Y E L S E L L E W W E I REV 0
5 e2 u s
WELLESLEY REVIEW POETRY / ART / PROSE
Editors’ Note Dear Reader, However you have come to our magazine, we thank you for being here, and for engaging with the creative work contained within these pages. We have come into leadership of this magazine in a particularly fraught moment of functional chaos and possibility. We want to begin this issue with several acknowledgments—heartfelt expressions of due recognition. We acknowledge the sovereignty of the Indigenous peoples on whose unceded land our masthead members have worked while putting together this semester’s magazine. We recognize that we are on stolen land, and are becoming increasingly aware of the historical legacies and presentday realities of forced removals, genocides, and disenfranchisement of Indigenous peoples. We affirm the continued sovereignty of each of these Nations and peoples, and offer our sincerest thanks for their ongoing care for the land in the face of the ravages of white colonialism: the Wabanaki Confederacy; the Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusett), Pawtucket, and Nipmuc Nations; the Coast Salish and Duwamish peoples; the Lenape Tribe; the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe; and the Narragansett people. Furthermore, we extend our gratitude to the Native American Students’ Association, and stand in solidarity with them as they make demands of the Wellesley College administration. Wellesley College will continue to be a hostile environment for Indigenous students until the administration fully meets their demands. We acknowledge the deeply entrenched systems of oppression which have shaped the lives of all human beings within our existing white supremacist, cisheteropatriarchal society. We hold ourselves personally accountable for working to dismantle the systems of racism and white supremacy in traditionally white-centered literary and artistic communities. We stand in solidarity with Wellesley 4 Black Students as they push the administration to take action on their still unmet demands. Wellesley College will continue to be a hostile environment for Black students until the administration fully meets their demands.
We acknowledge our debt to interconnectedness. Never before have we been so scattered, but in many ways, our work on this semester’s magazine has shown us with unprecedented clarity how intertwined we are. The issue you are about to read would not exist without each contributor to The Wellesley Review—artists, writers, masthead members—and the vast networks of mutual support which uplift each of those individuals. We are so grateful for all of the amazing people who have made this magazine a reality. We commit ourselves to continually recognizing and affirming our sacred partnerships within the Wellesley community and the world at large. We acknowledge the power of language, art, and storytelling as agents of connection and revolution. The Wellesley Review is much more than a magazine for us—it is a work of hope. Each work within these pages stands on its own as a testament to the artistry and perseverance of the individual creator while functioning as a thread in a greater tapestry. Our art and stories can serve as our greatest teachers, showing us how to affirm our individual experiences and lean on one another to forge a broader sense of purpose. With this in mind, The Wellesley Review aims to contribute to a campus culture in which the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+, and first generation students are actively encouraged, highlighted, and celebrated. Together, we can create art, make meaning, and pursue possibility out of the apparent brokenness of our present life. Thank you for taking the time to engage with The Wellesley Review. As you read, we humbly encourage you to reflect on the histories that have led us to this present moment and the steps we can take to create a better future—and, perhaps most importantly, how art can shine a path forward, and help us make beauty and sense of it all. With commitment to love and continual change, SARA LUCAS AND ALYSSA ROBINS Editors-in-Chief
Table of Contents 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 22 23 24
i Eva Knaggs ’22 Elegy for a Senior Year Katie Christoph ’21 Blinds on Irving Street 3&1 Artemisa Luk ’21 wegman’s Kiki Chen ’23 Aubade, September Heather Corbally Bryant Low Tide Hal ’23 Cages Lidewij Florusbosch ’24 Pandemic: Pantoum Rong Wu ’24 Late Summer Lucy Liversidge ’24 Shark Week Brynne Ruark ’23 Ana Mia Tessa Rudolph ’22 L’ennui Kazu Shimada ’23 I used to be terrified of ants Cheryl Wang ’23 CHIMERA (or, TRANSITIONING) Ella Rockart ’23 Untitled Eve Montie ’20 Revolution Jasper Saco ’22 First breath after Mira Bohannan Kumar ’24 Untitled Self-Portrait Aniela Cohig ’24 Untitled Self-Portrait Riya Balachandran ’24 SEOUL at 10:47 PM Yoon Lim ’23 Shadows On My Roof at Night Artemisia Luk ’21 Skatergirls Bell Pitkin ’23
40 42 44 45 46 48 50 52 56
25 the city takes a nap 26 Here Is a Story That Does Not Begin with Love 27 Untitled 28 Returned to Sea 29 Interior Lives 30 Winter in Greece 31 in winter 32 Winter 33 Untitled (NYE) 34 Refill 35 Turn. Turn. Turn. 36 milk & cookies 37 Spencer 38 Saved 39 a gentler phoenix Towards Eden That Happy Feeling Comes and Goes The Times Machine Mom & Dad After We Loaded the Car (March 14, 2020) What Holds Us Together quarantine Room Artist Statements Masthead
Tarini Sinha ’22 Kaitlyn Wang ’23 Eve Montie ’20 Riya Balachandran ’24 Natalie Marshall ’21 Laura Chin ’23 Laura Chin ’23 Aniela Cohig ’24 Bell Pitkin ’23 Madeline Hudalla ’21 Angelina Li ’23 Nicolette Decker ’24 Margaux Allen ’22 Cheryl Wang ’23 Van An Trinh ’24 Ella Rockart ’23 Elizabeth Huang ’24 Angelina Li ’23 Grace Ramsdell ’22 Kendra Tanacea ’88 Lia James ’21 Joy Li ’23
i EVA KNAGGS
ELEGY FOR A SENIOR YEAR Katie Christoph
There’s a sign a hundred yards down the street from my house that reads: Wellesley Road. I pass it nearly every day on my drive home. The day I moved here and drove past that sign for the first time, I stopped, turned around, and inspected it again. Of course. The one September I can’t go back to Wellesley, Wellesley finds its way back to me. Wellesley Road connects Maple Street and Lester Road. It is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it through road dotted with small houses on either side. That first day, I turned down the road to see where it would lead. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it leads, well, somewhere—and that when you make it to the end of Wellesley Road and take a right (and a right and a right), you end up there again. You can’t go back down Wellesley Road the way you came—it’s a one way street—but you can always come back around. For the past three years, I’d always known I’d be back every September. Three clicks and I’m home, making my way through the Quad again. The euphony of all the lives we’ve ever lived contained within the walls of Beebe, Shafer, and Cazenove spills out the windows and over me like the golden hour sun. I pass the Davis on a late afternoon and it glows an arid red-orange, inferno. Lake Waban beckons, asks me to find the penny I tossed in that first night. First year, first tradition.
My first September in recent memory without Wellesley is uncanny. I grieve the small moments that constituted a life: the candy dish on Founder’s third, the magnolia off Paramecium Pond that embraces each April with a dusty pink kiss, my yearly ritual of adopting a succulent that falls victim to my negligence by mid-October (every time). Saying, “We should get lunch next week!” to a friend crossed on the long walk from Clapp to Shafer and never following up. Beholding this wondrous place and being beheld in return.
Wellesley Road is the closest I will be to Wellesley until February of next year, knock on wood. By then, it will have been one whole year since the last time I was on campus. It will feel like an even twenty. When I left to spend seven months in Germany, I’d desperately needed to get away. Wellesley had burned me, and in some ways, I felt I’d burned Wellesley too. I needed space in the way that you do even from a most beloved friend or partner. I love you, but I need to go on a long walk, alone. Leave the porch light on, I’ll be back soon.
Any other year and senior year is an exaltation. It’s the black robes you wear to the first day of class on a late summer morning that say: Look how far I’ve come, look at where I’m going. I watched 2020, 2019, and 2018 dazzle us each first day, thinking: One, two, three years, that’s me. It wasn’t. The first in a long line of traditions that will never be. “Sorry, no [insert tradition of your choice here] this year. But there will be more years at Wellesley.” Not for all of us, no. Instead, this year is a cruel last, a lamentation, a onetwo punch. And the dominoes fall.
My long walk away from Wellesley became an exodus. For the last time, I am ready to go home.
Wellesley is a through-road, the transient “now” that connects my “before” to my “after.” I am grieving a place I was never meant to hold for too long anyway.
Blinds on Irving Street 3 & 1 ARTEMSIA LUK
wegman’s after “Our Beautiful Life When It’s Filled with Shrieks” by Christopher Citro
KIKI CHEN We are in the produce section. There are pineapples, which makes me say Did you know on pineapple farms they put hats on the baby pineapples to protect them from the sun? And I realize from your noncommittal hmm that I have told you this before probably every single time pineapples were relevant between the two of us. How long will it take until you know all my fun facts? And how long until your stories become mine as well? In between shelves of organic Oreos I make fun of your lack of self-restraint when it comes to health brand Cheerios and you say of all the addictions in the world whole-wheat Honey Nut is far from the worst. We’re so much older than we used to be. I understand now that everybody in this supermarket has something making them permanently sad. And all we can do is smile as our carts pass between the aisles and say sorry with our eyes. This morning I watched robins swoop across our lawn and thought about this moment, me watching you push past the instant cake mixes like they personally spat on your face. How long ago was the old-fashioned way just the only way to do things? Before microwave dinners, I bet. Before people ever tried to patent love and pineapples still got sunburnt and we were young without even knowing it. Before I realized that I could go to grocery stores without you but I didn’t want to if I could help it.
Aubade, September Heather Corbally Bryant Lecturer, Writing Program
September rains awaken me—drizzling sounds are comforting— Pitter pattering on the peaked roof of my house—I am changing, New cells growing, others dividing—if all of life is a process, I Am no longer at the beginning—let us begin at the beginning, We say—on your leaving, I wonder, not for the first time, am I Dreaming—were you just here, sleeping beside me—or did I make you up, entirely, out of whole cloth, as the cliché goes— It all seems a dream now—the marriage, our union, that’s why We got married, you say, because we want to spend our lives Together—and we laugh til we cry—pavement slickens and I Know how I am changing, growing, breathing beside you—
Low Tide HAL
Cages Lidewij Florusbosch My body is a cage. Trapping me. Encasing me. Nothing feels comfortable anymore. is for and feels not is a one. my right. a too trap. Everything soul I word much. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m too are need in I stuck small. shattering. to my am here My Not drift. vocabulary. waiting jerking brain a No No for trying wants bearable sound compromises the to freedom position. sight for end get from People touch my of out. The should for body all I sensations be this and of Cannot stay here. When can computers hold my consciousness? I am ready for this.
Pandemic: Pantoum RONG WU In my flute class, I learned how to do a finger breath. Inhale—feel the air struggle through my fingers— my ribcage expands, fills with sound and life. Exhale—the air becomes a slow, sprightly sigh. Inhale—feel the air struggle through the mask— and sometimes, I can’t breathe. Exhale—a vacuum forms, a vacancy inside of me— I’m gasping to thrust my head above water. Sometimes, I simply can’t breathe. The air is stale with current events, catastrophes while I gasp for normalcy, whatever the word means (perhaps a dream unconsumed by fear and grief). The air is stale with current events, catastrophes but We’ve managed thus far. No need for the heroic. A dream consumed by fear and sorrow eventually dissipates at Dawn’s footsteps. We’ve managed thus far. No need for the heroic. Let us do a finger breath again, together, and the stale air dissipates at Dawn’s footsteps. Let our rib cages expand, We are sound and life.
Late Summer Lucy Liversidge Follow the road from the Middle East To the Middle West 66 miles Northwest of Detroit To find my Grandpa and his small dog Back from the morning walk Coming in through the adjoining garage To greet his family. His wife is waving around a baking sheet Of golden steaming Kadeh But she will offer him none “Hand over those pastries” he pleads Still she smiles and shakes her head “These are all for me, these are none for you” She laughs and the jest is betrayed Grandpa sits down and plays dead Only the thud of a baking sheet revives him This antidote smells like black tea and cardamom My grandpa asks jokingly if there is any coffee to wash it all down Though he sees a fresh cup set before him And grandma flings all the cabinets open Only to report “we’re fresh out” This is how I imagine the sunrise in Flint Calling my grandma in Papua New Guinea Her voice is making the sound of white froth in sea water Her voice is being tossed Against the shore And then the sound of a gong in precious metal Going ong-ong-ong-ong-onggg She’s holding that picture of her husband
In boxing gloves, in a match With an upright kangaroo She tells me Christmas is coming And I say I could smell it on her Ginger molasses cookies that she’ll ship overnight That way the cookies will gain a day She explains to me the way the Earth turns on its head The evening sunsets witness all this and pass on These women died this year And death becomes redundant In all its resonances, halos, vibrations But mostly echoes As grief can’t be exchanged for another place’s currency Meanwhile the sun made all this honey But it’s stuck in the clouds So we make tea and bake biscuits Holding the fine China out the window fishing for syrup Preparing to be stuck together There will be nectar in our ears, lining our sleeves, in our aqueducts, cluttering up our inboxes, in the organ pipes This is how the sun sets in Babylon
Shark Week Brynne Ruark
cw: Eating Disorder
after “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
Count out your almonds before you eat them—twenty-four for a meal, seven for a snack, though really you shouldn’t be eating snacks; count them again, just to make sure, and then again because three is a safe number and two is not; don’t eat more than three pieces of fruit a day; an apple has nineteen grams of sugar, did you know that?; eat your fat-free plain Greek yogurt out of a coffee cup—one of those paper ones they have in the dining hall— so you know you’re only eating eight ounces, maybe less; instead of buying smaller ones, roll up your jeans at the waist; eat your eggs hard-boiled, never scrambled; fried? are you kidding me?; this is how you turn down dinner invitations; this is how you fall asleep at three in the afternoon, because when you’re sleeping you don’t have to eat and you don’t have to think; don’t eat anything you don’t prepare yourself; but what about restaurants?; do you want to be thin or not?; tell the dining hall manager you’re vegan, to convince him to cook your food without butter; when the doctor says you have an eating disorder, tell her it’s just “disordered eating”; this is how you run a half-marathon with your shoes untied; this is how you do lunges in the stairwell of the humanities building, after your evening seminar; this is how you write an English paper when you’re so hungry you forget basic words, like “acceptance”; wear your workout clothes to bed so you don’t waste time getting dressed in the morning—time is calories is money; eat in your dorm’s bathroom, then hide the wrappers in the metal box where other girls throw away their tampons (not you, though—you haven’t had your period in
months); never drink—alcohol has calories; pot’s okay, but definitely don’t eat when you’re high; what about parties?; do you want to be thin or not?; this is how you run three miles; this is how you run six, nine, twelve; the more you run, the less of you there will be, and the less of you there is, the more you will matter; this is how you run through stop lights, because if you stop you’ll burn fewer calories; would you rather get hit by a car or get fat?; this is how you run so fast even your own body can’t catch you; you know the Greek, right? an- = without, orexis = appetite, anorexia = without appetite; so why do you dream about food every night?; try on bulimia for size: bous= ox, limos = -hunger, bulimia = ox hunger; you’re as huge as an ox; really think you can trust yourself around food?; drink three cups of water before bingeing, then eat three scoops of ice cream after; I don’t even like ice cream!; so? you’re going to throw it all up anyway; use three fingers because just one doesn’t work and two is unlucky, we went over this; this is how you eat peanut butter out of the jar when you don’t have a spoon; this is how you lose the bracelet your therapist gave you, when you left treatment for the first time: in the crevice between bed and wall, which your arms are too fat to reach into; this is how you avoid your dad’s eyes when he picks you up from the hospital; this is how you avoid the cashier’s eyes when you put the chips, the cookies, the six-pack of coke, and the bottle of laxatives on the counter; this is how—what do you mean you want to get better?; what do you mean you don’t want me?
Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ennui Kazu Shimada
cw: Violence and Suicide
I used to be terrified of ants Cheryl Wang
until one day I happened to pinch one in between my fingers—by fearful accident —and realized I had not squished it; it was still twitching when I flung it away, its legs splayed wide and body grotesquely misshapen but not destroyed. See, when flies are flattened by books and broom handles (but never fingers) whatever repulsive beauty is gone immediately when the form is lost and the body becomes nothing but liquified mush, like Cameron after they scraped whatever was left of him from the tracks. There was a clearing on the hill above the station where you could see everything—the hazmat suits, the pressure washer—and we all craned our necks to see what was left of him out of teenage bravado and morbid curiosity—until the police chased us away and we slunk back
to the shadows we had emerged from. They came too late. When they talked about him afterwards I forgot his smile but not how the red of his shirt lay fifteen feet away from the lower half of the body; when they shooed away a fly I remembered the splotchy green stain that remained on the tablecloth no matter how many times I scrubbed it. But when my sister played whack-a-mole with the ant infestation in her room, the bodies piled up in the corner seemed to be so at peace and undisturbed that I envied them. In the coming years, the exoskeletons shrunk and withered (as all things do), but one could almost imagine that they would pick themselves up at any moment and march out in stately rows; an immortal legion of a time long lost.
CHIMERA (or, TRANSITIONING) Ella Rockart There was a willow on the town green when I was a child the perfect space for small hands and mosquito bites, a place to sit and say who are you? who are you? who lives inside my body? They tore it down when they built the park but I go there sometimes still when I’m lonely for all the places I’ve never been and longing for more than Carolina and I ask the same questions, who eats my food and sleeps in my bed, who loves all the people I have ever loved. I think I knew her once, this woman who shared my skin. She and I were like twins suspended in my body’s shell singing the same songs, carrying the same school books and all the same longings. When I absorbed her into that vital bouillabaisse of my blood and breathing she went willing, soft. She showed no remorse for leaving me behind chimera, a hybrid thing unable to match my skin to the heart inside of me. She’s really gone, now, I think, but all the things she knew still know me her cups in my mother’s cabinet, her books still have a place on my shelf. there’s no time to mourn, really, and I don’t have the energy to try I have to pack her things, now, and bury her beneath the space left by our willow find a way to tell my family that I am leaving her behind. I think of her sometimes, on top of the mountain or by the lake but no longer in my body I am sorry, I tell her later, I have outgrown you in this life.
Untitled Eve MontiE
First breath after Mira Bohannan Kumar
She said who else do you know who needs air to survive? The end of the world drops into aether, or fire. Watch as sickness spreads, as a falling stone sends ripples through disturbed water by stealing breath from other lungs. Collapse; music; tasting a bitter vindication. We needed air to survive and it meant that outside the window, leaves sprout from wood; birds sing and up comes the sun which the first people must have thought dropped at night into aether, or fire.
Untitled Self-Portrait Aniela Cohig
Untitled Self-Portrait Riya Balachandran
SEOUL AT 10:47 PM Yoon Lim the city that never sleeps has taught itself the impurity of darkness, bears the scar of seared skin, slashes of open wounds, the city watches the regeneration, fading white and skin, touching them tenderly does the city not see gaunt cheekbones? sweaty palms gripping bus handles tightly, body frames shattering against another, noiseless cries? does the city not see the skyscrapers of people of desks and coffee mugs reaching deep into sleepless nights making ends work scraping documents peddling scripting rushing, consoled by each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abuse, comforted by the office across the street, the bridge, the river, the sick bulb that flickers with hope.
Shadows on My Roof at Night Artemisia Luk
Skatergirls Bell Pitkin
the city takes a nap TARINI SINHA
she is bursting at the seams. she is clinging to her blue plastic tarps, and cracked coconuts with matchstick straws, paper ice cream cups mango, custard apple, chikoo, her bricks, her taxis, her auto rickshaws yellow and black and blue held tight against her chest. she purges herself of us, casts us away to our bleached marble floors lined with dust and lemon soap, our onion ginger garlic turmeric tomato paste pressure cooker lives, compels us to leave her while she sunbathes, cleanses, naps.
Here Is a Story That Does Not Begin with Love Kaitlyn Wang
It begins, instead, with a boy holding his breath at the bottom of a pool, counting 41, 42, 43. Chlorine, used bandaid, toddler pee. Goggles not yet fogged, arms wrapped around bent knees. This is a dream suspended in a June afternoon, when trying to remember means watermelon seeds. The flesh all crunched and chewed with the rinds gnawed clean. Smushed ketchup smile and artificial meat. Again, this is not a story that begins with love. It begins with seagulls rummaging for garbage feasts. Or leaves torn down their spines, pieces scattered on concrete. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the still air, the still there, that times this story just right (right?) for it to end when the boy bursts out of water. All the other kids are gone. Their goggles remain floating: plastic black, blue, and pink. The sky has turned dark green.
Untitled Eve MontiE
Returned to Sea Riya Balachandran
mother, if I crawl back into the sea, will the waves crash over my back, washing away my sin, softly forgiving me if I reek of foreign soil and charred olive leaves is it too late still to seek repentance at your feet I no longer long to be good, only to rest to lay my crown in the folds of your cascades for my face to mar in the thorns of your nest for the tide to pull me back, away from all that there ever was or ever will be mother, if I crawl back into the sea, I will give up my air, for why would I need to breathe in the dark you can rock me back to sleep
Interior Lives Natalie Marshall
Winter in Greece Laura Chin
in winter Laura Chin you taught me the difference between kumquats and loquats, between sour pulp and small seeds and sweet, sticky fingers and smooth, round, chestnut brown. and the loquat branches trembled high in the marbled blue, bare and gold in the light, and kumquats dripped from the scrawny tree in the terracotta pot by the ping pong table and that rusted car and the three padlocks and the grill and the clock that could never tell time. in spring you brought two plastic grocery bags full of golden dewdrops, honey sweet and sticky to our house. I spit the seeds in a cup under my bed, and by the next morning, their smooth, round, chestnut brown was wrinkled with age, and I threw them out, and I never told you. one summer I baked a cake with three friends and while it cooled we danced on dry grass and filled our pockets with kumquats from the tree by the pool to make jam. and when no one was looking, I took a bite and I wondered why you never told me that the skin is sweet.
autumn brought me to a city of stars and stale apples dry oranges and bruised pears, and I longed for the half-eaten jar of jam in the top left corner of the fridge. but I walked among the fading, flaming maples, and I heard you on the phone, and I told myself that we had time. this winter was the coldest and darkest, the first snow and clear midnight skies, mugs of cider and steam, early morning bus to the airport. first flight over sleepy cities and rolling fields and branching trees, and somewhere in California, where kumquats and blood clots grow side by side, and the doctors couldn’t tell what was left of our time. spring is a strange place to end a story — forgive me, for I am no poet. the loquat branches have just begun to stoop, heavy with fruit, within reach of fingers soon to be sticky. in June we’ll drive to your new home with two plastic grocery bags full of kumquats, and when no one is looking I’ll take a bite and let the sour pulp pinch my cheeks and I’ll spit out the seeds by your grave and tell you that I love you.
Winter Aniela Cohig
biologically, lasts four years I’m smothered in the lavender-green of an unexpected rainstorm. Dad’s rental car idles by Lake Erie and you’re just another product of a starless midsummer. I wonder if I am or if I only want to be and on the airplane home I scurry through the shifting sky to the tiny bathroom mirror, glare at a gelatinous cylinder of flesh pocked with unwelcome freckles. I start a paperback but stop after ten pages because if I think I know I will think again. In my dream last night you cut all your hair off and threw it into a bathtub but I don’t remember why or how and I woke up with my forehead leaking water onto sticky hotel bed sheets (because the thermostat was set too high). I stopped believing in astrology because it makes me sad but I checked your horoscope and mine out of habit then forgot what they said
Untitled (NYE) Bell petkin
Refill Madeline Hudalla
Turn. Turn. Turn. ANGELINA LI The key spins. Notes trickle out, silvery as a nightingale’s song. The music box is a glass ball on a pedestal. Inside, a figurine ballerina twirls on one leg. Her left arm wrapped around a violin, her right fingers curled around a bow. With perfect balance, she draws her bow back and forth. Back and forth. The mechanical motions of a song without its soul. The glass ball is glacial to the touch, yet the ballerina’s breaths do not fog the crystal’s wall. There is no air inside. If only she could shiver. At last, a note breaks off. The ballerina blinks. Turn. Turn. Turn. The key spins again. The song repeats. The ballerina tries very hard to let her fingers slip. Miss a note, pick up a heartbeat. Turn. Turn. Turn. The key spins yet again. The ballerina wobbles very slightly. She pulls her arm with all her might. She blinks furiously. She twitches and twirls. An ugly note emerges like a raven’s cry. The song halts. The ballerina drops her arms. She stands still. Ragged breaths turn into gentle fog on her glass wall. For a heartbeat, she steals the silence for herself. Then the key spins again, and the song restarts. And the ballerina tries again. And again. And again. She will steal the song for herself.
milk & cookies Nicolette Decker
if you break me, i won’t snap neatly in half with a clean, smooth line— crack— two halves easily. i’ll crumble and leave your fingers all buttery. i’ll lie at your feet and cry that you so easily tore me apart.
Spencer MARGAUX ALLEN
Saved Cheryl Wang
Grandma sends me pictures of the lotus blossoms in Chengdu. I save them dutifully, in the iCloud, as I do with all things she sends these days. I have become a master of religious clicking. Nothing is spared, even the flashy tabloid articles that I will never read. After that, I take screenshots of our conversations and record the audio messages with my computer. The playback is hardly perfect but at least the important things are presentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;namely, her scratchy voice, the sound of the big city in the background. She must be grocery shopping at the current momentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I hear the sound of the cashier beeping, and then a child coughing. I send her a message asking if she is wearing a mask. She is, she says, and tells me not to worry about it. I frown, and then take another screenshot including the new message. My friends are rather laissez faire in their attitudes about the looming ban. Some say it will only affect big businesses and government officials. Others talk about how I will still be able to access everything except for Wechat Pay. I ask Grandma to download WhatsApp, but she brushes me off with the characteristic stubbornness of her generation. You are worrying too much, she texts. Focus on your studies.
I save that message too. At night, I think about a lot of things. It will be three or four years until I will be able to see her again in person, or even longer if US-China tensions worsen. The very last time I saw her, the summer before last, she had cradled my face in her hands, as if memorizing the curves of my jaw. Your face is so round, she laughed, and leaned in to rub her leathery cheek against mine. I leaned in, breathing in the faint smell of ginger. Memory and smell are intertwined, I read once in my freshman biology class in high school. In English, it is called olfactory memory. The smell stays in your mind far longer than images and words, until the momentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a brief breeze, the muggy summer heat, her fingers squeezing patterns on my skinâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is distilled into a single, pure, memory. What happens next is not quite as vivid: my dad calling from the rental car for me to hurry up, and me, laughing and pulling away, promising to come back slimmer the next summer. I look away and do not turn back. I wake up with more messages. My baby cousin taking a few tentative steps before falling flat on her face. Her garbled attempts at pronouncing my name. I am supposed to be there, I think as I download the videos, and the thought is numb.
There is no new information on the news when I search up the ban. I half wonder if it is real, or merely a bad dream. Maybe the president has forgotten. The bill sits on his desk, hidden under a stack of unsigned proposals, and some hapless intern will throw it out with the morning coffee. Any news? I text a group of friends. They shrug. They are not worried. There is QQ, or VPN, and illicit downloading websites already being offered on Baidu. I save the links for future reference. The next morning, I call Grandma. She is already talking about seeing me next year. She shows me the bed that I slept in when I visited, with its majestic pink mosquito nets. Is waiting for you, she says in broken English, and laughs, before switching back to Mandarin. When does your dad say that you will be coming this summer? I text Dad. He tells me not to get my hopes up. Grandma does not understand the implications of global politics. She is Chinese, and I am American, and we are divided by virtue of 7,000 miles and the enmity of those playing far greater games. I must remember this. I text back, o.k., and save his words to memory.
I once fell, face-first, onto the perfect circle of my family’s koi pond. Against all expectations, my eyes were open and stayed open, glued to the brightly painted, patterned skin swimming just inches from my face. I was five, I remember, because only a five year old could ever look at something so simple as a fish with absolute, reverent awe.
a gentler phoenix Van An Trinh
Grandma found me right as I scrambled out of the water. “There you are,” she scolded. “What have you been doing here? And what is that black thing on your face?” She put her spectacles on and squinted at the tip of my nose. And there it was. One baby koi fish, delicately balanced, bright blue fins with spots of white and vermillion. The moment stretched and passed in silence, as Grandma’s eyes widened into a look of remorse. “It seems like you’ve found your grandfather.” I stared at her quizzically. “Isn’t he in the living room?” She smiled, and let out a hearty laugh. “No, treasure, he’s your father’s father. This,” she pointed to the fish, “is your mother’s father.” Her face softened. “And that will be me one day, too.” Grandma gingerly took the tiny koi fish— shining under the lamplight—from my face.
Eyebrows furrowed, she wiped away a film of iridescent green on its skin. I reached out, childlike curiosity and all, to feel the slippery dust underneath my fingertips. “What’s that?”
I could never see. They would have been sallow and rigid with rigor mortis, but still very much real in the flesh. Even that would be warmly welcomed, when all I have left are blurred memories on an endless loop.
“It’s just algae,” Grandma sighed. “These little things somehow double every morning. See these little circles?” I nodded. “The moment the sunlight hits them, they somehow split in two, except each of the pieces is as big as the original one. I don’t know how I missed this; we’ll have to clean the whole pond up before it gets out of hand.”
In mourning, the house now reeks of a thick incense. I can’t concentrate amid the smell; can’t bear to lay my eyes on an evergrowing mountain of work. I come back to the garden in search of solace; as I slide its glass door open, it creaks loudly out of disuse. In my hand is the bag with the little koi fish. They’re frantically squirming to the edge of the plastic, as I move ever-closer to the pond they will know as home. Dust is sprinkled all over the surrounding rocks. It’s only right for me to clean it—along with the rest of the garden—in her memory.
“Aww,” my shoulders heaved in disappointment. “But it all looks so pretty!” “It only looks beautiful under the light. But your grandfather can’t see it from down there.” Grandma gently slipped the fish under the pond’s surface. “In fact, when the algae covers the whole pond, he can’t breathe or see anything at all.” I’d like to imagine that those were her parting words. Never mind that it happened twelve years ago; the past few weeks have been twelve years in themselves. But after that night, I never asked Grandma about the garden she stayed fond of until she could no longer maintain it. I wish I did, though—especially with the three newborn fish I’m now holding. I look at them, bought newly born at the aquatic garden this afternoon, and prod them through the plastic bag. Three fish for three bodies
Tonight, the pond is split into two halfmoons. One half of its surface is plain old pond water, dark blue under the stars; the same liquid that I remember splashing my face into all those years ago. The other semicircle is coloured a bright, iridescent green. As I kneel towards the water, fishlings at the ready, I notice sunlight peeking from the edges of the ground.
TOWARDS EDEN Ella Rockart Made a ginger-bug today, brown sugar and the fresh grated root tanging and sweet behind the cool eyes of twin jars. Next summer I will fill your arms with chickasaw cherries and we’ll make wine in the storm cellar where my great-granddaddy used to keep chickens in the winter to lay their smooth brown eggs behind the boiler. For now, a ginger-bug: the rest will come if it’s right. I am learning to be frugal with my wishes; not expecting the chickens or the cherries or even you —tho I hope you’ll be there— to see the ways I have learned not to waste the good things that pass along my fingers; to scrape the pectin out of peach pits, to start the woodstove with lint and the fingerling tips of candles, to stop and ask things of others, to stop running away. I am patient, now. I have outgrown that fledgling desire to gather, to leave nothing fallow. If I were born, again, as Adam, I would eat unquestioning from your hand— no God nor garden could offer me anything quite as sweet.
That Happy Feeling Comes and Goes (sculpture)
The Times Machine Angelina Li In Year 3020, twelve spaceships left Beacon, New Haven star system with forty-three thousand databases of historical records from pre-space Earth. Many of these databases contain first person accounts of the inaugural Internet, the first iteration of what was then known as “the World Wide Web” or, even more figuratively, “the Cloud.” It is through the strands of this early, archaic ‘web’ that I will take a special interest in exploring Earth’s 21st century timelines, most notably those that branches from Year 2020’s coronavirus plague.
then pressure on governments to establish havens on Mars in the twenty-third century led to the first colonies.” She took a deep breath, then tried to barrel on.
Etna paused in her writing and looked out her window as the Seeker Space Station rotated. Her pale reflection gazed back, a lonely spectre.
“Right.” Etna sighed.
She heard a smooth chirp behind her, the sound of someone at the door. The entry panels slid back unprompted and her fellow researcher Joul marched through. “Still up?” they said, “What are you working on?” “Twenty-first century Earth,” Etna said without turning around. “Another family project?” Etna was slightly annoyed. “Yes, I know my ancestors are from Earth, but this one’s on the coronavirus pandemic.” “I would have looked at the first Mars colonies in the twenty-fourth century,” Joul remarked off-handedly. Etna had a lot to say about that too. “You could easily say that one led to the other. Earth’s considerable advancements in epidemiology in the twenty-first century contributed to the biowarfare of the twenty-second century, and
But Joul stopped her with a wave of their hand. “Oversimplification—we do enough of that during the day already.”
What she was just working on was only a side project. Both her and Joul’s day jobs were Times researchers, historians who combed through thousands of years of history to feed into the Times Machine, which ran through their sorted anthropological data to mathematically construct “predicted timelines” for the future. Questions like what event led to another filled their minds during work and spilled into their off-hours. Joul took a seat next to Etna and scrolled through the database she was looking at, tapping nervously with one foot. Etna pretended to ignore them, but secretly she didn’t mind their company. Joul bent over her writing and highlighted the word “timelines,” then wrote a little note beside it. All histories are not one. History, the singular, is a construct. Etna heaved a little air through her nose. It was the mantra of Times historians, the truth of their work as well as its counter-truth. It was ironic that they streamlined one history for the benefit of constructing alternate histories. And it was precisely why the pre-Times intrigued
Etna. Histories back then must have felt organic. Etna could see Joul out of the corners of her eyes, pointedly hovering about after the small talk. Joul stood still, pressed their hands together as the seconds ticked by, then bursted out, “Actually, I want you to see something.” “Hmm?” Etna didn’t draw her attention away from the databases. “It’s pressing.” Maybe it’s the way that Joul said it, the way that their voice had gone dark and deep, all hints of humour gone, that made Etna afraid to turn around. She blinked hastily. When she was ready to face Joul, she found them waiting at the door, the panels already sliding open. The two walked silently down the familiar hallway that led to a circular room that hosted the Times Machine. Etna didn’t ask where to go. If Joul had said it was pressing, been hesitant to admit that something was wrong, and waited until after work to find her, it could only mean one thing. The Times Machine had made an outrageous prediction. And a terrible one. Etna thought of pandemics and the fear that comes with not knowing what comes next. It jolted her heart. Made her afraid to take the next step, or even the next breath. She quickly reminded herself that whatever the Times Machine had predicted, she would soon have knowledge of. And everything would soon be fine. The two paused before the door. Joul gave Etna a little shove.
The room was walled with a single monitor, and it read: New Times Machines have been built beyond New Haven. They have new pasts, new presents, new futures. A thousand years from now, theirs will be the only histories. Silence collected in the room. Etna could sense Joul watching her. She reached out one tentative hand toward the monitor, as if that would do anything. Her hand shook. “Which timeline is this?” She asked, even as she knew the answer. “All of them. Ours.” “No. No, that can’t be it. We’ve got to look back further, find records we haven’t found, make other predictions. We just got these new databases, I can—” She started to head back, but Joul blocked her way. Joul made a throaty sound. Etna looked at them, looked at them for so long that she memorized the soft lines around their eyes, the exact brown of their pupils and skin, the tense thinness of their lips. Memories that no Times Machine could predict or erase. Then Joul’s lips parted in a question. “When you looked at Earth’s 21st century, what year did you start in?” “The year 2030, our current year,” Etna said weakly. She swallowed. “To look at histories from where we are, isn’t that our job?” “But what have you left out of our histories?” Etna couldn’t answer.
Mom & Dad After We Loaded the Car (March 14, 2020) GRACE RAMSDELL
WHAT HOLDS US TOGETHER Kendra Tanacea CLASS OF 1988
the white space between stanzas what’s between the lines written in lemon juice hold this page close to a light bulb my invisible script will darken explaining more eloquently how it’s as clear as the glue holding together this spine
quarantine Lia James
â&#x20AC;&#x153;i like it better at night,â&#x20AC;? you whispered in my ears and the white noise of our shifting brown bodies filled the small space. your words fell soundlessly to the folds of our bedsheets my lips offering no coherent response. as the promise of tomorrow faded with the late-afternoon sun so, too, did the space between us. a partnered life reduced to 8 walls 4 legs 2 rooms 1 bed and a kitchen hastily filled with food that promised not to spoil. and nothing existed outside of those walls and i wondered aloud why the night beckoned you so. and you told me that the world is bigger in the dark and that the night affords you the luxury of living between the lines of infinity without the prerequisite of closed eyes. and the threatening permanence of our blissful purgatory refused to materialize in that moment. suddenly, an apology on behalf of the universe spilled unprompted from my lips.
suddenly, i wanted nothing more than to sweep you out of our eight-walled prison and to regain the mundanity of our long-forgotten everyday lives. in the valleys of our bedsheets i built you a world of dentist appointments and morning commutes and market days and decorating the foyer. “we’ll go for drives and live humdrum lives and you’ll go back to school and we’ll get takeout for dinner and feel summer loves in the cold of midwinter. “and i’ll pick you up from class and take you home “and we’ll go to bed and marvel at the world and how it is somehow once again just as impossibly vast as we remember it being.”
“yes please,” you said.
the sun now disappeared, you allowed yourself to believe that there was a life worth living beyond those eight walls. “we can do all these things and more, my love. we will.”
“even if the sun is still up?”
Room Joy Li
Artist Statements Eva Knaggs iv (cover) & i (p. 1) I got into drawing a lot during the pandemic. It’s been a great way to conceptualize and process what’s going on, and with the absurdity of everything it’s easier to keep a visual, ephemeral log rather than a structured written one. Much less pressure. Easier to revisit. I’ve been mailing lots of drawings to my friends as well; that way at least pieces of us are together. I like sitting on their walls. Artemisia Luk Blinds on Irving Street 3 & 1 (p. 4) Shadows on My Roof at Night (p. 25) I am a senior MAS major from San Francisco, interested in photography and graphic design. For me, art is a way to create imaginary worlds and express anything that I find hard to express in words. My “Blinds on Irving Street” series came about as I was driving through the streets of my hometown with my mom this past summer, and I noticed some broken blinds on a house above me. The form of the blinds really intrigued me, because it felt like the blinds were embodying an emotion that I could relate to but couldn’t necessarily find a word for. I took a photo of them and played around with different compositions in Illustrator. Hal Low Tide (p. 7) Making art in 2020 has been a practice in isolation. This photo was shot on a tide stand that you can only access at low tide in coastal Alaska. My friend and I spent this summer working on a remote island there, which left us both feeling a little stranded. Brynne Ruark Shark Week (p. 11) I am part of the Class of 2023 here at Wellesley. I’ve always loved photography, but I recently got into digital editing and art. I wanted this piece to show a part of Wellesley we all recognize, but have an element that clearly looks and feels out of place, much like this semester does for many of us. Kazu Shimada L’ennui (p. 14) I am a sophomore that loves to wander around and draw in my free time. I am Japanese, and I have a lot of artists in my family (my grandmother was a pianist and my great uncles are potters and painters). I love drawing with pen and ink, and I spent a lot of time working on timeconsuming pieces (like “L’ennui”) during quarantine to amuse myself.
Eve Montie Untitled (p. 17) This collage piece captures the feeling I had while going through an old journal of mine, wherein I chronicled the first time I fell in love when I was 17. Reading this journal made me feel the emotions of a confused and turbulent queer teenager all over, and I felt a sense of nurturing towards my younger self in the times she hurt as well as an admiration for her willingness to be so enraptured by the joys of having a crush. Untitled (p. 29) This collage combines vintage stock images and contemporary fashion photography. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested in exploring the intersection of points in time through an image like thisâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the archetypical woman represented by the 1950s stock drawing continues to perform the motions of womanhood, and this ambiguous vision of a man could be her original 1950s partner or a more contemporary figure of power that is leading the dance, while expecting her performance of womanhood to remain the same. Jasper Saco Revolution (p. 18) As a Latinx, first-gen student interested in the arts, photography is incredibly important to me. I love being able to showcase my heritage through raw images, conveying my deep sadness for a lost country. This piece is in response to Che Guevaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s iconic war image, but reinvented with a Cuban woman, my friend, as the subject instead. It is meant to convey that the revolution is not done and Cuba will continue to change into a better place one day. Aniela Cohig Untitled Self-Portrait (p. 22) I was really drawn to self portraiture over quarantine because I often felt alone with myself and became deeply bored with my own body and personality, and one way I coped with this was trying to stare at my face for hours on end until I started to look like someone else. Through this, I created a lot of very detailed self-portraits which I think are kind of disconcerting to look at as I re-enter society and become more of a person in relation to other people again. This selfportrait reminds me of being alone. Riya Balachandran Untitled Self-Portrait (p. 23) This acrylic painting on canvas is an untitled self-portrait I worked on the day my senior year of high school officially ended. I wanted to capture the mixed emotions of that moment by focusing on contrasting vivid color theory with a more morose facial expression. While I typically enjoy creating more detailed backgrounds, I wanted to leave space for my facial expression to be the main subject of the work. Writing and painting has become therapeutic for me, now more than ever, so I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my work with you.
Artist Statements (continued) Bell Pitkin Skatergirls (p. 26) This piece was made in Adobe Photoshop with pictures I took on my iPhone and is a reflection on quarantine hobbies. Many of my friends and I have found sanctuary in the nightly ritual of skating. It brings friendship and connection in a time when those things can be hard to find. The unreality of the image is meant to heighten these thoughts. Untitled (NYE) (p. 35) This piece was made in Adobe Photoshop with film photos that were scanned and distorted. The piece presents a reflection on my hometown friendships and our changing perspectives. The photos were taken at the beginning of the year (New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day) before I knew what was to come. Perhaps they reflect somewhat of a calmness before the eventual storm. Natalie Marshall Interior Lives (p. 31) Photography has been one of my hobbies since I was a child. As I’ve grown it has continued to be an important creative outlet, as well as a source of solace and joy during challenging times. Because of limited options in terms of activities during this crazy time, I’ve turned to photography even more. Reflecting on the theme of 2020, I revisited photos that I took in February, before the chaos of March. Looking back, it seems like another lifetime. “Interior Lives” was taken in Scotland on a trip that I took at the end of February—the point in time I now look back on as the last moment of “normalcy.” Laura Chin Winter in Greece (p. 32) The title of this image is a reference to the chorus of “Persephone” by Sidney Gish, which includes the lines “Six pomegranate seeds, winter in Greece / Please don’t visit me, Persephone.” This photograph was taken in the middle of a sun-soaked, California summer, a context which is reflected in the vibrant colors and warm tones in the image. Yet, the half-eaten pomegranates in the foreground hint that, despite our protestations, Persephone has already doomed us to the coming winter. While somewhat tragic, the fact of winter also makes the summer months sweeter: something to cherish even as the sunlight fades and the last drops of pomegranate juice drip down our chins.
Madeline Hudalla Refill (p. 36) As a student from a home with an incarcerated parent, I wanted to highlight my personal experience with mental health issues in addition to familial substance abuse, which both worsened over the course of this year. I hope that my experience sheds light on and resonates with others who share a similarly difficult homelife in the midst of this uncertainty. Margaux Allen Spencer (p. 39) “Spencer” is a copy of the statue “David” by Michelangelo, but reimagined as a Harvard frat bro. My best friend had her heart broken by a Spencer who went to Harvard, so I drew this piece to make her feel better and laugh. Elizabeth Huang That Happy Feeling Comes and Goes (p. 45) “That Happy Feeling Comes and Goes” is a clay portrait sculpture demonstrating the mutability of happiness; the joyful smile-worn face of the sculpture is juxtaposed against the cracks in his veneer. These were created by letting new clay crack over the old and brushing the cracked portions with tinges of watercolor. Under the shadow of 2020, the COVID pandemic, and a tumultuous political landscape, it’s easy to lose ourselves maintaining falsely constructed public images of positivity. As a person who has spent her life battling with mental health and faking happiness to friends and family, I wanted to give a face to the voice saying, “Take a breath. It’s okay to stop smiling.” Grace Ramsdell Mom & Dad After We Loaded the Car (March 14, 2020) (p. 48) I made this photograph on black and white 35mm film right before getting into my parents’ car to leave Wellesley. I continue to feel so lucky that my mom and dad were able to come help me that day, and I appreciate having this image to remember the particular strangeness of the time. From my last days on campus in March to now, making images, especially of my family around me, has been an important part of how I process the pandemic and the varying degrees of isolation that it creates. Joy Li Room (p. 53) I am an international student who was left on campus last spring, and this is a photo I took when most students had left.
Masthead Editors-in-Chief Alyssa Robins ‘22 Sara Lucas ‘22 Treasurers Anastasia Kondrashin ‘23 Lucy Liversidge ‘24 Senator Sherley Maximin ‘22 Community Chairs Events Manager Brynne Ruark ‘23
Web Chair Anna Lieb ‘24
Social Media Chair Claire Cheek ‘22
Community Outreach Chair Gabriella Garcia ‘22
Layout Editors tiffany chu ‘22 Layout Consultant Audrey Lin ‘22 Poetry Editors Abby Martinage ‘24 Cheryl Minde ‘24 Art Editors Grace Ramsdell ‘22 Joy Li ‘24 Prose Editors Diana Daniela Padrón ‘24 Alex Ewing DS ‘22 Publicity Chairs Kelsey Dunn ‘21 Mari Kramer ‘23
Cover Art iv by EVA KNAGGS ‘22
Poetry Board Julia Barton-Biegelsen ‘23 Katherine Dalton ‘24 Brooke Dodrill ‘23 Taylor Doke ‘22 Jacqueline Galison ‘23 Gabriella Garcia ‘22 Hazel Kevlihan ‘23 Hannah Kim ‘24 Mari Kramer ‘23 Angelina Li ‘23 Lucy Liversidge ‘24 Laila Pearson ‘22 Grace Ramsdell ‘22 Ella Rockart ‘23 Yuling Sun ‘24 Blythe Terry ‘23 Isabella Tjan ‘24 Rong Wu ‘24 Emilie Zhang ‘24 Ann Zhao ‘24
Art Board Genevieve Fisher ’21 Regina Gallardo ’23 Michela Gerardin ’21 Victoria Ho ’24 Abby Martinage ’24 Roxie Miles ’23 Diana Padrón ’24 Brynne Ruark ’23 Kaitlyn Severin ’24 Jules Spector ‘23 Blythe Terry ’23 Prose Board Julia Barton-Biegelsen ‘23 Lorelei Blau ‘24 Katherine Dalton ‘24 Fia ‘24 Jacqueline Galison ‘23 Michela Gerardin ‘21 Hannah Kim ‘24 Angelina Li ‘23 Elaine Liu ‘24 Lucy Liversidge ‘24 Abby Martinage ‘24 Aliea Nallbani ‘24 Yuling Sun ‘24 Blythe Terry ‘23 Van An Trinh ‘24 Adelle Wang ‘24 Rong Wu ‘24 Ann Zhao ‘24
With special thanks to Wellesley College Printing Services & the Wellesley College Art and English departments Please send submissions to email@example.com All works are selected through an anonymous submissions process. Submissions are open to Wellesley students, faculty, and alumnx. For more information, please visit www.thewellesleyreview.org