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Part of The Mosaic: Spring 2016




(n): a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less
coherent whole (Oxford English

Marist Literary Arts Society
presents the Spring 2016 Mosaic:
Executive Board:
Marisa Maccaro
Vice President:
Katherine Maradiaga
Julia Franco
Antonio DelVecchio
Mosiac Editors:
Jessica Bosak
Charlie Grippaldi
Faculty Advisor:
Prof. Lea Graham

The Eiffel Tower
Tenley Feinberg
Nocturnal Cognition
Charlie Grippaldi
Silence Makes its Sound
Amanda Marlowe
Out There Somewhere
Daniel McFadden
An Apologetic Letter, From a
Krista Picotti
Concerned Friend
My Dearest Yawn
Kaliyah Gardner
The Love Letter Torn
Dakota Swanson
Caroline Dewald
El Rey de Puerto Rico
Zach Racusin
Electric Nothing
Derek Rose
Between 21 and 22
Margaret Bruetsch
Zen Week
With Out
Michalyn Curran
Walk Around
Darriel McBride
The Brain is ...
Janelle Solviletti
Beware of the Bitch
Bryanna Adams
Under the Onion Dome
Molly Scott
Kaliyah Gardner
Santa Claus Isn't Coming Tonight
Antonio De/Vecchio
Unnatural State of the Unicorn
Molly Scott
After the End of the World
Margaret Bruetsch
History in the Making
Addison Donati
Liminal Spaces
Katherine Louie
Jigsaw Success
Amanda Marlowe
Wait Up
Nick Chhoeun
Emma Tice
My Soul
Kevin Hudson
The Black Dog
Logan Forsyth
Three Poems about what Really goes on
in a Fishery
Bernadette Hogan
for Love
Charlie Grippaldi

Based off of
Komunyakaa's Addendum
Emma Tice
Portrait of
a Di
Sarah Kiter
The Heart's Graveyard
Janelle Solviletti
Dear Deadbeat,
Make it Right
Darriel McBride
A Bowl
Daniel McFadden
Jammy Thompson
Christina Lupo
Man, Have
Sara Kiter
I am Primrose Lane
Nick Chhoeun
The Secret Keeper
Marisa Maccaro
Hand in Unlovab
Marisa Maccaro
Memories of a
Man fom Corona
Carmen Henriquez
The First Supper
Dakota Swanson
Bryanna Adams
The Trillionth
Julia Franco
Bernadette Hogan
Front Cover
Back Cover

The Eiffel Tower
Tenley Feinberg
A name represents a soul, represents a life, represents endless possibilities. Her
name meant nothing to him.
She knew this, but followed him anyway
She would have followed him to the
end of the Earth, provided he led her off it
He came from a world of dark romance, drawn to morbid intimacy
She was
nothing more than a small stop on his endless journey, nothing more than a
drop in the mad tumultuous ocean of his twisted mind.
And she knew. She knew exactly what he was from the moment she saw his
lips contort themselves into that sour smile. From the moment those shallow,
flat words dropped upon her ears, so smooth they must have been said a thou-
sand times, she knew that this THING standing before her was not a man but
something far worse. He was the epitome of darkness and of fear. He was what
nightmares were made of. And he was her final chance to do something right.
She knew from just one word.
He asked her, suavely, confidently, if she would like to visit the Eiffel Tower with
him. See the second balcony. Breathtaking view, highly illegal. It was the per-
fect combination of romance and danger. Who could possibly say no?
She smiled to herself as he asked his question
It was so romantic it was cheesy,
so dangerous it was unoriginal. She wondered how many girls had fallen for it.
He took her hand as she stood up. Together, they left the room and walked in
the direction of the Eiffel Tower.
She pushed on the door but it was locked. She felt him slip a key into her hand.

y, s
e won
d how he had gotten it
Then she slid it into the lock and
He led
he way
to the back stairs, the maintenance stairs, the "Employees Only
The eleva
couldn't take you to the second balcony.
She climbed the s
rs in silence and took his hand
She hadn
t forgotten what
he was. She did
him to try anything.
He stifled a gasp
grabbed his hand. This had never happened before. This
wasn't part of the

Nocturnal Cognition
Charlie Grippaldi
They make sleep
All the more worth
Being unconscious
They are obscure
They break the rules
Creations of perfect worlds

Silence Makes it's Sound
My heart
Sinking to the knots of my spine
Once a lullaby
A dream to die
Eyes drift away
pearls on a cloud
me here
Let the
make its sound
Out There, Somewhere
By Daniel McFadden
Out there, somewhere,
She dances on a star-strewn beach.
Bending and shaping the earth underneath her,
Creating careless constellations with every step.

An Apologetic Letter, from a Concerned Friend
Krista Picotti
To the girl who lived across the street,
It's really not okay.
It's not O-fucking-kay.
Which is, in fact, an exaggerated understatement. It's practically a straight up
lie. It's so not okay. In the sense that gods traveling of all ages and ethnicities
with all accumulated powers would not make it okay. Allah would not make it
okay. Jesus would not make it okay. Nor would Zeus or Ares, or Janus. Binge
watching Netflix with cartons of ice cream would not make it okay. Ice and ban
aides and the entire hospital packed into a travel sized first aid kit wouldn't hel
at all. There is no word incredible enough that allows me to elaborate how not
okay this is. Any of it.
And it's my fault really because I should have been there all along. Whe
we were entering high school and your dad died, I should have been there the
whole time. But instead I was in outer space, and that's not an excuse, but a fact
A reality. And I'm sorry because I shouldn't have taken a vacation so abruptly,
but I was pushed into unusual circumstances and it is hard to pull yourself
together without gravity. I am only saying this because I owe you an explanation
for being so aloof, for dropping everything, for pushing you down ascending
staircases and winding hallways, for vandalizing signs on roads, for everything.
I remember when you told me. I'll never forget it. Speak; you told me,

it was like the book Speak. And I wish you had spoken sooner. Your words spun
in my mind as if them themselves were constructing fiction.
you had told
me sooner, maybe I would have had more time to think, a little more to grasp
the concept without perplexities. Maybe I would have called the cops, sobbed
into your shoulder
ran and told my mother. I ran and told my mother, who did
nothing. And told me nothing, because there was nothing I could do. There is
nothing I can do, but sit here in art class and stare at the man who struck you,
who pushed you, who demanded your rights be taken, who watched you strug-
le, and struggle harder
The man who tightened his grip the more you repeated
yourself, every time you told him not to, he tightened his grip. Or at least that
is how I imagine it, you being too paralyzed to do anything, but say that it is not
okay. And it is NOT okay. You have a right to that.
I know he was your friend. You knew him well
Well enough to know
how bad things were. You understood how the air he took in was strangling him.
You know all the shit he's been through, but none of it makes it okay. And my
heart bled when you told me. It took me awhile to believe you, not because I
thought you were speaking in fabrications, but because I was convinced that you
yourself were one and perhaps I was one too, and perhaps the whole thing was
just a thought floating in the thick air. And you were looking at me, watching
me, waiting for me to react and I couldn't
I couldn't find the words to.
You told me that it happens to everyone. It took me a moment to say it
out loud, no, no it doesn't. And even if it did that would be a bigger reason why
it is not okay. It's a reason to be mad, to be angry. You have the right to be an-
gry. Not just for yourself, but for everyone before you and everyone after. And
if you won't I will. Because you deserve better, you deserve so much better
It is
not okay, and it never will be okay. But maybe, hopefully, eventually, you will.
Take care, from a concerned friend.

Bernadette Hogan

Dearest Yawn,
Some higher power commands me to obey you; consequently, my jaw
drops. I slowly inhale. My eyes close and flutter as I revel in the sensation
you give me
I toss my head back; I know you love it when my neck is ex-
My body elongates and quivers, like the limbs of a tree in the viva-
cious evening wind. I peak!
As the tingling sensation slowly fades throughout my physique, I reestab-
lish my proper posture and gradually open my eyes, feeling like a phoenix
rising from the ashes after an abrupt, incinerating eruption. I have been
Only you can make me feel like this.
However, you are not a monogamous lover. An innocent onlooker is your
next victim
I witness this person undergo the same bodily spasms you
inflicted upon me just moments ago. You lascivious player, you! You now
have the entire room under your spell. Not even the tenacious can resist
I love you.
You remind me to tend to my body. To sleep
perchance to Dream. An im-
peccable seducer, you are the perfect lover to fall asleep to.
You rest easy as I rest easily at your command.
Sweet dreams,
Kaliyah Gardner

The Love Letter Torn
Dakota Swanson
The first love letter I ever received I tore to pieces. The scraps of soaked paper
clung to my fingers as their remains dissolved under the hot fury of my bath-
room faucet. The smell of excess perfume lingered within the confines of my
bathroom as the words of the letter seemed to sear within my head. I gagged a
the smell wafted once again into my nostrils.
The letter itself was little more than the smelly culmination of an on again off
again falsehood that had begun at a church youth retreat. Every "good" Chris-
tian tween looked forward to this retreat. A weekend away from home, deep
within a mountain, where we could all gather and worship. These were "good"
Christian tweens, the kind that pissed in sinks and hosted fight clubs in their
dorm rooms.
I paid these kids no attention, to be honest; I paid little attention to anyone.
While other kids were content in pissing everywhere and punching each other,
was headbanging to Christian rock, as my arms flailed around in a lame attem
at dance. The world was hidden beneath my shaking bangs as my friends sat
back arms folded in disapproval.
As the music blared throughout the room, the pastor's voice bellowed at us to
give our hearts to Christ. I took little notice of the curly haired girl sitting in th
girls' worship section.
The rip of guitar strings drowned out the sounds of her and her friends gigglin
And so I danced on, bangs waging against my forehead, as I desperately tried t
become saved.
Snow drifted down from the gray sky, clinging to the ground as their
feet trampled toward the bus. My feet, my feet ran as the curly haired girl
chased me. Her voice was shrill against the blotted out sky. I had glanced ever
where, and still she managed to arrive before me, her body standing before m
passage to sanctuary. She had been chasing me ever since my dance, and still
pursued months onward.
As she chased, I began to edge closer. Her arms enrapturing me in an
embrace I tried to break, but secretly clung to it. I searched for her at every

Sunday night meeting. I lived on the fring~ of an abyss that was beginning to
consume my every thought.
From the very beginning I knew it was a lie, her arms around me as she
screamed for me to dance. Telling me she was my biggest fan and that we were
meant to be
All of it a lie, and yet as I ran from her embrace I knew I wanted
er touch. I wanted my hand in hers, and to hold her close. The first girl to show
me affection. A game unlike any I had ever played and I was in over my head
because with every Sunday I drew closer to the nether that was her love.
As spring came, flowers sprouted from the ground as we were beginning
to sprout into puberty. She walked toward me, as I swung high above the world,
orced to screech to a stop as she stood before me. My feet inches from her face,
my arms pulled back, bringing the swing to a stop. As the swing hung limply
above the ground, I rocked my feet back and forth.
She smiled, as she stepped forward. Wrapping her arms around my
neck, she took her seat upon my lap. Everything froze as I tried to hold back the
thoughts, the thoughts that would make her hate me as our church had said
And so I thought of everything and nothing: homework, the flowers rising, how
much I only wanted to swing, and any and every thought a young tween could
think of while trying to ignore a beautiful girl sitting upon him .
She rocked her
ass against my lap, and for a moment I could feel the sweat on my forehead
would think me a freak if I gave in
And so she left
Removing her arms from around my neck, she rocked her
tiny tween hips as she walked towards another kid. I began to kick, getting my
swing in the air, but she never left my thoughts.
It wasn
t till a week later that I had received the love letter. The
recess that had been interrupted as the ninth grade girls came running up to
The letter drenched in a perfume that could turn anyone's stomach. The
words of her obsession seeped in before I tore it to shreds. I watched as the
shreds of paper fluttered into my trashcan
Her words fading from all existence,
yet lingering in my mind. That wretched perfume. A poison that only made
me stumble deeper into the nether. The letter was a lie, her feelings were too,
but mine had become real and in turn I had lost a game I never set out to play.
When I was no longer amusing, when she grew bored of me, she shred me like I
had her letter.

Caroline Dewald
My sweet serendipity
Oh, love's gratifying punchline
never failing to spring the downward corners of my mouth
into crescent moons toward a twinkling sky
of dwindling Taurus constellations
Time may not exist in space
my jealousy weaves through the galaxies
but it manifests in my world as a limitation for
feelings of splendor
as it took away the pleasure in oxygen I had selfishly gotten used to
Foolish of me to believe I'd never feel those horns
pushing against my back
to thrust me off the face of the universe.
Silly girl, believing change and trust were not
friends of the stars I had only ever seen in perfect alignment,

and that time was endless for those on Earth as
Time was ruthless,
a severe perpetrator of my indecisive, messy mind
of jumbled stars that either exploded or died from time to time.
And, just as the stars above, those still on Earth
only noticed their deaths eternities afterwards.
Serendipity shows itself;
surrenders to our intergalactic game of hide and seek
and dances around my fingertips
Independent entities, serendipity connected the dots.
A little girl screamed she could see the light through the telescope;
The instauration of beautiful friendship.
Relieved at last by the curls of my mouth
as I could have never escaped the image of yours.

El Rey de Puerto Rico
(The King of Puerto Rico)
Zach Racusin
I was walking from Isla Verde to Carolina
A warm December day in the capitol, trying to find my way
I walk past a ballpark off the main drag, kids
jVamo! jRapidamente! jF6cate!
I hear the parents yell out to them.
I ask a father
Que es esta liga?
He rolls his eyes and blandly tells me por los niiios
This man doesn't think I'm Boricua.
Subdued, I'm finished.
The right fielder uncorks a laser beam to gun a kid down at third.
Clemente I whispered. Suddenly the man next to me grabs my shirt.
"Ay claro."
One look in this man's eyes and I see
Su poder
His violent swing
Su rapidez
His graceful gallop
Su pena
The burden of his judgment
Todo junto
Bat flips and swagger.
El sacrificio ultimo
The same way he lived.
Para mi gente
They called him Royalty. Crown him.

Bernadette Hogan

Electric Nothing
Derek Rose
What the rolling pin sees:
The lasagna is flying! High above the kitchen
it pauses at the pinnacle of its
The top layer of noodle clings valiantly to the edges of the pan; co
of steam rise from the ricotta. Now it begins descending. Slowly, sinking, fast
It meets the linoleum with a crash. Pyrex pearls skitter across the floor
marinara hemorrhages.
Ms. Conroy lies among the wreckage, clutching her chest
She's moving too much to be dead, that I know
Heaving, spasmic
It looks
she's trying to make snow angels in the sauce. (Er, like she's trying to make sau
angels in the sauce.)
But why doesn't she attempt a mad lunge for Telephone while she has
strength? Or why not cry out, even though no one is around to hear?
What a mess. It would've been a fine meal.
On any other day, the sight of lasagna on her floor would have sent Ms. Conr
into the same cardiac state
She often confuses the kitchen for an operating roo
The fluorescent lights, the too-clean smell of disinfectant.
Wait, she's muttering something.
Hm? What's that? Speak up, Ms. Conroy. I doubt even Table Leg could you he
you, and you're right beside him.
The words seem to have jammed up somewhere in her throat. Now the pa
begins to spread
Her breathing is jagged
Her eyes are flitting like two craz
goldfish. She stretches her hands into the air, grasping at nothing.
What a twisted sense of humor life has for the living
a heartless woman done
like this.
Well, at least she has us with her while she goes.
What the salt shaker sees:
Oh, goodness, I've really done it now. I'm positive I've killed her
else could it be but the blood pressure? She has always fancied her salt. And
think how many years she has eaten alone now. So much seasoning for just o
person. She's lucky her heart didn't stop ages ago.
Then again, maybe it did
I mean, I like Ms. Conroy. Really, I do. She's always treated me well: never shaki
too vigorously, never spanking the salt out too firmly. It's just, she used to
different. Back when there were more people around the table and more mou

h . g to be fed she was happier
Now I can hardly tell which of us is the living.
But I promise you-
for heaven's sake
She keeps trying to get up, but can't gain any traction in
the' sauce. Now she
s dragging herself across the floor
Look at her go, slogging
through lasagna like a member of the Triple Entente through the trenches
Where was I again?
Oh yes
I promise you there was life in her, though. Don't listen to Rolling Pin.
He hasn't been here long enough to know how things were
Conroy's laughter
ed to ring throughout the house
full as church bells.
Her hu
band was a photographer, you know
He worked mostly for real estate
gencies and newspapers
SO!l)-etimes the occasional wedding
When he wasn't
working, Ms
Conroy was his endless muse. I'd be surprised if they ever saw each
other without a lens between them. She would wait in pose while he told her
about shutter speeds and shadows. A tiny click, a burst of light
and the moment
between them would be frozen forever
J dream of having a love like that
What an experience it must be to bare yourself,
petal by petal
to another
I've tried to meet someone for years-always flirting
with Ba
il or dropping hints to Pepper-but it's a small kitchen, you see. The only
suitor I've had is Cumin and, I'm sorry to say, he's just not my taste.
At times it's difficult to keep hoping
especially seeing Ms. Conroy the way she
is. Then again
the thought of love usually outlasts love itself anyway
so I've
been told
I once a
ked Dust Pan why people kiss and he said it's so they know they are still
Ms. Conroy was alive once
What the key rack sees
tops moving midway to the stairwell. Whether she has lost the ability to
r forfeited the will, I cannot say. Afternoon sun is falling slantwise
h the kitchen window, casting a barcode of light onto her body
I now see
frail she truly is. I think raindrops could collect in the divots between her
known her longer than any item in the house, I should reiterate that she
not always been like this-she is but a mere quotation of the woman she
. It is like time itself whittled her down, hour by hour
until one day she
e a
nd was incapable of feeling anything at all
I'm not sure what spurred the
but I do know it began long before the children aged and moved away

even long before Mr. Conroy fell out of love with her. Perhaps she just grew tir
of life-buried its meaning
redacted its color. She has not left the house in so
long that cobwebs are threaded between each of my pegs. We have been voyeu
to a vacant being.
I often recall the last time the whole family was here
the last time there was a
life in the house. Each time I think back to it
the margins of the night become
less important
The day does not matter, nor the time
It is the occasion that
matters: her daughter's wedding announcement. It was in this very kitchen, at
that very table. The clinking of silverware
a silence furnishing the room-save
for some Van Morrison song lilting in the background
In that moment
I could
hear everyone's heart beating
I have searched for my own many times since.
After the announcement was made, Ms. Conroy remained impassive, idly gazin
into the distance as if she had not heard anything at all. I think that
s what fin
ly did it
A fit of protest or even a roll of the eyes would have been better than
that nothingness. Soon after, the kids stopped calling
stopped visiting. Then
the day came when Mr. Conroy tossed two suitcases down the stairs, kissed
wife on the forehead
and turned out the door-his house key dangled like a
pendulum beneath me
There is a rumor amongst the house that she keeps every picture her husband
took of her in a shoe box in her bedroom
(Of course
it was Armoire who pass
that story along and we all know that Frenchman
s penchant for the melodra-
matic. Tall tales are his raison d'etre, if you will
) Nevertheless
I would swear
Ms. Conroy was trying to make it upstairs to see those pictures one final time
It is getting late now. Through the window above her body I can see that shad-
ows are keeping time
This has been my view for my entire existence
What a
wonder it would be to step outside and feel the world upon me
To feel myself
upon it
annot say what it feels like to die, as I barely know what it feels like to live,
but I have pictured it many times. I imagine it feels like lying down in a snow
Infinite bits of white fluttering and falling all around, softening every-
thing until you finally rest
The snow must have begun falling on Ms
years ago

the tide of
her heart becoming slow. A rigid, blue vein knots and un-
ca;s against her forehead.
Everything is
aside from the ringing that hides
a deep
It i~ only t~is soft hum, this electric nothing, that I can
il Telepho
ne begms to nng.

Between 21 and 22
Margaret Bruetsch
Somewhere between 21 and 22 I got lost,
and found and then lost again.
22 candles on the cake, "22" playing on the stereo,
Drinking too much whiskey the weekend before,
dressed up pretty enough to get into the club for free,
but you were still in the back of my mind.
Warm and cold, like the winter sun creeping through
my window. Comforting for a moment, before I realized the
warmth was just a trick. Coffee and Saturdays spent when I was
still too naive to know that men like you wait for
everything they want to come to them, like a cat preying
on attention. And when you left, I fell back into the ice cold water,
Living but numb, blaming myself when the ice refroze
above me, a crystal ceiling, harder than stone
trapping me underneath. And then the
summer winds blew and cleared the ice away.
It's easier to find yourself, when you're not counting
on someone else to do it for you
Christina Coulter

zen Week
snow and embrace its innocence.
Strikingly white, walk through as
dim street lamps illuminate contrast-
There's an angel that lies
ing beautiful fiery hues on the path
underneath the surface in disguise.
to nowhere. Dark figures cast onto
and cries, trapped inside. the white brightness, orange and
Beautiful thoughts hidden from
yellow lighting only exaggerates your
imprisoned by ignorance to
shadows likeness. The quiet solace is
the ever new knowledge that is
your one accomplice on this journey
happiness. Don't be so stressed. Get into peace. Let the snow fall, as it
back to where you were before the
lands on your hair. Smile and stare,
become aware, the sound of silence
constant duress that seems to pos-
and subtle wind creates the harmony
actions and hijack your
h Wh
that only the heart can hear. The
thoug ts.
o are you. s 1 rue
snow creaks under your 1eet, street -
re scared. Are you sure you cant
. h d'
1g ts seem to meet m t e 1stance
be repaire
· d'

as t e qmet 1m 1g t or s me t mto
Overthinking is detrimenta
d b
l'k th
one an
e e sun.
to the mental capacity of the human
Bask in the glory that is the
entity. The smile you fake is tragic.
snow as far as the eye can see, your
Don't lie to hide the pain behind
smile reflects the floating snowflakes
your eyes. Trust is really love in
that resemble angels. Identify each
disguise. There can only be a you and one, and familiarize yourself with
Understandably ashamed of the
every angle. In a sense, you walk on
past, there's a reason why it didn't
heavens surface. Analogies make
last. Here now and gone tomorrow, plain experiences more perfect.
no need for extended sorrow. Take
Smile and wait, quicken your gait.
Earn what's yours and Chase the sun and try to become
mature from the amazing experienc- more than what is, what might end
we know are waiting. Be patient, up being because it's all that domi-
don't fret. There is no regret.
nates what the mind's eye is seeing.
It's hard not to be scared, I
Here comes the sun.
know. Just walk through the falling

With Out
Michalyn Curran
I was taller, sturdier
hearing you
regret mistrusting me.
But I changed nothing
I was happy-go-lucky, oblivious
because I needed
to see you on your knees:
I fucked up, exonerate
me from your supercilious
demeanor. Not until you
Say it; save us.
I live without
colored rose, see
bodies of calm
but you appear
from dark, at my
&I remember
turbulent thought torment;
recall the indignation.
Why is pride
so easily demolished
by chagrined memories?
I decide to
take off, rid
myself of this
teetertotter mind.
To live without
wondering how
we would be different
if you only admit:
I fucked up. Stay.


Walk Around
Darriel McBride
Now as I walk around, I see a soft cotton candy
Sky with light pink clouds.
Hints of yellow and purple flowers.
And a dingy train
Moving along the musty Hudson.
It's rumbling in the distance.
Then there's me.
Standing at the top of this hill
Smoking God's Gift and Northern Lights
Mixed with a thick cloud of Blue Dreams
Traveling through my nostrils
Like smoke from a chimney.
My thoughts are crazy glued to the past.
Trying to retrace and alter the remains
Of my pain, like a palimpsest.
Searching for an answer
That doesn't want to be found.
Burying the truth
Of this guilty pleasure,
Six feet under.
Refusing to admit,
I've been smoking too much.
That it's the only thing
That puts my aching heart
At ease.

And stops the truth from bleeding out
From these scars
Unable to remember
When all this started.
it was the result,
Of the love I discarded.
Unable to remember
When smoking suddenly
Became a shoulder
To cry on
Now here I am, rolling up
Another spliff.
But I did not sign up for this.
I'm just a good girl,
With some really bad habits.

The Brain is ...
Janelle Solviletti
The brain is ...
encrypted on tongue.
Wired fences that disengage
white and black matter.
It even tricks itself,
expanding beyond comfort.
Fading to gray, mist covers car windows,
Conscious, rational- a beggar
making his last rounds,
energies worth nothing.
Wires decompose, one second .
like raindrops soaking up my letter to you,
It starts with a slow fade D-E-
smudged in a black concoction.
I discover my second eye open
burning like a traveler
in the deep Sahara. It labors,
a majestic machine's malfunction plummets.

Beware of the Bitch
Bryanna A~ams
you will soon
realize why they name natural disasters after people
Wait until they name one after me
With the capacity of Sandy, Katrina, and Irene
Sounding like bombs over Baghdad, calling it justice
Smelling a shaky hand, a lit match, and some gasoline
Feeling like Fireball burning the cusp of your throat
that made Dorothy click her heels times three to get back home
to the wreckage she imagined I caused,
though what I was thinking ... was even better than that.
Because I
the thunder, the lightening, and generations of anger boiling
inside of me
am not
the one.
You will understand why we see red, then bleed red.
You will
understand Frankenstein's screams of terror because the monster
makers never apologize for the monsters they make.
They never say that they're sorry for the beasts they have unleashed.
So why should I repent for being what you created?
sorry for icy hands when you left me out in the cold
Saying sorry for disfiguration when I was the clay that you mold
Finally speaking up ... not sorry for being bold.
This fire in the pit of my stomach,
Rage: best wishes to you finding the red or blue wire to stop impending
destruction ...
Then erosion.
I don't know how many times to tell you I've been broken.
So beware!
Beware of the bitch.
She bites more than she barks because it's the only way to get your attention.
Her anger -- it's the only way you won't forget to mention
that a storm is coming.
The storm is coming.
The ones your name after women that hurt like I do.

Under the Onion Dome
Molly Scott
Grandpa comes in by way of livestock
On my favorite cow I nicknamed
Mother Russia
He takes snapshots with his camera
In sepia and gold,
Photographs of what it would
Look like if I grew up living the
Narrative of my blood
With a silo in my backyard
And a different memory of "home"
My mother's Aunt Remo burns
a needle over candle flame; dips it in molten
wax and curls the heat over blown out eggs in
Folk tales and spirals. Babushka wraps mashed potato and cheese
In unleavened dough and asks if we want cabbage in
Our pierogis
From the skylight, it snows
A mixture of white and mud
As we write this pattern with Russian Vodka
And food coloring
And they tell me the stories of our home land:
Remember: the Virgin Mary's tears
Remember: what Protects us from

•eked something that is chained
Pysanka keeps us safe
I finish my Ukrainian ~aster Egg,
Written with beeswax m
Red, black, yellow and brown; effervescently gilded
In starlight and flower petals
Babushka hands me a slice of poppy seed bread.
In a different life I drop
store bought eggs
Into store bought dye
Letting them crack at the bottom of the mug
Through old home videos you can see me
And my brother trying to find
Carmen Sandiego
My mom taking us from one universe
To the next
My dad letting me paint his toenails
And if you listen close you
Will hear the echo;
The molding of our being;
The narrative reminding me
Of Matryoshka dolls;
The ones I had when I was little.
And I remember the layers
1 remember Home

J{aliyah Gardner
. hi
r and gazed at the scenery as we glided carelessly through the 7a.m. traffic.
'{he tr
e still dressed in their autumn attire
B t some stood nude,
Dancing in the morning reeze.
appreciate the trees' autumn wardrobe,
dorned in vibrant marigold, saffron, and crimson plumage
I believe the barren bark to be more Beautiful.
I believe it is the souls of the trees that we see in the winter.
they cannot hide their true Nature.
The wood is twisted and contorted,
abused by the circumstances of Nature
Some of the souls have split,
Some lay wayward.
Some souls stand on their tippy-roots, and
Try to touch the Sun.
Some do not care to notice.
I see the naked souls of the trees in the winter.
I saw one tree,
had but only one leaf
I think she could not
remove her lipstick.
I saw one tree,
One of few,
Still fully clothed.
Methinks she was afraid
For people to see her soul.
A Tree without leaves is still a tree.
still has the ability to
Branch out and touch the Sky.
Eventually it all
tumbles to the
Let the leaves Fall
Wear they may
We will see them
next May. For now,
Lets take a peek at that
Beautiful Soul.

Santa Claus Isn't Coming Tonight
Antonio DelVecchio
Author's Note: for his privacy, I have replaced my freshman roommate's name with
I imagine
play him in the movie adaptation of this story.
Paul Rudd was my first
college roommate, and he called me
"Boss." I don't know why he called
me "Boss," we were the same age,
and he was taller than me by six
inches, but he called me boss from
the day I met him. He walked into
the room with a lacrosse stick and
his mother, and while I scrambled
for my pants he came up with the
name. "Good to meet ya, Boss," and
that was that
He shook the hand I
wasn't zipping my fly with
He didn't
know, could not have known, just
how good it was to meet him - just
how many stories I would get out of
One of the first stories, one of the
stories where you can get a glimpse
at the real Paul Rudd, happened that
October. He left for class at seven
in the morning and came home
from practice at five, but before he
laid down for his pre-party nap, he
hung his jock and his cleats in the
window to dry. He would also sling
his towels on his wall with hooks
that I had left over from hanging
Christmas lights
The way the lights
sparkled off of the drying rags and
underwear was hypnotic. Boy, did h
have a way of hypnotizing girls too.
One night he brought back three.
But not this Halloween night
night, he went out as Santa Claus.
Well after I had turned in,
head spinning and tired, he shuffle
through the door in his Santa boots
I had just gotten back from a party,
and he was just getting back from
the bar
It was rare for him to come
back alone.
was your night, Boss.
"It was fun. How was yours
Boss. Bad."
"What happened?"
He tugged at his Santa belt.
I hadn't realized the costume was
one piece. A one piece Santa suit
doesn't need a belt. It should be
noted that we had both had so mu
to drink that we were to the point
of conversation
Besides our first
meeting, we had only ever spoken
when we asked each other to leave
for the night
The only girl he
kick me out for was his mother
But there we were on the unholiest
of nights
becoming best friends,

onsored by cool, refreshing Coors Light™
He continued: "I got to the bar, and I was killing it as Santa
Killing it.
Girls were letting me buy drinks for them, and one sat on my lap
"So I don't get what the problem is."
"Another Santa."
"Another fucking Santa."
"What did he do?"
"He took them all."
"All of them?"
"All of them. They took their drinks, the drinks that I bought them, and
sat on his lap."
"Jesus Christ."
"There were a lot of girls. Their drinks cost me two hundred dollars ... and
that's not even counting the costume
"Jesus Christ! How much was the costume?"
Paul Rudd stepped out of his boots and onesie. It really wasn't such an
unimpressive costume, even if it did look like pajamas. He hung it limp on the
wall and left the beer soaked boots to dry in the window.
"What was so great about that other Santa anyways?"
He turned away from the wall and looked at me with such sadness in his
eyes. Those bright eyes that he'd greeted me with on the first day of school were
one, replaced by the eyes of a man who had seen too much: too much money
;ave his wallet, too many girls leave his lap. He opened his mouth and let it
ban? there for a second while the lights sparkled off of the red and white suit
ehind him. He said one word for the rest of the night:

Unnatural State of the Unicorn
Molly Scott
Introduce me first as human.
Don't mention superficial
The world piles into neat stacks
Of paper on my forehead
I am human.
Sagging spine
sprawling legs.
Before knee length tea-skirts that lay
Flush against my skin & polished
finger nails
Before word association & biological
Before the pink in my skin,
In my hair
the back of my bare
Shoulders, I am human. I hav
eligion- my creed
I've taken time for myself; dug the
Of relationships I let fall apart
I am
No construct. I am nobody
s hon
Tips of these lips won't lie for you
the natural state
Of the unicorn
I have no part to
No label to claim
I tuck away poll
Don't fucking touch me, honey.
I am standing here, no socks; there
Holes in the pits of my brother's
I haven't washed my hair in
I feel the cold on my toes
The way people do.
And in this space I take for myse
It's true that even unicorns bruis


After the End of the World
Margaret Bruetsch
I can't remember the last time I saw a real person before today. But the
she is, smiling at me. She's not real. She can't be.
"Yes I am, Jared;' the woman sitting across the room from me says.
But I know better. She isn't real; I'm the only one left. At least I think I
"Speak to me, Jared, my boy;' The woman's eyes flash in the dull sunlig
At least I think it's sunlight. She has her knees bent up to her chest and
cigarette swirls misty clouds in the air around her face. I wish I could
ure out what color her clothes are, but the only color I remember is wh'
and a dull beige
My clothes are like the latter, but the woman's pants an
shirt are the nonexistent color I see when I close my eyes. Her hair is lo
and auburn but I'm not entirely sure what auburn is.
There used to be other colors in the world, but it was a long time ago.
world now consisted of various shades of white and beige, but I'm sure
that the sky used to be blue once. The type of blue that I remember fro
dream of being a small child with my father, and staring up into sky d
the early spring when the winter winds had withdrawn, and the daffo ·
were only just poking out of the ground.
"When was the last time you saw a daffodil, Jared? Far too long, I'm su
the woman smirks as she puts her cigarette out against the bottom ofh
shoe. Her lips are as red as blood and she lets her smirk grow into a s
that sends a shiver down my back.
"The world outside ended a long time ago;' I tell her. I was sure I was
only person left, but now even that is questionable. The only signs of
one else existing are the meals that appear in my room at least three
a day. She must be the one who leaves them for me, "Who are you?"
"Who do you think I am?" She stands up in one motion and I instincti
push back into the wall, afraid of her movement, "There's no need to
scared, Jared. Drink some water, your voice sounds so hoarse. It upsets

1 shake
head and keep my back pinn~d against the wall, "I don't know
f.~~:~ourse you do, Jared;' the woman picks up the cup on the tray and
lks over to me.
can't go anywhere so
close my eyes, wishing her away,
doesn't work t at way, are .
"You're not real;' I murmur, 'Tm all that's left:'
"All that's left from what, Jared?"
"1he end of the world;' I whisper and open my eyes. She is kneeling in
front of me with the cup in her outstretched hand; she smiles this time,
and I feel suddenly at ease with her. My fingers brush hers as I take the
cup. She feels warm, or maybe my hands are cold.
re hands aren't cold, Jared;
she smiles wider this time, "You haven't
touched another person in a long time, am I right?"
"What's your name?"
"What do you want my name to be?" she slides her feet out from under-
neath her butt, and seamlessly moves from kneeling to sitting. Her eyes are
a weird color, purple like an iris.
What is that?
"It's my name;' she giggles the type of giggle that a little girl would. Care-
free and high pitched, with the ability to dance around in the air like
dandelion seeds. I remember those, and I wish I could remember why as I
close my eyes.
I can see a little dark-haired girl blowing at a dandelion and giggling as the
seeds take off into the wind like little helicopters catching the sunlight and
sparkling like glitter or snowflakes. The little girl turns to me and grins.
She's missing her two front teeth. She cries my name and runs towards me,
:rapping her arms around my legs. "I love you, Jared:'
What are you thinking about, Jared?" Iris' voice pulls me back and I open
my eyes
She is sitting even closer to me now, "You know it isn't nice to
~hink about other women when you're spending time with
~he Wasn't a woman, she was a little girl;' I murmur. The memory was
Izzy, like trying to see a family film through a fuzzy television or on an
eotape. What is a videotape?

"They haven't been around for years, Jared;' Iris is next to me now and I
jump back.
"Stop that!" I cry, "Stop reading my mind or whatever the fuck you're do-
'Tm only here to have a conversation with you, Jared;' she smiles sweetly
and reaches out her hand. Her fingernails are painted red just like her
and she wiggles them as she tries to get me to come back to her, "Sit dos
to me. I want you to talk to
''About what?"
''About anything;' she grins as I slide back closer to her. Her hand reache
around the back of my head and she tangles her fingers in my hair. "Tell
me about the world you remember:'
She moves her fingers slightly to massage my scalp and I let my shoulder
relaxes me, and I sigh enjoying her company for the first time si
she appeared. She seems to sense that and crawls to straddle my lap.
"Where did you live as a child, Jared?" she whispers and the cadence of
voice mystifies me.
almost sounds like it's changing, and getting smoo
er. Mimicking a voice I've heard before.
I love you, Jared. Do you love me?
"Did you say something?" I ask her, and she grins at me.
She shakes her head, "You were about to tell me where you grew up. Re-
member, you said something about an orange house:'
"I did?"
"Yes, and your mother hated the color:'
"You're right. She did ... " I grin. I can see my mother now, at least I
it's my mother. She had blonde hair and green eyes. I remember her we
ing tops from the 70s and boot cut jeans, even in the summer. She alway:
had her hair tied up in a ponytail.
'Tm sure she was wonderful;' Iris grins at me and I smile back at her. M
mother was wonderful.
''And we lived next door to this perfect, sky-blue house;' I whisper, "My
mother was friends with the single mom who lived next door, probably
because she envied the woman's house color. She'd bring her daughter to

to play
my kid brother and
the P
h ,.,,
much yo
unger was s e.
five yea
rs;' I can't remember her, at least I think I can't. I shut my
to my legs. She's five, I'm ten. I hate her. She should just
he's closer to her age. "Get off of me, Abigail:'
f.Her name
Abigail;' I open my eyes and see Iris' face much closer to
pull back but she still has her hand tangled in my hair,
are you
close to me?"
I feel
part of you;' Iris looks away from me and I see a blush rise
to her
She's not
shy any
more and her lips find mine. Her lips taste like summer,
like ho
raspberries. I want more of her, all of her.
the rest
story please visit: www.margaretbruetsch

History in the Making!
Addison Donati
I tried. Truly, this morning I tried to stop. Just the thought alone made
uncontrollably shake
from a freezing sense that was not present in the middle of August. The
sweating was logical,
but I wasn't hot, not warm even. I was numbingly frigid and drenched in
my own perspiration. So
I tried, but today just didn't seem like the right day. ! !
The three folded notes in my pocket all read the same thing: "Milk, cere
bread, pay, leave:'
The multiple reminders guided me through my worst nightmare of wee
food shopping. It
wasn't so much the shopping, no I actually enjoyed that part; It was the
people, it was the
goddamn people and their stupid, beady eyes. I'm picking up a gallon of
milk, you want a
friggen picture, dude? I know I'm not some beauty to look at, and I
understood milk to be
all that interesting, so what the hell they are always staring at, I'll never
know. Fuck it. ! !
"$8.76 is your total:' Handing over that money seriously sucks. Anythin
it could be used for
anything else. I mean, clothes, shoes, syringes, honestly anything else.
Food's a necessity, I get
it, but seriously $8.76, anything else.! !
In the car, my lungs kicked in; Outdoors, not so much. Oxygen sort of
works opposite for me.
Out in open air, I suffocate in the presence of others. Alone in my car,
my house
I swear it's
the epitome of clean breathing. I'm honestly never alone, though. My
my veins, my bloodstream, they seriously never shut the fuck up. They
complain like a nagging mother-in-law

and beg like a persistent toddler. Trust 11:e, I give them a beating when
they deserve,
unishment ~oesn't affect them really. I thought about parenting classes,
but I figured 1f I came
n with just my arm and no child, not many people would get it.
you do
et what I'm saying, I'm
~orry that it's too late.
you don't get what I'm saying, don't ever go look-
ing to find out, you
lucky sonofabitch.
! !
I used rope for a while because I found out my skin gets irritated from
rubber. My homemade
tourniquet started leaving a bruised rim around my forearm that sort of
looked like a faded
tattoo. I found it slightly sexy, and then found it disturbing that I found it
slightly sexy. Today, I
used the rubber tie again, even with its skin burns and sharp pinching, in a
few seconds it never
really matters anyways. Tie, flick, find, poke, inject, release. Rather easy,
honestly. Much easier
than food shopping.
! !
89 Bulwick Road. My mother's first home, the address on my birthday
invitations, my highschool
graduation party venue, please join us here for the after funeral recession,
the only thing my
mother had to leave me in her will. I owned my own home, can you be-
lieve it? And my mother
only had to die for me to have it. The thought of a will pissed me off, and
someone reading it
outloud to me put me over the edge. So sorry about the death of your
loved one, but hey, listen
~o all this shit you're gunna get, what a deal!
you expected me to will-
ingly live in this house
Without being high out of my mind, you're heartless. I wish she died of
some horrifying drug

Liminal Spaces
Katherine Louie
You and I, we sit here with our fractured identities, on your painted front por
wrong, but sometimes I avoid your eyes, because I know that if I loo
them too long I will get lost and not be able to find my way out. I'm just stallin
The October air electrifies me. There are red lights flanking the bridge in the
They shimmer against the black sky and remind me of the lights that line ai
runways. I am positively transfixed.
isn't the right word, but it's the
word that comes to mind. You offer me your cigarette, and I offer you my hea
return. I guess we're just killing time.
Tell me I'm beautiful, tell me I'm unlike any other girl you've slept with, tell
anything. Tell me something to fill this space between us, to consecrate this
and memorialize it. Tell me something that I can write down to prove that
were more than bandages covering raw wounds. To somehow prove our hum
a million years later when researchers are ravaging the barren landscape for
about how we lived. Our existence reduced to laminated photographs and hon
books. Until that moment comes, I will try not to count the minutes.
I once read that sex was sad because "it's as close as you can get to someone,
it's also a limit, it's something that you can't go beyond." It's the pinnacle
relationship. It's an emotional climax, in the most literal and figurative sense
understand this now, because I always want to give you more, but I don't kno
can. I think about that a lot. I think about it when we're in the shower and my
wrap around your waist and I bury my face in your back. I feel safe and secure
everything feels right. I block out the world, and the space of your shower shri
just you and me. I want to stay here, maybe not forever, but for a very long

Jigsaw Success
He tea
ches me
in ways unspoken
He to
me in ways unseen
tickle my skin
blush my mind
halt any movel]lent
il creaks
g yellow
slowly flashes colors
to warm
and please
ep purple
creeps upon us
cool air
canyons meet
for jigsaw

Wait Up
Nick Chhoeun
What I have now is a year and a half
A twin bed two months away from a fresh taste
Another rug absorbing Tuesday's spills
On Wednesday's cleaner gym shoes
The walls don't want another black tack
I slam the door, they will shut up
Only a year and a half
I'm still here eating a syllabus
When I should crave a Degas painting
Instead of the colored "nonsense" on my skin
Maybe for dessert 80 words will get me a B
But permanently it'll be another choice of small talk
Waters, Hall, and Hoppus warmed me before
Another brick on the wall or ask
What do I desire?
What's my age again?
To do what I love or do what makes me survive?
With a year and a half is it too late?
For now, home is a birthday candle
With a small window
In the middle of the four
Before the wax taints the vanilla
I'll have to blow with one permanent breath
Or hold it in and risk it on a bubble
I'll hold my breath like I used to
When we drove past a graveyard
Their stones all a billboard of simple sweetness
Hoping that a year and a half from now
I'll see a Random Access of Memories
With that Green Gentlemen running far

Emma Tice
To be women,
Portals between the spirit world
And the physical
Coexisting with the dominance
Of manhood.
Mulit-colored eye candy
For lenses and screens
Whose beauty can sell water to a whale.
In your room
The pink and teal void.
We plan our fun
Forming flirtationsh
ps with
Fellow tourists on road trips
Bonding and braiding
Our mermaid hair.
The sisterhood of blue irises.
On top of the world,
We look down on our hometown
Pure visionaries
Our hallucinations seem and will become real.
To be inseparable.
You have access to every inch
Of my brain.
The most intense platonic love.
We rearrange lyrics to reflect our lives.
Blow-dry the tears on my cheeks
And drive me home.

Kevin Hudson
Standing perched like a scarecrow in front of the Hudson River
The riverbed rippling, a uniform rock forever unmoved,
Watches as a log, once lodged into the bed,
Is lost to the will of the water
Submerging, surfacing, struggling.
Along the river, a stance must be taken, and it begins the journey
To the golden peaks, where the light and I gaze from afar,
Knowing where the end lies, but the fragile log, setting out on its path alone,
Fights its way to the river's eclipse, ignorant as to what lies beyond.
I open my mouth to speak, but my voice cannot reach it anymore.
As the it plunges into the depths, broken, scattered
fragmented debris
Guide the traveler, as they too have embarked on the quest
Clinging to the river's surface, the log stops, longing to remain in control of
The uncontrollable current.
Stilted I witness the log pulled up
From the debris, chunks of ice, leaves golden from a season far past.
The log remains afloat for a time with their help, but soon plunges
The sun has stopped warming my back
I can no longer reach it, such a task has long since made impossible.
It has reached the peak, where the river ends.
I watch with the rocks in bitterness, a howling wind courses through the air,
It is gone, yet I am still here.

The Black Dog
Logan Forsyth
Carmen Henriquez
The Black Dog
that's how
once heard it described.
can imag
ine it following you as we walked with our hands intertwined.
I c
an imagine it sitting at your feet as we watched movies.
ine it whimpering at the door to your room as we lay inside
I can imagine it everywhere, but I cannot know it.
I can imagine you facing it.
I can imagine you insisting that you face it alone.
I can imagine these things
and more.
ou could imagine that you don't have to face it alone, or at least
that you could face it with me
The Black Dog, that's how I once heard it described
"Success co
nsists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm"
-Winston Churchill

Three Poems About What Actually Goes On In a Fishery
(Family Owned Restaurant Which Specializes in Fish)
Bernadette Hogan
Don't be ridiculous.
I don't cook like you do.
Pencil drawn on eyebrows knit back and forth like jaws chewing.
I was just in Florida.
Were you?
Work some,
Golf some,
Travel to upstate New York.
Sounds nice.
His younger son looks just like you.
Lives on Fire Island.
No. Jewish.
Oh. Oh ...
Sometimes the two get confused
It's off season. He's very sweet. Adopted two sons.
I remember that. They got married young.
Oh yes.
Another coffee?
Regular please.
You know, we'd better drop our voices.
I have a funny feeling she's recording us.
Oh. She totally is.

eeks given, minus the amount of time you spent sleeping equalizes less
than one week to myself.
Your planning gets in the way of your doing--
Head on collision
What's your reaction time?
J forget
Clock seconds shaved so close your already scabbied knees are bruised.
Evening undresses beneath the windowsill
Pooling across black and white tile,
Mercury milk and mellow
as the folky soprano jams out of my Spotify
I can stand here and speculate,
One knee half cocked, resting inward
like the carriage horses do on the streets of New York City
Misleading one and all
The blackened tiles rub arm in arm,
ned seating like a kindergarten class.
My left hand spoons a plumb coffee cup,
one de
ee above lukewarm but
inflaming the fingers stringing up to my palm
Just enough to sham sweaty nervousness
The other collapses on a pen, cold
f like when you held my hand
something I've never liked
-too constrictive
one hand too warm and the former is left out
It all
mes down to how I feel when you read me riddles on popsicle sticks
and order whole grain bread instead of a roll
drifting into a melodious odium only oblivious humility produces.

A Toss for Love
By Charlie Grippaldi
You don't need someone else
To make you happy
Is what they tell me
As if I didn't already know
Trust me
I know.
That's not the point.
I want someone else
To make me happy
I had someone else,
But that expired
So now I throw my heart
To anyone who will catch it
But here I am.
I'm at that point
Where it hits the floor
Every damn time.
Some people come along
They see it lying on the floor
Some look
some touch,
But they don
t take it.
Now here I am.
I'm at that point
Where I don't even
Go and pick it up anymore.

Based off of Komunyakaa's "Addendum"
Emma Tice
I'm a soloist,
I'm the frontman
Born 5 years in advance
And a chronic control freak
blazing a delicate trail.
I'm a sovereign
From a fictional constellation
From the Valley of Glitter and Grunge
From your local playground
Reading a memoir on the swings
And crippling my ear drums.
I'm a twenty-story building
I'm a hundred-page book.
I'm a run-and-jump into a pool.
I'm your secret admirer
I'm ripped tights under your little black dress
I'm a silk rose, frozen in time
I'm the high definition face
In a faded dream.

Portrait of His Hands from a Distance
Sarah Kiter
got the neatest hands the
neatest hands
the neatest
now I've come home with
this paint on my shoe-
these teeth in jaw
these fists of fingers
I wonder if he still thinks
I'm coooool, though
I chew my fingernails
to keep them clean
(so when we first met my
teeth were showing).
And every day that fantasy:
The cleanest knuckles in
all of Poughkeepsie,
pawing me without
grin or grimace.
When we meet he spends
eight months practicing my
name with only his
thick lips and tongue
When we meet I refuse to smile.
Boy he
s got the neatest hands
holds me to my promises;
I've got dirt. And mud
And blood between my molars.
I dream I hand him a bag of
porcelain supernumeraries,
floss me clean yourself
Chewing my fingernails
still showing my teeth.
and every day.
That fantasy.
rnadette Hogan

Between loves,
The Heart's Graveyard Shift
Janelle Solviletti
the devil trolls along the ledge
of my black lit room as the hum of my heart is dispersed,
on a windy day sweet invasion of Irish spring lingers
while the outline of my coffee stained shirt is traced.
Red lipstick stains still mom
and the blare of music stings my passive ears,
between loves,
words pasted onto my wrist erase in the rain
unable to wait for spineless creatures and unstable minds.
Tick tock tick tock on its last round it won't escape me,
I crave puffs of
concoctions clouding his freckles.
chain sits in my sun lit bedroom until dawn
between loves,
Summer burns my cheeks
the kind that keeps me up all night
but his body is a pale corpse cold, numb, free.
Toxins run down my chest invasive like
the scrutiny of a man that my heavy eyelids drift toward
between loves,
of blue plaid shirts that I can't have back haunt me
past the pummel of high heels and eyes that won't stay
I decay with the night.

Dear Deadbeat, Make
Darriel McBride
Dear Deadbeat,
Here I am, re-writing you this letter.
The one my hand was once forced to bare at the age of 13.
The one where I was forced to say I wish you were dead.
I was kid, yet I was a tool for revenge.
A weapon my mother could use against you.
A means for her to express her anger towards you
For falling in love, with not us, but it. Your heroin stick.
The needle in between your sheets.
The substance that makes your heart beat.
But now I'm 20 and I've developed my own voice.
Brave enough to say that I'm hurt
Because you made the deliberate choice, to never get to know me.
And I only knew of you.
My mother used to call you dopey.
She said you'd never amount to shit. Because you were in and out of
since I was two.
But once I got older, you came around and gave me something to do.
travel with you to work, watch you sell clothes out of a duflle bag on
corner of 149th Street. You were always a good entrepreneur. But I could
never tell if you were sober. You always walked with a limp, eyes low,
when you spoke your expression got colder.
You never knew me.
You walked out of my life before you ever had the chance to.
And they say the Black man has no place being a father. Because to him,
the responsibility of a child is more like a death sentence or a life of capti¥
ity. So it baffles me, how I'm supposed to be your Daughter, yet I am the

the naps in your hair.
I w
Am I not the
you carelessly dropped into the soil?
I watched and observed. I listened and I heard.
ou ha
d other
things on your mind, while you're vision was blurred.
u left
without a trace. Now all I've got to remember is the image of
r blu
brown face. The way you'd lifelessly slouch over the edge of
the bed and stare aimlessly at the TV
try talking
to you, but you could never hear me. Your bald head,
missing front teeth, and red zombie eyes.
I painted
you a pretty picture, it'd be an abundance of lies.
I know
you'll always be Mr.
H team. Not a father, just
e fien
d. Without
it, you don't know how to act. It's a
that you're
hooked on a drug that'll never love you back.
I just pity you because you never knew me,
But I bet you wished you did.
I bet you wish, you could have contributed.
bet you wish, you could be a part of my life.
deadbeat, here is your last chance, to finally make it right.
Christina Coulter

A Bowl
Daniel McFadden
A bowl
Made of two hands.
Hands I have not been able to hold, because
They are busy digging up tapioca roots
In the Congo.
They are the hands that made our world,
Mending the bridges from concept to climax.
Soft hands made coarse by so much salt
And time.
They are the hands of the brave, the bronze,
And the broken.
Hands caressing the ascending bannisters of age
And prestige,
While quietly feeling in the dark for some religion.
Hands burned by the very fires they rose from.
They are our hands.
Yours and mine.
His and hers.
Look: The bowl of your hands.
What do you find?
A beggar? A giver?
Hands finding respite
When they are placed
One in the other;
In the bowl of two hands
That made our world.

Bernadette Hogan
Carmen Henriquez

Jammy Thompson
His existence reflects the infliction he brings upon others
He is a monster, he is a savage
He is the enemy that imposes a threat to society
Who he is, is decided for him by those whom incarcerate his speech,
suppresses his dreams, strips him from his dignity, ignores his tears, dis-
misses his adversities,
neglects him for his appearance, exploits his differences, kills his inno-
fuels his actions and triggers his anger
His image has always been skewed and distorted, shaped and constricted
Recreated and reinforced by the projections of a monopolized market
He is whipped and beaten by misrepresentations of his
character which has impact the public's perception
A betrayal of civilization, a representative of the wilderness is what he is
His beauty resides within the repulsive crimes he is capable of
Building destruction and restoring havoc
How can one become immune to such representations?
How can one stay sane in a world that revolts against their appearance?
How can one live when the world only allows them to exist as mere noth-
He is not immune, cannot stay sane, and cannot live so
He is subject to being consumed by these projections
His pants is draped below his waist constraint tightly between his hips
A soiled white t-shirt grips his chest and is drowned by a colorless over-
sized hooded jacket that has deep mouths that buries his hands and a
that hauls over his head shielding his eyes
What he wears is coded as warnings for people to seek safety
What he wears legitimizes the violence taken against him

What he wears legitimizes the violence taken against him
The pigment of his skin consumes his individuality,
his personality and it is enough to crown him as a criminal
A criminal he is foremost not becau~e he has committed anything lawfully
but because he exists
Unable to willingly enjoy life without pondering about
Scarring ones present, piercing one's future
Random searches by those dressed in brutal blue
Firing bullets triggered by reckless mounts of abuse
seized with terror as they surveillance his every move
The system
that is
to be relied on would rather marginalize him
Hunt him rather than to defend him
Scorn him rather than to respect him
Shared humanity will never exist when supremacy exists
When a divide is formed between the
Overwhelming pattern of racial bias from enforcers
An overwhelming pattern of citizens who resist and persist to fight back
Blessed with a curse that causes his body to repel against the blows
Each blow reflecting the ignorance of a world that cannot accept the deep
reverence of accomplishments for colored people
A world that prefers to defer dreams
A world that revives, the pain and the lost and the animosity and the alien-
The past has penetrated through emancipation documents,
~ourt cases and lingers in the air being spread by cultivated conspiracies of

What is justice?
An overdose of lies and excuses and inequalities?
Savoring memories of legal segregation and chains of oppression?
Is it the pool of vital fluids that's stains the streets of Sanford Complex
Is it 50 unknown bullets that puncture the life of a husband to be?
Is it 5 teenagers manipulated into confessing a crime?
Is it a 14 year old robbed of his innocence because his whistle release
fumes of vulgarity?
Is it Diallo's black wallet that posed as a threat?
It is the lungs of a man grasping for air?
"I can't breathe, I can't breathe"
All I can do is suffocate
under the wrath of a legal system tainted not only by individual bias
also by the social conditioning of black men
Jails cannot fix broken people
who have already been broken down by this system
they only cause their life to become harder
shattered pieces of shards left on the ground

(After Claudia Rankine)
Cristina Lupo
You - overcome in the moonlight
alone - too tired - nestled in the
past stacked among your pillows
the night's yawn absorbs you.
You - looking - the low, gray ceiling
your memory, your feelings
like thunder they drown you in sound.
You see your hand extending as a
falling wave, suddenly exposed to the wind.
The rain this morning
parts your lids - you -
disturbed - to stand, to interact as
friends - the stranger to the people
around you, gathering energy to stand among them
has become its own task.
You want it to stop -
to be seen - as usual you
drive straight through the
moment - alien to this place -
a life without a turn off.
You pull yourself to standing -
the start of you each day -
your existence detectable
only as sky.
No memory should live
in these memories.
As light as the rain seems,
it still rains down on you.

Man, Have Mercy
Sara Kiter
Later, we hold each other
with a gentleness that would break open
ripe fruit
Later / still much later,
he leaves a seductive merlot bruise
on the wingtip of my shoulder and I
find myself mouthing the word synecdoche
into the ether
Before, before/ half-naked on the
living-room floor; I find him worshipping
my puckered skin while I stare into
obtrusive slats of moonlight through
window blinds
I wonder, if stars could spy on
prostrate lovers, if they would guess-
I kiss each of his fingertips
one by one by one by letting my
tongue and teeth graze the
salty ridged edges
(Later) he inquires if flesh so close to
bone will bruise and I say we will just
so he sucks until he tastes iron
and finally pulls away and

I'm t
hinking God, Sweet Mercy,
you b
ruise me anywhere
d that
blackberry mark in the shape of his
pink mouth
m the skin like some
is a trophy I have won
on dust laden floors,
to a
Bernadette Hogan

Antonio DelVecchio
My first high school girlfriend, a red headed girl I met in the warmer
months of my sophomore year, had a beautiful house on Flintlock Road.
Pretty Romantically, it was there in her kitchen that I was threatened
a gun for the first and last time. "My dad has a shotgun out back in the
she said. "He wanted me to tell
I thanked her for telling me,
and I wished her father a happy birthday as I shut the front door behind
me. I was wearing a party hat. He was wearing a scowl, and she was wear-
ing my sweatshirt. I left without the hat.
I always liked that house, with the pine trees that had branches
tire spokes that made them so easy to climb, and the wide front porch
white rocking chairs in front of green shutters, and her second story win-
dow that I would watch cars out of as they flashed by on the dark street. I
don't have many fond memories of the girl, especially toward the colder
months, but sometimes I still think about that place.
We used to climb the pine trees at night and sit up there until it
got too cold, or until the crickets got so loud we couldn't hear each other
talk. The trees were sticky with sap and smelled like Christmas on
nights, but we weren't climbing much by the end of the summer. That was
years ago, so whatever pain I felt back then has blown pretty far away.
whenever I get a whiff of pine, it takes me right back. My memories of
are passive and indirect like that.
The only time I think about her is when something like a smell or song
jumps my memory. I don't have any particular feelings for the girl any-
more; we're both such different people after so long that I might've known
her from a book rather than life. But I like to imagine the house is still
same. I haven't seen it since I pulled out of her driveway for the last time
on the last night of summer, but in my head it's still exactly the same.
Houses are easy to remember because they're consistent. Houses
hold memories like scrapbooks hold pressed leaves. They stay untouched
when you look back on them. I can still see every branch in the old pine

trees, can smell their sap when I think hard enough. I can see the photo-
graphs on the wall of relatives I knew
never meet, pictures
look at
instead of her. People, like falling autumn leaves, float and drift away. But
houses can't leave. Houses can't change. Mouses can't let you down.
White pillars, oriental carpets, and a kitchen with marble counters
complimented a girl who was just as pretty. But the house felt empty when
we were together. Sometimes you can just feel it. You can feel the silence
between songs you didn't agree on underneath the artificial lights that are
just a little too bright. But these backdrops are what solidify memories in
your head. I'll always remember falling out oflove to The Sound of Silence
in a house with pillars on the inside. How goofy is that? But it's that sort of
thing that sticks with you.
You can't anticipate an emptiness when you meet somebody for the first
time. You catch a flash of red hair and green eyes and it fills you with hope.
But it's not their fault. You're the only person that can fill yourself with
hope. But this girl, man, sheo have you fooled on that. One look at her
and - well - maybe she just made me feel an emptiness I hadn't noticed.
She threatened to fill a hole I didn't know had opened, but there's a whole
different kind of wound that opens up when you find out slowly and all at
once that you've been lonely in anticipated company.
Then again, there's a very real kind of hole that nobody can fill if there's
already a bullet in it. So I shut the door behind me, walking past a couple
of rocking chairs and across a dark, pine
sweet lawn, and took a quick
look back at the green shutters. The blinds were closed, but I knew what it
looked like inside. I would always know now.
I'm happy that her old man threatened me. I wanted to get some
story, some anything out of the place, out of this girl, before we finally
drifted apart. I wanted this First Girlfriend to mean more than watching
The Graduate and not getting invited to an old Italian's birthday party,
but I hadn't anticipated anything so Romantic as a gun getting waved in
face, sort of. In the end, I guess I did. I got a story. But even that feels
empty. I pulled out of her driveway and drove away toward anywhere else,
Putting her house behind me. I don't think I wondered if I had disappoint-
ed her too.

I am Primrose Lane
(Inspired by "I Am New York City" by Jayne
Nick Chhoeun
I am Primrose Lane
inside the river bending
on a drought of running little shoes
covered in strawberry chalk
a battle of cement saddles
my red stamped elbows
I am Primrose Lane
of mac and cheese road lines
street lights spitting a false eclipse
throw me a crow underneath my
carpet of grubs
my neck rusting in cornflake weeds
I am Primrose Lane outside of Condom Island
two moons wore a poison ivy raincoat
opening onto cheap beer
my innocence pleads Juicy Juice
in my locked beads of sweat
my fishbone hair
I am Primrose Lane
Thirty bucks away from tan lines
Grizzly Hill rained Grey Goose
gather gangs together of Gambino
my childish art paints crayon shutters
caress me on a sloppy piggyback ride

ve the
garden snake as a hockey puck
ve the impos
sible year
was see
a car hotn
wee and
bipolar tears
cker eats dog shit
laughter an
idiot to crowds
e Lane
e giants
now braille landmarks
me bac
k to silver and black

The Secret Keeper
Marisa Maccaro
"Can I tell you a secret?"
there existed a sweeter, more sacred expression, Rozalia did not
it. To her, these words were gifted with a syntax like the anticipation of
the first kiss, with semantics evocative of entering the confessional,
taste reminiscent of summer wine on la terraza, transubstantiated into
blood of divinity by the carefulest touch of the lips. Spoken in a whisper
sheltered behind the cup of a hand curved around a mouth pressed ag ·
the shell of an ear forming the passage a message containing crucial in-
formation that can prove most treacherous in the wrong hands travels-
secret risks abandoning the safety of its fortress only by the promise of
being locked more securely within another.
Rozalia was made of secrets- they spawned her, sustained her, gave
strength. They ran through her veins and beat within her heart. Were
to prick her finger, they would bleed from it. Were her heart to break, s
have to build them a new home. Secrets filled her lungs- she exhaled
Her father was an artist. He restored the frescoes of the most renowned
churches in Florence to their former grandeur so that he wouldn't sta
But secretly, his true passion was painting. One day while he was wor ·
in the Santa Croce, a beautiful young woman wandered into the
sively empty church, meandering through the pews, making her way
towards him. She asked him if he was the priest.
"Yes;' he told her.
She bowed her head piously before reciting the imploration: "Bless
Father, for I have sinned:'
Rozalia's father listened to this stranger's confession and absolved her
of her sins. They left the church together that afternoon, and light with
forgiveness, Rozalia's mother took the imposter by the hand and led hiIIl
through the cobblestone streets. They walked along the Arno in the dir
tion of the Ponte Vecchio and "By the time we reached the bridge, I had

Hen in love" is how Rozalia's mother always told the story.
"I loved her before she finished her confession;' her father always
"But I told you so many of my sins!" her mother would respond
They didn't sound like sins coming from you. You were so perfect,
even your sins were blessings:'
Rozalia loved to listen to this story, for she had believed from a
young age in the magic of love. Growing up, whenever her mother would
get angry with her father for dripping paint all over the house, Rozalia
would say "Tell me the story of how you fell in love': Whenever her fa-
ther would get annoyed with the sound of her mother humming while
she cooked dinner, Rozalia would say "Tell me the story of how you fell
in love
Whenever the two of them sat at the kitchen table to discuss the
money that there never seemed to be enough of, Rozalia would say "Tell
me the story of how you fell in love;' and by the time they finished telling
the story, everything would be okay again.
Her parents' love story taught Rozalia how important secrets are
and how dangerous it can be to keep them, for her father did not tell her
mother he was a painter for a long long time.
"Too long;' he says, hanging his head in the universal gesture signi-
fying the perpetual mourning of regret. "But only a priest can communi-
cate with the divine:'
Yet his humility was for naught and his love quite a bit more requited than
he had thought. Rozalia's mother, mortified to have a crush on a priest but
unable to ignore her persistent desire, visited the church nearly every day
after their initial meeting under the guise of a penitent.
"My soul had never been so clean!" she jokes.
Every day she would arrive at the church with various immoral behaviors
in which she had engaged within the past twenty-four hours at hand. They
started out small. They started out true. But as the days turned into weeks
a?d the weeks passed into months, Rozalia's mother began to run out of
vices and keeping up her ruse required increasing amounts of creativity

and daring.
"Tell me your sins;' Rozalia's father would say. And with a deep breath-
The sins poured from her like sand to the bottom of an hourglass until
day the last grain fell and "iliedtoapriest" fell from her lips in the torrent
petty immoralities inundating the confessional.
"What was that last one?" Rozalia's father asked.
"I stole a lemon from the market?"
"No, after that:'
"I didn't wear any underwear yesterday?"
"Interesting, but no. After that:'
"I, uh, lied to a priest?" And she admitted that she'd been making up sins
to confess just so she could see him.
Rozalia's father shook his head, smiling hugely.
may have lied, but
to a priest:'
At last overcome by his clandestine desire, he revealed to her his paint
brush, no longer afraid of rejection or heartbreak or any of the nonsense
that stops us from loving. He ceased painting only when the walls were
dripping with the masterpiece acclaiming the sinless girl he'd fallen in
with and neither of them kept a secret from the other ever again.
When Rozalia was born, her father held her in his arms while her mother
placed a beautiful gold locket around her neck and whispered the words,
"Love is always stronger than fear:' Thus, Rozalia entered the world know·
ing the secret of which too many leave the world ignorant.

Sara Kiter

Chris Largent
I met Drew on the bus to school the first day of Kindergarten. I remem-
ber telling him about a strange dream that
had the night before. It was
about an adventure in which I had to save my mother from some monst
Looking back, it was fitting that this was the subject of my dream and
start of our friendship.
When we were young we used to love to explore and go on adventures.
Our expeditions were made possible by a massive national park known
Wampatuck that just happened to be right behind Drew's house. We wo
get lost for hours but somehow always manage to find our way back
in time for dinner. By the time of our graduation from elementary schooi
we knew this forest like no one ever would. But just as we became masters
of the woods our friendship began to falter.
Maybe it was because Drew never really grew up. He was always at the
forefront of fads when we were young, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Pokemon, Bey-
blades, but as we entered middle school, I started caring about things
making new friends and perfecting my schoolwork. Drew picked up
tricks and pranks.
But he was always a talented musician, skilled at the saxophone and
later, the guitar. For a while, when I picked up the bass, our friendship
revived by our love of music. We would jam for hours, playing Sum 41
Green Day in the new garage that his parents had added on to increase
the value of their house. Eventually, though, I lost interest, and we slowly
drifted apart again with the shift from middle school to high school.
The day Drew left town, he came up to me in the hall to let me know.
goodbye was not glamorous.
was not sentimental, as one might expect
with two kids who had known each other their whole lives. In fact, it was
short, rushed and awkward. I had heard from my mom that he was lea
but was too wrapped up in my own high school drama to really care. At
that point, it was the first time we had talked in a year.
A few years later, I learned the real reason why he had packed up and le

W ha
d always
had serious family pr~blems but by some work of magic
or simply because I was too young, I was mostly ignorant
day, while working at a deli in the center of town, I had a
with an older woman who claimed to be Drew's mother's
nd. S
explained that Drew had been kidnapped by his father and
d at g
unpoint while
he threatened his mother and sister. The police got
thankfully no one was harmed. In an
to escape this
a man, Drew's mother had moved with him and his sister all
the east coast to Jacksonville, Florida.
alf a
decade after Drew's departure, during Christmas break, I
s sitti
ng at
home planning what to do with my friends for my birth-
y and
ball drop. I had told them to come over so we
in person. I heard a knock on the door and got up to open it.
en it s
wide, standing in front of me was a tall, lanky version of
friend. In his hand, Drew had a handle ofJack Daniels. He
d it o
Christina Coulter

Hand in Unlovable Hand
Marisa Maccaro
That love is inextricably coupled with death ... the way his fingers would
wrap around my throat when we'd fuck are an anguished reminder of
The first time I saw him two years earlier, he walked, nay- sauntered
my first philosophy class, leather jacket flung carelessly over his shoulder,
those funeral-solemn eyes concealed behind prescription glasses tinted
by the fading afternoon sunlight. As I looked up, the notebook
anxiously scribbling in slipped from my hand, knocking the coffee cup
my desk onto my lap. But I did not notice that. I didn't notice the upper-
classmen mocking my clumsiness. I didn't notice the teacher starting the
lesson. And I didn't notice the clouds rolling in outside the window. He
was an oncoming freight train and suddenly, I was teetering on the edge
of the platform braced to be blown backward. Consumed, I was, by his
presence; captivated by every movement; enthralled by his empty gaze. I
could have sworn in that moment I saw the universe compress itself into
his eyes, and then he raised them to mine- for an infinite second__:_ and it
exploded. Hot coffee spilled all over me, yet I made no move to clean it
I just sat there and let myself enjoy the burn. An hour later I left class,
heart panting in iambic pentameter: I want I want I want I want I want.
That day I remember anxiously waiting for the teacher to call on him so
that I could hear his hallowed name. And then, his voice. My god, his
voice! "Like Jesus fucking Jimi Hendrix with his own bass guitar" I would
later tell him between long languorous kisses beneath his Starry Night
sheets. Still, I do not remember what he said. I almost never did. I was
always too infatuated with the act of his speaking to pay attention to
he was saying, and I know that this is somehow wrong. But I am content
imagine what I missed.
"Aristotle criticized Plato's theory of forms as empty words and poetic
metaphors. He did not believe that visible reality emanates from an ideal

ut only in a visible reality
So what does this mean for the existence
The professor paused and looked around. Only one person
nd raised.
"The sou
l must be physical then. And therefore .
. mortal? But how does
unt for innate knowledge?"
"Like wha
... "
Like Beauty. Like Truth. Plato characterized love as "divine
that can allow us to transcend human existence and live in
ernity w
ith the gods. You see, the soul is like a chariot with two horses
d a cha
However, if the soul were to grow wings it could fly to
its own
Try as it might to control the horses, the soul of man
had a bad horse that tries to drag the soul back down to earth
fore it catches sight of the truth
Then, when a person falls in
omeone on earth, the soul is reminded of the perfection it once
and yearns to be with that special person
The soul that can deny
the pleasure of consummating its desire will be granted the ulti-
d of returning to heaven
th is he never raises his hand unless he really thinks that what
e has
is important; and because he is constantly looking up at the
he is
nstantly reminded that it isn't. He is a student of the unca
smos. S
o instead, he holds his silence and tries his hardest to be good to
r all the people who aren't.

Memories of a man from Corona
Carmen Henriquez
His lips the flesh of a plum,
hair springy black broccoli.
Not a teacher, not my lover, a sort of friend.
In his 30s and I only sixteen.
His eyes look at me hungry and wanting.
He calls me his, Spanish Nightingale, and I call him
by his name. My name swooshes in his mouth
as if tasting sweet wine
He is enamored with my poetry but teaches me
little about the art of writing.
He teaches me other things instead-
How to eat Manhattan clam chowder at
the underground Oyster Bar in Grand Central and
how to get to 125th Street in Harlem alone, without being afraid
He teaches me how to stay rooted in my roots while learning about his
How to listen for the music the L makes as it passes my open windows,
to search for stars in an onyx city sky in August,
and to love the smell of books, especially old ones.
More: The taste of a grown man's lips
How to listen to
Billie Holiday and jazz with my eyes closed, how to tell which is
my heart beat as I am pressed against him; how to find my way home
from his house and back again.
He tells me that when I grow up, we'll have an office with
matching desks where we'll write, drink wine
and make love (He says he is going to divorce his wife for me).
Dreams of running his fingers through my long, thick, curly hair
but I am afraid his fingers will tangle and
have to take him home.
I learn how a man could love a woman's poetry
although he can't have her-maybe.
I can only teach him how to roll a Spanish R.

Sara Kiter
Sara Kit

The First Supper
Dakota Swanson
The walls were larger, the space
more open, the people more nu-
merous, still that oppressive air
lingered. Its touch a remnant from
the days that had passed and yet
still clung to my shoulders, like
the backpack flung haphazardly
over my back.
was within that
tormenting air that they had found
me, two girls asking if anyone was
sitting in the seats of my booth.
"No;' I mumbled out, my
lips stumbled over my tongue as a
smile struggled to kindle.
Within that dimming cafeteria,
where freshmen herded around the
grill, pasta, and sushi lines, these
two girls had slid into the seats
beside me. Till this point college
had seemed no different from high
school, where the world around
teemed with life while I survived in
the outskirts. Not a soul willing to
venture into my domain. One of the
girls was silent, her eyes entranced
by her igniting phone just like most
of Marist seemed to be. The other,
a fashion major, asked me all about
life before Marist.
The Fashion major was
greeted to a brick wall of misery
as my lips censored the words I
had wished to use for high-school.
Could they feel the hatred emanat-
ing from me as I flung aside their
questions about the past? I had no
desire to relive those years, let alone
speak of them. High school was
the worst thing in the world, and
nobody could convince me other-
wise. A place where they walked
passed me in the halls, their fingers
lining their wrists as they taught
me "The proper way to cut': A joke
they would say, same as when they
ripped chairs from underneath me,
or punched me in my manhood
that they claimed I lacked. All just
a joke I couldn't understand. But as
I sat across from these two lovely
girls, I wished, pleaded with my
brain to shut up and move to some·
thing happier.
was all so familiar, and
so different. High-school's grip
ing over my shoulder as I looked
these two women. High-school
would have ran from the torment,
waiting for the lunch monitors
to disappear from the makeshift

cafeteria so he could flee to the safe-
ty of the hallway. But there was no
hallways anymore, nor were their
people worth fleeing from. All there
was were two lovely girls and a boy
drowning in his own insecurities.
I craved for human interac-
and yet as these girls tried to
break down my walls, I simply ran.
We met three more times through
the drudgery of academic life before
she had forgotten the sullen boy
from the cafeteria. She would have
forgotten me eventually, high-
school taught me that much, I just
quickened the pace.
Such a small school, and
yet the administration ran it with a
tight fist. Everyone was forced along
to their views of heaven and hell,
and of matrimony. A hug was worth
a suspension, a kiss probably expul-
They talked about building
leaders of the world, but taught us
not to think or breathe unless it was
according to the word of god. Their
god, not ours. Still, I escaped their
rule by remaining forgotten, but is
being forgotten preferable to being
oppressed when even the teachers
forgot you on the bus ride home in
another state.
Despite what seemed inevitable, it
is that first meeting in the cafeteria I would rewrite if I could.
"Is anyone sitting here?"
"Nah'' I would say, smiling.
They would slide into the
booth, and immediately
them how their semester was going.
At that moment I would shake off
the weight of high school along
with the laptop resting against my
back. I would look at them and not
at my food as I cut past the awk-
ward clouds that hovered around
me in every conversation. I would
talk and I would listen. Healing
takes time, and in that moment I
Sara Kiter

was ready for nothing more than a passing ear
But if I could change
it, I
would be stronger than my pain. Conversations would flow from my
as easily as they would enter my ears
I would have made friends. I w
have been stronger
I was not.
Still it seems as if I am not strong enough. Words frozen on
tongue as fire blazed around me. People I know talk to others I know,
as I watch them the past curdles around me
The long tape of past m
and insecurities collected since youth binding my rigid body. Even i
f I
try to speak what would be the point when the tape of my life is so eas
forgotten, so easily fractured. Once more, I escape from the crowd,
I do
not need to wait for the lunch monitors to disappear for the walls are a
less, the space infinite, the people uncountable, and still that oppressiv
e air
lingers. The real story is not about two girls met in a cafeteria, but of
a boy
afraid of being forgotten.
tina Coulte

Bernadette Hogan

Bryanna Adams
I don't like to feel hopeful. It makes me vulnerable. Open. I'm the tell-all
who tells all the absolute bare minimum. I don't like exposure and yet,
here I am.
I lead myself on; this imagination -- this mind takes trips that you were
never invited to ... I've created a scenario where me and you ... we work out,
I've got hand outs of the logistics -- if you measure personality traits and
timing we should be just fine, but I don't know when the ampersand came
between us two
You make me hopeful and open ... and I hate to admit
when I'm afraid.
But I am.
This is my natural stance.
Arms folded over my chest, legs always in gear to drive. To run.
For you it's different. My foot is on the break so I can talk to you ... so I can
try to talk to you ... so I can think about trying to talk to you ...
I don't.
Because I think about thinking about trying to talk to you and I can't. I
walk away. Because
I'm ... afraid.
People ask why I walk so quickly.
They assume that it's because of the city in my footstep. It's that fast pace
movement, maneuvering around skyscrapers that I'm so used to. Nostal-
gia in my toes when I'm on dirt roads and green pastures. It was never the
Just avoiding conversation and eye glances from people who will later
reject me.

Irrational fears.
I'm really scared of bare rooms that are a11 white -- they remind me of the
one before you. The boy before you. A 20 year old minor.
There was one time I didn't walk fast enough and I caught his eye, my arms
unfolded. There was this one time when I was open and should have been
ed off ... There was this one time I was really ... really ... hopeful.
watched the sunrise in my eyelids ... He
Knew about these trips my
mind would take ... He. Knew and asked to come with me. He. Knew all of
the right things to say. My. Feet were on the ground and I could have just
walked away.
when you touch me like my first name is 'Right; and my last name
is 'Now;' hinting at potential potentials. Because your hands around my
waist feel like strong maybes but I think this is only a temporary condition,
remembering "When I said it, I meant it:' Just listen. I become addicted
to the way you actually see me and the way you spoke in future tense.You
look almost like security. You may be what safe havens look like ... or maybe
a false promise. Fingers intertwined with my sweaty, stu-stu-stuttering
Don't hold me like that.
Don't look at me that way.
Don't touch me!
Just don't make me see hope in you! ... there's no hope ... in you.
. I'm comfortable like this.
Like this.
It's easier to be alone.

Home: The Trillionth Possibility
Julia Franco
There are an infinite amount of parallel universes, and within those
infinite universes there are an infinite amount of parallel timelines that
off. Each decision someone makes splits the timeline into two, or three, or
however many choices there are. And usually, everything goes perfectly and
remains but a theory that the world can neither prove or disprove. However, I
am an exception. Through an accident I don't care to repeat, I was ripped from
my native reality, 182AB7.4K. And I have to get back. Because, due to this
mistake, the whole of reality is beginning to collide.
The universe is actually quite fragile, as I have learned
One person,
out of time and space, threatens the whole of reality
Poor planning, actually. I
can't be the first person to fall across universes. God, if the world ended every
time someone fell across realities, the universe would have exploded before
even started. Oh well. That's reality for you.
So I'm trapped in an alternate timeline in an alternate universe, not
unlike my own. 78F9H.X8oo isn't a bad place. They've got some cute shops and
decent food but it's just a play town. Literally. It's a splinter reality of the larger
78F9H.X8. When I landed here, it launched the segment into a time bubble,
Bubble of the Infinite Reality.
Bubbles of Infinite Realities suck energy from the main reality to
sustain the bubble until the main reality is out of energy, in which case it turns
to the other timelines of that reality. There's a version out there were none of
this ever happened.
Now, you say, there's infinite timelines inside these infinite realities.
Yes, that's true. But the Bubble of Infinite Reality consumes time lines faster
than they can be created, therefore causing the destruction of the whole reality.
78F is in trouble. I must pop the infinity bubble. Once I do, the reality,
though damaged, will recover and timelines will split off and create other
alternate realities as they should. Life in a Bubble of Infinite Reality is very
simple. The same events repeat themselves over and over infinitely
ever changes. Bubbles of Infinite Realities do not split off into other timelines.
What is done in a Bubble of Infinite Reality is set. Change contributes to the
total chaos of the universe, and to contain the chaos requires extraordinary
amounts of energy. That's why there's so many alternate realities and
timelines within them. It took too much energy for the universe to contain
scale of reality to one timeline in one universe, hence the infinite realities.

But to contain a Bubble of Infinite Reality takes enormous amounts
of energy, since the universe must suppress the chaos it wants to create.
Bubbles of Infinite Reality usually form on their own when two tirnelines
of different realities collide. But then they pass through each other so the
Bubble only lasts a few seconds. But in this case, it's different.
The way to pop the Bubble of Infinite Reality is for me to get out
of it and back to 182ABa7.4K where I belong. Except I can't do that. The
technology that landed me here won't be invented here for hundreds of
years. And in hundreds of years, this Bubble of Infinite Reality will have
consumed every reality and every time line and the whole of existence will
be this tiny pocket of a splinter reality. A pretty dismal fate for all of reality.
It had started like any normal day for me. Armies from the West
were corning for me and my dimensional gateway. It wasn't fully opera-
tional yet but the army didn't care. They wanted it to seize it and take over
ry reality that exists. Of course
theoretically, that doesn't work because
for every reality that they would invade, there'd be another splinter reality
of what happens when they're unsuccessful. That's the problem with the
universe, it accounts for every possible outcome. It's good because no one
can take over the whole of reality. It's bad because reality is collapsing
The army knocked down my door and was going to take me. In an-
other tirneline they do. I back into the gateway that was on because it was
under testing. I fall though and here I am. In another reality the gateway
is off. In a third the Army followed me through and dragged me back. In a
fourth, rockets from another planet blow up my house with all of us inside.
That's the joy of infinite realities, anything that can and can't happen does.
So now I'm here. To the people of this town, I came in a blaze of
fire. They speak the same language but they do not understand me. For
every universe where the human invented fire, there is another one where
did not. For every atom bomb, there is another one that was never
dropped. Unfortunately, this one is still on the basic electricity and war
phase of their evolution. They'll never understand. They don't
understand that they're in a Bubble of Infinite Reality with their lives re-
peating the same few hours over and over. They never will.

The problem is that if I make it back to 182ABa7.4K, the army will still be
I end up anywhere else, even 182ABa7.4L, or godforbid
182ABa7.4K l, it'll just create another splinter reality and that really does
me no good at all. Interreality gateways don't exist naturally. Mine is the
work of generations of scientists. I don't have a way of recreating it here.
I stare up at the night sky and look up at the stars. They have stars
here. They're beautiful. I wish 182ABa7.4K had stars. We used to, back
when it was just 182ABa7, thousands of years ago
But then there were
the Star Wars where huge empires harnessed the power of stars as massive
weapons. In the .4 series of realities, all stars were wiped out for millions
of light years, with the exception of the sun. (In 182ABa7.4, the sun was
wiped out and that universe exists in complete blackness. It's a dead reality
as all life is dead until the end of time. But say something weird happens
and life returns, then it splits off again like nothing ever happened. There's
likely a reality where that happened.)
I've read the old stories, that's how I even know what they are. I've
never seen them in my own life time. I wanted to travel the worlds, to ex-
plore the wonders that exist in the rest of the multiverse. But I didn't know
my presence would create a Bubble of Infinite Reality until it was too late. I
can't stay here. I must get back to my reality.
Do I want to go back? No. Do I have a way back? No. Do I have to
go back? Unless I want to be responsible for the destruction of every other
reality, yes. This is a pile of crap. And in 23.54 seconds, the timeloop inside
this bubble resets and anything I've seen, done, or heard today is erased.
But don't worry. It'll happen the same way over and over and over again
unless I find a way to break out. And I don't know if I will break out.
This is a universe of infinite probability and infinite realities.
Something is set in stone for all of time, but it really actually isn't. It's just
in one trillion outcomes, all except one come out the same. And when you
see that nine hundred and ninety-nine billion, nine hundred and ninety-
nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and
ninety-nine times something comes out the same, you don't think that the
last one will come out any different, because how could it? That's what I'm

Looking for. That blip thaf s the trillionth time when everything changes.
I don't know how many times I've repeated life in this Bubble of
Infinite Reality. You can't keep track. You try to make a tally or a diary or
something but when the reality resets, it is all erased. I look up at the stars
again. I know their names and it is as if they have always been there.
The town in this Bubble of Infinite Reality is, on a technical univer-
sal scale, called 78F9H<D. X8
00 /
Before splintering into the Bubble, it was
78F9H<D. X8/123, U8, the 123, U8 being its coordinates as part of its larger
reality. The
are really just filler coordinates as nothing really exists out-
side of this town. There's no context for this bubble of reality. However, the
people call it something else. They don't understand the universal scale so
they call it Home.
Home is small. It has some buildings and a farm or two, a church, a
store, school, houses. It's got a population of 300 people. There's a mayor, a
preacher, some farmers, kids, a teacher or two. There's some house pets. It's
cute, but unimpressive. Especially when you're from the outskirts of a bus-
tling metropolitan city with actual technology that doesn't live in the Dark
I've never met the people of that town of Home. I don't care to. They
wouldn't understand who I am or what happened to their world. And of
course they would ask and
have to answer the questions I don't want to
answer. That's why I avoid them.
Days are short here, a fraction of my own. Most of the time it is
dark. So I spend a lot of time staring at the stars searching for answers, for
a way back to 182A-Ba7.40K. I have no way of knowing how much time I
have, or if there is even time. I cannot die here. It is the fact that I am out of
time and place that is destroying the fabric of reality and death would not
change that. I must have been here for years. I can remember fragments of
my thoughts from everyday. They must be the only thing that differs. I don't
know how I can have different thoughts every day. Maybe I don't, and I'm
blissfully unaware of the fact that the Bubble of Infinite Reality affects me
too. Either that or I'm some kind of self aware god. I'm ok
With that.

Tonight is different. Something feels different. In the air, in
A shimmering. The Bubble of Infinite Reality is breaking down.
trillionth outcome. I don't know how or why or what happened extern
No one can find a Bubble of Infinite Reality. Until now, evidently. I do
know why it wouldn't be obvious to see themassive collapse of alterna
realities and timelines, but then again. no one crosses realities.
shimmers and shimmers, rippling all colors and lights and p
terns. I see the lights on in Home. The people know something is differ-
ent. The Bubble has to pop.
cannot reset itself. There is too much cha
released. Too much has changed. A shockwave runs through 78F9H<D.
XS=. A star goes bright in the sky. A supernova. The energy disruptio
overloads the Bubble's energy.
There is still no way back for me, but the reality is saved.
No, there is still something wrong. All of the stars are going ou
Something is not right. The Bubble is popping, but what is beyond?

goes out in the sky, due to the north. All is dark. I feel it in my
Reality is destroyed. The Bubble popped because it ran out of
There are no other universes or timelines for it to consume and so it
to the stars. My native reality is destroyed. 78F9H<D.
all there is
Out of a trillion possibilities, this was the one that could not come
This is the one that had to come true
Out of a trillion possibilities,
the only one that could transpire. It was in front of me the whole
was born to destroy reality. I was trapped in the Bubble of Infinite
eons ago as part of the universal plan. In all of the infinite realities,
the one that had to happen. This is the superior reality and Home
will r
supreme for all of time in the
reality that I will rebuild
my own bare hands.
I hope you enjoy my terrible and cruel reality.


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