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Volume XXII

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Please submit your work via Submittable at: www.willardandmaple.submittable.com/submit For other inquiries, we can be reached at: Willard & Maple Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College 163 South Willard Street Box 34, Burlington, VT 05401 willardandmaple@champlain.edu willardandmaple.com

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Volume XXII

Credits Editor-in-Chief

Nicholas Perell

Associate Editors

Anne Alcin Izzy Bell Josh Berkowsky Maddie Foret Eric Harvey Ollie Kelley Danni Petrilak Katherine Taddeo Lily Tammik

Managing Editors

Warren Baker Sheila Liming

Cover

Nostalgia of Fright Crystal Wong

Layout

Nicholas Perell Lily Tammik

Editor Emeritus

Jim Ellefson

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Introduction Hello there,

I’m Nicholas Perell, Editor-in-Chief of Willard & Maple, the publication that resulted in this volume you’re reading right now. It’s been a while since Willard & Maple has actually had a letter from the editors in its book. Five years ago, perhaps it was a staple of how we ran things. I thought this was as good a time as any to bring some of ourselves back into this. I was in a Montréal AirBnB when I learnt that we would not be coming back to campus after spring break of 2020. I was with friends, and part of our panic, besides the weight of the pandemic sinking in, was our bus tickets back into the country, which were from Montréal to Burlington, where we now had no place to stay. How were we getting home from Montréal now? Our group broke apart, one by one. One of us was pressured to come home as soon as possible by her parents. Another went back to Burlington early because she appealed to the college about being at-risk. The last three of us were my roommate, my then-partner, and myself. We left the day before the US-Canadian border closed. v


Willard & Maple I was the second-to-last seperation of the group, taking a flight from Montréal to Queens (not a single line to wait on in either airport). Meanwhile, the two took the bus to Burlington, having made appeals to the college about staying in their dorms before making the trip home. One last bus ride with any of us around each other. My roommate sent me an image of himself in our dorm that day. “Let’s play ‘how fast it takes for me to get depressed in this room by myself.’” As of writing this, Spring 2021, the student body of Champlain College is still scattered. I know some people who stayed home out of economic necessity, and some people who thought “if I have to hide alone in a single room while the apocalypse happens right outside my window, it might as well be my bedroom.” I also have friends who made the tough decision to not come back at all. Even for students in Burlington, simply walking around campus can be a lonely experience when the entire place is as barren as the international airports. It is a tooth-and-nail experience to meet new people, and events around campus are considered “bustling” if they attract so much as five. Many student-run clubs and organizations are struggling to find new people, resorting to hibernation or entirely shutting down. It’s more important than ever that work is done to support students—to give them a better sense of togetherness, community, and belonging to something. vi


Volume XXII This year, we at Willard & Maple want to contribute. For that reason, Volume XXII is formed from the submissions of exclusively Champlain College students. Every piece you read, look upon, and ponder in here is the work of a pool of peers. Your peers, Champlain. Please take some collective pride here. Champlain College students are talented, creative, and ambitious individuals who know how to punch well above their weight class. I hope that, through reading this, you at Champlain realize that the only thing stopping you from being in this book in future years, when we accept submissions from outside the college again, is inhibition. This is the work you have put forward, Champlain, and it is fantastic.

Nicholas Perell Editor-in-Chief

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Contents Literature Chipping Red Paint Taylor Antonioli 1 what Harper A. Bennett

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A Land of Martyrs Josh Berkowsky

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Ashira, Ashira, Ashira Josh Berkowsky

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Beloved Josh Berkowsky

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Death of the Author Josh Berkowsky

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Grandfather Josh Berkowsky

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Little Princess Josh Berkowsky

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a letter for medusa Sarah Constantine

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on the process of healing: performed in front of a live studio audience Abigail Gray 13 She Came Back Last Night Abigail Gray

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the spirit of our landlady Abigail Gray

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Fragility Benjamin Hager

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Lethargy in Action Benjamin Hager

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Swordplay Benjamin Hager

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Well, This is It Benjamin Hager

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Static Ian Juarez

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mriga Ollie Kelley

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Rainbow Under a Microscope Elizabeth Marando

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Voodoo Cake Elizabeth Marando

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To the Cultist That Made Me Erin Oakley

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“50¢ a Cup” Alexa O’Kane

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Hot & Sour Soup Alexa O’Kane

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The End Alexa O’Kane

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Attack Danni Petrilak

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Blackjack Danni Petrilak

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Dissonance Erika Skorstad

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Daniel’s Cave Katherine Taddeo

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Easter 2020 Katherine Taddeo

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Bonfire Olivia Tyner

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Mercy Olivia Tyner

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Missing Olivia Tyner

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The Room Behind the Wall Olivia Tyner

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Fine Art Untitled Gregory Desiato

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Untitled Brigid Florian

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Day of the Styx Allura Garcia-Buckler

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Makeover Jasmine Leong

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Pollination Haley Seymour

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Low Spirits Crystal Wong

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Nostalgia of Fright Crystal Wong

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Biographies

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Chipping Red Paint Taylor Antonioli

Long strokes of a flattened brush, Fingers spread wide, Ink pooling at the tips of the canvas. Unsure hands spill red on soft skin, Curses of frustration come from thinned lips. Trained hands leave no traces behind, But even their masterpieces start to fade. Start to crack against dirt and time, Start to show white space as the canvas grows, Start to dent from worrying mouths, Start to catch on clothing slipped past them in whispers. Until all that is left, Is chipped red paint.

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what Harper A. Bennett

i am made of stardust, of flesh and bone. soft to touch, easy to bruise. my blood courses, sweetened with strawberries and honey and jam. to my heart, held by scraps, of red ribbon stitched together. these red ribbons, reaching out of me— to those of the past, present, even maybe the future. my gloss painted eyes, unable to see that far.

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A Land of Martyrs Josh Berkowsky

What makes the trees of the Pale grow so green? Is it good weather or proper sheen? That makes the Emerald so much to behold? What gives it that glow? Could it be from below? Look and see For under every tree is a martyr A hundred named for every thousand forgotten Look and see under every tree There are martyrs under all the roots and mud Their blood has watered it, their body sustained it So that others, far removed from themselves, might chance at being free Look and see Might they be waiting there for me?

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Ashira, Ashira, Ashira Josh Berkowsky

Fear is a healthy thing Like water Healthy in small doses A little fear is a healthy thing Water, like fear Will drown you in itself If you let it overtake you It encroaches slowly Slowly the tides overtake me Just a little more Day by day But I cannot run I cannot flee So I sing I sing, I sing, I sing

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Beloved Josh Berkowsky

‘Someone else will remember us’ a poet once said ‘Even in another time’ Across centuries, across time, across space Words reach out to find an ear A heart, a peer To find another soul A thousand years away To call to mind the passion of a poet And her beloved muse Inspired immortal worlds and words Someone has remembered them And it is us Who shall keep that memory safe

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Death of the Author Josh Berkowsky

Marie Menshikova died on a Tuesday. It’s strange, she often wonders, that everything up to the moment was so clear, and everything past it is nothing but a blur. It was a warm day, almost unseasonably so for Zurich. Her last class was done, and there was just enough to worry, never little enough to stop and wonder if this was the best life could be, and that she should really enjoy it. Every time she remembers, she wishes she had more to weep. What made it that day, she asked, in all the years she had lived, why that day in March? Why not the previous week? The previous month? The next year? What made it so it had to have happened that particular day? What could have happened that day, if nothing happened, and it had just been another day to forget. Maybe it would have been a good day, she liked to think, maybe it would have been a good day... The small slip of paper that shattered her whole world gradually falls from shaking hands as it’s read. The universe contracts in on itself, leaving only a 6


Volume XXII scared twenty-year-old girl alone with the words burned in her memory that never would leave, no matter how long she lived. CHEKA DETACHMENT STORMS KACHANIVKA STOP MENSHIKOV FAMILY CAPTURED STOP BROTHER SHOT AS DESERTERS REMAINING FAMILY SHOT AS TRAITORS STOP NO SURVIVORS STOP No survivors No survivors One survivor A scared little girl named after the Mother of God, who she and she alone carried on a family name she could not bear. Who survived only by happenstance and fate, being a thousand miles away. And could never reconcile their deaths with any sort of universe of justice.

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Grandfather Josh Berkowsky

I barely knew the man Who was forged in a quiet twilight Of an apple grove In the warm May evening Four months after his father died I barely knew the man Who one faithful December morning Left home with his brother To fight a war an ocean away I barely knew that man Who everyone knew the name of Everyone could say: “That Sal? He’ll take your breath away.” I barely knew the man Who stares at me from my desk Eyes wide Face up Smiling into a camera 8


Volume XXII Holding a child who doesn’t know That’s the last time he’ll ever hug his Grandfather again

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Little Princess Josh Berkowsky

Little Princess, do not weep It’s almost like going to sleep (...ready) Little Princess, do not cry It’s just time for us to say goodbye (...aim) Little Princess, you’re all packed You have everything you need on your back (...by order of—) Little Princess, I know you’re scared You need not leave your feelings unshared It’s scary, I know, I’m scared too (...God have mercy on—) But never forget I—

FIRE! Love You

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a letter for medusa Sarah Constantine

no one will cry at your funeral; they will rejoice at your death, throw parties overflowing with wine and champagne, popping corks to celebrate your demise. they won’t bother with a coffin, instead holding your head by its hair, the serpents slick with blood and dripping venom, they will parade you as a trophy, flashing your stone-cold eyes to frighten the others. there will be no joy like theirs. but you, you, medusa, the protector, the raped and reviled and wrought a monster, you only wanted peace, a place by the ocean, like the temple-home torn from you by the hands of a lust-laden god. and when you were blessed—no, cursed, they would say, by your goddess— you ran and shielded your eyes, emerald-dark and tearstained. she did what she could, your goddess. she gave you the only gift she could. and though she promised no one will touch you again, no one will hurt you, dear one, all anyone wanted was to see, to touch, to take. they wanted to hurt you and hunt you and all you wanted was to be left alone in the cavern by the sea. surrounding you instead were sorrow-carved reminders, stone faces with screaming mouths. you were torn asunder and when the final sword-slash came, you held your arms open and welcomed 11


Willard & Maple the slaughter. today, for you, we will feed the statues to the sea, show the gods the destruction they twist to their will in wanton ways.

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on the process of healing: performed in front of a live studio audience Abigail Gray i have a problem: where i fixate on the imperfections in my skin the bumps the cracks the pimples the scars and rip them away and hinder their healing, i tear at healthy skin, pulling at the flesh on my fingers and lips and legs until red runs down them and fuck, why did i do that i stop the bleeding, knowing that in a day or two the scabs will be peeled away by greedy fingers. the Internet calls it dermatillomania; an obsession with the skin, linked to obsessive compulsive disorder, where a person picks at their skin, leading to lesions and infection; i don’t trust the internet much anymore. i think it’s just me trying to control something for once, feel like i have the power to say “no,” unlike every other time and the times that will come where my brain will latch to the familiar letting the trauma fester, an open wound inviting the pain and tears to settle on the private property that is my body. 13


Willard & Maple is it a message? do the scars manifest themselves on the outside so the world knows what’s going on at the latitude of self loathing, longitude bitterness, a neon sign fading, but still pointing to my heart with the words “Please Hurt Me! I Deserve It!” flashing to the audience like a burlesque show except viewers get the show for free and i don’t own fishnet stockings. my head is leaking, my face is sore, my fingernails are scabbing and my body is tired from trying to repair itself over and over and over and over and over and over and— maybe tomorrow it will give up, so i can finally get some sleep. is this what they call hope? a festering wound that sticks to the fabric of a queen-sized bed half-awake, half-drugged, and halfway to wondering which places on my body will be the first to host my friends the fungi; well, hey—i think it is. for once my flesh has purpose, as it propagates budding stems in the cuts, bruises turn into watercolor masterpieces, my lungs release 14


Volume XXII smoke that cleanses our minds and i have become the earth.

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She Came Back Last Night Abigail Gray

she came back again last night, grasping at the sheets and searching for my flesh. i didn’t even notice her until her teeth sank into my neck, nails clawing at my hips, tongue tracing against my skin. she manifests in the classroom, feeling her lips brush against my ears, my thoughts dragged out for her to breathe, leaving me with static. the pads of her fingers press into my shoulders, and her knee finds my spine. she haunts my home office, and is clawing out my eyes again. like a parasite, she climbs inside my skull to suck the soul from my brain, electric shocks blasting from underneath my skin. why can no one see her? every bit of torment leaves me more vulnerable, until last night, when i let her drain the last of my being. she crawled into nothingness, satisfied with her meal, while my body decomposed beneath the blankets. 16


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the spirit of our landlady Abigail Gray

sylvia wasn’t dead, according to the kitchen sink that poured sticky sludge rivers against our laminate kitchen floors. “she’s been here all along,” the creaking awning window greeted a murder of squawking crows, who had invaded our home sometime the night before. a nightgown drifted lazily across the morning breeze, flirting with the aprons hung by the iron meathooks we had left behind. she was there in some ghastly form, an unruly forgotten memory who set sparks alight as our oven caught fire 17


Willard & Maple flames licked our skin and wrapped us in their heat, blistered our eyes, and she watched us perish, ever-haunting this house.

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Fragility Benjamin Hager

Body language under moonlight warning me to stay away. Little twitches in eyelids fidgeting fingers dilated pupils watching the mental decay of the idol. A swarm of rumination overtaking my port. A bird screeches I vacate and dissociate. Serene pooled interior kept in time. A lithe figure leans on the rocks watching gulls over the ocean.

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Lethargy in Action Benjamin Hager

I rescue people from you in my dreams. An anti-hero. I save them by night and drink during the day to forget you exist. I watched you drag my mother’s purse from under her sleeping body with a snake hook and tear into it. A wolf threshing a carcass. “Anyone who trusts anyone is a fool” I’ve lied to the police for you. I’ve lied to your parents. I’ve lied to your wives. I’ve lied to myself. “If you think people are good you’re a fool.” You scammed me out of years of life. My small wad of graduation money spent on your stories. “flat tires” “too fucked up to drive home” “I owe some bad people some money and they know where you live.” “Anyone who can’t do gram measurement math and flip a brick is a fool.” You went to “rehabilitation” and had a rock in your pocket in three funny little days. All for you, all for nothing. A supporting role in Azazel’s court. A child soldier molded by the warlord. 20


Volume XXII “Only I know you. Even better than you know yourself.” You told everyone I hurt your back in a father and son wrestling match after you rolled into the driveway at three AM because you herniated a disc high in a fist fight with a man far younger than you. You will never know the number of nights I wake up in a sweat in the vision of your crackling eyes. The specter of your car spitting gravel into the air leaving a child to fend for himself leaving a home someone bought and made for you. The vision of my childhood dogs and the fighting scars on their faces. When you had me dig a hole and hold one still while you put a .22 bullet through the back of her skull after dropping a treat on the ground and saying “you look down and you just don’t look back up.” The memory of all of your instructions how to lie, how to cheat that you fed my admiration-hungry mind on the way to family functions. Assure the facade for you. The little death in the house of the mind. The little death in the trailer in the woods. The gargantuan death that changed it all. In her own way, she pried back your mask. On her deathbed she wrote “CON” with a little bic pen I scored from the nurse station. She jerked the pen toward your turned back 21


Willard & Maple and tried to pull the ventilator out of her throat. You assured me it meant her husband was stealing our inheritance. “Someone who thinks they really know me is a fool.” “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” I saw you in the light and it burned your flesh and the scent stuck to my clothes like the burning plastic smell of your favorite escape. “If you accuse me, you just don’t know how hard my life was.” You will never feel the canyon you have eroded into my life. You can never see the distrust, hatred, alienation you carefully implemented. Never glimpse yourself when you looked into my seven-year-old eyes from inside of your car and told me you’d “forgotten something” from the gas station in town. “People who allow themselves to experience joy are fools.” You’ll never see when I told my mother. You’d already spit more gravel into the air. Vanished like the ghost that you are. A phantom who slinks around the projects with a loaded gun and grandiose images pouring from your eye sockets through a broken dam. You couldn’t see my frail frame weep and watch the road for your car for days weeks for my entire life. 22


Volume XXII You can see nothing beyond the illusion of yourself, wreathing everyone around you with an inescapable tempest. “I didn’t hurt you. I don’t see it that way.” “Anyone who disagrees with me is lying.” Your last words to me were “We’ll see who gets fucked up” the day you turned up after your father and I filed a missing person’s report for you. There’s not much you could do to me that you haven’t already done. “Anyone but me who says they’re there for you is lying.” You’ve sent me various messages since. Guilt, subversion, sublimation, rationalization, outright anger. You play a four-dimensional game of chess with yourself. No gain, only personal amusement. The only good thing you’ve ever taught me is to be the greatest man I am capable of. “If you show other people how you really feel, you’re a fool.” “People who disagree with me are wrong.” “Everything you do will be filtered through me first. There will be no support from outsiders, you can’t rely on anyone but me.” I can feel you out there thrusting your burgeoning psychotic triad upon the Earth. After all — DOGS by PINK FLOYD is your self-professed favorite song. Perhaps as a withering husk you will turn to witness your path of devastation. But I know from what you showed me to never give the benefit of the doubt. 23


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Swordplay BenjAmin Hager

Memories serve our once and future deaths. Carve out the sweetness of morning air sucked into lungs. Birds, wild game, welcome time passing unburdened by knowing it. Cold sink water. One can endure torture and prevail. Our machinations and versatility as beings. Our ideas, objects, associations. The fear. Lacquered frothy edges we can’t penetrate at the edges of our vision. We bury things so others won’t notice.

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Well, This is It Benjamin Hager

Stricken with societal atrophy. Driven cataleptic with visions. Hymns of old gods in space-time. Unhinged but unbroken. Sundome of your love tethers me. I am the cosmic joke. The divinity of a soul comes into serious doubt. Borderline psychotics dot my council, demi-gods bathe in front of us. We will die here. I will keep it to myself. Ignore the cacophonous bebop of our enterprise. Foaming at the mouth, you begged me to relieve you. Might let you find me in the next life.

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Static Ian Juarez

Telling someone how you feel never changes. No matter how many times you do it, What you have to say, whisper, yell You always become a stuttering child, Stumbling over your own words as you try and force them free, A balloon having all the air squeezed out. You spend days, weeks, years Going over and over in your head what you’re going to say Agonizing over every word, every arrangement And right as you open your mouth, Your mind goes blank, Like your own language is somehow foreign now. It all just disappears in the mental static, Like an old CRT-TV flipped to an empty channel The deafening mental buzz drowns it all out. Any sense of a cohesive statement or concrete point, Any heartfelt confession or hateful scream, And so you do what you knew you were going to do from the start, Just fucking wing it.

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mriga Ollie KellEy

there was a deer in the clearing that day, that toxic air-ed, Febreze-cleaned April day. the fragile creature had marble hooves and antlers of crisp, white apple flesh wrapped in birch bark. the spots on her back were neon lights spouting ‘no vacancies,’ ‘closed,’ ‘24 hours,’ yet she let me walk right up and feed her rose petals from my purple fingertips. i laid my picnic basket on the bed of forget-me-nots underneath her statue and sat, patient, until the mother moon began to rise without us.

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Rainbow Under a Microscope Elizabeth Marando

Wear sweaters of boysenberry Lipstick shades of crimson, cherry Classy jackets of denim, basil Earth-tone pants of linen, hazel Live autumns of cinnamon Winters of alabaster Summers of salmon Springs of plaster Dye your hair blonde, brunette Play with clumps of purple clay Watch a marigold sunrise, sunset Touch shimmering gray decay See vanilla cream, tangerine Mint green, aquamarine Peppermint, blueprints Mine flint, golden glints Paint your walls with fine pine A bedroom with divine wine A kitchen with sublime bamboo The kitchen is in honeydew Dip your toes in a cyan lagoon Catch some fish of tan, maroon See the smell of a pink rose Tend to lilac as it grows Rainbow Under a Microscope Look Beyond Your Kaleidoscope

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Voodoo Cake Elizabeth Marando

Part 1 Voodoo Cake arrives in Craig’s mail as his frosting and skin turn pale Mam marches in and pinches his cheek to coddle and shame him weak Voodoo Cake wears a print of Craig’s face, his soul sinks in shame and disgrace Mam sits down and grabs her napkin, craving that image, her next of kin Voodoo Cake then gets rapidly eaten, his face missing and horribly beaten Mam takes bite after fright. Craig hates his face, she shows him spite Voodoo Cake takes an eye for an eye, his screams louder than his cries Mam ignores them and craves it more, causing the cruel and creamy gore Voodoo Cake takes the cake as the world’s biggest mistake. His regret is not requesting a steak Mam ate his left ear too, crushing fate like that of Van Gogh Voodoo Cake is halfway done, his very existence becoming undone Mam bats no eyes as she eats the batter, Craig losing himself as she gets fatter Voodoo Cake breaks his skin, pale as frosting. Cells turned cavities Mam guzzles his chin into hers, certainly a travesty of travesties Voodoo Cake won’t stop for his sake, his nose, curls and acne are maced 29


Willard & Maple Mam foolishly believes he is lying, Craig’s plight mocked as he lay dying Voodoo Cake takes the life of dear Craig, his corpse kneeled headless where he once begged Mam marches in and pinches my cheek, crushing my blood flow, I cannot speak “Voodoo Cake has quite a flair. Let’s get yours from there!” His body fell from hell and despair Mam can’t help but make me wonder, ‘cause this might be what made Pap go under

Part 2 Voodoo Cake killed my brother, his death must be avenged Mam feels sick and sits down, must be tired of playing pretend Voodoo Cake killed my Pap, his life cut short, she must be stopped Mam feels no shame and gives hunger the blame, crediting cake all the same Voodoo Cake will kill me, his body’s attracting flies in the echoes of his cries Mam feels sick but not from the murder, couldn’t she have just gotten a burger? Voodoo Cake must kill Mam, his face must be brought to life Mam is clutching her stomach as I creepily grab a knife Voodoo Cake ruined my family, his corpse is twitching a bit Mam runs to the bathroom, confronting the crime committed Voodoo Cake spews from her mouth, his printed face all over the place 30


Volume XXII Mam ignores the scene as she grabs her spleen, corpse twitching frantically in Morse Voodoo Cake is one wacky food, his poor, wretched birthday mood Mam still suffers and pukes even more, Craig’s body being steadily restored Voodoo Cake did not win this day, his deformities mild and okay Mam fell from hell and despair, creamy gore with quite a flare Voodoo Cake sent Mam to jail, his safety and self-image repaired Mam never got Voodoo Cake for me, Craig baked one and beamed with glee Voodoo Cake now has Mam’s printed portrait, his vengeance is this lovely frosted assortment Mam had her stuffed delights. Craig and I show her spite

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To the Cultist That Made Me Erin Oakley

Do you remember me? I was fourteen when I first started working for you; I was in a dark place, a place I never thought I’d get out of. I had no family, no friends. I was alone and seeking sanctuary, and then I found you. I thought you were amazing, that you were everything I always wanted. There were animals all around me—wild animals, exotic animals! I was so excited to be a part of something bigger than myself—to just be a part of something in general. I wanted there to be more to my life than dark rooms and crippling anxiety. I wanted to be important. I wanted to be loved. The first time you reprimanded me was during my first week. I had finished cleaning, I was answering customer questions, but one was a little drunk. One made it seem like I was goofing off. But one was all it took, and I stared at you in fearful silence as you told me to get my shit together or get the fuck out. I was fourteen. My aunt told me you were just stressed, that your babies were sick, that you’d be fine in the morning. I didn’t question it; why question the ones who are meant to protect you, keep you safe? I was a child. I didn’t know better. Besides, this was the experience of a lifetime, wasn’t it? Working with 32


Volume XXII wild animals, helping to change the world for the better. So what if I was yelled at? So what if I was insulted? So what if I grew terrified of the sound of your jingling keys to the point where I still can’t stand the sound to this day? I was a part of something bigger, I was more than what I could have been without you. Because that’s what you always said, wasn’t it? I would be nothing without you. My life would never be as good as it was with you. How dare I even consider leaving? How dare I ever think that this place wasn’t the best place to be? Look at everyone who left, look at where they are. They aren’t successful, they aren’t happy—not like they had been when they were with you. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted you to see me as something more than the scared little girl I came to you as. You were my family, you were everything I ever wanted. After all, that’s what you told me, isn’t it? That you loved me, that you cared about me. That you would never do me wrong so long as I never questioned you, never considered a different life, never thought to leave no matter what. I saw how you talked about the ones who left. The mocking laughter as you made jokes at their expense, the way you’d insult and belittle them and act like what they did for you never mattered. I didn’t want that to be me—I wanted you to see me as an equal, as one of you. Besides, things weren’t 33


Willard & Maple that bad anyway, right? Those people were weak, pathetic, the dirt under our boots. Yeah, we didn’t need them, they were worthless—they couldn’t even say they were leaving to your face because they were too afraid to. How could those kinds of people be worth anything? The more I became like you the more brainwashed I became. I insulted those around me and acted like no one could ever compare to me. We were everything—and the rest of the world was nothing. All men are pigs, and all women are sheep, so follow in line and do what you say. Makeup on, tits out, right? That’s what you always told us, because to you women were more like objects used to sell photos and tickets. They were to be exploited just like your animals, just like anyone who wasn’t family. You unravelled me in two years, wove me into something to your liking like you did everyone else. This one had to change her name, this one needed to be thinner, this one needed to do everything to the letter with no mistakes or else she was a worthless teenage piece of shit who would go nowhere just like the rest of her generation. I had to do better, I had to get my shit together, I had to work everyday all day with no complaints no matter how exhausted I was, no matter how much I wished I could just stop. But, of course, I could have left whenever I had wanted to, right? That’s what you always tell the reporters—‘we aren’t a cult, you can’t just leave cults’—but why did so many people have to leave in the darkness of the night? 34


Volume XXII Why did so many people lie and run and hide? Why did you try and tell me I would never be any good enough for anything without you? If I could leave, why did you make me feel like I couldn’t? I can still remember the smell of wet tiger—of gardenias and sandalwood— but I can also remember the smell of WD-40 in the summer heat, where you would force me to clean chains in the sun for hours because I had upset you. I can still remember the smell of Simple Green and laundry lint, of dirty dishes and the vitamin powder we put on top of every meal. I can remember the sound of your voice, of how it would cause my heartbeat to race even when you weren’t angry. I can even remember the sound of your footsteps walking down your stairs, ending the peaceful calm of the early morning when I didn’t have to worry about being talked down to. When I finally realized I needed to leave, I was locked in a bathroom crying, begging my best friend to come get me because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I came back that night, and talked to you the next day, and everything changed. You were so cold, distant; I tried everything to make it right. I thought I did something wrong, I thought it was my fault. I was just as weak as everyone else—how dare I be so pathetic? How dare I be so fragile? How dare I forsake you and everything you taught me? Do you remember what you said to me the night I left? Do you remember the way you treated me, the way you acted like I didn’t exist? Well, even if 35


Willard & Maple you don’t, I do. I remember every moment, every word. I remember how I felt, how I still feel. I remember how when I left I felt like I’d lost everything again. I remember the way I acted, who I became, how I treated others. I remember my skewed vision of looking at the world, the morals you instilled in me. I remember everything, Rajani, and I have only one thing left to say to you. I hope the universe takes you wherever you want to go.

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Volume XXII

“50¢ a Cup” Alexa O’Kane

You watch as She leans down to Drink the blood Like lemonade, And let it Drip Drip Drip From her fangs. Meat, Bones, And sauces Pigment her Paper white chin. You don’t eat with your eyes. Relax. Let her help you with your baggage. It’s not as obvious as you may think, Becoming human Again. She learned a long time ago It’s much easier To be opaque, Like a drop of pale paint Rolling down the side of a Drying mason jar Filled with silk flowers. 37


Willard & Maple They need much less light. But don’t worry about that. Wanna learn more about your personality? There’s no waiting list; She can see you now.

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Volume XXII

Hot & Sour Soup Alexa O’Kane

We don’t eat hot & sour soup in July. It’s a winter thing, for when we have stuffy noses. It isn’t meant for the silliness of summer, when we kick the scalding pavement with melty rubber soles to keep our scooters moving between the cracked slabs of sidewalk in front of our houses. Our summer sandwiches are meant to get gritty with beach sand. Secretly, we think it makes them taste better. It’s something about the salt mixing with red wine vinegar and prosciutto on soggy bread. At night, we lick the rainbow ice drips from our styrofoam cups and stare down the little lemon man logo, wondering about his top hat, thinking, 39


Willard & Maple Who is Ralph, anyway? before we ride our sticky-handled bikes back down Merrick Ave. Hot & sour soup is a winter food, but it still makes us miss the scalding Jones Beach sun over our bare shoulders, the tang of sunscreen that never seems to quite work, the burn when we scratch at our peeling, freckled faces, not worried about what the kids at school will think because we are free.

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Volume XXII

The End Alexa O’Kane

Sometimes a lover is better as a friend. I had the idea when the waves began rolling in, dead rainbows of trout signaling our lack of hope left to end the dark spiraling we have started to the pit of sin. I had the idea when the waves began rolling in, choppy mirrors of rain-choked clouds reflecting the dark spiraling we have started to the pit of sin, your voice beginning to sound as if you are disconnecting. Choppy mirrors of rain-choked clouds reflecting the shimmer of your smile in my distant memory, your voice beginning to sound as if you are disconnecting my questions of your love and our trajectory. The shimmer of your smile in my distant memory, dead rainbows of trout signaling our lack of hope left to end my questions of your love and our trajectory. Sometimes a lover is better as a stranger.

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Willard & Maple

Attack Danni Petrilak

Gasping for breath, Walking in circles The room closes in Walls Smaller and smaller Air draining from existence You sink down Knees pulled against your chest Holding tighter and tighter Heat Pulses through your body Head spinning twists twirling Hands in your hair Pulling Yanking Screaming to get the voices Out.

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Volume XXII

Blackjack Danni Petrilak

I saw beauty in the imperfections Of the hands life dealt, The countless folds and flushes Seemingly given at random, That nagging belief That they’re given to the favorites Because even life has a favorite And it’s obvious when it’s not you. While some are dealt the easy hands And simply make the choice to stay, Others have to fight for it Strategize their next move, Pray for the ace of hearts but Get that six of spades What do you do When your back’s against the wall When the only hope, The only chance, Is beating life at its own game Each card a year, each suit a decade We can only hold so many until We bust Because only the best few hit blackjack, And even then, It’s only luck But no amount of hits or holds can slow The dealer down For time doesn’t exist inside the casino of the universe Inside thoughts and memories Of the good and 43


Willard & Maple Bad moments Of every single card that flips Face up against the table Hit me.

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Volume XXII

Dissonance Erika Skorstad

I’m getting tired of her. and she’s there. When I think I’m

She follows me everywhere I turn alone, she sneaks up, taps me on the shoulder

and then lies flat on bugs and dirt

So I grab a corner and peel her

the ground, not minding the and cigarette butts

off the pavement. She sticks a little

around the neck and before I know it, I’m holding her shrunken shape like a jacket, a second skin, my coyote self, and I roll she belongs among

I awake at 3 a.m. to see her

her up and toss her under my bed where the dust and old bins.

thumbing through the dresses

tucked in the back of my closet.

She tries on the one with polka dots

and the plunging neckline, twirls

and shimmies in front of the mirror.

Now she’s eating candlelit dinner,

raising my boyfriend’s eyebrows and

daring to taste escargot. And no

I open my eyes to the bracelet I’d thought I’d lost. but I’m trapped. a cobweb crawls in. A distorted

She’s smooth with soft edges eyes.

complete darkness, dust, I slide my limbs like a snow angel I open my mouth, Then, I hear her laugh— brassy chime.

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Willard & Maple

Daniel’s Cave Katherine Taddeo

Daniel lived in a cave. No light ever penetrated. He did not see it as dark. He saw it as the way things had been and always would be. He had forgotten about the sun, the wind, and voices. He had chosen to forget, and in so doing had created his own world of silence and shadow that was infinite. He did not love this world, nor did he hate it. He was numb to it. He simply walked, crawled, slept, and ate in it. He was so used to living by himself that his ears were attuned to every small sound. He never paid attention to the sounds though. They seemed to pass over him, set on their own path, undisturbed. One day, he heard a sound like a sigh being released, but louder and clearer than any breath. Moments later, he heard a voice speaking. It asked “who is down here?” Daniel did not reply. The voice spoke again, but loudly, as if the speaker had come closer to Daniel. “Who is down here?” Daniel had not spoken in so long, so when he replied, his voice came out as a hoarse whisper. “A shadow.” “Indeed,” replied the voice. “A shadow of what?” Daniel thought for a moment. “A man.” “And where is the man?” “Dead.” “Is that so?” “Yes.” “How did he die?” “He was eaten.” “By what?” 46


Volume XXII “Lions.” Daniel felt a tremor of unease travel through himself. He began to retreat further into the cave. “I did not know that lions lived in caves,” continued the voice. “Why should the man’s shadow be here if he did not die here.” “The man did not die here,” rejoindered Daniel. He felt tense, as if thousands of tiny black spiders were crawling all over him. “He came here after he was attacked.” “To heal?” “To die,” said Daniel as he continued backing away. “How badly attacked was he?” “Mauled.” “If the man died in this cave,” the voice went on, “where are the bones?” “There are none. The lions ate everything,” and Daniel stopped moving away and stood still. “The lions ate the flesh, and the bones, and the clothes,” said the voice. “Yes.” Said Daniel. “But the shadow remains, so the man is not dead.” “No,” insisted Daniel. “He is dead.” “Then who are you?” “I am the shadow. I am an outline of what the man used to be, not as revealing as a reflection, but better than nothing.” “No,” replied the voice. “You are the man, you are Daniel.” “No!” Shouted Daniel. “Daniel was ripped to shreds and then devoured by the lions. The lions could not eat his shadow, so the shadow escaped and sought refuge in a cave.” “But the cave is a cage.” 47


Willard & Maple “No, the cave is safety.” “The cave is merely motionless. Stillness is not safety.” “I am alone here!” Yelled Daniel. “Nothing can hurt me!” “Except yourself,” the voice said gently. “I do not hurt myself.” “Don’t you?” Questioned the voice concernedly. “You immerse yourself in darkness, letting yourself disappear into it, erasing your form.” “I will not go out,” insisted Daniel. “If I leave, I will melt.” “No you won’t. Do you know that as dark as a shadow is, it does not exist without sunlight.” “But I cannot live without this darkness.” “You can. You did before when you were Daniel and your skin glowed like copper in the sun and your voice flew through the air like an eagle.” “No,” said Daniel, and his voice grew quieter. “That is not true.” “You choose to forget,” continued the voice. “You choose to forget because forgetting is easier than remembering the pain that came with happiness. Do not forget. Memory is the wind and water that shape you. It is what you are, it is change, it is hope. It drives you.” The voice was silent for a few moments. “You do not have to come out Daniel,” it said. “The choice is always yours,” and though it had no form, it disappeared completely. Daniel no longer felt as if spiders were crawling over him. He felt a burning. He could tell it was coming from in front of him, where he believed the entrance to the cave was. He moved forward. The burning grew less intense, yet it was still the warmest sensation Daniel had ever felt in the cave. As he drew forward he noticed that though he was becoming lighter, he was also becoming more defined. He stood out from the cave. When he made it to the mouth of the cave, he was face to face with the 48


Volume XXII blinding sun, beautiful but burning. He wanted to go back into the cave. Before he could move, however, the burning sensation took on a new level. It felt as if something was growing on Daniel. He looked down at himself, and saw flesh growing like grass over bones that had not been there before. He looked back up to the sky and felt tears pool at the corner of his eyes. He wanted to sprint back into the depths of the cave. But when he turned to look back at it, he saw how dark it was and understood that it was a place of mere shadows. He was not just a shadow anymore. He was flesh and blood, and he belonged out with the sun and the trees, and the animals, and the rocks, and the mountains, and the streams, and the rivers. He heard wind blowing through the grass, and felt its warmth. He breathed it in slowly, and breathed out. He kept breathing.

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Willard & Maple

Easter 2020 Katherine Taddeo

So I am here Studying. Perhaps not very well, Yet my face still fills with fear. WE ARE DONE Like a ham in the oven, We will broil under the sun. The Earth is being raked bloody, We ARE killing it. Reminds me of somebody. And no one sees Because they are dead; Some need to voice their own pleas. Ok. But the others...? Dead to the world, themselves, and reality. Their cataract eyes perceive only their material lover. Oh, money, money. Desire powerful enough to make one laugh and retch. Avarice that steals my soul so that I could kill innocence, even a bunny. But WHY SHOULD WE WORRY? “The second death will come soon enough for me Sealed in my tomb, there are plenty of bills to bury.” but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. Please, don’t let the innocent die.

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Volume XXII But then I am reminded it is Easter, It is a celebration of living over dying. Well, why could it not happen again?

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Willard & Maple

Bonfire Olivia Tyner

For life for death, For the changing of the seasons, For light for warmth, And a hundred other reasons. Throw a match onto the pile, And watch it come alive, Flames engulf the wood, Here the fire will thrive. Here we will dance, And share stories and song, Here we will celebrate, A bond grown strong. The world may burn around us, Or it may grow deathly cold, But here we will come together, And here we will grow old.

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Volume XXII

Mercy Olivia Tyner

Mercy Brown was just nineteen, When she met her tragic end She was young, pretty, and rather keen, With a story to contend Mercy was the middle Brown, Whom they buried at Chestnut Hill She was laid six feet underground, Saved face by the January chill. Consumption took her family, Though the people did insist, That she was an anomaly, A cursed vampiric cyst. Mercy Brown caused a panic, Though that was never her intent, The people cried she was satanic, Her soul they would torment.

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Willard & Maple

Missing Olivia Tyner

I’m missing out, And missing you, I’m missing life, And I don’t know what to do. Time is racing I feel like I’m running out, Yet the world appears frozen And I just want to shout. I want to scream, And open the flood gates For all the parties, And movies and would-be dates. For the world that once was, And the world that I’m craving, For the life I’m now living, The tragedy we’re braving. I’m missing out, On love and life, Missing you, And all your strife. Missing concerts, And holidays, Missing road trips, In this year long haze. I’m missing things, I didn’t know I could, And wishing now, That I could find the good. 54


Volume XXII But it’s been months, And this tunnel is too long, And my flashlight is dead, And it all feels so wrong. So here I am, missing, And feeling lost, And reminiscing. Dancing in the kitchen, And dying my hair, And building blanket forts, Pretending no one else is there. Now I’m alone, And nothing feels the same, And I want to point fingers, But there’s no-one to blame. So I’ll be missing, And losing my mind, And waiting for the light, And for the world to be kind.

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Willard & Maple

The Room Behind the Wall Olivia Tyner

There is a roaring fire, Framed in filigree, With swords mounted over the mantel, In the room behind the wall. Bookshelves line this space, With leather-bound texts, And strange antiquities, In the room behind the wall. A velvet canopy hangs over the bed, Perfectly made, And completely untouched. In the room behind the wall. There are no windows or doors, No clocks or phones, No sign of life, Beyond the room behind the wall. The room behind the wall, A secret so well kept, It only exists in the deepest dreams, The darkest reaches of my mind. Because I needed this place, Even if it is only a fantasy. I needed this sanctuary, I needed to see myself here. I am sitting by the fire, Sipping hot cider, And thumbing through tomes, In the room behind the wall 56


Volume XXII

Untitled

Gregory Desiato 57


Willard & Maple

Untitled

Brigid Florian 58


Volume XXII

Day of the Styx

Allura Garcia-Buckler 59


Willard & Maple

Makeover

Jasmine Leong 60


Volume XXII

Pollination

HAley Seymour 61


Willard & Maple

Low Spirits Crystal Wong 62


Volume XXII

Nostalgia of Fright

Crystal Wong 63


Willard & Maple

Biographies Taylor Antonioli is a Vermonter born and raised with a farm family that

holds strong ties to the community. No matter what she does, she hopes that she can reach out and let someone know she sees them. Empowerment comes in many shapes, but her chosen weapon is words.

Harper A. Bennett

is a freshman enrolled in the game design program at Champlain College, hoping to pursue a career in narrative design. Their writing is done spur-of-the-moment to capture the beauty that is raw emotion, something not always seen within the media.

Josh Berkowsky is a sophomore professional writing major. His two main

Muses are his late Grandfather Sal, and his cat, Purple. He enjoys fishing, skiing, reading and playing online video games with friends. He hopes you can find some peace in his work, as he has found in writing it.

Sarah Constantine

is a New England-based writer who tends towards writing fantasy, magical realism, and poetry. When not writing, she can be found snuggled under a blanket reading, playing video games, or enjoying the outdoors (though she may just be searching for cryptids).

Gregory Desiato is a game art major. They enjoy drawing, painting, and 3D

modeling/texturing. Gregory’s life goal is to be working in the game industry and living comfortably with their cat and dog. One fun fact about them is they enjoy 80’s one-hit wonders.

Brigid Florian’s piece was created using an Autodesk sketchbook on an iPad through digital drawing. It conveys the spiritual afterlife growing up from the tree of life. More of her work can be found at behance.net/strawbeshortca3

Allura Garcia-Buckler is a first-year visual communications design major and Vermont native. She loves to create and share her art with anyone who will enjoy it. In her free time you can find her either working on more pieces or studying for her classes. 64


Volume XXII

It’s not uncommon to find Abigail Gray lodged between the roots of a tree, soaking in her knowledge as they speak myths on to the page. Most of their work centers around childhood grief, the healing powers of the bewitched natural world, the gripping maw of addiction, and the complexity of gender.

Benjamin Hager is a twenty-five-year-old author. He spends most of his time

working at a beloved local bookstore in Burlington, Vermont. He has been published twice in the Suisun Valley Review, as well as publishing two small notebooks of poems titled Ups & Downs, and Meanings on the Market.

Ian Juarez, is a biracial Latino, poet, photographer, and all around nerd originally from Massachusetts. A majority of his work is self reflective as he attempts to make sense of his thoughts on the page. He hopes that others can pull meaning from his work to better themselves.

Ollie Kelley is a poet, author, horror fan, and cat lover, and they have been published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and Red Flag Poetry Postcards. They spent their time writing, reading, playing Stardew Valley, and hanging out with their cats, Percy and Leia.

Jasmine Leong

is a first-year student with a passion for storytelling. Selftaught, her work often depicts the fantastical situations she had always imagined as a child. Using art, she explores intriguing concepts in order to bring them to life.

elizabeth Marando studies creative media with specializations in visual arts, creative writing and film. Aside from embracing visual and emotional sensitivity, she has written skits and performed a puppet show with two hands and one foot simultaneously. She advocates for trauma healing and loves nature, stationary and her indoor trampoline.

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Willard & Maple

Erin Oakley

is an aspiring game artist and writer who wants to create narratives that help people learn more about themselves and others. By sharing her experiences, she hopes to make others comfortable sharing their own experiences, and create dialogues that will lead to a better understanding of those around us.

Alexa O’Kane

is a professional writing major eager to explore the larger literary world after graduation in May. Poetry and music reviews are her bread and butter. Alexa’s poem, “They’ll Tear it Down,” appeared in Pinnacle Anthology in 2019, and she’s excited to premiere her debut chapbook, Troubles, this spring. Horror Enthusiast and Tea Connoisseur Danni Petrilak is an aspiring author from Fleetville, Pennsylvania, and currently attends Champlain College, majoring in creative media. She has won writing contests during the NaNoWriMo writing season, as well as received a scholarship for a three-day writing conference that took place in her hometown. Her lifelong dream is to see her name on a credit screen of either a movie or video game and to have her published novel on the featured table in bookstores around the world.

Haley Seymour

is a professional writing major with a journalism specialization and a minor in public relations. She is also a lover of poetry and photography. Her favorite things to photograph are flowers, people, and architecture. She is also the editor-in-chief of The Crossover, a Champlain College publication focusing on news, arts, and culture at Champlain College. She lives in Saint Albans, Vermont, as she has since she was a child, with her family.

Erika Skorstad is an editor, writer, and narrative game designer. She finds

inspiration from dark roast coffee and even darker mysteries. Her work has been published in Marathon Literary Review, The Burlington Writers Workshop’s Cold Lake Anthology, and Levitate Literary Magazine.

Katherine Taddeo

is a sophomore studying professional writing and environmental policy. She loves acting and has a bajillion ideas for stories and poems. She grew up on fantasy books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Her dream is to see her pieces published.

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Volume XXII

Olivia Tyner is a junior creative media major at Champlain, with focuses

in creative writing, visual art, and film. She works as a costumer and SFX makeup artist for indie films, and hopes to open her own design studio after graduation, while continuing to publish her writing on the side.

Crystal Wong is currently 21 years old. And she’s at a point in life where her

world is rapidly changing. Her two pieces capture how much she’s grown, but also how childish she still is. As she continues down her path as a game artist, she hopes to also continue creating art that makes her happy.

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Profile for Willard & Maple Literary Magazine

Willard & Maple XXII  

Check out the 22nd volume of Willard & Maple, Champlain College's literary and fine art magazine. This year, because of the pandemic, the st...

Willard & Maple XXII  

Check out the 22nd volume of Willard & Maple, Champlain College's literary and fine art magazine. This year, because of the pandemic, the st...

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