THE WELLESLEY REVIEW Poetry | Art | Prose
MASTHEAD Editors-in-Chief Elle Friedberg ’17 Laura Maclay ’18 Rachel Pak ’18
Layout Editor Noor Pirani ’19
Art Editors Rachael Hwang ’19 Somé Louis ’17
Treasurer Emma Bilbrey ’18
Art Board Kaly Chin ’17 Jacqueline Hom ’18 Eve Montie ’20 Katharine Wu ’20 Poetry Editors Sarah Hucklebridge ’17 Anya Keomurijan ’20 Poetry Board Aliza Amin ’20 Haley Cheek ’20 Katie Madsen ’19 Rachel Kisken ’20 Katherine Paik ’20 Prose Editors Holly Raiborn ’18 Sanjana Thakur ’20 Prose Board Anna Cauthorn ’19 Alexandra Cronin ’19 Justine Duan ’20 Hope Kim ’18 Isabel Kim ’20 Emily Prechtl ’20 Svetha Pulavarty ’20 Tiffani Ren ’19 Kiana Stacy ’20 Sarah White ’19 Katharine Wu ’20
Assistant Layout Editor Claire Cannatti ’20
Founding Editor Sumitra Chakraborty ’08 Cover Design “Jokusarlon” by Rose Yang ’20
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Art must be submitted as a high-quality photograph. Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions should be sent as Word documents. All works are selected though an anonymous submission process. Submissions are open to Wellesley students, alums, and affiliates. For more info, visit www.thewellesleyreview.org
Contents Deb Rowcroft ’19
Kiersten Schneider ’17
Nadine Franklin ’18
Reality of being black in America, or When my sister doesn’t return on time
Sarah Nwafor ’20
Two Oared Boat
Isabella Labbe ’20
Roshni Madhu-Sudan ’20
Labrador in the Lake
Aggie Rieger ’17
Isabella Labbe ’20
Anna Cauthorn ’19
Kiersten Schneider ’17
Cindy Zhou ’20
Spiraling Out of Control
Doris Li ’20
july 7th, 2016
Deb Rowcroft ’19
Sarah White ’19
Anna Cauthorn ’19
Abandoned Barn in Þingeyri, Iceland
Leila-Anne Brusseau, DS ’18
Elisabeth Clemmons ’20
Elisabeth Clemmons ’20
Cindy Zhou ’20
Nail by Nail, Day by Day
Paige Robinson ’20
Jackie Xuan ’20
Yichen Wang ’20
Lucy Cranston ’19
Kiersten Schneider ’17
even a new
Elle Friedberg ’17
Elle Friedberg ’17
Lucy Cranston ’19
Instructions on Breaking My Heart
Paige Robinson ’20
TO HAVE KNOWN
Karina Ithier ’20
Lisa Jenkins ’17
Aggie Rieger ’17
Izzy King ’18
stoner food critic
Deb Rowcroft ’19
Grace Owen ’19
remember? Deb Rowcroft â€™19 it was kind of eerie last night, you know? swimming in a lake late in the night, watching a thunderstorm in the distance with pink and purple skies.
the calming sound of water and the voice of a best friend. eerie.
Pebbles Lucy Cranston ’19
Prose 10 Cranston
You had a dream that you’d become a stranger. She was you, she was definitely you, but you glanced over and didn’t recognize her - yet you let your gaze linger, and you thought to yourself how pretty she was. And no, there wasn’t any sharpness to her looks. You didn’t look at her and feel sharpness in your throat or disgust weighing on your chest. You looked at her and felt soft, because she was soft. Her body was soft, her hair was soft, her colors and her demeanor were soft. She had a soft look of contentment on her face. She looked so happy, and not that loud happiness that people show you when they’re actively happy - she looked passively happy, like it was a simple habit. Soft hair, soft hair. It glided down to her shoulders in a glossy even slope, gently framing her oval-shaped face. Her eyebrows, you noticed, were darker than the rest of her, but soft, soft. You’d never thought of grey eyes as a soft feature. Never in your life had you thought of them as warm or inviting. But she looked at you with eyes that sparkled like pebbles at the bottom of a riverbed. They drew you in like sun-warmed stones in the coolness of a summer evening. She waited for you as you came slowly closer, and she smiled. You reached out and touched her skin, not minding the acne or the scars or the worry lines. You embraced her and she was soft, soft. You woke up from that dream and for a long, scary moment, you loved yourself. You got out of bed and padded into the bathroom and took a moment to appreciate your sleep-mussed hair and sleep-puffed eyes and sleep-flushed cheeks. You touched yourself, your cheeks and your hair and your neck, and you hoped this feeling would stay - but of course it wouldn’t. You remembered, though. You remembered the softness you felt for that stranger. You remembered touching her like you’d touch someone important to you - softly, with love coating your fingertips.
Kiersten Schneider â€™17
walking in he must have passed the two women fighting right outside on the patio. one of them screamed. the cops were called - but nobody intervened or stopped to help. I am in the Capital this afternoon, where the intersections of 21st and P spell out more than the drop in my stomach. the anomalous businessman crosses the street. Iâ€™m peering through glass at his alternative reality. A Utopian Dream.
there is a second man in the corner of this starbucks, running a hot comb through his hair. he looks relaxed, and I wonder how his day has been and where he went to find himself here?
a few seats away is a businessman on his laptop. his charcoal suit brings out his Blackness.
Art 12 Franklin
Winter Nadine Franklin â€™18 Oil and Gesso on Canvas
Reality of being black in America or When my sister doesn’t return on time Sarah Nwafor ’20
I look at the clock: it is 2 am My sister should have been home at 11. I called her 4 times Sent 3 text messages: Are you on your way home? Do you need a ride? Did mom forget to pick you up?
I go to bed before the full panic sets in But I can’t sleep I see headlines Nightmares of her face Plastered across News Stations “Young black woman age [too soon] killed by police at routine [insert daily activity] For alleged crime of [being black]” Tossing and turning like a leaf in the wind I have no choice but to wake up But the fears of my nightmares Is the reality for my people. So this worry sits on my chest “I can’t breathe!” And I swear I can already hear the bullets
My hands begin to shake And the black clouds of what could have happened brew in the back Of my mind
Oh please God don’t let her become another chant Don’t let her be a hashtag Or another failed trial Another example of an already rigged system I send these prayers so desperately Through clenched hands And worried tears They seem to find their destination; She texts me back. ‘I’m okay, with a friend, ttyl.’ Poetry 14
Her reassurance finally allows me to rest Ready to wake to another nightmare Another reality Tomorrow morning.
The Two-Oared Boat Isabella Labbe ’20
I was a poet masquerading as a journalist masquerading as an academic, a twenty-two-year-old recent college graduate whose elite women’s college degree did little to elevate me to the status of literary magnate. Or even, for that matter, the status of grown woman. I did not feel like a woman yet, at least not in the way I do now. Whereas now I can look at myself and my body and feel no trace of youth or childishness, in the fifth year of my adulthood I still felt girlish, skinned knees and pouting lips, soft, downy body and all. I wrote on the back of café napkins when an idea struck me. I threw the napkins away either by accident, or because they were stained with lipstick I’d rubbed off, or simply because the brilliant ideas I’d come up with in a caffeine-induced epiphany were awful. Once I found a salvaged note stationed among the watches, mismatched cufflinks, and other strewn-about accessories on Cal’s bureau. It was a light brown napkin with a tear on the bottom corner and written in small, tight cursive the words, hard, sweet wisdom. I did not remember writing it, but I felt so much love in his saving such an unintentionally meaningful memento.
Cal was writing then and would spend mornings cooking and afternoons writing with an uncapped pen trapped in the vise of his teeth, squinting through horn-rimmed eyeglasses at his typewriter. In the evenings he would take a bath (claiming that it was the only place where he could do his thinking) and I would take a nighttime swim. When we finished we would wrap each other in warm towels and lay on the bed or the futon in the study, very quietly, our toweled bodies steaming and shivering. We loved each other in this way: quietly, enveloped in our own worlds, and, usually, nakedly.
In New England we lived in a cottage situated on a cliff overlooking the sea. Back then the ocean was savage, especially in the winter, when the cold agitated its waters and sent cleaved waves rupturing towards the abused shore. Even in the summer the water was cold; if you stood knee-deep in the foam and closed your eyes you could trick yourself into believing it was December.
Cal was from a much warmer, friendlier place than I. When we would travel to his hometown to visit relatives or friends (the few still alive or remaining there), I was always struck by the kindness of those around me. Instead of being catcalled, I was greeted. Instead of being spat upon, I was given free things. He would roll his eyes at my amazement, shrugging off the common human decency that so confused and delighted me. To him this was just how people were—naturally kind, even at his or her own expense. And really that’s how Cal was—sarcastic, dry, but kind in ways I could never (and can never to this day) understand or grasp. He carried himself with a self-sacrificial air that retained both vivacity for connection and nonchalance, the subtle understanding that to go out of one’s way for another person was as natural an act as washing one’s hands before dinner or saying “thank you.”
Prose 16 Labbe
I admired his kindness and his outlook on life. He told me that he admired my thoughtfulness and attention to detail, my curiosity and my desire to devour knowledge and culture. For months, and eventually years, we would move from rented house to rented house, living in whatever empty and romantic place we could find. Somehow we always had the money for it, though of course in those days things cost so much less than they do now. It was in Pasadena that we met and in Prague that we realized we could live with each other, but it was in that small cottage by the angry sea that we realized we couldn’t live without each other. Mornings spent talking turned into afternoons spent practically melted into each other’s arms, devouring flesh and sweat and swearing our utter devotion to each other in this life, kissing hungrily at soft skin on faces and necks, fingers stroking curled hair and bare backs, feet entwined, gasping for air and in surprise of the newfound passion for which we lived and loved. And at night we had our towels and our silence, our only connection the quiet knowledge of mutual love and his fingers running through my wet hair. Never did I feel as though I did not know him. To be honest I never questioned it. I knew his full, important-sounding name and his political philosophy and which writers he liked or thought were trash and the sound of his mother’s laugh.
I won’t tell you what happened to Cal, or to me. You wouldn’t want to hear it out, hear the story played out that way. What I will tell you is that there was a mutual understanding of each other that could outlive the usual suspects that make up an unhappy ending (death, illness, divorce, separation, pain….). And I never felt worried about him or about myself or about the way we fit together as a couple or even as individuals. I never did and I don’t to this day. I will also tell you something about me and Cal. When we lived in that cottage by the blue and frigid ocean we would hold each other and think about our life at sea. We would contemplate old age and then change the subject. We would stop talking and both imagine the unpleasant aspects of being together into old age that no one wanted to say aloud. And it was in this toweled and quiet way that he cried cold tears into my hair when we lost our baby to that wild and jealous ocean and all its wind and rocks. Hard, sweet wisdom.
Prose 17 Labbe
I knew every freckle and birthmark on his beautiful sun-browned body, knew the lines I could trace like a roadmap or a constellation between them. I knew how he liked his eggs, how he took his scotch, knew that he’d never tried a cigarette, knew that his favorite color was pale blue. I knew the records he listened to on nights when we couldn’t sleep, the thunderstorms so violent they shook the house. I knew where he got the boots he wore in the coastal winters until they fell apart into strips of worn leather, knew the method he used to make Prince Albert tie knots. I knew him, knew his face and his lips and his round hazel eyes, knew his curly dark hair and his chin, knew his body and knew both the strength and gentleness he possessed within it. And, I think, I knew how he knew me, knew that our lives together blended into shades of colors I can visualize but could not possibly describe. We both knew, as writers, that frustration, the ability to know something’s beauty in every nuance and never find the way to put it into words. Perhaps we knew that as romantics too.
Art 18 Madhu-Sudan
Howling Dog Roshni Madhu-Sudan â€™20 Film Photography
Laborador in the Lake
I saw a photo of a dog swimming out into the lake somewhere in Michigan with the sunset and it was beautiful because the ripples were spreading from her little doggy paddles all across the frame yet she was so small and she didnâ€™t care or, mind, I should say that she was so small in the photograph.
Aggie Rieger â€™17
May Isabella Labbe ’20
Poetry 20 Labbe
In May we roll up the ends of our jeans and sweat through our shirts in the morning heat We watch gardens spring up and the dogs eat the grass in the afternoon, smiling at the sun, squinting, tongues dripping We go ripping through school counting the days and quickly growing up to the adult occasion We plan for graduation The sky has stayed the same our entire lives, but we have changed while counting the clouds and stars We kiss on steamy afternoons, laying on beds with no sheets or roots climbing down from trees and feel urgent hands fumble for tangible flesh, and lips mesh We skin our knees, We go flying down hills or climbing up trees, tanned from the sun it’s too early to protect ourselves from and we feel very young It hits us when we know it will, but still we feel a sting the end of an unraveling string our fathers cry at the dinner table because without their glasses on they see us as small as the length of a forearm still resting and fresh and how should you feel when it’s May and you are only days away from the limbo of an in between?
We smile at dandelions and hold each other close, We have wet hair from afternoon showers, we are huge and so unimportant just the way weâ€™ve always felt.
240th Anna Cauthorn ’19
Poetry 22 Cauthorn
I don’t remember the first time you told me you loved me. It was in your bed, surely, our bodies sweaty and intertwined. (I watch the girl with the wet pigtails play in the sprinklers, she tugs on her bathing suit) I bet your window was open letting the frigid February air into the room. (they have a baby and a dog and they’re barbecuing in the small park alongside the river that I am walking down alone) We used to hear the night revelers through that open window, third floor, second from the corner. I think it must have been weeks after we met that you saw me in the sun for the first time. (the sweat stings my sunburn as it slides down my back) I didn’t believe you when you said it. I didn’t believe me when I said it. (happy birthday, America—this is my declaration of independence) And so the world goes out in pairs and we aren’t one of them.
She wasn’t really into this guy, but she would get herself through this date by sheer power of will if it meant she could order herself dessert at the end. His Tinder profile proclaimed that he enjoyed “the finer things in life,” which had seemed ideal when he messaged her. He eagerly agreed when she suggested going out to an upscale restaurant at which she had always lusted for a table. For weeks she had been unable to stop thinking about the restaurant’s critically acclaimed, luxuriously decadent chocolate cake. Tonight was no exception. She felt a little guilty that, for the majority of the dinner, her attention was fixed on a spot just behind his head. She was only just barely following this conversation; the topic a few minutes ago had been his failed past relationship with his presumably evil ex-girlfriend, which in itself should have made her skive this guy entirely. His father’s Rolex kept catching the dim light of the restaurant. She couldn’t tell what he was babbling about now, so she cut in with a smile. “Can we order dessert? I’m craving something sweet.” He was caught off guard by her interruption but quickly broke into a wide, dumb smile. She thought he must be under the impression that this date was going well, or that he might even get some action tonight. Yikes, too bad for him, she thought to herself, averting her eyes and readjusting her fork on the tablecloth. She thought she had made it pretty clear tonight - she was only in it for the dessert.
Kiersten Schneider ’17
Art 24 Zhou
Untitled Cindy Zhou â€™20 Photography
Spiraling Out of Control Doris Li â€™20 Photography
july 7th, 2016 Deb Rowcroft â€™19 it will not be fate that brings us back together it will be a choice on your part, a compromise on mine
Poetry 26 Rowcroft
Mary will die today. She doesn’t know this, which is why she has whole wheat toast with margarine for breakfast. There is pancake mix in her cupboards, but she is trying to lose weight to fit into a bridesmaid dress for her friend’s wedding. When her friend hears about Mary’s death, she decides to wait a week before asking her next-closest friend to fill in. She wants to be respectful, after all. Mary parks close to her office, because she is running late and doesn’t have time for her morning walk. She feels bad about this for the rest of her life. (Which is to say, for a few hours.) The car creaks as she climbs out of it and she makes a mental note to schedule a maintenance visit to the mechanic. She doesn’t write this down, which is unfortunate for her sister, who inherits the car which breaks down on the side of the interstate in a month. Once Mary is at work, she spends two thirds of her remaining lifespan editing the monthly budget report. When her co-workers are clearing out her office, they find it finished on her desk and say, “Good old Mary,” because even little things become impressive once you’re dead, and besides, they will not know what else to say.
Sarah White ’19
Your Room Anna Cauthorn â€™19
Prose 28 Cauthorn
You never washed your sheets. They lay there on your tiny bed, looking tired and sad, a faded gray. When I lay next to you, our small bodies almost touching, they smelled musty. We used to fuck there. It really was just fucking, even though I loved you and you would have died for me. Afterward we basked in the sunlight streaming in from those three big windows. But it always felt a little cold, like the light was weak and delicate. I reached for the white duvet that ended up crumpled at the foot of the bed. Sometimes when I was supposed to be listening to you or paying attention to you or loving you I would watch the Japanese fish mobile that hung from your fan. The blue and red fish dangled, manipulated by the air currents invisible to me. You got that mobile at a Japanese street fair back when I still hated you. There was a clock. We would check it when we knew that we had spent too many hours talking and fucking and laughing and wanting and playing and feeling. It ticked. I noticed it in those spaces in time when my love faltered and I waited. Waited for you to give up on me. You never did. Your desk was big, a slab of pale wood. You never knew what you might find there. A notebook from your seventh grade English class. Excellent work. A+. You always were the best. Some Sartre, untranslated, of course. Dirty and half-functional pens and highlighters and pencils you pilfered over the years. Bizarre knit finger puppets your mother bought you to remind you she loved you. A little note I wrote you during biology lab to remind myself that I loved you. You never did know when to quit.
Abandoned Barn in Þingeyri, Iceland -Anne Brusseau, DS ’18 Photography 29
Gallery IV - Starrucca Viaduct1 Elisabeth Clemmons ’20
We’re like the two fish in the sea2, once asked By a wise old fish, “How’s the water?” They swam on Without care, till on the both of them it dawned. “What on earth is water?” they asked, flabbergasted. We swim, like them, in moonlit rivers3, steadfast In drifting, never dreaming of snow on a Swiss lawn4, Of Greenwood Lake5, of falling gardens in Babylon, Of love; unconscious, floating, thinking this is the last. We think this is the world, for all we know is here. And in our future, everything above will still not matter. But one day we must open our eyes, and that I fear. I fear the day we must wake up and gather The air in our lungs, when it all becomes clear, When we see the truth, and realize, “This is water. This is water.”6
A bridge composed of several small spans for crossing a valley or gorge. Looking Out To Sea by Jasper Francis Cropsey 3 Moonlit Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey 4 Winter in Switzerland by Jasper Francis Cropsey 5 Greenwood Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey 6 “This Is Water” by David Foster Wallace 1 2
Gallery V - Storm in the Mountains
If in eternity’s arms, Rome was built in a day1, If solar storms flood the earth, the galaxies sprawl, And time scores our lives away to nothing at all, I don’t blame you for thinking it doesn’t matter anyway. But things do matter, like the fireflies in Monterey Bay2 That glimmer on our fingertips and in jars, or small Spirals of rainbow in marbles, or the way your hair falls Over your eyes, tangling shadow and sunshine rays3. I do not care that the universe spirals and grows, Not when stars that die still reach and bend To give us light, and there are emerald seas4. No one knows How long we have, but the real Meaning of life depends On all the small things we can’t see. Life may ebb and flow Towards nothing, but I think by knowing this, the world never truly ends.
Elisabeth Clemmons ’20
Ruins-Campagna of Rome by Albert Bierstadt Bay of Monterey by Albert Bierstadt 3 Sunshine and Shadow by Albert Bierstadt 4 Emerald Sea by Albert Bierstadt 1 2
French Alps Cindy Zhou â€™20 Photography Art
In my father’s old ceramic fruitbowl, there’s a heap of passion fruits. I eat one each day, and today when I picked up the hammer, My long fingers with their ever-chipped nail polish were sticky to the touch. Now, instead of sticky sweet rind, there’s dirt under my fingernails. You don’t look down at me, intent instead on that damn screwdriverScrew this! Though we’re building a house, there’s no foundation without trust.
In our rattling old fridge there’s a package of ham or some other meat. Either way, I’m a vegan, and tough as nails. Where has it been? Where have you been? I don’t trust the dead meat or your smile. Can’t hold your hand, you’re holding a screwdriver If I reach for you all I’ll feel is a cool metal touchAnd you’re screwing the screw like how you’ve never screwed: with passion.
Paige Robinson ’20
Nail by Nail, Day by Day
In your calloused, broken hands there are nails and nuts and bolts and whatever you use a screwdriver on. I barely recognize you, your eyes filled with passion. I pass you the saw and our hands briefly touchyou don’t hold my gaze, instead climbing up the ladder. I anchor you, that’s trust. Despite the bruise on your foot where I dropped the hammer.
In my head, you fall- but I’ll be there to catch you, trust me. Your mother has eyes like yours and I wonder will you pass them on to our son one day? Then you could buy me my own screwdriver and I’ll help you put together the IKEA cradle, just don’t give me the hammerBecause we both know that, despite practice I’ll never nail it. Right now you’re up on the ladder but I wish I could feel your touch on my stomach. Thinking about it however, I’d rather you touch my heart. Because although I feel cold and don’t trust you, you once made me warm and kissed me from my eyelids to my toenails. If I call to you now, you would ignore me. I thought we were past this. I’m starving and my head is pounding with the sound of your hammer. But you know, if life were a toolshed - surprisingly you’d be a screwdriver. Long and lean. Simple but difficult to get a grip on and fairly easy to screw and driving me insane. And of course, cold to the touchYour voice sounds, asking, “Could you grab me the hammer?” Although I’m anchoring you, you and I both know and trust you not to fall. I go to pick up the old hammer with sweet remnants of passion fruit still on it. I wish I could use the vibrant fruit to paint all my nails
So that with fiery red I could touch you and trust That it wouldn’t take building a damn house with a screwdriver and hammersto have you love something (someone) day by day instead of nail by nail. Poetry
Untitled Jackie Xuan â€™20 Chinese Calligraphy 35
Untitled Yichen Wang â€™20 Photography Art
Paperback Kiersten Schneider ’17
Night Light “Welcome to the Monkey House” now sat on the bookshelf of a small boy named Oscar. Oscar played outside with his neighborhood gang of boys, but when they retreated into their homes for a round of video games, congregating before a dimly lit screen, digits orange from Cheeto dust, Oscar headed home. He sat in his bed, flashlight in hand until even the crickets had gone to sleep. He ducked quickly under the covers. The flashlight, his lifeline to Kurt Vonnegut’s mind, was extinguished with a sharp click when the lights from the car shined brightly into his room for just a moment or two. He knew his dad was home. Oscar’s father would come inside, trying not to slam the door, and sit at the kitchen counter in a daze of exhaustion while the microwave reheated the plate they’d saved him for dinner with a soft buzz. Finally, the fork and plate were placed in the sink with a soft clinking sound. Oscar began his performance. He regulated his breathing, closed his eyes softly, just enough to see a sliver of light grow brighter as his father opened the door and peeked in. Only when the door closed again could Oscar’s obsession with his favorite book live another night.
She felt the weight of the book in her hands. Foxed along the edges, the pages fell open easily. Anna couldn’t remember ever seeing it before. She flipped through the Rolodex in her brain, but the title, in a delicate font, meant nothing to her. When she opened the worn cover, she saw it had a small marking on the first page. A faded signature. She made a note to put this book in a pile to keep, making sure it was just far enough out of reach that she would not mistake it for a book belonging in the cardboard box at her feet, filled with books by Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King. Soon, those books would sit outside Goodwill for an evening, in the hot summer heat, waiting to be read, perhaps loved, and eventually left aside.
Life in Boxes Oscar packed his things to move away to the city, a two hour drive, to a plastic mattress and a shared room. His roommate, who he hadn’t yet met, was also a prospective English major. The truck was nearly packed now, and only a few trinkets and toys sat in his empty room. The pain had faded around the many posters he had put up and now removed, soon to be treated as sacred relics of home in a new, dangerous, and unfamiliar place. On the floor sat a collection of things to donate, including books that had been on his shelf untouched for several years now. The crate was nearly full. Suddenly, Oscar dashed from the doorway across the room. He narrowly avoided a laundry basket and some hangers to land just before the box, reaching in to pull out his copy of “Welcome to the Monkey House.” He liked to think he might read it in his new bed, eyelids drooping to blur his vision. Prose 38 Schneider
even a new Grace Owen ’19
we watched the ball drop. i understood what she said when she told me that’s not my name. it’s funny to write poetry about something mundane, because then i feel like i am Imbuing With Meaning, but somebody’s gonna see right through it and say ok hun, but i too tuned into that station, it is not a big deal to watch a movie that’s on netflix that stuck with you because oh! the stars another movie that stuck with you until tiny videos portrait locked too too late at night we went sledding. we went out on the frozen lake. i was still scared then of hurting myself all the time, and i think this trip cured me of that. her family went to church so i went, too. it was mostly just awkward. probably beautiful as well? I don’t remember, amen. i put on lip balm and sold my soul for a quick kiss i was lonely from the start. we jumped on someone’s trampoline, by the frozen lake. i learned a lot over those handful of days. i was still repulsed by even the idea of sex and they were not. a lot of things i did not like. we played a spy game in her basement and there was a door in front of the stairs. a lot of things i did like. moments become formative without your consent.
I Put On Nivea Lip Balm And The Memories Came Forth because i wanted to be kissed then “forsooth”
new year’s eve even years ago a friend a close friend who had had a goose or duck statue on her front porch and a life sized siberian tiger and a pool and a little sister whom she was cruel to we were different we did not understand each other i stayed at her house for several days and i don’t remember the atmosphere i do remember her dog
Art 40 Friedberg
Sister Print Elle Friedberg â€™17 Dry point etching, colored pencil, marker, collage
Artichoke Elle Friedberg â€™17 Dry point etching, wood cut, collage
Enough Lucy Cranston ’19
Prose 42 Cranston
It’ll be years down the road, but it’ll happen. We’ll walk home from the grocery store together in the rain because we blew all of our nonexistent savings on a big, silly, endlessly extravagant wedding and we don’t have the money for any other form of transportation. We’ll be walking and it won’t be too hot, no, but it’ll be so humid on top of the rain that we’ll feel like we’re dying. But you’ll smile at me, and I’ll smile back. I’ll be the one to push the button and patiently wait for the “walk” signal to turn on, and you’ll be the one to shout “fuck that!” and run full tilt across the street while I trail along, laughing. You’ll tell me my laugh is beautiful and I’ll say I don’t believe you, even if I do. That’s when you’ll notice that there’s a hole in one of my paper grocery bags. We got paper even though it was raining and we knew we’d be walking home, and we’ll scramble to hold our many items as our bags come apart. We’ll laugh aloud at our own idiocy even as strands of hair cling to our foreheads and our necks, even as we suffocate on thick, heavy air. We’ll drag ourselves home with melting pints of ice cream buried in our armpits, watermelons cradled in our arms, and mangoes wedged between our shoulders and our cheeks. And of course, it’ll only stop raining once we’ve already made it home and collapsed into mixed-and-matched kitchen chairs. You’ll go to the bathroom as I force myself to put the groceries away, heaving them off the counters and the table where we let them tumble from our arms at the end of our long, steam-filled journey. You’ll come back and I’ll give you a pretend-grumpy look and say, “Hey, weirdo.” And you’ll give me that same look of confused delight that you did today when I said that exact same thing. It’ll happen. Years and years from now, on some miserable summer day. We’ll sit together at the dining table looking at our phones and glancing at each other every so often. And, hey, we’ll still be stressed we’ll still be overwhelmed - we’ll still be anxious and perplexed by all these “adult things” we’re expected to do. But you’ll be there, and I’ll be there - and, maybe, for the moment, that’ll be enough.
Instructions on Breaking my Heart Paige Robinson ’20 When you break my heart, do me a favor Do it face to face. And hold my hand, like you did when I told you I was scared. Do it while we’re out getting coffee and do it before it’s too late. Maybe tell me we need to talk so I don’t walk in unprepared.
I’ll look at your lips We’re face to face Take a sip of your coffee, just a sip. This is where you break my heart. You should look out the window as you speak, (Because of course, I’ll choose a table with a view of the park) But make sure, when you finally say it, that our eyes meet So I can be certain there isn’t even a spark That’s why I want you to do it face to face No possibility of confusion, no lingering doubts. Not even your fingers linger on me, only the almost-taste Of the coffee you just swallowed down.
So then I’ll think it’s okay to look you in the eye I’ll give you a shy smile, to let you know that I know what I mean. This would be where you bite your lip or give a sigh But it won’t hit me yet, so you should squeeze my hand and lean Into my space.
Sit across from me and ask about my day. Remind me to not gulp my tea, so I won’t burn my tongue. Just so I know you care, pay attention to what I have to say. And when I inch my hand towards yours to let you know I’m done Make sure you don’t pull away.
TO HAVE KNOWN Karina Ithier â€™20
Poetry 44 Ithier
You let me go but rather I let myself go when you had held onto me And now i must retire to Recall that, had you even held onto me? It must have been beautiful Because i wanted it to be. What is euphoric embrace? I cannot think when i am with you Subdued by intimate-less expression I miss the self pressed to the mind Of-you distant- and us polarized As we once were, as we always will be. I thought i would be falling Into a mind of precarious neutrality But here i find myself On the whims of not caring and yet living a disaster more tranquil more Thrilled and tormented of not your mind But of my own Less afraid.
Shoreditch Lisa Jenkins â€™17 Photography
Pulse Aggie Rieger â€™17 And of course you can feel your pulse just here, in your wrist. Two fingers, one press, and behold: your rushing blood. My favorite place to feel my heartbeat is the crease in my arm, where my elbow bends.
And you only feel it there sometimes specific times when you really work for it; when you really work yourself up. When you run for hours when you kiss for minutes when you share something big.
I dedicate my heartbeats to the ones that will never pulse through the creases in 98 arms, where the elbows bend. I dedicate my heartbeats to become pulses in the bodies of children and corpses, where their elbows bend; heartbeats on beats on beats of more than blood. And it started with 49 hearts; it started in each of their chests but every news beat, every mention of Pulse, and you are in my heart, in my wrist, in the veins where my elbows bend.
The man sitting across from her had massive, knotted hands. Susannah first noticed them when he had grasped the handrail on the train ceiling to steady himself as he scanned the half-empty train for a seat. They clasped the cold metal like bear claws. The train had lurched, and the old man nearly lost his balance before settling heavily into the seat across from her. Now he was seated with his gnarled, leathery hands folded gently in his lap, staring blankly ahead, as if he was cradling something precious and fragile between his palms. She looked down at her own hands, thick palms and short fingers. She had never liked her hands; they were too stubby and masculine. She fidgeted with the sleeves of her sweater, pushing them back down her forearms and attempting to stretch them further over her wrists. Just last week she had gone with her fiancé Robert to look at wedding rings, and at the end of the day, exhausted and frustrated with herself, she had simply told him to surprise her. She wasn’t sure if she trusted Robert’s judgment when it came to jewelry, but the truth of the matter had been that she didn’t really like any of the rings she tried on. Behind the pristine crystal of the glass they were elegant and shining, with slender gold or silver bands, but when she slipped them on her fingers they became garish and gaudy, like the costume jewelry her grandmother used to let her play with as a girl. She hated the way the flesh of her fingers looked against the hard, refined metal. Robert told her that every one of them was beautiful, and she had smiled at him, thankful for the words. Of course Robert would say that. The train rattled noisily along the track, leaning slightly with the turn. She stole another look at the old man’s knotted hands. She saw that he was not wearing a ring, but upon closer inspection, she noticed a stark tan line on his left-hand ring finger where his wedding band should have been. She found herself wondering incongruously how he managed to get the ring over his swollen knuckles. She recalled the hands of her grandmother—delicate fingers and thick knuckles, covered in thin, almost translucent skin. Her joints had swelled with arthritis as she aged, the meat of her fingers seeming to melt away, allowing the rings to shift haphazardly from side to side. She was constantly twisting her engagement ring around to make sure
Izzy King ’18
Prose 48 King
that the diamond faced the right way. The month before Susannah’s grandmother died, she had been so thin and sick from the cancer that walking to the bathroom unassisted had been impossible. Susannah could still see the thin angles of her body and the pink cloth she wore around her bald head. Susannah and her mother came to visit her often, and Robert joined them when he could. Her grandmother loved Robert, and would always ask after him when he didn’t come. One such day, when Susannah and her mother were the only visitors, she had looked up at them from her hospital bed with those happy, but profoundly tired eyes, filled with unusual determination. She made some joke about the pain killers and then asked after Robert, as she always did. When Susannah told her that he was working, her grandmother tried to take the rings off her fingers. She told Susannah that even though she had worn them all these years after Susannah’s grandfather died, she wanted Susannah to have them for her wedding day with Robert. No matter which way she twisted the rings, however, she had not been able to pull them over her swollen knuckles. She called for a nurse to bring some soap, but Susannah and her mother insisted she keep them. Neither wanted to admit the truth of the situation. Taking the rings would be like saying she was already dead. When she did pass away, after months of pain and chemo, Susannah’s mother asked the undertaker to collect the rings, but he told her apologetically that he would have to remove her finger to get to them. Her mother, ever a superstitious and squeamish woman, had glanced at Susannah, the color drained from her face. And so Grandma had been buried with the rings still on her hand. Susannah knew that her grandmother had wanted more than anything to live to see Robert put those rings on Susannah’s hand at the altar, but she hadn’t made it that far. Susannah felt a pang of guilt. She and Robert could have pushed the wedding forward, as her mother had suggested, but it all had felt too rushed. The world was tightening around her and she couldn’t quite force herself to push forward. It was selfish of her - the wedding would happen anyway. It was going to happen soon, very soon. What had been the point of waiting? Soon she would be married without her grandmother’s rings and without that assuring gaze in the audience. Someone could probably remove them now, Susannah thought gruesomely. She briefly studied her own hands again before glancing across the aisle of the train. The old man was gone. She hadn’t noticed him leave. She hadn’t even noticed the train had stopped. She looked down at her hands again,
and supposed that, though they were very plain, they were still young and capable. She opened and closed them carefully, flipping them over and bending them again. She hoped her wedding rings would get stuck on her fingers too.
stoner food critic Deb Rowcroft â€™19 Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!
Poetry 50 Rowcroft
Acknowledgements With special thanks to Crimson Press the Wellesley College English Department & El Table