The Huron River Review
Aristea Fulcher Self-Portrait
The Huron River Review Issue 19 May 2020 The award-winning journal of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and art by students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Editor Tom Zimmerman
Assistant Editor Kathrine Snow
Editorial Board Elise Ambriz Aristea Fulcher Sabrina Martell Nina Nguyen Wrena Sproat Copyright ÂŠ 2020 Washtenaw Community College and the individual authors and artists. Republication rights to the works herein are reverted to the creators of those works. The works herein have been chosen for their literary and artistic merit and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Washtenaw Community College, its Board of Trustees, its administration, or its faculty, staff, or students. Magazine design by Tom Zimmerman. 3
Mission Statement ______________________________________ The Huron River Review is a forum and a showcase for the vibrant literary and arts community made possible by the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washtenaw Community College.
From the Editor ________________________________________ This 19th issue of The Huron River Review is packed with excellent poetry, prose, and images created by WCC students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Enjoy! My thanks also Scott Britten, Dean of Humanities and Social/Behavioral Sciences; Kimberly Hurns, Vice President for Instruction; Rose Bellanca, President; and the WCC Board of Trustees. Finally, thanks to the following colleagues and friends: Zach Baker, Joyce Hommel, Jill Jepsen, Molly Ledermann, Meera Martin, IB Remsen, Aimee Smith, the WCC Copy Center, the WCC English/College Readiness Department, WCC Public Relations and Marketing, the WCC Writing Center, WCC’s Bailey Library, Katie Williams, and Ann Zimmerman. --TZ
Submissions ___________________________________________ The Huron River Review is an annual publication of Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan. From September through January, it is open to submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography by WCC students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The editor and student editorial board select pieces for publication based on their aesthetic merit. We’re fond of work that is beautiful and/or strange, but we’ll look at anything. If you’re not sure, send it; we’re friendly. We prefer electronic submissions. E-mail to email@example.com. Postal mail to Tom Zimmerman, LA 355, Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Phone: 734-973-3552. Website: thehuronriverreview.wordpress.com
The Huron River Review, Issue 19, 2020 _____________________ Contents Italics indicate visual art. Aristea Fulcher
Aristea Fulcher Lilly Kujawski
Jael Niverda Aristea Fulcher
Latitude Brown Kayla Price Aristea Fulcher Chante Whiting Aristea Fulcher Henry Bedard Marybeth King Aristea Fulcher Marybeth King Regina Dick Aristea Fulcher Sam McNeil Nina Nguyen Claire Convis Warren Leidlein
Poetry Maneater The Heart the untangle Showing Up I Try to Remember What Color Looks Like A woman I saw in a dream one night and can’t quite remember, but I have a feeling I loved intensely Harlot’s Song Contact Comfort Foreshortening Timelines [Untitled] When Okcupid asks why I’m disabling my account, I say: Late Night Drive in Someone Else’s Car Not a Feminist Poem The Overthinker Clay Answer Out in the Cold Cigarettes and the Sea Resemblance Reminiscing Who Am I? Exploration Four Haiku Three Haiku Three Poems Glimpse Fleeting
9 10 12 14 15
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 28 29 30 31 32 33 35 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Sarah Lee Christensen Aristea Fulcher Rachel Bennett Amber Evans Kadia Cohen-Patterson Mandy Brothers James C. Spitler Nur Muhammad Renollet Aristea Fulcher Jeremy Joiner Michelle Lardie-Guzek Shani Van Heerde Aristea Fulcher Shaina Larmee Steve Bannow S.L. Schultz Aristea Fulcher Ron Pagereski Janel R. Baker Brenda Allen Millett Lynn D. Gilbert Diane M. Laboda Aristea Fulcher Adella Blain Aristea Fulcher
On Raising a Dog and Being a Person Two-Faced Time for Bed Music Box Burning Lust Thy Body Yearns . . . The Oath The Promise Identity Crisis Metamorphosis State of Disunion You Walk Free Fading In Frame Two Poems Forgiven Wash before the Blues Negative Space Woman Dark Angel Do You Remember? Rothkoâ€™s Loom Rivalry From the Edges of Light and Shadow An Experiment with Sharp Shapes Everlasting Writing with Tulips
44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 60 61 62 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 72 73 74
Art Gallery One Seeing Pat Kyle M&M 3000 Two Trees Duchess Black Water Watching You Whispered Journey Essence Fishing Nets Street, Tuscan Town Having Fun
75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87
Kathrine Snow Kathrine Snow Gabriel Peoples Kathrine Snow Kaden Kumpelis Kathrine Snow Elise Ambriz Sabrina Martell Teagan Parkinson Kathrine Snow
Tom Zimmerman Barb Perles Nancy Coen Becker Erica Perry Dennis Gordon Dennis Gordon
Spring Thoughts Sanctuary Mystify Blue Swan Law Quad Study Hall Polaroid Pic
88 89 90 91 92
Fiction Flowers for Ghost Eyes of the Moon Poltergeist Come Find Me Candle Dragon A Walk Home Into the Forest After Work Finishable Games Bloom Garden Pike Summer Harvest
93 94 97 98 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108
Art Gallery Two Gabbro Falls, Bessemer Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Chapel Rock Apple Blossoms Country Life Where the Fun Is II The Lonely Tree Four Writing Center Portraits Acorns Flower Basket Buckeye Trail On the Threshold Woodcut Image Development Angkor Wat Reflections Attitude Is Everything Burano Cherry Hill Preserve in Green Light Eye Reflection
109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126
Daniel Raubolt Daniel Raubolt Daniel Raubolt Shannon Louise Xicze’l Ponce de León Emily Iacofano Claudia Dionne Raasch Williams II Emily Iacofano Edith Morris Croake Tom Zimmerman
Nonfiction Retro Mirror Selfie Flashback OR #1 Daddy’s Little Girl My Mother’s Keeper Everlasting Bobby Reflections and Revelations: Part One Zenith My Sweet-Sour Meatloaf Open Mic
127 128 130 131 135 138 139 146 147 148 150
John MacLean Hui Cranford Evangeline Mallette Carol Wares David Goldberg Linnea Nooden Bryana Parkyn Irene Mokra Tabetha Chaney LisAurel Winfree Sydney O'Connor John MacLean Olive Cianciolo Claudia de Albaladejo
Art Gallery Three Totem Possessed The Gathering Ruby Platter Martian Spring Untitled Ladies Glove Peaking Untitled Untitled Migrate Duality Untitled Living Leaves
151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164
Contributors Aristea Fulcher
165 Self-Portrait 2
Aristea Fulcher Maneater 9
Lilly Kujawski __________________________________________ The Heart After you died, Molly bought me a heart-shaped piece of rose quartz To carry with me always, And a matching one for herself. The day Notre Dame was in flames The polished pink stone sat tucked in my bra. “The beating heart of Paris,” a woman on the news called the cathedral (I’ve never been to Paris, but I know about hearts). The day Notre Dame was in flames Every church in the world burned with it. The faithful cried, and the faithless did, too. Rose quartz isn’t my favorite crystal In the same way The heart isn’t my favorite organ In the way you can’t argue science, logic, fact But faith is gentle even when it’s wrong. The day Notre Dame burned Was one month after you died. It’s hard to make beauty out of this kind of grieving, Like the way The heart is a messy, wild thing, And even hearts fail.
The loudest prayers always come from the non-believers in peril. Faith holds the sick, the dying When science has brought them this far When medicine has run its course When hope is all thatâ€™s left Between a heaving breath And the silence (and then screaming) When it stops. They say we all die alone But I was there You waited, made sure I was there, Then you waited even longer So I could at least try to save you (The way firefighters try, but there is not enough water for flames like these) I think you knew I needed that The way even the faithless need something When all else runs out. They say we all die alone But alone is what comes after When weâ€™re still empty, Sobbing into traffic, Puddling on the living room floor. They say we all die alone But while the cathedral burned There were thousands on the street Watching (praying) And even more with their eyes on the TV, the alert on their phone, We all held our breaths, I held mine, Felt yours leave. 11
Lilly Kujawski __________________________________________ the untangle kiss me like maybe it’s the last time in case it is ask me how i’m doing & give me something better to answer with than another uncomfortable hitch of my breath ask me & be my answer can you feel the swell of my throat? the remnants of hope on my fingertips, my knuckles? fill all this silence with 5,000 love ballads of the light when it hits my cheek, how warm my body feels when you hold me it’s okay if it’s a lie i don’t mind this time let’s not talk right now let’s not right now nausea fills my whole raw esophagus i could count every way you know how to push me beneath myself all the ways you know how to unravel me i want to untie the slipknot threads 12
let’s just fuck instead this bed holds all the empty layers of half-truths of not admitting defeat holds all the sharp claws we slit each other with, the skeleton keys we swear will make it better we dig deeper, meld our bodies together so your heart is my heart is your heart while our lungs collapse, spines fracture we hold on so tight we forget to breathe hold on so tight all it does is hurt hold on, because we couldn’t possibly let go, we don’t know when to give up don’t know how to give up, so we hold on until there’s nothing left to grasp until “i love you” stops being enough
Lilly Kujawski __________________________________________ Showing Up I’ve got today all over me— Fender bender and greasy hair, Mascara marking lines below my eyes, Awake since 7am and looking like it. My mind, an avalanche of worry Manifesting in the broken skin of my fingertips, $24.99 in my bank account After groceries, meds, and gas, And all I really want Is to come first for someone, No conditions, no technicalities No almosts, or “I tried”s Just showing up, and doing. Kisses lit with fire, And there for all the ugly, too, And maybe I’m imposing Asking for too much, But today, at the scene of the accident, I felt so alone No safety net No rescue But then, he said, “Where are you? If you need me there, I can be there.” And I said, “No, it’s alright, I’m okay, I’m just fine.” And yes, I meant it But damn, If I had said, “Yes—here’s the address,” I think he would’ve been there. In 10 minutes, He would’ve shown up. 14
Lilly Kujawski __________________________________________ I Try to Remember What Color Looks Like Somewhere, in an old drawer, There is a stack of paint sample cards From the hardware store: Pink, peach, robinâ€™s egg blue And all the cheerful hues I used to know. I try to remember what The ground looked like before it turned gray I think there were yellow dandelions and Purple violets, and everything was green once But it all feels like decades ago, Mythologies ago. Most days, I do my Spanish homework Just to block out the other thoughts: Car accidents, loneliness, heart disease; Dying, and worst of all, wanting to. The exposed wires in my gut Spark, spew lithium battery acid, So I sit on the bathroom floor and Try to electrical-tape the whole mess back together. When the pressure in my skull is so tight That the whole world turns empty, I scream my throat into rust, But the January wind flattens the sound and Out of my mouth tumbles silence.
There is a fine line Between being so alive you can barely breathe And actually suffocating. My most alive days are the ones I cry for two hours straight. If you asked me why I haven’t taken my meds For the past month I would tell you I forgot, And for the first six nights I really did forget Before it turned ritual, Like always putting the left sock on first Which turned into the left shoe, Left glove, left earring Which turned into a small compulsion, Slight convulsion I prod at the malleable corners of my thumb, Loose hangnail turned Raw skin turned Blood and It’s all a ritual now. It’s been too long since I felt So alive I could barely breathe. I fold into myself. Most days, I staple myself to crosses And pray for some kind of resurrection. Pray for life to rush back into me Crave the pulse Of defibrillating electric waves through my cardiac cavities. 16
Most days, I slow-motion fall With frozen limbs And the wind knocked out of me. Most days, I try to remember what color looks like, Try to remember a world with it.
A Woman I Saw in a Dream One Night and Canâ€™t Quite Remember, but I Have a Feeling I Loved Intensely 17
Jael Niverda ___________________________________________ Harlot’s Song I want to be a woman called Babylon, to wear low-rise jeans and exhale fire. To hack the heart of a boy who thinks his eyes shine a different shade of blue in the moonlight, a boy named Matthew or Mark or Luke. I want to hold the hand of a Canaanite girl and rest my feet on her dashboard. We would sing along to songs we don’t know the words to, performed by people who hate their own name. We’d spit out our gum on the dirt road and pretend we didn’t think about the crow that will feed our havoc to her children. I would cut my lips and kiss the woman turned to salt. I would pierce the earth with my stilettos. I would beg God to make the stars sit still until he grows tired and I grow old. He will pity the ground that swallows me up, and the dandelions will root themselves between my ribs.
Aristea Fulcher _________________________________________ Contact Comfort A light breeze trickles through the cracks in your window, gently rustling the small pieces of trash we've collected. The tea kettle overflows in the other room, The dim overhead light reflecting in the water like the moon in a lake. Later, we walk in the road to avoid the deer that's been pushed to the sidewalk, Ribs sticking out of her like tired fingers, Like a fist halfway clenched. You found a lighter on the way home. You brushed off most of the dirt, and kept it in your pocket. I still don't know where my glasses went, But I can live with the headache.
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 19
Aristea Fulcher _________________________________________ Foreshortening From my window upstairs, youâ€™re an inch tall. I wonder if you would let me hold you in my mouth, I would promise not to swallow, to breathe through my nose, to keep snacks for you nestled between my molars. Or I could tuck you behind my ear, And you could tell me all kinds of stories, the close proximity making your voice loud enough to hear. I wonder if youâ€™re already all the places I would invite you.
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 20
Aristea Fulcher _________________________________________ Timelines At night I watch my laundry being dried, like a mobile above a babies crib, like the planets being projected on the wall of your highschool classroom, blurry with age. I wonder how many bugs I’ve stepped on since then, how many spiders I’ve placed outside. I don’t think asking will do any good, I don't think you’ve been keeping track either. On a map, we are touching.
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 21
Latitude Brown ________________________________________ You can be the night, all and open. Let me fall into you like fireworks softly for just a moment the kind of fleeting light that gets Stuck behind your hand when you close them keep this in your memory The ash falling from the roof of your mouth is also me telling you that even when the beautiful and bright parts of me are gone I could still linger if you asked me to I could break the bone in my hand that disagrees Pick up the pieces and wear them like a necklace as if to say look at the parts of me that did not want you how they rest against my skin like an apology if you touch them they will all bloom. Watch how quickly I become a garden in your hands how all the petals Curl open like a wound when you ripped the stitches out with your teeth jaw clenched shut as you mumble your way into my blood Like a disease I am happy to be sick with happy for my whole body to know you I don't want to think of you as a dream anymore I Want to wake up and see you there and say did you know that I was born with a hole in my heart ever since my first breath I have been trying to make room for you
Kayla Price ____________________________________________ When Okcupid asks why I’m disabling my account, I say: “I need to open space to focus on other stuff? Or, I feel bad for being so unresponsive so much. I’m probably not ready for love. I say it’s anxiety, probably. I blame the molehill dateability, That the mountain peak looks too unsteady. From down here, in the mud Mixed in with the honey, Waiting for prince charming to save me. Etcetera.”
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 23
Aristea Fulcher Late Night Drive in Someone Elseâ€™s Car
Chante Whiting ________________________________________ Not a Feminist Poem Why was I born this way? Little girls must have dolls; plastic princesses perfect in every way. I’m made to be the same. Pretty little thing, don’t speak unless spoken to. I can’t have cookies or cake because I must “watch my figure.” I want to play with the boys, who are having fun playing in the mud. Instead you make me stay inside, where you bind my feet and clip my wings. Itchy makeup is applied, and hair spray stings my eyes before I’m told I’m beautiful. All awkward angles and acne; I’m mocked for being too fat and too skinny, too plain and too flashy. Clothes matter more than grades; smiles are plastered on young psychos because I’m either the prettiest or the ugliest. As a teen I’m told to hide, hide everything inside. Don’t complain, it’s not that bad; don’t cry, it’s just a little blood. Pushed to get plastic surgery at sixteen because my nose is a little off, my eyes are too wide, and you wonder why madness itches under my skin. Why was I born this way? When I could do anything I want, and I’m yelled at for reading instead of watching makeup tutorials. 25
A warrior-mage, who runs towards danger instead of cowering behind, like a “little girl” should. I could be anyone I want; I take down the final boss, but I’m still a chick with “beginner’s luck.” I grew up too fast, because you couldn’t keep your hands off. I apply for a million different jobs because I never know which boss will end up being a creep, and the only jobs offered are for eye candy. I’m tired of life at twenty, so I do stupid things like get suckered into light flings. I can’t afford to eat, and you excuse it as, “You could lose a few pounds anyway.” Why do they hate me for who I am? What is a woman anyway? A warrior Queen A supernatural being Full of hurricane rage And Amazon wildfire Chained within flesh. I’m told “shut up” and I shut down, Because a woman is worthless, and worth less. But, no I am not a feminist Because I know Your baby boy can’t cry or sniffle without being called weak. Boys are bruised and broken, their childhood beaten into manhood. I know there’s Rough tough, save-the-world type boys who drop everything and run. 26
Smooth soft, save-my-friend type boys who drop everything and hold on. I know Soft guys don’t last, so hearts are locked behind iron wills. Nice guys finish last, so their violence is justified. You excused “boys will be boys,” and you wonder why your son is taken away in chains. Guys are groped, and you say, “Grow up! You should be happy.” Men are raped, and you say, “Why are you complaining? You know you liked it.” Why do they hate us for who we are? What is a man anyway? A conquering King An ethereal being Full of earth-trembling ire And sky-splitting fire A beast caged within They’re told “Be a man!” before “Man down! Man down!” Because a man is fire and ice and everything nice. I am not a feminist for Hate has no face gender or race. Hate leads to Hate We seal our fate. I am an equalist Because where “There are no gods here,” we were sent. * And when “I thought there were no heroes left in this world,” it turned out to be us.* *indicates a meme
Aristea Fulcher The Overthinker 28
Henry Bedard __________________________________________ Clay A lump of clay of possibility Waiting for the chance to be A thing of beauty A thing of need A sculpture or a pot for tea Any form my mind can make the eager clay will gladly take To be admired To touch the soul To meet the artistâ€™s lofty goal To be relied on Then cast aside To be the potterâ€™s humble pride Either destiny will do Whichever I can bring it to And yet, I think this clay will be the reflection of my mind, of me An ugly purposeless lump.
Henry Bedard __________________________________________ Answer The Question was simple. There were only three words to it, in English at least. The Question didn't care about language, or nation, or race. No matter who you were, or where you were, it came to you. On that day, so many years ago, each and every man, woman and child was asked the same thing – “Who are you?” The Question came without a speaker, like a voice carried on the wind, but clear as day. There was confusion at first, and panic; billions of people searched for an explanation that would never come. But the Question came – again, and again. Sometimes minutes would pass, sometimes days or weeks. The voice was different for each person, and few could find the words to describe it. It wasn't long before people began to answer the Question, in their own ways. Some spoke their names aloud, hoping to be heard by some invisible listener. But still, the Question came. Some wrote, describing themselves and their lives, hoping their words would be read by unseen eyes. But still, the Question came. Some created works of art, poured all their lifetimes of emotion into song or canvas, hoping to touch some inscrutable heart. But still, the Question comes.
Marybeth King _________________________________________ Out in the Cold Meryl whistled, Spurred the paint beneath him. Wind picked at his coat, Frigid fingers found worn spots. He needed to get out of the weather, Find a bed before night fell Feeling in his vest pocket Meryl fingered the last of the silver “Prawly be more a bed of straw than feathers, Eh, Lucky?” The dog Trotting alongside, Lifted his one good eye And sneezed, Knocking himself off course Into a shrub. Meryl chucked, Spurred his horse again. “Well, ain’t we a pair.” He smelled the town Built on a creek gone sour Before he saw it Meryl sniffed the sulfur and scowled. Could she still be there? A smarter man musta picked her up, Brought her to better climes. A smarter woman would’ve gone. 31
Still, Meryl held out hope. He wanted to see the morning sky In those turquoise eyes again Revel in the halfway smile That never left her lips. At breakfast Or washing the dishes She was up to no good. The knots of yellow ribbon Dotting scarlet locks First caught him up short. Women in her profession Rarely went for such adornment.
Aristea Fulcher Cigarettes and the Sea 32
Marybeth King _________________________________________ Resemblance dad was Italian a diplomat always on a plane putting out fires dark hair olive skin crisp suit even at breakfast though I rarely saw him then I knew him from pictures littering the house this is him in Singapore meeting a short couple in brocaded clothes no one is smiling hereâ€™s one in the Balkans greeting a short round couple in stuffy suits no one is smiling there is one of mom and her friend from Paris he took me to dinner once I was ten and mom was sick We went to a brasserie ordered snails and oysters foie gras and duck crĂ¨me brulee too I licked the bowl 33
he smiled a lot asked me interesting questions about what I thought felt about the world not the dumb questions adults ask how’s school? what about those Back Street Boys? Uncle Pierre that’s his name he leaned in listened when I talked his eyes laughing along with his mouth we have the same sandy blonde hair wild, tough to tame I look at that picture a lot it’s the one where my mother is smiling
Regina Dick ____________________________________________ Reminiscing When I was little, you called me “Queen” and “Sweetie” When you got home from work, we snuggled up and listened to the radio It didn’t matter what was on— It was the best part of my day Every summer evening We went on walks or bike rides To an indoor pool Or to the backyard for badminton. I always loved your hugs the best. You said I could watch TV, after mom said no. I think you had a soft spot for me, Because I was your daughter after five sons in a row You and I had a goodbye litany We repeated the same farewells every morning for years “See you later alligator, In a while crocodile. Bye fly! See ya soon, baboon. Adios amigos. Arrivederci baby” I don’t think you remember any of this anymore It’s hard for me to remember how close we used to be When you shrink every time we try to hug you Or you walk a different way to avoid coming near But I will always remember the daddy you were I know he is still inside you, Even though you get grumpy when we give you medicine Or help you find the elusive coffee cup— right in front of you I try to be patient when you ask me the same question 35
“Did we get the mail today?” five times in ten minutes When I see you standing around our house Looking confused Trying to find the living room I wonder how this happened so quickly Our goodbye litany has been whittled down to: “Bye” I don’t remember seeing any of the signs I was incredulous of the diagnosis Sometimes I still can’t believe it. It all seemed to go so fast But when you crack one of your old jokes I remember you’re still you When we go for walks in the evening It’s just like old times.
Regina Dick ____________________________________________ Who Am I? A lion lives inside him One he tamed long ago But in moments like this When cruelty has gone too far— It roars Outwardly kind and gentle He conceals an inner strength For fear his secret will get out He hides his given name But in moments like this The lion within him stirs When the downtrodden are trodden upon Or the wicked prey on the innocent— It roars Then even the stoic trembles The implacable deliberates The wicked reconsiders Dare they cross this awesome force? His coat is gold and ragged The lion’s mangy mane That clothes the same raw strength And when the lion is enraged— It roars The mildest men have a threshold A line one is wise not to cross His line—the rejected and defenseless Because he was one of them once. 37
If you pass his point of no return You’ve done his unthinkable May God help you You’ve awoken the lion— It roars
Aristea Fulcher Exploraton 38
Sam McNeil ___________________________________________ Four Haiku
Chrysanthemum bulbs, Dialectic by nature Sit patient for Spring
Submarine forces Creep, a blade between their teeth Toward the calm above
These days I carry My cage, with a liquor brace And a swollen hand
Clementine peels and Santalum embers, she digs A little deeper
Nina Nguyen ___________________________________________ Summer Love Summer love is real Never wanting this to end Too bad leaves turn red
Mosquitos Mosquitos swarm us We swat them like they are boys They are bloodsuckers
Disconnect Static fills my ear The voice of the one I love Haunts me forever
These poems first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 40
Claire Convis ___________________________________________ Potion Who knows If this is love mixed with lust Or lust mixed with love Either way This potion is making me sick
Another life I wish I could die And reincarnate as the girl you want
Too good When I saw you I thought I had seen something too good to be true Turns out I was right
These poems first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 41
Warren Leidlein ________________________________________ Glimpse Old friends and old songs reliving memories thought to be forgotten but were instead resurrected and retold. Exaggerated stories and reminiscing laughs that fill the void of silence and the gap of years spent apart. The world around me moves too quickly but I'm thankful this moment seems to last forever. Sitting in an abandoned parking lot, in a car running on recycled memories. It is in this moment when reality sets inâ€” I have never been this happy, every moment until now was just a facade and only now is it the real thing. But I saw a glimpse of what I could have and even if it seems forever away, I know it's out there waiting for me.
Warren Leidlein ________________________________________ Fleeting I often think about my past, remembering moments that no longer exist while also staying curious about my future and trying to prepare for moments I couldn't even imagine. I try not to stay there for too longâ€” For there is a reason the past is over and the future is yet to come. We are all just moments in time existing briefly before fading away. Just as simply as this poem began, it has come to an endâ€” Becoming a moment that no longer exists.
Sarah Lee Christensen ___________________________________ On Raising a Dog and Being a Person Did you know the average dog has forty-two teeth? They can see colors too, but their spectrum is still narrow enough to be considered color blind to our standard. What they lack in color vision though, they make up with every other sense-receptor. On her twelfth day of life, her mother stepped on the little bear cub of a puppy. It was the chronically ill and wilting chrysalis of myself that brought her to safety. Shriveled and sorrowful, I found home in her. I taught her, and she learned. She taught me, and I learned too. I learned to let her out when she hits the doorknob and bring her in before she gets frostbite. Conversely, she taught me to press on even when the fire of asthma burned my lungs and to always bring a friend. And in that, she showed me I’d always have a friend. She’s got just forty-one sharp, stupefying fangs. I’m sure she can see a few colors, but it’s how she sees the world so ingenuously that makes even the reds and the yellows and oranges of the autumn leaves seem snuffed out by comparison. No, she’s not the average dog.
After her second year of life, she learns and she grows and she teaches her dying girl, now healing and growing and learning, how to live again. From state to state, the bear cub dog finds a home in her.
Aristea Fulcher Two-Faced 45
Rachel Bennett _________________________________________ Time for Bed Thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts With no rhyme or reason They dance to the beat Of the untamed mind And the jitters within The night is still young A little after nine The sounds of the day have quieted And the snores of my people Roar through the house As we lie down, The cat is up having breakfast Before his night of havoc Of chasing down shadows And disturbing the peaceful slumber But I can’t sleep The noises in my head are much louder Than the creaks on the floor My body jitters quicker Than the cat who senses a mouse The night isn’t so young now I toss back and forth Worrying about nothing Trying to fix things out of my control Hoping the sun doesn’t come up too soon.
Amber Evans __________________________________________ Music Box Your shimmering golden case Your beautiful heart shape Your expertly crafted symbol You truly are a little marvel. But whatâ€™s important is whatâ€™s inside. It is more than it seems. One click and its inner secrets are revealed. An ensemble of gentle notes ready to be heard. The tune you play for me is simple but pleasant. It gives me comfort whenever I need it. I hold content in my hands as it plays me a song. So fragile. So delicate. But so precious to me. One day you will no longer be able to sing to me. But I shall enjoy for as long as I can.
Kadia Cohen-Patterson __________________________________ Burning Lust Old flames before have faded, although the passion raged, But you have started a new fire, like fine wine, with time, has aged. There is a stirring in my loins, my desires for you unhinged, Our passion a fiery furnace, no storm could ever quench. When we are apart, I think of you and my breathing intensifies, And my memory plays out scenes of us, enough to drive me wild I pulsate in unmentionable places, a lady dare not loudly say, So I must express my hungry lust, in the subtlest of ways. The yearning is agonizing, so unbearable is my lust, Come home and quell these feelings, before I turn to dust. I am trying so hard to be proper, but uncouth I am tempted to be, Would you not rather be here, making new memories with me? Yesterday an old flame provoked a spark, yet to you I stay true, I neither flickered nor flinched, my only hunger is for you.
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 48
Mandy Brothers ________________________________________ Thy Body Yearns . . . A slew of beautiful Demons Dance slow and close Groping and grinding in the Depths of my mind . . . Temptation. Entwined in dark scarlet silk, Thy body yearns for expert touch . . . Wonder. Breasts swell, As rough hands possess thy body . . . â€”A fleeting thought As the Demons run their hands Over each other. Slowly groping and grinding In the depths of my mind.
James C. Spitler ________________________________________ The Oath Our redden souls cleansed in the purity of dusk. White moonlight peeling back years of dried and thickened blood. Shackles of shame unlatch from our bodies, clattering to the ground, giving way to a breath of relief. At dawn we were sinners... but at dusk we are saved. No longer are we drenched in the shame of our past. We are renewed at last...we are redeemed. The Redemption of the Red Dawn Protectors
James C. Spitler ________________________________________ The Promise Looking back at where I stand, I am finally free from the oppression and oppressors. Standing within the chapel of my god, armed with clean yet stainless dark armor. A symbol of the purity that I have received. As I look towards the entry way of the church, the marble archway that guards this scarred place begins to glisten and shed a comforting blanket of darkness embedded with the constellations of the twilight sky. But as I watch the constellations move and sway, six knights each with a spectral form step my way, breaking the darkness, embodying similar armor as to mine. A promise was made to these six men. A promise that I would redeem them even after death. Years of torture and waging war that the seven of us endured Weâ€”The Red Dawn can now rest upon that White Dusk. The Legacy of the Red Dawn
Nur Muhammad Renollet ________________________________ Identity Crisis Who are we but beings immortally wedded to our names Beings who claim to hold values, ethics, morals, and desires close to our hearts only to betray them for the affection of others… Or ourselves We preach of how to be a person of peace and integrity to our new found generation only to preach to them twenty years later how to undermine their heart’s rival so they can climb up the figment that is the social ladder. Justifying everything with the term of “It’s not personal… Just business.” Are we hypocrites? Or are we just never content with what we have with what we want with what we are And if this is the case are we to evermore bequeath another truthful word? Or will it just be an eldritch howl of hypocrisy and anguish? Who are we but beings who immortally are in love with the beauty that is conquest and tribulations? For all of infinity what do we see our race accomplish and commit? Bloodshed Death Tragedy Misfortune Revenge Agony Betrayal Infidelity ! So what right do we have to conquer the sphere where all known life dwells? 52
The answer is one shrouded behind veils that are as heavy as iron curtainsâ€Ś But who are we but beings who struggle to even breath a fresh gasp of air on this life giving planet in an otherwise lifeless universe.
Aristea Fulcher Metamorphosis 53
Jeremy Joiner __________________________________________ State of Disunion I see the truth behind the suit and tie the loot and pride You supersize your wallet while the troops go ride to shoot and die Proof aside the public loves to crucify the losing side Try to stand up to the tide and bruise a thigh Shine a lamp to scrutinize the root of this and lose an eye Now try to plan a future while the youth are getting euthanized Products of the institution rooted where they used to fly Sitting getting stoned like they stared into Medusa’s eyes Witnessing their throne get ensnared by a coup of lies Citizens in their homes getting carried off into the night Fruitless tries to slew this rise of human rights abuses by Opportunist politicians’ lobbyist with ruthless guise Sodomites with nukes the size of houses how’s this food for mind? How would you fix our broken globe; glue and lots of suture ties? Subdue the pilot to survive we’re cruising a flight to suicide
Michelle Lardie-Guzek ___________________________________ You Walk Free Do you remember that first glance? Cuz I do The electric shiver shooting from toes to heart Breaking up that steady beat Do you remember that first smile? Honey I could never forget The warmth in my stomach like three shots of cheap vodka downed one right after the other. Do you remember our first conversation? The first time we held hands? When I realized you were completely clueless about how others saw you? The first time I saw you weep, your pain doubled in me. MY GOD GIRL! The sound of your voice ripped me apart and sewed me up a new person ready and able to love myself for who I was… But who was that? What the fuck am I? And you don’t feel what I do, do you? And now I see it all All the foolish times I thought friends meant more than nothing And our last conversation I was willing to take a chance But the chains of expectations Hold me down And you don’t even glance back as you walk away Walk free
This poem first appeared in the WCC Poetry Club/Bailey Library anthology Lovesick, in February 2020. 55
Shani Van Heerde ______________________________________ Fading Kindergarten. That’s when we met We didn’t talk much I still sat alone at recess Sorting the woodchips under the rock wall But I knew he existed And I knew that he cared With both of us desperate for companionship, We slowly let each other into our lives Friendship What a strange feeling My first yet not my last Fifth Grade. Six years We’d been friends for so long so why Why was he fading away? Sure, I had tons of new friends People I talked to and played with Yet he drifted away, practically ignoring me Wait, what did they just say? That person… they called me weird. But he’s my friend He’ll stand up for me That’s what friends do, right? Wrong. Friends stay silent Friends do not help Friends forget you Sixth Grade. Seven years 56
Advanced math I had friends, yet they weren’t in this one class So I worked in solitude during “partner work” I didn’t choose to be alone But nobody chose me Until he did He slowly started to open up And so did I Because I missed my friend And I didn’t forget Seventh Grade. Bruises Scratches These were the marks that she left on me I begged him My first friend My closest friend I begged him to tell her off ‘Cause she listened to him She’d stop for him But he didn’t Because she was “just playing” She didn’t mean to bite me I was at fault I shouldn’t have blamed her And for that I was sorry Eighth Grade. “Siblings” That’s what our mutual friends called us We were that close We laughed and joked Cried and mourned No matter what the mood We did it together 57
People thought we were dating but, no We were in this weird area More than dating Like kin Siblings So when the rumors started And an ex-friend began talking And I said some things I regret I expected him to be there To comfort me To take my side because he was my best friend He had told me that he was But he didn’t He tried to put us back together He ignored my claims He laughed with her in front of me, Rubbing salt in the wound I begged for him to help me I needed his aid and care I needed his kindness because he was my closest confidante That’s what he said he was I silently pleaded for him to save me Yet by the time he noticed her act By the time he cared She had won The deed was done My heart was scarred I acted like it was fine Like he was still my best friend But it wasn’t Because the one time I needed him He wasn’t there I don’t know if he ever was 58
Ninth Grade. High school We had one class together And this was the year everything came crashing down Math The one hour I saw him He started to slip away Like water through my fingers Our conversations were short and brief As if he didn’t even want to be around me It hurt. It hurt so bad. We would argue often He was controlling and stubborn I was argumentative and didn’t like being told what to do It didn’t work Had it ever? Dungeons and Dragons was the worst He wanted to do everything To be the big boss and control it all He ruined the game for me and the others Slowly, we drifted away I brought it up to him I was scared I didn’t want to be alone I didn’t want to lose anyone else I grasped at straws I did anything to bring us closer I tried to tell him how I felt He just told me that we shouldn’t force it Shouldn’t force it? We should just be ripped apart by the cruel hand of fate? What’s this crap? I grew melancholic Tears flooded my eyes nearly every night 59
But I never told him I didnâ€™t know if I could trust him I did what I could to force it but slowly I gave up. I accepted the truth. Weâ€™re fading. We always have been. Fading. What a strange feeling.
Aristea Fulcher In Frame 60
Shaina Larmee _________________________________________ Over and Over Keep expanding your soul, Take the plunge, Be rich in thought, Eloquent in tongue.
Sad Song in Progress It takes courage to win the battle inside Even more to win the war that you hide At the end of the day the smile on your face has worn away Deep circles under your eyes Your hands shake, they cannot decide what to do next, so they shake and wait for your next command. What is your next command? What is your next command? Tell me the next command.
Steve Bannow _________________________________________ Forgiven Mid-July in Vietnam’s south and Ho Chi Minh City … Much more than a mere tourist’s visit to another Southeast Asia locale. Today’s day-long visit to the Mekong Delta … electrifying – A world that teems … activity, commerce, culture … Life. Wonder-filled memories of the Delta will remain within - always. But … I’m still processing the events of yesterday - the most incredibly important, Emotionally draining episode on this journey -perhaps any journey - of mine. Among other never-to-be-forgotten events of the day, The Vietnam’s National War Remnants Museum, dedicated to the War, our War. For me, not much learned about that awful conflict. I entered already knowing…. Still, almost as soon as I entered, I was shaken – By a jolting reaffirmation of so many things that I knew about the War. All so vivid here … here where it all transpired, here in Southeast Asia, here in Vietnam, here - At this moment – in this city. You see, my Southeast Asia journey - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam has had a purpose – Far beyond, far more important than mere travel. This has been a quest … for Catharsis – for me as an American, a retired military officer, a Humanitarian, a Lover of Life and Peace, one who abhors unfairness, greed, and violence … Unknowing if I would actually complete my search while I was here …. But then … an epiphany – so suddenly, so fundamentally powerful – Upon me and happening so very suddenly. My slow, deliberate museum time almost complete, I began to drift toward a group of people gathered by a door to the other world. All adults - various ages, working on crafts, engaged with … Life. 62
Pleasantness … laughing …. Joy. Each one profoundly struck physically or cognitively - at some point - by Agent Orange. Close by, a contribution box with a small sign of explanation. I was naturally drawn to donate - a large Vietnamese note Almost automatically placing it in the box. I remember … now; time had stopped: I felt alone, no noise, almost nothing … But feelings, indescribable feelings that I am still attempting to fully understand Appreciate a better word. Slowly drawing my hand back from giving the bill, I was brought back to the present and the presence of others by a voice full of warmth, kindness, and grace: “Thank you.” The man (probably mid-thirties) – all of him – in a chair. I have travelled the world and have seen people of all shapes and sizes, But I have never seen a human being so completely twisted and crumpled ... Yet, all that I really saw was his lovely smiling face. In response, my best attempt at a smile. Then it just came out as I knelt down beside him to look at him directly. “I am … sorry” is all that came out. The man - quizzical - seemed to be asking: “What on earth do you mean?” A brief pause, then: “I sincerely apologize for what my country did.…” Sweeping my arm and so referring to everything around us, certainly including the man himself. He understood immediately, saw what must have been profound sadness in my eyes, and … Simply smiled again – even more broadly and more (was it?) forgivingly than before – and nodded. I rose slowly and left quietly. I know he watched me leave and wished me well as I did. I found a bench outside on that beautiful balmy day – the breeze blowing slightly. I sat down … and wept and quietly thanked the man for what he had done and for who he was. 63
S.L. Schultz ____________________________________________ Wash before the Blues She gently lifts his hand to wash the dark dry blood away as if he was a babe. At the age of twenty, his body swayed and slumped behind the mounted gun on the roof of the armored Humvee. Parts of that body had blown into the air to fall apart from the whole. She washes away the blood the bits of jagged flesh the dirt the dust the mist that the impact left behind. Will she wash the wounds out too? Of course. Or the parts severed away now separate from the whole? You bet. Did she lift that hand and say yes the skin color matches those parts the hair color appears the same as the soft pale fuzz upon the arms The blood well that looks the same as all. But see his fingernail so carefully trimmed the scar jagged once deep snow white upon his wrist. His family will remember that. They will share stories the mother too tell how she washed his tender flesh when he was small. There was no dirt no dust no mist no blood all parts were then intact. She finishes the wash the pink and dark red lines complete their trail into the drain. She dresses him in his Blues. The cloth clinging perfect in the fit carefully modified to accommodate the missing the sunken the protruding. The medals will be there maybe more than one pinned above the heart 64
that will never feel never heal never beat not one little palpitation or quiver not once more ever.
Aristea Fulcher Negative Space Woman 65
Ron Pagereski __________________________________________ Dark Angel In the moonlight I saw a shadow, somewhat sinister, dark and sallow. I walked beside it, kept the pace, was afraid to look into its face. A spectre, eerie and so dark, it made no sound, its blade an arc. The reaper had not come for me, that made me feel safe and free. It left me and went on its way, it will return for me one day.... my bags will be packed.
Janel R. Baker __________________________________________ Do You Remember? Do you remember the first memory? The first thought? First breath? Do you remember beginning? Is creation memory? Or is remembering creation?
Brenda Allen Millett ____________________________________ Rothko’s Loom My attic holds an old rug vibrant and thick, left folded and mutable. I have kept this remnant, a carpet of dreams – my ode to Mark Rothko. His paintings, fields of color soaked, stained, and painted into canvas, distill the world. My rug is born of patience, with layers of wool trimmed and woven through the warp and weft of life with nothing of transcendence of planes deep and wide – yet solid, grounded fiercely in the world.
Lynn D. Gilbert _________________________________________ Rivalry for Esther Bar-Shai Barn of faded iron-oxide red in a fenced field with shreds of cornstalk makes me wish I could paint, like my friend who mounted her own show after a mere three years of lessons. The sky is a cobalt blue today with soft, rounded clouds hanging low— bright white with gray undersides— moving northward at a barely perceptible pace. An earthen ramp, overgrown with weeds, runs up to the second level of the barn, and above the gable-end door is an opening to allow hay bales to be hoisted into the loft. I see dark owl holes high up, built in hopes that owls would make a home there and prey on vermin. In open space under the barn are tractor implements parked at careless angles, rusting. This barn has gone a long time without paint, but “Bull Durham” in tall yellow letters can be made out facing the dirt road. Scattered black birds glean the cornfield. I wanted to paint the scene as she could. 69
Diane M. Laboda _______________________________________ From the Edges of Light and Shadow I I walk the edges of shadows. Some days the specter of grief walks beside me, trying to grab my hand, my attention. I know if I let it in I will lose myself. I walk the edges of shadows. I breathe the damp, cold air, I lose my warmth, I wither. I resist the dark companion of grief, fearing Iâ€™ll disappear. I walk the edges of shadows, and on that edge faintly lives the light of your eyes. I never want to lose that sparkle, ever be blinded to your love, so nearly taken away. I walk on the edges of the light, taking your hand in dreams, guided from the dark for moments at a time, more each day, always looking behind at my shadowâ€”alone. II Yesterday I felt invisible, closed eyes, closed heart. No one looked me in the eyes, afraid of revealing too much. 70
Today my tears went unnoticed. They evaporated before they hit the ground, feeing more like raindrops in my soul. Tomorrow my heart will be untouched by the sun, sullen as it is, broken but mending, unsettled but beating still, wanting only to be wrapped in your love once more. Forever will you dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but me. Words are no preparation for where you have to go, but echo deep inside where I hold your voice. III I listen to the still point, where breath begins and ends, for what sense is made of a grieving heart? It still beats a little too fast, a bit panicked, a bit denied. I listen for the still point to break open in a melody, accompanied by the lyrics of my missing you, the rhythm of my broken heart, the white-hot fire that resides there every day. I listen in the stillness of my breath, the raising and lowering of my chest, for your voice to echo through our past, to dance a little and smile.
I listen at the still point where neither sound nor silence shares the tale of two widows, one lost in shadow and one in finding light, and search for the shimmer of your eyes, the lilt of your laugh, the warmth of your heart, and redemption.
Aristea Fulcher An Experiment with Sharp Shapes 72
Adella Blain ___________________________________________ Everlasting You left me Baudelaire, Neruda, Pinsky, and Yeats -three boxes of poetry books, some airy as Mary Oliver’s Morning Glories, some weighty odes and elegies like Anna Akhmatova’s, Brodsky’s, and other cold war Russians’. For forty plus years you found the masters, collected laureates from here and across the pond, hailed the women - Pre-Raphaelites and Feministslaughed and keened with your spiritual kinsmen, Brendan Behan and Seamus Heaney. You read your favorites to me. And now I’m knowing you again, reading the turned-down pages, remembering your delight in love’s physicality, fanning myself from scorched syllables – Baudelaire’s “evenings lusted by the burning coal,” Percy’s “love of honey and fire,” Neruda’s Carnal Apple. I read while sorrow seeps through the lines, while loss drips slowly upon loss, like saline solution through an IV tube. Your picks prompt memories – Walcott’s Islands, or Billy Collin’s Snow Day, 73
each brooding metaphor a reminder or a caution like Yeats’ Oh, Do Not Love Too Long. I ask myself why open another box, why rush to pages with peeled back corners, as if I’ll find secrets of longevity coded in iambic refrains or the meaning of life in e. e. cummings’ oddly punctuated non-stanzas? Am I trying to corral your poetic soul, not let it abandon me, or am I grasping a chain of words that will link us together still until my poetry-reading days are done?
Aristea Fulcher Writing with Tulips 74
Art Gallery One ________________
Two Trees 79
Watching You 82
Whispered Journey 83
Street, Tuscan Town 86
Emily Iacofano Spring Thoughts
Emily Iacofano Sanctuary 89
Emily Iacofano Mystify
Emily Iacofano Blue Swan
Daniel Raubolt Law Quad Study Hall Polaroid Pic
Kathrine Snow Flowers for Ghost 93
Kathrine Snow _________________________________________
Thick the scent of baked green things rises heavy from all the ground. Light hangs low and dusky over the fields, warming the bows of trees and brushing the grasses in painted gold. But the hour grows late, and the glory is fading. Low the light falls, softer grow the shadows, till all is grey with dusk. Glory turns to glory as darkness claims the earth. The little people of the brush greet it, voices raised in lighthearted symphony. Winds play freely now, sweet with evening dew. Slowly stir the creatures of the dark, stretching, yawning, waiting for the wings of night. Hooves pound fast along the path; the singers are stunned to silence. Hard does ragged traveler ride, collar up and cloak pulled tight, head down against the reins. No pleasure does this one take in song or cool or curling shadow, for tonight the full moon rises. The world waits with bated breath, eyes raised for the rising of the full, round queen. Yet the traveler tears on, his beastâ€™s eyes rolling and hide laid with foamâ€”the terror of his master his own. An inn stands by the way, though the path be narrow; the haunt of farmers and woodsmen and travelers alike. Its windows shine bright. The sound of merriment swings wide over the open road. To this shelter the traveler rides. Pays he the boy full half crown for the keeping of his horse and retreats to this haunt of 94
revelry and light. Many a patron shares this den tonight, for ’tis the season of the traveler. It is a well tread path, despite its humble presence, and the inn well known for ale. Many a spirited tale rings from the beams, loud and laughing, flushed with meat and drink. Late the crowd lingers, and later does the traveler retire, light and warm with merriment. The old stairs do creak, but no terror does it hold as the traveler retreats to his room. Like the falling of coins and far off glories, ale rings in his ears. Fear has no place in this yellowed haze, only a fool's joy and a sluggard’s rest. He takes his chambers raucously, throwing his boots to the side, and down he stumbles into the clasp of his bed, sinking low to realms of sleep. In some far room chimes the strike of midnight. Hardly does the solemn note disturb his heavy slumber, but another sound does ring soon after, rending veils of sleep. Softly the traveler stirs, knowing not why he wakes. Then steals the sound again, a fleeting call: his name. Up the traveler rises, slow, eyes blurred with waning sleep. Deep are the shadows of the room, and not a soul he sees. “Who calls?” “I,” comes the voice again, high and sweet as summer’s eve. Curiosity claims his fluttering heart and forth goes he to the shadowed halls. Not all dark lies the passage beyond his chamber door. Many candles mark the path, dripping forth their yellow light. Between the gold do shadows lie in churning pools of ink. Light to dark, light to dark, light to dark he treads. The shadows follow close behind, clinging as the morning mist. Not a soul he sees nor voice he hears in the dark, lapping hall. The silence breathes like waiting things, and slowly does the tardy fear overtake his steps. Back toward his chamber he turns his trembling tread, but a figure there does wait. A form fair and royal is the one his path does block, with brow high and noble, and skin as bright as ice. Hair of midnight hue frames the cobalt eyes, flowing free, light as air and smooth as satin silk. Around the queenly figure a stately cloak does drape. Thick are its folds, misty with softest silver. No fringe has this shining garment but deeper grow the shades, until softly does it fade to waiting shadow around her porcelain feet. Back the traveler starts. His face does match her pallor. The holy cross he 95
marks across his heaving chest. She laughs, high and sweet like many silver bells. “The mark of my master fears me not. Come, man, I would have a word with thee.” Soft is the voice, sweet as violet's breath. Rippling, the note does waver with angel-like divinity. “What would you have of me?” says he, though he dare approach no further. “To know what I have done to earn your sharp disdain.” “No grief have I with thee, fair maid,” is the traveler’s reply. His form does shake all anew with thought of such offence. “Yet you have fled me and often.” “I swear I know thee not.” Slowly does her smile bloom, “You do know me, traveler, and many times have ye fled before my face. It is for this I seek you out: to know of my offence.” Silent stands the man; no word has he to answer. Softly comes the woman near with slow and gentle steps. “Have ye not, this very night, flown with terror before the coming dusk? Yet fear ye not the darkness, that is silly child's fear, but better and wiser is that than the terror that you hold. “My hand is the blanket that bid the birds of morrow sleep. At the coming of my steps the children of night do sing for joy. The cool, the mist, the morning dew are all my goodly gifts. By my light I draw the fishes to fill your waiting nets. “I am helpmate to the sun, his ever humble bride. He bows his great head so I may rule the night; my title and my radiance his gift to a faithful wife. The stars, our dear ones, fill the sky with joy. You love them and their merry dances, but you love me not. “How have I wronged ye, man? What is my offense? For which crimes do you fear me, and what malicious acts do you dread? Never have I struck ye, nor have I ever caused thee harm. The terrors of the night love not my face, both man and beast alike. My light lays bare their wicked deeds; away they hide on my shining nights of glory, filled with terror that the light may take them. Art thou a wicked man that you join in their numbers?” The traveler answers not, his face white as ash. A reply he tries to make, but none comes forth. For now does he know her, the one he hath disgraced. Falls he to the floor, no strength has he to stand. At her feet he lies, too afeared to plead. Down on him the queen does look with smile proud and soft and pitying. 96
Raises she her silver mantel, and away the vision fades. Up the traveler starts. In his bed he lies, breath fast, face asheen with sweat. Night lies thickly still across the tavern chamber. Long since has his candle faded, drowned in dripping wax. Away has fled the vision, but the memory grips him still. Fear and wonder mix in portions equal, overturning his poorly addled mind. From the window a breeze does blow, chill and sweet with summerâ€™s breath. Wide are thrown the shutters just as they were left. Through the aged panes does the moon frame her face. Low her silver light does drip across the mottled floor, then up again the beam does arch to shine across his pillow.
Kathrine Snow Poltergeist 97
Gabriel Peoples ________________________________________ Come Find Me “I'm hiding - come find me!” When five-year-old George Saint heard that through the dream fog that had so pleasantly enraptured his young mind, his eyes snapped open. He was groggy and his brain felt all muddled but he could still understand what he had just heard. As he lay in bed, underneath his Buzz Lightyear blanket, he clutched it against himself tighter and tried to ignore it. Maybe he had just imagined something talking in that strangely girly, high-pitched voice. There surely wasn’t anything in his room to be scared of. Only his bed, toys, his clothes and everything else which belonged to him, like the old deer skull his uncle gave him, the one with the big grin and a few missing teeth. "I'm hiding - come find me!" George had pulled the covers over his head and curled into a ball within a second. He had closed his eyes tightly because if he couldn’t see it, it couldn’t see him. And if it couldn’t see him, he wouldn’t be taken away. That’s the conclusion his still-developing mind had reached. It still hadn’t decided what was speaking, however. How high were the odds it was a ghost girl in a white gown covered in blood with stringy black hair like he had seen in so many movies that mother grounded him for watching? After all, that was something that wasn’t real and never would be. "I'm hiding - come find me!" If there's one thing George had learned, three times meant this was no coincidence. He didn’t know what a coincidence was, but father had explained that it was the same thing happening over and over the same way. At least, that was the best he could remember. George opened his eyes just the tiniest bit and gently pulled the covers away. He fully expected for something to grab the blanket and rip it off him, screaming in his face then biting it off. He pressed his hand against it to prevent such an event. "I'm hiding - come find me!" As he slowly pushed the blanket off, his small body tight with fear of a vampire or werewolf, his hand kept covering his eyes. When nothing grabbed his throat with thin, spindly fingers attached to rotting hands, he slowly looked out 98
through his fingers, taking slow and deep breaths. Oh, how he wished for a nightlight. He’d been most sincere about not needing one when mother and father asked him. But the full moon was streaming in through his windows, so it wasn’t all bad. Everything looked fine and dandy. The windows were latched firmly, keeping out the whistling night air but letting him see all the bright twinkling stars and the moon which was so kindly lighting up his room. His toys were on their shelves, shoes by the door"I'm hiding - come find me!" And now that he was getting used to the voice, it wasn't as scary as it used to be. It was just repeating one phrase after all. What's so scary about that? Nothing had happened to him either, so maybe this was just something silly. He didn’t know where the voice was coming from, though. Only that it was in this room. So, obviously, he had to find it. "I'm hiding - come find me!” George got out of bed. His small, bare feet softly tread across the carpet as he clutched the sleeve of his pajama shirt against his palm, conscious of the big red S on the chest. First, he looked under his bed, and found only a few missing socks When he got back, he found himself face to face with the grinning deer skull on his bedside dresser. The empty eye sockets stared into him with a joking malevolence, like one of those clowns who often used too much make-up for their outfit and ended up with smiles which were too big. George didn’t like clowns who did that. Of course, the skull wasn’t a clown but its smile was still too big. If his uncle were here, he’d take care of this monster, like the massive pack of a hundred wolves he killed with a knife. So he said, anyway. “I’m hiding - come find me!” George turned around, now certain that the voice was coming from his closet. He kept his school uniforms in there so they wouldn’t get lost or left on the floor. It had a white door covered in Superman and Spiderman stickers, his favorite superheroes. He’d made sure they were on that door because then the monsters in his closet would be too scared to come out. But he hadn’t thought about what would happen if they had decided to keep him up for most of the night by making stupid sounds. Should he get his parents? "I'm hiding - come find me!" No. They were probably asleep. George didn't need to bother them! He was a big boy! And big boys were brave. They didn’t need their parents to deal with 99
silly little things in the night like a girlish voice which kept saying the same thing over and over. Clenching his hands into small fists, George carefully began tiptoeing across the soft carpet. "I'm hiding - come find me!" George stopped, taking in a small breath of air. Then he made sure his feet were flat on the ground. No more walking on tiptoes, only scaredy-cats did that. He wouldn’t walk on his tiptoes. No, he just had to march straight from his bed to the closet door, which he did with gusto. He was breathing in and out, slow and steady, easy-peasy lemon squeezy. "I'm hiding - come find me!" Thinking about it, George decided it was a little girl's voice. Why else would it be sound so girly? But there was something strange about it. Something just a tiny bit weird which made it sound nothing like a person’s voice. It sounded like they were trying to mimic a person’s voice, but were too high-pitched to get it right. "I'm hiding - come find me!" George slowly raised his hand to grasp the closet door knob but stopped. What if the owner of the voice wasn't a little girl but something pretending to be a little girl? Perhaps it could be some big hairy man with big hairy hands and feet, sharp pointy fangs and sharp pointy claws. Yes, he’d heard stories of men like that, men who enjoyed snatching little boys like him and dragging them off to their underground holes in the woods, cooking them alive in a stew. Or what if it wasn’t a hairy man but a witch with a crooked nose and wrinkled fingers who cooked children in a pie? "I'm hiding - come find me!" There was only one way to find out. His parents weren’t here to help him nor did he need them to, as he reminded himself again. He was a very brave boy who sometimes stayed up late with his father watching scary movies and had wandered off into the woods by himself many times. He wouldn’t admit it was scary, so why should this be? He gripped the doorknob and pulled it open. "I'm hiding - come find me!" said a voice muffled by a pile of clothes. George began systematically digging through them until he found it - the thing which had woken him up. It was a Hiding Harry doll, a plastic monkey wearing a blue shirt and smiling in a way which George thought looked like it wanted to eat a booger. Picking up Harry, he turned him off without further ado. So it had been something silly after all, not a monster which hides in the closet or under the bed. 100
But then he remembered something his parents always made sure he did before going to bed. A very important part of his bedtime routine. He had turned all his electronic toys off before going to bed, and hadnâ€™t he put Harry on the toy shelf? "I'm hiding," said a deep, echoing voice from behind him which he did not recognize, "come find me, George."
Kathrine Snow Candle Dragon 101
Kaden Kumpelis ________________________________________ A Walk Home Cynthia was working late, again. This was the third time this week alone. She had just finished work at the town pharmacy and health clinic. She smiled as she got into her “piece-of-shit car” and she prayed that this wouldn’t be the night that it just wouldn’t start. Unfortunately for her, it was. She gave the car door a nice hard slam as she decided to walk home and deal with the car in the morning. Luckily enough, her house wasn’t too far of a walk. Cynthia turned and began walking down the sidewalk in the direction of her house. A cool fall breeze blew by as she tightened her jacket. She stopped to look at the trees being whipped by the wind and noticed a light through the branches. She continued walking, following the light with her eyes. As she walked, the trees started to thin out and the light became clearer to her as to what it could be. “A fire?” Cynthia thought. She started to become concerned, but this concern was soon consoled as she began to hear music. She thought that maybe this was just a house party, but then she realized where she was. She was in front of the town’s cemetery. Confused, she walked into the cemetery to have a closer look. She walked over a small hill to see a massive group of people sitting in chairs and standing around a large bonfire. The music was just loud enough to be heard from the sidewalk, but now it was quite loud. She went a little closer to the party and saw a man wave to her to come and join the party. Cynthia didn’t recognize him but felt inclined to come closer to the party anyway. She was right in the thick of it now. People were laughing and having fun around her. She wondered why they would have a party in a cemetery, but then remembered that she should be walking home. As she began to leave, the man who waved to her approached her. He looked as if he was trying to say something, but was drowned out by the cacophony of sound. Cynthia said, “The music is too loud. I can’t hear you” and that she was just about to leave. The man gestured to a tree near the entrance of the cemetery. Cynthia gathered that he wanted to talk over there so that they could hear each other. The man led and Cynthia reluctantly followed. As they neared the tree Cynthia realized that he was going to walk into a 102
tombstone. It was too late to warn him. He fell forward over a tombstone and onto a muddy grave. Cynthia thought that the way he fell and how he didnâ€™t see the tombstone was odd, but dismissed the thought, figuring it was because it was quite dark. The man laid there and didnâ€™t move or acknowledge what had happened. Cynthia asked if he was all right, but he did not reply. Cynthia worried about his physical condition and offered to help get him to the sidewalk to see the extent of the damage. The man nodded and Cynthia struggled to lift him up off the ground. Both of her hands now completely covered in mud, she was finally able to lift him up from the ground. She then put his arm around her to help him along. They start walking down the hill. They finally made it to the sidewalk. Cynthia noticed that everything had gone dead quiet. The music had stopped playing and the wind had stopped blowing the trees. She started to realize how cold the manâ€™s arm felt. She turned to look at him but found only a cold decaying skeleton. Cynthia screamed and let go of the body. It fell to the ground facing the cemetery. Turning around, she saw no fire, no people at all, only a tombstone next to a tree with upturned earth.
This story was awarded third place in the 2020 L.A.N.D. Statewide Student Writing Contest.
Kathrine Snow Into the Forest 103
Elise Ambriz ___________________________________________ After Work I just got off my shift that is 2 doubles just this weekend. I leave the hospital. It is raining. I see Joe. It's been a while, too much of a while. I sit next to him. I break the ice with: I've missed you. He reciprocates and brings me in for a warm hug. I believe he means it. I'm happy he doesn't harbor any bad feelings. It really is my fault we fell out of contact. We chat and watch the rain. I like the rain. The rain is good. The rain collects, forming into puddles. I love how it reconstructs the landscape: lakes where there shouldn't be; forming rivers. The rivers--carrying all things down, washing things away. But that is good, sometimes you need things to wash away. Eventually my mind slips back to my shift, as it always does. I wonder how much I slept these past two days. If I slept. I wonder how my patient is. I feel guilty for clamping the drainpipe wrong, for wetting the sheets. At least I remember to wear the gloves. He interrupts my thoughts to show me the worms littering the sidewalk. I wonder how long weâ€™ve sat in silence. That's what is nice about Joe. He doesn't pry or constantly vie for my attention. We can sit in silence. It is comfortable. I feel guilty for losing touch with him. But we met a long time ago; we were young, and I got busy, especially with work. I still should've visited him more. But the thing with Joe is I can see him and talk, or not talk and feel perfectly comfortable. I love the way he speaks. Bitter. He speaks bitterly, yet kindly. The kind of bitterness that makes you pucker with no desire to spit--a refreshing kind of bitter. I understand his bitterness. Still, he holds no malice. He is peaceful and makes all feel just such. So we sit in the rain, silently, chatting, watching, and for that short time, all is good.
Sabrina Martell ________________________________________ Finishable Games I sit next to you, enduring heated seats you love so much. We really need to buy a car with dual heating. Or maybe you should just stop using the heated seats when it’s fifty-six degrees outside. You have the advantage, watching the road as you drive, but I refuse to be the first to look this time. I will not turn to look at you. I always break first. You won the last discussion, too. “I hate it when you go slow,” I say playfully, because I’m mature, and winning isn’t important to me. But the worst thing about you is that you don’t know the game. You just win it every time. “I’m going the speed limit,” you say. “You’re just reckless.” For a moment, I sulk in insecurity, consider putting on headphones. You always put on headphones, and it makes me feel unimportant, but I have nothing to listen to. Nothing loud enough to distract me. So I go on attempting. “I’m going to lunch with Max on Monday,” I say. “Sounds fun,” you say. I wonder if you do feel jealousy, but have a talent for hiding it. Your voice holds no lilt or unspoken motive. Your eyes, kindly impassive. And I didn’t even realize I was staring at them. So I lose again, and I immediately begin to fantasize about our next discussion when I win. I’ll stare out the window or the TV or anything more engaging, make an offhand comment that hurts you. Unintentionally of course, as I am above petty remarks. I mention how busy I am and namedrop friends that I will be spending my time with, all without letting on how hard I try. But most importantly, this time I win.
Teagan Parkinson _______________________________________ Bloom “How on earth did you afford this?” Wade leaned against the door of a sleek, red convertible with its top down. Her dark hair cascaded over her shoulders and led my eyes down to the plunge neckline of her fire-engine red dress that offered a stunning view of her cleavage. My eyes traveled further down. That sinful dress accentuated every outline and curve on her body. A simple pair of stiletto red heels adorned her feet, making the muscles in her calves more prominent. I felt utterly helpless, as this woman began breaking down my psyche. She grinned. “A master never reveals her secrets. Hop in, Hot Stuff.” “Me, Hot stuff?” I laughed. “You’re not serious.” “Yes, you.” Wade held open the door to the passenger side, but I stayed put. “Where are we going?” “Road trip.” Wade gestured toward the door, as if her words had explained everything. “Now that we’re clear on that, let’s go.” “You said we were going to a lake,” I responded, folding my arms across my chest. “We need a car like this to go to Lake Champlain?” “We are going to a lake. It’s just that one’s a little busy for what we want to do.” “Are you going to murder me? Is that why we’re going on a road trip and you’re giving me next to no information.” A broad smile spread on Wade’s face. The brilliance of it smile caught me off guard. “With my tongue and my fingers only, I promise.” She kept her hands on the door. “Besides, you won’t get anywhere in life without taking some risks. If you’re having second thoughts, I can just go—“ “No. I’m coming.” I let Wade close the door behind me, as I took my seat in the passenger’s side. My fingers ran over the beautiful interior of the convertible, feeling the smooth, black leather. “So…where did you get this car?” “Hotwired it from one of the lots down the street,” Wade answered. “You’re kidding, right?” Since Wade had spoken without hesitation, I felt the need to make sure she hadn’t just broken the law. “You have to be.” “Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not.” 106
“Oh my god, and I’m getting in a car with you? My parents are going to kill me, when they find out.” Wade looked in the side mirror and quickly pulled into the busy street. The engine purred and sent waves of vibration through the seats. She put a hand on my upper thigh, while keeping her eyes on the road. The effortless move heightened my senses, and I realized just how easily she’d managed to arouse me. I glanced down at the hand and followed it up to get her full image in my view. The light wind blew through her hair—carrying with it her intoxicating cinnamon spice scent— and she looked oh-so-cool with one hand on the wheel. “They don’t need to know.” The highway Wade turned onto was overhung with trees like a magnificent sprawling tunnel. An orange, pink, and gold sunset filtered through the trees. I thought of the warm hand slowly moving up my thigh. “It’s nobody’s damn business what we do.”
Kathrine Snow Garden Pike 107
Kathrine Snow Summer Harvest
Art Gallery Two ________________
Deb Guidot Gabbro Falls, Bessemer [watercolor] 109
Deb Guidot Eagle Harbor Lighthouse [watercolor]
Deb Guidot Chapel Rock [watercolor] 111
Deb Guidot Apple Blossoms [watercolor]
Deb Guidot Country Life [watercolor]
Deb Guidot Where the Fun Is II [mixed media]
Deb Guidot The Lonely Tree [pen and ink]
Tom Zimmerman Four Writing Center Portraits [Sharpie on cardboard]
Nancy Coen Becker
Buckeye Trail 119
Erica Perry On the Threshold 120
Dennis Gordon Woodcut Image Development The photographic process has been part of printmaking for over 50 years, prevalent in photo etching, photo lithography and photo silk screening. Woodcuts are the main exception to this process, although methods of carving have expanded, using tools such as the dremel tool. Laser etching of wood and other materials has been commonplace in the craft and marketing industry for many years, but generally, the material that is being etched is the end product. I have been exploring ways to make a wood etching function as a woodcut for printmaking. It has taken hundreds of hours of software learning and experimentation, but some exciting results are developing. Along with the woodcut image, I have been working on background images that may be abstract or semi-representational, and applied as rolled on relief inks, or as pan pastel. The woodcut images begin with a photograph I have taken or a photograph of one of my drawings or paintings. While some prints remain black and white only, on many I add some color. The process starts with printing the woodcut in black ink to get an idea of how I want to proceed with background color. Then color is applied to a blank piece of printmaking paper, and when that has dried, the woodplate is inked up and printed on top of that.
Angkor Wat Reflections
Attitude Is Everything
Cherry Hill Preserve in Green Light
Daniel Raubolt Retro Mirror Selfie
Daniel Raubolt _________________________________________ Flashback For thirty-plus years, my father worked at C.S. Mott Hospital as a registered nurse in the hectic environment of the children’s unit. My mother transferred there in the mid ’80s from Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, soon encountering and dating my father in the same ward as they worked their tedious shifts. They wedded some five years later. It was there I entered the world on February 2, 1996, approximately 10:00 AM, during a glacial blizzard with a foot of accumulation. However, our house and the hospital were spared from the paralyzing blackout that ensued. Three years later, my mother became a stay-athomer, oftentimes bringing me on Fridays to visit my father, passing through mazes of busy corridors to the recovery room. We conversed during his breaktimes in the cafeteria, as I indulged on green peas and mac and cheese from a scratched-up plastic tray, along with a carton of 2% milk. There he continued to tend to the little ones until his retirement as the hospital relocated some thirteen years later. Nearly a decade after the move, I arrived to the once industrious, now deserted, rotting complex, hoping to get a few urbex shots with my iPhone and a 1950s Argus C44 camera. Happening to notice the loading dock entrance ajar, I jerked open the double doors, which emitted a satanic rasp against concrete. After a minute of ambivalence, I passed into the bowels of the colossal medical center, skin crawling, dreading motion sensors and security cams. In the obscurity, I noticed a lit doorway. Using my phone, I began filming, reconnoitering down lengthy corridors, ramps, and stairwells, taking note of the sterile, hospital smell. Most rooms and offices were inaccessible. Beds, gurneys, and other obsolete medical equipment lined the wide hallways. Select lights still burned, buzzing in B flat in the ominous silence, along with the ghostly echoes of my footsteps. Using wall-mounted maps and directories, I entered the children’s unit, discovering four elevators. Out of impulse, I pushed the “up” button. Immediately, an abrading noise emanated above, looming hastily like a tsunami. A mechanical bell chimed, the fourth elevator door hurriedly slid open. Reluctantly, I entered a possible death trap, discovering another directory. I noticed level three had an access route to the surgical wing. Pushing “3” on the control panel, the car 128
ascended, resuming its abrasive racket. Seconds later, I reached my destination. After going through manifold automatic doors, I encountered a ramp leading into the surgical wing. It promptly triggered my recollections of being a patient, aged eight, pumped up on premeds, attired in a gray gown, butterflies in stomach, in a wheelchair, attendant vowing Iâ€™d experience not a prick of discomfort, accompanied by my father down that very slope into one of the bustling operating suites, caps, masks, and gowns galore. I was positioned face-up on the slab, adjacent a table of hemostats, scalpel blades, clamps, forceps, scissors, all preparing for an invasion. I was hooked up to a bulky heart monitor with electrodes, a cuff, an oximeter, along with the IV. A translucent mask laced with a strawberry-scented gel was situated. The odor of anesthesia intensified, my eyes rolled rearward, the whites shimmering in the brilliance of the surgical lamps. My vision morphed into blackness, paralysis commenced, the mask substituted for a respiratory tube. I was draped in sheets of aquamarine; my father departed back to his duties as the incision was made. I stared down the derelict, gray-tiled ward, emotional, ambling forward, peeking into each suite, still fully supplied, the cabinets stuffed with expired drugs. The stench of sewer gas emanated from the rusted hopper. Buckets brimmed over from a fractured ceiling pipe. I selected the roomiest suite, OR #1, switching on the overhead lights and the three kumquat slice lamps. I took a moment to absorb the melancholy, yet haunting experience, where miracles and fatalities cropped up. I repositioned the lamps, their beams soon merging into one on the dust-caked slab. With the Argus, I found just the right position for a vivid shot, cranking the wind knob, revolving the aperture to f 2.8, rotating the focus dial, double-vision marrying into single. Crouching marginally, I released the shutter, its trapdoor snap piercing the silence. The dramatic view of the slab, heart monitors, IV poles and carts flashed into an exposure on 35 mm Kodak Ektar 100 speed film. After another shot with my phone, I cut the lights, the gloominess resuming. I retraced my gurney ride to recovery, making a right, through additional automatic doors and passageways, entering the recovery ward where I soon regained consciousness, feeling quiteâ€Śaltered, hooked up to a blipping CRT monitor, my folks congratulating my gallantry through the operation. I now faced loneliness, with the occasional bed here and there, and those familiar periwinkle curtains. I entered the breakroom adjacent, discovering the bare refrigerator 129
where staff and family photos, including one of my baby bro and me, once magnetically clung like burrs. Fruit flies buzzed around the mouth of the garbage disposer. I continued my trek of the facility, visiting the patient rooms and the psych ward, all stripped bare of equipment. To my vexation, the morgue was sealed, dashing my hopes for additional dramatic photos. After hours of exploration, I called it quits, as it was already past 5:00 PM on my phone. Exiting out the loading dock, I spotted a patrol car in the distance, luckily heading opposite. I boarded Route 4 homeward bound, mesmerized and bemused, accomplishing a feat almost ostensibly impractical, yet fully unlawful. Indeed, a trip down memory lane, in a derelict setting jammed with significant family history soon to meet the wrecking ball, yet to remain cherished internally, eternally.
OR #1 130
Shannon Louise ________________________________________ Daddy’s Little Girl As a little girl, all I wanted to do is be where my dad was. He was one of those dads that every girl wishes she had. My dad would spoil us and allow things my stepmom, Lisa, or my mother, Penny, would not have allowed. My parents split up when I was three because of my father, Charles’, drinking habit. I didn’t see my dad’s drinking habit as an issue growing up. His drinking got bad when I was four, and my mom stopped letting us go to his house. My dad had sandy blond-looking hair and the brightest emerald blue eyes that reminded you of the sky. He always had a Basic 100 in one hand smoking and a beer in the other. His nails were yellow from all the smoke. Even though my dad had flaws, I remembered being absolutely devastated that I couldn’t see him. I didn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t let my twin brother, Chaz, and me see my dad. I was only four, but I had negative feelings and resentment towards my mom. It felt like she was keeping me from my father. Although it was hard, we adjusted to not being able to see our father. My brother had a much easier time with all of it because he was more of a momma’s boy. My mother did let us see him for the holidays, but only for a few hours. I was okay with that because a few hours was better than nothing. I remember asking my dad often if he would stop drinking so we could spend the weekends with him again. He told me he was trying. My dad finally got his drinking under control, and when we were six years old, my mom allowed us to see him again. I was so engrossed with joy that my dad was well again. I loved my weekends at my dad’s house. We would get to stay up late and eat whatever we wanted. We had ice cream for dinner and watched scary movies even though we always had nightmares. I remember a night Chaz and I both got into bed with my dad and Lisa after watching a scary movie. My brother was a toothpick with that same sandy, blonde hair my father had. Chaz’s eyes were blue like the ocean. He was very sweet and got scared easily. Lisa often got upset with my dad for how lenient he was with my brother and me. Lisa was tall with dirty blond hair, and she had great teeth, the whitest you would have ever seen. Lisa had no children of her own, and she held some resentment towards us and my mother. She was upset with my mom for keeping us away from my dad for 131
two years. She knew my father had a drinking issue, but she was loyal to my dad, and he could do no wrong in her eyes. That made my mother the enemy. My mom tried her best to get along with Lisa, but it seemed easier for them to just stay away from each other. Several months later, my dad’s drinking habit started to get bad again. It was a Saturday evening, and we were at my dad’s for the weekend. My brother and I were in our room playing a game called Life. We heard a loud crashing noise, like someone had fallen. When I looked at Chaz, I could see the fear in his eyes. I told him everything was okay, and we continued to play our game. Shortly after that, my stepmom yelled out to get our stuff together. We quickly put our game away and gathered our things. Walking down the hallway seemed like the longest walk. It was dark and cold. As we entered the living-room, we could see Lisa and my father on the floor; she was sitting on my father. Chaz, questioned, “Why is dad on the floor?” I locked eyes with Lisa and could see her desperate concern and intense fear. I held Chaz’s hand as we walked towards them. Lisa said my father was not feeling well, and we should give him a hug goodbye. My mother was outside waiting for us. I knew my dad was drunk, and it was heartbreaking. My dad got up and I gave him a half hug, and I waited for Chaz to give him a hug. When my dad was giving Chaz a hug, he lost his balance, and they both went towards the wall. My dad put his hand up to stop himself from hitting the wall, but my brother was not so lucky. Chaz’s head went straight into the wall. He instantly started crying and holding his head. I ran over to Chaz and kept telling him he was okay. My dad was now crying, in his drunken state, sobbing he apologized respectively. With us taking so long, my mom was at the door now and could hear my brother crying. She opened the door, and I could see anger and concern on her face. She held my brother and started yelling at my dad, “You are nothing but a drunk, and you will never see them again!” I have never seen my mom so angry. My mom was short and naturally shy with the prettiest natural red hair. It took a lot to upset her, however messing with her kid’s emotions was something that would set her off. It was hard being upset with my mom after seeing what I saw. I had never seen my father like that, and he had hurt my brother. I was very protective of my brother. I treated him like he was my son even at seven-years old. I taught him to tie his shoes and learn how to count. I loved my father very much, but something triggered in me when I saw my brother’s head hit the wall. I told my mom that I never wanted to see my dad again. I later realized I was just an enraged little girl at 132
the time; and he had let us down again. I felt like my dad knew what he was giving up when he picked that bottle up, but it didn’t stop him. We were not worth living a sober life. My mother told my dad that he had to get treatment if he wanted to see us again. He also had to catch up on his child support. He had to apologize to my brother and me for what he put us through. She told him to take as long as he needed to get his life together, that this would be his last chance, so he better be sure he was fully recovered before coming back into our lives. My dad seemed to take her words seriously. He started treatment the following day. We were not allowed to see him or even talk to him for months. It took me awhile to forgive my father for his actions. I didn’t understand why drinking was more important than me. That’s how I felt when I really thought about it, and at eight-years old, it was a lot on my shoulders, more than my mind knew how to process or handle. My mother tried to help me understand that it was a disease, but as a young child, it just didn’t make any sense. What was so hard about not drinking? After thinking for a long time, I agreed to sit with my father and let him apologize to me. Only time will tell if he was really going to change or not. I was still very upset with my father, but honestly, I never lost the love I had for him. I did accept my father’s apology. I prayed every night for my dad to recover. I deeply wanted him to get better so we would be allowed to spend time with him again. I even missed my stepmom and their dog Coco. As a child, I felt broken and just wanted to feel whole again. To me that meant getting my loving, caring father back in my life. It took my dad about a year to get sober and caught up on his child support. It was a very special day a month before Christmas when we were told we could go back to our dad’s again. Everything seemed normal again for the first time in years. Lisa even seemed happy to have us there again. It was a start to what we thought was going to be a great life. One of my greatest memories was our Christmas that year. For weeks my dad and Lisa told us that they didn’t have any extra money, that we would get a few presents but not to be disappointed. They said they didn’t even have money for a tree and decorations. My brother and I were understanding and told them both that it was okay as long as we were together. They seemed very pleased about how we were turning out. 133
They woke us up on Christmas Eve and took us over to this little diner next to our house. In the past, our aunts and uncles who lived closed by would often meet us there, and we would spend hours visiting. We were so happy to see them there again on Christmas Eve. I clearly remember my stepmom leaving to run some errand while we were at the diner. We sat and visited with family for a few hours like usual. Once my stepmom returned, my dad said it was time to go. I will never forget walking into the house and seeing amazing decorations: the biggest Christmas tree we had ever seen and so many gifts we couldn’t even count them all. My stepmom had gone back to the house and set everything up to surprise us. She worked at Ford Motor Company, a very demanding job. She worked long hours, and back then it was considered a “man’s” job to work at Fords. Lisa spent her whole Christmas bonus that year on our Christmas. She got me everything on my list! Just to name a few gifts, I got the complete set of the Baby-Sitter’s Club books, Barbie’s Dance Time Shop, and my first Sony CD player! I loved to read and to listen to music, and she knew that. It was the first time I could feel how much Lisa cared about me because she took the time to really focus on my hobbies. It truly was a Christmas I will never forget! I grew closer to my dad and Lisa, and I often asked to go there, even on the off week I was to be at my mom’s. I loved my mom, but after being with her all week, I just wanted to go to my dad’s house. My mom allowed me to go because she just wanted me to be happy. My mom felt at peace with her decision to allow us to see our dad again. However, it was a decision that one day soon, she would come to regret.
Xicze’l Ponce de León ___________________________________ My Mother’s Keeper As long as I can remember, my mom and I did not have a loving connection. This made me feel unworthy of her affection. She would rush home from work, filling the room with the smell of Italian herbs, then immediately head to her bedroom, and lock herself in there for hours. Meanwhile, my four siblings and I were left in the living room, eagerly, waiting to tell her all about our day. This time I desperately chased after her. “Mamá! Mamá! Me reconocieron como la ‘Estudiante del Mes,’ y te hice este regalo!” I explained how I became the ‘Student of the Month’ and showed her the art project I had crafted especially for her. “Que bueno, al ratito me lo enseñas,” she replied in a monotone voice how lovely it was and how later I could show her. But her later and my later were completely different. The scenes in movies of happy mothers and daughters going out to the park or the mall, was always a dream of mine. Instead, my mom would only take us out only if there was an errand to run. Young Xicze’l became very angry and filled with resentment toward life. “Why couldn’t my mom be like the other mothers?” I would fathom. After awhile, it became a routine of hers: work to bedroom, bedroom to work. I would only interact with my mom for a short period of time, in the morning right before school and towards the end of the night. Over time I convinced myself that I was okay with the state of our relationship, or so I thought. In truth, I needed that loving attention from her, a support system that I could fall back on, and not have to worry if someone was there to catch me. By the time I was in seventh grade, my mother’s routine became more flexible. I got to see her more often and we slowly began to rekindle the flame between us. It was early December 2013, the common cold began its yearly tour in the neighborhood. My older brother was the first victim, then my mom. That Tuesday was like every other; I went to school and then to my swim meet. Nothing unusual. Every meet day, my mom would come pick me up, right at the pool entrance in our rustic red Dodge Grand Caravan. I peeked out the door and didn’t see her. I then went back inside, and patiently waited. Ten minutes went by and I 135
decided to give her a call. The phone rang for a while, but just as I thought she had answered, it went straight to voicemail. I began to panic a little, and called my dad right away. My dad for the majority of my life was always busy at work, and usually wasn’t able to answer phone calls or pick me up from my activities. Oddly enough, he answered. He sounded like he was anticipating my call. “Hola papá, cómo estás? Uh mi mamá no me contesta, y ya salí… puedes venir por mi?” I told him my mom hadn’t answered my phone call and that the swim meet was over. My dad stumbled on his words. He explained my mom wouldn’t be able to pick me up because they were at the hospital. Usually if they were at the hospital it was because my grandma was sick. But he reassured me nervously that my grandma was okay. So why were they there? My dad told me the most heart-aching news any child could hear, “Tu mamá…se le reventó su pulmón del lado derecho... y no le queda mucho tiempo de vida.” He told me that my mom’s right lung had collapsed and she had very little time left to live. I broke down into tears, unable to respond. I felt a large pit in my throat and a sharp pain stab into my chest. The surrounding noises of middle schoolers laughing and chatting made me flustered and overwhelmed. Why was this happening to me? After a minute or two, once I was able to tame my emotions, I got back on the line with my dad. He tried to console me and tell me that everything would be alright, but no words could soothe the pain. I asked a friend for a ride home so I could meet up with my siblings and head to the hospital. On the way, I tried to act mature as if I were an adult. But once we got there, it was a complete sobbing session. What seemed like hundreds of machines were attached to mom, and the smell of disinfectant filled the room. I rushed over and hugged her like never before. We were only allowed to see her for a few minutes, as she was in grave conditions. As we left the hospital that night to return to our daily lives, the thought of receiving a phone call at any moment from my father about my mother lingered hauntingly in my mind. My dad hadn’t allowed us to return to the hospital for the next few days to protect my siblings and I from suffering through the harsh reality. Those days lasted an eternity. My dad, who never left her side, would update 136
us on her condition frequently. After an emergency surgery was performed, my mom was released from the hospital, thanks to God. Once she arrived, our home turned into a twenty-four hour clinic; my siblings and I would rotate shifts being her caretakers. I would come home from a seven-hour school day and an intense swim practice, barely able to keep my eyes open, to take care of my mom for the rest of the afternoon: making sure she ate well, took her medication, and did her routine breathing exercises. This rigorous cycle lasted for a few, long months. I found myself cramming homework late at night, or doing it last minute at school on a daily basis. My body couldn’t keep up with my early morning rises at the break of dawn. On top of this, I am the oldest daughter, which meant that I needed to fill the mother figure role that was left absent. The pressure from the countless responsibilities weighed heavily on my shoulders with every new day that went by. “Xicze’l! Dad’s home! Is the food being heated?” “ Xicze’l where are my swim goggles?” “Xicze’l the fridge is empty again!” My older brothers were looking to me to cook dinner, wash the laundry, juggle school, and still maintain a positive attitude. Throughout this journey, I got the opportunity to enter into my mom’s world, to act behind the scenes. I got to feel the pain and sacrifice a mother endures to provide support, love, and care for her children. I could not have imagined, that being a mother of five could be so tiring and demanding. My mom and I had a lot of time to bond over this challenging experience. We would spend really long nights together, where she wasn’t feeling the best, and had the chance to talk mother to daughter. “Mija, no sabes cuanto te agradezco por todo lo que haces. Haz tenido que madurar más rápido de lo normal, pero aún así lo haz podido enfrentar.” She told me how grateful she was for everything I had done. That I had to grow up faster than others my age, but despite that, I was handling it in the best way possible. I didn’t say anything in reply, but I simply moved closer to her on the couch and laid my head on her warm belly. It has now been almost six years since this incident. My mom’s lungs have come to fully recover—to the extent that medical professionals have told her that her lungs appear to not have undergone any sort of damage. My mom and I have gotten very close, and I could not be more thankful. We still argue and disagree on many things. However, I would not trade our mother and daughter relationship for 137
anything in the world. I now recognize why she would immediately rush to her bedroom after work. Today, my mom doesn’t work as often; I come home from school and she’s there to open the door and greet me with a tender embrace. We’ve grown to have deep and meaningful conversations, including the hardships I’ve faced throughout my teen years and how to face them maturely, something that I had believed impossible. We regularly set aside time from our busy lives to visit the mall and grab lunch together, as I saw in the movies. Before, I had a selfish image in my head that the world revolved around me, and no one else, but that was certainly not the case. My mom was trying to provide for me in the midst of her backbreaking schedule, so I would never lack basic needs. I just never realized it. I have now gained an understanding and appreciation for my mom, and all that she has to sacrifice just so my family and I can live a more fruitful life. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
Emily Iacofano Everlasting 138
Claudia Dionne _________________________________________ Bobby I chomped onto the huge piece of Big Red’s pizza as if I had not tasted food in many days. My eyes scanned the small, dimly lit room that smelled of chemicals to see how many others I would have to share this amazing pizza with. Danny, my husband, was the only one in the room. His body was slumped across the foot of my bed exhausted from the events of the past few hours. Cheese and meat sauce splattered the already bloody sheets, but, I didn’t care. My hard work was over and now I was taking care of this empty belly and then get some long needed rest. It had been a long time since I had eaten a normal meal or slept through a whole night. The long awaited event was over. The room was quiet and still, unlike thirty minutes ago when all hell seemed to be reigning down on everyone present. The day started normally, some cramping but that was to be expected. I was in my final trimester and about to give birth to my fourth child. A prenatal check a few days earlier revealed the baby was strong, healthy and in the correct position, ready for departure. It had been an amazingly easy pregnancy that seemed to fly by. With my earlier three children, I experienced every problem known to a pregnant woman: toxemia, flatulence, vomiting, sleepless nights and water retention. This time there was none of that. I enjoyed the entire nine month experience so much that when it came to the final few weeks, I was feeling somewhat nostalgic about the thought of baby not being on board anymore. Nevertheless, one can’t change the fact that when the little one is ready to come, nothing can stop it. It was at my last checkup that, Dr. Lin, my obstetrician, suggested I have a procedure known as amniocentesis. This is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing or treatment. I knew this was a procedure to test babies for genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome. Although amniocentesis can provide valuable information about your baby's health, it's important to remember at the time, 1983, it was still a relatively new procedure with various risks: Leaking amniotic fluid, miscarriage, needle injury. During amniocentesis, the baby might move an arm or leg into the path of the needle. If you have an infection such as hepatitis C, toxoplasmosis or HIV/AIDS, the infection might be transferred to your baby during amniocentesis 139
and there were many horror stories about needle being injected into the baby’s eyes, heart, and lungs. I declined the procedure. There is no cure for Down’s syndrome, you keep your child, institutionalize him or her, or you terminate the pregnancy. I thought to myself, if my baby did have Down’s syndrome or some other chronic condition, I would find safer means of treatment. My hospital stint was uneventful while I healed and baby practiced nursing. Bobby thrived and soon it was time to be released. I was up at the crack of dawn, packed, and waiting for the doctor to check baby one more time and give us the signal that we were free to go. However, as I stood outside the nursery watching the two doctors check my baby I noticed them whispering to each other. Finally, Dr. Lin came out and stood beside me. He told me he and his colleague had concerns that Bobby might be “mongoloid.” While I had no idea what that word meant, I knew it wasn’t positive. He explained that he was not sick, just “retarded.” I knew what that word meant, Down’s syndrome. In slow motion I saw Lin raise his fist towards me and he gently punched my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “I told you to get that test done; now your only option is to institutionalize him.” Words cannot accurately describe my feelings at that moment. Dr. Lin’s callous and inaccurate use of medical terminology filled me with guilt and shame. It washed over me like hot thick tar, blocking out every bit of joy and pride that had filled my entire being just a few minutes earlier. My brain tried to make sense of this new situation but all I wanted to do was run and hide. So I did. Slamming my hospital room door meant no one should enter. No one did, for what seemed like hours. Over the years, many have asked me, “What was your immediate reaction in getting this devastating news? My response is often, “I didn’t believe it.” I immediately searched for a solution. Then it hit me, they switched my baby with the baby that was born at about the same time. In fact, in the delivery room next to me lay another woman who had been my friend in high school. Both babies had snow white hair, big blue eyes, and chubbiness that wrapped around their tiny fragile bodies like a cocoon. I was certain that the babies had been switched. After all, back in the day, security wasn’t like it is now. I ordered a second genetic test. The test had to be sent away and would take two weeks. Meanwhile my present reality was that I held a screaming baby who needed to be fed. He latched on like a pro and nursed peacefully. My tears flooded his adorable pink cheeks as I searched for a tell-tale sign of “retardation.” I cried for 140
the loss of my beautiful, healthy baby. I cried for the loss of the joy of an additional family member and what this would mean for our family. I filled up with pain, fear, and deep sadness and made the decision not to tell anyone, at least not until I received the results of the second test. There seemed no reason why I should inflict this sadness and fear on anyone else until I absolutely had to. It was the longest two weeks of my life, waiting, and waiting, for what seemed a death penalty for my son, me, my husband, all our family members and friends. How could I tell anyone, I felt alone, ashamed, and most of all I felt cheated? Why did my friend have a healthy baby and not me? The unfairness of it all was overwhelming. Finally, the text results came back and it was a definite positive. My realization at that moment was that life would never be the same again. Almost immediately, I began to form a plan. First, I would tell my husband, and my family, only I couldn’t come up with a plan of how to tell them. Would I just invite everyone to dinner and just blurt it out? Perhaps, I could call each one separately. In the end, I did what I normally do when I have a situation that seems extreme to face, I armed myself with knowledge. Unfortunately, it was a time when we didn’t have easy access to a computer. In fact, I don’t think they even existed in 1983. To say the first few months were hard would be an understatement. But slowly, as we got over the shock and accepted our new reality, my husband, Danny and I made it our priority to give our son the best life he could have. At the local library, the only information regarding Down’s syndrome was a book written by Dr. Langdon Down in 1895. In fact, Downs’s syndrome was named after him. His book is written in a compassionate, informative, and encouraging manner. Armed with this information, I decided to tell my family about Bobby’s condition, one by one, starting with my husband. Danny instantly accepted this little boy with the huge label and restored my hope that everything would work out. Surprisingly, each family member took the news kindly and matter of factual. I explained that Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome, that while most babies inherit 23 chromosomes from each parent, for a total of 46 chromosomes, babies with Down’s syndrome however, end up with three chromosomes at position 21, instead of the usual pair. A child with Down syndrome also may have heart defects and problems with vision and hearing. Bobby was born with a heart murmur and hearing loss. 141
Throughout the years of raising Bobby, there were times when life was challenging but we learned how to meet each challenge by having accepted the fact that Bobby was just like his brothers and sisters only he learned at a different pace. One day while in Middle School, I was emptying Bobby’s backpack as I did every day. A wet notebook and a condom fell out on his desk. Of course I was horrified and hollered for him to come here. In questioning Bob he told me that all the boys were playing water balloons at the fountain. He was very proud that he could bring his home. I wasn’t so proud of my son and the next day paid a visit to the principal of the school. I walked into the principal’s office and plopped the condom right in front of him onto his desk. Of course the man was shocked as I explained that Bobby and others had been playing with them the day before. Later that evening, my husband Danny told me that “ALL” boys play with water balloons in school. Suffice to say, my son was just being a “normal” kid. Bobby has had many successes in life such as graduating from High School, attending Technical College. He is a transcriber and writes incessantly. He loves to write poetry. He has a best friend that he met in Middle School that visits him regularly. Bobby likes to brag about having a coaching job at our local hockey arena where his brother Paul and his Dad play hockey. He works there part time. If I could go back in time and relive one moment, without a doubt I would choose the moment when my doctor punched me in the arm and told me my son had Down’s syndrome and added, “I told you could have had the test that would have identified my son as being ‘Mongoloid.’” Perhaps he could have been a bit kinder and actually used the correct medical terminology for Bobby’s condition, “Down’s syndrome.” Today it is known as “Trisomy 21.” Perhaps he could have been kinder in not trying to plant the guilt of this squarely on me by saying “he advised me to have the test done” giving me one option: to kill my son. Finding a support network was our greatest challenge. Living in a small village meant we didn’t have a library we could access. Initially, some parents may at first feel overwhelmed by feelings of loss, guilt, and fear. Talking with other parents of kids with DS may help you deal with the initial shock and grief and find ways to look toward the future. Many parents find that learning as much as they can about DS helps ease some of their fears. It soon became apparent to me that I would have to organize a parent group myself because there wasn’t any support within our province, certainly not in our town. I designed a flier that would notify others with similar needs and I set a date for a 142
meeting. More than a dozen people attended. Not all the families had a member with Down’s syndrome but it didn’t matter, we had support. After several months of meeting other parents, I realized that there were others who lived further away who could possibly benefit from our parents’ group or an outreach program. I also realized that there were a number of children who needed special adapted services at school as well as early development programs. Physical, occupational, speech therapists, and early-childhood educators can work with your child to encourage and accelerate development. Many states provide free early-intervention services to kids with disabilities from birth to age 3, so check with your doctor or a social worker to learn what resources are available in your area. These services would involve individuals with specialized training and services. This and the travel time would be expensive. In researching how to apply for grant money, I found a book that showed me how to apply for a grant. I filled out the forms sent it in and as a result received $35,000 to create an outreach program, identify others with disabilities, and train individuals to design and carry out individualistic assessments and programs for anyone with a disability. One such young man, who was 15, had never been diagnosed but we later learnt he had a severe form of autism. His parents were exhausted and felt hopeless. They had to cover all the windows and mirrors in the house as this youngster would put his head through them. One can only imagine how fearful and hopeless this family felt. After being identified and working with an intervention worker, hope was restored to their family. My son Bobby also benefitted from the early intervention program which prepared him for school. By identifying his strengths and weaknesses at an early age, he started school at a normal age and was able to have a helper all the way through regular classrooms until his graduation from Senior High School. One of the most exciting and surprising things I realized about my son is that he is just like any other child who needs to have his special needs identified. By providing him with a specific program, he thrives and has and will continue to experience amazing things in life. Our family has joined together in helping Bobby develop goals and accomplish them. I have seen Bobby’s siblings fight over weekend time with their brother. The one thing I feared the most in life is deciding who or how I will appoint a specific sibling Guardianship over Bobby when I and his father can no longer care for him. Each sibling wants him to live with them. Wish I had known this when he was first born. 143
Looking back on that moment thirty-six years later, I have replaced that anxiety, sorrow, and anger with a different reality. That reality is one filled with love, and hope. Before Bobby was born I had no idea what having a child with certain challenges meant. I had a stereotypical picture of mental disability in my mind: a life with zero potential, a life spent trapped in a corner not being able to think, feel, missing out on life. This unfounded view of Down’s syndrome created an imagined reality of despair and sadness. Bobby has his own features, likes, and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and traits that make him unique. Down syndrome is only a fraction of who he is. A reality that has allowed our family to embrace him and nurture him to become the best he can be. Anyone who meets Bobby sees that he is the epitome of innocence and love. Some words I remember reading from Down’s book many years ago describes Down’s individuals as being innocent and loving. It’s as if they don’t have the ability to be conniving and hateful. This is certainly true of my son. It’s as if his blueprint cannot learn those concepts. I wish more humans were like this. I remember when I first told my father about Bobby’s condition and his response healed parts of me that were broken. He just hugged me and then went away and wrote me a very long poem. It essentially said that Bobby was from God and only very special people on earth are allowed to be part of their lives. “They are here to teach us how to love and be kind to each other. From them we can learn humility, patience, and how to think and care about others,” my Dad wrote. Bobby has proven time and time again that no one will write his future for him. He is smart, brave, and creative. Everything he puts his mind to he accomplishes. Even in high school, Bobby had the same plans for the future that many of his peers had. He wanted to build his own house, have four kids, drive a car, and be a policeman. He was so focused on becoming a policeman when he grew up that one day when I was out; I came home to find two patrol cars in our driveway. My heart sunk, imaging horrible things. It was the first time I allowed Bobby to stay alone while I ran up the street to the grocery store. I was met at the front door by a very tall police officer. My first night in a jail cell flashed before my eyes. I even saw the next day’s headlines, “Neglectful mother leaves disabled son home alone.” However, the policeman didn’t chastise me at all. In fact, he said, “Please don’t worry, everything is fine. We received a call to the station that Bobby wanted to see us. After entering your home we could see this is a loving family. Bobby just wanted to see our handcuffs!” The police officers had a big 144
laugh over that and left. They also told me to bring him to the station and they would find him a position in one of their offices. Bobby has never seen himself as being handicapped and he doesn’t like the terminology often used to label individuals with special needs. I remember on one occasion when he snubbed a young girl who also had Down’s syndrome. She spoke to Bobby but he ignored her, I think because he recognized that she was “different.” I had to have that conversation with him. It was difficult to explain but it had to be done. I’m not certain he accepted my explanation for it all but I had to try. Every once in a while, I can’t help but wonder if Bobby had be born without Down’s syndrome, how different would he be? What would he look like? My thoughts always revolve around the same conclusions; his name is Bobby, he truly loves life and simply wants the same joys that every other human being wants. Bobby is fortunate to live in a world where he is protected and allowed to live out his dreams. We celebrate him being part of this family very single day.
Bobby, and his sister, Natalie, at his Prom 145
[Photograph by De Kam Studios, Valparaiso, IN]
Raasch Wlliams II _______________________________________ Reflections and Revelations: Part One In my lifetime I have been able to reflect on a lot, between the easy times of my childhood to the hard times of my teenage years. Every day, I think of my teenage years, for those have impacted me the most. I have been beaten, abused and talked to as if I am nothing. Looking back, fitting in wasn’t worth a damn. The insecurities of humans in their teenage years often lead them to lashing out upon others, and in that case others, was me. From faggot to half breed nigger, I’ve heard it all, and felt it too. “Du Hast viel geweint, mein Kind. ” God said to me, touching my heart as I weeped to the sky. From the high school times of being called a fag so many times to where you accept what they think you are in hopes of being accepted and part of the crowd, to your only friend being the hidden spot where nobody bothers you. High school broke me from the sensible human being I was to what I feel was some sort of monster, who follows society just to avoid being made fun of and excluded. The pain of trying to be something I am not in order to be accepted was far greater than any physical pain I’ve encountered. The irony of this shit was that I didn’t fit in either way, for I was that lonely kid who bounced from clique to clique in order to try and find myself. I was killing myself, and I knew it. I didn’t care. I wanted to feel as though I belonged, but in reality, that struggle was my Alamo. My senior year felt as though things were going great, but I was on the verge of a mental Chernobyl. I found what I thought was my soulmate, my rock and my salvation. She had hazel eyes which could be green some days, a smile that brightened up my dying soul and a sense of warmth. She was the love of my life, and yes I know that is a stretch, but I know you shitheads felt the same about somebody before, so ease up. I remember how I met her exactly, from the setting and what she and I were wearing, and hell, I even remember the pickup line that swept her off her feet, but that’s for the last part of this story. Three weeks away from graduation, I was preparing to drop out. My feelings were mixed, but she told me “You’re almost there, you better not give up on me.” I got that diploma. My love for her was and still is an unexplained form of which I can’t even understand, but maybe I’m not supposed to. She got me through 146
highschool, constantly reminding me that I can’t give up and telling me to stay true to myself, and for that I owe her an everlasting thank you. Alas, we’ve arrived at the part two thirds of you were waiting for. The juicy love story you want to hear and wish for. I had seen her a few times that day, and thought to myself “Damn, she’s cute.” She was wearing a dress with flowers, glasses (quite the sucker for that—haha), and beautiful brown hair. A boy’s dream, at least my dream. Towards the end of the night, I mustered up the courage to say something. My stupid ass decided to say “Hey, I like your dress.” “Thanks!” she said with a smile. “I like your face too,” I responded back. “I like yours too,” she responded, blushing with a big smile. We exchanged numbers, and the rest was an amazing part of my life. Did those corny lines really score me this gem? Fucking mint.
Emily Iacofano Zenith 147
Edith Morris Croake _____________________________________ My Sweet-Sour Meatloaf I loved my mother’s stick-to-your-ribs meatloaf and made it often while I was a beginning teacher in Chicago in the early 1960’s. When my three apartment mates and I moved into our large Judson apartment in Evanston, I succeeded in making this meatloaf the very first night. We had the ingredients but only a flour canister to mix it in. The meatloaf turned out just fine. In 1966, I married, and we moved to Ann Arbor so my husband could attend a graduate program at the University of Michigan. We both carried brown bag lunches. One day, I sent my husband to classes with a meatloaf sandwich. Another graduate student asked him: “Are you eating a bread sandwich?” Perhaps this incident encouraged me to try another meatloaf recipe. Soon after that I bought a Pyrex loaf dish and the advertising slip in the bottom of it featured a sweet-sour tomato sauce meatloaf recipe. I made it and we both loved the tangy taste. It soon became our favorite. Also, I liked it because I was working full-time and it was delicious as leftovers. I used to give this meatloaf as a gift. I followed the customary practice I had learned growing up in Des Moines: one gave a casserole or some other substantial food gift to a friend when a major event had occurred. So when Margaret and David had their second child, I took them a meatloaf (and potatoes, green beans, and coleslaw). Dan was my colleague in the English Department at Washtenaw Community College. When his mother died, I gave him a meatloaf. I put it in the refrigerator in the Faculty Lounge. He came to me and said: “Edie, a meatloaf? Why a meatloaf?” I explained that was the custom when I was growing up in Des Moines. He smiled and nodded. Now, in 2020, the biggest fan of my meatloaf is my grandson, Charlie, 8. His family lives in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. When they drive to Ann Arbor, they often get here in the late afternoon. I usually bake a meatloaf because it keeps well if folks don’t arrive precisely when they think they might. Also, everyone likes it. The loaf is large enough that 6’4” son-in-law, Zach, or anyone, can have a second helping. About three years ago, disaster struck. I had not finished mixing the meatloaf by the time the Chicago family arrived. Charlie washed his hands and 148
helped me. He liked squishing the meat just as I had as a child. Very soon, we popped it in the oven and set the timer for an hour. When the timer rang, everyone was very hungry. I served the meatloaf, poured on the sweet-sour sauce, and called folks to the table. My Chicago family discovered all but the meatloaf end pieces were pink. (I thought it was a light pink, mostly from the tomato sauce that is mixed in the ground meat before cooking. But, I didn’t put up much of a fuss.) “Mom, this meatloaf isn’t done! It’s not safe to eat!” said my daughter as she whisked the plates off the table. The next time the Chicago family was planning to come to Ann Arbor, my daughter said: “Oh, Mom, don’t bother to make a meatloaf. It’s so much trouble, and you will get tired. Let’s just order out!” “Well, I like making the meatloaf, but if that is what you prefer, OK.” A couple of days later, my daughter called again. “Mom, I know I said don’t bother making the meatloaf, but Charlie really wants to have it. Could you make it after all?” “Why, of course!” I said. It is true that it is an effort to gather the meatloaf ingredients and then to mix and kneed the ingredients. But I am happy to exert myself in this way. Making food your family enjoys was always a way to express affection in my family. I was doing exactly what my mother had done before me. I got the meatloaf made and completely baked by the time the Chicago family arrived. We ALL had some, even Henry, 3, who was a very selective eater. In fact, slurping noises could be heard as some inhaled the moist meat and the sauce. At one point, Charlie stopped eating long enough to say: “Grammie, this meatloaf is wonderful! It’s the very best thing I have ever eaten!” The Chicago family will be coming again at Memorial Day. Guess what we’ll be having for dinner!
Tom Zimmerman Open Mic 150
Art Gallery Three _______________ WCC Student Artwork from the 2020 L.A.N.D. Fine Arts Competition and Exhibition. 3D artwork photographs by IB Remsen. 2D artwork photographs by Jill Jepsen.
John MacLean Totem 151
Linnea Nooden Untitled [collage on paper, 2nd Place - 2D Art]
Bryana Parkyn Ladies Glove [graphite on paper]
Irene Mokra Peaking [collage on paper]
Tabetha Chaney Untitled [pen and ink on paper]
LisAurel Winfree Untitled [color aid paper]
Sydney O'Connor Migrate [charcoal on paper bag]
John MacLean Duality [acrylic on canvas, 1st Place - 2D Art]
Olive Cianciolo Untitled [collage on paper]
Claudia de Albaladejo Living Leaves [color aid paper and leaves]
Contributors ___________________________________________ Elise Ambriz is a graduating WCC student and worked as a tutor in the Writing Center for the past couple years. She plans to attend the University of Michigan in the fall, studying engineering for now. Janel R. Baker is beginning her 14th year teaching Humanities and Philosophy courses at WCC. This is her first published poem. Steve Bannow is a retired United States Navy attorney, college administrator, and instructor. He is a world traveler who remains involved with academics, the arts, volunteering, and fitness. Steve and his life partner, Barbara, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Nancy Coen Becker writes, â€œI have been taking art classes at WCC for six years since I have retired. The Emeritus program has provided me the opportunity to revisit my love of painting and art from years ago. The teachers are excellent, providing all the techniques needed for me to continue improving and enjoying.â€? Henry Bedard is an Ann Arbor native, currently attending WCC with plans to transfer to a 4-year university. His writing is inspired mainly by the work of Terry Pratchett, as well as poets such as William Ernest Henley and A. E. Housman. Rachel Bennett has studied creative writing at WCC. Adella Blain spent several years at WCC as a librarian and administrator. Now Del enjoys writing and studying other arts. Mandy Brothers is a liberal arts transfer major at WCC. She has recently moved to Ypsilanti and currently lives with her husband and two papillons, Cronos and Cesare. She aspires to be an archaeologist, yet writing is one of her many passions. Latitude Brown is a computer science major at WCC who lives in Ann Arbor, aspires to be a librarian, and has one cat. They are the president of WCCâ€™s LGBT group, Outspace, and their favorite breakfast food is French toast. Tabetha Chaney has studied art at WCC.
Sarah Lee Christensen has studied creative writing at WCC. Olive Cianciolo studied Fine Art at WCC for too long and plans on doing the same at EMU in the fall. She currently lives in Ypsilanti with too many plants and one perfect cat. When not making art she can be found baking creative treats for her urban chickens. Kadia Cohen-Patterson is a Human Services transfer major at WCC. She resides in Ypsilanti with her husband and their only child. She finds peace in nature and is passionate about her writing. When she is not working or spending time with her family, she is volunteering at the Washtenaw County Department of Health and Human Services. She aspires to be a professional writer and Clinical Social Worker. Claire Convis is majoring in Elementary Education. She spent a year living in Hidalgo, Mexico, teaching English as a second language. Claire is the deputy editor of The Washtenaw Voice and works alongside editor Lilly Kujawski, who inspired Claire to publish her poetry. Hui Cranford is a recent WCC graduate. Edith Morris Croake is honored to be one of the original faculty who helped open Washtenaw Community College in 1966. She enjoyed teaching here and remains pleased to still be connected to its writing opportunities now. Claudia de Albaladejo is a Spanish instructor at WCC who explores her artistic streak by taking art classes at the college. She is originally from Argentina and lives in Ann Arbor with her husband. Regina Dick is a Spring 2020 WCC graduate with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. She lives in Howell, MI, and enjoys reading and writing while swinging in her hammock. Claudia Dionne is a graduate of WCC with a degree in Liberal Arts and soon to be graduate with a Fine Arts degree. She is scheduled to continue her education, at the age of 71, at Harvard University this fall. Claudia is an artist with a love for creative and fictional writing. She is the mother of four children, nine grandchildren, and married to Daniel Dionne for almost fifty years.
Amber Evans has studied creative writing at WCC. Using his UAW tuition assistance benefits from his job at Ford Motor Company, Mike Frieseman obtained his associates degree in photography from WCC in 2012. He continues his education part time taking courses in art, graphic design, video production and journalism. Aristea Fulcher is a student at WCC. In her free time, she enjoys going to poetry club and drawing. Lynn D. Gilbert moved to Ann Arbor from Texas seven years ago to be near her daughter and grandchildren, and has been freezing ever since. She has published in various literary journals, helps edit poetry for Third Wednesday journal, and was a founding editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. David Goldberg retired from the WCC Mathematics Department in 2010, and soon after, he discovered the joys of working in the real world of ceramics. He began with WCC ceramics classes, and has also had classes at Ann Arbor Potters Guild. He has this to say about the deeper significance of the pottery experience: My shapeless gray glob spins around. I'll breathe life into sticky cold ground. Its fate means a lot for me — Clay, be a pot for me! Pottery's pretty profound. Dennis Gordon, whose work has appeared in many juried shows over the years, holds a BFA in Printmaking from Tulane University and participates actively in workshops and classes at community centers and colleges. web site gallery: dennisartist.imagekind.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org Deb Guidot writes, “My love of color, light, and form along with the spontaneous energy of watercolor is the stimulus for my paintings. While I use a variety of materials and processes in different pieces my approach is consistent. Contrast, texture, and variety are used to show my visions. I am passionate about my art andlike to explore new processes and materials when creating, passing on what I learn on "tips and tricks" my blog at Deb Guidot Art.” Deb has a BFA from Eastern Mi. University, MAT from Wayne State University with concentrations in watercolor, drawing, ceramics, and stone
carving. She teaches adults through Washtenaw Community College’s Life Long Learning program in addition to kindergarten -12th grade in Mi. school systems. Emily Iacofano writes, “I’m 19 years old, and I am a student at Washtenaw Community College. For as long as I can remember I have known that photography is what I am meant to do. I can feel it in my soul. When I’m taking pictures time flies by, I am mesmerized by the beauty in front of me. I want to make people feel something when they see my pictures.” Jeremy Joiner has studied at WCC. Marybeth King is a recently retired pastry chef who is working towards an MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in New Beginnings online magazine and the 2019 Huron River Review. Lilly Kujawski has been making up stories since she could speak. She is one of the authors of the book I Name This Body MINE (Red Beard Press, 2018). This is the third time her work has appeared in The Huron River Review. This fall, she will attend the University of Michigan and study creative writing. When she isn't writing, Lilly enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time with her cat. Kaden Kumpelis is a WTMC student graduating with a Liberal Arts and General Studies Math and Science degree. Kaden's piece won 3rd place in the state for the LAND Creative Writing Contest. This is his first time submitting to a publication. He enjoys writing as a pastime and will continue writing with a twist at the end. Diane M. Laboda is a former teacher-librarian and retired Washtenaw Community College executive assistant. She enjoys exploring life’s mysteries and sharing with others in her writing and artwork. She’s published poetry, short stories and articles in Third Wednesday literary journal, Grief Becomes You edited by Maya Stein 2019, The Huron River Review issues 1-19, WCC’s E-Link, Washtenaw Voice, OP/TConnection, Gallery One Colors & Voices, Blood Orange, The Big Window Review, Poetry Club anthologies; also in Huron Winds, Watermark, Lighter Breezes, Project Grow's Community Gardener, Cra.sh online literary magazine, Zoetic Press WLYA 2018. She has published two chapbooks, Facing the Mirror and This Poet’s Journey, and is working on her first book-length collection of poetry on grief and care-giving. Michelle Lardie-Guzek has studied at WCC.
Shaina Larmee graduated WCC in 2019, and has been enjoying life by reading and writing in her free time. Many of her writings are inspired by the happenings in her life and those around her. Warren Leidlein is a WCC student whose work has appeared in several issues of The Huron River Review. Shannon Louise is in Welding Technology at WCC. She lives in Ypsilanti with significant other, Brandon Frame, and four children: Ella, Kathleen, Seth,and Bella. Writing is one of Shannon's passions. John MacLean is a WCC Fine Arts major who resides in Brighton, Michigan. His favorite mediums are acrylic paints and ceramics. He primarily paints portraits and figures, while his ceramics are often based on classic forms with contemporary twists. Evangeline Mallette has studied art at WCC. Sabrina Martell is an incoming freshman at the University of Michigan, planning to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She has been published in Lovesick and a previous edition of the The Huron River Review. Sam McNeil is a Psychology major transferring to MSU in the fall. He lives in Ypsilanti and enjoys writing in his spare time. Brenda Allen Millett, an Ann Arbor resident, taught ESL at WCC and Pioneer High School. Family, art, and writing are the cornerstones of her life. Irene Mokra has been taking WCC art classes for a number of years. Color class with Jill Jepsen opened up many venues in her abstract colored pencil work, that she exhibits locally. Irene is also inspiring preschoolers through teaching art at Sunshine Special Children's studio. Irene is a member of iMamas, an international artist collective that exhibits at Sweetwaters Ypsilanti annually Nina Nguyen completed a General Studies in Math and Natural Sciences degree and a Liberal Arts Transfer degree. She will be attending the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2020. She worked at the WCC Writing Center for a year and loved her time tutoring students.
Jael Niverda is a cult survivor, book worm, illustrator, tinkerer, and storyteller. They are currently working on a science fiction manuscript and an illustrated poetry collection recalling their experience growing up queer in a fundamentalist Christian group. This is their first appearance in The Huron River Review. Linnea Nooden has a background in science and engineering. She is currently a fine arts major at WCC. She lives north of Chelsea with her spouse and only 8 cats. Sydney O'Connor is a Homeschooled Junior dual enrolling at WCC. Her passions are Art and Irish Dance, and she plans to pursue a degree in the Arts. Ron Pagereski is a WCC alumni, currently living in Belleville, Michigan. He loves English literature and poetry. He enjoys helping homeless people and stray animals. Teagan Parkinson has studied creative writing at WCC. Bryana Parkyn has studied art at WCC. Gabriel Peoples has studied at WCC. Barb Perles is a student in the Visual Arts Enrichment Program at WCC who writes, “I take primarily watercolor, but other classes as well. I love the way watercolor appears translucent on paper. I do photography with a small mirrorless camera as a hobby.” Erica Perry writes, “I am a retired social worker in whom Washtenaw Community College, my teacher Deb Guidot, and my treasured sister artists, have rekindled an addiction to painting beloved persons, beasts and moments in my life.” Xicze’l Ponce de León is a Early Childhood Education Transfer major at WCC who lives in Inkster with her three siblings and parents. She has recently discovered her love for writing through this writing piece. Kayla Price is a General Studies major at WCC. She lives in Ann Arbor with her parents, a dog, two cats, and turtle. Her favorite activities lately include journaling, reading, hiking, and painting. Daniel Raubolt is currently into his fifth year at WCC, and is close to receiving his Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree. He struggled with writing in his early school years, but soon
excelled in Pioneer High School, with the help of his English and Creative Writing instructor, Mr. Kass. He has blown away audiences since 2013 at open mic events. Daniel plans to pursue future careers in writing, illustration, photography, and possibly retain a hobby in falconry. He currently resides in Ann Arbor’s historic West Side with his parents, his younger brother, Sam, and a 16-year-old ragdoll cat, Angel. Nur Muhammad Renollet is entering his final year at WCC with intentions of obtaining an Associates in General Math and Natural Science. He currently lives with his lovely family in Superior, Twp. He loves writing, reading, all aspects of soccer, and a good cappuccino or Earl Grey tea. This is his second appearance in The Huron River Review. S. L. Schultz, a graduate of California State University-Long Beach, teaches English Comp and Creative Writing for WCC and works as a faculty tutor for Jackson College. She writes in various genres, including poetry, short prose, and novel. Nature is her cathedral, culture her muse, travel her passion. Kathrine Snow is an editor, writing coach, and author in a range of genres, as well as the founder of the Prolonging the Prologue literary newsletter and blog. She also dabbles in illustration, animation, and crochet—all of which further her writing in one fashion or another. James C. Spitler is an Ypsilanti resident who is a HSW major at WCC, and he hopes to continue his education at EMU. While he is a writer, he also works with the Ozone House to help combat youth homelessness. His work has appeared previously in The Huron River Review under his pen name, Le Chant Du Cygne. Growing up in Virginia, Doug Stein was introduced to the natural world through endless adventures and explorations with his parents and childhood friends. As he grew older his love of nature melded with his budding photography hobby, and fascination with the mesmerizing interactions of shadow and light, fog and mist. In time, all of these avocations coalesced into a singular passion for all things photographic. While nature and wildlife remain his main inspirations, curiosity and inquisitiveness fuel his continued explorations of the various techniques and genres of the photographic landscape! Shani Van Heerde is currently a ninth-grade student at Washtenaw Technical Middle College. She’s been fostering her love of writing from a young age, yet this is her first poem and her first submission to any form of publication.
Carol Wares has studied art at WCC. Chante Whiting has studied creative writing at WCC. Raasch Williams II is a Criminal Justice major who lives in Ypsilanti with his dog, Ruger. Raasch enjoys in-depth creative writing along with sharing his personal experiences to inspire others. He plans on pursuing a career in Law Enforcement. LisAurel Winfree is a Graphic Design student at WCC. She lives in Ann Arbor and likes making things. Tom Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at WCC. In addition, he edits The Huron River Review and The Big Windows Review and serves as faculty advisor of the WCC Poetry Club. Tomâ€™s website: thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com
Aristea Fulcher Self-Portrait 2
Ambriz Baker Bannow Becker Bedard Bennett Blain Brothers Brown Chaney Christensen Cianciolo Cohen-Patterson Convis Cranford Croake de Albaladejo Dick Dionne Evans Frieseman Fulcher Gilbert Goldberg Gordon Guidot Iacofano Joiner King Kujawski Kumpelis Laboda Lardie-Guzek Larmee Leidlein Louise MacLean Mallette Martell McNeil Millett Mokra Nguyen Niverda Nooden Oâ€™Connor Pagereski Parkinson Parkyn Peoples Perles Perry Ponce de LeĂłn Price Raubolt Renollet Schultz Snow Spitler Stein Van Heerde Wares Whiting Williams Winfree Zimmerman The Huron River Review Issue 19 2020 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor MI USA
The award-winning journal of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and art by students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washtenaw Communit...
Published on May 30, 2020
The award-winning journal of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and art by students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washtenaw Communit...