Summer Sonja Eliason ’15 Photograph Virginia Holmes ’13 Photograph Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13
A Year in Poetry Jeannise Sarvay ’13 Artwork Sally Lindsay ’13
Untitled Kelly Zhang ’13 Photograph Vince Calvi ’12
Never-Ending Eleanor Kang ’13 Photograph Victor Yaw ’13 Photograph Gus Esselstyn ’13 Photograph Nicole Wallace ’14
She Doesn’t Like Perfection Sonja Eliason ’15 Artwork Geena Choo ’13 In The Bird Eye Kayla Boyatt ’13 Untitled Jeannise Sarvay ’13 Photograph Gabriela Flax ’13
11 Photograph Ksenia Morozova ’14
If Van Gogh Could Wood-Work Katherine Kowal ’12
Artwork Geena Choo ’13
Run Grace Alford-Hamburg ’14
For Frenchie Anonymous Photograph Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13 Sara Denay Mack ’12
Photograph Geena Choo ’13 The Undertaker Nicole Wallace ’14
The End of Your Imagination Sonja Eliason ’15 Artwork Geena Choo ’13 Untitled Grace Alford-Hamburg ’14 Photograph Marlon Antunez ’13 Artwork Alma Macbride ’13 Artwork Alma Macbride ’13
Chatterbox Grace Alford-Ham- burg ’14 Photograph Anonymous
Nature’s Lessons: 101 Emily Li ’13 Photograph Sally Lindsay ’13 Photograph Ruoyang Ni ’15 I Am Waiting Louise Stewart ’12
Bad Fruit Anonymous Photograph Ksenia Morozova ’14
Photograph Vince Calvi ’12 To Buy Or Not To Buy, There Is No Such Question Matt Floyd ’13 Fish Maris Nyhart ’12
Missed Connections In The Charleston Airport Emily Li ’13 Photograph Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13
Home Kaelyn Quinn ’12
Artwork Yifan Zhang ’13
Match Girl Anonymous She Planned Her Funeral Nicole Wallace ’14 Photograph Virgina Holmes ’13 Oh So Cheesy Anonymous Photograph Karlin Wong ’14
When The School Bus Was My Dragon Emily Li ’13 Photograph Ruoyang Ni ’15
Little Maroon Couch Wagaye Mesele ’12 PhotographSophia Kaufman ’13
I’ve lived a thousand moments Upon a summer’s seam Where shadows are abandoned Behind a filtered dream Winter’s gone and left a hole We fill it up with flowers. But every little child knows First there come the showers. There’s no crime in being different But unique can be a risk Summer love may taste real sweet If you avoid the autumn kiss. Truth is better left unfound Among the uncut grass. Ignorance is bliss, you know But summer bliss can’t last. A couple hundred moments more, We’re freed in summer sun The hands have frozen on the clock It’s all over; yet it’s just begun. Innocence, so pure and clean When summer light first fell Now dirty, broken on the curb In autumn wind; it’s just as well. I’ve lived a thousand moments Upon a summer’s seam Waiting for the time to come When nightmares leave the dream Where hope and love are simple And dreams are made of glass. Each one is a summer’s gift, But summer doesn’t last.
VIRGINIA HOLMES ’13
SONJA ELIASON ’15
URACHA CHAIYAPINUNT ’13
Untitled Lucy is a tabletop model with skinny arms and fat toes, and her lips curl in all the right ways. She likes to
wear black things and knit sweaters that make you think of market colors in Latin American countries, dark skin and straw hats that sit over dry eyes. Lucy has wavy blonde hair that rolls over her shoulders and leads into split ends she trims off every week. Sometimes she leans against the walls of buildings on busy mornings in her tall heels with a black coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, winking at people who pass by and testing the edge between high fashion and street trash. She spills mystery into her chipped nails and bright eyes. Her ears are small and probably the daintiest part of her, unmarked and untouched; she never got them pierced (She thinks it’s gross). They’re laid bare and clean to the world. It’s why I love when she puts her hair up, especially as a messy bun on the top of her head on lazy Sunday mornings, when she’s just gotten out of bed and has a loose t-shirt hanging off her slim body. Her legs and feet are naked. She seems smaller. Lucy has seduced teenage boys before and middle-aged men with full hair, reeling them in on her line of red lips and charming laughter. As soon as they’re about to ask her name for the second time and start thinking they’re the luckiest guy in the city, she throws them back out on their butts with their mouths open, adding a careful smirk over her shoulder. She saves her harshest voice and coolest eyes for the bedroom, which she shares with the select few (People don’t assume so, but she shares it with the select few). That’s where she pours out the secrets of her body in breaths of all levels of depth. Nothing escapes it, not a word. Not a sound. KELLY ZHANG ’13
VINCE CALVI ’12
A Year in Poetry
On the edge And in the corner of each iris she swayed. Her jump made no mark on the silence. Who saw her? The soldiers of the chalkboard Remained in their cities, not noticing That the wind scattered all That they drew in the dust.
A little boy unwrapped his chocolate And ate it one melty mouthful at a time. No one warned him that affection and Sweet things do not taste the same.
2 lovers kissed on a sweaty blanket Only to spring apart when warmer winds Came whistling by. A man watched the sun’s embers Streak the prologue of the night. He left the cliffside empty-handed.
Dark hair in the ocean’s murmur. She broke the surface, Rhythmic laughter pounded behind her eyes. JEANNISE SARVAY ’13
SALLY LINDSAY ’13
I am bursting at the edges. Five slices of pizza Four spring rolls Two bags of chips One bottle of Coke Two full plates of pasta Three bowls of cereal Six cookies Three large piece of cake A heavy realization sets in and my skin starts to crawl; I have to get it out. Thoughts echo through my head growing louder and louder with each passing second. “Why did I do that? Why did I eat so much?” Desperation. “Maybe just this one time and I will never do it again.”
VICTOR YAW ’13
Sprawled on the sterile, cold, tiled floor of my bathroom, I clutch the sides of the white porcelain bowl and stare at my rippling expression. I almost couldn’t recognize the panicked-filled, wild eyes that stared back at me. Taking a deep breath, I steady myself as I position my finger in my mouth. The scene goes black as I close my eyes. I can feel my body lurch and can hear my vomit hit the surface of the water. Tears sting my eyes as I reach for the lever that flushes the evidence of the last few shameful moments deep into the underground pipes. These memories are as fresh as morning dew as I am perched over the same porcelain bowl saying to myself, “Just one more time.” ELEANOR KANG ’13
GUS ESSELSTYN ’13
NICOLE WALLACE ’14
She Doesn’t Like Perfection
She doesn’t like perfection. Says it tastes like McDonald’s iced teaSickly sweet and artificial. That it looks like an over-starched shirt worn by someone who hopes a professional appearance will make up for their obvious lack of preparation. She doesn’t like going outside on cloudless days. Apparently it’s like being caged In a massive bubble. She hates completely matched outfits, because there are more important things to waste time on. She wears rain boots at the beach, and flip flops in the rain. She makes her sandwiches with the ends of the loaf and makes sure to have an unequal ratio of peanut butter to jelly. She walks barefoot to dances, and only wears makeup when she’s not going out. When I asked her why, Why she didn’t like perfection, She laughed upwards, at the perfectly cloudless sky. “Perfect,” she said, “has been done too many times before.” SONJA ELIASON ’15
GEENA CHOO ’13
In The Bird Eye
I am in a bird eye Throat closing stomach caving In The feeling is mutual
From the womb from labor I emerged a crustacean Red skin and pinching fingers Scuttling from secret place to hidey hole Brief glimpses of the ocean To last long winter months
It rained for 3 years. The earth was a puddle To be drowned in. Rain tightened into A heartstring I felt your fingers Deftly pluck, tune harmonizeEverything glitters Under raindrops JEANNISE SARVAY ’13
I hitch a ride on a bird eye Some things are easier to understand from the air KAYLA BOYATT ’13
GABRIELA FLAX ’13
If Van Gogh Could Wood-Work
KSENIA MOROZOVA ’14
Captured by the notion of warmth, I would creep into the house and observe my father. After feeling the first chill of fall, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I heard his enormous booted, tree-trunk feet conquer the basement stairs as if he were walking to the beat of a drum. The sound was slow and ominous. His arms swallowed the five or so pieces of wood he carried; his face, perfect and unaltered by the weight upon him. I felt the splintering wood in my own hands, weighing down my arms, making my body slouch in discomfort. I tried to uplift my stature as I looked at him; embarrassed by the effortlessness with which he cradled his pieces. We made our way to the gaping stone covered fireplace we built together. I dropped my pieces gasping with relief. He laid his pieces down all at once as gently as one would have handled a new born. I stopped trying to master his art, but I watched. Knees bent, he crouched, face poked forth into the oversized ashtray. With coarse fingers he stripped away the long, frayed strands of wood that had separated after being chopped. He forced the wood away from his chest with his palm and grasped the stand in the other hand. Perfect kindling. Watching this monstrous man meticulously arrange the stands into a teepee was like watching a football player drink tea out of delicate china. He ripped the matches to spark the flame and carefully held the light beneath the wood. It caught on, and the little light grew and grew and grew and roared and cracked all at once. Just then the heat enveloped me. The reflection of the fire burned in his eyes. I wondered how many times before that that reflection appeared there, burning its picture into his memory. He grinned, pleased with the display. I still sat in wonderment. I respected his work like one would respect an artist, laying particular strokes on a canvas. KATHERINE KOWAL ’12
Run Day 1 “Sugar, you have to wake up now! Wake up, Rosa!” Mama shakes me, whispering for all the urgency and panic in her voice. “Mama?” A loud crack shatters the night. Then another and another. I start to cry. “ They’re here, Beatriz. We must go now! Rosa, no, you must be silent as a mouse.” Auntie is here too. One look at her face and I hush. Her steely gray eyebrows are drawn close together. She carries a canvas backpack. Mama picks me up and we go down the hall and out a side door. It’s dark outside. The moon is high in the sky and perfectly round and silver. The cracking sounds are close, too close. There’s shouting too. And harsh screaming that doesn’t even sound human. Auntie is ahead of us. She heads away from the noise, running. Mama follows her, still clutching me. They run and run and run, never stopping. A man runs too. He comes from the left, but no, he is crawling now. Gasping short funny breaths. Mama and Auntie stop. They dash towards the man. He has a black stain on the front his shirt. It grows bigger and bigger, like he has sprung a leak, like a pipe or a faucet. He is not moving anymore. Auntie looks at Mama, shakes her head. “Dead.” They leave him there, his eyes reflecting the round, round moon. Silent as a mouse, Rosa. Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Day 28 There are many people here and many buildings. A city. Auntie says it’s called Mexico City. The air smells dirty and people push and crowd. Mama picks me up again. She and Auntie have been taking turns carrying me. I can walk, but not for so long. All day they walked, for many, many days. And now a city. Mama opens a door. Inside it is gray, the dim lights buzzing like bugs. A man comes out. He grins. He is bad. Mama goes to speak with him. I stay back, behind Auntie’s leg. Before she smelled like the flowers outside. Before there were flowers outside. Out the window there is only more gray and brown, cracked pavement and tall speed bumps. Now, there are no flowers. Now, my Auntie smells like mud and sweat. Mama has said something to the man. He nods, grins again. His teeth are like white bricks that have fallen out of place. Crooked like leaning buildings. He nods towards me, shakes his head. Mama says something else. The man pales. Nods. We leave. Mama and Auntie are arguing again. “He’ll figure it out, Beatriz. Carlos is dead, the great drug lord is DEAD and he cannot send anyone after the coyote!” “The coyote doesn’t know that.” “He will and then you will be sorry. He will not help us then.” “And how else do you propose we get to the U.S., Thalia?” Auntie does not respond. Silent as a mouse, Rosa. Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse…
Day 35 Coyote is putting us in the back of an eighteen-wheeler. Boxes and barrels and many other things that look like they could tip over at any second surround us. I stay close to Mama. The coyote leers down at me. “You sure she won’t cry? Can’t nothin’ give us away or we’re all done for.” “She hasn’t spoken for more than a month. Hasn’t made a single sound. Rosa is a good girl.” Auntie says. Coyote nods. “What’s Miguel want you in the States for anyway? Not like you’re any help to him there.” “He would not say. Best not to question him, no?” Mama’s voice carries a threat. Coyote’s lips thin. He has a great, bushy mustache sitting on his upper lip. The left side is marred by a scar that reaches all the way to his ear. I want to ask how he got it. I want to ask where we’re going. I want to tell Mama and Auntie not to trust the man with leaning teeth and a bushy mustache, the one they call The Coyote. I don’t like him. But I can’t, can’t say anything. Silent as a mouse, Rosa. Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse…
Day 39 Coyote throws open the doors to the car.
“Get out!” he spews, shaking with anger. Auntie ushers me out of the car. Coyote stops Mama from coming. “Carlos is dead, they were talking ‘bout it in there,” he gestures toward the dingy bar he’d come out of, “Shot’s what I heard. Either you pay me or I leave you here.” I track a beetle with my eyes as the grown-ups shout. Its legs are funny, scuttling around like that. “We have no money, Miguel, but we need a coyote. And just because Carlos is dead doesn’t mean all his friends are.” Auntie’s voice is stern. The beetle has a shiny shell, almost iridescent, green and blue and purple reflecting in the sunlight. Coyote curses and storms off. He climbs into the truck and drives away. Without us. I look up and around. There is nothing nearby. The highway, a gas station and the bar Coyote came from. I search for my beetle. All I find is a smashed glob. Coyote stepped on it. Mama begins to cry. Auntie sits on the ground. Silent as a mouse, Rosa. Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse…
Day 58 Auntie is talking but she isn’t making sense. She’s mumbling nonsense. We stopped walking three days ago. Auntie couldn’t keep going. Mama says she needs water. We don’t have water. Mama says she needs medicine. We don’t have that either. My tummy growls. Auntie is shivering now, sweating. Mama is holding her hand, singing a lullaby. The sky is a thick black. The moon is round again. A bright orb that looks out of place in the heavy darkness. Auntie isn’t moving anymore. Mama closes her sister’s eyes, crying much harder than I’ve ever seen her, but before she does I can see the moon reflected in Auntie’s eyes. A round, round moon. I remember the man with the black stain on his shirt, when we first started running. “Dead.” Auntie had said. I don’t think Auntie is going to say anything again. Silent as a mouse, Rosa. Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Silent as a mouse… Day 428 I must stay down, stay hidden. Mama paid someone to put us in the trunk of their car. I’ve wondered all year what was on the other side and now we’re going. Past the barbed wire, ditches and sky-high fences. “The States” some people call it, “the U.S.” “freedom” or sometimes “safety.” I wonder what it looks like? The people up front are talking in that strange way some people near the fence do. English, a different language. Mama calls them coyotes too, but they’re not. I remember Coyote. Neither the man or woman up front have a mustache. No scars either. They told Mama she could be a housekeeper. Told her I could go to school, learn English. I can start kindergarten in September, they said. Mama believes them. I started talking again last month. She believes anything now. I hear footsteps nearby. Mama lies frozen next to me. Someone taps on the door to the trunk, and then pulls it open. It’s a man. He’s wearing a uniform and a scowl. GRACE ALFORD-HAMBURG ’14
GEENA CHOO ’13
If I could Picture myself Anywhere in the world, I would pick up my pencil and sketch the small cafés in the heart of Paris. I would form the outline of a boy Lost in the crowds— Perhaps a baguette in hand— Because we all know the French Love their carbs. I would quickly scribble down The outline of a girl by his side, Standing taller than him, not so much Because she was physically Taller But because she stood tall Not letting his baguette-holding hands intimidate her. After all, those were the same hands That had once caressed her face On the cool autumn nights of their youth, That had t
across her shaking fingers To grasp her hand in his.
I would erase the boy soon after, Leaving nothing but his hands— The hands that were always willing To give her an emotional Pat on the back, Although they never touched her Again. I would leave her with those hands Hoping that she would Find a way To grab hold of them Until he, for fear of losing her, Would draw his own arms Around her, Wrapping her, No longer shielding her from those Cool autumn nights of their youth, But just because he wanted to hold her.
URACHA CHAIYAPINUNT ’13
I always did love to draw. ANONYMOUS
I don’t know you now, but I once knew you. If only for a moment that I knew you, then
we froze in seconds chasing the minute and our hands were cold as ice hotels. They were crystal castles that we danced in young care-full as we pranced
See, the church bells and the clock tower were parallel to our bums, slick after sliding down slippery winter slopes and plopping to the end only to clamber uphill for the same thrill again. That was when I knew you. Then for moments in a car singing the same old tunes on repeat singing the same old tunes something always brought us back Gravity. It was real. We felt it. There. We were
Unknown champions, pirates, musketeers, pioneers-We were indestructible giants: a head on a shoulder, a head on a thigh, limbs jutting out like the ends of the sweet trees, Those we passed. That past. We, tooting on St. Paddy’s horns, dogsledding in the winter’s breeze, I thought I knew you. If only someone told us that you never say forever
because on the same page of a storybook our noses were Pinnochio red but there was nothing to be seen between the smoke rising from a boiling pool amidst a cold winter’s end. So as winter thawed to spring so did our eyes glossed over from the diamonds of night skies, so did our toes, and our cheeks, and our hands, and our spines. All that was stiff began to move swift. We melted in long sunsets I ebbed as you flowed and I never thought love would be so cold.
When I knew you, we watched each other in our fourteen-year-old unspoken law. But looking now at pictures then, our hearts are still in Canada.
DENAY MACK ’12
GEENA CHOO ’13
He loves his job. He picks outfits And applies make up. He gets the right flowers And picks the right places. He’s in the business of beauty And in the business of planning. His clients don’t even complain! NICOLE WALLACE ’14
The End of Your Imagination
I will meet you at the end of your imagination Where all your creativity has been used up And the sky is white, and empty And the grass stands stick straight in uniform And the wind blows, but it moves nothing. There, where everything is hopeless And you’ve run out of time And energy, and strength And all you want to do is curl up And block out the whiteness because you know As hard as you try to stand Nothing will change, it will all stay the same. There, I will meet you. And when I see you standing on the cliff Overlooking the dead landscape Of white, hopeless monotony I will hand you a paintbrush With bright orange paint. And I will hold an identical one in my hand. And the next time the wind that moves nothing blows We will run with it, dragging our paintbrushes We will paint the wind orange. And everything it touches from then on Shall be tinted with the burning of sunsets. Then I will give you purple And we will paint the trees So every leaf that falls scatters the ground With lush, seductive midnight. Then the mountains will be red, So when the snow from the tips melts And runs down in furious rivers The soil will absorb the fire and heat. We will paint the grass and flowers blue And let all their seeds scatter drops of sky Across the landscape. We will throw paint balloons of yellow Up into the clouds So when it rains, it is not water that falls But tears of sunshine. And then, I shall take every color of the world, The new world that we have painted And I shall paint you like a rainbow, So wherever you step You spread more and more color. And we will decorate the end of your imagination. SONJA ELIASON ’15
GEENA CHOO ’13
I seek solace in the superficial The disengaged banter of familiarity The scribbled red “A” across the top of a paper The laughter of jokes already forgotten I seek joy in the indefinable The hard sun sliding through cracks in the clouds The dreams of a shadowy escape The music that drowns out the sounds of the world I seek in circles for anything that can keep me from Thinking. GRACE ALFORD-HAMBURG ’14
MARLON ANTUNEZ ’13
ALMA MACBRIDE ’13
ALMA MACBRIDE ’13
It is beautiful. A perfect cube of rich black wood surging with secrets. There’s nothing really to tell me that it is a box-no seams or hinges to rip and tug at-but I know anyway. The way you know when someone’s watching you or to jump out of the way when a car comes barreling down the road. I just know. When I run my hand across the surface I feel carvings, ancient and faded with the millennia until the wood felt like down. I wonder what those engravings are meant to say. Go Away! Do Not Touch! Come Closer…I’m Lonely? Stabbed into the side (or maybe it’s the top, there’s no real way to tell) of the box is a thick golden key. It shines like the sword in the stone left too long, like it has grown tired of waiting for Arthur. It shines with proud vanity, like it cannot be bothered to glitter. I want to breathe with one tenth of that key’s grace. So, can you blame me, I grab it and twist. I grab and I twist and I grab and I twist and nothing seems to happen. No lid pops open. No secret drawer springs out. No tinkling melody either. I’m surprised; I thought it was just an old music box. I’m disappointed too to tell the truth. The box has a pull as if it wants to tug me out of this ordinary life. I thought something magnificent would occur. Still, it’s pretty so I fork over a few dollars and carry it home. ***** Someone lifts me. A girl, I think. This is unsurprising. I am forever being toted from one place to another. Sometimes they know what I am, sometimes they don’t. She touches the key. Excitement breaks over me like a cold ocean wave. The key turns clockwise. Interesting choice. Does she know it will be the last she can make? Her skin is electric, thrumming with words. Good. I’m hungry. ***** I come in through the back door and kick off my shoes. My parents are waiting. Where were you? I shrug. What’s that you have in your hand? I hold the box out for inspection. Well, just call next time you’ll be late. Had us worried sick you did. I shrug again, more humbly. Then I take the stairs two at a time up to my room. I dream about the box. The key is a hand holding a Duster Buster and it’s swirling around my feet. I feel a tug on my toes and then all of a sudden they’re sucked up the vacuum. The golden hand lifts higher and there go my legs and my hips, my back and my arms and shoulders and neck. The hand with the Duster Buster is vacuuming my chin when I wake with a gasp. The box is on the pillow next to me. I thought I left it on the nightstand. Weird. I stuff it in my bag and run to catch the bus. I’m sitting in class with my homework all neat on the desk in front of me. The box is in my pocket. I can’t remember taking it from my bag but it’s only the size of an apple and my pockets are deep, so it isn’t a problem. Mr. Barnes calls on me. The question’s easy and the answer is scrawled on the paper in front of me in scrappy black ink. I open my mouth to reply but my tongue is too heavy. I can’t lift it, can’t move it. No noise comes from my throat. After half a minute of struggling Mr. Barnes gives me up for lost. That, class, is why you should do the reading before you come to class. Anyone else? Yes, Miss Green, do you have the answer for us? I don’t speak a word all day. Not that I don’t want to. Hey, do you want to go to the mall later? Hey, how’d you do on that test? Hey, is something wrong? Every time I try to answer my tongue grows leaden and the words won’t come. Friends think I’m angry. Teachers think I’m disrespectful. The janitor thinks I’m crazy when he sees me pummeling my locker door after everyone else has left for the day. Once home I sit cross-legged on my floor with the box in front of me. I twist and twist the key clockwise, trying to make it sing, but the box holds no music for me. ***** I indulge myself. It’s been so many years since I’ve had words to feed upon, I feel that I’m entitled. I only gorge on her conversations, but still more than I ought to. I consume the words greedily, recklessly. I worry that she will notice what is happening sooner than I would like. I can feel myself growing heavier with each delectable remark I siphon from her lips. I will not be able to stop taking her words and when spoken conversations are no longer enough I will move on to the written ones and eventually, thoughts. I can no more control the taking than she can the giving. Trying to would be like asking a bowling ball not to fall after you’ve dropped it off the edge of a roof.
With each passing day that I don’t speak, the box grows heavier. It sits like a miniature cinder block in my hand. I carry it with me everywhere and each spare moment is spent with my hand on the key, turning and twisting and tugging. There’s something in the box. I can hear them, a slight rattle, muffled and subtle but there nonetheless. I spend all my time imagining what it could be. The box contains jewels, glittering like starlight. Better yet, the box contains stars gathered by a wise monk on a mountain a thousand years ago. The box contains the songs of
stars, stored for safekeeping when humans began to plunder the skies. The box contains captive musical notes, a vestige of some ancient war. The possibilities consume my thoughts and within no time my inability to talk falls to the bottom of a pile of unimportant worries. Eventually I grow tired of wondering the way everyone else had grown tired of trying to make me speak. And I realize I know where I can find the answer. I bought the box from a dusty antique store down a backstreet a couple of miles away. I drive over to ask the salesman, the owner, anyone how to open the box. The antique store isn’t there anymore. Don’t misunderstand me. It didn’t foreclose. There isn’t an empty window hung with a For Rent sign or some cutesy new cupcake store. The antique shop just isn’t there. The building isn’t there. There’s a crack between the Chinese delivery place on the left and the skeezy apartment building on the right that could never have fit a whole store and that’s it. Hey little girlie. Want some moo shu pork? Just come inside and I’ll give you some. Oh, what’s wrong? Box got your tongue? I’m out of the alley before the last echoes of the bodiless voice fade away. Box got your tongue? Box got your tongue? Box got my tongue. Fear slices through me for the first time like a shard of broken glass. The box is eating my words. ***** Ours is a parasitic relationship. She gives; I take. A constant flow of words anchors us together. She decides which way my key turns. I decide where the flow of words starts. Beyond that we have no power. I had vague plans of stuffing myself with so many words that eventually I would burst apart into a million dark splinters. It is just as suffocating to be a locked box as to live in one. But I was too eager and started the flow too high. Now she has noticed and soon she will discover how to reverse it. ***** Is this what panic feels like? The shaking heart and the tight, cold ball that sits in the pit of my stomach? I can’t write today. I sat down to write an entry in my English journal but the pen bounced away from the page as if an invisible glass dome protected it. I tried typing instead but my fingers wouldn’t move. And then I realized I wouldn’t know what to write even if I could. The box has taken those words too. I’m going to fix this. I get the box out and, with no other ideas, stare at it. Tell me your secrets! I want to yell, but, of course, I cannot. Minutes pass or maybe hours while I trace the invisible engravings with my eyes and then the thick, heavy lines of the key. The key! I’ve only been turning it clockwise. What if I try… ***** With a quiet screech, the key rotates counterclockwise. I was almost there. A few more words and I would’ve ruptured free. She wants a word. I feed it to her. Hello? But it won’t stop there and she knows it. There’s a breath of release with each word I pass along, one after another, never-ending. Maybe I can purge my way to liberation. ***** I’m chattering relentlessly. My mouth moves of its own accord, forming sentences and phrase I haven’t thought up. I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t even know what I’m prattling about. But no, that’s a lie. It’s the box. My beautiful, jinxed box. No stars or gems inside, just mountains of words I’ve mistakenly released upon myself. Tricks and ruses aren’t going to give me back control over what I say. I need to get rid of the box. First I try burning the box. It seems a logical plan given that it’s made of wood and soft metal, but the flames wink out as soon as they near it. The skeletons of dead matches litter the floor by my feet. Outside, I pour gasoline over the box but the only explosion is that of my feeble hope. Fine. Let’s go for a drive. Once on the highway, I press down on the gas pedal, gunning it for all my frustration and fear. The miles blur with my words. I try listening to the radio, but I can’t hear the music over myself talking. I’m saying something about trees and chipmunks and skyscrapers. A state line and a few sharp turns later, I’m parked at the edge of a verdant field I’ve never seen before and never plan to see again. Heaving the ever-lighter box in my hand, I throw it as far into the distance as possible and speed away. My dreams are narrated by my own incessant gibbering and laced with dark shadows and gold keys. When I awake, the box is resting lightly on the pillow beside me. Shrieking with rage, I lug it back into my car. We stop by the river this time and I watch it sink beneath murky brown waves. Then I cross a bridge into the city to celebrate. ***** She’s trying to get rid of me. Doesn’t she know that it won’t work? Who needs handcuffs or ropes when you can be bound by a string of obligatory words? ***** The cold of the sidewalk seeps through my jeans. Everything about me is cold. My hands, my nose, my heart. My fingers drum the side of the box (it appeared on a park bench while I was taking a walk) and my mouth
nonsense that even I’m not paying attention to anymore. I figure I’ll just stay here and become a hobo. Maybe I should make a cardboard sign. Magic Box Stole My Right To Free Speech. Need Money. I’ll become a household name, that crazy homeless girl on Main and 4th. Hey young lady, are you okay? Do you need any help? He’s oldish, this gentleman. The hair around his temples is gray and wrinkles radiate from his eyes like concerned starbursts. I shake my head but my mouth’s still going and who knows what it said. What’s that you’ve got in your hands? He’s speaking very loudly and slowly, the kind of speech reserved for toddlers, retards and foreigners. I look down at the box and an idea strikes me. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. I stand and hold the box out to the gentleman. He takes it cautiously and turns it over in his hands. How does it open? I mime turning a key and he falls for it. I’m around the corner before he even has time to react. I imagine I hear something snap as I sprint away. The excess words fall out of my mouth and land with a splat on the pavement. I leave them behind and keep running. No words flowing in or out, just the slap of my feet on the ground. I crow my thanks to the sky and then stop talking. Just because I feel like it. Just because I can. GRACE ALFORD-HAMBURG ’14
nature’s lessons: 101
Faded white house with the vine-green shutters, smells more earthy than I remember But the woods look similar, even if darkness clings oddly to branches like fervent lovers. Red tricycle with the rusted handles and torn ribbons by that same oddly-shaped rock, overgrown by Momma’s old patch of drooping sunflowers (but she could never stand to cut them down anyway) Driveway cracked like leaf veins, the pavement hot under my sandals and I touch the murmuring numbers – “1886” – on the mailbox with tender fingertips, oh how filling nostalgia can be. I stand firm, take another deep breath, remembering it all sledding down this slope with a much-younger father, hair without those streaks of silver picking wild blackberries from the bushes in the back, black juice running down my chin into the grass and when I fell from the tricycle trying to take on that same steep driveway – lips trembling, eyes wet, skinned knees shined with blood and pebbles, air hot in my throat I remember this all, all so patient and unyielding with the rocks and cuts and broken windows and poison ivy this is where I learned how to grit my teeth and pull out splinters, the bittersweet reality of finding a bee nest, the flashing pain of cement burn,
the tripping and falling and crying and wiping away the tears, day by day, the l e a r n i n g to be BRAVE EMILY LI ’13
SALLY LINDSAY ’13
RUOYANG NI ’15
I Am Waiting
I am waiting for my own magic tree house and I am waiting for books to write the world and I am waiting for the Once-ler to plant some new truffula trees and to apologize to the Lorax for chopping them down and I am waiting for a phantom tollbooth to lead me to the Kingdom of Wisdom, where I’ll grow down and eat my words and I am waiting to laugh myself to the ceiling and have a cup of tea with Jane, Michael, Mary, and Bert and I am waiting for my golden ticket, fizzy lifting drinks, and a world of pure imagination and I am waiting for Jonas to toss me a red apple and a sunburn and love
and I am waiting for TJ to tell Long Island the truth about what happened to Myrtle and to clear the name of that gold-hatted high-bouncing lover and I am waiting for Lady Brett to quit being so difficult and to let Jake keep her, finally and I am waiting for Dick Diver to cast out the Michel that possesses him and for Fitzgerald to admit to tender borrowing from Gide and I am waiting for the societies of Marianne and Elinor and Scout and Jem and Jim and Huck to gain some sense and sensibility and I am waiting for books to right the world LOUISE STEWART ’12
One time for my mind, take me on a trip But they paved over paradise, made Mrs. Mitchell sick The skirt fakes her own, takes a couple more sips Now I want to just rewind ‘cause the conversation slipped Shallow pool, my cockiness versus her hips And lips, so red, red, red “Tell me something soft” Funny how I hate that she showed me instead Sensation, we’re strangers racing Split-second haven Patience is a virtue but virtue’s got no place in Between our faces
They tell me I’m too young to be thinking this is old But all these notches on my belt got my skin feeling cold Meanwhile I hit seven sevens, it was late, like 2:11 It hurt when she smiled and said, “Thanks for a little heaven” Hell, I wish she cut me deep and real But I imagine too much, listen to John Lennon At least I got some time to wait for life’s lemons ANONYMOUS
KSENIA MOROZOVA ’14
VINCE CALVI ’12
To Buy Or Not To Buy, There Is No Such Question Throw away the old and used Do not bother to mend it, The more stitches The less riches. In this place, scrap The holed, buy the new. Ending is better Than mending.
One can’t have something For nothing. Nothing costs enough Here. MATT FLOYD ’13
I am eight when he takes away my life jacket. “Just kick your legs!” Pa tells me, his strong arms under my stomach, holding me up in the salty water. I flail, arms and legs scrambling, flinging themselves up in protest. “Not from your knee, your whole leg, use your whole leg!” he tells me, his deep voice echoing as I struggle to command my unwilling limbs. My legs finally obey, waving in an almost rhythmic pattern. “I’m going to let go now,” he warns, releasing me from his firm grasp, backing away a few yards. “Just swim to me!” he says, “I’m right here.” I gasp, swallowing a bit of sea as I will my body closer to him, closer to his security. Left, right, left, right, sputter, left, right, gasp, left, right. I try to keep my head above the water, but salt is flowing through my lungs and I am coughing, coughing, light headed and he is farther and farther, and then, finally, I am in his arms again, shivering as I cling to his potbelly with baby hands. I look back at the dock and realize how far away we are. “You tricked me! You kept moving!” I screech at him. He just laughs at my high-pitched defiance. “Look how far you swam though,” he tells me, “I got you now.” I am ten when he teaches me the dead-man’s float. I have mastered the doggy paddle, the crawl, even the backstroke, but I remain convinced that keeping my face in the water for more than a few seconds will result in a certain death. “Stay there, just relax, hold the breath deep in your belly,” I can faintly hear him from underwater, his voice distorted by the waves as the tide rolls into the cove. I twist to sneak a breath, catching a glimpse of his graying hair and sinking eyes before he guides my face back to the water, the corners of his mouth turned up in a wry smile. “No cheating,” he tells me. My tenyear-old limbs wiggle in the icy water, my nose scrunched up. His hand rests on the back of my neck, not pushing my face farther in, but reassuring me. Five, four, three-two-one, and I emerge, shaking a salty spray off my blonde hair. “She lives! See, I thought you were dead for a minute there,” he tells me, “You must have been doing a real good job, huh?” We race to the dock, shards of mussel shells pinching at my soft feet and his callused ones as I collapse on the dock underneath the cool relief of his thinning shadow. I am twelve when we go the aquarium. Pa never really liked aquariums, because fish were meant to be in the ocean, not aquariums. It is December now though, and it is too cold for him to be outside. We’ve been lots of times before, but this time, I am the tour guide. I am the pointer of fish and the reader of signs. I push him in his wheelchair. We stop by a tank of stingrays, watching them glide effortlessly across the mock ocean floor, sweeping up a cloud of sand in their wake. “Look at THAT bug!” he tells me, pointing to the largest of the stingrays. “That bee has such a big stinger on it!” Waving his hand in fragile excitement, he seems for a moment like just another little kid, in awe of the creatures sliding through the salty water. Only his physical appearance gives him away; one look at his sunken eyes, his wispy hair, or the way that his hand trembles when he tries to raise it, and there is no questioning his age. “Let’s go look at the starfish,” I say, “remember how you say they must be my favorite because I am named after them?” He squints, sitting back in his chair as his glassy blue eyes peer at me, questioning me. “What is your name?” he asks. I am fourteen the last time he swims. My dad and I walk him into the ocean slowly, one of us underneath each of his shoulders, thick rubber sandals underneath his trembling feet. We get waist-high, then a little deeper. “I’m ready,” he tells us. We let his arms fall back to his sides, slowly. He dives with as much grace as ever, if a little more shaking. For a moment, his body sweeps through the sea just like an aquarium stingray. I can almost see right through him, almost make out his skeleton in the cool blue light of the water. He comes up for a breath, cheek pressed against the water, bony arm cutting through the glass, just like he always taught me. For just a moment, I am eight again; I am watching in awe as his arms turn to fins, his skin to scales. Toes pointed, arms outstretched, his pale body has the gills I always remembered. He sweeps down into the water again, staying under longer this time. One, two, three, four, five, six; the seconds are getting longer and longer and just as my father prepares to dive under, to grab him, he comes up, sputtering-spitting, vomiting water. His arms and legs are traitors, unreliably flailing in the water, disconnected from him. Dad grabs his torso, tries to stabilize him as he frantically gasps. “Kick your legs, kick your legs Pa!” I tell him. He finally goes limp in my father’s arms, floating on the sea-glass surface, tired of fighting against his body. He looks up at me with those foggy ocean eyes. “I don’t remember how,” he whispers. I am fifteen when we set Pa free in the ocean. I reach into the urn with the ceramic cup, feeling guilty that I can’t quite will myself to use my naked hand. Barefoot on the ocean-rock, we sprinkle the grey ashes into the current and the wind carries them away, a thin sheet on top of the saltwater. Selfishly, I wish that we could keep him here instead. Fish weren’t made for aquariums though. I am seventeen now, and I dive through the waves of the Big Muddy, oblivious to the thin film of mud that collects on my arms. Shooting underneath the pull of the river, I lose my humanity in the current, trading limbs for fins. I find him as my hands slice through the water, and I go deeper, deeper, deeper to the river floor. I find him in the sticky gumbo mud between my fingers, the sand that slips between my toes. I find his voice echoing through the water, and I find his arms on my sides, guiding me. I am eight years old again, discovering the wonders of being fish for the very first time. Once, I thought he left me, but in the soft glow of the drowned July sun, I know better—he was never really gone. MARIS NYHART ’12
missed connections in the charleston airport
you were going to Atlanta to visit your only-cheated-twice-and-begged-forgiveness boyfriend who got you addicted to weed and I was going back to school, after having dropped out for seven years, somewhere in North Carolina you tripped over your shoelaces in the security line, left your keys in your pocket forgot to take off your jacket and reclaim your laptop; but you won over the moustached security guard (working 12-hour shifts) with your devil-may-care smile and disheveled brown hair. Flight 6821, you fell asleep on my shoulder, spilled mustard on my shirt and snored softly the whole flight, I was fascinated by the way you breathe and when we parted at the baggage claim as little more than strangers, a quarter of my heart tiptoed in your footsteps for the hell of it and kissed your black high-heeled boots in wonder. EMILY LI â€™13
URACHA CHAIYAPINUNT â€™13
I haven’t been home enough in the past four years. Even though I’m not sure I know what home ever really was. Originally, it was on Tufts- though I suppose, if you go way back, it was technically in a white four-window house in a suburb of Minneapolis. Square, green lawn, and small- I saw it one summer on vacation, when my parents were provoked by some sentimental reverie. But looking out the rental car window, I knew that wasn’t really it. I can’t say it was in Summit. Maybe the roots of something started to grow there, when I first wrote my name on that sheet of blue card paper. I was entering nursery school and I remember how important it was to me that I know how to write my name on the first day. I was adamant, sitting kneeling in my nightgown on the cold tiles in the kitchen I can no longer remember. My mom or dad, it might have been both, sat with me, guiding my hand through every letter K then A E next L Y finally N. there it was on the paper: “KAELYN”. I ran to show Allie who lived next door. But Summit was too short. A quick few years hiding behind garages and eating cheerios. And then we were gone again. I boarded a plane in exchange for the stuffed lion “Kovu”, Kiera’s lover boy from Lion King 2. My mom told me there were going to be horses there. I anticipated wild white horses, running along side the roads and grazing outside my school. As we drove in the rental car, I kept my eyes peeled for palominos among the mailboxes. But I had to wait a while before I found them. We were living in a rental when I entered Kindergarden. Some cross between a farm trailer meets 70’s retro, I remember my mom screaming when a mouse ran over her foot in the basement. I ran downstairs to see her standing on top of a chair in hysterics, while my dad reminded her over and over again “its only temporary honey, its only temporary.” There was the other time when I came home from school to find a row of plastic cups covering the carpet. I went to lift one up. “Kaelyn don’t touch those!” my mom panicked and made to grab my arm. She explained that underneath the cups were “cockroaches”. She said she was going to kill them by suffocating them, as they would run out of air underneath the cup. I asked her why she didn’t just squash them with a flashlight like she had done with the water spider that had been in my bed last week. Their shells are too hard to crack, she explained, “it’s like they are wearing armor.” I warily eyed the cups again, trying to make out the beasts underneath them. I spent the afternoon perched on the couch and watching the row, wondering when I’d be allowed to lift them up. After a year, we moved into a new house. a real house this time, with flushable toilets and lights that worked. There was a long driveway that stretched on behind a row of ancient blue spruces, whose needles concealed the house from the street. When we walked in through the front door, mom showed me where the former owners used to hang their guns. “They had a big rifle rack right here,” she pointed to the wall. “It was the first thing you saw when you walked in.” She then told me they had had the head of an elk mounted above the fireplace. “A real elk?” “Yes a real elk” “With real eyes?” “I don’t know.” I thought of my elk, Horner. My dad had bought me Horner at the airport, 30 minutes after our plane had landed. We were waiting for our bags and now that I realized we weren’t going back to New Jersey, “Kovu” was starting to loose some of his allure. Horner was sitting in one of DIA’s touristy western ware shops, amidst Cowboy hats and “Mile High City” t-shirts. “He’ll be the first stuffed animal you ever got in your new home,” my dad explained, handing him to me. “What do you want to name him?” I fingered his antlers. “Horny” My dad paused. “Really? What about something else?” And so Horner was christened. Our new house had a backyard that ran into the woods and from there stretched on into unimaginable wilderness. It didn’t start right away, but I became familiar with the woods, with the holes in the trees and the branches I could sit on. I quit ballet and spent my time after school in the back yard, picking berries from the trees and mashing them into a dark pulp against a stone. I told my mom I could talk to the wind. Sometimes I’d go sit cross legged in the yard and listen to the trees rustle. “Not much is happening,” I’d report back to her as I came inside. My dad and I would order pizza from Anthony’s after skiing. We’d wait in the hot parlor and I’d smell the cheese. Finally our order came up and I would sit shotgun with the box on my lap, letting the oven heat burn over my thighs. The car went the same way back: on to Quincy, up Franklin, left on Tufts, and a right into our driveway.
For Christmas, we’d go visit JJ in California. I’d line up all of my animals on the bed and explain to them that I would be back in a week. They would have the room to themselves. I told them to have fun, but I stressed the importance that they go to bed early. A week later, we’d pull into the driveway and I’d see the dark house standing there, waiting for us. My dad opened the mud room door with a familiar chime of the alarm. I would run up the stairs to my room without bothering to turn on the lights; I didn’t need to see where I was going. And there all the animals would all be, exactly where I left them. I would go flush my toilet and it would gurgle loudly, groggy after seven days of rest. My mom would turn the faucet on and the water would stream with a familar russsh into the pot. She turned on the stove with a click to boil water for pasta. Steam filled the kitchen and the house hummed. KAELYN QUINN ’12
YIFAN ZHANG ’13
Winter was as mean and sullen As her father back home, and Her toes were being eaten up by the snow. Dark smudges of passersby With collars turned against the chill— She hated them halfheartedly, The cold aching in her bones, Idly wondering How long until the snow Buried her under? A much better idea To play with fire in the dark; To dream of souls that burn bright Like stars falling. Eyes slipping closed, She saw again her grandmother’s hands, Cracked and hard-worn lullabies Smoothing over her brow. ANONYMOUS
She planned her funeral
She said, “It has to rain For rain is dramatic. Everyone has to wear bright Clothing with umbrellas to match. There has to be a black coffin The same black as my hair. Oh! And a black headstone to! Flowers, white like my skin and some Red like the lip stick I wear.” And the rest thought her mad “Bizarre,” they cried, “who would want to plan such a thing.” But she asked- very confused“Why would one not want to plan The last grand ceremony of their life” NICOLE WALLACE ’14
VIRGINIA HOLMES ’13
Oh So Cheesy
You sit there Gleaming red and proud Your golden figure strong. I cannot resist you Since your taste is as mighty as King Kong. I need you, I want you- life may not Continue without you. Save me from this madness and give yourself to me, For if you don’t I may combust immediately. I think I see the light… Time is running out. It’s now or never baby don’t you dare Start this drought. I said I would stay away from you And never give in. But in this moment now I may commit a sin.
Oh Dorito, Oh Dorito I’m about to Give in. All I see in my head right now is me, you, and Your cheesy skin. Oh Dorito, Oh Dorito I think the time Has come. If you don’t start running now All you’ll be is crumbs. Oh Dorito, Oh Dorito my hand is Reaching towards you. Hope you don’t mind getting in me Because my stomach wants you boo. ANONYMOUS
KARLIN WONG ’14
when the school bus was my dragon
October air is cold in my throat, and it smells like clean laundry, Momma’s apron, pinecones, summer rain I make wishes on falling leaves on the way home from school, and never step on the red ones [they were princesses in other lives] Let dinner be good. Let Momma have had a good day at work. Let me have a big brother. Let there be peanut-butter banana crackers on the table. I kick acorns into a pile at the front door for the squirrels and deer and rabbits; pull at the straps on my backpack because the driveway feels safe under my sneakers, and kick a pile of leaves up up up up up into the pumpkin-picking-blue autumn sky, let them scatter and fall in my hair; The leaves are my crown, and I am Queen of red-orange-yellow. EMILY LI ’13
RUOYANG NI ’15
Little Maroon Couch
Enter my house from the garage door, Go down the stairs, take a right, and walk all the way back. There you will find the maroon armchair in which it all started. It’s where I spent countless nights on the telephone with someone who, At the time, Was extremely near and dear to my heart. This little place, The furthest place in the entire house from my parent’s bedroom, Was where I went to talk to him. We were both so young, but somehow, he grew up so much faster. The little maroon sofa was where I watched it all happen, Where I said hello, and where I said goodbye. It was not a place of great sorrow, or great joy, But one of fond memories of both. “How was your baseball game?” “It would have been better if you were there to watch.” I curled deeper into the little couch, Wishing it could somehow teleport me to where he was. “You said you would call.” “I forgot.” “Again?”
That little maroon lazy boy was where I felt so carefree, Swore to never change, And promised that what we had was for forever.
That little maroon couch still has the tears stains from when we said goodbye.
WAGAYE MESELE ’12
The Lit would like to thank all who submitted poetry, prose, photography, and artwork to the 2012 Spring. Issue! The Lit, Choate Rosemary Hallâ€™s literary magazine, welcomes poetry, fiction, prose, art, and photography from the school community. Email submissions, subscription queries, questions, and sugges- tions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission Guidelines: File Naming Please name all files for submission as follows: Your Name_Title of Work.doc (or .jpeg)
If your work is untitled: Your Name_Untitled [first line of poem or story].doc
Art Photographs, paintings, drawings, and other forms of visual artwork are all welcome. Artist, please note that we are always looking for vertical artwork to display on the cover. Writing Please send each piece of work in its own word file. Because The Lit has limited space, please keep stories to seven pages or fewer.
Anonymity Reviewing submissions fairly and impartially is important to The Lit. Every submissions is re- viewed anonymously. If you would like your piece to be published anonymously, please request anonymous printing via email at the time of submission. The editors must have a record of the artist or author. Find more information at www.thelit.weebly.com
Patricia and Patric Gregory Carol and Bruce Moeckel Jae Hee Lim Mark Raymond and Uchenna Ogbue Jody and Jacek Jarkowski Jonathan Levine and Suzanne Frisch Maya and Michael McGuire Jr. Christopher Cuomo Stephen and Clo Davis Geo Beach and Sydney Webb Eric Tveter Elyse Newhouse Dr. and Mrs. Wells Stewart Sarah Baird and Ben Kerman
Keya Pitts Susie and Bob Danziger Oliver Holmes and Hannah Sokal-Holmes Taylor Rossini Dr. and Mrs. Jakyum Koo/Bonjoo (Jenna) Koo Denis Morolov Michelle Alford Susan O’Neil Murray and Clare Findley George and Shiang Yang Chaiyapinunt Family George Markantonis Karl and Cynthia Born Kateri Dasilva Mr. and Mrs. Daniel B. Kupratis Margaret Martin-Heaton
Special Thanks Pat Tarasiewicz and Alex Cordova Craig Warren Front Cover Art Marlon Antunez ’13
Back Cover Art Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13
Masthead 2011-2012 Editors-in-Chief Ericka Robertson ’12 Maris Nyhart ’12
Junior Editor Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13 Managing Editor Katherine Kowal ’12 Faculty Adviser Ellen Devine
Layout Design Maris Nyhart ’12 Ericka Robertson ’12 Vince Calvi ’12 Uracha Chaiyapinunt ’13 Hannah Danziger ’13 Karlin Wong ’14 Louise Stewart ’12 Virginia Holmes ’13
Masthead Members Vince Calvi ’12 Adanma Raymond ’12 Adrienne Sternlicht ’12 Julia Pascale ’12 Louise Stewart ’12 Virginia Holmes ’13 Gabriela Flax ’13 Gianna Collier-Pitts ’13 Emily Li ’13 Jeannise Sarvay ’13 Hannah Danziger ’13 Karlin Wong’14