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Table of Contents The Selkie

4

Tuesday Traffic

4

My Ghosts

5

Biological Cells

5

Smoke

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Silhouette 9 Mongolian Woman and Ger

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Blissful Hours

10

A Eulogy For Innocence

11

Midnight in Chicago

13

Biology 14 They Turn Up As Poppies

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Body World

15

Ambrosia 16 Life Through a Nikon

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Fox News Compared Me To Bin Laden

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Tower 20 Saturday Morning

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The Australian and Me

21

Insomnious 22 Our Silhouette

22

In the Moment

23

Confession

24

When you haven’t weathered much of the world

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Bamfield

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Tidal 29 My Country and My Hometown

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Lindsay

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Time and Tide

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Wood

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1670 centimeters per second

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Untitled

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Storm Warning

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Infinite?

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The Left River

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The Right River

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The Songs of the Spring

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Lake of Bays

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A Harsh Lesson for the Adolescent Male

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A Verse for the Somber Lover Boy

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A Client of Still Waters

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Teacups

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The Tree of Life

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Fire and Ice

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Ustrasana

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With the Road

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Blossom 55 Men of the Southern Wild

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Harry Clarke

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Origin Story

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The Selkie Nina Grice The other night I heard you snoring, while I lay awake in bed. Though I’ve loved you through the ages and through my own sad, quiet decline, somehow this little detail has always slipped my notice. But there it is -- you snore. And now I think I’m afraid to think of anything else I may not have sensed -since I gladly traded my home beneath the waves for a life with you all those years ago.

Tuesday Traffic Laura Bossy  Vacant lots of lost excitement Dulling hues of ancient white Mimicked tones of a past forgotten Echoing songs under streetlight   Speeding cars like fleeting seconds Unscripted words of false delight Chromatic lines electrified Blinded truths unveiled by sight.

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My Ghosts Emily Harris My ghosts reside on the inside of my eyelids. When I awake the phantoms peel back and hide in the depths of my sockets.   I endure the day with hidden ghosts –  catching only glimpses when I blink –  one second at a time.   I see this way till the night arrives and my eyes close once again. The spirits are inescapable from my vision –  they stand with hands on hips, planted in the foreground of my watchful slumb’ring mind.

Biological Cells Sara MacLellan The Undergraduate Review

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Smoke

Nicole Chin There are 10 different types of people. I’ve decided. Only ten at least that I think make sense. 1. There are people who smoke. 2.  There are people who smoke those mini cigars that smell kind of like vanilla. 3.  There are people who say they smoke but only do it sometimes and they say they only do it when they want to talk to people who have just gone outside to smoke. 4.  There are people who really smoke and smell like they shower in ashtrays. 5.  There are people who are old, balding and have pads sewn on the elbows of their coats. They smoke from pipes. 6.   There are people who say they smoke but really shouldn’t because when they breathe it sounds like an old fighter jet is trying to get through their lungs and out of their mouth. 7.  There are people who smoke green stuff. 8.  There are people who don’t smoke at all. 9.  There are people who don’t smoke anymore but wish they still did. 10.  There are the people who know that the people they love smoke, so these people (the ones that don’t smoke) cut out the pictures of the gross lungs and bad gums and people with holes in their necks from the cartons of cigarettes and show them to the people who do smoke and say things like ‘Look, you’re going to die.’ At first I thought Julie was something like a number 3, but then I accidentally walked into her room this one time and usually she gets angry when I go into her room and tattles on me but this time she was sitting cross legged on her carpet with a vase and a pile of rolled up grass. She told me to come in and we listened to some of her records and she even let me choose one to play. And

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then after a while she told me that I should probably go outside and play because she wanted some time alone before Mom came home from work. Then I added number 7 to the list. So really, Julie’s not a number 3, she’s actually just a number 7. Mom is a number 4 and I really wish she was just a number 9 because at night when she snores it always sounds like bones rattling. It always wakes me up. Dad must be a deep sleeper. Even when she’s just walking around the house she’ll hack and I know that she’s going to be a number 6. When I walk out of the house I can smell it on my clothes. And when my Mom comes real close to my face to tell me something I’ve done wrong, I can smell it in her breath. It’s like those commercials where that yellow smoke comes out of people’s mouths and then afterwards a pretty person talks about how great Tic Tacs or Altoids are. I imagine that smoking makes her spit slick and sticky like tree sap, and then it sits on her tongue and rolls around in the back of her throat. That must be why she hoarks. It’s like a really slow cannon. Then you hear it hit the kitchen sink with a splat and then she turns on the faucet to wash it down the drain before serving us breakfast. Mom starts her morning with two cigarettes. Her first one is the one she smokes while she cooks. She does a really good job of not getting the ashes in the food and balancing the ashtray between the crack between the counter and the stove. She’s also become pretty good at cracking eggs open with one hand. I hardly find eggshells anymore. Her second cigarette is the one she smokes when she’s eating. She’ll light the cigarette before she starts and then smoke it in between bites. She’ll cut her eggs up with her fork while she sticks it in her mouth and then takes a bite of her eggs and then a sip of her juice. Then she’ll smoke. Then she’ll take a sip of her coffee, a bite of her bacon and then another smoke. Sometimes The Undergraduate Review

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Dad joins her and lights one up for himself and then they blow smoke at each other like dragons. Sometimes he just looks at her and then says he’s going to eat outside or going to go downstairs to eat in front of the television. Mom doesn’t usually reply then. She’ll just smoke some more and take another bite of her eggs. I haven’t figured out what Dad is. He used to be a number 1 but now he’s probably a number 9. It depends how bad his day’s been though. Dad’s bought the patch. But he’s also bought a pack of cigarettes with the camel on the front. He does things that a number 10 would do. Like he’ll keep the cartons of her cigarettes and stack them on the coffee table. Then when I come home from school and Dad’s at work, Mom’ll come home and she’ll look at the coffee table and clean it up. I don’t know what number I am. I don’t think I really care that much about it all so I don’t think I’m on that list. I’m probably on another list. Sometimes Dad tells me to empty out the ashtrays in the house, so I go around with a plastic bag from the grocery store and go into the bedroom and toss out the ashes. Then I go into the bathroom. Then the living room. Then I go all the way down the creepy stairs to the basement and I always have to run real fast back up because of all the creepy stuff I can imagine lives behind the old cardboard boxes even though I know it’s probably smarter to walk backwards slowly on account of the fact that then I can see if anything really pops out. When I empty the ashtrays I like to pretend that the ashes are something really cool. Sometimes I imagine that they’re gunpowder. Or what’s been left behind after a giant explosion. Or sometimes I imagine that they’re stardust. Sometimes I pretend they’re a magical powder from a wizard. Sometimes (and only once in a while) I look at them and just see ashes. Not cigarette ashes but the kind people put in urns. Sometimes I look at them and when I just see those kind of ashes I end up seeing their ashes.

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Silhouette Bogdan Diaconu

Mongolian Woman and Ger Bogdan Diaconu The Undergraduate Review

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Blissful Hours Styna Tao

Blissful hours are not owned, Happiness comes with a price. Relish in those stolen moments, When your breath mingles with mine. Puffs of smoke disappear, Faster than I can make more. Our jackets add a splash of colour, To the white canvas we stand in.   Footprints left behind, Souvenir of joy and laughter. No need for words, Time stands still, just for us. Flashes of bright lights, I see behind my eyelids. Everything fades, As you shine front and center.   Dreams and impossibilities,  Give way to reality. Bittersweet goodbye, As I count the hours ‘til who knows when? Heavy footsteps, I watch them run into the distance. Blissful hours are mine, Only to own in memory.

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A Eulogy For Innocence Chantal D’Souza At 3am, the alarm on the IV goes off. You adjust it yourself, you don’t want to be a burden. You think the nurses are judging you. They look surprised when you talk about dreams and family. Fact: 1 Tylenol taken every four hours without exceeding 6 per day will aid the most basic of aches, breaks, and things that hurt. Fact: 52 Tylenols in 2 minutes, consumed in hasty, desperate gulps is one of the most painful forms of suicide. Despite your most proactive cowardice, it will not be painless. Fact: Tylenol is not an effective cure for emotional pain. There are no carefully printed instructions describing the dosage required to stop remembering what was said. It will be easier to open this lid now than your eyelids later. They make them child-proof instead of grief-proof because you should have been old enough to know better. They should have known you better. You do everything you say you will. Fact: There will never be enough details in your suicide note to help your mother understand why you did it. 8 months later you will wake to find her crouched before your bedside, knees close pressed to boards she walked to rock you to sleep 18 years ago. Holding the splinters of your family beneath her for fear they will get lodged in other people, she is kneeling in that well-familiar gesture, the way she taught you once, when you prayed words like, The Undergraduate Review

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“If I should die before I wake”, before you tried to make that happen. Though you are sure she is now deep in prayer, she is not listening for God’s response. She is listening to make sure you’re still breathing. About once a week, you wake up in a cold sweat. Heart racing like you’ve swallowed too many pills. You keep dreaming of funerals. You wander graveyards full of grandchildren you would have prevented. Their tombstones look like Tylenol, shoved into the earth. You were a little girl who spent so much time reading that you’ve never stopped living your life like a book. You are the prince and the dragon. You are slaughtering yourself for no one’s benefit. You are your own villain. You were a little girl who never stopped flipping to the last page to know that it finished happily. Is this where you learned that ending is a solution? You have long conversations with your sister about everything else. When the television talks about death, you do not look at each other. But sometimes you catch her staring at you out of the corner of her eye, as though you will disappear if she looks at you directly. When you were 4, you came to her with every invisible wound you imagined. She would wrap it with invisible band-aids. Your wounds are still invisible, but her band-aids will not cover them. When you were ten, you would sit with your father at the kitchen table, legs swinging because they had nothing to run from.

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You made a game out of who could swallow the biggest vitamin without any water. You do not do this anymore. You swallow your vitamins quietly, choking on apologies that stick in your throat. Fact: The only thing worse than dying is living with the knowledge that you tried to. You have spent months looking happy for other people’s sake. A happy face is a carefully made bed, there are so many monsters underneath. You are your own monster, waiting to grab your ankles when you try to escape. Your shadow has sharp edges. Creeping black from the back of your footsteps, Seeping down from the depths of your pores. You don’t think this darkness is yours, You don’t know how you could ever have done it.

Midnight in Chicago Brittany Moore

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Biology Laura Bossy  Raw open nerves 
 My heart battered and beating Ripped from my sleeves And exposed to the world Like a freshly dug wound Penetrating flesh and all feeling   My blood pulses Through mazes of veins and arteries Capillaries bursting from pressure While my lungs collapse Exasperated from inhaling The dead air that surrounds me   And I tell myself: Just keep breathing Heart, keep beating.

They Turn Up As Poppies Amye Nickel Hiel (sic) used to greet me so I stopped telling people Onkel Konrad (SS) couldn’t handle Dachau   I could never talk about Opa’s papa dead (camp) Opa’s mama dead (SA) Tante Hanna’s little friend dead (Soviets)   I (German) wonder who remembers Kitchener, prewar

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Body World Hannah French The Undergraduate Review

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Ambrosia Chloë Grande Buttery as an English crumpet, the waiter’s words are siren songs that coax my lustful senses with sweet, sweet whispers May I suggest, he sings our plat du jour, seared scallops ravished by whisky cream sauce, soft hills of butternut squash purée Or, he adds, eyes glistening, the rabbit leg confit, a succulent dish of silken meat, fresh herbs — a true gustatory delight   And so, seduced by the cry of flesh I riffle through the luscious menu and place my order. Hurry, please, I beg. My mouth is greedy and rabid I dream of citrus-infused glazes guzzling over hunks of pork, peppery steak drooling in a puddle of red-wine jus. Each passing dish coos out to me, baiting me with whiffs of smoke and seductive crackles that promise the most sinful of flavours. Your dinner, monsieur, he announces And with a twirl of his hand presents me with a bountiful plate of shrivelled salad green

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Life Through a Nikon Melanie Conron

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Fox News Compared Me To Bin Laden Amye Nickel   The other day while shaving I came to the realization that I was happy and I do not know why this struck me at this moment as I dripped with drugstore-brand bodywash and held a razor to my genitals but it did and it was forceful and I was overcome with the absolute beauty of my own ignorance and the beauty of curiosity and the sound of the warm rich voice of a sleepy lover badly imitating Karen Oh in the hallway outside cracking eggs into whole wheat baskets and the smell of cheap drugstore-brand bodywash mixing with coffee and the anticipation of a cheeky embrace and of soaking the sleepy lover in drugstore-brand bodywash and of wonderful vengeful kisses and Baby I’m afraid of a lot of things and a little domestic galaxy in an infinite universe lovely because of its infinity and the randomness and rationality of union and creation by accident and collision by accident and the randomness and rationality of everything and the glory in safety and the terror in hurt reasonless but for the agency of each of us and comforting in all its comforting perversion because of that agency and the thought that God God God and what tears came to my eyes at the beautiful thought that there is no God and that seeking understanding of the world and of each other through our own means and our own responsibility and our own initiative and waiting on nothing and revelling in now and living for now and breakfast dishes second shower shower sex drying and dressing subway admission-by-donation and admiring creations by humans with puddles of colour and blocks of clay and looking looking reading reading reading shelves filled with collections shrinking in comparison to the ones intended to be read and the small dome of reality becoming in turn shelved for the mysteries of the unreal and subway holding hands

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street shopping and the blueness of the sky and the lack of perches for the Olympians to sit upon and survey us and gazing upward at the nothingness and smiles and comments on its beauty and it is beautiful it is beautiful that what is perceived as nothingness is in truth filled with so much and so much that is not yet grasped and that it is not necessary to caulk the holes in our understanding with things that do not encourage us to be free and youthful and magnanimous without the incentive of a bond that might or might not mature in eighty point seven years and to give freely and anonymously and to be inquisitive and adaptable to change and to not inflict the small and the scared with the aforementioned caulk caulk caulk and to be brave be brave to champion choice and education and to celebrate the observable as natural and as wondrous for being so and we are at the store collecting thyme for dinner with friends and we are tickling each other in the elevator and we are preheating the oven and jiving poorly but exuberantly to a song we have never heard before and we are taking up beloved company in our arms and spending the evening in a blur of crisp laughter until the departure of our beloved company and we are suspending domesticity until morning and we are sleepily jiving a final time to silence finality and silence finality and silence finality and silence with no expectations of intervention and with no expectations of perpetuity and with acceptance of what exists and is not given and with acceptance that you are not universally special but that you are empirically efficacious and again I am in the shower with a hairless crotch embracing fear and embracing uncertainty and embracing choice and embracing skepticism and a venturous mind and marvelling at the rapturous rapturous life that is mine and that is ours and that is all there is and providing the promise of endless treasures to fill our hungry brains. The Undergraduate Review

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Tower Hannah French

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Saturday Morning Emily Harris Maybe if I knew  you better I wouldn’t hear  the smile in your  voice – if I knew you truly  perhaps  I wouldn’t taste  the promise in your  eyes  or the sounds amid your bones: the softness of your  stars calling me from  my own special place. 

The Australian and Me Lauren Di Pede If words could pour out of kisses To express what each one means The slight peck of the cheek Would have them falling to the floor. But your kisses Which are slow and enjoyed Stream your words into mine Dropping them Like gumdrops from a tree Into the poem forming our friendship… Even if they only come from the cheeks.

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Insomnious Chloë Grande I’m sleepy, so sleepy, why can’t I sleep? A thousand sheep and a thousand fences won’t ease my eyes closed. It’s the rubble in my mind that stirs my senses. Could have, should have. I didn’t dose her with my tainted words. Didn’t jab, sting, wound that monstrous human being. I’m a garter snake of laughable fear in amongst the anacondas. Silly child. Go play with dollies and teacups, these spear-ended tools are out of reach. I pray for nightmares but the Sandman never answers. What ifs still keep clawing at my rabid thoughts. Tomorrow, I think, tomorrow I will not quiver. Sunbeams beat me with morning light, scorch my wasted eyes. And so I rise with the weak. 

Our Silhouette Joann Lai

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In the Moment Emily Gong

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Confession Nicole Chin After the grit and the grime of a time that was lying. After the sheets and the tears and the washing machine After your father’s hurt, your mother’s tears After your father, just like your father After the push - mud on red shoes. After I said “There’s no place like home” __________________  

In the bedroom. I’ll hand you a Kleenex because this is what we do.  

Dust collects. Pieces of you and me. We are friends. It was decided.  

But in the shadows Of a lamp stuck on reverse are tepid cravings, surging waves.  

And it comes up my throat like a box under a floorboard pulled up too fast, wood against my gut and I can feel the temptation of dusty distant things  

A familiar taste. A familiar moisture.  

It’s an open textbook Physics, biology, Inertia and skin. Your pencil markings my eraser.

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Prying open metal bodies gulping down cracked kisses yellowing embraces  

stretching the Gaping Hole of an old sock (your sock) still under my bed.  

It feels like hungry insects cups of saliva torn, chapped lips.  

Urgent rhythm: A jacket, fingers pulling off the pilling. desperate lips pecking, pecking. the heat our legs  

(You) salty ocean. (I) parched and stranded, taking a drink.  

And the boundaries I had drawn are fences made of dust knocked down by hot, heavy breath.  

One day it will be too much. And my body will be done with your gentle venom. The Undergraduate Review

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When you haven’t weathered much of the world Katheron Intson It was not long before Christmas And the calves were six months old. In desperation, for she’d had no practical proposition to make him, She’d pleaded her father that her Christmas wish might be The permanence of their stay, or, with increasing hysteria, At least a postponement of their departure. God, the look her mother had given him Knowing that financial viability Had to supersede his daughter’s heart this time But he was watching in silence as her friends licked her hand Through the bars of the pen on the back of his truck And the cold wind froze their saliva on her hands.   That day, it turned out he’d forgotten to set the latch On the trailer properly Or perhaps it had broken—she never found out for sure— But the door had swung back and forth till the little calves Wandered out right onto the highway, During a congestion that immediately passed In the midst of the holiday shoppers during the morning rush Bleating wildly Her father scrambling And of course not quickly enough.   It is sixty years later, and she will not allow her grandson To open presents at her house; This disturbs the religious isostasy between her and Her Protestant daughter-in-law. who believes in gifts. The plates threaten uplift, upheaval

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When she insists (politely, really) That dinnertime is not a time for consumerism, and Stacy apologizes in a forbearing sort of way, later tells them Of her first Christmas with James, the one where He forgot to buy her parents’ presents. “They didn’t understand his ignorance of our Lord’s celebration.”   She thinks of her son-Stressed and keeping his thermostat at 10 degrees because he is struggling To pay his monthly bills as he gets his Master’s  While his future in-laws fluster Over a couple of unbought Bath and Body Works soaps-And remembers a December long ago.   And so when Stacy says “You can imagine how They worried that the integrity of my faith was at stake” She wonders whether you can rightfully use that word, “Ignorance”, When you haven’t weathered much of the world yourself; and she also Thinks that not many things can make you question your faith more Than a mob rushing back from the mall, In too much of a hurry to let a man get his calves off the 403, —in living form tended tenderly by a girl who adored all living things— Instead indifferent to let collect bits of pink veal and matted fur under their tires

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Bamfield Hannah French

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Tidal Robert Defina The rain came down Clear paint upon a sandy canvas The beach was cold The last place the sun landed And the waves rolled in Like a train into the night Off the tracks and down between the lights  The moon did hang As a fixture on my ceiling’s tip And the room bled red Though no one suffered in it Deep beyond the door Lies a place for sentiment to grow But sentiment is just sediment between my toes The wind went quiet Like a child falling fast asleep And beneath a curtain, I’m delighted To find myself with just a dream You said the hourglass is almost out So I shoved it off the table Hoping it would land upside down  

I missed my flight I missed my way out of this old town I know I could go 
 But I am tethered to the ground My heart is light No longer bound to call this home But my feet are heavy They are made of stone  

So I sink to the bottom of my endless sea Just to let the waves carry me The waves that I resented before Just to wash up on another shore The Undergraduate Review

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My Country and My Hometown Alicia Hai  Oh Paris, oh Paris what a place to be! Within first sight      –mesmerized by a silvery, glimmering, towering dream From the riveting red of Moulin Rouge To the architectural awe that is the Arc   What a city we see!       –Venice of the sinking sea A bubbling blue and a surging green And through those defiant depths of water, in all its splendor and glory A hidden gem of Murano glass galore   Europe, always and forever my true home I have seen what there is to see A maze of art and architecture, Many a culture and many a native, But what else is there to discover?   At once, London      —A city full of boundlessness and big dreams From the booming boutiques on Oxford Street And by the end of the day, to grandmother’s house we go, A picture perfect, white cottage, and a golden sun snagged by its rays.   Said once by Gertrude Stein, “America is my country…” But truly can I say that London is my hometown The city and the country rolled into one      —my pride and my joy, forever more.

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Lindsay Ryan Evin

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Time and Tide Yawen Wu

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Wood Lauren Di Pede Air flows through every crevice Into wrinkles of bark Under which durability rests; No sap lies between. As the breeze seeps to the tips of all branches Causing a thundering trunk And snapping twigs The current swirls the sounds together. The branch resting in the upper canopy layer, raised, Sends long and sculpted poles Shooting down the deep trunk Which attach firmly to the grounded sprigs. The toed roots, marionettes, Once lifted, now Sprawl forward, Landing lodged into the ground. Rubbery bark steams In the invasive heat, Dew drops on vivid veins, Roll off the leaves, glistening. A wind now gathers At the gape where trunk meets shoot Collecting whiffs, which turn into gusts, And begin to spin out of the open mouth. A small sound starts like foam But grows into a tide As breath, pouring out, exhales, “OM.”   The Undergraduate Review

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1670 centimeters per second Deborah Chu

When they meet for the first time, he has a plastic helmet tied to his head with a loop of fishing wire. She’s carrying a book about lions. The year is 1976: there is a reunified Vietnam, a Ramones’ debut, a new fixture in the city that juts out of the skyline, dwarfing the rest. Two days ago, the Viking Orbiter landed on Mars. They are ten years old. “I’m going to go too,” he declares, that first day, “just as soon as I’ve got all my shots.” A pale, weedy thing with eyes too big for his face; he sidles over to her end of the table because Mama is late picking him up, and he’s already finished his paperback on Neptune. He would not recommend it, it’s left out like, half the moons – and – Suddenly, he stops and looks nervous, like she might laugh. Sarika knows she wouldn’t be the first, nor would it be the worst thing he’s ever had done to him. His father teaches at the university in the city; his mother presides over the PTA with pearls on her swan’s neck. He has seven gold stars on the classroom chart, one for naming all the oceans and another for finding and returning Rudy Owen’s lunch money, every last cent of it. This air of being well-fed and well-loved doesn’t sit well with most kids at their school; some have been dragged to the sandlot in the back field for less, and him definitely more often than others. But for every time Boyd Jones towers over him with his big, fleshy fists, Daniel does not tattle, does not strike back. Afterwards, prone in the pit, the sky a banner over his small body: he imagines his eyes melting back into his skull, the blue of it bleaching him down to the bones. Good as new. She doesn’t laugh. Instead, Sarika splits her licorice in two, and hands him half. “For the trip,” she says. He stares at her and chews with his mouth open. The helmet is for the radio waves, which are “kinda like ‘lectricity, because you don’t see it but you know it’s there in your

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toaster.” That’s how ground control was able to see the surface of Mars, with a really, really powerful radio. Daniel wants to become that radio. They read her book together and they talk about sand and zebras and Australia for an hour. He draws a wobbly map of the solar system on the back of her hand, marks where they are with an emphatic x. “We’re always moving, did you know? Around and around and around. My dad once told me how fast, like, exactly, but I’ve forgot.” Sarika stares down at his feet, which kick as fast as he thinks and talks, thudding against the wooden legs of his chair.  “You’re always moving,” she says, as if it’s the simplest thing in the world. “Why not the earth?” --Because her Baap is on a constant quest for self-improvement, he subscribes to all these magazines: medical journals, Arts Quarterly, bodybuilding tracts selling impossibly lucent skin and all the spiritual possibility underneath, book reviews from all the anthologized critics – and The Globe and Mail on the weekdays, to round off on current events. It is the holistic approach to temporal perfection, mind-body-spirit, and no corner of the trinity is neglected. His dream is to write self-help articles targeted specifically to new immigrants. “We must support our own,” he says firmly, but there’s shrewdness there as well: after all, more are pouring in all the time, from all over, bringing with them new tongues and clothes and methods of cooking rice. His audience is proliferating, like the stacks of magazines in their handkerchief living room. Baap has difficulty keeping up with it all, so he has taken to reading during dinner too. At any given night, Sarika and Indra could be staring across the table at a glucose molecule, Titian’s Man with a Glove, a blond yogi smiling pensively in trikonasana. Amma chews at the television instead, or stares at the shredded roti on her plate with a shuttered expression. In the kitchen, she The Undergraduate Review

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plants the cardamoms of her terrible, terrible isolation in spicy biryanis, pounds the dough for halwa puri with especial vengeance but swallows back the acrid surge of her own bruised, pulpy heart. Throughout the day it builds and builds, pressing against her throat and the backs of her eyes: the weight of one thousand daily humiliations, one hundred small deprivations. But once she’s pulverized her silent fury into something she can spoon feed back to her family, the only place it can go – once the dishes are cleared away, she can slump over in her chair, mercifully empty for once. Back to being a woman whose life never made her angry. Sarika watches her mother closely, and can only speculate; maybe she’s thinking about the sisters she left behind in India, especially so close to Eid. Maybe she’s thinking about the cake she’s going to bake for Indra’s birthday, and how much she hates us all.   In the spring, Baap packs up his magazines and his typewriter and moves out of the apartment. He resurfaces in the home of a woman named Monica, who has two girls of her own and whose food is not forever leaving a bitter taste on his tongue, recalling the image of the father and the failures he’d buried in the clay of Lucknow. When they first moved into the area, Monica had filled her mother’s arms with hand-me-down woolen sweaters and hats. Best be prepared, she had said back then, her smiles as generous as her hands. This is a brutal country you have come to. The snows arrive without hardly any warning at all. --Instead of fifth period geography, she sneaks out through the workshop entrance and chases down a tram car full of steam ing afternoon shoppers. He is waiting at the bottom of the hill, hands stuffed in his blazer, backpack full of maps and melting licorice wands. He is grinning like a stupid lunatic, and she tells him as much. There is a minor fistfight over the window seat. Two stops later, they descend upon the ROM, where they make a beeline for the dinosaur fossils and examine an Inuit drum under

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Untitled Sam Koebrich

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glass. Daniel rambles on enthusiastically about throat-singing, the properties of sulphide, orthinopods, potential places for lunch; plugging in all the strange pockets of silence that Sarika leaves in their wake. Now they’re standing in front of a Chinese silk screen of inked cliffs, which plunges into a pastoral river scene below. A fisherman in his reed-thin boat leans on his oar and glides down the river; in the left-hand corner, underneath a copse of trees, a fine lady tunes her zither. Daniel angles his head, wistfully imagines floating down the Yangtze in a canoe folded out of parchment paper – the soft white bloom of water, the clear pools that open the rice fields to the clouds overhead, rolling on like gentle, lumbering beasts. Being kissed by a wondrous girl under the smoky trees. He turns eagerly to Sarika, no doubt some fascinating fact about silt lined up oh-so perfectly on his tongue, when it shrivels upon seeing the look on her face. Well, he thinks, this isn’t working. “Hey,” he reaches out, tentatively catches the cuff of her sleeve with his fingers. “You know, my neighbour Charlie’s parents got divorced. We used to hear them fight all the time, but they seem a lot happier now. His dad visits every weekend. They still love him and stuff.” “They never fight,” Sarika says stiffly, “and I don’t want to talk about it.” The two of them are caught, obviously, by his father, who is waiting for them at the bottom of the rotunda steps. He can only rub his eyes tiredly at the sight of them, biting the insides of their cheeks and trying to look suitably guilty. Though he is fast becoming as wrinkled as a page out of the outmoded textbooks he teaches from, and permanently smells like chalk dust, he does attempt a half-hearted defence on their behalf to his wife later that evening: “They skipped class to go to the museum. They could have been injecting crack into their eyeballs. Instead, it sounds like they spent a lot of time in the archaeology gallery. All I’m saying is that it could have been a lot worse.”

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On the drive home, Sarika begins to cry silently. Next to her, Daniel sits on his hands and waits. When she moves into the part of the program where the head gets tucked between the knees, gasping, he rubs her back in calming circles – just the way his mom does when he feels poorly, except without the singing because he doesn’t want to get socked in the ribs. He does not try to tell her everything is going to be fine. --When they are older they fight loudly, and often. They fight about how to properly halve a kiwi, how to spell verisimilitude. They fight about his mother, who finds it hard to cope with the fact that Sarika is poor and not-white. They fight over his dizzy spells, his lack of appetite, her flossing habits. They fight in traffic, in tandem, over the phone. He calls her a fraud and she calls him a snob. He calls her self-centered and she calls him something much, much worse. He tells her he loves her and she looks like she’s about to cry, and not in the good way. “I don’t think it’s just me, either,” he says earnestly, entreatingly. “I definitely don’t think it’s just me.” It’s not, but by then she is older, and will feel impelled by this desperate need to make him understand – He interjects, defensively, that this has nothing to do with his god (because he believes in all of it, the same way he believed in toasters and radio waves, the same triangulation as her father, father son holy ghost, he believed it even when he wasn’t – ill). But Sarika knows differently. If you prostrate to any man or deity or prophet, and if you really believe in it, if you really think it will do you good, then of course you would be more willing to risk it all. Of course you’d more easily let yourself love another person. He is comfortable with metaphors, she is not. That is what it comes down to, really. “This is not a metaphor,” he replies, quite angry now. “I am a person. I am a person who lives in real life who feels real things. I wish you would stop trying to make it seem so goddamn little.” They do not talk for several weeks, during which Daniel tries to figure out how to sit on those papered examination tables and The Undergraduate Review

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Storm Warning Kate Hutton

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not stick to it when he has to hop off. Tries not to feel like a slab of diseased meat, tries to stay positive, tries not to imagine Boyd Jones’ superior fists rusty with his blood, Boyd Jones as a virus he cannot pluck out of his blood, his eyes melting back into his skull and his body curdling along with it like a used candlewick. The body, the body, the body – sometimes it is too much for us, sometimes it fails us even when the mind and the spirit feels as quick as ever. (It’s had to be, after all those years spent with her, running and parrying and eating out of each other’s lunches.) The day the results come back, he slams the door in her face. She throws it open anyway, follows after his retreat through the kitchenette, the living room, his bedroom. When he finally turns to face her, he is half-wild like a cornered animal: all that propensity for kindness, for wonder of the most tender sort, consumed by a terrible desire to be standing in the ruins of something, if only to know he can still do it, if only to know he is alive by contrast. And here she is, looking like she’s just dying for a fight, and him equally dying (in more ways than one) to give it. He screams: Fuck, Sarika – you can be so fucking selfish, you can’t, you’re not allowed to just, waltz back in whenever you feel like it, like the entire goddamn universe owes it to you, because no one in the entire history of the world ever has ever had it as hard as you, no, no one is ever as messed up as you are, and it’s sick, the way you get off on it. Which is why you’re here, isn’t it? You didn’t want me when I was well. What am I supposed to think now? You’re ruining everything. She stares at him for a long moment, before – he can actually see, playing out over her face, sees her choose anger as her last, best defense. Watches it fall over her like a veil. He lets himself feel struck, for a moment, by how well he knows her, and at his own irritation because it’s still his turn, goddamnit, if this doesn’t get him the spotlight for two seconds, what will. He braces himself for the inevitable reprisal, as she sucks in a breath: “Tell me what you need,” she says finally, in a tight, fierce voice. “Just – tell me.” That was not what he expected at all. He’s so caught off guard that a strange laugh begins gurgling deep into his throat, but The Undergraduate Review

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instead emerges a noise so terrible, so fucking embarrassing in its sloppy desperation that neither can stand it. She wraps her arms around him and holds him tightly, as if it’ll be enough to keep both of them right where they are in space, in time. --The year is 1989: Mulroney is Prime Minister, the Voyager 2 sweeps past Neptune and Titan, the drowned lawns of Tiananmen Square, Rain Man wins Best Picture. There is yet another new fixture in the city, rounding out the downtown area. They are standing in front of the television screen – Sarika with soap suds up to her elbows, Daniel collapsed onto the ottoman – mesmerized, watching sledgehammers slam into the cement, the Ossis and the Wessis hugging and crying and pouring champagne down each other’s throats. For the first time, there is dancing on the Berlin Wall.  “Just think.” Later, they are lying on their backs, the CBC Evening News relegated to comfortable white noise. He’s staring at the ceiling with a deep contentedness only inducible by good Chinese takeaway and a belief in the triumph of human goodness. “It was more than just physical, it was mental too; they were supposed to believe what was happening a block down from where they lived and slept had nothing to do with them, that they were essentially different from their neighbours. But now they’re all just Germans again. They’re a real nation again.” She stacks her hands on his chest and props her chin on top, all the better to observe him from under her lashes. “Nations have always been artificial. Whether it’s by a wall or politics or whatever you like. They’re just easier to handle administratively. Or rather,” she yawns, “to exploit for minerals and cheap bananas.” She imagines Mountbatten, swinging a rapier and slicing up the Indian subcontinent like a frosted cake. “You,” he murmurs, trailing his fingers up and down her spine, half-asleep himself, “are just a paroxysm of joy.” She smiles without it reaching her eyes: when really, her mind is

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on tomorrow, when he flies south – like a migrating bird, she thinks, in a weird fit of fancy. He’s rubbing off on her, that’s for sure. But south is the country that put a man on the moon; they’ll be able to make him better. A boy who wanted to grow up to be a magnet breathes slowly beside her. There are so many partitions on this earth, so many gods and philosophies and brands of soap that demand your allegiance, and only one of him. She wonders how it looks from up above. She imagines the planet as a marble, smooth and continuous, cool to the touch; all those plates that fit so perfectly and silently under the ocean. As though nothing keeps us apart, not really. Only ourselves, and one other thing. He closes his eyes, imagines his light-headedness to be only the spinning of the earth, round and around. She presses her hand against his heart, beating like a moth’s wing under her palm. She wonders when they’ll ever feel this small against anything again.

Infinite? Emily Gong

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The Left River Lauren Di Pede I want to measure this river: So I fold up my pants To shove my feet into rubber boots And wade to the centre of the rush Sticking my ruler To the bottom of the bed.   I want to check this river’s progress: So I mark down its velocity, Its temperature, Its mineral content, Its gradient and shape, All in my notebook.   I want to analyze my notes: So I look down And enter my findings into a spreadsheet Where I make calculations And draw diagrams Which I e-mail to my work account.   Only to conclude That I am a river Buttoned up in a suit.        

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The Right River Lauren Di Pede I want to mark this river’s progress, So I drop sharp rocks Amid rushing waters And check off When the water has passed me by.   I want to remember all aspects of this flow, So I dip my notebook under water To make an imprint of its waves And write notes on crinkled pages Of sounds, smells and sights Floating on water.   I want to break this river down, So I wade through to the centre And stick my ruler down to the bed Taking measurements For angled recordings Of this unstopping stream.   Only to find That I am a river Buttoned up in a suit.  

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The Songs of the Spring Alicia Hai I   In silence of day, sunflowers spatter on forth Winter, aching heart.   II   Daffodils dizzied in a sea of squishing grass. The sun awaits all.  

III   Sinking soil meeting marigolds at a rear’s end. A hope of new lives.    IV   As blossoms bubble, footsteps wind down to the ground. Petals wish anew.

Lake of Bays Sara MacLellan

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A Harsh Lesson for the Adolescent Male Jordan Gregoris What drives the youthful man? Is it the pleasure centers whirring within him? Or the fear of inadequacy? Or perhaps the deep, often repressed arrogance, vying viciously to prove itself relevant.  The youthful man often acts without inhibition on the faintest impulse. Recklessly, and all too typically, he dives into situations without caution. His feet are not on the ground but hovering a few inches above it. This height fills him with the notion that if something terrible happened on the imperfect earth below him, he would carry on without notice -- standing as tall as before wearing blinders that were manufactured in naivety. Until of course, all of a sudden and without warning; God turns reaching to his left and flicks the switch marked “gravity” on masking tape written in capitals with a black Sharpie marker.  Our vain vigilante’s feet crash to the ground; however, they continue to sink down through the ground, until he is engulfed in despair up to his chin. It is when he first feels vulnerability and morality that he learns to work -- to fight.  Humbled, he has torturously learned a new perspective. He struggles and eventually surfaces, his youth washing out of him. And onward he walks, with a slightly more defeated stride, and a wiser soul.

A Verse for the Somber Lover Boy Jordan Gregoris Somewhere undecided, along the line of lifeUnanticipated between dramatic disruptions in disposition, Like endless loves that tragically became first, seconds or thirdsAll fade like clothed gruesome scars Existing for eternity but eventually Are detectable under privileged observationRevealed willingly by their vulnerable beholder. The Undergraduate Review

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A Client of Still Waters Olivia Chan  She sits silently with her wrinkled hands folded over her lap as she is wheeled outside into the park. She feels the strength of the wind against her back, and wraps the shawl around her shoulders tighter, before lifting herself onto the wooden bench. Sometimes she likes to take off her shoes and stretch her toes, staring at the feet that once were the reason for her fame. The heel, thick like that of a Mary Jane, was still tender to the touch, but the toes overlap one another. He watched her slim fingers grasp the handle of the chinaware as the candle flickered. On the cold nights, she would light an extra one, as though the fire behind them did not exist, and light itself would be enough to keep them warm. Even when he closed his eyes, urging his mind to wander, his ears would perk up to listen to her familiar footsteps. His nose would flare to the perfume he knew all too well. He would open his eyes and find her kneeling across from him. Black eyes looking into his blue ones. Yet they did not talk, but rather sat in silence, lost in their own thoughts. Sometimes he would ask her to dance for him, and he sat and watched as her tiny feet moved with the beat of the drum. The same fingers grasped the handle of the fan with strength, and he imagined that the breeze against her face felt the same as his breath on her neck. I remember the first time I slept through the night without a terrible dream. It was the night that he had shown up. I suppose he surprised me from the very beginning. The eyes were like water; the stillness in them could easily be mistaken for the hardness of ice. He introduced himself to Chiyo-san as Keswick, and he wore the muddied green uniform of the troops that had marched for me and my country years ago. For what incomprehensible reason did he wear his tattered uniform around for still? If he hoped to get the services of any of my sisters here, he would not have worn the uniform of the offender. We were only sixty miles north of the larger explosion, and I remember we were close enough for me to see its deceivingly soft shape in the sky. Chiyo-san had

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looked at me expectantly then, knowing I was the only one who she would not have to threaten to service this man. But I was bitter. Even after two years, Chiyo-san and my sisters saw me as different from them. They felt no empathy for the way their men had seized me from my country and brought me here to service them. I walked to the room that he had been given and I slid open the screen door abruptly. He looked up at me then. But in his eyes I saw no mockery, no contempt, and I felt the heat in my veins simmer before he ignited it again. I don’t remember the rest of the night, except for the way his thumb drew a circle on my shoulder as he began to slide off my kimono. She smiles as she remembers the days after the war had ended. She remembers how her first impulse was to throw off her kimono and change into her collared dress. And how she could buy a plane ticket back to Shanghai. But she never brought herself to do it. She watches a petal fall from the tree above her, and the cherry blossom lands, forcing a ripple in the pond. She has waited all day for a fish or turtle to look up from beneath the water. She has been looking for a disturbance from within, but the waters have remained calm all day. Could she have blocked the petal if she had tried? 
  He knew he was asking to be shot, or at least to be brutally beaten. He pretended not to notice the resentful gazes that followed him as he walked down the streets, as if he wasn’t the prey that was waiting to be devoured. She was the only one who had not treated him with disdain, and he went back night after night. That was how it was for many weeks, perhaps months. But that was before she had disappeared. He had lost track of time since he had been released upon the victory of the Allies. He half-expected them to kill him, and at times he had even hoped to die. The scars on his back and arms lay dormant, like the body of Christ hanging from the crucifix. Passed and serene, but the pain and suffering had been real. His body had become a slave to his weary mind, and his vision began to get hazy from the lack of food. He imagined her walking with him, the curve of her neck and the pale, flawless skin. He had come to smile at the sternness of her face and the curt bow she gave him in greeting, The Undergraduate Review

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but had grown to love the passion and emotion that she gave him a glimpse of once the sun had fallen. He had trouble walking in a straight line from the light-headedness that had begun to take over, until he felt a small hand steeling him. He almost didn’t recognize her with her hair pulled taught, face powdered heavily with patent rouge lips. He allowed her to take him inside and put him to sleep on the tatami. For the first time since we met, we had a conversation. He was surprised to learn that I was educated, and that I could carry a decent conversation with him in his native English.  
 “The war is over,” he said. “Why are you still living here?”  
 “I can earn a steady living as a geisha now,” I replied.  
 As if he knew I was lying, he eased himself into a comfortable position as if preparing for the truth.   
 “I can’t go back. I’m practically Japanese now.” 
 “They won’t have me either.” He thumbed the ghost scar that trailed up his forearm. “They see me like this, and they’ll treat the ones in the internment camps out by the west coast even worse. Even after we bombed the crap out of the people here already.” I had the urge to hold him then, and I wrapped his unmoving body. I traced the scars along his forearms and felt them fan out like tributaries onto his back. I guessed it must have been the steel rod. He stilled my movement, and he grabbed my feet and unbound them. He held the small ankles, and frowned when he saw me wince from the pain of moving my feet freely for the first time. In the morning, he would wake and tell me, My scars didn’t ache for the first time last night. Last night was the first time I slept with my feet freely, unbound.   She finishes stretching her toes and puts her socks and shoes back on. She still has the flower petal in her hand and as she eases back onto her wheelchair, she asks to be wheeled towards the base of the tree. She feels the grooves in the bark, and she is reminded of the veins and scars that pulsed together so long ago. She places the flower on the mound at the base of the tree before asking to be wheeled back to her home.

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Teacups Brittany Moore The Undergraduate Review

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The Tree of Life Laura Bossy Bad qualities grow from fingertip to fingertipbranch to branch, as irrational seeds of doubt are planted like mine-bombs. Innate flaws flourish in the unravellings of the brainroot to root, as they intertwine like coils in the serpentine earth. And trees must grow old from decade to decadering by ring, as they slowly rot to dirt, leaving but a stump behind. Amidst all its faults did it not provide oxygenized air and shade alike? For all the fungus in the world cannot prevent the sun from shining.

Fire and Ice Matthew Bradley Fire and ice moving one step closer, unaware and without reserve. They were chilled and burned, frozen and parched. The years had beaten them into a single cube and flame, and without hope or agenda they walked. Step by helpless step they drew near and with a flicker of fate their eyes met. Everything changed.

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Ustrasana Sarah Hinton

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With the Road Kelly Speagle

You’ll never know where you’re going Or when you will get there. Be happy to continue on the road The perfect (perhaps) Never-ending road Of music, self awareness, Happiness.   Keep walking down, up, for, and with the road. It is part of you It is yours! Feel it Follow it Question it Climb the hills Run down the valleys Fall. Get up. Accept the ones who walk next to your road. Maybe, let them follow it too

Comfort tells you not to. Ignore comfort! Embrace chance! Let it join you It can only widen the road. Leave the chances you took Behind. Follow the rhythm You guide the road, it doesn’t guide you. Run when you need to Stop to rest. Dance. Sing. It’s your road Do whatever you want on it Be willing to love Wherever it leads you Because that Is where you have led it.

 

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Blossom Brittany Moore

Men of the Southern Wild Yawen Wu

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Harry Clarke Floriana Ehninger-Cuervo

Origin Story Sean Ngo

Every superhero begins with an origin story. Somewhere, somehow in a fictional universe, they come to be responsible for the gifts bestowed upon them or accumulated through pure will. Growing up, I oscillated between the teenage prankster Spider-Man and the all but humorous Batman as individuals I would like to become one day. Although even the regular tourist of comics can distill the disparity between the red/blue and black/grey outfits, both heroes exemplified and resonated responsibility and integrity to a child who could not yet spell what he had learned. When avid comic book fans claim that comics are “literary,”  I am inclined to agree as both Spider-Man and Batman origin stories begin as tragedies. Peter Parker loses Uncle Ben to his own arrogance and inability to act out of altruism while Bruce Wayne loses his family to a crime of circumstance. Both become the heroes they were meant to be as a consequence of the gift and curse of fate – a tragic flaw. Although I have tried,

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regrettably, I can neither web-sling nor glide from rooftops.   Returning to Kingston for what is likely to be the last time, I am hard-pressed to reflect on my years at Queen’s University and the origin story I choose to ignore. What remains from my childhood is the belief that “with great power comes great responsibility.”  As I grow older, I am increasingly unsure of what this once meant and what it means to me now. In Toronto, Parkdale, I remembered all too soon the things I thought I could never forget. Some places you don’t walk away from. Some places change their address on you.   I. There is a cold front coming in from the West, sweeping with it newly formed reservations. Cold, confrontational, and unrelenting (clearly non-symbolic), it tears through my poorly misguided conception of winter apparel. Standing in Parkdale is representative of being temporally divided between past, present and future. At the corner of the street, Kanji Sushi both disturbs and reassures my field of perception. It is a fine, authentic and modern Japanese dining experience juxtaposed in a building significantly older than my memory is allowed to recall. Further down the street, Grand Electric is only slightly removed from Lynn’s Convenience. Selling tacos and bourbon, it has become a staple of a new, rapidly expanding community of bohemian late twenties and settling thirties.   Since the early turn of the millennium, prospectors (and scammers) have attempted to create the definitive “next” neighborhood. Faithfully imitating New York’s SoHo or Tribeca, Toronto has been active in gentrification as well. Situated between the already gentrified Liberty Village and Roncesvalles, Parkdale has been enthusiastically suggested by some and violently refuted by others. The daily confrontation is demarcated by the time of day and place of play. Enclosing the old and traditional small businesses from the East and West, the hip restaurants and bars The Undergraduate Review

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only turn the lights on when the crowds begin to imperviously roam the night. Undisturbed by rumors and mythology, they walk through the path under the newly renovated CN bridge to a historic neighborhood easily forgotten.   The apparent difficulty of Parkdale living is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion reside there in only the most fleeting and transient manner. I know because I have not lived there, lately, that Parkdale is my real home. But like many others, I partly feel and see Parkdale as a romantic notion mixed of immigrants, working-class aspirations and families who have resided there for generations. Here is a neighborhood defined by its population and fiercely protective of those they consider family. Here is where a group of young railway workers in the nineteenth century laid their tracks and never left. Here is the first stop for recent immigrants to find low-rent apartments, where one can call another a friend in a mutual language of understanding though they know not what the other is saying.   I am sitting in the Mascot, a newly opened café and art gallery in the community. Like many of the new businesses, it represents the uneasy tension of change faced with tradition. The high metallic black beams contrast with the white walls which hang the work of an artist who specializes in print-screening. The space is eclectic with coffee tables and chairs presenting a loft-like quality as the other walls of brick seem strangely sympathetic to the conversations being had and those that are not. A magazine rack sits beside the sofa and carries Fantastic Man, Wired, Monocole, Frame, and Vogue. I am unsure of whether or not I should be sitting at my marble tabletop by the window as it seems antique and potentially very expensive. On this day, there are children playing behind me on the floor with mats that had been left there, a business meeting going favorably at the coffee table to my right and two students studying on what were former cinema seats transformed into desks. One forgets that the Mascot is a business as soon as one walks in, instead, it feels inexplicably alive. I remember my first visit to the café and without any cash in my wallet, the barista told me that they took IOUs. Perhaps

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too afraid or too proud to understand what he meant that day, I crossed the street and paid a transaction fee for my debit card. I know now that I should’ve taken the IOU and in many ways, I believe that I am still in debt.   The Mascot represents both the anxiety and hope that gentrification offers to Parkdale by walking the fine line between innovation and tradition. The old world was once new, and now it is not. I know not the “problems” and the “solutions” for the recent growth in Parkdale (and I suspect those that claim to) but I have become comfortable with turbulence.   II. It all comes back. The embarrassing silence of captivity which for a moment seemed to stop the rotation of the world itself. Years ago (three if you are counting), at a cocktail party, I had a meeting with a stranger like all meetings are. She had poised a simple question: “What is your passion?” It was a long time before I was able to make an excuse to walk away but longer still to admit now that I knew what it was. Needless to say, I did not receive her phone number and we did not have a happily ever after.   The answer was simple. She had explained how she had grew up enjoying soccer and continued to enjoy it despite not being able to compete at varsity level any longer. I had confused the definition of “passion” or chosen to forget the meaning. Even now, writing this, I hear my self-conscious thoughts as they attempt to persuade me otherwise. Outside the Mascot, I see through the window the St. Claire Centre or St. Francis Table where a line is already beginning to amass for food distribution. Already, the irony is seeping in. Already, the realization is poignant. What I should have told her that night was that I wanted to be a writer but I think even now I wouldn’t be able to. I know not where I go from now, but I would like to go back at least for a little while.

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Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief: Connor McLean Assistant Editors: Lindsay Karpenko Zoe Kelsey Sarah Jung Mishi Hassan


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