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PAW Print 2019 Volume 7. Issue 1 Vermont Academy Literary Magazine Vermont Academy 10 Long Walk. Saxtons River. Vermont Advisor: Joanne Fuller Editors: Lauren Eppinger ‘20 Alex Paluszek ‘20 Sarah Robinson ‘20 Cover photo: Gary Huang ‘20 Special Thanks to English and Arts Departments Printing by Minuteman Press, Brattleboro, VT

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POETRY ADAM’S APPLE THE NEED TO FIX THE COLD FIRE THE BENCHES FINALLY COME OUT ITS SPRING O FIRE FINGER GRINDERS FROM ATHENS BROKEN THE MYTH OF LIFE IS A PUZZLE LOVING YOU (LYRICS) HOME FOR A SHORT WHILE THE NUDGE OF A GREAT GOD'S HAND – SILVER KEY I'M FROM BASKETBALL I AM FROM THE MESH STRUNG AT THE BACK OF THE NET YOU’RE GOING TO BE AMAZING

6 7 12 13 17 21 31 35 38 48 51 60 63 64

FLASH FICTION PAINTED TURTLE TO BE SEVENTEEN FINALE CABLE BOX – GOLD KEY OF A COLOUR IS HE WE ARE THE DANDELIONS CAFE 7 – GOLD MEDAL, GOLD KEY, AMERICAN VOICES

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DRAMA EXCERPTS FROM PATH OF TOTALITY – SILVER MEDAL, GOLD KEY

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SHORT STORY ISA BELLA – SILVER KEY SCARY MOVIE: VA EDITION THE RIVER – GOLD KEY HARBOR – GOLD KEY AMERICAN VOICES THE GHOST ACROSS THE ROOM – SILVER KEY

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NON-FICTION GRANDMA – GOLD KEY MY HEART, MY TRADITION – HONORABLE MENTION IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS - GOLD KEY ANOTHER WORLD – SILVER KEY METAMORPHOSIS – SLIVER KEY CITY VIBES – SILVER KEY

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ART ZOEE BLOSSOM ‘19 ............................................................................................ 5 GRACE MIGLORIE '21 ........................................................................................ 8 ALEX PALUSZEK '20 ......................................................................................... 10 GARY HUANG '20 .............................................................................................. 11 TIYANI CAI '20 .................................................................................................... 12 CAROLINE KELLER '20 .................................................................................... 14 ZOEE BLOSSOM '19 .......................................................................................... 16 MAGGIE ADAMS '20 .......................................................................................... 17 DARWIN HOLCOMBE '20 ................................................................................ 20 PATRICK STARKEY '19 .................................................................................... 23 CAROLINE KELLER '20 .................................................................................... 25 ALEX PALUSZEK '20 ......................................................................................... 28 RYAN JACOBELLI '19 ........................................................................................ 31 ADDIE DOHERTY '19 ........................................................................................ 33 DARWIN HOLCOMBE '20 ................................................................................ 34 MAGGIE ADAMS '20 .......................................................................................... 37 GARY HUANG '20 .............................................................................................. 40 ZOEE BLOSSOM'19 ........................................................................................... 44 CAROLINE KELLER '20 .................................................................................... 47 ALEX PALUSZEK ‘20 ......................................................................................... 49 ALEX PALUSZEK '20 ......................................................................................... 51 MIRANDA LU '19 ................................................................................................ 53 SARAH ROBINSON '20...................................................................................... 56 GARY HUANG '20 .............................................................................................. 58 SIYANG WANG '20 ............................................................................................. 62 CEDAR JONES '20 ............................................................................................. 63 SARAH ROBINSON ‘20 ..................................................................................... 64

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Zoee Blossom ‘19 5


ADAM’S APPLE Shouldn’t have eaten that apple Shining golden in the East sun Coaxed like a lamb to slaughter Sinking teeth into juicy flesh Shouldn't have eaten that apple Under that wistful tree Shaking thunderous as Sinai Followed by centuries of war Shouldn't have eaten that apple We're goners now, stone cold husks of animalistic nature Knowledge is power, and wisdom it's enemy Humanity a disaster unfolded in an apple Shouldn't have eaten that apple That first bite, rush to the soul, heavenly and holy Lawless and faithful, the cost of freedom Turned to your lover, naked and free And crippling madness covered his beauty Shouldn't have eaten that apple Our garden was flooded, by fire and rain Safe guarded in an ark at sea Snakes limbs shriveled and melted to fine dust Shouldn't have eaten that apple, Or constructed that promising boat Or that unending tower, that would never reach Whose tongues delved and divided separately Shouldn't have left those children enslaved and forsaken Watching The giant Goliath slain, while bushes burned in vain Shouldn't have picked up that book Shouldn't have eaten that apple I ate that goddamn apple 6


Why'd you put it there? You knew I'd take that apple Now we've been gnawing on it's core ever since Aaron Brown ‘20

PAINTED TURTLE On my 10th birthday my Mom bought me a bunch of fun toys, but my favorite was going to All Pets Club. She bought me a turtle and a tank for it with some natural decoration for the tank. As I got older I started to lose attention to taking care of the turtle and he was growing too big for his tank. I had a small pond behind my house and let him free. A couple years later I noticed a very big painted turtle sunbathing on a rock by the pond. There were only snapping turtles in the pond so I was kind of confused but then I said to myself “That's my turtle.” Since that day I haven't seen him again. Kai Dowling ‘19 THE NEED TO FIX It started with her fingernails. They turned green and then vines grew out of her fingertips. Then her hair, her hair grew wild with all sorts of flowers. Dandelions, lavenders, buttercups they all hung down her head. Her eyebrows turned to a soft moss. Her skin into bark. She was becoming a true beauty. Now, she no longer had to pay for her compliments. The more she grew the more beautiful she became. She had the lushest greens and the most bountiful floral that anyone could dream. All was hers. She kept growing and growing. Expanding wanting more. Soon enough she began to grow roots. They stuck to the ground, she kept growing. her arms they grew into her own abdomen. She kept growing. Her human features were no longer visible. She, wanting to be the most beautiful, the greatest. Nothing stopped herself growing. The moss-covered most of her face. The bark-covered her body. Her human features were no longer visible. Herself disappeared and soon enough no one noticed her. She no longer existed. Addie Doherty ‘19

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TO BE SEVENTEEN To be seventeen is like being at the end of everything. Like saying goodbye to someone- pretending you’ll see them again, knowing you won’t. It’s knowing too much, and at the same time, not enough: too young to be an adult, too old to be a child. It’s watching through doors half open, peering through windows drenched in mist, too close to reaching the fork in the road to be unsure which turn you’ll take when you get there. It’s waiting for an end because I know there must be a beginning; here I am, just as they said I would be, reaching, running, leaving. And as empty these old boxes, fold new clothes, pouring my choices into an empty suitcase, I realize that I’ve been packing for years. Maureen Hughes ‘19

Grace Miglorie ‘22 8


FINALE Being diagnosed as advanced gastric cancer, his wife divorced him after their son died in a car crash traveling to the hospital. He read an email from veterinary telling him his dog passed away, starved to death, alone in the house. He went home, alone, buried his dog; Sat in his yard, and made his own coffin. Aaron Gong ‘19

CABLE BOX – GOLD KEY It's comforting to see emerald lights in the dark, with its rectangular indifference. A clock foretells, vibrant bars of muteness coddle stillness of shift; intuition of Chronos. And still, the walls are dyed in black, yielding to the stillness of the unwavering lines. Replacing age, I suppose, are the contemporaries. Middle-aged is the twilight, youthful is the three. Lost in a sea of tranquility, I relish in this spectacle. Absence of fluid guidance bring the appeasement of the sad and ignorant. Young is the light of green majesty, exhuming utmost skepticism of the emptiness of the ink void. Promptly is the erosion of such neon pleasure; fading, and then finally dying; coerced by the Sun. Cody Engle ‘19

OF A COLOUR IS HE Of a colour is he, of a colour of rose is he, with worm cheeks and soft skin, of a colour of lavender is he, with gentle touch and curled hair, of a colour of yellow is he with his smile like afternoon glow fading into a colour of orange. Of a colour is he with a green thumb and a lavender laughter. What a colour is he with grey eyes open to light and white pure soles of his feet, and when he touches me I can feel the colours of us mix and make a painting priceless of a friendship. What a colour is he. Of what a colour am I but really only a reflection of a colour of you, what a color is he. Sarah Robinson ‘20

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WE ARE THE DANDELIONS We are the dandelions. From the beginning only seen as a weed, a destruction of beauty a heathen to the garden. We are stomped on and ripped from the ground and spread away. But those of us who survive all that, survive the frost and rain, only then are we seen in beauty, only when we change into the small white pearl of a flower do you then see the poetry and make wishes upon our seeds. Other dandelions see the beauty in us from the start, from seed to small sonny rings in the field. Beauty and chance is hidden; you must only wait a moment. First impressions are misleading. Sarah Robinson ‘20

Alex Paluszek '20

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CAFE 7 – GOLD MEDAL, GOLD KEY, AMERICAN VOICES There’s a coffee shop downtown run by a tabby cat with a kind and reassuring face. It’s called Cafe 7 and I go there every Tuesday morning to write poems. I sit in the left window and have a cup of coffee with two sugars and a little cream. I get the morning paper but only ever read the biggest headline. Mostly I use it to shield myself as I watch the other patrons come and go. A pigeon eats the scone crumbs under the outside tables, and a sleek brown mouse eats the ones inside. I watch the mouse make her rounds and bet if the tabby cat with the kind and reassuring face will spot her and chase her out. Sometimes there is a man who comes in and buys a coffee, black, and a lemon square. He used to say the lemon square was for his girlfriend, then he wasn’t around for a while, and when he came back he said it was for his wife. Today he buys no lemon square. Sometimes a pack of dogs comes by to harass the tabby cat. Usually they stay outside and bark through the windows, but once, they came insides and each ordered coffees only to dump them on the floor and leave, howling. The Tabby cat did not hiss and howl back, instead he watched them go, and then tenderly began cleaning up the mess. I offered to help, and made a crude remark about dogs in this town. The Tabby cat shook his head and said “I’ll pass no judgment as long as they do me no harm.” I decided to keep my mouth shut, but the Tabby cat’s words inspired me and when we finished cleaning I wrote my poem, and left. Miranda Fuller ‘19

Gary Huang '20 11


THE COLD FIRE Coagulation into disintegration, Ardor into indifference. It was enough to push me into the cold fire, That foul, vomitus, freezing flame, Which people sit by, comfortably, Rather than douse oneself in. In the day, At night, When I was blue, “It” rested there, Stolen from its rightful owner, Until its inner contents were spilled upon a gaping maw, Into a face of fading ruddiness and tears. Every drop that entered the mouth distorted the doe. That beaming, jolital thing, That freckle-spotted, glittering lamp. She dissipated in the haze, Only to haunt him in his clearest states. Distortion into rage, A savage beating of futility, his fists crumble, And so do his walls. And even after the destruction, The doe still dances along the cold fire. Cody Engle ‘19

Tiyani Cai '20 12


THE BENCHES FINALLY COME OUT, IT’S SPRING The benches finally come out, it’s spring Warm air hits our faces as the trees sway Fresh flowers sprout up and the wind slings and swings Walking down long walk friends laugh as winds spray Students and faculty are happier The sun is finally showing us love This definitely is less crappier We have been waiting for this up above The long dreaded winter is now the past Leaves on the trees are here to stay for good And now poised for spring to be a warm blast Smiles and laughter fill the campus with mood Now that summer is on all of our minds It is time to relax and unwind. John Kondub ‘19

EXCERPTS FROM PATH OF TOTALITY – SILVER MEDAL, GOLD KEY

RUSS: I, uh, read an article the other day that said America is so angry because of media. JAMIE: It's not 'because of media', it's appropriated by the media. We as a nation are addicted to anger and are constantly given things to be upset about and fight over. RUSS: Maybe if you took a break from the media then. RUSS reached for Jamie's phone. Jamie pulls away . . . . . . JAMIE resentfully eats sandwich. RUSS reaches for the tuna salad. JAMIE groans. RUSS: You know how you're always talking about how it's ok to have opinions, just as long as you don't force them upon others? JAMIE scowls. 13


JAMIE: Oh my god. RUSS: What? JAMIE: Look at this article. JAMIE shows RUSS their phone. RUSS chuckles. JAMIE: That's absurd. That can't be possible. Ugh, all this ridiculous fake news filling our minds instead of actual important issues. It makes me sick. RUSS: What's so unbelievable about it? It seems probable to me. JAMIE: Goats don't climb trees. They can't, it's not possible. RUSS: Just like how horses can't swim?

Caroline Keller '20 JAMIE: Do not bring that up. It just doesn't make sense. They have hooves, how can they get any traction? How can they hold onto the branches? It just doesn't make any sense. Fake news. Fake news. 14 Â


RUSS: You'll get upset by just about anything, won't you? JAMIE: I'm not upset. I'm annoyed that the Times has an article about goats in trees, 'TV's hottest hit show', and how angry everyone in America is but not one that focuses on exposing scandals of our corrupt leader or the horrors instigated by high caliber oil corporations. It's infuriating. RUSS: You sound pretty upset to me. JAMIE: There is a difference between ranting and passion. I'm passionate about these things, they're important to me. RUSS: Then what's the difference between your political passion and my scientific one? Why is it no big deal for you to go on and on about goats in trees and misrepresentation in Disney but it's absolutely ridiculous that I might offer some interesting facts? JAMIE: Offer interesting facts? You're lecturing me. I feel like I'm back in high school. RUSS: If you're so bored just do what you did in high school and at least pretend to be paying attention. I sometimes have no idea who or what you're talking about but at least I try. JAMIE: And I don't? What am I doing right now? RUSS: You're on your phone! Scrolling through photos of people you don't know or care about but are somehow still more compelling than me. JAMIE: I agreed // to drive all the way from Boston, I listened to you yammering on about this stupid // eclipse, and I carried your precious telescope, which is way more important to you //than I am. RUSS: You agreed? Stupid? Excuse me this is- You are such a flake! I can't believe how superficial and childish you are. Exclaims and stands. Less than three minutes. JAMIE: You admit it! You do think I'm a child! Maybe if you respected me a little more than your expensive toys I'd be more willing to engage. 15 Â


RUSS: You think you're more important than the celestial event of the century? JAMIE stands. JAMIE: I think I should be. Miranda Fuller ‘19

Zoee Blossom '19

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O, FIRE FINGER GRINDERS FROM ATHENS O, fire finger grinders from Athens, You’re fire finger is juicy and good, I want to be holding you in my hands, You are actually my favorite food. Sometimes the driver takes way too much time And when you get here you are really dry I do not care because you are still fine, I take a bite and feel like I could fly. After I eat the whole grinder myself, I feel disgusting because I’m too full. I drink some water and think to myself, Hey, if you order again you are a fool. But then the next evening I get hungry, It’s okay I can order, luckily! Eno Yoo ‘21

Maggie Adams '20

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S HORT S TORY ISA BELLA – SILVER KEY Isa enters the museum at 10:15 AM chased by warm sunbeams of midmorning in Athens. “Good morning Andrew.” She says to the desk clerk, taking a pamphlet that she will never open, but hold pensively in her hand as she meanders the hallways. She walks by the classical pieces hung in the front hall, greeting each one without ever stopping to stare. That would be rude. To her left, a square room lined with portraits of Greece’s most beautiful women of the 16th century beacons quietly. Again, she never stops but glances at each one as she steps deliberately and slowly through the room. Ancient relics browned by eras past draw her closer to the wall to examine each piece, checking that the details and imperfections are still there as of yesterday. Having circled the pottery room, the largest room in the museum pulls her into it’s delicate light. The sculpture room. Cluttered with only the most tragic statues left behind from the old world: Godly men with their fitful arms shattered away, fair young women with their heads bowed in mourning but their faces nothing more than rugged slates, and children at play with their hands reaching up for something that is no longer there. Isa pulls out a pair of latex gloves from her purse, slips them on, and clenches her fists a few times before entering the room. Letting her fingers glide along every curve as she peruses the sea of broken bodies. Holding faces between her palms - those that still had their faces - and looking into their sorrowful eyes, Isa greets them individually. Then takes her place on a bench at the back of the room, facing the windows. All 38 statues stand before her, each frozen in an unique, exact moment. At 10:30 pedestrians begin to pass through every hour or so, mostly tourists, taking mocking pictures of the armless man, or the mourning mother who has literally lost her child. They never bother to read the plaque, so Isa doesn’t expect them to know that. A soft glow glosses over the windows, but light does not begin to pour in yet. Isa’s BLT minus the T takes small, careful bites. By the time she’s finished sunbeams have begun to creep across the floor, lapping at the feet of the tall ladies at the other end of the room. Isa takes a tub of cucumber slices out of her bag and crunches them quietly. The sunlight creeps up the legs of the tall women, though some of them only have one, they are propped with metal rods. “Like prosthetics,” George told Isa once. The shadows are still just projections of the statues, a little larger than life and defined by an absence of dust, but as the light progresses and the tall ladies are 18


fully lit, the hunched men and riotous children come into light, and their shadows dance. The statues are morphed by the sun into hungry lions or fearful sheep, some looming over others, others hunched like cornered maidens. The mourning mother’s shadow stretches monstrously upward, but for just a minute at 3:23 PM she curves lovingly over the shadow of another’s sleeping babe. The armless man sulks in front of a headless harpy, and for at 3:30 exactly the harpy’s wings match perfectly with the mans missing arms. Isa puts away her containers and joins the field of statues, her shadow moves among them and she leans elegantly in the arms of a lover, sings with an angel, kneels with a woman in prayer, but carefully avoids touch. Soon the shadows progress and become indistinguishable shapes on the far wall. Isa stands with them and watches her own shadow blend with the others and fade away as the sun passes beyond the horizon. A few more tourists pass through quickly, trying to see it all before their dinner reservations. Isa wanders through once more to say goodnight to the statues. “Good evening Isa.” George says warmly, rolling his cart to a halt next her bench. “How were they today?” “The same, happy.” She replies, coming to join him. “Glad to hear it.” George smiles and takes two pairs of latex gloves his cart. “How was your Bacon and Lettuce?” He hands Isa one pair which she tucks into her small bag. “A little dry.” She shrugs. “Leave any crumbs?” “Not one.” “Very good.” “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Isa says, bowing her head slightly. “Looking forward to it.” George replies, waving as she turns away. He puts on the latex gloves and begins his work. Miranda Fuller ‘19

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Darwin Holcombe '20

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BROKEN I can tell when things just aren’t right with you. It’s honestly not a hard task to tell, But it’s too late when they do come to view. Sometimes, you make my life a living hell. When something’s wrong you always light right up. Your expensive needs cause me constant stress, Constantly pleading for you to let up. Yet, I can’t let you go, I must confess. There’s something about you I can’t explain, I always get drawn in right back to you. History repeats in this constant chain. You’re always in pieces and I’m the glue. But just when things seem to be going rightOh God dammit, not the check engine light! Riese Bianco ‘20

SCARY MOVIE: VA EDITION It was move in day at Vermont Academy, for Will it was his first day on campus so he was excited although nervous to move in. Will was mostly nervous because he had no Idea what to expect and how to feel this was all so new to him. He felt nervous about meeting his roommate but he would soon find out who his roommate is. At registration he received a slip, the slip read ‘Dorm: 25 house N* | Room: 101 | Roommate: Nick’. He was so relieved to finally at least hear his roommate name. He hurried up to his room when He walks in Nick had already set his stuff up the room was set up exactly as he was going to set it up. They had similar wall hangings and everything. Right from that moment, Will knew they were going to be best friends. After will and Nick said goodbye to their parents they started talking. The more they talked about the more it seemed they had in common. They both loved hiking, camping, skiing, and they were both doing wilderness skills with each other. In just the first two weeks Will and Nick became best friends. One Idea they had which they could not stop talking about was the Overnight they wanted to do an overnight in the arboretum. They went and talked to Mr. Smith the wilderness coach and he approved it as long as they had three people. Will and Nick were very excited. However, they had to find a 3rd person to go with them. So they 21


walk across the hall a kid named Bob lived in that room. It didn’t take long to get Bob to say yes, and like that, they found a third person to go with them. It was the day of the wilderness overnight and Will was on the phone with his parents for the first time. After about a half hour of talking he told his parents his plans for there overnight, his Mom replied “ok sweet don’t get eaten by any bears” she said jokingly. Will was quick to reply “everything will be ok mom don’t worry”. He then said goodbye and started to pack his bag for the night. It was supposed to be a nice warm fall night perfect for camping and having a fire. Will, Nick, and Bob all started their trek up to the arboretum around 6:30 so they would have time to build a shelter and cook. When they arrived they Will and Bob started building a shelter while Nick was trying to get the fire and cooking going. About an hour in they had a completed campsite. As the sun was setting they roasted their hot dogs above the fire. Then before the night was over they made s'mores. Sitting at the campfire Will started telling a scary camp story he had made up. He spoke about a masked man who wears all black and went psycho years ago. Nick cut his story off exclaiming he doesn't want to hear it anymore. Will said fine “Scaredy cat” and the three decided to head to bed. That night Nick was laying in bed trying to fall asleep but all he could think about was the beginning of the story that Will had told him. He heard Will get up and say he’s going to the bathroom. A minute later Nick heard a faint muffled yelp in the distance of the forest. The sound made his stomach drop however after a little thought he assumed that Will must be just joking with him as he usually does. Nick rolled over and fell asleep before Will returned. At six thirty in the morning, Nick was shaken awake by Bob who told him Will is nowhere to be found. Nick knew they he did not see him come back from the bathroom and his stomach dropped once more. Nick told Bob that they must search for him so they set out around the forest shouting his name. After an hour they had no luck so they didn’t even worry about their campsite sprinting down just hoping Will got sick and went back himself. When they arrived Will was not there and they explained the whole situation to the dean. The Dean called on a campus-wide searched and got the police involved. Days went by and the police still had no luck. Will was still deemed missing. Nick could not help but feel guilty for not staying awake until Will came back and for not investigating the yelp he had heard. Later that night 5 days into the searched he brought the yelp he had heard to the police's attention. The police then came out with a statement that they believe a wild animal took him. The School was devastated however they continued with the school year. On the seventh night since Will went missing Nick was in bed when he heard a door in the hallway 22


open he then heard footsteps walking towards his door. They stopped right in front of his door and after a moment of silence, he heard a loud bang hit his door. Then the footsteps started running out of the dorm. Nick thought he was just hallucinating but when he woke up in the morning he found Will’s T-shirt covered in blood nailed to his door. That's where the story ends they never found Will and they never found the killer. Joe Zobitz ‘19

Patrick Starkey '19

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THE RIVER – GOLD KEY Noa Vasiliev was born in a rainstorm. Winds buffeted the house, screaming through the cracks in the walls as thunder boomed overhead. Water poured down in an endless sheet. The air was more liquid than gas, and an endless drumming sounded from the roof. No one much remarked on the circumstances of that birth, but years later he swore he could remember the water hitting the roof as he entered the world and cried with all his might. The family lived in sight of a river that met the sea. Noa had six siblings who were all his elders, placing him in the precarious position afforded to the youngest sibling. As he grew, his interest in water soon went from a fascination to an obsession. This managed to, in its own way, isolate him from his older siblings. They scoffed at his interest in such a mundane substance, and cursed his distraction from work. Almost as soon as he could walk Noa began wandering towards the river on his own. It was so easily in view from the house that it seemed a reasonable attempt. He would be thwarted by a watchful family member or become befuddled when the land flattened and he lost sight of the twisting blue snake, which kept him landlocked until he was nearly five. His siblings, when the air was hot and standing in the sun became unbearable, often walked down to the river after their chores and swam to cool off. The first time Noa was deemed old enough to accompany them they laughed at his fascination with the enormous river. The rush of the water absorbed him. It was a great beast to be sure, miles across where they chose to swim, even when rain had not come for months and the water had retreated down along the flats. While his siblings cooled themselves lazily in the slower bank water, he knelt at the very edge, almost too awed to dare touch it. Noa grew up, as children do. Of course as his height rose so did his expectations of the world. The very young possess little capacity to imagine the sheer scale of the world around them, content with four walls and a roof. But curiosity comes with age and Noa couldn’t help but notice the world extended further than those four walls. Much further. When he was old enough to travel alone to the river he began spending nearly all his time there. Sometimes he swam, sometimes he explored, and sometimes he simply sat, enchanted by the great lumbering beast. When Noa was old enough to know about the world he asked where the river went. One by one his siblings ignored or brushed away his questions until he was confronted with a farm full of unanswered questions. Even his father refused to tell him, insistent that there were more important things then what lay at the end of the river. Finally, all hopes exhausted, he asked his mother. Noa’s mother was stronger 24


than a tree and nearly as tall. She let his father work with the plough while she dealt with the harder aspects of life on the farm. Everything was as she commanded, properly finished. So when her youngest son came to her and implored where the river led, she thought for a long time. His mother knew where the river ended, boats plied it regularly enough, and news filtered through frequently. But given answers are not as strong as earned answers so Noa’s mother told him to ask a boatman. It took two months of begging and cajoling until it was agreed he would come to town. The first harvest had been collected and there was rumor of merchants camped outside. There was grain to be ground, wool to be sold and luxuries to be purchased, salt and oil and a dozen other things that the town itself rarely Caroline Keller  '20 possessed. The morning was a glorious blur. They left in the mist, wagon packed high with grain and wool and children. A pair of dejected oxen pulled the load down a winding and rutted path, carefully placing one hoof in front of the other. By the time the town came into view the sun was high and the air was fresh and there was a promise of wonder all around. The air shimmered, filled with smells of nutmeg and honey. Noa darted about, looking in awe at the merchants in their flowing robes. Words streamed from their mouths, some he knew and some he did not. Items traded hands, bread and grain and meat for salt and spice and glistening cloth much smoother than wool. On the deck of one of the boats there stood a man. He was not old, precisely, but his skin was weathered and his hands were rough and he smelled of places far away. Whistling he tied a rope between his fingers, deftly spinning it through complex shapes. Noa was captivated, watching the fingers spin and dance. The world raged but in that moment there was nothing but the soft dirt beneath his feet and the strange man’s fingers. 25  


After a few seconds of inching closer, the man looked up. His hands didn’t stop moving as a bit of a smile cracked his face, sending a cascade of crackling wrinkles across his entire expression. Noa paused, hesitant, unsure of this man who sat and whistled and screamed of the world. With his knees quavering for reasons he himself couldn’t quite understand he asked the man where the river led. There was a pause and the man turned the question about, asking Noa where the river could possibly go. Noa had spent many hours thinking on this very question, of where the flow could lead. When he made rivulets run from a bucket the water flowed until it sunk into the earth. The brooks flowed until they reached streams, the streams until the reach the river. So it was with both great hesitance and great confidence that he said the river must either disappear down into the earth or meet a greater river. The man looked thoughtful. Noa was right, of course, in a manner of speaking. Perhaps the sea was the greatest river of them all. But that was not the answer, the true answer, so the man explained that many hundreds of miles down its course the river emptied into the largest well in the world, the sea. Fresh turned to salt and there was water as far as you could see, forever. Noa was enchanted. He begged for stories, tales, descriptions, and the man obliged. He talked of huge ships with billowing sails, of thousands of fish and of exotic towns. Finally Noa was forced to pull away from the man and go back to the cart. Buildings receded until they could not be seen at all and the children were finally willing to pull their eyes away from the horizon. Only Noa kept his gaze there long after the town had disappeared, staring and staring until the oxen ground to a halt. As soon as the last bag was stowed Noa was gone, shooting out from the house and down through the fields towards the river. He ran, legs pumping, until it came into view. It had been weeks since it last rained, the water pulling far back from the banks. He scrambled down the cliff, rocks flying, and ran until it lapped at his toes. A profound change had occurred in his mind. Before his eyes the river transformed from a place to a path. As the first raindrop fell from the sky he stepped into the water and knew in that instant that something existed down that path, something so enormous he could scarcely imagine it. Siblings poured down the bank behind him, and rain poured down from the sky. A dozen feet slapped onto the mud just as a hundred droplets did the same. Then a thousand. Then ten thousand. Suddenly the hot and oppressive air was cut through by refreshing water, sliced into a million pieces. There was a regarding, the children staring at Noa and Noa staring back. But it was the summer and market day and the rain had come and there was no reason in 26 Â


the world for conflict so when someone laughed and opened their arms and tilted back their head and drank the rain whatever tension may have been passed and they were siblings again, happy to be together on a summer afternoon. Thunder boomed overhead and lightning forked down. Mud flew and children fell and laughed and relished in the last years of their innocence. A challenge was barked out. The furthest swimmer would win. Such challenges were commonplace, so despite the rain and the thunder they dove in. There was, of course, an order to such things. It dictated that of the six, the eldest sister would win, Noa would find himself in third, and the rest would fall in. Today was different. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed. Arms flew and legs kicked and they went further, and further. The first dropped off quickly, stalling in an attempt to catch their breath and turning back to the shore. Once the first had gone it was quicker for the next, the seal of cowardice broken. Then there were three, side by side. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed. Noa’s arms grew leaden but he pushed and pushed until the river was working for him not against him and carrying him forward on its quiet, rain shattered surface. But this was not how it was supposed to go. They grew further out, and further still. No one would surrender. Noa was supposed to drop off. That was how it always happened. There were rules. But he didn’t. The river carried him further than he had ever been before, and then in the resounding white of a lightning flash the third turned back and fled towards shore. Two bodies pushed out, heedless of the physical exertion. Heedless of everything but the water around them. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed. It was too far gone for Noa to give up. He had never been this far before. Never let himself. There was no space for words in the contest, no time for anything but desperate gasps of air between all the water. It was hard to tell where the river’s surface was anymore. The rain pushed it higher, filled the air until it was just an extension of the river and there was no air at all but still they pushed onward. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed. From shore, just as the third pulled up onto the bank and turned to try and see the retreating figures, all they saw was a spear. It shot down like an angry trident turned to a point, and for the briefest of seconds everything was perfectly clear. There are moments when the world freezes, stops moving for the span of a breath. These are the moments when the earth itself grinds to a stop on its axis and the moon quits falling and the rain ceases to descend and things happen. So the world stopped. Suspended raindrops hanging all around, thunder dying to start its great roar again. Lightning is not of this world, not really. It is 27


nothing with the refined style of nature, the elegance of life, the curve of water, or the steady heat of fire. Lightning is primordial in the truest sense of the word. Lightning was the first and the last. Before rain fell or plants grew, before there was even an earth in the way we know, there was lightning and there was lava and there was stone. It is from before raw things became tame, it is simply power. In that frozen frame of reality water and lightning warred. The water shielded its own so the lightning found a new source to bear upon. The world began to move again. If you had blinked you would have missed it, a yawn or a footstep enough to cover it. As the thunder finished its crashing and the rain finished its fall, a life disappeared. There was no time to scream, even if they had held the breath. Gone in an instant, charred and broken in the water. Noa stopped swimming. He turned around and he saw the last glimpse of his sibling as they slipped beneath the surface. He screamed. Loud enough for them both, in defiance of the world and its choices. Siblings matter, they are not people to be taken in and out of this world lightly. Even those who torment or chase are still yours. You know that they would die for you if they must. You know that you would for them. Noa dived beneath the glassy surface and fought his way down until there was a body in his arms.

Alex Paluszek '20

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Somehow he made it back to shore. Later he realized even he did not know how it had happened. The water had merely bourn him along to safety. At the edge his siblings pulled them up through the mud, and with shocked expressions went about examining the body. The chest didn’t rise and fall. No pulse beat through its veins. Cold fingers lay lifeless. Too stunned to cry they carried the pair back to the house. It was not until their father came rushing in from the fields and knelt by the lifeless form of his eldest child that tears began to fall. First his came and then others. Soon there was a torrent, a fresh rainstorm hidden in the barn. Life and death walk hand in hand, forever entwined. They validate and contradict one another, without both you can possess neither yet still they war endlessly to be the only one. So the family knew of death. Everyone did, in those days. Unshielded from disease or nature people died. Children were born still or fell away within weeks. Broken legs became infected, fevers turned to plague, mothers died in childbirth and wars trampled families. In their family there had been deaths. Two children gone before they had lived a year. A cousin crushed beneath a wagon. An uncle with an arrow protruding from his chest. But death still hurt. It burned through you like a bolt of that very same life taking lightning. Charring and cauterizing through pain and fire. His mother joined. An impromptu wake held away from the rain and the eyes of the world. But the world keeps turning, so quickly there was work to be done; sheep to be herded, cloth to be woven, wax to be dripped, and cabbage to be pickled. Their father was the first to rise from his grief. He stood for a moment, composing himself, before walking out the barn and into the rain. Their mother followed soon after. And then it was just Noa and the six that had become five. Some emotions come uncalled for. They steam up from beneath the surface of some frozen lake and build without the slightest sign until something cracks ever so slightly. No one meant to yell, not really. Deaths are a time to mourn, to come together and outlast the harms that the world throws at you. But they so easily become a festival of blame, of bad feelings suddenly boiled over and cuts that had long since begun to fester. So intentional or not, malicious or merely the strain, shouts exploded throughout the barn. They came in a torrent, liquid fire that spilled across the floor and crashed against Noa. It was his fault, of course, who else could they blame? The river? The lightning itself? Fate or some sort of god? Noa was easy. He was tangible, he was there, and as his worst crime: He was alive. Faces filled with hatred, sorrow transformed to fuel, a spark to light the pyre. Why had he lived? Why had the river chosen him to guard, to save? Noa knelt beside the body that was once his sister and felt the words. How 29 Â


could something so shapeless and pointless hurt so badly? Sounds grew into barbs, words into knives and sentences into spears. And then someone grew angrier still, demanding he move away from his sister. A rabidity filled him, a refusal to leave this lifeless corpse. So a fist lashed out, slamming into his face and pushing him backwards, away from the body and onto the mud of the ground. He tried to push back up, to reassert his claim to siblinghood, to hold back a tide that was too far gone already, and was met by another fist. Then a toe. And then they were on him, screaming turned from words to noises, guttural and meaningless. Blood dripped into the earth, and still they attacked, as though each drop of ruby liquid would fix them, as though every cut could bring their sister back from death. It grew too much for Noa. Lost in his own form of insanity he screamed his own wordless cry and in that moment there was a splintering overhead, a cracking, a moaning. The roof bowed and shifted and suddenly ruptured, leaving the rain free to pour down upon the pile of seething bodies. The drops attacked, faster than bullets and just as hard, drumming the children into the earth as Noa slowly rose up from their midst. He stumbled out of the barn towards the only sanctuary he still knew, the river. Noa’s eyes never wavered from the blue-grey beast before him. Without a plan or an idea he found refuge stepping into its churning waves. The water blanketed him and held him tight, ferrying him along and away from the blood soaked barn. There was light and there was dark, there was cold and there was hot, but there was always water. Everywhere, always, watching over him. It was all encompassing and protecting, a vast bandage holding his tattered soul together. Sam Kendrick ‘19

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THE MYTH OF LIFE IS A PUZZLE The myth of life is a puzzle half unveil’d: Enlightening people, refused by few. ’Tis the truth with molecules compose’d, Dive into shalt thou taste its sweet, solemn dew. In the center lies the Central Dogma, Where the double helix transforms to magic. Helicase works merely like an enigma, Just like scissors cutting a string of fabric. The beauty exposes when the chains untwine: Polymerase induces nucleotides. But the reaction isn’t always smooth and fine, Okazaki segments form on lagging strands. Helix replicates in a geometric rate, Forming the earth’s miracle beyond great. Siyang Wang ‘20

Ryan Jacobelli '19 31


HARBOR – GOLD KEY AMERICAN VOICES O Sapiens, 人呐, How ridiculous they were, 真是可笑的动物 Believing that consciousness creates happiness 自以为思绪可以带来幸福 And places them on the pinnacle of life, 可以将他们置于巅峰。 So 于是 they grew powerful brains, 他们便进化出了更强劲的大脑, Sophisticated minds, 更复杂的思维, Capricious sentiments, 更多变的感情。 And tied a boulder to their heart. 心里便总系着岩石: When climbing, 往高处走了, it drops; 岩石便摇摇欲坠; When marching, 往前进了, it drags. 岩石便拖着后腿。 A warm smile 上一秒的和蔼可亲, Could freeze in a flash, 变成了下一秒的高不可攀; And a clear sky 上一秒的风和日丽, Could be covered in clouds. 变成了下一秒的密布乌云。 32


As every sailboat 因为每一艘帆船 Returns to a sheltering harbor 都有一口温暖的港湾。 So when you question me 所以 For giving up, 当你问我为什么放弃, I respond, 我会说: This harbor that you need to reside, 每个帆船都应有的港湾, I'm afraid I could not provide. 我这儿没有而已。 Lance Zhang ‘19

Addie Doherty '19 33


Darwin Holcombe '20

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LOVING YOU (LYRICS) I love you in the morning I left you in the evening Though we are away I just can’t stay Away from you

I hear the clock ticking We’re running out of time They can’t tell us what to do But I know I don’t want to Stay away from you

I have been changing To a new one different than the old me Though we are old I have been told to stay away from you

Maybe it’s the part of me that wants to be free Maybe we’re meant to be why don’t you trust me Why can’t we just take our time and walk down the road To god knows where Without a care Thought I could But I can’t Stay away from you

Maybe it’s the part of me that wants to be free Maybe we’re meant to be why don’t you trust me Why can’t we just take our time and walk down the road To god knows where Without a care Thought I could But I can’t Stay away from you

We’ve all been changing To new ones nobody’s ever seen I may have been young Now I know I was dumb To keep close to you Jenna Powers ‘22

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THE GHOST ACROSS THE ROOM – SILVER KEY I stood staring at the ghost across the room. Over the tables and the chairs, we locked eyes and glared each other down. What a twisted ghoul. A pour wretched soul left to wander these empty rooms alone. I looked over her, face twisting with pity at what I saw. I couldn’t stand the sight of her. So I moved, but she followed me. Motion for motion across the room. Glaring back at me. “Why are you watching me?” It was too far to see her eyes but I knew they must be filled with a rage. How could she not be angry, as she watched me. Followed me. Angry at how I looked and who I was. Angry at my pity and my revulsion, angry at my very presence. Because ghosts hate the living, or whatever they can find that is left of the living. Of course she hated me. But she kept following me and as I neared the door she slowed, just as I did. My heart filled with rage and I screamed at her. “Why are you following me?” My voice hung in the stale air, like an unwelcome smell with no breeze to come and cleanse it. She only stared. I walked towards her, away from the door and the safety it might represent and towards whatever she was. The clutter slowed me, and as I approached her she seemed to glide closer. “Why are you here?” I moved closer as the words died away. An anger filled me now, even greater than a moment before. Why was she here? I hated her suddenly and viciously. Her ugly hair and her flimsy clothes. Her refusal to leave this wretched place and find somewhere else, somewhere where she couldn’t be bothering me. Why me? Why did this twisted lost soul cling to me? I stopped only a few paces from her now. Hair covered her face, matted and long. She was pitiable, but I didn’t pity her. It was her fault she was here. She could leave if she wanted, couldn’t she. But instead she watched me and made me suffer. “Just leave!” Just leave Just leave Just leave Just leave The echoes raced through my mind. She just floated there, among the junk. Still watching me. I was so angry I lashed out at her, and she moved to match me, to block me. In the jerk of her motion her hair fell away and I saw my eyes glaring back at me. Pain lanced through my arm and the sound of a thousand tiny cracks filled the air. The wall before me quickly grew covered in a web of 36


fractures, radiating out from where my fist still pressed against it. Through the shattered glass I saw myself, still staring. I was broken and fragmented and warped. As I withdrew my hand, she- I -mirrored the motion. My knuckles were red and bleeding, slivers of glass embedded deeply within them. Tears filled my eyes from the pain and the shame and the anger. I collapsed onto the floor and looked hopelessly back at myself. Why was I still here? Sam Kendrick ‘19

Maggie Adams '20

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HOME I set the bag down, the dog is still there, Her breath doesn’t smell like bologna anymore She remembers me The house puffs her chest Empty and full of air Sunlight fills the bloated scars She turns her head I walk her stairs The cool wooden rails Ancient in that moment and new as spring grass My eyes are torn and stunned Unable to suck in everything I peer into my sibling’s rooms, I’m not ready I take deep breaths Their rooms are as always, My sister’s clean from unihabitance The pictures of her, the playbills The airy lightness and the color morphs and blurs My brother leaves the room cluttered neatly The empty bottles, knick knacks and books strewn The poster of the plane from dusty dreams Their beds are made and windows opened it’s my turn The atrophied door creaks, still broken from years’ past Steve stares at me, his arms locked, legs extended His expression is distant and menacing, bolted towards the finish I wave hello The sheets and bed are made up Not the ugly disarray of blankets and covers The bear she gave me sits there Folders, notebooks, novels, papers immaculate Closet is shut, the clothes hung and folded A window is thrust open, bursting at the seams The knife and razors are still gone I kneel down Watching myself get out of bed The room is dark, a torrent of clothes and books spilled everywhere I stand up I reach out to touch the past footprints sewn into the carpet 38


It’s too late he’s gone The room is no different Everything in its place is all I can think Gifts she gave me rest there, heads cocked, eyes heavy The desk and shelves are illuminated dimly, sunlight pours in I watch myself shut the door on my way out, I leave behind a war zone, the letter tucked under the pillow The windows are closed Doors locked I lie there I look in the mirror Scars, Dark circles Thin frame I close my eyes Suddenly I’m gone I’m here Standing in the center of the room I breathe it all in I can see the early dawn The hazy winter morning I melt into the covers I storm out the room I open the window and fall out I jump on the bed and scream and shake my fists All at once But I’m just standing here, Looking through the window Through the mirror At the cuts At the perfectly made bed At the foggy lukewarm sunrise And If I close my eyes And make my chest heavy I can lift those covers Hunch over on the side of my bed and shuffle out of the room I stand there in two As I walk out of the room I sit down on the bed 39


I look back at the poster of Steve gritting his teeth One foot wedged in the door One sobbing into the sheets Just floating in the center of the room Never truly left Aaron Brown ‘20

Gary Huang '20 40 Â


N ON -F ICTION GRANDMA – GOLD KEY My family always congregated in the comfortingly small living room where the old thirty-inch TV model sat. It had a high class base amplifier that looked like a gigantic battery and was connected to satellite TV channels. With all of the equipment and programs, I was the most entertained child in all of Shanghai city, having exclusive access to international channels like the Discovery Channel or Nickelodeon, and theatrical sounding. Any time my dad was not watching live soccer matches in the Premier League or Bundesliga, I would tune in to the various TV channels to fulfill my ever insatiable curiosity. To most parents’ fear, TV addiction was cancerous, but to my parents, it was a stimulant to my longing for the lively world. My grandmother lived with us. She had her hair cut short to her shoulders, and always wore extra clothes. She always thought it was cold even in summers, and it became the truth for her when she wouldn’t sit up straight any more. But she had the most caring smile and the best cooking in the world. When mom and dad were gone, she would sit next to me while I watched DVDs and knit or sometimes talk with me. Her knittings lasted many years like the photo of her up on the wall, and neither were ever torn down. “A skinny, annoying, naughty kid that never stops watching animated TV shows” was the correct description for the six-year-old me. Even now, in my family’s apartment situated in the center of Shanghai, one of the first cities to experience the fruit of open market in China, a box full of DVDs of Ultraman, Tom and Jerry, Star Wars, and many other shows or movies still lie in my room. The TV was against the couch, so whenever I was watching Ultraman, the biggest Japanese superhero hit throughout my childhood, I would stand on my couch and act out accordingly to the show. My favorite was Ultraman Ace. (1) One summer, I was running down the hallway and leaping onto my bed, imitating the badass flying poses that Ultraman's make after their victory while flying in the air. I would fall onto the bed, stand up, run back into position, then do it again. But after God knows how many flights I took, my landing spot sank deeper than normal. The crash was so loud that I was sure grandma, who lived just next door, could hear it clearly, and I could tell by the sound of her faster than usual pace that she was angry. Grandma walked in with a grim face. She grabbed me by my ear and pulled me off of my bed, and checked the condition of the bed. The memory mattress which my mom bought from those loud TV shopping programs had been installed for just a 41


few weeks, and it now held a permanent pit in the middle. Grandma stood up, and turned around staring into my eyes which quickly transitioned from thrilled to remorseful. “shawjütou, what have you done?” Grandma used my kid name instead of my actual name, which was never a good sign. She pointed at the bottom of the bed and wanted me to see my doing, and I crawled over to see my chef-d’oeuvre - Two pointy wood planks stretched out from the bottom of the bed, and so was the end of my luck. Grandma pulled me by the point of my ear and dragged me to the corner of the room. As a punishment, she wanted me to stand there for an hour until mom returned from work. Soon it was dinner time. I could see cooking activities through the open kitchen windows and family meals from the open dining room windows from the apartment on the other side. To distract myself from the agony of Tantalus, I played around with the DVD disks and the worn-out yo-yos on the balcony, but I could hardly clear my mind from imaginary foods and keep myself from staring at families dining. Grandma walked in with a bowl of chicken soup noodle with Shanghai bok-choy that still steamed, and asked me to sit out at the table to have my meal. “Has mom come back yet?” I didn’t know if Grandma was still upset with me. “No, but you need to have your dinner, or else you’ll forever stay as short as you are right now.” Grandma replied with a friendly smile, and my fear was assuaged. I picked up my chopsticks and started slurping the noodles. The chicken soup was put on the stove boiling over the night, condensing the chicken flavor and the spices into the soup. Grandma sat on the other side, and every time I looked up I saw her observing my eating with a smile on her face. “Don’t be so relentless next time.” Grandma said. “Keep eating, don't leave any leftovers.” They were my favorite chicken soup noodles, one of my other favorites among Ultraman Ace, Tom and Jerry, and Discovery channel. (2) Shanghai’s winter was never as cruel as any other place - snow was a rarity, and the wind never blew hard around my apartment - but it still demolished my grandma with her old age. Grandma always said to mom and dad that someday she'd be laying on a bed unable to manage herself and in response mom and dad would deny the possibility. Her prediction came true the winter I turned seven. She left the apartment less often and looked meager. Wrinkles found their way up to her face like those invasive monstrous vines in 42


Ultraman shows. She was lying in her bed when I left for school and was still there when I returned. Grandma started missing family dinners, which took place in the living room every night. Mom had picked up grandma's cooking chores, burdening herself with hasty work commutes and grocery trips. Mom’s cooking was delicious, and she was especially adroit with cooking fried rice and soup noodles. Mom told me that when she and her sister lived in their hometown, Ningbo, during the famines of the cultural revolutions, she had inherited Grandma's cooking skills. But Grandma was never at the table to taste mom’s chicken soup noodles, fried tomato with eggs, and Shanghai bokchoys. Mom always had to cook a separate liquid meal that was served to Grandma on a platter. Mom didn’t want me to see Grandma whenever the door was closed because she needed rest. But mom had been behind the door every time she closed it slowly after checking if I were around. Once through a tiny gap the door left open, I saw Grandma sitting on the bed, resting her back on the pillows stacked against the wall, and slowly crunching want want senbei crackers. She wore double-layered sweaters and a dawn vest, covered her legs with thick blankets, and the light heater mom got from the budget shop was turned all the way up, projecting its blazing red light towards grandma. Grandma was sweating and pale. The vigor had left her face. She stared into the wall, but her eyesight projected in parallel like those diagrams I had learned to draw in math classes as if her eyes were focused separately. Grandma is in pain, I thought. I didn’t want to watch anymore and shut the door. Next morning, I sat with mom at breakfast. Dad was on the couch sleeping and making loud snoring noises. Mom stayed silent. “Is Grandma ok?” I asked. “Yes, she is. Grandma just caught a fever, and she just needs a bit of rest.” Mom said, but kept her head down eating her meal. “She’ll be on her legs soon.” She added. Dad stopped his snoring for a while and turned his body around, facing the wall. Snoring continued only louder. Mom cleared her plate and stood up, then patted my head. “Silly child, grandma is going to be ok. She’s been through so much! Come on, let’s go to school.” She said. I grabbed my plate, and placed it in the sink. I wondered if mom put on extra glitter around her eyes or if she caught up with the trend and used invisible glasses. I followed her out of the apartment. When I returned home with dad in the afternoon, Grandma wasn’t lying on her bed anymore. She was nowhere to be found in the apartment. 43


Zoee Blossom ‘19 44


(Grandma, continued) “Mom, where’s Grandma?” I asked mom, who was in the kitchen preparing dinner. “She’s seeing the doctors! They’ll take care of Grandma better than we can, and she’ll get better anytime!” Mom shouted from the kitchen. I felt happy for grandma because I never liked catching fevers. (3) In March, Shanghai became warmer. The trees in the neighborhood had their leaves grown out, and in my journals I had written birds were flying around singing beautiful songs for the first time. I had gone to school for almost two years now, and I was proud to have received the green ribbon and joined the junior pioneer corps. Every teacher told me that only outstanding children could bear the burden of leading and supporting the building of our nation, and those children all had a red ribbon tied by their collars. “To wear a red ribbon, you have to wear a green ribbon first.” My Chinese teacher said. I was eager to show my achievement to Grandma. Every weekend, mom and dad would take me to the Ruijin Public Hospital down the street to see grandma with a bottle of chicken soup. Grandma would be in her blue-and-white striped uniform and sit up by the bed smiling, expecting our visit. She always hugged me first and gazed at my face for a while. Her smile would slowly fade, and her eyes would glow like mom’s had the morning Grandma was gone. But she would let me go, put a smile back on her face, drink the chicken soup and talk with us. The weekend before school ended, mom woke me up early in the morning. The sun hadn’t shined yet. Dad was up too and had a cigarette between his fingers. He was sitting on the couch but looking elsewhere, maybe out the window. Mom looked at me, and handed me my clothes. She wanted me to dress up quickly. Dad stood up, and walked towards the apartment door. “Are we going to see Grandma?” I asked, but mom didn’t answer. We got on the seven-seat van that dad bought just a month ago before Chinese New Year. The plastic wrappers weren’t torn off yet. Dad stopped us at the hospital. We were led to a different room, where Grandma didn’t have any roommates. She had changed, too. She didn’t wear her striped uniform anymore and wore a red robe and a red hat. She laid flat on the bed and covered herself with a red blanket with an embroidered yellow dragon. I had seen those dragons on the TV. All the emperors wore them, I thought. 45


Strange grown-ups wearing masks and blue plastic looking coats stood in the dark, and the only light was strong and focused on Grandma. All of our relatives were there, their faces looking grim. I didn’t know what was going on. “Is Grandma better?” I asked mom. She left in a hurry with a handkerchief covering her face. “Why isn’t Grandma awake?” I asked dad, but he was only sipping on his cigarette. Nobody made a sound. I was afraid. What if grandma never woke up? What if Grandma never opened her eyes again? What if she was DEAD? I started pulling dad’s pants, looking at him eager for an answer, but he wasn’t responding, only wiping his eyes. I looked at the faces of every relative, but they avoided my sight. What is wrong? What is wrong? What is wrong? Tears began to flood my eyes; I couldn’t control but to shriek “NO! NO! NO!” But Grandma never woke up. Everyone in the room was looking at me. Dad held me to his chest and I cried and cried and cried until I fell asleep. Next morning, a framed black and white photo of Grandma hung in the living room. We wore black for a whole week. (0) The living room hasn’t changed much for eleven years. Only that the old thick TV was replaced by a slim modern LED one. The Ultraman DVDs that were carefully collected into a column were covered with dust and placed under Grandma’s photograph. Every Ultraman leaves Earth and makes room for the next to prosper. I thought. On August 28th, 2015, I held the plane ticket, sat on the couch, and looked into Grandma’s smiling eyes. I was leaving for the United States for high school. So I will depart now, Grandma. I thought. Grandma’s eyes winked. And soon I’d be flying, too. Lance Zhang ‘19

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Caroline Keller '20 47 Â


FOR A SHORT WHILE For a short while man existed frantically The foremost tassel on a ball gown of sartorial masterpiece Who knew the macrocosm of a universe? Could be shrunk to a grain of salt? For a short while, carnivorous theropods roamed in divine right A restless cycle of kill eat decay kill eat decay and onward. Who knew a composite chunk of Iron and Nickel Could commit errant regicide from space? For a short while there’s been something Indelible, as if cloaked in earth and ocean Who knew the way which I bow to my knee Could be captured, boxed up and labeled in glee? For a short while I fancied myself as a Jew Then for a shorter bit as something more incoherent Who knew after time I’d come around to be so adherent And consider myself (by uncertain standards) a Jew anew. For a short while, I’ve pondered such theory In nail biting fury, since dinosaurs and man From box of ocean, to grain of sand I pause at the ceremony of time to bid farewell To honor and pay respect for the seemingly endless parallel For a long while, nothing worried with uniform religion Standing so poignant I see such an intangible “Jew” Now I recognize the simple deviation from past decision To praise God within without denomination or fear, who knew? Aaron Brown ‘20

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Alex Paluszek ‘20

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MY HEART, MY TRADITION – HONORABLE MENTION We, in my family, do not have a lot of traditions but on February 2nd we started a new tradition. My February 4th 2015 started out like any other day. I went to school at 8AM. The Patriots had just won their 4th super bowl, thanks to a last second interception by Malcolm Butler (who I would later meet). I sat down and started to unpack my bags. Little did I know that this day would change my life forever. I sat down in my chair in Walpole Middle School and take out my stuff out of my bag and get ready for the day. I went to my first class, which was math, and I sat down and hand in my homework. I finish that class and then I go to my science class with my home room teacher, Mrs. Menning. I hand in my home work and then the nurse walks in. The nurse never came in to anyone’s classroom unless she had some very important news for everybody. The nurse Mrs. Chuda and my teacher secretly talk with their backs turned to the class. Then Mrs. Chuda says, “Spencer, can you come over here for a minute.” The nurse takes me out of class and tells me that my heart is here. I could not believe it. I had been waiting for fourteen months for my heart and now it was finally here. I took my bag, went down stairs, and waiting there was my father. Once I saw my father we both started crying because we had been waiting for this day for fourteen months. We say goodbye to the nurses and we drive home. When we get there my mom, grandparents, and brother Conor were there. We talked to them and my brother said something I will always remember good luck and I can't wait to see you when u get back. Then my mom, my dad, and I left to go to Boston Children's Hospital. I don't remember a lot after that, but I do remember waking up in a hospital bed nine days later. I stayed in the hospital for one month after my transplant to recover. Finally, after numerous tests, and getting poked and prodded, and more shots than I keep track, I was able to go home and see my family. I stayed at home for another month before I was allowed to go back to school because of germs and stuff and being immunosuppressed. Finally, sometime in mid-May, I was allowed to go back to school. It was so fun to see all of my friends and teachers. Everyone was excited to see me

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Now every year on February second my family, my grandparents, and I go out to dinner and remember and celebrate my heart. My heart has given me a new life literally. It has been three years since I got my heart. Sadly, I was never able to meet my heart donor’s family however hopefully someday in the future I will. Spencer Harrington ‘21

Alex Paluszek '20 THE NUDGE OF A GREAT GOD'S HAND – SILVER KEY Who is Columbus? adventurous and great, He conquered the ocean and vanquished land. In his name, hundreds of years do we celebrate The nudge of the great God's hand. By his footsteps came ships set sail, In god, they trusted that they would prevail. Yet below the statues of the venturous saint, Flood rivers of blood and torn apart love That his worshipers bothered not to acquaint To young scholars who a difference dreamed of; 51


To those who in offices destinies create, To voters who their rights with ballots forsake. Oh, for how could anyone deny and debase The joy and glory uttered in sight Of the first American island, and the fate That they manifested to create a future bright, Ah, and looky there, where “my precious” lies, And in shadows of your presidency does it hide. To wait for the next dark lord to follow its stride. Look at that multi-millionaire jest in a red hat, How now, thou doth make America great again! Against Muslims and immigrants you combat; For safety from impeachment with thousands you paid. “America First,” you say, but America comes not first In a world where thousands of cultures burst Blossoms of beautiful treasure. “Who cares,” you say, American interest must be Preserved, and any opposition should see Retaliation with “fire and fury” Or with a ripped broken treaty. When Gazan slingers were hurling rocks To fight for a taste of equalityOf stepping inside their home territory, Of getting above the line of poverty, Of retrieving shattered dreams; When lives upon lives were deprived From vigorous teens whose safety of life is threatened by your sacred rights Of the second amendment; What have you done to make "America first”? Rising an embassy on controversial dirt? Failing to forbid whatever part of firearms? Pledging to save jobs on the other face of the earth? Oh please, dear friend, step down your business, Even Two-Face has his vileness on the show whereas your hideous plans lay in the shadow. Lance Zhang ‘19

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Miranda Lu '19 53 Â


IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS - GOLD KEY Have you ever had a seriously dirty car in need of a deep clean? Well, I have, and I can tell you how to take care of that problem in just a few easy steps. Here's what you do first -- you gather supplies that you can find at any Bond Auto Parts location. The items that you will need are 1 gallon of “Thick and Blue Soap” and one wash mitt to spread the soap on the car or truck. You will also need some “Awesome Pink,” which is a degreaser that will get all of the bugs and pine pitch that you might have on the front of your car. Finally, you’ll need a tin of wax. “Mothers” brand is the best in my opinion. For the exterior, you will need a pressure washer or a hose. I prefer to use a pressure washer because it gets a lot of the road grime off more effectively than a standard hose. If you are asking yourself what a pressure washer is, it's a machine that uses either electricity or gas to run a motor that creates pressure that then propels water through a wand, providing a very powerful stream of water. A lot of people use them at their homes because they might not have good pressure out of the faucet. Next, you’ll need to gather your power cleaning supplies for the interior. The first power tool that you will need is a vacuum, so you will be able to remove all of the dirt and any other small things that you don't want in the cabin of the car. The second tool that you will need for the interior of the vehicle is a steam cleaner, which is one of the most useful tools when you have a big stain or just have a water spot on cloth seats that you need to get out. Next, I will tell you about some of the techniques I have learned over the years that I have been detailing. Proper technique is one of the most important things to consider when detailing a vehicle. The first thing you want to do after you have everything ready is to work on the interior first because while the interior is drying, you can be doing the exterior. Basically, you want to work top to bottom, so start on the dash and get all of the dust and dirt off by using the degreaser. Once you have done that, you can use the same degreaser to work on getting off all of the coffee or juice that was spilled on the center console. The next thing that you will have to do is vacuum all of the carpet in the car which is a very meticulous job because you have to be perfect or you will see everything that you missed. Dirt is like shoes that glow in the dark -you might not see them in the light, but at night you will. One of the most disgusting details that I have ever done was on a ‘06 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We took it in as a repo because the previous owner was not paying the payments. The first thing I noticed about the Jeep was that the 54


owner never cleaned it for the year that she had it; she also clearly had two young, apparently poorly disciplined children, so you can image how this Jeep smelled and looked. While driving home with the Jeep, I could barely breathe. I looked in the back seats for a quick moment and I saw piles of garbage and food on the ground. When I saw that, my stomach rolled around as fast as a roller coaster at Six Flags. I finally got back to my Dad’s shop and we parked the Jeep down back. The next day went by and my Dad wanted me to detail it up so we could resell it. So, I did all of the proper steps to start a detail and I found some of the most disgusting things in the back of the car, such as a chicken nugget covered in maggots. To this day, I can’t look at chicken the same way as I used to. I am not going to share the rest of the stuff that I found. But luckily, I was able to get the car all cleaned up and ready for resale. In the detailing world, we have a lot of terminology. A lot of that is to do with the convenience of it. If we are in the zone and doing well on the detail, the last thing that we are going to want to do is stop and explain the product to the new person helping us, so that is why we created names for all of the chemicals. For example, we call the “Awesome pink degreaser” simply “pink stuff.” It really comes down to which way is the fastest to get the product that you need because there is nothing more annoying than not having the right products or tools there when you need them. While detailing cars, dangerous things can happen. When I was about 8 years old, I was messing around with the acid that we use on the wheels, which is very powerful stuff. It spilled down my legs because I was messing around with the bottle and I was rushed to the emergency room with very serious chemical burns. The burns eventually healed, luckily, but it was a very scary moment for my parents and me. When I see a dirty car, I see more than that -- I see a person who isn't organized and does not care about the car, which really hurts me because I am an addict when it comes to washing cars and taking care of my personal car. But when I see a clean car, I can see a person who actually cares and has put some true effort and time into caring for their car. That’s why it’s not all about the soap and water and supplies; it's also about how a person is with organization and caring for their belongings. I can just see a bigger picture with detailing cars than a normal person might see. Cody Thurber ‘19

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Sarah Robinson '20

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ANOTHER WORLD – SILVER KEY I believe in music. I believe in the power of music. I believe that mental growth is more important than a test score. I did not believe these things before I started to play Jazz. I did not even dare to think about these. In short, Jazz made me a person who dares to dream. Jazz made me a person who has something to believe in. More importantly, Jazz gave me a key to unlock the door to another world. Before I came to VA, I didn’t feel I had anything special to offer. I had a normal haircut. I had average grades. I obeyed my parents’ orders. Indeed, similar to most teenagers in China. I believed in wealth and “success.” I believed that once I became a person who was considered “successful” by society, I would become unique, and my existence could mean something. Everything changed when I first stepped on VA’s campus and entered Mr. Cady’s classroom. Four years ago, the first time I heard music play out of the speaker in Mr. Cady’s classroom, it touched something inside of me. I stood in front of the classroom like a fool. Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock...all those jazz masters’ names became more and more familiar to me. I could feel the magic in their music every time I listened as if it could bring me to the most comfortable and relaxing place in the world. Jazz overwhelmed me, jazz eased my stress, but at the same time, jazz became part of me. As it grew larger and larger inside me. I started to experienced more with it: The time when I played my first solo on stage. The moment when my hands were shaking after the concert. The moment when I saw Miks hugging Mr. Cady, crying, after his last concert at VA. I started to believe in Jazz; I started to believe in music. As time passed by, all those shining experiences came together and melted into a key. It was the key for me to open the door of which I questioned its existence before. It was the key that unlocked my mental world. It was the key that led me into a new phase of life. At first, I was as afraid of the new world as a newborn. I was nervous when I took a step forward. I was nervous about getting lost in the new world and not being able to find the way back to the old one. Yet, as I experienced more and more happiness in the new world. I finally locked the door behind me, and I trapped myself in my new world. The world where I did not have to obtain happiness by hanging out with friends. The world where I did not have to stand out from the crowd by wearing LV and Gucci. The world where I did 57


not have to be talkative. The world where I did not have to be a “friend” to strangers. The world where I did not have to pretend to be another person. The world where I could dream. The world where I could enjoy the pure happiness that generated from the deepest part of my soul… It’s been two years since I first twisted the key and opened the door, two years since I said goodbye to my old world. Now, music has become my religion. Happiness is my new god. Music is my utopia. I am its resident. My body can travel anywhere, but my soul will always stay inside the music. Aaron Gong ‘19

Gary Huang '20 58


METAMORPHOSIS – SLIVER KEY I never really acted “like a girl.” I was named Sarah, meaning “princess,” but I never lived up to that expectation. I didn’t think about gender; I played sports, rough-housed with the boys, and built Legos with my brother, both of us shirtless—two scrawny kids with the same thick eyebrows. Femininity was a foreign concept, an act like the dresses I had to put on for special occasions. In elementary school, most of my friends were boys and although they accepted me for my athleticism, I knew I was different. An outsider. Not quite “boy” enough for them, and definitely not “girl” enough to play with the girls. It was my 3rd grade picture day, and my step mom Janne was deciding what I should wear. I had just started playing hockey, and had chopped off my hair into a bowl cut. I loved the way the hair felt on the back of my neck, smooth from the even buzz. For school portraits Janne wanted to put me in a pink blouse but I flat out refused. She tried another frilly dress and I shook my head in defiance. “Well what do you want to wear?” She asked me in defeat. I walked to my closet and pulled out my brand new blue and white striped polo. I had begged her to buy it for me, but she was reluctant because it was from the boy’s section. “Are you sure that’s what you want to wear?” I nodded eagerly. Twenty minutes later I was walking down the hall of my elementary school, blue and white polo on, grin wide. I remember the other children staring, knowing that I was a girl wearing boys clothing. I didn't care. I was walking on air. The whispers followed me all the way to the photo booth, but the smile in that 3rd grade photo is the most genuine out of all of my school photos. When I came out as gay to my grandmother she teared up and told me that I was still young, that things could change. Two years after that conversation, sitting on a riverbank in Vermont, I realized that I had been lying to myself for 16 years. It wasn’t just a preference of clothing. It wasn’t just my hair. It was me. My experiences when I was young and ignorant proved to me that I had always been transgender. For years I had pushed down my true self because I didn’t feel safe expressing it. I was raised my entire life believing that being gay, especially transgender, was sinful and evil. Even after my realization, it took me months to share how I felt even with close friends. I was able to learn how to love myself again and how to live with my new self because I was surrounded by support from friends and community. I’ve come so far from the little girl that just wanted to be like the boys. My entire life has been a journey of discovery, slowly moving toward realizing my true self. These next few years will contain some hard decisions—whether to 59


go on testosterone or get top surgery. These are life-changing choices. Although I don’t know what the future holds, I will always remember my 8year old self, sporting that crisp polo, smiling wide, knowing that this was me. Accepting who I am has not been easy, but I have always been Ryan inside. It took many years to even admit to myself that I felt like a man. Pride has to be grown, and self-love comes slowly. But throughout these past four years I have learned to love who I am, to support my fellow LGBTQ youth, and to advocate for trans rights. I am prepared to take on whatever comes my way, knowing that I will be sporting the same toothy grin every time someone calls me Ryan. Ryan Jacobelli ‘19 I'M FROM BASKETBALL I am from basketball From Wilson and Spalding I am from the sports equipment in every corner of every room. Dusty, old, it looked like it belonged to an equipment room I am from the brown grass in front off my house, which every single strand was dead I’m from road trips and competitiveness From Jasmine and Mary Beth I’m from the people who are always early to everything and the people who can never decide where to eat From you have to work hard for what you want and to be yourself I’m from only going to church when my grandma wants me to, standing in the balcony blazing hot for hours I’m from Guelph and the Valeriote legacy Oxtail, sugar cane From the time my sister busted my head open with a belt buckle The time I put toothpaste in my dad's oreos In the basement was videos of me as a baby I am from the people who brought me in this world and all the memories that are kept in the basement Joshua Boscoe ‘21

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CITY VIBES – SILVER KEY

There was this one time back home when we decided to go to NYC on a skate trip, hit up LES, Tribeca, Chinatown, and street spots all over the place. The day started out pretty great. Getting off the train we were all full of energy, and I had just finished my coffee on the train. We were all prepping boards by loosening the trucks, so we don’t hit anyone and we can slide easier. We then adjusted our playlists and got the cameras ready for filming. First stop was a skate shop. We got off the train, out of Penn, and down 34th Street to Zumiez where we picked up some wax and my friend got a new deck. Then it was a downhill to the subway station on the west side of Manhattan, so we all hill bombed it, dodging people and hitting features like ledges and rails on the way. I was near the front so I wasn’t filming or having much trouble. I caught up with my friend Jack and we had a longest manual contest, but I quit about halfway through when I saw a two stair and decided to try a shove off of it and catch it in manual but did not work at all. Landed the shove though. A little after that, I took out my phone and started to film jack until he hit a crack and flew off his board. After many cracks and pebbles, causing many falls and many bails, we finally made it to the subway station where we got a decent break on the subway. Then back to the grind, where we were just skating to the park attempting to board slide the weird arched tree guards, practicing tricks off of stair sets, and our grinds on any ledge we could find. When we got to the park we were pretty tired so we stayed for like an hour then headed to the 9/11 Memorial because we needed to get to Chinatown. After this was an uphill and skateboarding uphill is torture so we hiked it and got dinner. Then we skated through Chinatown, dodging people and hopping over signs and hydrants, until we realized this is kinda annoying because there were so many people. We headed to LES for a night session. We stayed for about an hour then headed to the subway station to head on home. The ride to the nearest subway station was around 30 minutes so we stopped at a corner store for drinks and just unwound on the way back. We were all beat and tired but having a blast skating down the sidewalk at 10 PM in NYC. Casually landing tricks like its no big deal and just cruising, I was having the best time of my life. It was summer, so it then just started to get cool and I caught a breeze from riding. I was trying every feature I saw. I fell a lot but I landed a lot more, so by the time we got to the station, my shirt was torn up, I had scrapes all over, but I was happy I didn’t care. That was the best session of my life. Mark Hansen ‘19 61


Siyang Wang '20

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I AM FROM THE MESH STRUNG AT THE BACK OF THE NET From CCM and Bauer I am from the Stu Hurley Bone chilling cold, loud with cheers but filled with the silence of a loss I am from the woods behind my house Trees towering over us that we are determined to conquer I am from documentaries with my dad and our beloved judge Mablean with mom From video games with Kesler and camping with the troupes I am from the stress of absolutely nothing and sleeping till noon From confidence to “what the hell are you doing out there” I’m from the culture and religion of the game we call hockey I’m from the north, strong and free From fights over taco night or spaghetti From the long road trips to games my dad never missed The chase after my dog when he steals something From moms Facebook that holds all our secrets I am from these moments, long nights, early mornings, and pushing each other to our breaking points Jaz Creamer ‘21

Cedar Jones '20 63


YOU’RE GOING TO BE AMAZING Scream softly, sweet one, for someone to hear Walk wild, my child, for those who fear Find friends in strange places And smile at the fake faces... Why? Because you’re going to be amazing You love to rush in but you take your time like snail butter You’re a fumbling foozler but you make a heart flutter You’re a bag of energetic bones that cease to stop When everything is quiet you crack, sizzle, and pop... You’re going to be amazing Listen to the liars just for a good laugh Cry a caboodle for a time and a calf Fix the world’s worries with one word Befriend a nerd; one you preferred... So you both can be amazing The future is scary and there’s so much to fear Just remember to scream softly for someone to hear Walk wild, my child, for there is so much to endear And never ever ever forget… You’re going to be amazing Addie Doherty ‘19

Sarah Robinson ‘20 64

Profile for Vermont Academy

PAW Print 2019  

PAW Print 2019