked back at the building I had been so close to entering. Lewis Hall ignored my existence. Its tan brick edifice didn’t so much as beckon to me. I was alone now. No one moved past me now, save for a straggler or two, ambling on to class because they were already late anyway. I decided that I wouldn’t go to class today. No one would really notice my absence anyway. I knelt on the sidewalk and scooped the little squiggle into my hands and resolved to wash them thoroughly later. I wasn’t quite sure where I could go to take care of something like this, but I figured anywhere was better than that spot by Lewis. I carried the squiggle to a park adjacent to campus. Children played there in the evenings and on weekends, but in the middle of the morning like this, it was empty and quiet. The wind blew the swings a little bit, but otherwise, it was still. I buried the squiggle there, under a tree. I didn’t want its mother to have to see the grave even though I would’ve liked to have a grave for my own squiggle. But there wasn’t enough of a squiggle to find among all that blood when I lost mine. I figured maybe Mama Bird would like to have the grave at a bit of a distance like this. She could visit, but she wouldn’t have to see it every day. It wouldn’t always distract and haunt her. She could start to heal, with separation and time, I thought. I don’t know if I’d bury the bird squiggle now. I can hardly stand to look at the hummingbird, yet I’m staring at it. Its dead form rests on the sidewalk between the toes of my boots. I wonder if it suffered. I hope with everything in me that it isn’t in pain anymore. I’m late to class now. I don’t feel like I can leave this spot.

Alexi Malatare

“What is worse than a dead baby in a tree?” So the old joke goes, “A dead baby in seven trees.” “What is worse than a dead baby in seven trees?” I ask. “A dead baby in the arms of his crying mother.” Dead babies, not the punchline kind, the real deal. Swaddled pink flesh with no rise and fall of the chest. No cries announcing their presence. A life lost before it begins. The kind of dead baby that is passed between nurses and family members alike. Leaving tears in its wake instead of smiles and coos. Dead babies, not the kind joked about littering a tree top, the kind placed in their mother’s arms while their little body is still warm from the home within her that it vacated, only to never be introduced to another home on earth. I hold this warm bundle that is supposed to be my sweet nephew, I picture what his life could have been, and I wonder what joke someone will make of this dead baby. Off in the other room a relative mutters: “They weren’t ready to be parents anyway.”

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DEAD BABIES

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nfortunately, I’m on my way to class. It’s the fall semester of my senior year of college, and I cannot be less motivated: At least the reds and oranges of the changing leaves are pretty this time of year. I hope the colors last a while. I trudge past the corner of a building, but I notice a little green body sprawled unnaturally on the sidewalk. It brings me to a halt. I walk the three steps over to it and stare down at the little green hummingbird, dead, on the pavement. Its head is a little flat, like it might’ve flown into a wall or window of the building. My eyes well up with The trees and sunlight and tears, which really is kind lush grass continued to show of dumb. It’s not like any their loveliness, but my breath amount of crying can stopped in my throat. bring it back. I, of all people, should know that. I can’t help it though. This little dead hummingbird reminds me of another morning’s walk to class. In the spring semester of my freshman year of college, I stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk. Around me, other students kept moving. The trees and sunlight and lush grass continued to show off their loveliness, but my breath stopped in my throat. There, on the path between the toes of my boots, was a shattered bird’s egg. The fluid from inside stained the sidewalk a darker grey than the rest, and the splintered, pale blue shell was scattered a little around the little egg’s ground zero. I couldn’t help but notice the little body of the under-developed bird inside. It didn’t really look

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Heather Eisele

like a bird. It was more of a… more of a squiggly little line of a thing, almost like a tadpole but without the tadpole’s development. I wondered if it had suffered. I wondered if it could feel any pain at all. I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer. I looked back at the building I had been so close to entering. Lewis Hall ignored my existence. Its tan brick edifice didn’t so much as beckon to me. I was alone now. No one moved past me now, save for a straggler or two, ambling on to class because they were already late anyway. I decided that I wouldn’t go to class today. No one would really notice my absence anyway. I knelt on the sidewalk and scooped the little squiggle into my hands and resolved to wash them thoroughly later. I wasn’t quite sure where I could go to take care of something like this, but I figured anywhere was better than that spot by Lewis. I carried the squiggle to a park adjacent to campus. Children played there in the evenings and on weekends, but in the middle of the morning like this, it was empty and quiet. The wind blew the swings a little bit, but otherwise, it was still. I buried the squiggle there, under a tree. I didn’t want its mother to have to see the grave even though I would’ve liked to have a grave for my own squiggle. But there wasn’t enough of a squiggle to find among all that blood when I lost mine. I figured maybe Mama Bird would like to have the grave at a bit of a distance like this. She could visit, but she wouldn’t have to see it every day. It wouldn’t always distract and haunt her. She could start to heal, with separation and time, I thought. I don’t know if I’d bury the bird squiggle now. I can hardly stand to look at the hummingbird, yet I’m staring at it. Its dead form rests on the sidewalk between the toes of my boots. I wonder if it suffered. I hope with everything in me that it isn’t in pain anymore. I’m late to class now. I don’t feel like I can leave this spot.

Alexi Malatare

“What is worse than a dead baby in a tree?” So the old joke goes, “A dead baby in seven trees.” “What is worse than a dead baby in seven trees?” I ask. “A dead baby in the arms of his crying mother.” Dead babies, not the punchline kind, the real deal. Swaddled pink flesh with no rise and fall of the chest. No cries announcing their presence. A life lost before it begins. The kind of dead baby that is passed between nurses and family members alike. Leaving tears in its wake instead of smiles and coos. Dead babies, not the kind joked about littering a tree top, the kind placed in their mother’s arms while their little body is still warm from the home within her that it vacated, only to never be introduced to another home on earth. I hold this warm bundle that is supposed to be my sweet nephew, I picture what his life could have been, and I wonder what joke someone will make of this dead baby. Off in the other room a relative mutters: “They weren’t ready to be parents anyway.”

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25


C REATI V E NON - F I C TION

ONSET

Kay Goldsmith

I

bound from bed and the fringe on the rug tickles my feet as I patter into the kitchen where my birds, Pixie and Dixie, are perched. The morning sunlight beams through the window and rouses them to chirp. I look at the sparkling snow and bask in the coziness. Usually I put my water kettle on to boil while I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth. For some reason, I make a detour past the stove and go into the bathroom. I finish brushing my teeth and straighten up. A slight twinge grips the small of my back and my legs feel tingly and heavy. What did I do, pull a muscle or sleep wrong? Pixie and Dixie stop chirping and watch me sit at the kitchen table. Shivering, I avoid their beady stare and rub my legs. Is this a charley

“Suddenly, the small stand near the wall topples over with a thud. I strain to turn around and notice my right foot has knocked it over. ” horse? I look down at my old worn out nightshirt and think a robe would feel good about now. The fading sunshine gives way to menacing clouds. My head throbs when I hobble to my bedroom and lie down. Surely, a nap will make the growing, sickening pain go away. I pull the covers over me and fall asleep. I wake to eerie silence and growing darkness. How long have I slept? I try to stand up, but my legs go numb and I fall to the floor. I need to get dressed up and go to the dance club in Vernon– it’s exciting to do the cha cha, ballroom steps, and country line dancing. I silently say a prayer – Hail Mary, full of grace- but then forget the words! I know God won’t help because I’m not praying hard enough. Mom’s angry voice still sends shivers. The first time she said it was in fifth grade. “Kay, your report card is terrible. You wouldn’t flunk if you prayed harder! From now on, I’ll drop you off at Epiphany Church on my way to work. It won’t hurt you to go to mass 26

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every day before school.” I must fall asleep again on the floor because I wake with a terrible headache. My back hurts, and I struggle to figure out why I’m sprawled on the bedroom floor. I’m stiff from sleeping on my left side for what feels like a long time. When my eyes open, I find I’m staring into the blackness under my bed, and fumble to back away from the darkness. My elbows sting from inching toward the kitchen to get my phone. Suddenly, the small stand near the wall topples over with a thud. I strain to turn around and notice my right foot has knocked it over. It’s getting darker and my birds are still silent. The wind’s howling and snow drifts cover the windows. I can’t think straight. What’s happening? Finally, I reach the chair where my phone is charging. I call my best friend in Nebraska. She won’t tell my kids what’s going on and make them worry. I tell her I’m going dancing tonight – if my legs stop tingling. “You should call your doctor,” she says coolly. I set the phone down and rub my forehead. What should I do? Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, for God’s sake! My medical training as a surgical technologist creates in me a feeling of angst. What will my coworkers at the hospital think? My dad was right when he used to call me a dumb shit. The first time he did, I was five. I was home with Dad and four of his male friends, they were laughing loudly. Dad called me downstairs and told me to pull down my pants to show his friends. I began to cry and refused, so Dad jumped up from his recliner, yanked my hand, and spanked me. “You god damn dumb shit, go take a nap if you’re such a baby!” I pick up the phone and wonder if I should call my friend Bill – we had gone out dancing on New Year’s Eve. Bill and I met while roller skating, and while neither of us acknowledge it, there’s a

spark between us. I like the mystery, safety, and exciting potential of new relationships, and I know he’ll come and help. He won’t think I’m stupid, whether it be for calling for help when nothing’s wrong or for not calling sooner. Panic sets in when I remember my hair is messy, I have my old nightshirt on, and I need to take a shower. My mind wanders when I try to figure out how to get dressed – he’s used to seeing me all dressed up at the dance club. I could call my big brother, instead, but he’ll get too upset and want to take control of me. Damn, what the hell do I do? I’m not missing out on dancing, someone at the club will try and pick up Bill. For once, I’m having a fun social life, and I’m free to do whatever I want! I may not be rich like my brother, but my three kids are grown, and this is my time to feel attractive and popular. Maybe a hot bath will relax my legs? I crawl to the bathroom and my birds, silent, stare. The edge of the tub is too high for me to climb over, so I make my way back to the kitchen. The clock chimes six. Can that be? Have I been on the floor for twelve hours? What will people think? Should I call Bill or 911? At least Bill doesn’t know me well enough to tell me what to do. He wont’ get impatient with me like my parents used to. The lingering ache in the small of my back seems to wrap around my waist; I decide to call Bill. When he answers, I struggle to keep my voice from trembling. “Hi, Bill, I hope you plan to go dancing tonight.” “Hey Kay,” he says, “the roads are getting bad, but my four-wheel drive wont’ get stuck.” “I’m going, too,” I reply. “But I’m having a little problem with my legs, can you come over? I’m sure I’m ok.” I know that I’m not really ok, but the words come out anyways. “You know where my house is, right?”

He pauses. “My doors are all locked, but my spare key is hidden in a jar near the door.” “Kay, are you ok?” Bill finally answers. “Well, I have a pain in my back, and I can’t feel my legs. Bet I overdid it with the dancing last week.” “I’ll be right over,” Bill says.

Sad Summer by Riley Custer mixed media

Suddenly, I wake up to pounding and then a click at the door. Bill bursts into the living room, along with a bitter draft and snow on his boots. He sees me on the floor and gets down next to me. “What’s wrong?” “My stupid legs fell asleep and won’t wake up – I can’t feel them.” He picks up the phone, hands it to me, and says in a firm voice, “Call 911.” “Bill, you’ll call, right?” He stands up, looks down at me and says ominously, “You call.” I see his frown, his fixed stare. Finally, I call for help. Kiosk18

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C REATI V E NON - F I C TION

ONSET

Kay Goldsmith

I

bound from bed and the fringe on the rug tickles my feet as I patter into the kitchen where my birds, Pixie and Dixie, are perched. The morning sunlight beams through the window and rouses them to chirp. I look at the sparkling snow and bask in the coziness. Usually I put my water kettle on to boil while I head to the bathroom to brush my teeth. For some reason, I make a detour past the stove and go into the bathroom. I finish brushing my teeth and straighten up. A slight twinge grips the small of my back and my legs feel tingly and heavy. What did I do, pull a muscle or sleep wrong? Pixie and Dixie stop chirping and watch me sit at the kitchen table. Shivering, I avoid their beady stare and rub my legs. Is this a charley

“Suddenly, the small stand near the wall topples over with a thud. I strain to turn around and notice my right foot has knocked it over. ” horse? I look down at my old worn out nightshirt and think a robe would feel good about now. The fading sunshine gives way to menacing clouds. My head throbs when I hobble to my bedroom and lie down. Surely, a nap will make the growing, sickening pain go away. I pull the covers over me and fall asleep. I wake to eerie silence and growing darkness. How long have I slept? I try to stand up, but my legs go numb and I fall to the floor. I need to get dressed up and go to the dance club in Vernon– it’s exciting to do the cha cha, ballroom steps, and country line dancing. I silently say a prayer – Hail Mary, full of grace- but then forget the words! I know God won’t help because I’m not praying hard enough. Mom’s angry voice still sends shivers. The first time she said it was in fifth grade. “Kay, your report card is terrible. You wouldn’t flunk if you prayed harder! From now on, I’ll drop you off at Epiphany Church on my way to work. It won’t hurt you to go to mass 26

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every day before school.” I must fall asleep again on the floor because I wake with a terrible headache. My back hurts, and I struggle to figure out why I’m sprawled on the bedroom floor. I’m stiff from sleeping on my left side for what feels like a long time. When my eyes open, I find I’m staring into the blackness under my bed, and fumble to back away from the darkness. My elbows sting from inching toward the kitchen to get my phone. Suddenly, the small stand near the wall topples over with a thud. I strain to turn around and notice my right foot has knocked it over. It’s getting darker and my birds are still silent. The wind’s howling and snow drifts cover the windows. I can’t think straight. What’s happening? Finally, I reach the chair where my phone is charging. I call my best friend in Nebraska. She won’t tell my kids what’s going on and make them worry. I tell her I’m going dancing tonight – if my legs stop tingling. “You should call your doctor,” she says coolly. I set the phone down and rub my forehead. What should I do? Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, for God’s sake! My medical training as a surgical technologist creates in me a feeling of angst. What will my coworkers at the hospital think? My dad was right when he used to call me a dumb shit. The first time he did, I was five. I was home with Dad and four of his male friends, they were laughing loudly. Dad called me downstairs and told me to pull down my pants to show his friends. I began to cry and refused, so Dad jumped up from his recliner, yanked my hand, and spanked me. “You god damn dumb shit, go take a nap if you’re such a baby!” I pick up the phone and wonder if I should call my friend Bill – we had gone out dancing on New Year’s Eve. Bill and I met while roller skating, and while neither of us acknowledge it, there’s a

spark between us. I like the mystery, safety, and exciting potential of new relationships, and I know he’ll come and help. He won’t think I’m stupid, whether it be for calling for help when nothing’s wrong or for not calling sooner. Panic sets in when I remember my hair is messy, I have my old nightshirt on, and I need to take a shower. My mind wanders when I try to figure out how to get dressed – he’s used to seeing me all dressed up at the dance club. I could call my big brother, instead, but he’ll get too upset and want to take control of me. Damn, what the hell do I do? I’m not missing out on dancing, someone at the club will try and pick up Bill. For once, I’m having a fun social life, and I’m free to do whatever I want! I may not be rich like my brother, but my three kids are grown, and this is my time to feel attractive and popular. Maybe a hot bath will relax my legs? I crawl to the bathroom and my birds, silent, stare. The edge of the tub is too high for me to climb over, so I make my way back to the kitchen. The clock chimes six. Can that be? Have I been on the floor for twelve hours? What will people think? Should I call Bill or 911? At least Bill doesn’t know me well enough to tell me what to do. He wont’ get impatient with me like my parents used to. The lingering ache in the small of my back seems to wrap around my waist; I decide to call Bill. When he answers, I struggle to keep my voice from trembling. “Hi, Bill, I hope you plan to go dancing tonight.” “Hey Kay,” he says, “the roads are getting bad, but my four-wheel drive wont’ get stuck.” “I’m going, too,” I reply. “But I’m having a little problem with my legs, can you come over? I’m sure I’m ok.” I know that I’m not really ok, but the words come out anyways. “You know where my house is, right?”

He pauses. “My doors are all locked, but my spare key is hidden in a jar near the door.” “Kay, are you ok?” Bill finally answers. “Well, I have a pain in my back, and I can’t feel my legs. Bet I overdid it with the dancing last week.” “I’ll be right over,” Bill says.

Sad Summer by Riley Custer mixed media

Suddenly, I wake up to pounding and then a click at the door. Bill bursts into the living room, along with a bitter draft and snow on his boots. He sees me on the floor and gets down next to me. “What’s wrong?” “My stupid legs fell asleep and won’t wake up – I can’t feel them.” He picks up the phone, hands it to me, and says in a firm voice, “Call 911.” “Bill, you’ll call, right?” He stands up, looks down at me and says ominously, “You call.” I see his frown, his fixed stare. Finally, I call for help. Kiosk18

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P OETR Y

P OETR Y

PEN AND PAPER

MOVING FORWARD

Solveigh Skarhus

Her black tears fall heavy to the tattered tissues woven together page by page each line flows on like a steady rain taking shape of solemn words her tissues well worn read so perfectly a voice never seen so clearly never spoken nor heard everyone knows it hears it a little differently reads it all the same no one knows it no one knows her so they keep reading the tissues reaching for their own allowing the tears to fall Heavy. Hard. Black. until the ink runs out.

Standout

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Today has been a very bad day, scrounging, scouring, lying in wait, running and scrambling, searching for a way by dreaming and panicking, staying up late. The night sky, twinkling and rolling while the thoughts in my head are painfully scrolling attacking and splattering, ripping and shredding. Today has been a very bad day. Yesterday was a very bad day, with bloodstained thoughts and dreams. Infiltrated by fear that just won’t go away and painstaking acuteness it seemed. Blinded and battered, pushed until my heart shattered. Seeing, screaming that everything is beyond dreaming. Yesterday was a bad day.

america sea by Jesseca Ormond photography

by Megan Stoberl photography

28

Mari Pizzini

Tomorrow will be a different day, where this deafening silence will finally be broken, where the world will finally pay and words will not be left unspoken. I will finally sleep a dreamless sleep and the world, with all my secrets, will keep living and loving, uncrippling and forgiving because tomorrow, oh tomorrow, tomorrow will be a different, maybe better, day.

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P OETR Y

P OETR Y

PEN AND PAPER

MOVING FORWARD

Solveigh Skarhus

Her black tears fall heavy to the tattered tissues woven together page by page each line flows on like a steady rain taking shape of solemn words her tissues well worn read so perfectly a voice never seen so clearly never spoken nor heard everyone knows it hears it a little differently reads it all the same no one knows it no one knows her so they keep reading the tissues reaching for their own allowing the tears to fall Heavy. Hard. Black. until the ink runs out.

Standout

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Today has been a very bad day, scrounging, scouring, lying in wait, running and scrambling, searching for a way by dreaming and panicking, staying up late. The night sky, twinkling and rolling while the thoughts in my head are painfully scrolling attacking and splattering, ripping and shredding. Today has been a very bad day. Yesterday was a very bad day, with bloodstained thoughts and dreams. Infiltrated by fear that just won’t go away and painstaking acuteness it seemed. Blinded and battered, pushed until my heart shattered. Seeing, screaming that everything is beyond dreaming. Yesterday was a bad day.

america sea by Jesseca Ormond photography

by Megan Stoberl photography

28

Mari Pizzini

Tomorrow will be a different day, where this deafening silence will finally be broken, where the world will finally pay and words will not be left unspoken. I will finally sleep a dreamless sleep and the world, with all my secrets, will keep living and loving, uncrippling and forgiving because tomorrow, oh tomorrow, tomorrow will be a different, maybe better, day.

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29


F I C TION

WHEN DEATH COMES K NOCKING

Mariah Wills

D

eath comes visiting one night. Someone has died. He stares around. Takes in the empty bottle of pills, how still she lays. Her short black hair covers her eyes, and her pale skin is dappled with moonlight. She almost looks like she’s sleeping. They always look like they’re sleeping. Her soul sits next to her body, staring at him. “‘Bout time you showed up,” she growls. Her pretty blue eyes are sunken into hollows above her cheeks from sleepless nights and disappointing days. Death cocks his head. If his skull had eyelids, they would blink. He’s never visited someone who waited for him. He Her soul sits next to her body, staring moves forward, his at him. “‘Bout time you showed up.” dark cloak rustling softly against the side of the bed. His scythe arches over his cowled head, like a shiny metal crow, perched on his shoulder. The girl stares up at him, a scowl on her face, “Well, what happens now?” she asks. “You going to tell me I’m going to Hell, too?” Death hears his bones clink gently against each other, a compendium of notes that don’t quite go together. The empty sockets of his eyes bore holes into her face as he looks at her dying moments. He doesn’t have to, but she’s different than the others he’s come for. For one, they’re usually not dead when he gets there. His cowl shivers at what he sees in the memory. She’s sitting on her bed almost exactly where she is now, except this time she’s curled over her knees, her arms holding them to her chest. And she’s crying. From the other room, shouts can be heard as a man yells something—something referring to the girl in the room. It doesn’t really matter what he said. He’s been saying it for a long time— as long as she could remember. In the light of the memory, Death can see the girl’s arms, purple with bruises, but only down to her elbow. He knows she’ll wear a sweater to school to hide them. She’s tired of hiding them. Death watches the tears stream down her face as she buries her head against her knees, her expression breaking just before she covers her head with her arms. She wants it to stop—the yelling 30

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at home. The girls’ teasing at school. The teachers who tried so hard to care but ended up making her feel worse by telling her she could do better. How would they know? They weren’t her, after all. The door to her room crashes open, and a huge, hulking shape suddenly blocks Death’s view of the memory. The man’s voice is back, “You’re worthless, you know that?” he growls, and Death sees the shape of a clenched hand. “Why don’t you just get out and never come back, huh? It’s not like you’re doing anything here.” The girl doesn’t move. She doesn’t make a sound. Death can see she’s holding her breath. When the silence stretches into minutes, the man’s hand darts out and smacks her across the back of her head, “See what I’m saying?” he hisses. “Worthless.” With that, he leaves the room, silent. The girl doesn’t make a sound, but her shoulders start quivering again. Crashes fill the house, and the girl flinches in time with them before everything falls silent. The quivering in the girl’s shoulders stops abruptly, and she takes a deep, shuddering breath. Slowly, she lifts her head, her gaze piercing through the memory to Death’s empty sockets. For a moment, he wonders if she can actually see him. But no—the living cannot see him. Slowly, as if in a dream, she stands and reaches into the end table that stands beside her bed, pulling out the bottle of pills she’d stolen from a party a week ago. She hadn’t known what she would use it for until now. She rises silently and steps delicately off of the bed to flip the switch off the light in her room, suffusing it in shadow that wasn’t quite night. These things are best done in the dark, after all. Then, she turns and opens the shades of the window, staring at the sunset for the last time. A single tear leaks down her cheek, dripping to the tip of her chin to fall and plink softly against the bottle—the sound of rain in a bucket. As the light fades, she opens the pills, dumping as many onto her hand as she can. For a moment, she stares at it—her handful of death. Each pill seems to have special meaning to it as she looks at it, stares at it for a moment, and,

delicately, puts it into her mouth. She grimaces as she swallows, but keeps going. There’s no water to wash the bitter taste of medicine down her throat. Just as the moon’s light starts to creep its way across the room, her head begins to droop. The bottle drops from nerveless fingers, hitting the floor and tipping onto its side, empty. She stares stupidly at it for a moment before she lifts her hand to stare at the last pill. Her eyes narrow as she looks at it, and her mouth thins into a grimace of determination. She pops the pill into her mouth, and watches the moon rise. As time passes, she starts swaying more and more. For a few moments, it looks like she might vomit, but she swallows the bile creeping up her throat and slumps back instead. She tries to move the hair from her face, and instead brushes it so that her face is covered by it. Her hand flops back onto the bed. Her fingers twitch, her breath whispers in once, and then comes no more. The memory fades from Death’s vision, and he shakes his head. How cruel, that he was sent to take her when he should be going after the other. If he’d had lungs, he would have taken in a deep breath to calm himself. As it was, the bones of his ribs rustled dryly against each other. It had been some time since there had been flesh on these bones. “Well?” the girl asks, tucking her hair behind her ears, staring impatiently up at Death. “Aren’t you here to take me away?” Death stares at the girl for some time, sizing her up. He can see that she’s hurting inside, but she didn’t truly think that death was the answer. It was an escape, but it was also something she later regretted. Her bravado was an act—a good one, but still an act. Indecision makes Death’s bones clatter against each other again. He cannot leave without a soul. He does not want to take hers. “Um, are you sure you’re doing your job right?” the girl asks suddenly, jarring his thoughts. “I mean, it’s a pretty straightforward deal, isn’t it?” Death returns his gaze to hers, boring into her eyes. Yes. He has a job to do. Whether he wants to or not, someone has to come with him tonight.

Slowly, he reaches out a skeletal hand to touch the girl’s face. She seems to be about to say something else, but instead her eyes drift shut, and she slumps against Death’s hand. He lifts her soul and takes her where she’s meant to go.

Peering by Shaina Le print

The next morning, the girl awakens, blinking uncertainly in the sunlight from her open window. Her head is killing her. For a moment, she thinks she remembers something from the night before. She shakes her head, trying unsuccessfully to clear it. With a sigh, she rolls out of bed and shuffles across the floor, opening the chipped wooden door of her room. She stumbles down the hall and knocks gently on her father’s door, wondering bitKiosk18

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F I C TION

WHEN DEATH COMES K NOCKING

Mariah Wills

D

eath comes visiting one night. Someone has died. He stares around. Takes in the empty bottle of pills, how still she lays. Her short black hair covers her eyes, and her pale skin is dappled with moonlight. She almost looks like she’s sleeping. They always look like they’re sleeping. Her soul sits next to her body, staring at him. “‘Bout time you showed up,” she growls. Her pretty blue eyes are sunken into hollows above her cheeks from sleepless nights and disappointing days. Death cocks his head. If his skull had eyelids, they would blink. He’s never visited someone who waited for him. He Her soul sits next to her body, staring moves forward, his at him. “‘Bout time you showed up.” dark cloak rustling softly against the side of the bed. His scythe arches over his cowled head, like a shiny metal crow, perched on his shoulder. The girl stares up at him, a scowl on her face, “Well, what happens now?” she asks. “You going to tell me I’m going to Hell, too?” Death hears his bones clink gently against each other, a compendium of notes that don’t quite go together. The empty sockets of his eyes bore holes into her face as he looks at her dying moments. He doesn’t have to, but she’s different than the others he’s come for. For one, they’re usually not dead when he gets there. His cowl shivers at what he sees in the memory. She’s sitting on her bed almost exactly where she is now, except this time she’s curled over her knees, her arms holding them to her chest. And she’s crying. From the other room, shouts can be heard as a man yells something—something referring to the girl in the room. It doesn’t really matter what he said. He’s been saying it for a long time— as long as she could remember. In the light of the memory, Death can see the girl’s arms, purple with bruises, but only down to her elbow. He knows she’ll wear a sweater to school to hide them. She’s tired of hiding them. Death watches the tears stream down her face as she buries her head against her knees, her expression breaking just before she covers her head with her arms. She wants it to stop—the yelling 30

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at home. The girls’ teasing at school. The teachers who tried so hard to care but ended up making her feel worse by telling her she could do better. How would they know? They weren’t her, after all. The door to her room crashes open, and a huge, hulking shape suddenly blocks Death’s view of the memory. The man’s voice is back, “You’re worthless, you know that?” he growls, and Death sees the shape of a clenched hand. “Why don’t you just get out and never come back, huh? It’s not like you’re doing anything here.” The girl doesn’t move. She doesn’t make a sound. Death can see she’s holding her breath. When the silence stretches into minutes, the man’s hand darts out and smacks her across the back of her head, “See what I’m saying?” he hisses. “Worthless.” With that, he leaves the room, silent. The girl doesn’t make a sound, but her shoulders start quivering again. Crashes fill the house, and the girl flinches in time with them before everything falls silent. The quivering in the girl’s shoulders stops abruptly, and she takes a deep, shuddering breath. Slowly, she lifts her head, her gaze piercing through the memory to Death’s empty sockets. For a moment, he wonders if she can actually see him. But no—the living cannot see him. Slowly, as if in a dream, she stands and reaches into the end table that stands beside her bed, pulling out the bottle of pills she’d stolen from a party a week ago. She hadn’t known what she would use it for until now. She rises silently and steps delicately off of the bed to flip the switch off the light in her room, suffusing it in shadow that wasn’t quite night. These things are best done in the dark, after all. Then, she turns and opens the shades of the window, staring at the sunset for the last time. A single tear leaks down her cheek, dripping to the tip of her chin to fall and plink softly against the bottle—the sound of rain in a bucket. As the light fades, she opens the pills, dumping as many onto her hand as she can. For a moment, she stares at it—her handful of death. Each pill seems to have special meaning to it as she looks at it, stares at it for a moment, and,

delicately, puts it into her mouth. She grimaces as she swallows, but keeps going. There’s no water to wash the bitter taste of medicine down her throat. Just as the moon’s light starts to creep its way across the room, her head begins to droop. The bottle drops from nerveless fingers, hitting the floor and tipping onto its side, empty. She stares stupidly at it for a moment before she lifts her hand to stare at the last pill. Her eyes narrow as she looks at it, and her mouth thins into a grimace of determination. She pops the pill into her mouth, and watches the moon rise. As time passes, she starts swaying more and more. For a few moments, it looks like she might vomit, but she swallows the bile creeping up her throat and slumps back instead. She tries to move the hair from her face, and instead brushes it so that her face is covered by it. Her hand flops back onto the bed. Her fingers twitch, her breath whispers in once, and then comes no more. The memory fades from Death’s vision, and he shakes his head. How cruel, that he was sent to take her when he should be going after the other. If he’d had lungs, he would have taken in a deep breath to calm himself. As it was, the bones of his ribs rustled dryly against each other. It had been some time since there had been flesh on these bones. “Well?” the girl asks, tucking her hair behind her ears, staring impatiently up at Death. “Aren’t you here to take me away?” Death stares at the girl for some time, sizing her up. He can see that she’s hurting inside, but she didn’t truly think that death was the answer. It was an escape, but it was also something she later regretted. Her bravado was an act—a good one, but still an act. Indecision makes Death’s bones clatter against each other again. He cannot leave without a soul. He does not want to take hers. “Um, are you sure you’re doing your job right?” the girl asks suddenly, jarring his thoughts. “I mean, it’s a pretty straightforward deal, isn’t it?” Death returns his gaze to hers, boring into her eyes. Yes. He has a job to do. Whether he wants to or not, someone has to come with him tonight.

Slowly, he reaches out a skeletal hand to touch the girl’s face. She seems to be about to say something else, but instead her eyes drift shut, and she slumps against Death’s hand. He lifts her soul and takes her where she’s meant to go.

Peering by Shaina Le print

The next morning, the girl awakens, blinking uncertainly in the sunlight from her open window. Her head is killing her. For a moment, she thinks she remembers something from the night before. She shakes her head, trying unsuccessfully to clear it. With a sigh, she rolls out of bed and shuffles across the floor, opening the chipped wooden door of her room. She stumbles down the hall and knocks gently on her father’s door, wondering bitKiosk18

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TO GOD Jordan Hernandez

terly if this morning will be a good morning. When there’s no response, she cringes a little and opens it, wondering how hungover he is going to be today. As the light from the outside filters into the room, there is nothing different about his posture. He looks like he’s sleeping. And yet, when she tries to shake him awake, he refuses to open his eyes. It takes her several moments to realize that he won’t wake up again. The police are called, and she stands in the corner, staring at the activity in the room, timidly answering the questions shouted at her, but largely wondering what is going to happen to her. They take her father’s body away in a black bag on a stretcher, zipping his face away from her sight before they roll him out of the house. “I have taken the liberty of removing the only worthless person in the house,” a voice like the rasp of bone on bone suddenly whispers through the girl’s mind, and she flicks her eyes around the room, confused. Then, she sees the dark shape in a cowl, standing in the opposite corner of the room, a scythe in one hand, arching over his shoulder like a raven, and something glowing in the other. The grinning skull beneath the cowl looks even more ghoulish in the light. The girl blinks. Hard. When she opens her eyes again, the figure is gone. A police officer asks her nicely to leave the room with her so that

they can ask her a few questions. The girl trails after the woman, glancing occasionally back into the room to make sure the skeleton man wasn’t there. Death walks off, satisfied that he’s done a good day’s work. He tosses the soul he carries into the air before snatching it out at the last second. The medical examiner will rule it as liver failure—a result of a life of drinking. His life insurance policy will be enough to get her by— at least until she can fend for herself—and she is old enough to live on her own if she is smart about it. She’ll do well. His skeleton fingers tighten over the soul in his hand. As for him—he has a job to finish, and keep at. The souls won’t traffic themselves— someone has to do it. And as for this soul? Oh, he has a special place in mind for this one.

A temporary rush A surge of dopamine Then, nothing Back to that horrible numbness Back to the days blending into a shapeless mass Back to the long nights lying awake Alone Back to the feeling that life has no meaning Back to the longing for something, anything To fill the hole where my heart used to be A temporary satiation for endless hunger I’m sorry that I self-medicate The methods don’t matter, the results are the same I feel like I’m losing my humanity And I wonder if I had any to begin with Alone in a crowd, I’m my own best friend But also my own worst enemy I put on a mask when anyone else comes near To salvage the little bit of me left I pray to you, God, can you please numb the pain And sometimes you do, and just for a few happy moments My worries and fears all melt away And I feel peace I know that you’re real, that feeling I’ve had An authority that sits, unopposed Tranquility unlike anything I’ve ever felt Better than any drug I’ve ever taken

So why do I have to go through all of this? Why is happiness only temporary? I feel like a tool that’s been blunted and worn Rusted and past repair Do I have a purpose, and if so, what? I’m listening, all ears Or am I just garbage, an object In the background of someone else’s performance? I’m tired of not having the words to describe The terrible feeling that’s always just under my skin Dysphoria like an itch that won’t leave A thorn in my side that can’t be ignored I’m tired of feeling like I can’t speak An infant in pain, but unable to put into words The fire it feels singeing every nerve in its body And all I can do is cry I’m in an endless cycle A Mobius strip of falling Trying to get up, slipping, falling further Desperately clawing at any sort of foothold Anything my panicked fingers can reach Grabbing onto something, only for that thing to give way and Leave me wondering if I should even try Holding on to anything at all When in the end, everything breaks

Revenge by Jane Cunningham watercolor

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TO GOD Jordan Hernandez

terly if this morning will be a good morning. When there’s no response, she cringes a little and opens it, wondering how hungover he is going to be today. As the light from the outside filters into the room, there is nothing different about his posture. He looks like he’s sleeping. And yet, when she tries to shake him awake, he refuses to open his eyes. It takes her several moments to realize that he won’t wake up again. The police are called, and she stands in the corner, staring at the activity in the room, timidly answering the questions shouted at her, but largely wondering what is going to happen to her. They take her father’s body away in a black bag on a stretcher, zipping his face away from her sight before they roll him out of the house. “I have taken the liberty of removing the only worthless person in the house,” a voice like the rasp of bone on bone suddenly whispers through the girl’s mind, and she flicks her eyes around the room, confused. Then, she sees the dark shape in a cowl, standing in the opposite corner of the room, a scythe in one hand, arching over his shoulder like a raven, and something glowing in the other. The grinning skull beneath the cowl looks even more ghoulish in the light. The girl blinks. Hard. When she opens her eyes again, the figure is gone. A police officer asks her nicely to leave the room with her so that

they can ask her a few questions. The girl trails after the woman, glancing occasionally back into the room to make sure the skeleton man wasn’t there. Death walks off, satisfied that he’s done a good day’s work. He tosses the soul he carries into the air before snatching it out at the last second. The medical examiner will rule it as liver failure—a result of a life of drinking. His life insurance policy will be enough to get her by— at least until she can fend for herself—and she is old enough to live on her own if she is smart about it. She’ll do well. His skeleton fingers tighten over the soul in his hand. As for him—he has a job to finish, and keep at. The souls won’t traffic themselves— someone has to do it. And as for this soul? Oh, he has a special place in mind for this one.

A temporary rush A surge of dopamine Then, nothing Back to that horrible numbness Back to the days blending into a shapeless mass Back to the long nights lying awake Alone Back to the feeling that life has no meaning Back to the longing for something, anything To fill the hole where my heart used to be A temporary satiation for endless hunger I’m sorry that I self-medicate The methods don’t matter, the results are the same I feel like I’m losing my humanity And I wonder if I had any to begin with Alone in a crowd, I’m my own best friend But also my own worst enemy I put on a mask when anyone else comes near To salvage the little bit of me left I pray to you, God, can you please numb the pain And sometimes you do, and just for a few happy moments My worries and fears all melt away And I feel peace I know that you’re real, that feeling I’ve had An authority that sits, unopposed Tranquility unlike anything I’ve ever felt Better than any drug I’ve ever taken

So why do I have to go through all of this? Why is happiness only temporary? I feel like a tool that’s been blunted and worn Rusted and past repair Do I have a purpose, and if so, what? I’m listening, all ears Or am I just garbage, an object In the background of someone else’s performance? I’m tired of not having the words to describe The terrible feeling that’s always just under my skin Dysphoria like an itch that won’t leave A thorn in my side that can’t be ignored I’m tired of feeling like I can’t speak An infant in pain, but unable to put into words The fire it feels singeing every nerve in its body And all I can do is cry I’m in an endless cycle A Mobius strip of falling Trying to get up, slipping, falling further Desperately clawing at any sort of foothold Anything my panicked fingers can reach Grabbing onto something, only for that thing to give way and Leave me wondering if I should even try Holding on to anything at all When in the end, everything breaks

Revenge by Jane Cunningham watercolor

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F I C TION

REWRITE

Elizabeth Roop

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ou know, you’re so stupid, you’ll have to drop out of college. You’re gonna work at McDonald’s your whole life,” my eight-year-old younger sister, Hannah, says from over by the stove with a smirk in her voice, dainty little hands on hips. Her ocean-blue eyes flash in anticipation of my reaction. Unfortunately for her, I’m used to this game at this point. “Yeah, you’re right,” I calmly reply from where I sit on the brown-paneled, linoleum kitchen floor. The surface is scattered with crumbs carelessly brushed away from the toaster, and isn’t very comfortI’m the only one who’ll able to sit on. I dig here and take it silently, and through the heavy blue recycling bin, sorting so I’m her target of choice. the recycling so Dad can take it to the collection center later, focusing on the chore in order to ignore the things Hannah is saying about me. I know she isn’t actually mad at me right now. When she gets upset or annoyed by something, her favorite coping method is to find me and lob insults at me in the hopes of getting me to react. If she tries this with my parents, she gets in trouble. If she tries it with my brothers, they fight back. I’m the only one who’ll sit here and take it silently, and so I’m her target of choice. If she wasn’t in such a ‘tude right now, I’d tell her to go brush her hair; the short caramel locks are standing up all over the place in a ratty mess. But right now, the best thing I can do is to just stay quiet. Unfortunately, that does little to deter her. She says, “You’re so fat and ugly, no boy will ever love you. You’re gonna die alone, but I’m gonna marry some awesome guy and have beautiful babies and won’t let you visit me.” “That’s too bad,” I answer, voice flat. I don’t show it, but her words do hurt. Even though I’m fairly certain she doesn’t really mean them, they’re things I’ve been telling myself for years. My little sister has certainly heard me express these fears to my mom before, and she’s not

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afraid to use them against me. Between the two of us, she’s the pretty one; anyone can see that, and I’ve often told her so. After all, I don’t really envy her; I’m happy for her and her cute appearance. I don’t want to be pretty like her; I just wish I could be pretty like me. But she’s right; the fact of the matter is that I’m not pretty like her, or even pretty like me. My refusal to fight back is only making her bad mood worse. “I’m gonna be a famous ballerina,” she says, “but you’ll be starving to death because you can’t get a job. And you’ll still be fat.” “Yeah, probably so,” I nod once as I carefully tear off a soup can label. I don’t even look at her; I don’t give her the reaction she wants; I just try to brush her insults away like I brush the crumbs off of my jeans now. So why does she always keep at this stupid game for so long? Mom always says “just ignore her; refuse to react and she’ll leave you alone,” but that never seems to work, though how I wish that it did. How on earth did things ever get to be this way?

The phone rings, and it seems about five times louder than normal. My fifteen-year-old cousin, Kayla, rushes over to lift the handset. My two little brothers and I crowd around her. Ages nine, six, and four, we form a miniature threestep staircase of dark-haired heads, little feet planted firmly on the living room’s perpetuallystained carpet, looking expectantly up at the dirty-blonde-haired girl who seems as grown up as anybody else I know. Kayla answers the phone. “Hello?” We stare anxiously up at her face, trying to read from her neutral expression if the news is good or bad. We don’t have any specific reason to expect bad news, but we’re all a little bit nervous just the same. Of course, I’m especially nervous, because I’m still waiting for an answer to a long-asked request. Being the only girl with two younger brothers who essentially serve each other as built-in best friends makes my life really lonely. I’m always outvoted in the courses of

childish democracy; I don’t really have anyone to spend my time with. A little sister, a built-in ally, is certainly a welcome concept. Ever since I was five, I’ve been praying so hard that I’ve often sobbed, always begging God for a little sister. Mom and Dad had seemed for a few years now like they were done having kids, and I’ve found myself believing on plenty of occasions that my two little brothers are all I’m going to get. Even so, I’ve hoped. I’ve prayed. And now, I’m getting a new younger sibling after all, but there’s still an important part of the prayer left to be answered. Months ago, the sonograms hinted that my prayers were answered, but here, now, is the moment of truth. Whether a boy or a girl, I already love the new baby with all my heart; I already know I’ll be thoroughly enchanted by his or her very existence. Still, I hope, fingers crossed, and always, always praying. My cousin stares out into space as she listens. It’s only been a few seconds since she lifted the handset, but the moment feels stretched, like I’m awkwardly leaning into a warmup pose at dance class and holding it for just a few beats too long. Kayla’s face explodes into a grin as she clutches the handset tighter, excitement instantly flooding the room. “You guys have a little sister!” The stretch is finally finished. My brothers squeal and jump, faces shining with little-boyish glee. My reaction is to start sobbing with joy. Kayla, still grinning like a madwoman, hands me the phone, and through my sobs, I get out a simple question. “What’s her name, Daddy? What’s her name?” Finally, I’ll have an ally. I won’t be all by myself anymore. A warm chuckle, tired but joyful, answers me from forty miles away. “What do you think her name is, sweetheart?”

I know her name, not just because my parents have hinted at it several times over the past months, but also because it fits so perfectly. Her name is the name of the biblical woman who prayed so hard for a baby that she sobbed, the woman who wouldn’t give up hope, the woman who kept coming to God with the same repeated request, year after year. And even beyond that,

her name means ‘Grace,’ a gift that is given despite not being deserved. I don’t deserve a little sister, but I finally have one. My prayers have been answered. Voice cracking and heart rejoicing, I ask softly, “Is her name Hannah?” “Yes, Elizabeth. Her name is Hannah.”

The trap by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

“You know how much I hate you, right?” Hannah asks, back in the kitchen. This isn’t what I asked God for. I don’t deserve this. Why did He give me a sister who wants to see me hurt like this? I can’t help myself; I make eye contact with Kiosk18

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F I C TION

REWRITE

Elizabeth Roop

sit

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ou know, you’re so stupid, you’ll have to drop out of college. You’re gonna work at McDonald’s your whole life,” my eight-year-old younger sister, Hannah, says from over by the stove with a smirk in her voice, dainty little hands on hips. Her ocean-blue eyes flash in anticipation of my reaction. Unfortunately for her, I’m used to this game at this point. “Yeah, you’re right,” I calmly reply from where I sit on the brown-paneled, linoleum kitchen floor. The surface is scattered with crumbs carelessly brushed away from the toaster, and isn’t very comfortI’m the only one who’ll able to sit on. I dig here and take it silently, and through the heavy blue recycling bin, sorting so I’m her target of choice. the recycling so Dad can take it to the collection center later, focusing on the chore in order to ignore the things Hannah is saying about me. I know she isn’t actually mad at me right now. When she gets upset or annoyed by something, her favorite coping method is to find me and lob insults at me in the hopes of getting me to react. If she tries this with my parents, she gets in trouble. If she tries it with my brothers, they fight back. I’m the only one who’ll sit here and take it silently, and so I’m her target of choice. If she wasn’t in such a ‘tude right now, I’d tell her to go brush her hair; the short caramel locks are standing up all over the place in a ratty mess. But right now, the best thing I can do is to just stay quiet. Unfortunately, that does little to deter her. She says, “You’re so fat and ugly, no boy will ever love you. You’re gonna die alone, but I’m gonna marry some awesome guy and have beautiful babies and won’t let you visit me.” “That’s too bad,” I answer, voice flat. I don’t show it, but her words do hurt. Even though I’m fairly certain she doesn’t really mean them, they’re things I’ve been telling myself for years. My little sister has certainly heard me express these fears to my mom before, and she’s not

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afraid to use them against me. Between the two of us, she’s the pretty one; anyone can see that, and I’ve often told her so. After all, I don’t really envy her; I’m happy for her and her cute appearance. I don’t want to be pretty like her; I just wish I could be pretty like me. But she’s right; the fact of the matter is that I’m not pretty like her, or even pretty like me. My refusal to fight back is only making her bad mood worse. “I’m gonna be a famous ballerina,” she says, “but you’ll be starving to death because you can’t get a job. And you’ll still be fat.” “Yeah, probably so,” I nod once as I carefully tear off a soup can label. I don’t even look at her; I don’t give her the reaction she wants; I just try to brush her insults away like I brush the crumbs off of my jeans now. So why does she always keep at this stupid game for so long? Mom always says “just ignore her; refuse to react and she’ll leave you alone,” but that never seems to work, though how I wish that it did. How on earth did things ever get to be this way?

The phone rings, and it seems about five times louder than normal. My fifteen-year-old cousin, Kayla, rushes over to lift the handset. My two little brothers and I crowd around her. Ages nine, six, and four, we form a miniature threestep staircase of dark-haired heads, little feet planted firmly on the living room’s perpetuallystained carpet, looking expectantly up at the dirty-blonde-haired girl who seems as grown up as anybody else I know. Kayla answers the phone. “Hello?” We stare anxiously up at her face, trying to read from her neutral expression if the news is good or bad. We don’t have any specific reason to expect bad news, but we’re all a little bit nervous just the same. Of course, I’m especially nervous, because I’m still waiting for an answer to a long-asked request. Being the only girl with two younger brothers who essentially serve each other as built-in best friends makes my life really lonely. I’m always outvoted in the courses of

childish democracy; I don’t really have anyone to spend my time with. A little sister, a built-in ally, is certainly a welcome concept. Ever since I was five, I’ve been praying so hard that I’ve often sobbed, always begging God for a little sister. Mom and Dad had seemed for a few years now like they were done having kids, and I’ve found myself believing on plenty of occasions that my two little brothers are all I’m going to get. Even so, I’ve hoped. I’ve prayed. And now, I’m getting a new younger sibling after all, but there’s still an important part of the prayer left to be answered. Months ago, the sonograms hinted that my prayers were answered, but here, now, is the moment of truth. Whether a boy or a girl, I already love the new baby with all my heart; I already know I’ll be thoroughly enchanted by his or her very existence. Still, I hope, fingers crossed, and always, always praying. My cousin stares out into space as she listens. It’s only been a few seconds since she lifted the handset, but the moment feels stretched, like I’m awkwardly leaning into a warmup pose at dance class and holding it for just a few beats too long. Kayla’s face explodes into a grin as she clutches the handset tighter, excitement instantly flooding the room. “You guys have a little sister!” The stretch is finally finished. My brothers squeal and jump, faces shining with little-boyish glee. My reaction is to start sobbing with joy. Kayla, still grinning like a madwoman, hands me the phone, and through my sobs, I get out a simple question. “What’s her name, Daddy? What’s her name?” Finally, I’ll have an ally. I won’t be all by myself anymore. A warm chuckle, tired but joyful, answers me from forty miles away. “What do you think her name is, sweetheart?”

I know her name, not just because my parents have hinted at it several times over the past months, but also because it fits so perfectly. Her name is the name of the biblical woman who prayed so hard for a baby that she sobbed, the woman who wouldn’t give up hope, the woman who kept coming to God with the same repeated request, year after year. And even beyond that,

her name means ‘Grace,’ a gift that is given despite not being deserved. I don’t deserve a little sister, but I finally have one. My prayers have been answered. Voice cracking and heart rejoicing, I ask softly, “Is her name Hannah?” “Yes, Elizabeth. Her name is Hannah.”

The trap by Rae Clinkenbeard photography

“You know how much I hate you, right?” Hannah asks, back in the kitchen. This isn’t what I asked God for. I don’t deserve this. Why did He give me a sister who wants to see me hurt like this? I can’t help myself; I make eye contact with Kiosk18

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SANDWICH DELIGHTS Kristen Brown her for a brief second, and it’s enough to cause a triumphant, wicked grin to explode across her face. Turning away again, I brace myself. Whatever comes next, it’s gonna be the sharpest words yet; I know that much. Even with that foreknowledge, I’m still not prepared for what comes out of her mouth. “I wish Mom and Dad aborted you.” The only answer she gets is the clattering of a soup can on the floor. She instantly backtracks, knowing that she just took things way too far. “Don’t tell Mom,” she begs as I slowly I’m thankful she looks up to me stand up and stare so much. I just hope I’m setting blankly at her. Her eyes fill with tears, as if a good example. she’s the one who just had a proverbial knife driven into her chest. “You need to go brush your hair,” I say flatly. Then I walk downstairs to hide in my room and cry.

Ten-year-old Hannah pushes a pile of stuffed animals out of the way and sits down at the foot of the queen bed on top of the fuzzy white comforter, watching me quietly with a face framed by a tidy caramel bob. Above our heads, multicolored glow-stars watch from the ceiling, while the walls are filled with the silent, cartoonish eyes of characters like Kirby and Hello Kitty. My room probably looks like it belongs to a twelveyear-old, not a nineteen-year-old, but I like it that way. I’ve always preferred the color of the fictional and imaginary to the starkness of reality. That’s a large part of why I’m a writer. Now that she’s ten, making her that much smarter and that much more dangerous, Hannah could easily use this facet of my personality as an opportunity to make fun of me, but… More recently, she hasn’t, and it keeps surprising me. When I made the Dean’s List my first semester of college, she was the one who made sure to let practically every single person she ran into know about it. She wasn’t even quite sure what being on the Dean’s List entailed, but she sure 36

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was excited about it. Recently, the eye doctor has hinted that she might need to get glasses sometime in the next few months, and even though she fears that they’ll make her look “ugly,” she’s also excited by the fact that she’ll get to look more like me. Overall, she suddenly seems to have decided that she wants to be as much like me as possible, and that fact just keeps being more obvious as the summer goes on. As much of a relief as this is, it brings with it added pressure. I’m thankful she looks up to me so much. I just hope I’m setting a good example. “Can I read some of what you’ve already written like I did the other day?” she asks hopefully, not wanting to interrupt my train of thought but also wishing to participate in the story I’m working on. Curled up with my laptop, I’m delving into my high school self’s pet project once again, working to turn sixteen-year-old me’s gawky prose into something truly worth reading. I smile to myself in relief, glad she isn’t here to make fun of me, as I pull my Kindle out from where I have it resting at my side. “I had a feeling you might be in here asking. I already have my story cued up; just don’t back out of it and go digging around the Internet, okay? Mom’ll kill me if you run into anything bad.” “I know; I know,” she agrees with a roll of her eyes, eagerly accepting the tablet the instant I’ve finished putting in the passcode. It’s still taking me awhile to get used to her being so nice to me so much of the time, but it’s certainly a welcome change. It’s nice finally having the hope of the friend and ally I’ve wanted for so long. “I love you, baby doll,” I say. She smiles absentmindedly, not looking up from my book, looking so much like I do when I get lost in a story. She calls herself my biggest fan and has dubbed me her favorite author (though she’s definitely more than a little bit biased). “I love you too,” she replies quietly. The sunlight from the window above my head glints off of Hannah’s hair, giving her whole face a soft, beautiful glow. I smile warmly to myself, blink back a few tears, and return to rewriting my old story.

Five minutes before I close and you come through my door again. I fake a smile and you stare blankly right back. “The usual?” I chirp, suppressing the urge to turn you away. You shrug as if you are capable of change. At last, you nod, so I coo and cluck like I’m supposed to. My eyes avoid yours and my hands get to work. I slice open the belly of fresh bread, claw apart the gooey pieces of warmed cheese, and place your sandwich in the toaster to burn.

Meanwhile, there’s a barrier between us, which I think is really to prevent me from pouncing over my array of veggies and meats to sink my claws into something fresher than your sandwich. You glower at me and I smile back. The next night, you’re late. You park in my driveway at 10:02 and tug on my locked door. You stare inside, surprised, and I smile at your disappointment.

palm springs tramway by Mariah Allen photography

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P OETR Y

SANDWICH DELIGHTS Kristen Brown her for a brief second, and it’s enough to cause a triumphant, wicked grin to explode across her face. Turning away again, I brace myself. Whatever comes next, it’s gonna be the sharpest words yet; I know that much. Even with that foreknowledge, I’m still not prepared for what comes out of her mouth. “I wish Mom and Dad aborted you.” The only answer she gets is the clattering of a soup can on the floor. She instantly backtracks, knowing that she just took things way too far. “Don’t tell Mom,” she begs as I slowly I’m thankful she looks up to me stand up and stare so much. I just hope I’m setting blankly at her. Her eyes fill with tears, as if a good example. she’s the one who just had a proverbial knife driven into her chest. “You need to go brush your hair,” I say flatly. Then I walk downstairs to hide in my room and cry.

Ten-year-old Hannah pushes a pile of stuffed animals out of the way and sits down at the foot of the queen bed on top of the fuzzy white comforter, watching me quietly with a face framed by a tidy caramel bob. Above our heads, multicolored glow-stars watch from the ceiling, while the walls are filled with the silent, cartoonish eyes of characters like Kirby and Hello Kitty. My room probably looks like it belongs to a twelveyear-old, not a nineteen-year-old, but I like it that way. I’ve always preferred the color of the fictional and imaginary to the starkness of reality. That’s a large part of why I’m a writer. Now that she’s ten, making her that much smarter and that much more dangerous, Hannah could easily use this facet of my personality as an opportunity to make fun of me, but… More recently, she hasn’t, and it keeps surprising me. When I made the Dean’s List my first semester of college, she was the one who made sure to let practically every single person she ran into know about it. She wasn’t even quite sure what being on the Dean’s List entailed, but she sure 36

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was excited about it. Recently, the eye doctor has hinted that she might need to get glasses sometime in the next few months, and even though she fears that they’ll make her look “ugly,” she’s also excited by the fact that she’ll get to look more like me. Overall, she suddenly seems to have decided that she wants to be as much like me as possible, and that fact just keeps being more obvious as the summer goes on. As much of a relief as this is, it brings with it added pressure. I’m thankful she looks up to me so much. I just hope I’m setting a good example. “Can I read some of what you’ve already written like I did the other day?” she asks hopefully, not wanting to interrupt my train of thought but also wishing to participate in the story I’m working on. Curled up with my laptop, I’m delving into my high school self’s pet project once again, working to turn sixteen-year-old me’s gawky prose into something truly worth reading. I smile to myself in relief, glad she isn’t here to make fun of me, as I pull my Kindle out from where I have it resting at my side. “I had a feeling you might be in here asking. I already have my story cued up; just don’t back out of it and go digging around the Internet, okay? Mom’ll kill me if you run into anything bad.” “I know; I know,” she agrees with a roll of her eyes, eagerly accepting the tablet the instant I’ve finished putting in the passcode. It’s still taking me awhile to get used to her being so nice to me so much of the time, but it’s certainly a welcome change. It’s nice finally having the hope of the friend and ally I’ve wanted for so long. “I love you, baby doll,” I say. She smiles absentmindedly, not looking up from my book, looking so much like I do when I get lost in a story. She calls herself my biggest fan and has dubbed me her favorite author (though she’s definitely more than a little bit biased). “I love you too,” she replies quietly. The sunlight from the window above my head glints off of Hannah’s hair, giving her whole face a soft, beautiful glow. I smile warmly to myself, blink back a few tears, and return to rewriting my old story.

Five minutes before I close and you come through my door again. I fake a smile and you stare blankly right back. “The usual?” I chirp, suppressing the urge to turn you away. You shrug as if you are capable of change. At last, you nod, so I coo and cluck like I’m supposed to. My eyes avoid yours and my hands get to work. I slice open the belly of fresh bread, claw apart the gooey pieces of warmed cheese, and place your sandwich in the toaster to burn.

Meanwhile, there’s a barrier between us, which I think is really to prevent me from pouncing over my array of veggies and meats to sink my claws into something fresher than your sandwich. You glower at me and I smile back. The next night, you’re late. You park in my driveway at 10:02 and tug on my locked door. You stare inside, surprised, and I smile at your disappointment.

palm springs tramway by Mariah Allen photography

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37


F I C TION

TOURIST TRAP Amy Jackson

C

Tyler

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ara and Tyler stopped their bikes on the crest of the hill. The breeze reeked of rotting seaweed and bitter salt, but it was heaven on their sweatslicked skin. Below, the water was night-lit and lonely, rolling out toward the distant town on the horizon. The wind tousled Cara’s hair. She made a disgusted noise as it extinguished her lighter for the third time. Tyler cupped the flame. “Go ahead.” This time it took. Almost. The embers flared; he jerked away his burnt fingers with a curse. “Jesus.” Cara coughed clouds. “Je-sus.” “That good, huh?” “Like smoking battery acid. What’d they put in this?” Tyler lit his own and inhaled. “Dunno. Tastes like peppermint to slipped through the world me.” He spoke blithely, like it owed him a favor but Cara noted that his eyes were watering. “From that oil they mixed in, you think?” “How the hell would I know?” “Oh my God!” he said brightly. “I love it when you’re a piece of shit!” In response, she blew a wobbly smoke ring. It immediately collapsed into a soft white haze. Tyler grinned his hyena’s grin and puffed out three perfect rings, one after another, pepperminty ghosts erased by the wind. They smoked in silence. Cara had only picked up the habit recently, and her lungs still unfurled little white flags each time she inhaled. But in a way, even that felt good. After what felt like an eternity of staring across the waves, a glimmer appeared in Tyler’s eyes—the same glimmer as when he’d set up that legendary hazing for last semester’s Delta Kappa initiates, or when he’d persuaded Cara to go skinny dipping in Seville. “You know,” he said, “I bet we could make our own. Can’t be too tough. I mean, if you can roll a joint, right? Hell, we’ll sell ’em along the way, become moguls. Warrington and Berkman.” “Berkman and Warrington,” Cara corrected. Tyler smiled winningly. “Mr. and Mrs. War-

rington.” “Ugh. Fuck you.” Cara dragged once more before dropping the stub into the dirt. The wind snatched up the embers, spinning them over the hillside, a frenetic, glowing tango. Cara watched their dance until something caught her attention: a fire on the beach, circled by tiny, dark figures. Tyler wheeled up next to her, cigarette dangling from the corner of his grin. “You seein’ what I’m seein’?” Cara hefted her backpack. “Let’s party with the locals.” They made their way down, beachgrass tickling their thighs.

There were no silky sands and tide pools and gentle spray. Instead, the ground was rocky, littered with shells, green beer bottles, lost coins, tangled plastic rings. Cara and Tyler walked their bikes, rattling the stones. When they rounded the bluff, there it was: a bonfire, young and unsteady on its legs. The flickering light turned the tide a glittering red, casting shadows on the revelers’ faces. They were young. “Rugrats much?” Cara muttered, glancing askance at Tyler, whose thick eyelashes and blond dreads could get him mistaken for a high schooler himself if it weren’t for the tattoos. Ignoring her, he sucked in his breath, cupped his mouth, and bellowed: “Ciao, bitcheees!” One boy screamed. The other started sprinting and tripped face-first into the sand. “Nice,” Cara drawled. “You killed two teenagers.” “Listen, I’m American. People love Americans. Hey!” he shouted. “Non la polizia! Um—sono— sono festa… fucker.” He produced a plastic baggie and, thrusting it toward the sky like King Arthur brandishing Excalibur, invoked a lingua franca: “We’ve got weed!” The kids stared. They blinked. Then, they burst into cheers. Tyler punched the air and loped toward

them, discarding his bike in the sand. A small, dull smile curled across Cara’s face. Tyler slipped through the world like it owed him a favor, all knuckle bumps and smiles, cigarette trades and cashed-in promises and an uncanny knack for never needing money to get anywhere. He was the center of a gravitational pull, and he wore its power as comfortably as a cashmere cardigan. “You coming or not?” he called over his shoulder. Cara rolled her eyes. “Jesus, wait.” She let her bike fall and set off toward the flames.

Antonio and Matteo both claimed to be eighteen, which was enough to make Cara laugh. She’d eat her backpack if either was older than sixteen. Antonio was a skinny, sprawling kid with greasy dark hair. He reeked of body spray and desperation. Matteo—soft and round and oliveskinned, with thick-rimmed glasses—kept trying to sip his vodka like it was apple juice. They had tinder and kerosene and a cooler brimming with more bottles and cans than Cara had ever seen, though to be fair, she stayed away from keggers as a rule. But even Tyler let out a whistle. “Man!” he said. “I did my share of underage drinking, but this is next level.” “You’ve impressed the kegmaster, kids,” Cara said. “Kudos where kudos are due.” Antonio beamed. “Yeah,” he said, in accented but passable English, “well… other people are gonna share it too. Some guys from school.” He shrugged carelessly. “It’s a thing we do.” “Don’t you kids have school tomorrow?” Tyler asked in a faux-responsible voice. Antonio scoffed. “It’s no big deal. We stay up as late as we want.” Matteo yawned an enormous yawn. Antonio elbowed him. Cara exchanged looks with Tyler. This is high school all over again, hers warned. This is high school all over again! his exclaimed. Cara rubbed her forehead. “So when were your friends supposed to get here?”

The boys looked at each other. A seagull cried. “Great,” Antonio muttered. “We look like losers.” “You kidding me?” Tyler said. “Your buddies would feel like they struck gold if they managed to sneak a Bud Light past the ticket guy at an R-rated movie. But you lucky bastards?” He pulled out the baggie. “You’re getting stoned.”

Their faces lit up. And in some strange way, Cara thought it was beautiful.

mill by the sea by Jesseca Ormond photography

If Cara had learned one thing this summer, it was that there’s nothing more beautiful than getting hammered on a beach at 2 A.M. They were stumbling wrecks. For Tyler it was nothing and for the kids it was an adventure and for Cara, well, she was along for the ride. She danced arrhythmic waltzes to the sultry tones of “Wonderwall” butchered on Tyler’s guitar, and the sea whirled by in spills of flat beer and broken champagne bottles until at last she collapsed onto the sand in her crumpled shirt and underwear. “It’s just… God,” Antonio was saying. “Everyone who didn’t go to their stupid Catholic school Kiosk18

39


F I C TION

TOURIST TRAP Amy Jackson

C

Tyler

38

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ara and Tyler stopped their bikes on the crest of the hill. The breeze reeked of rotting seaweed and bitter salt, but it was heaven on their sweatslicked skin. Below, the water was night-lit and lonely, rolling out toward the distant town on the horizon. The wind tousled Cara’s hair. She made a disgusted noise as it extinguished her lighter for the third time. Tyler cupped the flame. “Go ahead.” This time it took. Almost. The embers flared; he jerked away his burnt fingers with a curse. “Jesus.” Cara coughed clouds. “Je-sus.” “That good, huh?” “Like smoking battery acid. What’d they put in this?” Tyler lit his own and inhaled. “Dunno. Tastes like peppermint to slipped through the world me.” He spoke blithely, like it owed him a favor but Cara noted that his eyes were watering. “From that oil they mixed in, you think?” “How the hell would I know?” “Oh my God!” he said brightly. “I love it when you’re a piece of shit!” In response, she blew a wobbly smoke ring. It immediately collapsed into a soft white haze. Tyler grinned his hyena’s grin and puffed out three perfect rings, one after another, pepperminty ghosts erased by the wind. They smoked in silence. Cara had only picked up the habit recently, and her lungs still unfurled little white flags each time she inhaled. But in a way, even that felt good. After what felt like an eternity of staring across the waves, a glimmer appeared in Tyler’s eyes—the same glimmer as when he’d set up that legendary hazing for last semester’s Delta Kappa initiates, or when he’d persuaded Cara to go skinny dipping in Seville. “You know,” he said, “I bet we could make our own. Can’t be too tough. I mean, if you can roll a joint, right? Hell, we’ll sell ’em along the way, become moguls. Warrington and Berkman.” “Berkman and Warrington,” Cara corrected. Tyler smiled winningly. “Mr. and Mrs. War-

rington.” “Ugh. Fuck you.” Cara dragged once more before dropping the stub into the dirt. The wind snatched up the embers, spinning them over the hillside, a frenetic, glowing tango. Cara watched their dance until something caught her attention: a fire on the beach, circled by tiny, dark figures. Tyler wheeled up next to her, cigarette dangling from the corner of his grin. “You seein’ what I’m seein’?” Cara hefted her backpack. “Let’s party with the locals.” They made their way down, beachgrass tickling their thighs.

There were no silky sands and tide pools and gentle spray. Instead, the ground was rocky, littered with shells, green beer bottles, lost coins, tangled plastic rings. Cara and Tyler walked their bikes, rattling the stones. When they rounded the bluff, there it was: a bonfire, young and unsteady on its legs. The flickering light turned the tide a glittering red, casting shadows on the revelers’ faces. They were young. “Rugrats much?” Cara muttered, glancing askance at Tyler, whose thick eyelashes and blond dreads could get him mistaken for a high schooler himself if it weren’t for the tattoos. Ignoring her, he sucked in his breath, cupped his mouth, and bellowed: “Ciao, bitcheees!” One boy screamed. The other started sprinting and tripped face-first into the sand. “Nice,” Cara drawled. “You killed two teenagers.” “Listen, I’m American. People love Americans. Hey!” he shouted. “Non la polizia! Um—sono— sono festa… fucker.” He produced a plastic baggie and, thrusting it toward the sky like King Arthur brandishing Excalibur, invoked a lingua franca: “We’ve got weed!” The kids stared. They blinked. Then, they burst into cheers. Tyler punched the air and loped toward

them, discarding his bike in the sand. A small, dull smile curled across Cara’s face. Tyler slipped through the world like it owed him a favor, all knuckle bumps and smiles, cigarette trades and cashed-in promises and an uncanny knack for never needing money to get anywhere. He was the center of a gravitational pull, and he wore its power as comfortably as a cashmere cardigan. “You coming or not?” he called over his shoulder. Cara rolled her eyes. “Jesus, wait.” She let her bike fall and set off toward the flames.

Antonio and Matteo both claimed to be eighteen, which was enough to make Cara laugh. She’d eat her backpack if either was older than sixteen. Antonio was a skinny, sprawling kid with greasy dark hair. He reeked of body spray and desperation. Matteo—soft and round and oliveskinned, with thick-rimmed glasses—kept trying to sip his vodka like it was apple juice. They had tinder and kerosene and a cooler brimming with more bottles and cans than Cara had ever seen, though to be fair, she stayed away from keggers as a rule. But even Tyler let out a whistle. “Man!” he said. “I did my share of underage drinking, but this is next level.” “You’ve impressed the kegmaster, kids,” Cara said. “Kudos where kudos are due.” Antonio beamed. “Yeah,” he said, in accented but passable English, “well… other people are gonna share it too. Some guys from school.” He shrugged carelessly. “It’s a thing we do.” “Don’t you kids have school tomorrow?” Tyler asked in a faux-responsible voice. Antonio scoffed. “It’s no big deal. We stay up as late as we want.” Matteo yawned an enormous yawn. Antonio elbowed him. Cara exchanged looks with Tyler. This is high school all over again, hers warned. This is high school all over again! his exclaimed. Cara rubbed her forehead. “So when were your friends supposed to get here?”

The boys looked at each other. A seagull cried. “Great,” Antonio muttered. “We look like losers.” “You kidding me?” Tyler said. “Your buddies would feel like they struck gold if they managed to sneak a Bud Light past the ticket guy at an R-rated movie. But you lucky bastards?” He pulled out the baggie. “You’re getting stoned.”

Their faces lit up. And in some strange way, Cara thought it was beautiful.

mill by the sea by Jesseca Ormond photography

If Cara had learned one thing this summer, it was that there’s nothing more beautiful than getting hammered on a beach at 2 A.M. They were stumbling wrecks. For Tyler it was nothing and for the kids it was an adventure and for Cara, well, she was along for the ride. She danced arrhythmic waltzes to the sultry tones of “Wonderwall” butchered on Tyler’s guitar, and the sea whirled by in spills of flat beer and broken champagne bottles until at last she collapsed onto the sand in her crumpled shirt and underwear. “It’s just… God,” Antonio was saying. “Everyone who didn’t go to their stupid Catholic school Kiosk18

39


doe by Shaina Le print

40

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since childhood is still an outsider. I should be in by now. But here I am. Still the new kid.” He rubbed his eyes. “It’s been six years. What do I gotta do?” Matteo hiccupped. “Se esso aiuta, sto ancora un outsider.” Tyler elbowed him. “Matt. Matty. English.” “Oh.” Matteo giggled, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I said, uh, don’t sweat it. I’ve gone to St. Stephen’s since forever, and I’m still on the outs.” “Yeah,” Antonio muttered, “but you collect Magic: The Gathering cards.” Tyler nodded sagely. “I feel you, little man,” he said. “I’m Catholic myself. Where’s the joint?” As Tyler puff, puff, passed, Cara traced his lightning smile and fire-bright eyes. She should have his features memorized by now, but somehow, they were foreign to her every time. Sometimes, all she could see was Blake. Deep down, the Warrington brothers were the same. She didn’t like to think about that. Tyler, for one, would happily slit his wrists before admitting he was anything like his big brother. Blake was the golden boy, the true-blue politician’s son. Tyler was Daddy’s disappointment, a badge he wore with pride. But Cara knew the truth. No matter how loudly Tyler claimed that he broke the mold, his birthright was inescapable. That politician’s bluster, those squared shoulders, the air of casual

expectation… it was only a matter of time before he’d be lounging in boardrooms, wielding his netted curls and pearly smiles like knives. The minute he sobered up, the world would paint him in oils and hang him in a courthouse. But Cara? She had nothing. She was treading water. All that was waiting for her back home was an unfinished degree and so many loans and a world that would grind her in its machinery the second she stopped paddling, and God, it was too much, too much— “Pass, please,” she gasped. Someone did. She inhaled. It felt like salvation. Idiot, she thought. You wrote a whole term paper on the signs of self-medicating. “You know,” Tyler slurred, “these kids have potential. Can we keep ’em, babe? Pwease?” Cara squinted blearily. “Who are you and what did you do with Tyler?” “I’m just in a good mood.” He scooped her into an embrace. “Why don’t we get engaged? We’ll have it all, swear to God. Two point five kids, a picket fence, one affair per decade. Behold: the American dream!” Cara stiffened in the crook of his arm. “You know we’re…,” she said. “I never asked for that.” Tyler started to speak, then looked away. “Whatever,” he muttered. “Fine. I’m kidding, okay? We go with the flow, that’s what I love about us. That’s why we’re so good together.” He pressed a sloppy kiss to her earlobe. Good together. But they weren’t together— were they? Cara wasn’t sure. Technically, she’d never even ended things with Blake. She’d thought the breakup was implied, but then Blake showed up at the funeral, slung his arms around her like nothing had happened, and she just… didn’t challenge him. Tyler seemed to read her mind. In a voice like honeyed cough syrup, a voice that knew it was trying to get away with something, he purred, “And I’m much more fun than Blake. Right, Car?” Cara stared at the sky. The words teetered on the tip of her tongue, waiting to take the fall. “Well,” she whispered. “You didn’t have sex with my mom. That’s something.”

Tyler’s smile shattered. “Christ, Cara,” he said. “Why’d you have to make this about him?” You’re the one that brought him up, for God’s sake! Cara wanted to say. But she didn’t couldn’t bring herself to start a fight. To do so would be exhausting, and she was depleted. “Uh-oh, Tyler,” Antonio said. “It’s bad luck to annoy your girlfriend.” Cara choked so hard that smoke shot up her nostrils. “Convenient,” Tyler muttered, and despite the hand rubbing circles over her legs haphazardly draped across his lap, his words were like glass shattering on pavement. “’Cause she’s not my girlfriend.” The boys hesitated. Matteo started to ask a question. Cara’s mouth opened to shoot him down. Then she saw the dark figure beyond the firelight. Matteo yelped. Tyler grabbed his pocketknife. “Rachele?” Antonio cried. It was a girl. Her wrinkled gray hoodie was zipped over her heavy, bell-shaped frame. She was practically a child—middle school? A little older? Behind the hood, Cara saw hints of fat cheeks, a button nose, thin hair. A constellation of acne speckled her forehead. Antonio sprang to his feet. “Che cosa stai facendo qui?” he demanded. The girl laughed. “Che cosa sto facendo qui? Che cosa stai facendo qui?” Cara stood warily. “What’s going on here?” Matteo was ghost-white. “That’s Tony’s sister,” he whispered. “We’re effed.” Rachele seemed to notice the other partygoers for the first time. To Cara, she looked like a baby bird—a tiny owlet, paralyzed at the sight of the alcohol, the fire, the bare limbs. “I forgot to take my antibiotics,” she said, in perfect English, “so I got up to take them, and on my way back from the bathroom, you weren’t in your room. How could you”—her voice dropped—“sneak out?” “You’re sneaking out right now!” Antonio shouted. “Go home!”

Rachele shook her head. She straightened her back, rising to her full height. Even Antonio stepped back. “If you guys do something ignorant,” she said, “I know about it, and I don’t stop it? That’s my fault. That’s on me.” Cara watched the argument unfold. I don’t have to do a thing, she thought—an echo of the anthem that had sustained her all summer. Some days, the streets she and Tyler stormed through registered as movie lots, empty facades. She never had to wake up and face the results of the vandalism, the littering, the shoplifting. All she needed was to get comfortably high on a beach at four A.M.. She craved the numbness. This wasn’t her problem. Tears began to form in Rachele’s eyes. Before Cara knew it, she’d opened her mouth. “Shut up, all of you!” she said. They did. “There’s enough beer. There’s enough weed. And we could use someone The words teetered on the tip of with enough brains to keep someone from getting her tongue, waiting to take the fall. themselves killed. Come here,” she snapped at Rachele, who, wide-eyed, inched nearer. Cara grabbed her arm, sat her down, and shoved a drink into her hand. Tyler was already beginning to protest, so Cara whirled on him. “Now everyone just have a good fucking time,” she snapped, and dropped into the sand. “Real attractive, Car,” Tyler muttered. Cara was surprised by how much that stung. Why were things devolving between them now? Tyler pulling unwanted emotions into the mix like spiderwebs, Cara’s spine prickling every time she caught a glance of him and saw Blake instead… Rachele scooted closer. “Thank you,” she whispered. The firelight reflected in her eyes, turning them the color of whiskey. Oh, shit, Cara thought. She imprinted. “No problem,” Cara said. “Leave it to Tyler and we’d be living in a boys’ club.” “I shouldn’t have followed Tony out here. He won’t listen to me.” Rachele pulled her knees to her chest. “I don’t know why I keep thinking I Kiosk18

41


doe by Shaina Le print

40

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since childhood is still an outsider. I should be in by now. But here I am. Still the new kid.” He rubbed his eyes. “It’s been six years. What do I gotta do?” Matteo hiccupped. “Se esso aiuta, sto ancora un outsider.” Tyler elbowed him. “Matt. Matty. English.” “Oh.” Matteo giggled, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I said, uh, don’t sweat it. I’ve gone to St. Stephen’s since forever, and I’m still on the outs.” “Yeah,” Antonio muttered, “but you collect Magic: The Gathering cards.” Tyler nodded sagely. “I feel you, little man,” he said. “I’m Catholic myself. Where’s the joint?” As Tyler puff, puff, passed, Cara traced his lightning smile and fire-bright eyes. She should have his features memorized by now, but somehow, they were foreign to her every time. Sometimes, all she could see was Blake. Deep down, the Warrington brothers were the same. She didn’t like to think about that. Tyler, for one, would happily slit his wrists before admitting he was anything like his big brother. Blake was the golden boy, the true-blue politician’s son. Tyler was Daddy’s disappointment, a badge he wore with pride. But Cara knew the truth. No matter how loudly Tyler claimed that he broke the mold, his birthright was inescapable. That politician’s bluster, those squared shoulders, the air of casual

expectation… it was only a matter of time before he’d be lounging in boardrooms, wielding his netted curls and pearly smiles like knives. The minute he sobered up, the world would paint him in oils and hang him in a courthouse. But Cara? She had nothing. She was treading water. All that was waiting for her back home was an unfinished degree and so many loans and a world that would grind her in its machinery the second she stopped paddling, and God, it was too much, too much— “Pass, please,” she gasped. Someone did. She inhaled. It felt like salvation. Idiot, she thought. You wrote a whole term paper on the signs of self-medicating. “You know,” Tyler slurred, “these kids have potential. Can we keep ’em, babe? Pwease?” Cara squinted blearily. “Who are you and what did you do with Tyler?” “I’m just in a good mood.” He scooped her into an embrace. “Why don’t we get engaged? We’ll have it all, swear to God. Two point five kids, a picket fence, one affair per decade. Behold: the American dream!” Cara stiffened in the crook of his arm. “You know we’re…,” she said. “I never asked for that.” Tyler started to speak, then looked away. “Whatever,” he muttered. “Fine. I’m kidding, okay? We go with the flow, that’s what I love about us. That’s why we’re so good together.” He pressed a sloppy kiss to her earlobe. Good together. But they weren’t together— were they? Cara wasn’t sure. Technically, she’d never even ended things with Blake. She’d thought the breakup was implied, but then Blake showed up at the funeral, slung his arms around her like nothing had happened, and she just… didn’t challenge him. Tyler seemed to read her mind. In a voice like honeyed cough syrup, a voice that knew it was trying to get away with something, he purred, “And I’m much more fun than Blake. Right, Car?” Cara stared at the sky. The words teetered on the tip of her tongue, waiting to take the fall. “Well,” she whispered. “You didn’t have sex with my mom. That’s something.”

Tyler’s smile shattered. “Christ, Cara,” he said. “Why’d you have to make this about him?” You’re the one that brought him up, for God’s sake! Cara wanted to say. But she didn’t couldn’t bring herself to start a fight. To do so would be exhausting, and she was depleted. “Uh-oh, Tyler,” Antonio said. “It’s bad luck to annoy your girlfriend.” Cara choked so hard that smoke shot up her nostrils. “Convenient,” Tyler muttered, and despite the hand rubbing circles over her legs haphazardly draped across his lap, his words were like glass shattering on pavement. “’Cause she’s not my girlfriend.” The boys hesitated. Matteo started to ask a question. Cara’s mouth opened to shoot him down. Then she saw the dark figure beyond the firelight. Matteo yelped. Tyler grabbed his pocketknife. “Rachele?” Antonio cried. It was a girl. Her wrinkled gray hoodie was zipped over her heavy, bell-shaped frame. She was practically a child—middle school? A little older? Behind the hood, Cara saw hints of fat cheeks, a button nose, thin hair. A constellation of acne speckled her forehead. Antonio sprang to his feet. “Che cosa stai facendo qui?” he demanded. The girl laughed. “Che cosa sto facendo qui? Che cosa stai facendo qui?” Cara stood warily. “What’s going on here?” Matteo was ghost-white. “That’s Tony’s sister,” he whispered. “We’re effed.” Rachele seemed to notice the other partygoers for the first time. To Cara, she looked like a baby bird—a tiny owlet, paralyzed at the sight of the alcohol, the fire, the bare limbs. “I forgot to take my antibiotics,” she said, in perfect English, “so I got up to take them, and on my way back from the bathroom, you weren’t in your room. How could you”—her voice dropped—“sneak out?” “You’re sneaking out right now!” Antonio shouted. “Go home!”

Rachele shook her head. She straightened her back, rising to her full height. Even Antonio stepped back. “If you guys do something ignorant,” she said, “I know about it, and I don’t stop it? That’s my fault. That’s on me.” Cara watched the argument unfold. I don’t have to do a thing, she thought—an echo of the anthem that had sustained her all summer. Some days, the streets she and Tyler stormed through registered as movie lots, empty facades. She never had to wake up and face the results of the vandalism, the littering, the shoplifting. All she needed was to get comfortably high on a beach at four A.M.. She craved the numbness. This wasn’t her problem. Tears began to form in Rachele’s eyes. Before Cara knew it, she’d opened her mouth. “Shut up, all of you!” she said. They did. “There’s enough beer. There’s enough weed. And we could use someone The words teetered on the tip of with enough brains to keep someone from getting her tongue, waiting to take the fall. themselves killed. Come here,” she snapped at Rachele, who, wide-eyed, inched nearer. Cara grabbed her arm, sat her down, and shoved a drink into her hand. Tyler was already beginning to protest, so Cara whirled on him. “Now everyone just have a good fucking time,” she snapped, and dropped into the sand. “Real attractive, Car,” Tyler muttered. Cara was surprised by how much that stung. Why were things devolving between them now? Tyler pulling unwanted emotions into the mix like spiderwebs, Cara’s spine prickling every time she caught a glance of him and saw Blake instead… Rachele scooted closer. “Thank you,” she whispered. The firelight reflected in her eyes, turning them the color of whiskey. Oh, shit, Cara thought. She imprinted. “No problem,” Cara said. “Leave it to Tyler and we’d be living in a boys’ club.” “I shouldn’t have followed Tony out here. He won’t listen to me.” Rachele pulled her knees to her chest. “I don’t know why I keep thinking I Kiosk18

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can stop him from doing stupid crap.” “You can’t. Best rip that Band-Aid off early.” Rachele gave an anxious half-laugh. “You know, tourists are usually, um… happier.” Great. Not only did Cara sound like a Smiths song, but a kid had called her out on it. “I’m sorry,” she said. She forced her shoulders to relax, forced the hard line of her mouth to soften. “I’m just… I’m an idiot. Things are great. Most people my age don’t get to travel.” “How old are you?” “Twenty-two.” She smiled wanly. “You?” “Fourteen. Fifteen next month. My middle school graduation is coming up.” “Congrats!” Cara said. “I was gonna graduate this year too. Summa cum laude. Woo.” “Gonna?” Cara looked away. “Tyler invited me here instead.” “It must’ve taken courage to say yes.” Even though Rachele was staring at her toes, Cara saw the slightest flicker of a smile, small and sad, on her mouth. “A lot of university students blow through town. They have fun, bike around, monopolize the beaches… and sure, we all complain about them, but they’ve just got this look of….” Her eyes were hungry. “I’m not sure. Freedom.” “I’m guessing your brother’s the adventurous one?” They looked at Antonio. He was trying to fountain beer into his mouth. Tyler smacked the bottle, sloshing liquid all over him. They laughed hysterically. “He tries to be,” Rachele said flatly. Cara trailed her fingers in the sand. “You know,” she said, not sure how to word this, “but I’ve worked with a lot of kids your age—camp counselor—and I’ve never met a kid so … wellspoken.” Rachele brightened. “Really? Because I worry! I read complex words on paper but pronounce them wrong out loud. Tony antagonizes me for it.” “It’s just a symptom of being too smart for your own good. I always used to mix up ‘pheasant’ and ‘peasant,’ and considering how often my family ate 42

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game meat, I probably sounded like a five-year-old Dahmer.” Rachele laughed. Tyler stood abruptly. “We’re gonna kick around a ball,” he snapped. “You can do whatever you want,” Cara said. He stared at her for a long moment. Then, turning his baseball cap backwards and muttering under his breath, he disappeared down the dark stretch of beach, boys in tow. Once they’d gone, Cara leaned over to Rachele. “I don’t even know him that well,” she whispered. “But he likes me, so I gotta indulge him.” “Do you have to do that with lots of guys?” Rachele whispered back. “Oh, definitely.” Ha. Cara had never even kissed anyone before Blake. He’d tasted like Catholic guilt and wasted Decembers and burntup cognac. Tyler tasted like cigarettes. “They’re always following me around in airports, begging me not to leave… it’s taxing, I tell you.” It was amazing how much prettier Rachele looked when she laughed. The bags under her eyes faded, and the redness from her acne transformed into a radiant, cinnamon-colored blush. Cara found herself smiling too—smiling. As if it was that easy. “Hey,” she said. “You wanna drink?” Rachele blinked. “I’ve never…” “Believe it or not, I wasn’t much for it either until a few months ago.” Cara unzipped her backpack, producing a couple bottles of gin Tyler nicked from a liquor store a couple miles back. Vallombrosa Dry, one hundred proof. They hadn’t drunk any yet, but even Tyler, who for some unfathomable reason considered gin an irredeemably feminine drink, declared it a real sumbitch after wafting it under his nose. “It’s your choice, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll like it.” Rachele bit her lip. “Listen,” said Cara—a touch impatiently, a touch too much like Tyler. “If you’re looking for freedom, this is the next best thing.” She held out the bottle. A tiny smile flickered on Rachele’s face. She wet her lips, squared her shoulders, and nodded. Rachele winced on her first swallow, choked

on her second, and gagged on her third. Sorry, D.A.R.E., Cara thought, noting in a distant sort of way how abhorrent giving children booze would have felt just a few months ago. But what had once been unthinkable now seemed normal, and what had once seemed normal was now unbearable, so Cara just rubbed Rachele’s back. “What do you think?” “Come il culo!” Rachele squeaked. “What’s that mean?” “Like ass!” Cara laughed. “If it helps, you’re doing a lot better than Antonio.” “Ugh.” Rachele’s expression clouded. “Don’t let him hear you say that.” “Why not?” “He gets petulant whenever I beat him at anything. He’s not the best student.” “You don’t say.” Rachele hiccupped, then dissolved into giggles. Her poorly-applied purple eyeshadow had smudged halfway down her face. “He doesn’t wear deodorant, either. And he leaves his shoes every-

where. And he drinks juice out of the carton!” Cara smiled. “Anything else?” Rachele leaned in. “He masturbates,” she whispered. Cara choked back a laugh. “Um—yeah,” she said, “I’m, uh, sure he does.” Rachele seemed to make a decision. She steeled herself, pinched her nose, and took several more gulps. Cara started to laugh, but Rachele kept going. A prick of anxiety wormed its way through Cara’s mental fog. She reached for the bottle just as Rachele broke off with a shuddering gasp. “Don’t let me do all the complaining,” she said bravely, as if the drinking was nothing, as if Cara hadn’t just watched her force down enough liquor to make Tyler woozy. “What about your boyfriend? Any complaints?” Boyfriend. She meant Tyler, naturally, but it was Blake who appeared in Cara’s mind’s eye. The wind stirred her hair. Her mouth felt dry. “He had sex with my mom,” she said, as casually as possible. Rachele gasped. “In a hotel hot tub during Christmas vacation.” “Have you… have you talked to him about—” “No.” “Have you talked to her about it?” Shut up, Cara. “She killed herself.” Rachele touched Cara’s hand. Usually Cara would jerk away, but from Rachele, it was soothing. “Are you alright?” “Been great.” “It’s just that you seem kind of—kind of laissez faire about it.” Cara’s lips quirked up. “That’s a big phrase for a little missy.” Rachele blanched. “Did I mispronounce it?”

All strings attached by Cassandra Warner conte crayon/charcoal

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can stop him from doing stupid crap.” “You can’t. Best rip that Band-Aid off early.” Rachele gave an anxious half-laugh. “You know, tourists are usually, um… happier.” Great. Not only did Cara sound like a Smiths song, but a kid had called her out on it. “I’m sorry,” she said. She forced her shoulders to relax, forced the hard line of her mouth to soften. “I’m just… I’m an idiot. Things are great. Most people my age don’t get to travel.” “How old are you?” “Twenty-two.” She smiled wanly. “You?” “Fourteen. Fifteen next month. My middle school graduation is coming up.” “Congrats!” Cara said. “I was gonna graduate this year too. Summa cum laude. Woo.” “Gonna?” Cara looked away. “Tyler invited me here instead.” “It must’ve taken courage to say yes.” Even though Rachele was staring at her toes, Cara saw the slightest flicker of a smile, small and sad, on her mouth. “A lot of university students blow through town. They have fun, bike around, monopolize the beaches… and sure, we all complain about them, but they’ve just got this look of….” Her eyes were hungry. “I’m not sure. Freedom.” “I’m guessing your brother’s the adventurous one?” They looked at Antonio. He was trying to fountain beer into his mouth. Tyler smacked the bottle, sloshing liquid all over him. They laughed hysterically. “He tries to be,” Rachele said flatly. Cara trailed her fingers in the sand. “You know,” she said, not sure how to word this, “but I’ve worked with a lot of kids your age—camp counselor—and I’ve never met a kid so … wellspoken.” Rachele brightened. “Really? Because I worry! I read complex words on paper but pronounce them wrong out loud. Tony antagonizes me for it.” “It’s just a symptom of being too smart for your own good. I always used to mix up ‘pheasant’ and ‘peasant,’ and considering how often my family ate 42

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game meat, I probably sounded like a five-year-old Dahmer.” Rachele laughed. Tyler stood abruptly. “We’re gonna kick around a ball,” he snapped. “You can do whatever you want,” Cara said. He stared at her for a long moment. Then, turning his baseball cap backwards and muttering under his breath, he disappeared down the dark stretch of beach, boys in tow. Once they’d gone, Cara leaned over to Rachele. “I don’t even know him that well,” she whispered. “But he likes me, so I gotta indulge him.” “Do you have to do that with lots of guys?” Rachele whispered back. “Oh, definitely.” Ha. Cara had never even kissed anyone before Blake. He’d tasted like Catholic guilt and wasted Decembers and burntup cognac. Tyler tasted like cigarettes. “They’re always following me around in airports, begging me not to leave… it’s taxing, I tell you.” It was amazing how much prettier Rachele looked when she laughed. The bags under her eyes faded, and the redness from her acne transformed into a radiant, cinnamon-colored blush. Cara found herself smiling too—smiling. As if it was that easy. “Hey,” she said. “You wanna drink?” Rachele blinked. “I’ve never…” “Believe it or not, I wasn’t much for it either until a few months ago.” Cara unzipped her backpack, producing a couple bottles of gin Tyler nicked from a liquor store a couple miles back. Vallombrosa Dry, one hundred proof. They hadn’t drunk any yet, but even Tyler, who for some unfathomable reason considered gin an irredeemably feminine drink, declared it a real sumbitch after wafting it under his nose. “It’s your choice, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll like it.” Rachele bit her lip. “Listen,” said Cara—a touch impatiently, a touch too much like Tyler. “If you’re looking for freedom, this is the next best thing.” She held out the bottle. A tiny smile flickered on Rachele’s face. She wet her lips, squared her shoulders, and nodded. Rachele winced on her first swallow, choked

on her second, and gagged on her third. Sorry, D.A.R.E., Cara thought, noting in a distant sort of way how abhorrent giving children booze would have felt just a few months ago. But what had once been unthinkable now seemed normal, and what had once seemed normal was now unbearable, so Cara just rubbed Rachele’s back. “What do you think?” “Come il culo!” Rachele squeaked. “What’s that mean?” “Like ass!” Cara laughed. “If it helps, you’re doing a lot better than Antonio.” “Ugh.” Rachele’s expression clouded. “Don’t let him hear you say that.” “Why not?” “He gets petulant whenever I beat him at anything. He’s not the best student.” “You don’t say.” Rachele hiccupped, then dissolved into giggles. Her poorly-applied purple eyeshadow had smudged halfway down her face. “He doesn’t wear deodorant, either. And he leaves his shoes every-

where. And he drinks juice out of the carton!” Cara smiled. “Anything else?” Rachele leaned in. “He masturbates,” she whispered. Cara choked back a laugh. “Um—yeah,” she said, “I’m, uh, sure he does.” Rachele seemed to make a decision. She steeled herself, pinched her nose, and took several more gulps. Cara started to laugh, but Rachele kept going. A prick of anxiety wormed its way through Cara’s mental fog. She reached for the bottle just as Rachele broke off with a shuddering gasp. “Don’t let me do all the complaining,” she said bravely, as if the drinking was nothing, as if Cara hadn’t just watched her force down enough liquor to make Tyler woozy. “What about your boyfriend? Any complaints?” Boyfriend. She meant Tyler, naturally, but it was Blake who appeared in Cara’s mind’s eye. The wind stirred her hair. Her mouth felt dry. “He had sex with my mom,” she said, as casually as possible. Rachele gasped. “In a hotel hot tub during Christmas vacation.” “Have you… have you talked to him about—” “No.” “Have you talked to her about it?” Shut up, Cara. “She killed herself.” Rachele touched Cara’s hand. Usually Cara would jerk away, but from Rachele, it was soothing. “Are you alright?” “Been great.” “It’s just that you seem kind of—kind of laissez faire about it.” Cara’s lips quirked up. “That’s a big phrase for a little missy.” Rachele blanched. “Did I mispronounce it?”

All strings attached by Cassandra Warner conte crayon/charcoal

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“No! No, you’re great. It’s just…” That sickening sensation was back, the one Cara knew so well. It creeped in like vines, choking everything, making thoughts slippery. “I don’t want to be rude,” she

Parrot by Lexa Rahn photography

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whispered, “but why should I share this with you?” “I’ll take it to my grave,” Rachele said. Plainly, earnestly. “I’m safe. I promise.” Cara’s throat closed. Fuck, she thought. Why not. “When I caught them,” she said—slowly now, slowly, “I just… I saw red. They tried to explain”— Blake’s smooth politician’s voice—“but I screamed, threw things, my shoes, the towel rack… I always knew Mom was a free spirit, but I never imagined…” Cara closed her eyes. “I grabbed my bag and took the keys. And once I was on the highway, I… picked up the phone. “I called everyone I knew. The words vomited out. Dad, Grandma, aunts, uncles, family friends… it was justice, I thought. No—a public service. I thought everyone should know, so they could protect themselves from her.” A lump formed in Cara’s throat. “In hours, it was over. Facebook was flooded with posts, gossip, rumors… everyone knew, and the story grew and grew. She had to delete her account. My uncle fired her. Dad left. And a month after, she overdosed on some pills Dad left

behind, and—” Rachele wretched. Cara tensed. “You alright?” “Gonna throw up,” Rachele said. They waited. One of Rachele’s barrettes came loose, trailing dull brown hair in her face. Nothing happened. Cara sank back with a sigh. The funeral had been a joke. Long black dresses and clacky heels and hushed apologies… the whole ordeal was nothing like Mom would have wanted, nothing like the Miriam that Cara remembered—Miriam the hobbyist Bigfoot hunter, Miriam who dragged her daughter on adventures in a rickety camper each summer, Miriam who walked around barefoot in the rain and sneaked peyote when she thought Cara wouldn’t notice. Whenever Mom’s old friends visited, they were floored that Miriam Berkman, hippie extraordinaire, had produced a driven, Ivy League student like Cara. A girl going places. Blake showed up at the service wearing a suit as expensive as Cara’s car. For some reason even she didn’t understand, Cara hadn’t told her family the name of the college kid her mom slept with, so they were none the wiser. He was the star of the ceremony, so handsome, so wrought with emotion. He sat next to her, Kleenex ready. He was there for her. He held her hand. She fled after the first verse of “Amazing Grace.” Bursting outside, she pressed herself to a wall. The rain was deafening that day. She smoked through a pack of American Spirit, hacking up half her lungs, thinking: Jesus. Jesus, I’m bad at this. A bolt of lightning. The cigarettes fumbled through her hands. Slowly, Cara kneeled, shivering and soaked and exhausted in her black dress and tights. She was tired. She was just so tired. She sat back on her heels and looked up, as if the sky would have some answers. Standing there like a frat boy’s mockery of a Greek painting was Tyler. With a fresh pack. Through many dangers, toils, and snares… Cara took Tyler’s hand. She didn’t go back inside. Blake had rolled into the funeral home bearing bouquets and handwritten cards. He shook

hands with every attendee, promising to cater dinners, asking what he could do. Tyler just bummed around outside, jeans sagging, waiting for his brother to finish. And in that moment Cara had loved him wholeheartedly, loved him in a light she hadn’t seen him in since—but in the end, it didn’t matter. With eyes half-closed, that moment, that one pack of cigarettes, was enough. “Sorry,” Cara choked out. She was too embarrassed to look at Rachele. “I just needed…” “Help,” Rachele slurred. Cara laughed quietly. “No kidding.” She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with fresh air. Light was seeping into the sky, a watery wash of paint dimming the stars one by one. In the distance, the boys were laughing. With the pale, yellow-blue sky and the Italian waves and the embers of the dying bonfire, the planet seemed to realign, like red and blue lenses of a pair of 3D glasses sliding into focus. It’s not too late, Cara thought, and abruptly, it seemed true. Obvious, even, as if it had been in front of her nose this whole time. Suddenly, Cara wanted to reassure Rachele—in a real way, a real fucking way, not by passing her a bottle. She wanted to tell her it was okay. That she’d be alright if she only made good choices, and it wasn’t too late. It wasn’t too late. Cara turned to speak. Rachele slumped over. “Whoa,” Cara said, unable to grab her before she fell. “Rachele?” The girl moaned. “You good?” No response. Cara threw herself over the log. Rachele was clammy, milky white, bluish fingertips, bluish lips. Suddenly, in a convulsive motion, she puked all down Cara’s bare legs. Cara shrieked. Black hair spilling over the linoleum, dead air, thick stink— she vaulted the log, skirted her bare feet across the embers, tore into her backpack. Had to be something to help—something—tearing open kitchen cabinets, screaming into the phone, pill bottles rattling— Rachele vomited again—gurgled in it. Aspiration, Cara thought, going cold. Shit! Shit, shit— Then there were hands. Hands grabbing her

shoulders, grabbing Rachele. When had the boys arrived? She barely heard Antonio over the ringing in her ears. “Call 118!” “No!” Tyler said. “We—we can handle this!” “This is my baby sister!” “We gave you drugs, for fuck’s sake!” Tyler shouted. “You wanna get us arrested?” He whirled on Cara. Those eyes didn’t look foreign at all. They were like something she’d always known, or half-known, or pretended not to see. “You know CPR,” he said. “Fix this!” The world was tipping, sliding. Cara couldn’t get to her feet. Tyler grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to where Rachele lay. Cara’s hands shook as she pinched Rachele’s nostrils shut; her tears dripped uselessly onto the girl’s cheeks. With a disgusted noise, Antonio reached for his cell phone. Tyler tackled him. Sand billowed into the air. Antonio kicked, scratched, squirmed; Tyler’s knuckles were well-scarred and ready. The ringing in Cara’s ears had escalated to a roar—funeral bells! No— six tolls for daybreak. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow… “STOP IT!” Matteo’s scream stopped them both dead. “I’m calling the police!” he said, as Antonio scrambled back and Tyler stumbled to his feet. “I’m calling them right now, for God’s sake!” Tyler’s hands twitched. He pressed his lips together and stepped away. Matteo began dialing. Antonio hit his knees by his sister. Cara instinctively moved to join them, but Tyler yanked her back. “We’re going,” he said in a low voice.

Central park duck by Jessica Quail photography

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“No! No, you’re great. It’s just…” That sickening sensation was back, the one Cara knew so well. It creeped in like vines, choking everything, making thoughts slippery. “I don’t want to be rude,” she

Parrot by Lexa Rahn photography

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whispered, “but why should I share this with you?” “I’ll take it to my grave,” Rachele said. Plainly, earnestly. “I’m safe. I promise.” Cara’s throat closed. Fuck, she thought. Why not. “When I caught them,” she said—slowly now, slowly, “I just… I saw red. They tried to explain”— Blake’s smooth politician’s voice—“but I screamed, threw things, my shoes, the towel rack… I always knew Mom was a free spirit, but I never imagined…” Cara closed her eyes. “I grabbed my bag and took the keys. And once I was on the highway, I… picked up the phone. “I called everyone I knew. The words vomited out. Dad, Grandma, aunts, uncles, family friends… it was justice, I thought. No—a public service. I thought everyone should know, so they could protect themselves from her.” A lump formed in Cara’s throat. “In hours, it was over. Facebook was flooded with posts, gossip, rumors… everyone knew, and the story grew and grew. She had to delete her account. My uncle fired her. Dad left. And a month after, she overdosed on some pills Dad left

behind, and—” Rachele wretched. Cara tensed. “You alright?” “Gonna throw up,” Rachele said. They waited. One of Rachele’s barrettes came loose, trailing dull brown hair in her face. Nothing happened. Cara sank back with a sigh. The funeral had been a joke. Long black dresses and clacky heels and hushed apologies… the whole ordeal was nothing like Mom would have wanted, nothing like the Miriam that Cara remembered—Miriam the hobbyist Bigfoot hunter, Miriam who dragged her daughter on adventures in a rickety camper each summer, Miriam who walked around barefoot in the rain and sneaked peyote when she thought Cara wouldn’t notice. Whenever Mom’s old friends visited, they were floored that Miriam Berkman, hippie extraordinaire, had produced a driven, Ivy League student like Cara. A girl going places. Blake showed up at the service wearing a suit as expensive as Cara’s car. For some reason even she didn’t understand, Cara hadn’t told her family the name of the college kid her mom slept with, so they were none the wiser. He was the star of the ceremony, so handsome, so wrought with emotion. He sat next to her, Kleenex ready. He was there for her. He held her hand. She fled after the first verse of “Amazing Grace.” Bursting outside, she pressed herself to a wall. The rain was deafening that day. She smoked through a pack of American Spirit, hacking up half her lungs, thinking: Jesus. Jesus, I’m bad at this. A bolt of lightning. The cigarettes fumbled through her hands. Slowly, Cara kneeled, shivering and soaked and exhausted in her black dress and tights. She was tired. She was just so tired. She sat back on her heels and looked up, as if the sky would have some answers. Standing there like a frat boy’s mockery of a Greek painting was Tyler. With a fresh pack. Through many dangers, toils, and snares… Cara took Tyler’s hand. She didn’t go back inside. Blake had rolled into the funeral home bearing bouquets and handwritten cards. He shook

hands with every attendee, promising to cater dinners, asking what he could do. Tyler just bummed around outside, jeans sagging, waiting for his brother to finish. And in that moment Cara had loved him wholeheartedly, loved him in a light she hadn’t seen him in since—but in the end, it didn’t matter. With eyes half-closed, that moment, that one pack of cigarettes, was enough. “Sorry,” Cara choked out. She was too embarrassed to look at Rachele. “I just needed…” “Help,” Rachele slurred. Cara laughed quietly. “No kidding.” She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with fresh air. Light was seeping into the sky, a watery wash of paint dimming the stars one by one. In the distance, the boys were laughing. With the pale, yellow-blue sky and the Italian waves and the embers of the dying bonfire, the planet seemed to realign, like red and blue lenses of a pair of 3D glasses sliding into focus. It’s not too late, Cara thought, and abruptly, it seemed true. Obvious, even, as if it had been in front of her nose this whole time. Suddenly, Cara wanted to reassure Rachele—in a real way, a real fucking way, not by passing her a bottle. She wanted to tell her it was okay. That she’d be alright if she only made good choices, and it wasn’t too late. It wasn’t too late. Cara turned to speak. Rachele slumped over. “Whoa,” Cara said, unable to grab her before she fell. “Rachele?” The girl moaned. “You good?” No response. Cara threw herself over the log. Rachele was clammy, milky white, bluish fingertips, bluish lips. Suddenly, in a convulsive motion, she puked all down Cara’s bare legs. Cara shrieked. Black hair spilling over the linoleum, dead air, thick stink— she vaulted the log, skirted her bare feet across the embers, tore into her backpack. Had to be something to help—something—tearing open kitchen cabinets, screaming into the phone, pill bottles rattling— Rachele vomited again—gurgled in it. Aspiration, Cara thought, going cold. Shit! Shit, shit— Then there were hands. Hands grabbing her

shoulders, grabbing Rachele. When had the boys arrived? She barely heard Antonio over the ringing in her ears. “Call 118!” “No!” Tyler said. “We—we can handle this!” “This is my baby sister!” “We gave you drugs, for fuck’s sake!” Tyler shouted. “You wanna get us arrested?” He whirled on Cara. Those eyes didn’t look foreign at all. They were like something she’d always known, or half-known, or pretended not to see. “You know CPR,” he said. “Fix this!” The world was tipping, sliding. Cara couldn’t get to her feet. Tyler grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to where Rachele lay. Cara’s hands shook as she pinched Rachele’s nostrils shut; her tears dripped uselessly onto the girl’s cheeks. With a disgusted noise, Antonio reached for his cell phone. Tyler tackled him. Sand billowed into the air. Antonio kicked, scratched, squirmed; Tyler’s knuckles were well-scarred and ready. The ringing in Cara’s ears had escalated to a roar—funeral bells! No— six tolls for daybreak. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow… “STOP IT!” Matteo’s scream stopped them both dead. “I’m calling the police!” he said, as Antonio scrambled back and Tyler stumbled to his feet. “I’m calling them right now, for God’s sake!” Tyler’s hands twitched. He pressed his lips together and stepped away. Matteo began dialing. Antonio hit his knees by his sister. Cara instinctively moved to join them, but Tyler yanked her back. “We’re going,” he said in a low voice.

Central park duck by Jessica Quail photography

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HELLBORE

Cara looked up, eyes unfocused. “What?” He shook her. “Are you listening? Grab our shit! We’re going.” They were going? “No,” Cara said. Tyler recoiled. The word had just slipped out. An instinct, a reflex. It sounded rusty in her voice. Cara wanted to clap her hands over her mouth. “Cara?” Tyler said. “No,” she repeated. Shaky, shivering, caked in Rachele’s sick, she stood her ground. “What’s wrong with you? These are children!” “Would you rather go to jail?” Tyler demanded. “We won’t—” “Would you rather them find all our stolen shit?” “It’s not worth—” “How about the drugs? They’d love that!” “Tyler!” Cara shouted. “We aren’t going!” Tyler hit her.

Winter by Lauren Chadwick photography

46

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He did it softly, little more than an openpalmed slap. He could’ve hit harder. Still, Cara staggered back, more from the shock than pain, lifting her fingertips to her cheek. For the first time since the funeral, her eyes brimmed with tears. He grabbed her wrist. She didn’t resist. Not when he threw her backpack onto her bike. Not when the tears overflowed and he shoved the handlebars into her hands and pushed her until she started running. A hiss in her ear: “Blake would’ve let you get arrested.” But Cara didn’t listen. She craned her head over her shoulder the whole time, fixated on those three small shapes— right up until the ambulances arrived, slashing red and blue across the sand, looking for all the world like something out of the FBI shows she used to watch before falling asleep, laughing at the drama, the unrealism, the absurdity.

They pedaled against the wind, lungs heaving. “Oh God,” said Cara. “Oh God, oh God, oh God.” “What did we see back there?” Tyler demanded. What did they see? Cara hiccupped, tears blurring her vision. “Rachele—she—” “Wrong! Cara, what did we see?” Realization dawned. “Nothing,” she said. The liquor turned in her stomach. “We saw nothing.” “Exactly,” Tyler snarled. “We saw nothing, we heard nothing, we were never even here. We don’t talk about this ever again. Got it?” Cara choked out something unintelligible. “Bitch, it’s an easy question! You got it?” Oxygen flooded Cara’s lungs. “Got it,” she gasped. “She was—it was nothing.” Tyler jerked his head in a vicious nod. He pedaled faster, leaving her behind. But Cara gripped her handlebars. White-knuckled and trembling, with a bloody sun rising on the horizon, she held on. It was nothing. It was nothing. It was something.

Heather Eisele

I walk along the path park patrons call Leisure Walk One. The brisk wind floofs my hair and shakes tree branches. Ahead, in a short tree at the top of a hill, a bird’s nest bobs on the wind. The egg inside flies from the nest and begins to fall toward the sidewalk trail below. I rush up the hill. My hands outstretch, forming a cradle for the small, pink egg. I dive.

I kneel before the small mess of gore, expelled from the shell far too early. Gently, my fingers find the fetus within. I cradle the quarter-sized alien thing in one palm. It lies lifeless along my lifeline. I doubt my shrieking sobs will ever stop. My heart falls to my belly, taking residence in the empty cavern of my womb.

My ribcage meets the concrete, and I watch the egg fall the last few inches to the ground in front of me and splat. It splashes a red yolk onto my face and hands as if I were a child and it were finger-paints.

ABANDON DREAMS by Jesseca Ormond photography

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P OETR Y

HELLBORE

Cara looked up, eyes unfocused. “What?” He shook her. “Are you listening? Grab our shit! We’re going.” They were going? “No,” Cara said. Tyler recoiled. The word had just slipped out. An instinct, a reflex. It sounded rusty in her voice. Cara wanted to clap her hands over her mouth. “Cara?” Tyler said. “No,” she repeated. Shaky, shivering, caked in Rachele’s sick, she stood her ground. “What’s wrong with you? These are children!” “Would you rather go to jail?” Tyler demanded. “We won’t—” “Would you rather them find all our stolen shit?” “It’s not worth—” “How about the drugs? They’d love that!” “Tyler!” Cara shouted. “We aren’t going!” Tyler hit her.

Winter by Lauren Chadwick photography

46

Kiosk18

He did it softly, little more than an openpalmed slap. He could’ve hit harder. Still, Cara staggered back, more from the shock than pain, lifting her fingertips to her cheek. For the first time since the funeral, her eyes brimmed with tears. He grabbed her wrist. She didn’t resist. Not when he threw her backpack onto her bike. Not when the tears overflowed and he shoved the handlebars into her hands and pushed her until she started running. A hiss in her ear: “Blake would’ve let you get arrested.” But Cara didn’t listen. She craned her head over her shoulder the whole time, fixated on those three small shapes— right up until the ambulances arrived, slashing red and blue across the sand, looking for all the world like something out of the FBI shows she used to watch before falling asleep, laughing at the drama, the unrealism, the absurdity.

They pedaled against the wind, lungs heaving. “Oh God,” said Cara. “Oh God, oh God, oh God.” “What did we see back there?” Tyler demanded. What did they see? Cara hiccupped, tears blurring her vision. “Rachele—she—” “Wrong! Cara, what did we see?” Realization dawned. “Nothing,” she said. The liquor turned in her stomach. “We saw nothing.” “Exactly,” Tyler snarled. “We saw nothing, we heard nothing, we were never even here. We don’t talk about this ever again. Got it?” Cara choked out something unintelligible. “Bitch, it’s an easy question! You got it?” Oxygen flooded Cara’s lungs. “Got it,” she gasped. “She was—it was nothing.” Tyler jerked his head in a vicious nod. He pedaled faster, leaving her behind. But Cara gripped her handlebars. White-knuckled and trembling, with a bloody sun rising on the horizon, she held on. It was nothing. It was nothing. It was something.

Heather Eisele

I walk along the path park patrons call Leisure Walk One. The brisk wind floofs my hair and shakes tree branches. Ahead, in a short tree at the top of a hill, a bird’s nest bobs on the wind. The egg inside flies from the nest and begins to fall toward the sidewalk trail below. I rush up the hill. My hands outstretch, forming a cradle for the small, pink egg. I dive.

I kneel before the small mess of gore, expelled from the shell far too early. Gently, my fingers find the fetus within. I cradle the quarter-sized alien thing in one palm. It lies lifeless along my lifeline. I doubt my shrieking sobs will ever stop. My heart falls to my belly, taking residence in the empty cavern of my womb.

My ribcage meets the concrete, and I watch the egg fall the last few inches to the ground in front of me and splat. It splashes a red yolk onto my face and hands as if I were a child and it were finger-paints.

ABANDON DREAMS by Jesseca Ormond photography

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P OETR Y

L AST MOMENTS

For

my

G r andma

at the

Allison Linafelter

There is a certain sadness in silence. The pauses between breaths, growing longer,

and

longer,

the breaths that you pray will be repeated until you run out of your allotted appeals to God for the day. So, you just squeeze her soft, worn-out hand a little tighter, and memorize the feel of her papery skin under your young thumb, begging for Him to take your strength and pass it to her. It’s the first time you’ve truly felt spiritual since the last tragedy hit you like a bullet from behind. It’s hard to talk to God when it seems like all He does is take away. But she is 48

Kiosk18

Farm

still there to cherish, even if only for a few hours more, so you hold on tight before your hope for her life is finally dashed. You tell her everything you wish you had said when she could still respond. All your secret memories of childhood fun, playing in the weedy sand, helping to take the horses out to pasture in the long fields of green and gold, losing a shoe in the lake and crying until your small foot wiggled around in the muck and found it. Those tight hugs, which Squeezed the tears out of you like a lemon, could fix anything. But not this, though she sure tried when she was still awake. Her hand grows sweaty as you grasp it longer than you’ve ever held it before. Death is hot before it becomes cold. You know she can still feel you, because she shakes her shoulder that you’ve been crying into like a horse shaking off an errant fly.

You laugh and say that she can’t get rid of you whether she likes it or not, though you know she loves your presence. Your face twists and scrunches, trying to keep the tears from falling and the snot from stringing down to your lip. You finally talk about her son, your father, because you both weren’t strong enough to talk about his loss before. She gave you so much love in your heart that it would always threaten to burst whenever either of you thought of thinking about him.

But now her clear blue eyes can’t tear up, instead gently watering at their closed corners. You hug her limp and bone-thin frame, stroke back her thinned-out, snow-white hair, and kiss her tan, wrinkled cheek before saying goodbye one last time. Her open mouth, gasping for air through raisin lips, missing dentures and a smile, turns up at the corners when you finally gather up the courage and whisper through heaves of sobs, “I love you so, so much.”

lost in the moment by Alyssa Nehring photography

Kiosk18

49


P OETR Y

L AST MOMENTS

For

my

G r andma

at the

Allison Linafelter

There is a certain sadness in silence. The pauses between breaths, growing longer,

and

longer,

the breaths that you pray will be repeated until you run out of your allotted appeals to God for the day. So, you just squeeze her soft, worn-out hand a little tighter, and memorize the feel of her papery skin under your young thumb, begging for Him to take your strength and pass it to her. It’s the first time you’ve truly felt spiritual since the last tragedy hit you like a bullet from behind. It’s hard to talk to God when it seems like all He does is take away. But she is 48

Kiosk18

Farm

still there to cherish, even if only for a few hours more, so you hold on tight before your hope for her life is finally dashed. You tell her everything you wish you had said when she could still respond. All your secret memories of childhood fun, playing in the weedy sand, helping to take the horses out to pasture in the long fields of green and gold, losing a shoe in the lake and crying until your small foot wiggled around in the muck and found it. Those tight hugs, which Squeezed the tears out of you like a lemon, could fix anything. But not this, though she sure tried when she was still awake. Her hand grows sweaty as you grasp it longer than you’ve ever held it before. Death is hot before it becomes cold. You know she can still feel you, because she shakes her shoulder that you’ve been crying into like a horse shaking off an errant fly.

You laugh and say that she can’t get rid of you whether she likes it or not, though you know she loves your presence. Your face twists and scrunches, trying to keep the tears from falling and the snot from stringing down to your lip. You finally talk about her son, your father, because you both weren’t strong enough to talk about his loss before. She gave you so much love in your heart that it would always threaten to burst whenever either of you thought of thinking about him.

But now her clear blue eyes can’t tear up, instead gently watering at their closed corners. You hug her limp and bone-thin frame, stroke back her thinned-out, snow-white hair, and kiss her tan, wrinkled cheek before saying goodbye one last time. Her open mouth, gasping for air through raisin lips, missing dentures and a smile, turns up at the corners when you finally gather up the courage and whisper through heaves of sobs, “I love you so, so much.”

lost in the moment by Alyssa Nehring photography

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49


Pa g e f r o m t h e pa s t

The thorn tree

and the other thorn tree

The other thorn tree

K iosk 1989

Charlotte Walker Baker

Grandfather lay abed before he went, too weak and ill to note the grief that grew in all our hearts. “Is there no way that you can help him now?” we asked. The doctor lent us his kind smile and shook his head, then bent above the quiet form. Rough gasps, a few sharp cries broke from us, and we felt the dew

Grandfather took us with him when he went to salt the stock, down where a thorn tree grew beside the creek. “Now, there’s a way that you can climb up through,” he said, and then he lent a hand to boost us to the limbs and bent each way to form the steps. Rough bark, a few sharp thorns to plague us. Then we brushed the dew and petals from our faces as we sent our glad shouts ringing till our breath was spent and wonder stopped our throats. No wild “halloo!” could match the magic of that sky-ringed view. Our hearts shook with strange joy and strange content. Grandfather smiled and said, “There comes a time when every child should have a tree to climb.”

of teardrops on our faces as we sent our thoughts back ranging till our grief was spent and wonder stopped our throats. What faint “halloo!” brought back that magic of a sky-ringed view and in our hearts strange joy and strange content? Grandfather murmuring said, “There comes this time when every man . . . will find . . . his tree to climb.”

city hive by Riley Custer photography

50

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51


Pa g e f r o m t h e pa s t

The thorn tree

and the other thorn tree

The other thorn tree

K iosk 1989

Charlotte Walker Baker

Grandfather lay abed before he went, too weak and ill to note the grief that grew in all our hearts. “Is there no way that you can help him now?” we asked. The doctor lent us his kind smile and shook his head, then bent above the quiet form. Rough gasps, a few sharp cries broke from us, and we felt the dew

Grandfather took us with him when he went to salt the stock, down where a thorn tree grew beside the creek. “Now, there’s a way that you can climb up through,” he said, and then he lent a hand to boost us to the limbs and bent each way to form the steps. Rough bark, a few sharp thorns to plague us. Then we brushed the dew and petals from our faces as we sent our glad shouts ringing till our breath was spent and wonder stopped our throats. No wild “halloo!” could match the magic of that sky-ringed view. Our hearts shook with strange joy and strange content. Grandfather smiled and said, “There comes a time when every child should have a tree to climb.”

of teardrops on our faces as we sent our thoughts back ranging till our grief was spent and wonder stopped our throats. What faint “halloo!” brought back that magic of a sky-ringed view and in our hearts strange joy and strange content? Grandfather murmuring said, “There comes this time when every man . . . will find . . . his tree to climb.”

city hive by Riley Custer photography

50

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51


P OETR Y

SELF-LOVE

Heather Eisele

Like the Japanese puffer fish, I am plain. I blend into everything behind me, blurring into nothing, blindingly boring and unspectacular. Given the fishy face, puffy body, and spiny skin, I sometimes think myself unlovable, but creativity can be its own kind of sexy. The Japanese puffer fish creates a circular sand carving on the ocean floor using only its fins. The image in its head breathes life into the new nest, leaves body-sized ridges and valleys imprinted and adorned with shells until the image is reality.

“There are dark shadows on the Earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.� C harles D ickens

Oregon coast by Emily Knapp photography

52

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53


P OETR Y

SELF-LOVE

Heather Eisele

Like the Japanese puffer fish, I am plain. I blend into everything behind me, blurring into nothing, blindingly boring and unspectacular. Given the fishy face, puffy body, and spiny skin, I sometimes think myself unlovable, but creativity can be its own kind of sexy. The Japanese puffer fish creates a circular sand carving on the ocean floor using only its fins. The image in its head breathes life into the new nest, leaves body-sized ridges and valleys imprinted and adorned with shells until the image is reality.

“There are dark shadows on the Earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.� C harles D ickens

Oregon coast by Emily Knapp photography

52

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IMAGE GA L L ER Y

G allery

UGLY

doesn’t mean it is not

EXPIRING doesn’t mean it is not

AN AFTERNOON OF NEW 10-MINUTE PLAYS BY MOHANA RAJAKUMAR 2 P.M. MARCH 18 — KLINGER-NEAL THEATRE MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE CAMPUS

Half of all US produce is thrown away due to imperfections.

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment. Farmers and others on the food distribution chain say high-value and nutritious food is being sacrificed to retailers’ demand for unattainable perfection. Often the produce doesn’t even leave the field to save on labor costs. A lot of the waste is happening further up the food chain and often on behalf of consumers, based on the perception of what those consumers want.

Americans throw away billions of pounds of food each year, worth billions of dollars and enough to feed millions of people. Often people are tossing food out with good intentions. However, their belief foods are unsafe because they don't appear as fresh sometimes isn't grounded in reality. A 2013 report found by Harvard University and the National Resources Defense Council found Americans throw away billions of food simply because they're confused about food expiration date labels. Many times, just because something isn't as fresh as it once was, doesn't mean it's gone bad.

FREEZER BURN? STILL

This event is free and open to the public. The Morningside College experience cultivates a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to ethical leadership and civic responsibility. This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

DIVERSITY POSTER by Christina Vazquez

Eatable ad campaign

digital

by Alyssa Nehring digital

54

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stilleatable.com Kiosk18

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IMAGE GA L L ER Y

G allery

UGLY

doesn’t mean it is not

EXPIRING doesn’t mean it is not

AN AFTERNOON OF NEW 10-MINUTE PLAYS BY MOHANA RAJAKUMAR 2 P.M. MARCH 18 — KLINGER-NEAL THEATRE MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE CAMPUS

Half of all US produce is thrown away due to imperfections.

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment. Farmers and others on the food distribution chain say high-value and nutritious food is being sacrificed to retailers’ demand for unattainable perfection. Often the produce doesn’t even leave the field to save on labor costs. A lot of the waste is happening further up the food chain and often on behalf of consumers, based on the perception of what those consumers want.

Americans throw away billions of pounds of food each year, worth billions of dollars and enough to feed millions of people. Often people are tossing food out with good intentions. However, their belief foods are unsafe because they don't appear as fresh sometimes isn't grounded in reality. A 2013 report found by Harvard University and the National Resources Defense Council found Americans throw away billions of food simply because they're confused about food expiration date labels. Many times, just because something isn't as fresh as it once was, doesn't mean it's gone bad.

FREEZER BURN? STILL

This event is free and open to the public. The Morningside College experience cultivates a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to ethical leadership and civic responsibility. This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

DIVERSITY POSTER by Christina Vazquez

Eatable ad campaign

digital

by Alyssa Nehring digital

54

Kiosk18

stilleatable.com Kiosk18

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M7 Clarifying Hair Care

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Red shoe shindig

M7 Packaging

by Emma Miller

by Alyssa Nehring

digital

digital

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M7 Clarifying Hair Care

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Red shoe shindig

M7 Packaging

by Emma Miller

by Alyssa Nehring

digital

digital

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REVIVE THE REEF

St. Lucy Ad Campaign

by Emma Miller

by Christina Vazquez

digital

digital

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REVIVE THE REEF

St. Lucy Ad Campaign

by Emma Miller

by Christina Vazquez

digital

digital

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literature Kristen Brown is a junior at Morningside College. She is an English and history double major from Denison, IA. On campus, she is the writer and editor of the alumni section of The Morningsider and the president-elect for Sigma Tau Delta. She enjoys spending her extra time in the English Department, talking Marcie’s ear off.

Amy Jackson is a junior English/Theatre major with a Philosophy minor. She has been published in The Kiosk, Teen Ink Magazine, The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, and by Harmony Ink Press. Feel free to visit her at amyjxn.com.

Heather Eisele is a senior English major with minors in Spanish, gender studies, and sociology. She loves dogs, books, and coffee, and she aspires to work in public relations for a non-profit.

Jordan Hernandez is a super-duper senior biology major. He would like to become a neuroscience researcher and tackle important scientific questions like “Why do some people leave their Christmas lights up all year?”. Truly, he has his finger on the pulse of a generation.

Kay Goldsmith earned her B.S. from Morningside College and works on campus as a Writing Consultant. Her life changed when the sudden onset of paralysis left her confined to a wheelchair. However, Kay escapes her physical entrapment via writing creative nonfiction and painting Tuscan scenes.

Dr. Greg Guelcher a specialist in the history of Modern Japan, is completing his twenty-second year of teaching at Morningside College. Greg composed his poem while on leave in Japan, where he and his wife, Yumiko, had joined a chilly outdoor New Year’s Eve worship service at a local Buddhist temple.

Art Allison Linafelter is a senior English major from Sioux City, IA. She will be going to law school at the University of Iowa next year, but promises to keep writing! She’d like to thank the English department for all the advice (and coffee), her mom, Jean, and cat, Sheldon, for all the hugs she’s ever needed.

Alexi Malatare is a senior English, Counseling Psychology, and Social and Behavioral Science triple major, as well as the president of Sigma Tau Delta. Through life you will accumulate many titles, some more important than others, but remember: life is too short to be afraid to call yourself a poet or a writer. Follow your passions.

Marianna Pizzini is a freshman. She is on the Mustangs Bowling Team and has had a passion for writing since the day she could talk.

Elizabeth Roop is a sophomore English and History double major, who’s writing typically consists of science fiction, fantasy, and poetry. When not working on her studies, she enjoys cooking, learning Japanese, composing original songs for voice and piano, playing Nintendo games, and spending time with her four younger siblings.

Solveigh Skarhus is a biology major. She is an avid martial artist and through this, meets many people who are more similar than they realize.

Mariah Wills is a first-year Alumni from Spirit Lake, IA. After graduating with an English and Spanish double major, she returned to Spirit Lake, where she writes whenever she can.

Mariah Allen is a senior majoring in Business. Besides taking nature and pet photos, she likes to spend her free time listening to rock music, singing, playing the guitar, and watching horror films.

Lauren Chadwick is a Senior Biopsychology major with a minor in Photography. She enjoys taking photos of animals and nature in her free time. After graduation she will be working at Rabbitt Family Vision Center as a Vision Therapist in North Sioux City, SD.

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Jessica Quail I am from Sac City, Iowa. I am a Senior double majoring in Counseling Psychology and Photography. I am an executive (president) of SHADES (Students Helping Achieve Diversity Equally and Socially) and (vice president) of Photo Club and a member of the Psychology Club (UPSSA).

Rae Clinkenbeard I am a sophomore and I enjoy photographing anything involving nature. My goal is to one day have my own photography business. I am pursuing a double major with Arts Administration and Photography as well as a double minor in Advertising and Sports Management.

Lexa Rahn is a senior from Sioux Falls, SD. She is majoring in Advertising and minoring in Photography and Graphic Design. Her plan after college is to begin her career back in Sioux Falls to be close to her family.

Jane Cunningham I am from Sioux City, Iowa. I am 25 years old with a passion for art, helping others, and interacting with people, which is why I chose to major in Art Education.

Megan Stoberl I have been at Morningside for three years and in that time have learned new skills and have grown in myself. This has helped create my style as an artist and helps me try to create photos that I’m truly proud of.

Riley Custer is a Sophomore Biology and Studio Art major. While out of the studio, she enjoys hiking, watching Parks and Recreation, and going on a few too many coffee runs with friends.

Christina Vasquez is a senior at Morningside College, majoring in Graphic Design and Mass Communication. She enjoys being with friends, experimenting with different art techniques, and learning new things. You can frequently find her in the library, where she may or may not be actually productive.

Emily Knapp is a senior, soon to be graduating with a major in photography along with a minor in business. During her time at Morningside, she has been heavily involved in photo and art club. After graduation, she hopes to move to Omaha and one day open her own portrait studio.

Shaina Le I’m a junior college student currently pursuing a BA in Art Education in hopes to foster creativity in future students. The length between now and my graduation is excitingly very short- just like me (sadly).

Emma Miller is a Senior majoring in Advertising and Graphic Design. She is from a small town in Missouri and enjoys cuddling with her dog and long naps (when she has time).

Alyssa Nehring is a Senior majoring in Arts Administration, Advertising, Graphic Design, and Photography with a minor in Journalism. She is originally from Humboldt, IA. She stays very busy on campus with her involvement in the Business & Art departments, and a member on the Morningside Swim Team.

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Jesseca Ormond is a photographer who strives to create impactful imagery through creativity.

Cassandra Warner I am Cassandra Warner, a junior at Morningside College, majoring in Art Education (K-12). I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa and decided to come to Sioux City to further my education and be a part of the track and cross country teams. I’ll be graduating in Fall of 2018 and plan to teach after I am done with school.

Niccole Wolken is expanding her skills through a triple major in advertising, graphic design, and photography with a minor in business. Her love for art lead her to Morningside where she predominantly works digitally on design work for print and web. She recently created a stout beer label for Jackson Street Brewing in Sioux City and looks forward to completing a marketing internship with the Foodbank of Siouxland throughout the summer of 2018. Niccole will graduate from Morningside in May of 2019.

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literature Kristen Brown is a junior at Morningside College. She is an English and history double major from Denison, IA. On campus, she is the writer and editor of the alumni section of The Morningsider and the president-elect for Sigma Tau Delta. She enjoys spending her extra time in the English Department, talking Marcie’s ear off.

Amy Jackson is a junior English/Theatre major with a Philosophy minor. She has been published in The Kiosk, Teen Ink Magazine, The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, and by Harmony Ink Press. Feel free to visit her at amyjxn.com.

Heather Eisele is a senior English major with minors in Spanish, gender studies, and sociology. She loves dogs, books, and coffee, and she aspires to work in public relations for a non-profit.

Jordan Hernandez is a super-duper senior biology major. He would like to become a neuroscience researcher and tackle important scientific questions like “Why do some people leave their Christmas lights up all year?”. Truly, he has his finger on the pulse of a generation.

Kay Goldsmith earned her B.S. from Morningside College and works on campus as a Writing Consultant. Her life changed when the sudden onset of paralysis left her confined to a wheelchair. However, Kay escapes her physical entrapment via writing creative nonfiction and painting Tuscan scenes.

Dr. Greg Guelcher a specialist in the history of Modern Japan, is completing his twenty-second year of teaching at Morningside College. Greg composed his poem while on leave in Japan, where he and his wife, Yumiko, had joined a chilly outdoor New Year’s Eve worship service at a local Buddhist temple.

Art Allison Linafelter is a senior English major from Sioux City, IA. She will be going to law school at the University of Iowa next year, but promises to keep writing! She’d like to thank the English department for all the advice (and coffee), her mom, Jean, and cat, Sheldon, for all the hugs she’s ever needed.

Alexi Malatare is a senior English, Counseling Psychology, and Social and Behavioral Science triple major, as well as the president of Sigma Tau Delta. Through life you will accumulate many titles, some more important than others, but remember: life is too short to be afraid to call yourself a poet or a writer. Follow your passions.

Marianna Pizzini is a freshman. She is on the Mustangs Bowling Team and has had a passion for writing since the day she could talk.

Elizabeth Roop is a sophomore English and History double major, who’s writing typically consists of science fiction, fantasy, and poetry. When not working on her studies, she enjoys cooking, learning Japanese, composing original songs for voice and piano, playing Nintendo games, and spending time with her four younger siblings.

Solveigh Skarhus is a biology major. She is an avid martial artist and through this, meets many people who are more similar than they realize.

Mariah Wills is a first-year Alumni from Spirit Lake, IA. After graduating with an English and Spanish double major, she returned to Spirit Lake, where she writes whenever she can.

Mariah Allen is a senior majoring in Business. Besides taking nature and pet photos, she likes to spend her free time listening to rock music, singing, playing the guitar, and watching horror films.

Lauren Chadwick is a Senior Biopsychology major with a minor in Photography. She enjoys taking photos of animals and nature in her free time. After graduation she will be working at Rabbitt Family Vision Center as a Vision Therapist in North Sioux City, SD.

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Jessica Quail I am from Sac City, Iowa. I am a Senior double majoring in Counseling Psychology and Photography. I am an executive (president) of SHADES (Students Helping Achieve Diversity Equally and Socially) and (vice president) of Photo Club and a member of the Psychology Club (UPSSA).

Rae Clinkenbeard I am a sophomore and I enjoy photographing anything involving nature. My goal is to one day have my own photography business. I am pursuing a double major with Arts Administration and Photography as well as a double minor in Advertising and Sports Management.

Lexa Rahn is a senior from Sioux Falls, SD. She is majoring in Advertising and minoring in Photography and Graphic Design. Her plan after college is to begin her career back in Sioux Falls to be close to her family.

Jane Cunningham I am from Sioux City, Iowa. I am 25 years old with a passion for art, helping others, and interacting with people, which is why I chose to major in Art Education.

Megan Stoberl I have been at Morningside for three years and in that time have learned new skills and have grown in myself. This has helped create my style as an artist and helps me try to create photos that I’m truly proud of.

Riley Custer is a Sophomore Biology and Studio Art major. While out of the studio, she enjoys hiking, watching Parks and Recreation, and going on a few too many coffee runs with friends.

Christina Vasquez is a senior at Morningside College, majoring in Graphic Design and Mass Communication. She enjoys being with friends, experimenting with different art techniques, and learning new things. You can frequently find her in the library, where she may or may not be actually productive.

Emily Knapp is a senior, soon to be graduating with a major in photography along with a minor in business. During her time at Morningside, she has been heavily involved in photo and art club. After graduation, she hopes to move to Omaha and one day open her own portrait studio.

Shaina Le I’m a junior college student currently pursuing a BA in Art Education in hopes to foster creativity in future students. The length between now and my graduation is excitingly very short- just like me (sadly).

Emma Miller is a Senior majoring in Advertising and Graphic Design. She is from a small town in Missouri and enjoys cuddling with her dog and long naps (when she has time).

Alyssa Nehring is a Senior majoring in Arts Administration, Advertising, Graphic Design, and Photography with a minor in Journalism. She is originally from Humboldt, IA. She stays very busy on campus with her involvement in the Business & Art departments, and a member on the Morningside Swim Team.

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Jesseca Ormond is a photographer who strives to create impactful imagery through creativity.

Cassandra Warner I am Cassandra Warner, a junior at Morningside College, majoring in Art Education (K-12). I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa and decided to come to Sioux City to further my education and be a part of the track and cross country teams. I’ll be graduating in Fall of 2018 and plan to teach after I am done with school.

Niccole Wolken is expanding her skills through a triple major in advertising, graphic design, and photography with a minor in business. Her love for art lead her to Morningside where she predominantly works digitally on design work for print and web. She recently created a stout beer label for Jackson Street Brewing in Sioux City and looks forward to completing a marketing internship with the Foodbank of Siouxland throughout the summer of 2018. Niccole will graduate from Morningside in May of 2019.

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R ecent Awards

A bout the Kiosk “Subject to editorial fallibility, the best will be printed.” This quotation first appeared in the foreword of the 1938 issue of Manuscript, the predecessor of the Kiosk. In the early years of Morningside, student satire and short fiction was often published in the yearbook, but an idea for a student literary magazine began to grow in 1937 during a meeting of the Manuscript Club.In March, 1938, student and faculty gathered to read aloud stories and poems, which had undergone a screening process; only pieces of “sufficient literary merit” made it to readings, recalled Miriam Baker Nye, first editor. That fall, South Dakota poet laureate Badger Clark visited campus, further fueling student desire for a literary magazine, and so on December 7, 1938, Manuscript was printed and distributed. Response to the publication was instant. One of the stories described students skipping chapel to go to an ice cream parlor, and the next week President Roadman started taking roll during chapel. Over the next several years, students were motivated to submit their work and have their words read and their voices heard. The group published sixteen issues until Manuscript disappeared in 1952. The magazine resumed publication under the name Perspectives in 1955. Students changed the name to Kiosk in 1971 and have continued publications nearly every year since. Advisors over the years have included Donald Stefanson, Carole Van Wyngarden, Janice Eidus, Scott Simmer, Robert Conley, Jan Hodge, Jason Murray, and for the last 30 years, Stephen Coyne. While the Kiosk has included cover art in many of its publications, the format of the maga-

zine was revamped in 2006 to include student and alumni-created art of various media. Art advisors John Kolbo, Terri McGaffin, and Dolie Thompson have assisted student editors in allowing these artistic pieces to take a more central role in the magazine. With the continued support of President John Reynders and the Morningside community, this publication continues to grow and evolve. Since 2006, the Kiosk has won multiple awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Associated Collegiate Press, including a Silver Medalist Award, three Silver Crown Awards, eight Gold Medalist Awards, three Magazine Pacemaker Finalist Awards and a Gold Crown Award. Submissions are accepted in the spring semester of each academic year. Literary work is then reviewed by the editorial boards, and recommendations are forwarded to the head editor, who then forwards accepted pieces for judging. Art work is selected by a panel of student judges who represent Morningside’s various art majors. A panel of area artists then selects the award winners. Those interested in working for and/or submitting to the magazine may contact Professor Stephen Coyne by email at coyne@morningside.edu. The Kiosk is published annually by Morningside College and is distributed at no cost to Morningside students and alumni.

79 Years of the Kiosk 1938

1956

1971

2006

First literary magazine on campus.

Name changed to Perspectives.

Name changed, again, to Kiosk.

Format change introduced more artwork.

2017

2006

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2007

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2008

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2009

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2010

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

2012

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2013

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2014

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2015

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2016

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award

2017

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

Kiosk magazine is printed on an offset printing press using four process colors on 80# matte-coated cover and 80# matte-coated book paper stock. Adobe InDesign is the page layout software used to assemble the entire publication. The book is perfect bound. Typefaces used include fonts from the Folio, Trade Gothic and Berkeley type families.

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

Copyright 2018 by the Kiosk, a publication of Morningside College. After first publication all rights revert to the authors and artists. The views herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Kiosk staff or Morningside College. The Kiosk is published by and for adults. Some material may not be suitable for children. 62

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63


R ecent Awards

A bout the Kiosk “Subject to editorial fallibility, the best will be printed.” This quotation first appeared in the foreword of the 1938 issue of Manuscript, the predecessor of the Kiosk. In the early years of Morningside, student satire and short fiction was often published in the yearbook, but an idea for a student literary magazine began to grow in 1937 during a meeting of the Manuscript Club.In March, 1938, student and faculty gathered to read aloud stories and poems, which had undergone a screening process; only pieces of “sufficient literary merit” made it to readings, recalled Miriam Baker Nye, first editor. That fall, South Dakota poet laureate Badger Clark visited campus, further fueling student desire for a literary magazine, and so on December 7, 1938, Manuscript was printed and distributed. Response to the publication was instant. One of the stories described students skipping chapel to go to an ice cream parlor, and the next week President Roadman started taking roll during chapel. Over the next several years, students were motivated to submit their work and have their words read and their voices heard. The group published sixteen issues until Manuscript disappeared in 1952. The magazine resumed publication under the name Perspectives in 1955. Students changed the name to Kiosk in 1971 and have continued publications nearly every year since. Advisors over the years have included Donald Stefanson, Carole Van Wyngarden, Janice Eidus, Scott Simmer, Robert Conley, Jan Hodge, Jason Murray, and for the last 30 years, Stephen Coyne. While the Kiosk has included cover art in many of its publications, the format of the maga-

zine was revamped in 2006 to include student and alumni-created art of various media. Art advisors John Kolbo, Terri McGaffin, and Dolie Thompson have assisted student editors in allowing these artistic pieces to take a more central role in the magazine. With the continued support of President John Reynders and the Morningside community, this publication continues to grow and evolve. Since 2006, the Kiosk has won multiple awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Associated Collegiate Press, including a Silver Medalist Award, three Silver Crown Awards, eight Gold Medalist Awards, three Magazine Pacemaker Finalist Awards and a Gold Crown Award. Submissions are accepted in the spring semester of each academic year. Literary work is then reviewed by the editorial boards, and recommendations are forwarded to the head editor, who then forwards accepted pieces for judging. Art work is selected by a panel of student judges who represent Morningside’s various art majors. A panel of area artists then selects the award winners. Those interested in working for and/or submitting to the magazine may contact Professor Stephen Coyne by email at coyne@morningside.edu. The Kiosk is published annually by Morningside College and is distributed at no cost to Morningside students and alumni.

79 Years of the Kiosk 1938

1956

1971

2006

First literary magazine on campus.

Name changed to Perspectives.

Name changed, again, to Kiosk.

Format change introduced more artwork.

2017

2006

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2007

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2008

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2009

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2010

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

2012

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Finalist

2013

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2014

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2015

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist

2016

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award

2017

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

Kiosk magazine is printed on an offset printing press using four process colors on 80# matte-coated cover and 80# matte-coated book paper stock. Adobe InDesign is the page layout software used to assemble the entire publication. The book is perfect bound. Typefaces used include fonts from the Folio, Trade Gothic and Berkeley type families.

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown Award

Copyright 2018 by the Kiosk, a publication of Morningside College. After first publication all rights revert to the authors and artists. The views herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Kiosk staff or Morningside College. The Kiosk is published by and for adults. Some material may not be suitable for children. 62

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1501 MORNINGSIDE AVE. SIOUX CITY, IOWA 51106 The Morningside College experience cultivates a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to ethical leadership and civic responsibility.


1501 MORNINGSIDE AVE. SIOUX CITY, IOWA 51106 The Morningside College experience cultivates a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to ethical leadership and civic responsibility.

Profile for Kiosk

2018: Kiosk Vol 80  

2018: Kiosk Vol 80  

Profile for thekiosk
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