The Round Issue XX

Page 1




Katia Rozenberg


NOCTURNE NO. 1 IN B-FLAT MINOR, OP. 9 NO. 1 (COMPOSED BY FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN) Collage and ink on paper, 18x24 inches



8 9 12 13 16 17 18



20 21 23 26 27 30

Jenny Shi DIM SUM HOUSE Shawna Ervin SPIT Siena Capone MICHIGAN INTERSTATE Gay Baines APPLE Harry Levine A HILL WITH GAS Julia Hickey BLUEPOINT

Lynn Hoggard

8 WHO WE ARE We’re out of sequence. Across from a pond— the odd number that should’ve been where the water is. Friends and postmen get lost trying to find us. We ourselves lose track of where we are. We keep repainting our number on the curb—111—as if repeating the same one will wedge us between 110 and 112. So we look to the blue-gray pond, rimmed by sunning turtles, where perpetual ducks web zigzags, and we say: That’s us. That’s who we are.

Cameron Morse

9 KFC RHAPSODY | for Jordon Robert Shinn In five days I have fallen in love again with the heavy-metal smell of Beijing. I drink deeply from the wellspring of secondhand smoke. Lili curses and steps into the street. On my last morning in Beijing where five years earlier I contracted myself to teach at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, I opt for the freshly brewed KFC coffee over a packet of instant. Old Summer Palace Road singes my nostrils. Near the skywalk, a dark pile of clothes in the shape of a person parts the bitter air. A pair of eyes appear pinched between hood and cowl in a slot of sunbaked skin, scarves hanging in long trains about the humanoid lump of an entire family’s wardrobe of winter clothes dumped on one being. Five years ago, I broke my contract, fell one night convulsing at the foot of a wardrobe that would incinerate with the ranch house five years after I emailed my resignation.

Cameron Morse

10 Friends raided my campus apartment, sifting through the years Lili and I spent at Beijing New Talent. They culled through photos, scanned the contents of hard drives, carried away rugs, guitars and essential oils, leaving a mountain for the dumpster. On the walk back with my cup and croissant, I wonder if the statue’s moved, the sightless seer, omen of my return to the city that tried to eat me, ode to the city that stole my years. Because I’m still not likely to live long, I wonder if the city’s still standing there with her back to the wind, waiting for me to pass.

Ann-Marie Brown


RARE BIRD IN THE GARDEN Encaustic and oil, 36x36 inches

Alisa Caira


ORGAN SUNRISE Does every organ need a sunrise? I don’t know if my lungs would like it; Sitting in the morning light really early, I mean. Having us be all cute and stuff. We don’t talk as much anymore. I am more forgetting about breathing And the reality that my insides might have a different taste Than I do. I don’t know if I’d quite call that a sign of a poor relationship, though. I’m starting to see the appeal Of a warm cavern, And I’m starting to resent park benches When the light is just emerging.

Alisa Caira


STEAMING What I have learned from two days Is that I’m very good at doing And less great at eating soup only once it has cooled down. Isabel told me that I am good at feeling, And that I should not let other people Tear that apart because they act more heady about it. I think she’s right, But you would have to ask her for more details about it. People tend to walk around on stilts on snowy days. I hold my hands in my pockets, And I steal things. This is about when I can’t feel my face, And my heart feels a bit shriveled. I am anything but hot chocolate, And I wish I could just be the blanket across your legs.

Katia Rozenberg


SMALL INTESTINE Acrylic, ink, canvas, and wood, 48x48 inches

Katia Rozenberg


LARGE INTESTINE Acrylic, ink, canvas, and wood, 48x48 inches

Holly Day


FLOATING AWAY I put the tiny boat in the water and watch it float away. Somewhere, someday, someone will pull it out of the water, either intact or as a soggy newspaper mess, find a tiny plastic bag full of ashes a sprig of dead lavender your photograph, our wedding rings and wonder what it all means.

Claudia Rojas


SUNS EXISTING BEYOND despite country borders whatever some are thinking the dilemma about my skin over my words America doesn’t know me there used to be warmth ask me about the memory in home la vida en el sol— how did I get here which is to ask what do we do with me? what of El Salvador the question hurts am I afraid to go back home? and excuse me and my fear yes El Salvador will not know me I don’t know how to how to hold myself portion my soul when Celia Cruz is perpetually dancing at the carnival of life no hay, no hay que llorar my vocal cords try to stretch far to Whitney Houston’s I will always love you wherever I go.

Jenny Shi


GREEN BUTTONS, RED SLEEVES I sit on the wall beside the rotten magnolias, stepped on and squished into juice, pale moths gathering to drink. I wear sugar jades on my ankles that my father fashioned from rubble. They swish and jangle. An anxious pendulum. The woods are purple and the air sighs. It’s getting late, my father says to me. You should sleep. I look down at the drinking soil— ask myself: is my name backwards? as I sleep-walk to the columns of leaves beside the house. The red papers are damp in the air, ink dripping off like sweat. I pull water in circles— dip anything in water and it shines.

My father flies back home. Left sticky dates sweet in our kitchen sink. Left faster than the milkweed grows in ephemeral streams, left the way the piano was stripped away from his stiff stubby fingers. The gold, winter coat, telescope. Spit and foam on his cheek. Green buttons, red sleeves, they gathered before rotten peonies, and stepped on him. Don’t tell them where anything is, he said to himself as his family name was scraped red on the door.

Ann-Marie Brown


SEA SIDE / THIS SIDE Encaustic and oil, 30x40 inches

Jenny Shi


DIM SUM HOUSE Dark covers silt I wear soft on my face, I hold quilts, stained with absence, hazy outlines and sounds homogenize. I smooth the palm of my hand, over and over to weather the lines away— lines that spill dendrite spines and forget too quickly. You’re lazy, they laugh. All the taunts blur silent but their faces glow, obnoxious. They cast shadows until I hear Last call, they grumble as they pull out my chair. Last call call call I order three bowls of light.

Shawna Ervin

SPIT “No spitting,� teachers cried. At recess, our saliva pooled under our tongues for the next try, waiting for a teacher to catch another wrong, the swing to reach the pinnacle of height and distance, a strong pucker to get beyond the last shiny puddle, bubbles slowly dissolving, proof of us. I hold the tube at the shelf of my bottom lip, swish dryness behind my teeth. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes, the instructions say. I spit. Bubbles rise. I spit the taste of grief, stories I will never know. I need data, percentages, proof I am more than incest, more than the scent of Old Spice, more than his hands, the mouth I may never forget.


Angie Kim


I, EYE Watercolor on paper, 14x11 inches

Siena Capone


MICHIGAN INTERSTATE And my aunt dancing in the front seat; Her fingers meet then part in imaginary snaps faultless earthquakes. The sun winks in her frizz and I’ve got on Joni Mitchell. The static fuzz is a third person in the car, making note of us, stenciling us in, ghost secretary while a billboard trumpets Now Available to declare emptiness seems, for a moment, like an admission of potential rather than private shame. We pass the signs so many times they shapeshift: distractions softening into landmarks with each trip, lawyer to lawyer to end local hunger, leering block letters, 800 numbers, the bleached white arcs of doctor teeth; each fluorescent exclamation punching up from the soy crops to kiss an American flag that squirms in the fuzzy purple sky Joni says they’re all just pretty lies. Their filth might just wash you clean. The daylight slinks off slow so that the moon can declare itself, again and again, a little louder each time.

Katia Rozenberg


THE LARK (COMPOSED BY MIKHAIL GLINKA) Collage and ink on paper, 18x24 inches

Katia Rozenberg


CLAIR DE LUNE (COMPOSED BY CLAUDE DEBUSSY) Collage and ink on paper, 18x24 inches

Gay Baines


APPLE Yesterday I cut an apple not stem to blackened sepal, the usual way, but crossways, so I could see the ghost of blossom petals in the creamy flesh. I do this during the plains of February— to acknowledge spring, even as other people (not I) put aside the sweetness of apple and pear, papaya and prune—for the stark black bread of Lent. I know their rejoicing will be dampened by over-excitement and chocolate as mine will be sweetened for letting flesh be flesh, and life be life, even if not blessed.

Harry Levine

27 A HILL WITH GAS There’s a gas station on a hill I would say it's not that far away If you walk there on a saturday it’s pretty nice It’s sunny 200 days a year that's what people say around here That makes this place special because many other places rain a lot In Northern England I’ve always heard that’s a complaint In Yorkshire it’s rainy In Stoke it’s rainy For example But this gas station normally isn’t it’s nice and sunny You can just walk to the gas station It’s probably better if you have music but you can never be sure When I listen to music I forget where I am or at least am less involved in where I am if I’m walking then I may want to be more involved especially if it’s a nice day out If it is cold I won’t care and would probably prefer some music The hill isn’t too much of a climb At the top you see the town below and maybe if you’re young or you bring along someone young with you they might be scared There is a gas station on a hill It has reasonable prices That’s why I go there And I don’t go to any other gas station ever I never go to a gas station but this one I think the only reason is because it’s a local gas station It’s not exxonmobil or anything like that That’s why I go and I feel like because it’s local that’s why the costs are less I think they have maybe 2 or 3 other stations but that’s it Not a ton of money to be made but some money to be sure It's not like I can play hide and seek there or anything because I can’t If I could play hide and seek I would But I can’t!! People around me are playing but I can’t ask It just wouldn’t make sense If I take a deep breath I can just fill up my tank and get moving

Harry Levine


My car gets best in class mileage so I don’t come often When I do it’s madness Really attractive people everywhere always Everywhere always Everywhere always They are very beautiful It makes me happy to know that people are out there who are really taking advantage of life Having a good time and relaxing They are like candles in the sun I think groups in general are the best because they are really nice They work together and then celebrate afterwards because they have worked so hard Some people in professional sport prefer working for the team because their teammates’ win feels sweeter because they feel as if they have contributed versus them actually winning not exactly that but similar logic On this hill If I were to say what makes it special it’s probably the community The gas station always has fun events and discounts On arbor day if you dress up as a tree they will donate a tree On black friday gas is the same price but you get 3 candy bars of your choice for free Which actually feels like a pretty great deal You just walk in take three things and walk out So they are definitely great for that and that’s probably about it Sometimes it's easy to feel lonely When you don’t really put yourself out there you might get lonely So you just have to get out there to The gas station on the hill

Alisa Caira


UNTITLED Photographs

Julia Hickey


BLUEPOINT The night you knew the buck moon hated you, he shut up like an oyster and tossed himself back into the sea. All of your nets turned to water, the handles of your knives were fire. You said the separation was a wide, sad river and boats were only creatures in a dream. You burned yourself to death and came back as a crack in the sidewalk. He grew from you, a lambsquarter drinking from your spreading center.

Ann-Marie Brown


CHERRIES Encaustic and oil, 30x30 inches

Ann-Marie Brown


PROMISE Encaustic and oil, 20x30 inches

Ann-Marie Brown



LYNN HOGGARD received her PhD. in comparative literature from the University of Southern California and taught at Midwestern State University, where she was professor of English and French and the coordinator of humanities. In 2003, the Texas Institute of Letters awarded her the Soeurette Diehl Fraser award for best translation. Her poem “Love in the Desert” has been nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize by Word Fountain, and her latest book, Bushwhacking Home (TCU Press, 2017), has won the 2018 Press Women of Texas award for best book of poetry. Her poem “In the Garden” has been nominated for the 2018 Sundress Best of the Net award.


ALISA CAIRA is a current student at Brown Univeristy where she studies Literary Arts and Anthropology. She is from Boston, Massachusetts (which she loves but is ready to move on from). She enjoys writing poetry and pretty much any other form she can manage. Her work has been featured in Affinity Magazine, Glue Magazine, Catalyst Journal, and more. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel. HOLLY DAY’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and The Tampa Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (, Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing). CLAUDIA ROJAS is a poet whose work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Poetry Is Dead, Argot Magazine, and The Northern Virginia Review, among others. She received her BA in English from George Mason University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. Claudia was awarded a Two Sylvias Press scholarship in 2017 and a Brooklyn Poets fellowship in 2018, and recently completed a youth programs fellowship with Split This Rock. She has collaborated with spoken word and performance writers within the Washington, D.C., community. An immigrant from El Salvador, Rojas uses her unique personal experience as a motive for community activism—she volunteers regularly and has been involved with both the National TPS Alliance and CARECEN.

JENNY SHI is a senior at Palo Alto High School in California. A recent graduate of Fir Acres Writing Workshop, Jenny has blossomed into the world of poetry. Prior to that, she won a Scholastic Art and Writing award for a nonfiction essay. Additionally, she is a visual artist whose knowledge of the sciences seeps into her brushes. Jenny speaks three languages-- English, Mandarin, and Spanish --and her favorite food is any kind of noodle. SHAWNA ERVIN is an MFA candidate at Rainier Writers Workshop through Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state. She is studying nonfiction and poetry and is a recipient of the Carol Houck and Linda Bierds scholarship. Shawna is a Pushcart nominee and has taught writing workshops for both adults and children. She is a member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, where she graduated from the Book Project, a two-year mentoring program. In 2017 she attended the Mineral School residency thanks to a fellowship from the Sustainable Arts Foundation. GAY BAINES lives in East Aurora, New York, and is a member of the Roycroft Wordsmiths. She has a B.A. in English from Russell Sage College and has done graduate work at Syracuse University and SUNY-Buffalo. She won the National Writers Union Poetry Prize in 1991, Honorable Mention in the Ruth Cable Memorial Poetry Contest in 1996, and the Mary Roelofs Stott Award for poetry in 2008, as well as other prizes. Her poem “Cicadas” has been nominated for Sundress Publications’ 2019 Best of the Net Anthology. SIENA CAPONE is a sophomore at Brown studying Literary Arts. She is from Birmingham, Michigan, and loves vintage dresses, peanut butter, and a good coming of age story. HARRY LEVINE is a sophomore at Brown University. He lives with his parents in Baltimore, MD. JULIA HICKEY is a Brazilian-American poet who writes from many places in the United States and currently lives in Cooperstown, New York. She graduated with a BA from the Creative Writing program at SUNY New Paltz in 2012. Her poetry has appeared in Chronogram Magazine and Haggard & Halloo Publications. Her work is reaching for something it probably will never get to the bottom of-- to do with metaphysical and romantic themes (both lowercase) including intimacy, inversion, and time.





THE ROUND is a literary and visual arts magazine based at Brown University. Our name is adopted from the musical “round,� a composition in which multiple voices form an overlapping conversation. It is our mission to extend and enrich the dialogue surrounding literary and visual arts at Brown by creating a community of artists across the country and around the globe. We are excited to work on a magazine which brings together contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, and places they call home. In addition to creating a biannual magazine, THE ROUND also hosts events in the Providence, RI area including readings and literary salons. We welcome submissions in any genre or medium and publish both students and professionals. Send your work, comments, or questions to Check out past issues of the magazine, view submission guidelines, and learn more about us by visiting http:// Sincerely, The Editors


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