SPRING 2021

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A / RISD Visual & Literary ArtsArts Magazine A Brown  Brown  / RISD Visual & Literary Magazine Vol. XIX 2 2 Vol. XXIIIssue Issue

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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

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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

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Contact visions@brown.edu 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

After property

30

Shreya Kaipa 7

Steadfast

Night Walk

57

Vicky Yang 32

LinLin Yu

Lên Nước (The Water Rises) *

dreamscapes Jessica Dai

58

Agnes Tran

Winter Wonderland Theater Box Sara Tanikawa

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Death Tour

36

Adi Thatai

The Sun Died on the Moon's Birthday

60

Grace Chang 14

Ingrid Ren

We Are Not A Virus Linlin Yu

37

For

64

Jacqueline Qiu 16

Jamie Gim

38

Fable

66

Vicky Yang

Hsiao Shan Peck 41

Cloud Watching Caterina Dong Garden Trellis Tent

sun-catcher

Grandpa's Bakery Door Curtain

Mom Jacqueline Qiu

44

Annie Chen 22

70

wǒ ài nǐ * Connie Liu

Hanbok Peony Stamps Hyelim Rose Lee

42

Cindy Qiao 21

68

Sheep Chase Mika Mando

I have read that language / leaves \ that it leaves a trace /

Keep Beating Asia Cofield

20

The Sweetness of Apples

Waiting for Democracy Naya Lee Chang

18

A Guide to Using Tinder *

71

Loose Threads Caterina Dong

46

Sara Tanikawa

SCENTS SAFARI Huaiwen Zhang * CONTENT WARNING

24

Retrospect *

52

Jenny Kim 26

Immersion

The Way Back Home Tsae Yung (Kelly) Wu

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Jenny Kim

wishing you a speedy recovery Hsiao Shan Peck

27

Glossary Joseph Delamerced

56

"Are very success-oriented" In June Park

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Dinner Party Jenny Kim

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After Property | Acryclic, digital illustration, and collage Shreya ’23 likes doing things that scare her a little bit.

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Steadfast | Digital Linlin ’25 is that last boba in the cup, too tired to get up.

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Death Tour | Vintage Photography Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.

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Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.

Read More

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

possible.

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,

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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

her talking.

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

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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.

many adventures.

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

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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.

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Death Tour | Vintage Photography Adi ’23 misses taking public transportation.

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We Are Not A Virus | Digital Linlin ’25 is that last boba in the cup, too tired to get up.

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Waiting for Democracy | Artist Book Naya ’24 waters her plant on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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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.

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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

Keep beating.

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Sheep Chase | Ink and Digital Mika ’23 wants banoffee pie.

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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’”.

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Grandpa's Bakery Door Curtain | Fabric silkscreen Sara ’22 used to eat one chocolate bar a day.

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Retrospect | Digital collage Jenny ’21's high school counselor had never heard of the common application before.

CONTENT WARNING: V IOLENCE

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Immersion | Oil on canvas Jenny ’21 speaks Korean with the Korean equivalent of a thick southern accent.

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Joseph ’22 is late again, sorry!

Glossary Word/Phrase

Translation

Origin

Emotion

Last Used

Salamat po

Thank you

rice cooker

obedient

last supper

Kumusta

How are you?

voicemail

evasice

christmas

Tinapay

Bread

game

rhythmic

Goldilocks Bakeshop

Ano ba

And what? / What's That?

dinner table

nosy

dance

Sige na

Quickly! / Hurry up! / Let's go!

crosswalk

alive

market

Susmar yosep

(slang, expletive) Jesus Mary and Joseph

report card

anxious

graduation

Wala na

Noo more / Gone

bug spray

uncertain

memorial

Mahal kita

I love you

mom

safe

screen

Mano

Lit. "Hand" (refers to an action in which someone takes an older relative's hand and puts it on their forehead)

piano

confused

goodbye

Lola

Grandmother

airplane

awed

text

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Dinner Party | Oil on canvas Jenny ’21 drinks whole milk.

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Night Walk | Gouache, pastel, watercolor on colored paper Vicky ’25 needs more white paint.

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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

Truths.

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-

white veins.

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

metallic.

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.

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Read More

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-

but impermanent.

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.

Truths.

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-

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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

Vietnamese American.

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

beautiful. Elegant.

we lit for you every seventh day.

Divine.

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-

to handle.

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

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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

with her.”

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-

a dream.

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

er.

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

goodbye?

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

pital.

me forward.

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

beat.

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.

suffering.

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

of suffering.

jade hand.

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.

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The Sun Died on the Moon's Birthday | Colored pencil on paper Grace ’21 likes peaches.

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For | Oil on panel Jacqueline ’22 is watching Next in Fashion.

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Fable | Gouache Vicky ’25 wants to go to rock live.

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Fable | Gouache Vicky ’25 wants to go to rock live.

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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.

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Garden Trellis Tent | Hand woven wool, cotton, and pine wood Cindy ’22 is peeling another mandarin orange.

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Sun-catcher | Ballpoint pen on drawing paper Annie ’23 loves the smell of coffee on golden winter mornings.

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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.

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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.

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See More

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.

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The Way Back Home | Digital Kelly ’22 takes a daily 15 min walk by the canal.

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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

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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 ]

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"Are very success-oriented" | Oil on Canvas Injune ’24 paints and paints.

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Jessica ’21 is thinking about noodles.

Chicken She was cleaning it off in the backyard, its head

24K

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

gold chain.

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.

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Winter Wonderland Theater Box | Woven Sara ’22 absolutely detests summer time.

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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

you.

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

first place.

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

wait.

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

out

and

blushing

and

flowers

and

doorsteps.

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

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VISIONS

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

You could.

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

ask.

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

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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.

der.

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Recognize how sex can be used for revenge.

VISIONS

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

powerful.

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

looks like.

divide.

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

reputation.

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.

hopeless.

Look at the data and statistics on race and

ethnicity in the context of dating apps. Asian women

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The Sweetness of Apples | Dyed and screen printed fabric Jamie ’22 is craving sugar.

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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

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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。

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Hanbok Peony Stamps | Screenprint on paper Rose ’24 wants to reconnect with Mother Nature and her Korean ancestors.

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Mom | Acrylic and collage Jacqueline ’22 is watching Next in Fashion.

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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.

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The Family

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.

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