The Wellesley Review
Issue 22 | Spring 2019
Cover Design Self Portrait | Artemesia Luk ‘21
Editors in Chief Cheryn Shin ‘21 Sanjana Thakur ‘20 Prose Board Udita Bajaj ‘22 Tessa Rudolph ‘22 Poetry Board Sara Lucas ‘22 Lulu Al Saud ‘21 Art Board Abby Ow ‘21 Tiffany Chu ‘22 Community Chairs Esther Fan ‘22 Tiffani Ren ‘19
Masthead Layout Editors Taylor Balfour ‘21 Audrey Lin ‘22 Senator Alyssa Robins ‘22 Publicity Chairs Cinji Lee ‘22 Juna Lee ‘21 Treasurers Jackie Xuan ‘20 Mehar Bhatia ‘21
Prose Board Dominique Mickiewicz ‘22 Lily Herold ‘22 Alyssa Robbins ‘22 Ella Mints ‘22 Sarah White ‘22 Kate Habich ‘22 Tiffany Chu ‘22 Jean Li Spencer ‘21 Tori Merkle ‘20 Poetry Stella Ho ‘22 Efua Akonor ‘21 Gabby Garcia Anya Keomurjian Katherine Paik Alyssa Robins Jean Li Spencer
Prose Board Dominique Mickiewicz ‘22 Lily Herold ‘22 Alyssa Robbins ‘22 Ella Mints ‘22 Sarah White ‘22 Kate Habich ‘22 Tiffany Chu ‘22 Jean Li Spencer ‘21 Tori Merkle ‘20 Stella Ho ‘22
Table of Contents
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Untitled Tara Kohli Little Women Sophie Saco Sun Tea Anna Cauthron Missing Summer Scarlett Cheon Self Portrait Annabella Gonzalez Unseasoned Sophie Saco Gunquits Megan McNally Starlight Olivia Akinsunmoye Snowflake Cheryn Shin Sempiternity Marinn Cedillo Senses :: Space Genevieve Fisher Wine Glass Seren Riggs-Davis Untitled Tara Kohli Untitled Andy Arrangoiz Simple and Tender Dissent Anonymous Porcelain Sarah White
21 22 23 25 26 27 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Untitled Anya Sheldon Just Paper Esther Fan Untitled Andy Arrangoiz This Winter Night Elisabeth Clemmons Untitled Tara Kohli Mariposa Ally Kim Hamlet in Charcoal Hajira Fuad Aubade Claire Cheek Jealousy is Futile Elizabeth Borecki Untitled Tara Kohli Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Leave Me Behind Alyssa Robins 2003 Alyssa Robins Asymmetry Sophia Saco Untitled Andy Arrangoiz June Julia Rappaport 24 Aug. 2018 Rey Spikener
Little women We are born and we cry and we marry and we die what is left for us little Women
Untitled Tara Kohli
It would begin with the sun tea. In mid-afternoon Mom set a glass pitcher of Lemon Zinger tea out to brew in a patch of sunlight on the back patio. After the golf tournament ended for the day, Dad rose from the faded denim couch to assemble the grilling materials. Charcoal, old newspapers, corroded chimney starter, matches. I was his proud assistant, as eager to please as I was terrified of striking matches. After several matchsticks thrown to the flagstones reflexively, I’d get it going, watching the flames disappear the newspaper. At this point Mom appeared at the back door, calling me to shuck the corn. The satisfying snap of the husks as I tore them away, the cool silk clinging to my fingers, the perfectly-arranged pale yellow beads revealed. Slick with olive oil, sprinkle with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, finish with grinds of pepper, wrap with foil. Hands greasy, move on to the next one. Dad might have grilled pork chops, or burgers, or barbecue chicken. I’d brave the thick, smotheringly warm Houston air to join him, to smell like smoke. Dad’s old polo shirt, whichever he wore at the time, always smelled like a campfire when I hugged him on Saturday nights in summer.
Watermelon preceded our al fresco suppers, a crucial step in whetting our appetites. No one loved it as much as I did, juice coating my face, inevitable pink stains appearing on my tank top.
Always citronella candles burned on the unsteady iron table, a necessity to ward off the insatiable mosquitoes. The thick scent flavored our meals, stronger than the lemon pepper, or cumin, or barbecue marinade of the grilled meat. We washed everything down with the sun tea, drinking deeply. Such memories (hundreds of them) laid atop each other, leaving One Midsummer’s Evening. Like so many film negatives, latent images coalescing. Summer.
Missing Summer Scarlett Cheon
Vivo al norte, Hialeah, Agua, fango, y factoria, Hialeah, you don’t progress fast enough; Decades of political trauma clouding your judgement, Thinking it’s better than it actually is, Seeing America through rose-colored lenses, Capitalism, the only alternative. Pero no ves la corrupción Pa’ mi, no hay diferencia entre Castro y Trump Cubans cast their ballots in me With hope, For a different future A Paris, La ville de mes rêves Your tallest monument still isn’t enough for me I see me, El futuro, Dark curly hair, Big gold hoops, Unapologetic, Cubana-Americana
El chisme y la sabrosura Is what’s missing, Waves crash en la casa de Dupont, Varadero calls my name, The sand under my toes feel like home — Hogar, mi isla I was born where you vacation, Where you exist for the sake of exploiting, Leaving behind a broken paradise; But the Sun shines brighter than ever Y mi gente me esperan With hope
C’est moi, Une jeune fille who constantly gets sus lenguajes confudidos; A walking paradox Living simultaneously in three places —
The melting pot boiled over because water can only melt so much; I am not an addict, but I know the addition of additives helps so much; I add cebollas to spice up the blandness of this life. I choose chorizo like your ancestors could churn butter. I pick bay leaves with Cuban pride. Don’t tell me what is sufficient because sufficiency isn’t validity – I am not here for your validation. The only imposters here are your taste buds playing at culture. My ancestors’ swam to set a legacy for every Usnavi; Your ancestors conquered those lands. The melting pot has long since boiled over, an overflow of bitterness, They lack ají, they lack color and themes; They fear what was once the land of dreams and prosperity; The West is not the gold mine – the Western World is broken. My rice and beans are tasteless and I have been stripped of identification at the borders; My only coronas left are the ones in Spain’s collection as a prize for their conquistas; My cumin is my cumin because it is colored too. Tell me why I should remain calm Because all I taste is unseasoned logic.
All my life, no summer has ever been complete without a trip to the beach in Ogunquit, Maine. Just close enough for a day trip: the kind where you’re ravenous upon arrival and must stop for sandwiches immediately, then sandy and damp upon departure, but too lazy to change out of your swimsuit. In the way of Maine beaches, it is either scalding hot or freezing on the banks, perennially frigid in the water, and considerably rocky. Perhaps out of habit, I prefer my beaches like this. That is to say, slightly inhospitable. Still, the beaches are long enough to walk for miles, and there’s a soft-serve stand that serves only vanilla, chocolate, and twist. Vanilla-chocolate twist is so perfect a union that to ask for further choices would be pure gluttony. There is, moreover, the Marginal Way, where you can walk above the cliffs and make your family members pose for pictures. When I was small, and my mom would say “We’re going to Ogunquit!” I always thought she said “We’re going to a gunquit”. Gunquits, in my mind, were a sort of subcategory of beach, pleasantly rocky and cold and everything which Ogunquit is. I couldn’t read, and I have a terrible sense of direction, so I didn’t know how many gunquits there were in the world, or where they were, but I knew we went to them sometimes.
“In New Hampshire?” I would ask (we did occasionally go to the beach in New Hampshire, because it was closer, but more commercial and lacking the general nice-ness of the Maine beaches). “No,” she would say, somewhat puzzled. “We’re going to Ogunquit.” It took me years to figure it out. And thus, in my memory, there is Ogunquit, but there are also gunquits. The best beaches are gunquits. Scarborough in Narragansett is a gunquit, the little sailing beach at Saint Malo is a gunquit. As a writer, my perpetual fear is that what a word means to me isn’t what it means to you. We each have our own private lexicon, and I sometimes fail to communicate the string of memories and thoughts which comes with a particular word. What I see will never be exactly what you see, and I think that only the best writing can come even close to sharing the picture. But this is where the English language is lovely. It is so very accommodating of making up new words (Shakespeare did it constantly, and nobody minds). So it becomes possible to create an exact word, for a precise memory, which means that and only that. And maybe through this constant creation, you and I will see the same thing. A library of definitions, associations and connotations, so concisely tied in a single word. So if I say gunquit, will you understand?
white like eternal snow Never melting let me be the warmth of winter.
no more idling no more hiding let me jump into your life pure
Moon Jung Hee | Cheryn Shin
let me come to you like the snowflake who knows no borders
Original translation from the Korean by Cheryn Shin Homage to Moon Jung Hee, original author
Starlight Olivia Akinsunmoye
눈송이처럼 너에게 가고싶다 머뭇거리지 말고 서성대지 말고 숨기지 말고 그냥 네 하얀 생애 속에 뛰어들어 따스한 겨울이 되고 싶다 천년 백설이 되고 싶다 - 문정희의 시《천년 백설같은》에서 -
Senses :: Space Genevieve FIisher
There are times when triumph is a ghost wrapped around your waist, pulling you close When itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone you feel defeat grabbing at your ankles I will not sink into the quicksand unless I surrender Then it could pull me under and each grain would scrape my throat as it tumbles down into my lungs Rage tears at my hair while sorrow pulls my shoulders towards the earth I call upon joy to jolt my heart until I spring up and away from the ground My comrades come to my aid under the guise of yellow pills Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no surprise that they will not join me unless I bring them to my body How often that rings true in the open world But in my war there is no battlefield but a single spot where I am stuck And each takes their turn with time as their prize As I hallucinate moving from my stance with clouded eyes There has yet to be a treaty My writing this proves the war rages on with the ground shifting beneath me and the sky open above
Sempiternity Marinn Cedillo 11 |
Wine Glass Seren Riggs-Davis
Untitled Tara Kohli
Love is like a wine glass. Stick with me and start at the top. Trace the brim and I’ll sing to you; let’s begin. An open top, fragile, thin attraction. My Lips feel your calm as they graze the rim. I have moderate, but growing affections toward you. Increase in circumference—date one, date two, kiss four, five, and six. My feelings for you grow, passion for you swells to the widest point of the glass. Is it half full or half empty? My glass is only filled to here. Drink more, drink more, drink more Fast. It’s in my head, nothing’s wrong, I want you— But only because I’m intoxicated. It’s gone, it’s gone and I’m sorry for what I said when I was drunk. We’re done here; the wine is gone and you must go too. The stem. I feel nothing, my heart is crystal, I’m glad she’s gone, my temper’s thin, and I wish my memory were, too. I dissolve, I dissolve into unyielding surface, I carry the burden you left me. What are you—a glass, too? No, you say, I’m the wine you drank.
Simple and Tender Dissent Anonymous
CW: Implied Sex
your moans echo through the room and you make no effort to hide them your pleasure is an uprising an effortless rebellion your cries are riots what we are is gentle defiance simple and tender dissent
Untitled Andy Arrangoiz
Porcelain 17 |
The tips of Sydney’s fingers were the first part of her to turn to porcelain. “That happens sometimes for women in our family,” her mother said placidly after examining her daughter’s hand. “Congratulations! It makes a lot of things easier.” “Easier?” asked Sydney, rubbing the cool, hard nubs. They didn’t have any nerve endings. “Look how pale your skin is now, and how perfect your nails are,” her mom said. “You’ll never have to worry about that again.” “Less fussing around with all those bottles of nail polish,” added her dad with a chuckle. He found Sydney’s shelf full of make-up and cosmetics highly amusing for reasons she never quite understood. “No more hangnails,” said Sydney hopefully, trying to see things their way, “or chipped nails.” “That’s the idea,” her mom said, and returned to stirring her pancake batter. Three weeks later, Sydney woke to find her ring, pinky, and index fingers were porcelain, as well as her left thumb. “Now things will be even simpler for you,” her mother said. “Seven out of your ten fingers are flawless now, and they’ll be like that forever.” She held her hand against Sydney’s outstretched palm. Sydney noticed for the first time that her mother’s hand had a liver spot forming beneath her pinky’s knuckle. Her own porcelain fingers were smooth and flawless, painted a delicate cream. The knuckles were shaped to keep her fingers bent in a graceful arc. They would never warp with arthritis like her father’s. The nails would never be ridged like her mother’s.
“I wish my toes were this pretty,” she said, because they suddenly seemed ugly by comparison. Her right pinky toe was bent after being broken in a biking accident. There was a cluster of dark hairs sprouting from each toe. She thought about how much prettier would be if they were smooth and hard and free of hair or dimples or oddly bent nails, and a week later they were, and so were her remaining fingers. “So is that, like, a weird prosthetic?” asked a girl at school. “Or like, really good make-up. Oh my God, did you get plastic surgery?” She craned her neck to get a better look. Sydney hid her porcelain fingers behind her back. “Leave it alone,” she said. “They’re real.” “They’re not fingers,” said the girl with the absolute confidence of young adulthood. Sydney slapped her with a hand that was suddenly all porcelain. The pinky finger cracked down the side, the girl screeched in shock, and Sydney was sent home for the day and told to undo whatever she had done to her hands before coming back. “Well, I hope you understand what a serious mistake that was,” her mother told her, tight-lipped, as she carefully slid the hot glue gun along the crack. “I’m sorry, Mom, but they just didn’t
believe me when—” “Oh, not the school.” Her mother waved her free hand carelessly. “But your finger. There’ll be a line right down your finger forever. You’re just lucky it didn’t shatter. You would be asymmetrical.” She shuddered and stepped back from her work. “You could have ended up perfect, you know.” “Sorry,” said Sydney. The next morning, her hands and feet were all slick, cream porcelain. She missed three days of school relearning how to walk—slowly, arms spread for balance, the new weight of the hands helping, watching where she positioned the newly perfect feet. The porcelain didn’t spread again for months. Her parents called her school and used the words “ADA” and “reasonable accommodations” frequently enough to convince them to ignore her new porcelain appendages. She even got an aide to write things down for her. Her classmates gasped and cooed over her new hands and feet in mingled horror and admiration. She could not understand the first emotion. She was so much more beautiful now, and when she could not do something, someone else—a parent, her aide, a sympathetic passerby—did it for her. What did they think she was losing? Then the porcelain took her legs up to the calf, and she couldn’t walk at all. The
porcelain was breakable, but it was just so, so pretty. The turn of the calf was a clean, delicate sweep of a line. The ankles were narrow, freed from the odd curve of bulge she had always hated. Sydney trapped a cloth carefully between the elegantly shaped hands and dusted the legs once a day. “You can take some time off school,” her mother told her with a wink, because they both knew Sydney was done with that. She didn’t mind. She was too different from her classmates now, and she knew they wouldn’t understand her. Besides, her new, transforming body was far too precious and delicate to take to a bustling school. They bought a wheelchair, but Sydney couldn’t operate it with her unmoving hands. Her parents took turns pushing her around when they were home. Her mom started dressing her every morning. “You’re so lucky,” her father said, heaving her chair over a raised threshold with a grunt. “You never have to walk anywhere ever again.” Sydney nodded. That night, her knees turned to porcelain. She couldn’t bend the legs, so they jutted out from her chair like pale branches. When her parents were at work, she spent most of her time admiring the new porcelain limbs. Sydney especially loved seeing them in sunlight. The sun caught their smooth edges and the graceful curves of the joints. The rest of her seemed so wrong now, lumpen and oversized, covered in odd folds of skin and too-dark wisps of hair and uneven coloring. There was a weird mole that had a single hair growing out of it on her left hip and she hadn’t worn a bikini since
another girl pointed it out and laughed at a fourth-grade pool party. A spilled pot of cooking pasta had left a smooth ripple of scar over her left shoulder. Four months before her eighteenth birthday, it became shiny porcelain instead, and she cried a little with relief. A boy had poked it once and asked her why her skin had a shiny spot. She had cried much longer then. “I was hoping this would happen,” her mother said when Sydney called her into the room. “It doesn’t for all of us, you know. I only got this.” She lifted her shirt to reveal the hard, clean lines of her porcelain stomach. Sydney gasped, wishing she could reach out and touch it. Her own belly had turned pouchy with puberty, and growth spurt stretch marks outlined the curves. Her mother laughed. “I told you it ran in the family. How did you think I kept off the baby weight? You kicked so hard I worried you would break me,” she said, running her hands down the length of her belly. “We just have to be careful at night,” said her father from the doorway. “I’d hate to put a knee through your mom’s stomach in my sleep!” Sydney and her mother laughed. The school kept calling. Sydney could sometimes hear her parents’ voices drifting down the hall. “But you only need those forms for medical leave,” her mother said. “And 19 |
we’re not—I don’t—no—we’re not asking for medical accommodations anymore. She isn’t sick. She was never sick. Why are you so intent on making this sound like she’s diseased?” Later that day, her mother used gentle soap and a washcloth to swab away some smudges on Sydney’s new legs. Her parents were taking turns feeding her now, and sometimes food spilled down her front. “Some people don’t get it,” she said firmly. “And they never will. But you don’t need to listen to them, darling.” She rubbed a trace of oatmeal off the curve of her daughter’s knee. “You don’t need them anymore.” “I hope I get your belly soon,” Sydney said to prove that she believed her mom, and three weeks later she did. It didn’t just take her belly, either, but her hips and waist and butt too. The mole was vanquished by a stretch of unblemished porcelain. She couldn’t get out of bed any more, but that was all right—she no longer felt the desire to eat, drink, or use the bathroom. There was no more need for awkward feedings. Everything about her was so clean and pretty and untroublesome now. No more smelling or sweating, shaving or plucking. Everything unruly or unkempt about her had been pared away, leaving her shiny and smooth as a new teacup.
The porcelain crept up her torso day by day now. Her mother and father came into her room every morning to admire its progress. It swallowed her stretch marks and flattened her belly. The odd dip beneath her ribs vanished. The constellation of moles beneath her breast was overtaken by cool porcelain. Her chest subsided into even porcelain curves. Her mother dusted her once a day and washed her gently with a damp cloth once a week. Her father applied some paint to the yellowing crack on the pinkie. Sydney could no longer lift her head to see it, but her parents assured her it was unnoticeable. “I’m sorry about what I said,” her mother said, leaning over her daughter’s bed so Sydney could see her beam. “You will be perfect after all.” She clapped her hands together with delight. A week before her eighteenth birthday, the porcelain turned Sydney’s throat into a slender, perfectly proportioned column. “Gorgeous,” her mother said. “Like a Greek statue. Like a fountain.” Sydney blinked several times to indicate her agreement. “You’re so close, honey,” her dad said. Her mother nodded vigorously. “Almost perfect.” On her eighteenth birthday, Sydney woke inside a body made of porcelain.
The cheeks were perfectly round. The hair curled evenly and precisely to the shoulders. The last scattering of adolescent acne across her nose was replaced by the unbroken ivory of the porcelain. “Look at you!” her father said, like he was seeing her in her wedding dress for the first time. “You did it, sweetheart.” Her mother slid her arms under Sydney’s unmoving shoulders and gave her a hug. Sydney’s mother emptied the old cabinet where she kept her childhood dolls and propped up her brand new one. “You can’t play with a doll this perfect,” she told her daughter as she positioned the porcelain frame on the shelf, and Sydney believed her from deep in her porcelain heart.
Just Paper Esther Fan
Untitled Anya Sheldon
I am at war with my two feet—desperate—to win this staring contest, to not meet the eyes of the man who gazes longingly at me from the other side of the car. I feel drool dripping from his lashes, his eyes hungry as a series of images flashes through his filthy mind. Two hills swaying to the rhythm of train-tracks, escaping a lacy red brassiere Perfect paper circles with round stickers covering where four folds meet A matching red thong barely touching two cheeks, cheeks not unlike his daughter’s. An origami triangle like the wing of a crane, migrating out of fear to the Western Eastern Front. Never a woman. Just paper. And so I fold.
Untitled Andy Arrangoiz
This winter night you become the ghost that seizes the bouquet Of tulips and dreams I hold crossed against my chest And drops it in the ocean, at least until May
When snow’s all melted and the doves awaken, but I don’t suggest That I am a belle au bois dormant in her satin gown
Untitled Tara Kohli
This Winter Night
Waiting for the waking kiss, for the truth is I’m dressed
All ready for the beach, and weighty things like love might drown But I am light as a cloudless dawn and won’t let you halt Me or any swimmer from plucking out the flower crowns
And wreaths of dreams from waters deep, and the salt Of the stubborn, pounding shore when I walk along the quay Will not stop me from loving the rolling cobalt sea I so exalt.
Besides - tonight too will pass with you away into the day, And I never believed in ghosts all that much anyway.
“¿Qué tiempo hace?” my Spanish teacher asks. How is the weather? One, two, one, two. I matched her footsteps. Spring shuffled through my shirt, stroking my skin with its flowery sweetness—and I sneezed. “Bless you,” she said, giggling. “Wanna go on the swings?” We sat and let the wind push us back and forth. It was a messy and beautiful chaos of sunlight, splashing us with grandeur of white. I squinted to make out her face, a soft smile. She was in love, and spring was her lover. She and I made a flower garden together— roses, pansies, whatever flower we could find—and her radiating exuberance brought it to life. She was in a constant search for butterflies and picked dandelions in this lively moment called spring, where life glossed over death and beauty masked the barren. I was cursed with pollen allergies. The otherwise beautiful task of following her in her pursuit of happiness was tediously impossible. Still, I was foolishly willing to pay the cost for the warmth of her smile. I would daily return with a runny nose and watery eyes, but my heart always beat to the echoes of our friendship. That’s all that mattered to me. Each time I shared appreciation for experiencing such beauty with her, she always managed to dismiss it with a meaningless giggle—somehow, my sincere words were left unguarded and dismissed, disdainfully powerless. I supposed that any emotion beyond the love for spring escaped her. Beyond the flowers and the butterflies, she must have felt nothing.
I hoped that real emotions were somewhere buried deep down in her heart. I ached in her emptiness, but that was okay—I still loved who she was. I loved her sweetly ignorant self. She was pure and sincere, and I cherished her. I look out the window. A yellow butterfly flutters by—it reminds me of her. “My dad says he really likes Alaska. He says he misses it a lot,” she told me. The swings squeaked. “The rest of my family lives there.” “What’s Alaska like?” I asked. “I heard there’s a lot of snow. It’s supposed to be really cold.” “But what about spring? Are there flowers?” “I don’t know,” she said. “It must be really cold in spring too.” A monarch butterfly fluttered by, and her eyes chased it. “I hope there are butterflies there.”
The butterfly holds my gaze. The teacher murmurs something to me, but I can’t hear her. “Huh?” I ask. My heart felt heavy. “I’ll miss you when you go,” I said, after a brief pause. She giggled. She didn’t feel the weight of my words, but that was okay—I still loved her. I had to. Though her mind rested in her separate, lonely, and beautiful world—spring—she sucked me into her dream and allowed me the sweetness of her joy. “You know I love you a lot, right?” She didn’t bother looking at me. “Sure,” she said. Her retort must have been cold, but I couldn’t feel its bite. It was the crispness of morning air—the kind that awaits the sun and anticipates the bloom of awakening flowers. “Will you miss me?” I asked. My chest tightened; I was scared to hear her answer. “Maybe,” she said. That was okay; I loved her anyway. I taught my heart to wish her well a life free from me. She wouldn’t be caught up in her past, and she would be living her life as she deserved to—wasn’t this true love? Even if my love was platonic at best, it was still so real and so pure. After a moment of thought, she added, “Probably.” “¿Qué. Tiempo. Hace?” my Spanish teacher repeats, slower this time. There was never an ‘I appreciate you, too’ or
‘I care about you, too’ or ‘I enjoy your company, too.’ Only an acquaintanceship limited by boundaries of emotional reciprocation. She would leave in two days, yet she showed no fear or sorrow—only emptiness. So I believed, rightly, that her departure bore no burden upon her heart. But I cared. I wanted to chase after spring and overcome pollen—a sickly sweet torture— because her joy was worth more than my suffering. I didn’t want to let her smile slip away. I held out my hand. “Will you hold it for a moment?” I pleaded. I wanted to hold on for the last time, and then release myself from my attachment to her: my love, my heart, and all my emotions. She ever-so-gently held my fingers. Her hand was soft and small, light and happy. I squeezed them for a moment, holding on, because letting go would mean losing her. I watch the butterfly as it beats against the wind, furious and graceful. I miss her. Just before she left, I gathered up the courage to see her again. I ran to her house to say goodbye to her one more and one last time; to love her one more and one last time—to let go, to tie the loose ends, to break, to cry, to explode, to fragment, to shatter. I knocked on the front door, breathless. She came out, surprised to see me there, and I hugged her without a word. She smelled like spring. Sweet, like flowers. And my eyes watered—not because of pollen, but something worse. “I don’t want you to go,” I whispered. “I don’t want you to forget about me—and I’m afraid.” I broke at my own words. I broke because I knew she wouldn’t. She didn’t feel sorrow—she couldn’t even remember the last time she had cried. So I shattered alone.
Almost. She was shaking. I lifted my head and searched for her eyes—those sparkly, life-filled eyes—but they weren’t there. Her eyes were an ocean, stormy and turbulent, and she blinked furiously to contain it. She let just a single droplet escape—but inside it rested the galaxy, the cosmos, the universe; it contained every butterfly, every flower, every moment of our friendship. The one who feels nothing, the one who doesn’t cry shed a single tear. Her teardrop entangled my reflection. We had unknowingly birthed a teardrop full of the universe, one which explodes and implodes—a teardrop that explains everything and puts meaning to all things, with every butterfly and every flower and every fragment of our existence— The class stares and awaits my response.
She left for Alaska, and I sent her letters. I asked her how she was doing, and I reminded her that I still loved her—that I was still her friend. She never replied. The universe must have been too much for her to handle. I told myself that it was okay—she wasn’t obligated to reach out, much less remember and treasure the past we had shared. Her soul, once within reach, felt so distant. Days, weeks, months passed. I eventually let go of my hopes of her replying—maybe I had the wrong address, or maybe she lied to me about her address. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she wasn’t alive. I gave up. But, many springs later, the first reply came. My heart fluttered. It was a drawing of a butterfly.
“Mariposa,” I answered. Butterfly.
I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the light to reach your night crusted eyes. I only wanted the glow of the half-moon to wrap us in her hushed embrace, silence slipping through cracked palms intertwined under the gaze of eternity starlightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s falsetto fading into the air
Hamlet In Charcoal Hajira Fuad
Yet the blurred sun now streaks across your shadow and your stir, falling to the falsehoods of morning. Do not listen to the luster of daybreak, that unforgiving aurora. Take in only the sweet sound of my fingers gliding through your hair, yours floating over steel strings, the song of forever forever in my ear.
Untitled Tara Kohli
Jealousy is Futile
Jealousy is futile I wrote it on a post-it before bed one night The next morning, I looked And couldn’t understand it Because I didn’t know what futile meant The definition, or how to use it with context Futile: Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless Yes, this is very true and makes a lot of sense Jealousy is futile, thanks for the advice that’ll be 10 cents
I remember cassettes and box tops, the ones you used to keep in a plastic bag in your desk drawer. The desk you never used except to hold box tops
Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Leave Me Behind Alyssa Robins
I remember that you let me teach the class how to fold paper airplanes in Kindergarten. You were so surprised when I asked you and I remember you said maybe some other day. And then some other day you let me. I remember trying to get up the nerve to explain that first trembling white crease in front of all those faces at the low, round table. But you set out the paper and the scissors and told everyone to listen up. Thank you for doing that for me.
Untitled Andy Arrangoiz
Sometimes a little asymmetry is better Than perfect symmetry Because I love How your hair falls Over the right side Slightly more And how you Shrug your left shoulder Dancing.
The words evaporated from my tongue In the blink of an eye When I saw something sparkle As her eyelids fluttered open And I felt the world stop The air froze Everything went quiet When I knew she saw me.
I could tell you everything: the way the wind made the leaves rustle, the color of the flourishing flowers next to the shriveled ones, the sound of the rain coming down in sheets, the image I saw when I closed my eyes to inhale and exhale and inhale and exhale and inhale… the way the lavender sheets floated in midair before caressing my bed… the way her eyes flinched away from my clammy face when I opened my drenched eyes, the sound of the dog yelping in the distance, the way the street light blinked on and off even though it was three thirty-four in the afternoon, the way the fox cocked its head to hear our silence from a distance, the way her ivory t-shirt that said “Just Do It” stuck to her neon blue sports bra like hot glue, the way the air became more constricting as each drip, drop, drip, drop, driiiip, droooop beat the Earth. I can’t tell you what I was wearing.
We looked at each other and Smiled shyly Through a patch of darkness Lit up by her kind eyes and glowing streetlights And I fought to keep the breath in my lungs Her hand cradled my cheek and I melted into her when I put my forehead against hers.
24 Aug. 2018
I asked to kiss her in the grocery store parking lot and she laughed in a way That made me realize I had known her a few ways In several different lifetimes When my hand brushed hers in secret Fingers that danced in her palm Each connection tingled With something I haven’t quite figured out yet.