Second Story Journal IX

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second story journal ix an arts and literature publication

Editor’s Note It’s been a crazy year. I was given the wonderful responsibility of running Second Story Journal in January, and since then, I have been working hard to figure out the ins and outs of literary magazine-making. I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take Second Story Journal when I started; I only knew one thing—a commitment to publishing only the highest-quality student submissions was the most important part of my job. I worked with our amazing layout editor, Logan Prochaska, and the selection staff this year to make sure that we weren’t publishing creative works just to fill pages; we only published the pieces of writing, photos, and art that moved us, made us think, or simply struck as too beautiful not to publish. I also wanted these creative works to appear in their best possible forms. I didn’t publish submissions as they came, but instead worked with the authors on developmental edits to make their pieces the best they could be. I believe the finished product we’ve created is something to be proud of—a magazine that reflects the diversity and creativity of UNCW’s Honors College students. Among us are talented artists, photographers, poets, and 1

prose writers. We all see the world in different ways, and each of these pieces reflects a different worldview. With the decision my predecessor, the wonderful Caroline Orth, made to publish once a year instead of twice came two benefits. First, students have more time to find out about the magazine and to submit their creative works, making selections more competitive and the finished product cleaner than ever before. Second, we were able to glue bind the magazine this year for a more professional look. I had the unique opportunity to attend two conferences this year—an honors conference at which I presented on our literary magazine alongside honors student media boards from other universities, and a conference aimed at student media board members with the focus of improving campus literary magazines and exchanging creative ideas. Both conferences gave me plenty to think about for next year’s magazine, and I am incredibly excited to see what comes next for Second Story Journal. My best, Caleb Horowitz Editor-in-Chief

Editors & Staff caleb horowitz is a sophomore studying editor-in-chief

creative writing and English at UNCW. He is the copy editor for Atlantis Magazine and he helps run UNCW’s Writers’ Association, a club dedicated to creative writing and workshopping. His passions include writing, The Legend of Zelda, and penguins.

logan prochaska is a junior studylayout editor

ing communication studies, Spanish and digital art. She’s the layout editor for Atlantis Magazine and Explorations. She’s also a social media marketing intern at CastleBranch in Wilmington. Logan gets stressed a lot because she has too many jobs and too many minors, but it’s all worth it cause she’s doing what she loves in a place she loves.

Selection Staff

Nikki Kroushl

Summer Young

Maddie Peterson 2

Table of Contents Apollo Portrait | Cover Josh Kraft | Photography On High-End Retail | 5 Ireland Headrick | Nonfiction Ballast | 7 Victoria Migneco | Photography Buttercups Never Lie | 9 Liza Carrasquillo | Fiction Clocktower | 10 Mallory Flanagan | Photography Samaritan | 11 K. Layne Smith | Poetry Fork Bugs | 12 Kathryn Mullins | Visual Art Happy | 13 Nikki Kroushl | Fiction Coffee | 14 Summer Young | Poetry


happy days | 15 Logan Prochaska | Photography Sunrise, Sunset | 17 K. Layne Smith | Nonfiction Wearing Thin & Back Again | 19 Summer Young | Fiction Albatross | 21 Victoria Migneco | Photography Growing Pains | 23 Summer Young | Nonfiction summer blues & greens | 25 Logan Prochaska | Photography A little Heart | 27 Mason Hamberlin | Nonfiction Contributors | 29



On High-End Retail ireland headrick


My coworker has about a thousand dollars’ worth of stacked gold rings on her fingers, and none of them symbolize holy matrimony. She’s twenty years old, makes ten dollars an hour, and lives in an apartment on Carolina Beach with three other girls. Her jeans retail at about $380, and her snakeskin boots were $425. I know this because I ring up her purchases. Swiveling my head to take inventory of the boutique in which I work, I note the edgy, spiked chandelier above me. The beautiful, full-color glossy photographs against each wall. The eight distinct racks of lovely clothing—in such luxurious fabrics as silk, wool, and leather— with each hanger evenly spaced and each article steamed and draped to perfection. The denim table is the epicenter of all that is good and true in the world of premium skinny jeans, and as I run my hand over the blends of cotton and elastomultiester, I cannot help but wonder: I have the dream job, with the dream discount, in the dream beach location. Life is ever so stylish, my position the epitome of chic. And yet, there are starving children in Africa. What’s more, there are starving children in the southeastern United States, where I live, learn, and work.

How can I justify working in a boutique that sells hundred-dollar ripped shirts when 1.56 million people in this country rely on emergency shelters and transitional housing programs just to weather the winter? How can I live with myself claiming to be a Christian, all the while profiting, if indirectly, off the capitalistic indulgences of the one-percenters? What a hypocrite I must be to enjoy selling a new leather jacket to someone, knowing full well that they already have a beautiful, functional coat jacket at home. What a hypocrite I must be. What a fraud. I entered the luxury sector of the retail industry on a whim. Tired of my long and unglamorous shifts at the local Harris Teeter five and six days a week, I called up a clothing store my high school friend used to work at and asked if they were hiring. Seven months later, my time is spent studying hard and selling harder. I love working in fashion. I love the nice lunches and the sleek cars and the elegant clientele. Unfortunately, my brain has a hard time simultaneously enjoying my job and remembering that such things as abject poverty and hunger still exist. It’s easier not to think about it. It’s easier to choose ignorance. That way,

I don’t have to worry about judging myself or the industry or the lifestyle I’m supporting. But that isn’t fair to the people around me, the God above me, or… me. I owe it to myself to be honest and aware. So I refuse to compartmentalize the different socioeconomic worlds within a world. We, as members of humanity, share one planet. One global community. That includes the rich and the poor, the owners of Hermès Birkins and the children in the slums. I have witnessed the purchase of $700 shoes that don’t quite fit, and I have looked in the eyes of a woman who didn’t know from where her next meal was coming. I sold the shoes and I fed the woman. And somehow I kept going. At the end of the day, when I clock out and lock up, I’m always happier if we’ve had some big sales. Maybe our customers were wrong to spend their money with me, but who am I to judge? The same labels are stamped across the backs of my jeans, sewn into the tags of my blouses, and printed on the inner soles of my sneakers. Maybe our

customers, like my coworkers-turnedclose-friends, are already doing their part to make the world a better place. Maybe they donate more than their share to the local food pantry or missionary organization, and maybe they don’t. At the end of the day, I know that my love of fashion is not a crime. It’s a beautiful thing, an appreciation for an ever-evolving and multifaceted art. If everything good and perfect comes from above, then exquisitely designed and crafted clothing must make the list. Visual excellence demands the highest form of ingenuity, and the creative integrity that drives the production of clothing is fashion’s greatest triumph. I cannot yet reconcile the selling of expensive consumer goods with the awareness that nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, but I will say this: if the love of material beauty and a desire to save the world were to collide, what an interesting introductory anecdote this would be. Perhaps in such a collision, I will find my purpose and myself.



Ballast victoria migneco



Buttercups Never Lie Liza Carrasquillo Princess Bride

Sally says that buttercups never lie. In the summer, while our big brothers and sisters play kickball in the empty drive-in field, Sally makes me pick them with her. “Hold one under your chin,” she says. “If it glows yellow, that means you like butter.” We do so, and they make bright spots under our small chins. They are right. I ask Sally if they can tell us other things, too, like whether or not we like cream cheese, or if I will be better than my brother at kickball, or if I could win a battle of wits against a Sicilian, or if Westley Roberts from first grade last year still likes me even though he moved to the city. “Buttercups never lie,” she says, and I pretend that answers my question.


Forrest Gump


When my family sees Forrest Gump in the drive-in, Grandpa wants to stay home. I beg him to come because he’s the only one who will share SnoCaps with me, but he says no and sits in his medal room instead. “It’s not a medal room,” says my brother. “It’s a memorial room, ’cause Grandpa’s got pictures of all his old friends in there.” I ask why there’s so many

shiny medals and awards if it’s not a medal room. “Those don’t matter to Grandpa, dummy. Grandpa likes the pictures more.” I don’t want to see the movie anymore, so Mom lets me stay with Grandpa. We sit in his memorial room and look at the old pictures he likes so much. He points out someone young and tall and tells me that was him, surrounded by jungle and by his old buddies. He tells me that he and I, just like he and his friends were, are like peas and carrots. I hate peas, but I smile anyways. I don’t think Grandpa has many other peas around anymore.

Toy Story

I wonder if my toys see everything, too. I wonder if Spider-Man felt pain when Jamie and I fought over him until his arm snapped off. I wonder if he knows I tried to fix him with glue and tape, and that I haven’t given up, even though Mom says last time I made too much of a mess. I wonder if my stuffed wolf knows that out of all of the Beanie Babies, he’s my favorite because Grandpa gave him to me. I miss Grandpa. Do the other Beanie Babies know that I like them less? Do I have to make sure their eyes are turned away the next time I cry, like Dad does

when he goes into Grandpa’s memorial room and shuts the door? Do I have to always smile and pretend I’m not sad, even in my room now? My

Mallory Flanagan



brother says that’s dumb, and toys are just toys. He goes into his room and shuts the door. I wonder if his toys see everything, too.



K. Layne Smith

After seventeen years underground, you shouldn’t die alone by the fluorescent-lit stairs. But even as I try to pass, I can’t help but reach out with my phone, not with my fingertips, for fear of the way your skeleton might rattle beneath them, to touch your still body to make sure you are truly dead. With a jolt, your body awakens with the whirl of an industrial engine, and I leap back screaming, reminded of the time my sister chased me with molted cicada skins found in the corners of the playground held fixed by prickly legs, kept in treasure boxes with letters from grandma and rainbow horse drawings. But it is unfortunate that, unlike my sister, you have no sense of direction—and functional wings making a collision course between us a real possibility, and as you settle on the floor again, I take a picture of you, a souvenir for my friends as evidence of our encounter. Tragically, a strong Christian upbringing roots me in place, having already forged a sense of attachment between us, so I look for a broom to sweep you out the door to your cicada friends, but have to settle on an umbrella that I wield like a baseball bat,


Knowing that a true Samaritan would not try this method of assistance, but treat you tenderly, wrapping you up gently in a paper towel and placing you on a leaf. But I am too afraid of the shudder of your exoskeleton to think about anything except my screams that resound throughout the hall as you fly lopsided figure eights.


Your wings fold back now that you’ve settled, and I leave, my heart pounding with the idea that perhaps you do not want help after all and the fluorescent hallway is a sort of heaven for the nocturnal where you can rest after so many years in the dark.

Kathryn Mullins

Fork Bugs

visual art 12




Nikki Kroushl

She says, “I want to make you unhappy,” like it tastes fresh, the first sour strawberry on the tongue after a winter of swallowing nuts and bolts. She says it as if you have not clawed your way through the rusty nails and shattered chalkboards, as if you have not pulled yourself over an abyss made of pulled-out eyelashes and razor burn, as if you have not had to sew your own lungs back up over the black clawing mold that breeds there when people tell you just calm down. As if you have not pulled your own hair out and knotted it around your brainstem just to feel normal. Just to get an inch closer to this thing that she calls happy. As if you have not given up everything to have shiny white teeth that reflect a cloudless sky instead of humid gray fog. As if you have not sold your soul for this little bit of warmth that burns beneath your ribcage at night. She says, “Happy people aren’t thinking people.” She says, “Happy people are sheep.” She says, “Happy people don’t belong with me, and I want you to belong to me.”

You remember belonging to things: to ashtrays and bad boys’ kisses, to lemon-scented toilet bowl cleaner, to the way the moon caught hold of you and didn’t let go at night. You remember the way they could seem magical at times. You remember the way they manacled you beneath the rings and the bracelets. She says, “The people who are happy in a world like this are the criminals.” You shrug and say mental goodbyes to the prints of her lipstick on your collarbones. “Guess I’m a criminal,” you say. “Guess I’m a sheep. Guess I ignore all the important things. Guess I’m complicit in all the evil in the world.” She tilts her head, and you can see all the nuts and bolts she has swallowed this long winter—nuts and bolts instead of slices of soft mangoes or the heated melt of cotton candy. They fill up the empty knockingabout-ness inside her till you can see what little hollow space is left behind her eyeballs. “Guess you’re happy,” she says.

Summer Young


It’s nearing closing time at work, so I take the coffee pot to the back to finish the dishes. The coffee is still warm as I pour it into the sink, and the smell takes me back to my kitchen at home. I check the label on the coffee grounds. The brand is my father’s favorite, and I entertain the idea of sending a “thinking of you” sort of text to him. His number isn’t in my phone.

poetry 14


happy days


Logan Prochaska



Sunrise, Sunset


His voice is like jazz, rhythms of nostalgia punctuated with bursts of emotion where his voice catches. My grandfather’s voice draws me closer, sometimes so low I can hardly hear. It speaks of dances with my grandma in his arms, the chair where he read his books, and the click of a typewriter my dad accidentally sat on when he asked permission to marry my mother. Mostly, though, it is jazz. The music surrounds him as it always has since I have known him. Its presence coexists with the smell of peppermint, cheap beer, and the portable radio that plays the jazz that surrounds like an aura. Sitting together, we talk about the BBC and my cousin’s wedding the day before. He asks if I’ve been going steady with anyone, and I tell him I have been for about a month now. I tell him how kind my boyfriend is, although in my heart I know it probably won’t last much longer. We reminisce about my grandparents’ fiftieth anniversary party two years before. He tells me how strange it is looking back through the years. “Your grandma and I married when we were so young. Sometimes I have to wonder where the time went. I remember when your Auntie

K. Layne Smith

Christine was born, and now I see her daughter married. I remember all of you girls growing up, and sometimes I can’t believe how old you’ve gotten.” He coughs into his handkerchief, leaving space for the jazz to drift between us. My eyes search for the radio, but I feel a pang when I realize its presence has been replaced. My grandfather’s deeply veined hands hold the tablet for me to see. “Your grandma bought me this. I can listen to any radio station in the country now. It’s unbelievable.” He nods, taking a sip from his can of beer. “When your grandma and I married, everything was such a mystery. Our life was like a line of question marks stretching into the void. Now, I look back and it’s like a line of exclamation points.” The jazz creeps between us again as he pauses, likely thinking back along that line of exclamation points. When he speaks again, it’s as if he is talking to someone else. “It seems that the older I get, the more truth I find in that song in Fiddler on the Roof, ‘Sunrise, Sunset.’ ‘Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older. When did they?’ When I look back through the decades, it’s like a line of exclamation

points. And it’s not a mystery now that we know the story. You go through the decades, and everything seems so slow, but then you look back and everything seems to have passed by so quickly.� We sit together, him listening to a time he remembers living, and me

imagining a time past. The jazz fills the space between us as we sit lost in our own thoughts, I looking at the question marks in front and he looking at the exclamation points behind.



Wearing Thin & Back Again Summer young


You miss having a boyfriend because unconditional love was in their job description. With parents, because you are always within the realm of their love, you wear them down over time. Love becomes an obligation, a routine. But with a boyfriend, they choose you. You say, “Hey,” followed by “I’m emotionally damaged,” and they say, “Me too,” or “Wanna share,” or even, in some cases, “Why would you think you’re anything less than perfect?” So, while a parent can almost resent you after having to love you for too long, a boyfriend chooses to love you. He doesn’t soothe one day, then match you complaint for complaint the next. He doesn’t see your anxiety and wonder how you managed to change so much when you were so happy before. He is not supposed to respond to your unease with the question, “Why are you still broken?” Instead, he holds you when the thunderstorm reminds you of the day your parents broke apart, clashing and spitting. He is there offering soft words and an ever-constant heartbeat. You can pretend it is perfectly in time with yours.

You fall asleep to it, slipping into a hopeful dream that it will be your lullaby again in twenty years, on a soft and foggy Sunday night, in a bed you picked out together.

Most of the times you make love, you’re stupid with sleep. You spend too long on the floor with him, on days when the carpet is somehow better than the couch, following the warmth of the window’s square of sun with your bodies. When it finally fades, you are warm and sated. You ask questions, trying to caress his mind. The answers sound worldly when they fall from his lips. His questions are in each kiss, with his smile rolling along his face as his body rolls over yours.

The phone screen leers at you with its emptiness. You texted him an hour ago, with one of those questions that, in itself, is desperate in its efforts to start a conversation. But it fell short. So short. He throws back a one-word response.

You don’t text him again. You can feel the burden of your own presence; it weighs down your arms, your legs, your chest. Why force it on anyone else?

You’re fixing your heartbreak with cookie dough. You’re in a kitchen, and in your daydreams it’s sunny and warm, but in reality it’s dusk and you would be shivering, if not for the warmth radiating from the oven and his smile. He can see the heart-shaped hole

on your sleeve, torn and ragged at the edges where the last boy ripped it out. He asks about it. You tell him, pressing down on the cookie dough, your words pulling up tears. They don’t fall; specks of dough just end up in the burners. “I gave you the hard job,” he says, centering an Oreo in the chocolate-chip dough once you’ve finished. “I’m sorry.” “I don’t mind,” you say, adding a top layer of dough, blanketing the solidity of the crème cookie. You appreciate having something to build around. You don’t say this.



Albatross Victoria Migneco




Growing Pains Summer young


Age 15 You always remember the state where you make your first 9-1-1 call. I was fifteen and my brother Scott was twelve, so it didn’t really make sense to call the upstairs space I was crouched in a playroom. “Do you feel safe where you are?” The operator asked me. “No.” I was crying because my parents were screaming at each other. Everything had been fine, and then Mom had looked at Dad’s computer and started yelling. I hung up the phone and hid with Scott in the cubbyhole my father had made me. I hugged Scott and told him we would be okay. In spite of my terror, I tried to be the strong older sibling and I left the cubby to get him tissues and other comforts. I made a note to better supply my room for any future sieges. I had thought our biggest problem was money. That this issue was my fault because it was my sport that had already cost two sets of four-year college educations. I used to think that our lives would be easier without me. But my dad’s dating profile had included his beloved daughter and son. He just hadn’t mentioned my mom.

Age 5 Some memories hurt because they involved pain; others hurt because they didn’t. “Pump your legs, Summer,” my dad says. I kick them one after the other, grinning up at him from the swing. The crash of the waves accompanies his lesson. He kneels in front of me. I am not yet five, and my father is giving me one of the most important lessons: how to swing. He has jerry-rigged a swing set to the roof of the deck in preparation, screwing one of the support beams with bright, silvery rings; two sets— one for my swing, and one for Scott’s rocket ship baby swing. The salt in the air will soon rust everything, but for now it is new. “Put your legs together, baby girl, and pull them towards you on the way down.” He demonstrates, guiding my legs the way they need to move. “Then push them forward as you swing back up.” “This is hard,” I say. “Push me, Daddy.” He smiles and obliges, moving behind me, out from under the shelter of the roof. The sky is overcast and it

will likely rain soon. Still, he stays outside with me. “Higher, Daddy, higher,” I call over the constant rumble of the ocean.

“Okay, baby girl,” he says. He grabs the seat, pulls it back to his chest, and helps me fly.



summer blues & greens Logan Prochaska



A little Heart Mason Hamberlin


I just wanted to make therapeutic cupcakes with my eleven-yearold sister. It was her birthday. All her friends were experts: their little fingers navigated every detail, layered base frostings with topcoats, and shaded the pipets and flowery stencils with some sort of contouring spray. I tried, too. But biology said otherwise, and stuck me with the hands of a twenty-one-year-old man. Hotdog fingers, really. I tried to make an island or forest or mountain. Something mushy and blue that I could escape to. She asked if I needed help, and I said sure, why not, and she said okay and proceeded to stab my cupcake to death with a spoon. I told her it looks like someone carved out a heart with an ice cream scoop. I told her it looks ugly now. She told me it’s not ugly—it’s not ugly if it doesn’t exist.


Contributors Ireland Headrick is a freshman at UNCW

with plans to double major in creative writing and French. She loves fashion, film and television, and doing cool things with cool people. You can follow her on Instagram @irelandrhea.

Kathryn Mullins is graduating this May

with a degree in art history and minors in psychology and studio art. She hopes to pursue a master’s in art therapy and combine her two passions: healthcare and artistic expression.

Nikki Kroushl is a sophomore double major-

ing in creative writing and communication studies and minoring in English and German. When not furiously studying, she writes fantastical fiction because she’s still secretly hoping to discover a portal to another (more magical, more impossible) world. She possesses an uncalled-for level of enthusiasm for planners, punctuation, pasta, caffeine, and Instagramming her cat. Find out more about her and her work at 29

Victoria Migneco is from New Jersey. She came to UNCW to achieve a double major in marine biology and environmental science and a minor in English with the goal of becoming something awesome. She has a love for sharks, Converses, and SCUBA diving. She vows to own a sailboat one day.

Liza Carrasquillo is a writer from Charlotte, NC working towards a BFA in creative writing, a minor in English, and a certificate in publishing from UNCW. When she is not working, she pets her dog and writes stories like the one featured here.

Maddie Peterson is a freshman at UNCW

majoring in marine biology and film studies. A Nashville native, she enjoys binge reading, swing dancing, and playing the ukulele. She is the youngest of five siblings, and dreams of working for National Geographic or BBC Nature in the future.


Contributors Mason Hamberlin was once asked for a

“more serious” bio. This is it. Networking. Professionalism. 401K. Responsible equity investments in the manufacturing of cross-media divisions and niche markets. Synergy. His work appears in, Thrice Fiction, Sanctuary Literary Arts Journal, and Atlantis.

Mallory Flanagan is an Honors student

at UNCW majoring in Anthropology. She is an active member of Delta Zeta and the UNCW Equestrian team. She loves her job as a barista at the local PCJ and her pet mouse, Seymour. Mallory is going back to London this summer, and is very excited!

K. Layne Smith is a communication studies major and co-founder of UNCW’s Writers’ Association. When she is not writing, she enjoys traveling, obsessively listening to podcasts and collecting more books than she has time to read.


Summer Young is a member of the 2019

graduating class who is majoring in creative writing. Within her major, she specializes in fiction. Her hobbies include reading and fencing.

Josh Kraft is a sophomore at UNCW study-

ing environmental science, biology, and Spanish. He likes to climb stuff, take pictures of stuff, and hang out with dogs.

Logan Prochaska is still doing all the same things that she was doing in her previous bio.

If you’re bored, you can follow her photography on Instagram @prochaskaphotography or on Facebook at


Second Story Journal is the arts and literature publication of the Honors College at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, located on the second floor of Randall Library. We print and promote the creative voices of our students and support experiential learning experiences by the marketing, editing, and design of our annual publication. Submissions of art, photography, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and scholarly work by UNCW honors students are read by a blind committee composed of volunteer staff members. All works should be emailed to as an attachment with the submitter’s name and genre of the piece submitted. Attachments should not include any type of identifying information of the submitter. We accept submissions year-round.

This issue of Second Story Journal was designed by Logan Prochaska. Text is set in Avenir Next and Baskerville. Printed by UNCW Print Services, Wilmington, North Carolina. All rights revert to contributors upon publication. Copyright Š 2017 Honors College at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

University of North Carolina Wilmington Honors College 2017

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