A / RISD Visual & Literary ArtsArts Magazine A Brown Brown / RISD Visual & Literary Magazine Vol. XIX 2 2 Vol. XXIIIssue Issue
Letter from the Editors Dear Reader, As we come to the close of another largely virtual semester, we are pleased and proud to present to you the Spring 2021 issue of VISIONS magazine. This past semester has not been easy for many of us as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the hardships, anxiety, and isolation it brings. The VISIONS team is immensely grateful to everyone who submitted to our magazine this semester and entrusted us with their work in the face of these trying circumstances. The news cycle for the past few months has been dominated by stories of violence against Asian Americans, primarily targeted at women, the elderly, and other vulnerable community members. We have seen persistent stereotypes and hatred being dragged to the surface once more, and have witnessed as mainstream discourse continuously rediscovers the reality of anti-Asian racism. We share in the heartbreak, fear, and disillusionment felt by so many in the face of these existential threats. And we also draw strength from the resilience, resistance, and activism of outspoken community members who refuse to be silenced by their pain or by pervasive threats of violence. At VISIONS, we stand by our mission of showcasing the often unheard and unendingly diverse stories of A APIA writers and artists. We hope that this issue can provide a celebratory and perhaps even healing space for us to come together in community and reaffirm the value of our voices and experiences. We are so grateful to the talented contributors who have chosen to share their stories with us this spring, and we thank you for picking up this issue of VISIONS and going on this journey with us. Warmly,
Emily Chen and Jessie Jing
Mission Statement VISIONS is a publication that highlights and celebrates the diversity of Brown and RISD’s AAPIA community. We are committed to being an open literary and artistic forum for individuals who hold this identity, as well as other members of the university community, to freely express and address issues relating to the AAPI experience. VISIONS further serves as a forum for issues that cannot find a voice in other campus publications. As a collaborative initiative, VISIONS strives to strengthen and actively engage with Brown and RISD’s vibrant community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as the larger Providence community and beyond.
On the Cover Minhwa | Digital on Procreate Theodore ’24 is probably napping...
Editors-in‑Chief Jessie Jing ’22 Emily Chen ’22
Events Coordinator and Social Media Manager Grace Xiao ’24
Layout & Design Editor Cecilia Vogler ’22
Printer Brown Graphic Services
Assistant Layout & Design Editor Ava Wang ’23
A very special thanks to … Contributors and staff Brown Center for Students of Color
Visual Arts Editor Cindy Qiao ’22 Literary Arts Editor Sichen Grace Chen ’22 Inside Cover Collectively | Acr ylic, digital illustration, and collage Shreya ’23 likes doing things that scare her a little bit.
Web Designer and Editor Charisa Shin ’22 Assistant Arts and Web Editor Christine Jeong ’24 Graphic Design Lisa Yu Li ’22
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/VISIONS.Brown @VISIONS_magazine Disclaimer The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of VISIONS’ sponsors.
Table of Contents 6
Shreya Kaipa 7
Vicky Yang 32
Lên Nước (The Water Rises) *
dreamscapes Jessica Dai
Winter Wonderland Theater Box Sara Tanikawa
The Sun Died on the Moon's Birthday
Grace Chang 14
We Are Not A Virus Linlin Yu
Jacqueline Qiu 16
Hsiao Shan Peck 41
Cloud Watching Caterina Dong Garden Trellis Tent
Grandpa's Bakery Door Curtain
Mom Jacqueline Qiu
Annie Chen 22
wǒ ài nǐ * Connie Liu
Hanbok Peony Stamps Hyelim Rose Lee
Cindy Qiao 21
Sheep Chase Mika Mando
I have read that language / leaves \ that it leaves a trace /
Keep Beating Asia Cofield
The Sweetness of Apples
Waiting for Democracy Naya Lee Chang
A Guide to Using Tinder *
Loose Threads Caterina Dong
SCENTS SAFARI Huaiwen Zhang * CONTENT WARNING
Jenny Kim 26
The Way Back Home Tsae Yung (Kelly) Wu
wishing you a speedy recovery Hsiao Shan Peck
Glossary Joseph Delamerced
"Are very success-oriented" In June Park
Dinner Party Jenny Kim
After Property | Acryclic, digital illustration, and collage Shreya ’23 likes doing things that scare her a little bit.
Steadfast | Digital Linlin ’25 is that last boba in the cup, too tired to get up.
Death Tour | Vintage Photography Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.
Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.
Death Tour (Excerpted)
The train used to take longer, my mother
the man driving the rental car–known well and
said. My mind wanders to a new memory, this one,
employed frequently by my aunt–but my mom
from a few days ago.
kept her hands balled into fists the entire time.
My mother sat in front of me, in the mid-
Oddly, I felt at peace being yanked around through
dle row of the minivan that we had been travel-
cyclists and pedestrians and trucks. I’m not sure
ling in. I sat in the far back, looking ahead at her
why. I guess I had never heard of anybody I knew
reflection in the vibrating rearview mirror, the
in India getting into a car crash. Just didn’t feel
whole car shuddering over the unpaved dirt roads
of India. Beside my mother sat her older sister, my
aunt, Prema, whom we had just picked up from her
sat my uncle, Alex. A few days prior, just as our ar-
home in Kochi. They looked identical – sitting tall
riving flight dipped downwards towards the low
Next to the driver, in the passenger seat,
with their shoulders held low. Long, coarse, curly
lights of Delhi, my mom stretched her hand across
black hair fell over the seats in front of me like
the armrest and placed it gently on mine. She said
twin waterfalls. I watched their sequined salwar
to me, in Hindi, Be nice to Alex. He sees so much
kameezzes shimmer in time as the setting Indi-
of himself in you. We all do. He never does any-
an sun caught their clothing through the wide car
thing like this. His bipolar disorder dragged him
windows. I smiled quietly to myself – they looked
back home when he was twenty and he has lived
just like my two sisters.
by himself there since, through our parent’s death
and my immigration. He’s lonely. Give him some
Ahead of my mother and aunt, the car’s
windshield opened up to the chaos of Indian traf-
attention. You remind him of himself. I watched
fic. The thin, lane-less road overflowed with trav-
my uncle Alex in the front. My sisters and I had af-
elers in an indistinguishable industrial mass. In
fectionately nicknamed him हाथ ी, or elephant, be-
the dead center was a two-way passing lane – yes,
cause of his prolific height and width. I looked at
a two-way passing lane. People hear plenty about
my uncle, now precisely my height, fill up the front
the insanity of Indian traffic, but nobody ever
seat, swaying as the car wrenched back and forth,
imagines hurtling at eighty kilometers per hour
holding the handle above him and peering out
directly at honking buses with cars on the right
of the left window at the shifting landscape. We
and left locking you in, just slipping into traffic
picked him up earlier that morning at my moth-
as the bus barrels by your side mirror. We trusted
er’s old family estate, which Alex now runs (poorly,
my mother would say). As he got ready to leave, I
her talking–I knew these stories like I knew my-
wandered the clay floors of the old home, fasci-
self. My mother had been telling them to me since
nated by everything I saw. I noticed my grand-
I was a child. My first memory of a night train isn’t
father’s handwriting in his musty books. I didn’t
even mine, it’s hers. I recounted it to her once–a
remember my grandfather, as he passed right
clear image of an army of hundreds of cockroach-
after I turned one, but his handwriting was nearly
es scuttling on the train walls from the front to
identical to mine. I flipped through old photos of
the back and my sisters burying their heads in my
my aunt with her famous pet jaguar. I had heard
mother’s lap in fear and disgust. She dismissed it–
so much about it from my mom, but the cat was
That happened to me. You weren’t even born; you
much cuter than I could have imagined. I roamed
must have heard that from your sisters. In a small
through the sun-soaked rubber trees my mother
deflation of childlike innocence, I realized then
grew up playing in, watching cows graze peace-
that India was a memory for my mother. It’s just
fully among the shrubbery. I had never known a
stories for me.
place like this. Our family home. I looked around,
trying to capture everything, so I could remember
eyes sparkled with that small exhilaration of be-
this place properly. 50 acres of grounded history
ing reunited with your siblings, and I pretended
in a lineage of transience.
like I didn’t remember any of her stories to keep
comfortably in the car, cross-legged, my mom be-
gan to tell me a story that I knew well.
when I was about your age, I took the train back
Now, behind my uncle Alex wobbling
As she looked back at me in the car, her
The train used to take longer. After fin-
Once, in one of my first years at college,
home, alone, when my spring term ended. In India,
ishing each year of medical school, I would take
everybody locks their luggage when travelling, or
the train from Punjab to Kerala to go home, and it
else you run the risk of having your things stolen.
took almost a week. A week on the train! I had so
But at that point, I was young, and I was arrogant.
I brought a large, hot pink rolling suitcase with
me, and I didn’t lock it. On the fourth night of the
My mother turned to look at me over
her shoulder, a rare excitement in her voice, and
train, the passengers aboard woke up unexpect-
I nodded my head in performed surprise to keep
edly to loud sounds at midnight–bandits, stealing
our luggage. They were on top of the train, slash-
splayed open across the front–our hotel. We got
ing open suitcases with machetes and stealing
out of the car, inhaled the humid evening air, and
valuables inside. They stopped the train, and the
walked through crowds of people to the wide door-
bandits ran off, holding bags of jewelry over their
frame, hobbling and groaning as we stretched our
shoulders. The passengers climbed onto the train
out rigid limbs. As we entered, a small, easily ex-
roof with lanterns, and we saw empty suitcases
citable bald man with wrinkled dark chocolate
with clothes strewn everywhere. Since the bags
skin greeted us jovially. He hugged my aunt and
had been locked, the thieves used swords to cut
my mother and exchanged awkward handshakes
them open, throwing most of the things not worth
with my uncle before coming to me. How long I
stealing off the side of the train to be lost forever.
have waited to meet you! Welcome, welcome. I
But when I went up, I saw my hot pink suitcase,
arched my eyebrows in surprise as the unfamiliar
open, almost untouched, everything just as I had
man hugged me. My mother noticed and nudged
kept it in there. Since they didn’t have to cut it open,
me, Our second cousins’ brother-in-law. Family.
they unzipped it, saw only a college girl’s clothes
In a moment, I began to smile to myself. Standing
inside, and let it be. I zipped the bag up, brought it
there awkwardly in
down, and completed my journey home in peace.
the small arms of an unfamiliar uncle, I think I re-
Since then, I have never locked my suitcase. I let
alized for the first time that, perhaps, the land of
out a laugh–I love that story.
my ancestors, this land built among my fantasies,
My mother began to talk again–Wait,
have I told you the story about how I made your fa-
remembers me, even if I don’t remember it.
My mother and I parted from her sib-
ther wear rosaries and learn Christian prayers to
lings and settled into our room quickly, keeping
trick terrorists looking for Hindus? I began to lie
our things packed tightly in our unlocked suit-
and say that I hadn’t, but my uncle rumbled in his
cases. Night fell, and warm orange street lamps
scratchy, under-used voice before she could con-
turned on outside our hotel window. We stayed up
tinue. Lata, tell the story later, we’ve arrived.
for some hours, discussing our plan for the next
day and reading in adjacent twin beds, the pale
The driver turned onto a busy street,
stopping in front of a short building with a white
light of a small lamp bridging the space between
clay façade, slatted brown window shutters
us. We fell asleep quickly.
Death Tour | Vintage Photography Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.
We Are Not A Virus | Digital Linlin ’25 is that last boba in the cup, too tired to get up.
Waiting for Democracy | Artist Book Naya ’24 waters her plant on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Asia ’23 loves ladybugs.
Keep Beating Sometimes I feel like my heart is coated in honey— too sweet, too heavy You see she sticks to everything she touches, gets weighed down until she drops and plops into my stomach and knots until I stop— to remind her to keep beating. Though, sometimes I feel like my heart is icy she makes a villain out of everyone I see She sharpens and spins til there’s a blizzard in my chest, hail in my hands and flurries in my head She freezes til she deceives me into believing the enemy is me— As crystals prick my eyes, I try to remind her to keep beating. And this last sensation I have to mention is one I feel in my bones. It’s like my heart has flown straight out the window into the unknown: Sometimes I feel like my heart is on the Moon. No, not in a good way No, I’m not filled with joy, rather stuck trying to fill this void so at night I ask the moon to give back what’s mine, tell him it’s time— to pass her down star by star til we’re reunited, til a spark is ignited and it melts the ice right off of her.
He says he’ll return her before sunrise, by the time I open my eyes but I feel this ache in my bones, my chest feels cold, and lonely— and the only way I can think to describe it is this: We say
I love you to the moon and back
but my heart veers off track— she soars through stars, through time and space, finds her place in the craters of Mr. Moon’s face and I can’t tell if she leaves because it’s all too much, if I drive her away because I’m not tough enough, if she’s tired of being weighed down, spun around, or bound by this body that carries her. Is it space she yearns for with her plea? Is it a yearning to be free? I hope she knows I feel every inch of the distance in my chest and I’m trying my best to get her to come back down and stick around— like honey sticks to hands like snow sticks to earth and so I remind her
Sheep Chase | Ink and Digital Mika ’23 wants banoffee pie.
Connie ’23 is lying in wait.
CONTENT WARNING: ABUSE (PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, V ERBAL)
wǒ ài nǐ when he beats yet another crater into the pillow beside my head, all I can think about are yellow elementary school evenings and the hardening of grains in an unfinished bowl of rice. his lips, which I’d kissed just a moment before, are as blurry as the fists burrowing deeper into the underbelly of the cushion pregnant with the brine of rebel tears. his screams are the sound of my father's butcher knife landing bone-deep into a defenseless cutting board, splinters scattering across the kitchen counter. ~ back then my mother would come to me after the fallout, my neck still yearning for the lick of an impassioned blade. but she’d thrust towards me a minuscule dessert fork instead, stabbing it deftly into a pile of skinned apples and stroking my arm, silent save for some mutual understanding that this is how to say “I love you”. ~ being neither my father nor his own, he’s a newspaper roll of unfulfilled promises, a loaded cartridge without a target. a clenched fist without a temple to land on, after each storm he takes that same hand and tilts my chin towards his own, the salt from my tears inflaming both our cheeks. he cradles me with a searing heat, whispering apologies as if to say “can’t you see, this is how I say ‘I love you’”.
Grandpa's Bakery Door Curtain | Fabric silkscreen Sara ’22 used to eat one chocolate bar a day.
Retrospect | Digital collage Jenny ’21's high school counselor had never heard of the common application before.
CONTENT WARNING: V IOLENCE
Immersion | Oil on canvas Jenny ’21 speaks Korean with the Korean equivalent of a thick southern accent.
Joseph ’22 is late again, sorry!
How are you?
And what? / What's That?
Quickly! / Hurry up! / Let's go!
(slang, expletive) Jesus Mary and Joseph
Noo more / Gone
I love you
Lit. "Hand" (refers to an action in which someone takes an older relative's hand and puts it on their forehead)
Dinner Party | Oil on canvas Jenny ’21 drinks whole milk.
Night Walk | Gouache, pastel, watercolor on colored paper Vicky ’25 needs more white paint.
Agnes ’22 loves elephants!
CONTENT WARNING: BLOOD
Lên Nước (The Water Rises) (Excerpted) Buddha’s first teachings started with the Four Noble
toilet paper, douse it in the sink and clean her bloodied
leg. I watched the girl, with an expression too calm, dis-
The first of my four noble lies started with pig’s blood
pose of the bloodied toilet paper and wash her hands.
and everything I can almost remember.
When the blood stopped gushing, she made sure to
The pig’s blood sat in a white bowl in the center of the
wipe down the crime scene, flicked off the lights, and
table on a spinning glass disk. The soup was thin, but
limped out of the restroom. Impermanence, I would
the blood thick and cubed, amidst other shapes I did
learn, looks like white pain and a scar that fades into
not yet have the words for. The insides, my mother ex-
plained to me. I could barely hear her over the clatter
When you saw the slash in my skin, I told you that I had
of the dim sum restaurant. Vietnamese, Cantonese,
tripped and fallen onto the razor. My second noble lie.
English. You looked at me, the wrinkles below your eyes moving like cat whiskers. “This is the good stuff,” you said, pick-
Your face only comes to memory in three instances.
ing up the pig’s blood and putting it on my plate. Im-
The first is with the smell of bún, when the aroma is
permanence, I would learn, looks like pig’s blood and
so sweet and overwhelming that I’m hugged from all
a grandmother-shaped emptiness at the dinner table.
sides by your spirit in the form of dark broth and steam.
“It’s the good stuff,” I lied. Fifteen years later, I’ve grown
The second is when I pass my reflection in the right an-
to enjoy the bitter taste of pig’s blood.
gle, at the right speed, in the right light, when my face looks less like my own and more like yours. The third is every day when I pass by the family altar and see
My blood is the second lie I remember smelling. In the
your framed picture, when your face, my face, our face,
bathroom of my childhood home, blood spilled down
stares back at me through dusted glass, as if that were
the length of my leg in red ribbons, pooling into a pud-
the only thing that separated us.
dle at my ankle on the broken tiles. In a spur-of-the-
My father tells me stories of you that I can’t possibly re-
moment desire to cross the threshold into adulthood,
member but can see so clearly. You had a penchant for
I had taken your 99 Cents Store plastic pink razor and
chihuahuas and card games. You had cravings for only
tried shaving my hairless leg. It ran across my skin
one seafood noodle booth in the heart of Saigon. You
cleanly for a few good glides, until a long gash also
had married a man twenty years older than you.
ran down the entire length of my calf. The pig’s blood
All I remember about you are your square glasses.
smelled like gingered broth, but this smelled bitter and
You passed away when I was six. I’m standing by your
hospital bed with my brother and my younger cousins,
I floated away on the white pain to the ceiling’s light
the adults stiff behind us like gates. Your square glass-
bulb and my non-self watched the tall five-year-old
es are gone and you are asleep.
prop her leg up on the counter. I watched her, with fin-
“Đi chào,” my mother murmurs into my ear. Here my
gers that seemed too clumsy, wad up a whole roll of
memory fails me.
In Vietnamese, the word for greetings and farewells is
then over my knuckles before it would begin to scrape
the same. Chào.
against my skin. Their hands would be gentle, but
Did my mother tell me to say hello or goodbye to you?
steady, unforgiving, resolute. The pain would be white,
I walk slowly to the bed, releasing my younger broth-
er from the crook of my arm. My uncle, who we would
My aunt and my mother’s hands would ground me to
never talk to again after your funeral, is grumbling in
the earth as they would grind the stone over the bone
the background. For some reason, my memory of the
of my thumb. It would hurt the most at the bone where
hospital is warm. The room is bathed in a yellow, the
my thumb connects to my palm. My mother’s hands
same warm yellow I would see Saigon enveloped in
would hold me down so I wouldn’t float away with the
thirteen years later.
white pain. Through the white pain, Saigon’s thun-
My father tells me to hold your hand. I know it will be the last
derstorm would fade into a hum and I would stare at
time. A heavy jade bracelet circles your thin wrist like a cuff.
my aunt’s wrist and the jade band that circles around
Thirteen years after this day in the yellow room, I would return
it. Her jade would look more slender and delicate than
to Vietnam and your eldest daughter would bless me with cẩm
my own. The surface of the jade would be a softer green
ngọc -- jadestone, my namesake.
like sweetened coconut milk in chè.
“Bà Nội cho Cô Hai mười ba năm trước,” my aunt would
The Second Noble Truth: the cause of suffering is crav-
tell me when I was nineteen. “Nó rộng quá. Cô Hai giữ
ing and attachment to impermanence.
nó ở đây mười ba năm rồi.” Bà Nội, your grandmother,
Jade bands are a lifelong permanence. There’s no way to slip
gave this jade to me thirteen years ago. It doesn’t fit any-
it off your wrist unless you break stone or bone. A promise in
one so I’ve been keeping it in my dresser for thirteen years.
stone and bone. Jadestone. Cẩm Ngọc. My namesake. When
“Giử đau,” my aunt would warn me as I held the jade
you gave me your name, when I took your name, did you know
band in my palm for the first and last time.
it was a promise? You have made this promise for me since
Accept the pain, she would warn me. Come to terms
birth. I have made this promise since birth.
with the suffering.
For a life of promised impermanence, jadestone has
Buddha’s first teachings started with the Four Noble
felt like forever.
My mother and aunt would let out dramatic groans as
The First Noble Truth: all life is suffering.
they drag the jade across my skin and bone.
Sitting on the white tiles of my aunt’s kitchen in Sai-
“Ouch,” I would say with a laugh.
gon, my aunt and mother would soap down my left
My aunt would smile, rubbing the water into my skin.
hand, preparing my skin for the pain. My mother
“You’ll have to wash your hands with water.”
would squeeze my hand down until my thumb would
The water rises.
press against the middle of my other fingers. Their
“Lên nước,” my mother would tell me. The water ris-
hands would begin to drag the band down. The jade
es. The phrase refers to when jade changes color if it
would pass over my fingertips, and then my joints, and
matches with its wearer’s spirit. Fake jade, stone in-
jected with a sick green dye, does not lên nước. Thir-
The Third Noble Truth: the cessation of suffering is the
teen years after your jade is buried with you, I would
cessation of craving.
inspect my own and see the waters of the stone change
Jade is said to only ever break to protect you from suf-
greens. Half of the jade turned an ink green, a shade
fering. My aunts have stories of their jade shattering in
that Americans valued. The other half turned a foggy
accidents or falls that left them unhurt, save a small
white, a shade that Vietnamese valued. Fitting for a
scar from where the jade broke. I guess jade cannot
protect you from impermanence, but I hope that your
Thirteen years ago, did you ever imagine that this jade
jade is still serving you well in your next life.
would change colors for me? You must have bought it
But thirteen years before I would make my vow to my
from someone you trusted, one of your favorite sellers
own jade, I reach for your jade hand in the yellow room.
in Vietnam who is probably now with you or soon to be
I can see my reflection in the foggy water of the band,
with you in the next life. You bought it for my aunt, your
the veins of the jade and your wrists inseparable.
daughter. But wouldn’t you have known it was too big
I open my mouth to say goodbye.
for her wrist? Too heavy? Too wide?
This is the last time I can clearly remember seeing you.
I’m selfish because sometimes when I’m spinning the band to check for new greens, I think you bought it for me.
The next time I saw you was my third noble lie, hidden
I imagine you crowding over a plastic table in the home
somewhere in the fog of a child’s grief and Target’s
of one of your trusted sellers. Your hair, covered in a
clothing aisles. The third noble lie feels so real that I’m
white scarf, is neatly pulled back in a braid that reach-
not sure if it’s a lie or a misremembered memory. It was
es your waist, and your silk clothes are pristine despite
within the 49 days after your death, when your spirit
your ride through the morning thunderstorm. You’re
was still wandering after the trail of the incense smoke
we lit for you every seventh day.
After a trip to Target with my mother, I found myself
“May I?” You ask the seller, and he nods eagerly, quick
in tears. I moaned and wept, tears running down my
to please you. Your demeanor demands it. You pick up
cheeks and snot dripping from my nose. After a peri-
the jade band from the table. It is as heavy as it looked.
od of heavy, chest-heaving sobbing, my mother asked
It’s not a slender band, but as you weigh it in your palm,
me why I was crying. I felt a frustration bubble from
you realize therein lies the charm.
the inside of my gut when I couldn’t think of a reason.
Harder to break, you think, satisfied, but your expres-
A frustration too big for my six-year-old, gangly body
sion remains thoughtful for the sake of striking a de-
cent bargain. Good for a girl that’s always moving, you
“I saw Bà Nội today,” I burst out between gasps as I
think, and then you think of me. Too big for her now, but
dry-heaved for air. My third noble lie. My mother gave
I will give it to her when it’s time.
me a hard look, unconvinced and unsympathetic. To
But before it is ever time, your time fades to a cessation.
my own surprise, I continued with my lie, spinning it
with an extra flare. “I saw her today at Target. Mama,
Maybe the truth is that I just want to see you again.
she was looking at me. She was standing between the
As I’m sitting on the white tiles of my aunt’s kitchen,
clothing aisle and waved her jade hand to tell me to go
the smell of Saigon’s thunderstorm sticky in the air
and the jade slick against my skin, I accept the pain. For a moment, there is no craving, no attachment, no pain. This moment of their hands around mine and my hand
You never said goodbye to me.
around yours and the ghost of your hand around the
The night you passed away, you visited my mother in
jade is suspended in time, free of attachment, of crav-
ing, of suffering. There is only cessation. The path is in
It was all black, my mother told me, fourteen years lat-
the lines of their palms around mine, in the creases of
their knuckles around the jade, in the green veins that
You said goodbye to her in a dream. Was it hello or
connect our jade to our wrists. The path is there and
their hands guide me to it, the hands that brought me
What are you doing here, Má? You should be in the hos-
here, the hands that hold me here, the hands that lead
I am healthy now. Tell my son I’m not sick anymore.
The jade passes over my bone and settles on my heart-
There was a presence behind you in the dream. My
mother cannot see them clearly, but she knows that
My mother and aunts let go as I flex my hand carefully.
they’re standing behind you. Maybe it was craving,
The jade is as heavy as I had imagined, like an exten-
attachment, suffering. Maybe it was the cessation of
sion of bone. An extension of you.
Permanence is to accept a ghost’s gift.
Maybe it was cessation.
“Remember this date,” my mother says. “July 24, 2019.”
Maybe it is rebirth.
I am reborn.
The Fourth Noble Truth: there is a path to the cessation
In the yellow hospital room, I slip my hand into your
Buddha says that attachment keeps us in a cycle of re-
“Chào Bà Nội.”
birth, suffering, and death. But when we understand
I did not say goodbye.
the truth about impermanence, we reach enlighten-
My first truth.
ment and the cycle of rebirth ceases into nirvana. Maybe it is not Noble of me to ask for rebirth and not cessation or enlightenment or nirvana. Maybe it is folly of me to wonder if the cycle is suffering. Maybe it is naive of me to wonder if suffering is not the truth.
The Sun Died on the Moon's Birthday | Colored pencil on paper Grace ’21 likes peaches.
For | Oil on panel Jacqueline ’22 is watching Next in Fashion.
Fable | Gouache Vicky ’25 wants to go to rock live.
Fable | Gouache Vicky ’25 wants to go to rock live.
Caterina ’24 writes too many unfinished poems and sleeps too little
cloud watching When I am still a child and my father a dad we lie and watch the clouds together, giving each shape a name and each other a full half-heart A frog! A bone! Our labrador leaping from lilypad to frilly lap we laugh! At each other’s preposterous guesses sun-traced for us in the marbled sky To be forever stuck in this tranquil haze submerged in word skeleton mist as though we didn’t need anything More as though time was on our side Everytime i look at the clouds i wonder whether he sees the same rabbit running from coiling snake whether he sees how i am the prey that for once chased away the predator whether the sky opens its arms and beckons for him to rest in the past as it does for me.
Garden Trellis Tent | Hand woven wool, cotton, and pine wood Cindy ’22 is peeling another mandarin orange.
Sun-catcher | Ballpoint pen on drawing paper Annie ’23 loves the smell of coffee on golden winter mornings.
Annie ’23 loves the smell of coffee on golden winter mornings.
sun-catcher we begin in far-reaching hemispheres leafy shadows & silent moments; shifting light—flickering thought settles like dust; a bittersweet reminder of cautious sediment upon this bleary-eyed morning. if I dared blink— i would be five again roy g biv carpool lanes and chipped wood blocks and vanilla wafers in tiny plastic cups and goodbye! hugs and heavy doors and father’s hand holding mine the dusty Toyota smells of aftershave & gasoline and the ride home is quiet; content. sediment becomes sentiment prisms and presence temporal collision savored under this array of colored light. i am nineteen you shift slowly onto your side, cotton covers, soft edges heavy with sleep the dust rises, catches; if I dared blink— I would be five again.
SCENTS SAFARI | Digital drawing and website Huaiwen ’21 is smelling in the city.
Olfactory Geography City olfactory geography I walked in the blocks and try to collect the odor data, this spatial mapping is telling what I smelled on the street and what are the shapes of them. Quantify my sensory survey: how odors are taking space, I visualized the intensity and range of impact.
Smellscape In Olfactory Geographies, Henri Lefebvre writes:’where an intimacy occurs between “subject” and object” is must surely be the world of smell and the places where they reside. Olfactory geographies are like haptic geographies, both are quite intimate and immediate yet ordinarily much neglected as our attention is drawn to the geographical knowledge generated by the eyes and ears. Porteous(1985,1990) uses the term “smellscape”,which is analogous to the term” landscape”. In particular, he considers the rich detailed evocations of place and attachments to specific places found in novels, biographies, poems, and diaries. Smellscape has much the same limitations as the term soundscape since the analogy to the term” landscape” brings with it the connotations of artistic creation and aesthetic contemplation. This is much more to olfactory geography. every place has a particular smell, much like every city, these smell escapes comprise a specific combination of odors. Our nose is the most sensitive device for collecting olfactory data. collecting data of odors could help with creating an emotional connection, check sanitary conditions, provide promptly for people on the street etc.
The Way Back Home | Digital Kelly ’22 takes a daily 15 min walk by the canal.
Peck ’23 is trying to spend as much time with her ah ma as possible.
wishing you a speedy recovery ah ma, mum told me you got admitted into the hospital, are you okay? i am very sad that i cannot be by your side, hope you are much better now. rest well, look after yourself, i miss you a lot! shan, i good more already, is old change already, ear water no balance, and walk road dizzy, so go hospital, i also very think of you, you must peace healthy, life happy. ah ma. ah ma, you good? stay chillin, take care yeah! missin ya, keep it tight and take it easy, have a good one! i’ll brb, lookin forward to seeing the gang and eatin your gd f00d
😊 shan, i’m much better, and i also miss you a lot, flyour mum
said you have already gotten used | to your life over there, and , , imany already much more friends, i put down my heart, and the weather is particularly cold, must add more 丿 clothes, dont let the cold get to you, pay more attention to your body, wish that everything is well. ah! ma.
shan, your mother has informed me that you have fallen sick, i am sorry to hear that, rest well, wear more layers for the cold, take care of yourself, anticipating your return soon, wishing you a speedy recovery. ah ma. [ no response ]
"Are very success-oriented" | Oil on Canvas Injune ’24 paints and paints.
Jessica ’21 is thinking about noodles.
Chicken She was cleaning it off in the backyard, its head
hanging limply as she plucked it clean of feathers.
When I was young, my grandmother gave me a
I couldn't quite see from upstairs how she did it. It
necklace, a heart-shaped lock on a tiny
was early; the sun was just starting to peek over the
rooftops. Later that day she asked my father to ask me whether I wanted eggs. I did, and she brought up a bowl of seven little ones, white and blue and speckled with the warm rust color of dried blood. At dinner we had chicken in our noodles. She smiled toothlessly at me, face full of wrinkles and hope; she wouldn't stop refilling my bowl.
Returned to Sender I meant to write a version of this letter so many years ago but every other time I get on a plane I open my notes app only to close it again I'm sorry I didn't write sooner it's not because I didn't have time which is an easy excuse but because I'm afraid of what I will have to say in a letter like this and what you will have to say if you were to read a letter like this and I am thinking about ocean vuong writing a letter to his mother that she will never read because maybe it is easier to write if I know you will never read it but then what is the point because the reason I'm doing this in the first place is to tell you things in writing I would never let past my lips like the time at the zoo a child in each hand you had a staring contest with a tiger wondered what to do if the glass disappeared should you fight should you run how do you maximize your babies' chances of survival I would tell you I remember that day how your fingernails left
I tried different places for it: my sock, my pencil case, the inner pocket of my backpack. In the end I decided it would be safest inside me. I tried pinning it to the roof of my mouth, tried keeping it under my tongue, tried nestling it in the hollow left by my baby tooth that had just fallen out. I could feel it, the little gold heart beating against my cheek. You know when little kids are told not to swallow watermelon seeds because their intestines are the most fertile soil, because soon their stomachs will distend with the roundness of ripe new fruit? The chain slithered down my esophagus. As of now I have yet to become a plant of gold; as of now there is no jewelry climbing its way out of my throat. I still believe the seed I swallowed might grow. Perhaps it is hibernating, as seeds do; perhaps it is building out its roots, sending yellow metal to the edges of my body to stabilize the tree that might sprout in the years to come. Perhaps one day they'll find the blood in my veins replaced with glittering gold filigree, the last, best, only gift from family to which I could not speak.
pink-violet half-moons in my soft chubby arms like the half-moons I am now pressing into my palms and so I am sorry if this letter never makes it to you can you still understand me.
Winter Wonderland Theater Box | Woven Sara ’22 absolutely detests summer time.
Ingrid ’23 is on the search for quality sushi in New England.
CONTENT WARNING: SEX UAL CONTENT
A Guide to Using Tinder Copyrighted by ForWomenWhoRoar (FWWR)
Don’t let your yourself be too hopeful or im-
yourself feel beautiful. You are.
pressed by Tinder’s “Editor’s Choice” Award. Download
Ghost people like mad.
the app anyways.
Get ghosted and get mad.
Unmatch when you get busy. Unmatch when
Don’t make your bio cheeky or remotely sex-
ual in any way. You won’t hear the end of it.
you get bored. Unmatch when you get scared.
Do have a bio.
Pick photos that you won’t be embarrassed by
Forget about the people who don’t match with
when people you know will see you on Tinder.
same day. Do this every day for a week. Tell yourself
That said, don’t match with friends who you
Delete the app and download it again in the
see on Tinder. It’s only amusing until one of you starts
you’re not addicted.
to question the joke.
Call your Tinder date before meeting up.
FaceTime them. It sounds bizarre, but it’ll be so much
Swipe left to reject everyone. People-watch
more relieving. Technology provides a certain safety
without interruption or shame. See how many people
all while introducing the potential for danger in the
you know use Tinder. They’ll seem more vulnerable the
next time you see them.
Ultimately, though, he ghosts you.
faster as you wait. Let your heart slow down as you
Think about how your idea of a real
date is full of movie stereotypes – being asked
Take a risk. Swipe right. Let your heart beat
When you get your first match, don’t confuse
your excitement for anything more.
Think about how passive women are in this idea.
Find power in being the one to start conver-
Think about the fact that you’ve never been
sations with men. Find fear when they reply, when they
on a real date. Question if you would ever consider a
expect your continued attention.
date with someone you didn’t meet in person real.
Don’t feel ashamed for being flattered when
you read shallow compliments with sincerity. Let
as a date.
Understand that a Tinder date isn’t the same
Let yourself say yes to men.
Remember to be on guard, especially the
first time you meet up. And the times after that as well.
Share your location with a friend before
meeting up with someone.
Think about the fact that you could kill them.
Don’t be surprised if the entire Tinder date
Don’t be surprised when they’re shorter in
takes place in the back of a car and he finishes in a
person. Don’t look thrown off when their voice doesn’t
couple minutes. Don’t be hurt by how quickly he gets
match their face. Don’t stare when they grin for the
dressed and hops back into the driver’s seat. Let your-
first time, and you see that the
self be amused by the situation so that you don’t feel
profile photos of closed-lipped smiles hide the truth of
too used. Tell yourself that you’re done using him, too,
crooked teeth. Don’t judge too hard. You’re more than
because you are.
familiar with the parts of yourself that you hide.
date lasts for over two hours. Be pleasantly surprised
Don’t forget how beautiful women are. Men
Do be surprised when you hit it off, and the
when you get ice cream afterwards.
break the ice by saying, “u dtf,” and women message you with, “You’re so beautiful!”
Notice how you’re still more inclined to meet
so remember to say it out loud. He’ll pretend to have
up with men than women. One guy you meet up with
just been reminded in an ohthankgod you remembered
tells you, “I feel like girls respond better when I’m more
voice, but don’t be fooled. He was hoping you wouldn’t
forward about sex.” Think about how you and your
women friends talk about the grossness in the for-
wardness of men online. Yet think about how here you
car door to drop the used condom in the parking lot of
are, with him.
an elementary school. Let the upset show in your eyes.
Share your fears. “Sometimes, when I meet
Ask him to use a condom. You won’t forget,
Be upset when it’s midnight and he opens his
Don’t be surprised when he says, “Blow me,”
up with men, I think about the fact that they could kill
but refuses to go down on you because you’re not dat-
me.” Try to laugh about it. But don’t try too hard.
ing. This means it’s more intimate, more serious to
make a woman feel beautiful than it is a man.
Remember the time you had sex with the high school
Question if this means women are seriously
classmate of a guy who hurt you off. Question if this
more beautiful than men. Agree with yourself. Some-
usage of sex is unethical or if it is a vulnerable and jus-
one needs to.
tified means of self-protection and self-preservation.
Don’t be surprised when he refuses to go
down on you because you have pubic hair. “I just can’t
do it.” Mental block. Compromise by asking him to
blocked and unmatched after a date. Try.
shave you. Think that you are powerful, standing un-
der the showerhead, face tilted up, as he kneels below
Tinder for jokingly trying to receive money from men
you, carefully shaving you to his liking. Don’t be sur-
online, convince yourself it is a blessing in disguise.
prised when he goes down on you for ten seconds and
Email Tinder Help/Support, but don’t expect anything.
you deal with razor burn for the following week.
You’ve violated their terms and agreements. Really,
though, tell yourself it’s for the best.
Ask yourself if wanting to be choked is the
Try not to take it personally when you’re
When you get permanently banned from
same as wanting to momentarily think you are pow-
erless because you know you are not. Remember the
None of them will be as fun.
time when he choked you so hard, you coughed for a
full minute after he let you go. Remember the sick sat-
the app’s set-up where women have to message first.
isfaction you felt when he continuously apologized af-
Swipe left on the men whose profiles say, “No one mes-
terwards, eyes wide in fear.
sages first on here anyways” or “Why match if you’re
Is that power to you?
not gonna message?” They have a point, but you’re not
Don’t repeat that.
here to be guilt-tripped.
Do not download Bumble or Hinge or Her.
But when you do download Bumble, observe
Question why Tinder is more fun, where men
Let your thoughts wander during sex. Grit
have more power, where gender roles are less sur-
your teeth. Stop the sex when you’re not feeling it. And
prising and less stressful. Being the one to initiate all
don’t apologize for stopping. Turn your apology into a
conversations with men is only empowering until they
“thank you for driving me back” if you feel the absolute
reply, until you give them a voice.
need to say something.
bate, make a new Facebook account to make a new Tin-
Have slow sex in bed. Have rough sex in cars.
Have loud sex on hiking trails.
Recognize how sex can be used for revenge.
When you get sufficiently bored of being celi-
This will fail because Tinder now requires
you to connect your account to a phone number. Find
and white men get the most matches and responses.
a friend who (thinks they) will never use a dating app,
Don’t think about this when you respond to white men,
and use their phone number to make a new Tinder. Be
and don’t be fooled into thinking this puts you on equal
careful not to use the same photos as were on your old
footing with white men.
account, because Tinder’s algorithms will recognize
them and block you again. If you do make this mistake,
sired as an Asian woman. Being told that you’re tight
find another friend.
is not the same as being told that you’re beautiful, so
Being desired is not the same as being de-
don’t ever think that fitting a stereotype makes you
Don’t stalk your hookups out of boredom six
months later. You don’t want to find out that he owns a
Make America Great Again hat or that he started dat-
promoting interracial relationships. Think about the
ing someone soon after you met or what that woman
beauty of the Internet in erasing and ignoring lines of
Admire the power that dating apps have in
Question the juxtaposition between being a
confident, sexually active woman and being ambitious.
Question why you see it as a juxtaposition. Be scared
ly. Learn this when you look at photos of them months
of the consequences that casual sex can have on your
after you’ve last seen them. And learn this when, after
future careers (in positions of power, in politics) and
you have stopped thinking of them, they message you,
of your promiscuous past (and present) haunting your
catching you off guard, making you smirk, happy with
the attention. Learn this when you replay memories of
skin touching and when you remember the shade of
Worry about the nudes you’ve sent and the
Learn that you don’t forget each other easi-
nudes that could’ve been sent around, about the men
dark their eyes took on at night.
who remember you and who stretch their stories thick.
Consider giving up casual sex to protect your profes-
pecially the more you get to know them. The way the
sional future. But decide that it’s too late, an amused
darkness reflects in their eyes, the way the moonlight
smile at your lips, and hope that the future will look at
touches their cheekbones.
women more kindly. Don’t be too hopeful but don’t be
Notice how people look different in bed, es-
The shape of them changes.
Look at the data and statistics on race and
ethnicity in the context of dating apps. Asian women
The Sweetness of Apples | Dyed and screen printed fabric Jamie ’22 is craving sugar.
Peck ’23 is hoping to hold people close.
I have read that language / leaves \ that it leaves a trace / writing prompt on 4th march 2021, a thursday
when my grandfather died three weeks ago / today, i cried / for half an / hour and then in a daze / scribbled down the \ last words i said \ to him as he lay on his bed \ at home with dementia \ in the final laps of its \\ relent\les\s taking / on a piece of paper / and stuck it up / on my dorm room / wall next / to a picture of him and / i, hastily requested \ and printed \ on the day \ after i heard \ he was dying \ in singapore, \ and i was in america \ for some / fucking reason
i hadn’t \ spoken to him in \ years like really \ spoken to him \ because he had not spoken \ back to \ anyone \ since the medicine / started slowing him down but / way before then / i had started an obstinate / silence against him \ fuelled by \ childish impatience with his long \ rambling \ RAMBLING ! \ stories and chronic \ inability to stay on / topic and / so i stuttered / through / the first conversation we had had in / years struggling with / the weight of every \ thing i wanted to say and \ make up for \ over a five \ minute facetime \ call
perhaps the words / were meant / for me more than anything / but i believe both things / or multiple things or / all things can be true \ at the same time \ i could be a bad grand \ daughter \ but still light a candle for \ him every thursday / he could have / lost his speech a while / ago but still been a part of / almost every family / conversation and so i don’t know why \ i put those words up on \ my wall \ but at the same \ time some part of me \ does \ know because when i look / up at my wall / and read / the words / back to myself
almost subconsciously and \ automatically \ they become a secret \ prayer to him \ a wish \ punctuated through \ the bland monotony that has / become / getting through / each hour / and day of / the after / and in this time / where i feel so achingly \ all that has \ left \ i guess i am \ making an intervention \ and rebelling against \ the taking / to hold something / present even if / the words them / selves g/ et holl/owed ou/ t into empty / recitations \ i still stubbornly \ insist \ that i must \ hol \d on
我爱你 我想你 阿公。
Hanbok Peony Stamps | Screenprint on paper Rose ’24 wants to reconnect with Mother Nature and her Korean ancestors.
Mom | Acrylic and collage Jacqueline ’22 is watching Next in Fashion.
Caterina ’24 writes too many unfinished poems and sleeps too little.
Loose Threads I’m nineteen and bursting at the seams. I am a territory uncharted, a wordless definition of sorts, borders dripping off my frayed edges — Schrödinger’s worst nightmare.
I am my own dream, however. Ephemeral, as all things great are. This solitude is mine and reeks of it. I wash my sheets but they never dry. I soak in two hours of daylight before twilight wrings me out. I am dying to live but life dies to outlive me. The motherland calls my name until my ears bleed.
I’m nineteen and a world unbound. My mother gifts me a sewing kit to patch things up. As if her needle-pressed finger didn’t stitch me in. As if I am but a thread run loose.
In fact: Unseam me, let me spill all over this goddamn world. String out my wonders for seven billion to gawk at! Pour me everywhere so that this solitude will no longer be mine — Everything will.
Cindy ’22 is peeling another mandarin orange.
illustrated by sichen grace chen
Jessie ’22 is stress eating Triscuits.
Grace ’24 wants to pet all the dogs. Lisa ’22 wishes she had more plants. Ava ’23 is trying to update her Letterboxd. Christine ’24 is getting vaccinated tomorrow. Charisa ’22 is always down for a nap. Emily ’22 is observing squirrels. Sichen Grace ’22 is recycling colour palettes. Cece ’22 wants to go to Trader Joe's.