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2013/14 Myers Park Literary Magazine

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p e g a s u s

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P E G A S U S2013-2014 VOL. XXXVIII

Myers Park High School - 2400 Colony Road - Charlotte, NC 28209 - 980-343-5800 - [email protected]

National Council of Teachers of English Superior Nominated for Highest Award 2013North Carolina Scholastic Media Association Award of Distinction 2013

American Scholastic Press Association First Place 2013Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist All Columbian Honors 2012

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{editor’s note}

This year’s magazine title, RGB, is representative of the thematic element of red, green, and blue that the staff has been inspired by all year. The RGB color model is where red, green, and blue light are added together to produce a broad array of colors, and that is exactly what I wanted this publication to display- color. RGB represents the building blocks of all things color. Their primary nature inspires an intangible vibrancy in which varying moods are created. The 2014 Pegasus follows a flow of color start-ing with the warms that are representative of red, followed by natural hues of green, and ending with cool tones of blue. In between each color transition are black and white spreads to provide a contrasting mood while letting the writing and art speak for itself. I want to thank every member of the 2013-2014 Pegasus staff for their immense creativity and design technique that went into creating this publication. I am honored to work with such a great group of people who challenge me, inspire me, and allow me to take into account so many other perspectives than my own. For me, this magazine is a representation of the color of personality, vivaciousness, and genuine heart that all writer’s, artist’s, and designer’s feel. I have appreciated my time with the Literary Magazine over the last three years and hope for its abundant success in the future.

~ Mary Charles Byers

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{the pegasus society}(donations of $25 or more)


(donations of $50 or more)quill

(donations of $100 or more)scroll

Kathleen BambrickScott and Marinn BengelDamon and Jennie BidencopeSusan BoylstonCraig and Claire BuieJeanne ButlerJill CannBoyd and Anne Hay CogginsGreg and Laura CoppsKen and Laura CorsigNancy CrownChris and Marianne DacierMichael and Deborah EdwardsRalph and Nancy FallsBill and Kerry FlyeTheodore and Cynthia Frank

Brennan and Colleen GiggeyRobert and Sue GoodlingMark and Alissa GrantTorsten and Jannica GreifeRuffin and Cynthia HallBrian and Susan HardinMatt and Brooke HarperRobert and Sian HarrisDoug and Ginny HartsemaRay Owens and Sally HigginsLangston FamilyMichelle LindseyJohn and Deborah LordMarilyn MarshallSusan MaysMervine Family

Joe and Sarah MuellerRoger and Christy NorrisHeath OsburnBilly and Stephanie OwensSeth and Sidney PerkinsonWalter and Christi PringleTeresa RhyneDavis and Carol SampleDavid and Liza SippeTorrence and Marcie ShealyScott and Kathy SutherlandTom and Stephany TempletonRich and Sarah WalkerGeorge and Michelle WallZerkle Family

Jarod BrownTim and Mollye BellJohn and Linda BoothDean and Gina ColliasDixon and Elizabeth DeHoritySteve and Karen DeMayDavid and Leigh FrameTom Levi and Sally HawkAmy Johnson

Anna Maria MedvidSusan MerchantOdell FamilyArt and Nell Parker Earl and Karen PorterLarry and Jean SauderStephen and Crystal SellersMike and Anna WilderKeith and Mary Ann Wilson

Peter and Sandra ConwayStephen and Melissa RatliffJohn and Amanda RoncevichSteve and Ann Schmitt

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{special thanks}

The Staff Would Like to Thank:

Pegasus Advisor: Emmaline WisePrincipal: Mark BoscoArt Departmnt Chair: Lynn WuPhotography Teacher: Lisa Holder

Members of the Pegasus Staff are carefully selected through an application process in which the applicants are interviewed and their port-folios are reviewed by current staff. Staff members seek out writing and art submissions, edit the chosen pieces and create spreads which combine them and utilize numerous design elements. The editors of the magazine select the spreads of the highest quality and organize the final lay-out of the magazine.

The Pegasus would like to thank and congratulate all writers and artists who submitted and contributed to this year’s magazine.

The Pegasus volume XXXVIII was printed by CMS Graphic Production Center on 8” x 8”, 32 lb. bond paper. Orator Std was the font used for the inside title page of the magazine. Minion Pro was used for the editor’s note, donors page, special thanks page, and staff page. Tahoma was used for the table of contents and all works following. This year’s publication utilized Adobe CS6 for Indesign and Photoshop on HP Compaq LE1911 computers.

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Mary Charles ByersEditor-in-Chief

Ms. WiseAdvisor

Sidd Bhaskura Adelaide ConwayLaurie Booth Keenan Caddel Sarah Cline

Megan GoodlingMadeleine FoxRachel DeMay Sara Howell Zack Kennedy

Madison SealeCarrie SauderMackie RaymondMadie Mercer Kylie Spencer

Bea Weiner Caroline Wilder Leah Ann Wilson Green Wu

Junior Editor

Assistant Editor

Writing Editor

Design Editor

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e of



- w


g10 The Little Things- Grace Monroe

11 Fallen- Megan Goodling

12 Puddles- Kayla Reische

15 Tunnel Vision- Megan Goodling

16 Chalk- Megan Goodling

17-19 O Rewa- Mayowa Fagey-inbo

21 Transit- Sid Baskara

22 Saturation- Carrie Sauder

23-25 On the Cliffs by the Sea- Carrie Sauder

26 The Trail-Caroline Roddey

27 Sunlight-Carrie Sauder

28 Overlooking- Leigh Ann Wilson

29-31 A Gray World-Camille Wilder

34-35 Morpheus- Kristen Heritage

36 Ghosts- Kristen Heritage

37 Hypnos- Kristen Heritage

38-39 Paper Wife- Madison Seale

40-41 Full of Myself- Mason Schmitt

42-43 Eclos- Sidd Bhaskura

44 An Uncommon Event-Hannah Kinney-Kobre

45- 46 The Last Leaf-Olivia Larson

47 Imprinting- Carrie Sauder

48 Awakening-Carrie Sauder

49 The Astro-naut-Kyrie Mason

50-51 Could You Leap?- Catie Ball

52 Jump- Sophia Bacon

53 I Saw Ozy-mandias- Green Wu

54-55 The City- Carrie Sauder

56-57 Tickled-Brigid Meier

58-61 Wild-Kyrie Mason

62-63 The Blue Room- Carrie Sauder

64 Snow-Michelle New-

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table of contents- art

10 Megan Goo-dling

11 Rebecca Kalmbach

12-13 Adelaide Conway & Madison Har-rison

14 Sydnie New-man

17 Mindy Hawes

23-25 Adelaide Conway

26 Emily Lang

27 Kayla Reische

28 Adelaide Con-way

34-35 Sarah Rose

36 Shelby Weaver

40-41 Quinn Oden

42-43 Lane Vaughn

44 Caroline Wilder

45-46 Lucy Murrey

47 Molly Kenny

48 Rebecca Kalmbach

49 Julia Maund

50-51 Caroline Frame

52 Adelaide Conway

53 Madison Licare

54-55 Clay Smith

56-57 Caroline McKinley

58-61 Molly Kenny

62-63 Erin Warlick

64 Caroline Frame

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Everyone wants to grow up fast so one day.

I tried to deal with it,but I realized

if I was doing somethinglike

creating a better worldall the little things

that feed into a smile might actuallybe enough

Grace Monroe


Megan Goodling


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Sleep--A necessary trust fallOccasionally eludes us when prodded by troublesThese distresses resolved in confusing apparitions

Dreams--You’ve daydreamed before

Contorting reality at will with reckless abandonFalling, flying, feeling

Things you haven’t touchedOnly felt

If you can’t cope with your grievances Your nightmares surely will





Megan Goodling

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Adelaide Conway

Adelaide Conway

Madison H

arrisonAdelaide Conw


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P U D D L E SOn nights that sleep evades me I sit by my win-dow and watch the world pass me by in a slow, peaceful manner that is so contrasting with the rush of the daytime. I observe as cars speed past, their lights casting off false daylight. They are driven by parents with sleeping children in the back, their heads resting against their seat belts, little mouths ajar as their small chests rise and fall in beat with the rhythm of the night. They are driven by people returning from work, people looking for a story to tell in the morning. They are driven by every type of person with their own spe-cific purpose for venturing into the night, and here I sit secretly watching it all happen.I look through the water-beaded window and see the puddles left by the afternoon rain, now pol-luted and murky. The night’s color is reflected off these shallow pools; long, hazy gashes of red, yellow, blues and greens decorate the damp road, the asphalt parading as a painter’s masterpiece. Things that are considered ugly and ignored in the day can become so beautiful at night. The whir-ring of car motors and the splash of the color-ful puddles accompanied by the faint music and nightlife create a colorful lullaby for my tired ears.In my insomnia-ridden nights my mind swims with questions that keep me from sleep, my mind moving faster than the scenery outside the win-dow. I wonder why the old couple walks up and

down the street at night. I wonder what they talk about; do they mull over life, old unaccomplished dreams, and the way their toes crack when the air smells like petrichor? I wonder about the home-less man on the corner; what his favorite color is and what he dreams about when sleep graces him. Though the world is dark, people seem to shine brighter. I can see them clearer. Side-walk travelers and late-night taxi drivers taking a smok-ing break among the stars act raw, and I can see them when they think no one does. They’ll laugh about a joke they heard during the day, they plan what they’ll eat for breakfast. I see their beauty, clean and un-altered interacting with the hazy wet light and the gentle drizzle. It’s mesmerizing and I can’t seem to drift off to some dreamland when there is already one in front of me. Yet exhaustion eventually takes hold and I must turn away from my window and part from the wonders taking place beneath the soft moonlight.My eyelids grow heavy and I feel sleep slowly stealing me away. As I lay, held by blankets and comfort, I say goodbye. Goodnight to the home-less men, to the taxi drivers and to the side-walk travelers. I silently wish a farewell to the world and smile, my eyelids grow heavy and I finally sleep. Goodnight, dreamland, I’ll see you tomor-row.

Kayla Reische


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ie N







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We follow the path we assume was designed for us

by some sort of divine intervention, predestiny, or fate. We

trail after this path inertly like a shadow, straying from the

lines now and then, but always returning. We accept the

monotony and repitition associated with this path, telling

ourselves that it will be worth it in the end. Well, what is

the end? I dare to wonder, is there ever an end? Will there

be a time and place where I have reached the destination to

which my path has led me all alone, when I’m old and gray

and tired? I will have lived a life of looking into the future,

and by then, I will only have one direction to look: the past.

The path must be challenged. When it becomes dull, it

must be intensified. When it becomes straight, it must

be bent and twisted and morphed. Otherwise, we will be

haunted by the tunnel vission that prevents us from living.

Megan Goodling


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CHALKAnything can be created on a blacktop.

A mile long trail of hopskotch,

a rainbow of swirling colors,

your wildest fantastical dreamland.

Requirements: a pack of chalk, two bare feet, lemonade, and a sunny day.

I wish they would clean this damn blacktop.

The exasperating children,

spewing neon in every direction,

ruining the peaceful and calm afternoon.

They drive me to wits end.

Childhood is created on a blacktop

I draw and create until

sunset calls me to bed.

My sanity is disrupted by the blacktop.

I would love to take a hose and wash it all down the drain.


Megan Goodling

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I look down as I pass each seat. Eye contact holds

too much weight. My brother shuffles behind me as he

always does. Eventually, I look up and find a place to sit.

The bus is mostly quiet, except for the snickers and cold

looks that seem to speak louder than words ever could.

We’re all black, aren’t we? Why can’t they just

leave me alone…? I am burdened by these thoughts as I

suddenly trip over a leg that someone conveniently stuck

out. Today is going to be wonderful. I can tell.

The ride is horrible. “Monkey”, “African booty

scratcher”, “fly picker”, “too dark” is all my brother and I

hear. I am poked on the shoulder several times. I try to

ignore it, but I am still asked the question… No, I do not

live in a mud hut.

As soon as the bus slows to a stop, I’m out of my

seat and pulling my brother’s hand to come along. I walk

off the bus and head for school, ignoring the jeers and

taunts. I think of seeing my teacher and meeting up with

the few friends that I have.

Later on during recess, I wander around like a lost

ghost. I seem to fade into the foreground. I’m wearing an

oversized, long, thick, black jacket as I do every day. The

sun is scorching and my head is burning under the ban-

danna that I wear to cover up my nappy hair. I find a spot

under a tree. Alone. I cover my head even more with the

hood of the jacket and fly away into some cosmic utopia

where the people are different, and kinder, and accepting.

This peace doesn’t last for long. The bell rings,

and suddenly the reality of my dark and pimpled skin, ugly

face, African ethnicity, and large feet come crashing down

on me as I can barely gasp for air.

I hate myself.

“Welcome to America!” my mother shouts as we

see my sister standing several feet away, her luggage by

her side. I am thrilled to see her, so I run over and give

her a hug. Her face is glowing and her eyes are bright as

she pulls me into an embrace. My sister, strikingly beautiful

with her brown and auburn hair, almond eyes and beauti-

ful cocoa skin gazes down at me. I marvel back. She looks

much older than she did when I last saw her. “You’re so big

now!” she exclaims. I laugh and offer to help her with her


As I sit next to my sister on the ride home, she is

asking how I like America and what there is to do around

town. I say, “it’s okay,” and “not much”. She looks quizzi-

cally at me, as if she’s trying to peer into my thoughts…

“Um, Charlotte is pretty okay actually! But I’m just a


grader, what do I know?” She laughs and I see my chance

to change the subject. Phew. We begin to talk about her


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Several hours later, I am shuffling

back to my room. It is later at night, and the

festivities of my sister’s arrival are over. I open

my bedroom door and I sit down alone on my

bed. I have school tomorrow, and I’m already

dreading it. I’m too ugly to go to school. My

shoulders slump, my head hangs, and my face

droops at the thought of going back. Maybe I

can walk to school, so I won’t have to—

“Hey, what’s wrong?”

Nothing, nothing is wrong. Why, why,

why is she here? She sits down beside me,

takes my hand and looks straight into my eyes.

I look away. “I want you to tell me what’s both-

ering you”. I turn my head to the side. This is

way too uncomfortable. “Come on”, she adds,

“it’s okay….” Okay, fine.

I start to speak, reluctantly at first. I

talk about how the other children make me feel

terrible about myself and all the things they’ve

said to me at school. My sister just looks and

listens, quiet but unable to mask her shock,

concern, and outrage. “Back in Africa, you

would be a queen!”

A queen?

“Yes, and you may be so black but you

are so beautiful”. I cringe at the word. Black.

Yuck. My sister tells me that those children are

mindless idiots and that they only put me down

because of their own insecurity. Yeah, right.

The only one who’s insecure here is me. She

encourages me to smile and keep my head up.

I solemnly agree but have no intent to do so.

I go through the next day as sluggish-

ly as usual, except today one thing is different.

My sister shows up at lunch.

“What’re you doing here?” I ask,

ashamed because I am sitting alone, picking at

my string beans. “I wanted to join you today,”

she quirkily replies. She sits down with the two

bags of McDonald’s that she bought for the

two of us and strikes up a non-school related

conversation. She is even more radiant as she

talks with me. My classmates stare.

They must be jealous.

The longer we sit, the grander my

gratitude for her grows. I’ve had many family

members tell me I’m lovely, but this— this was

something. She took time out of her day to be

with me, because she could tell that I needed

a friend. Suddenly, the words you are so black

but you are so beautiful seemed to be true. My

mind is set. I am so black, but I am so beauti-

ful. All those who taunt me are manifesting the

hatred of themselves.

It’s that simple.


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T R A N S I TSo there it is: the picture, the movie, the image, the show. A kid on a park bench, expelling cold air from his mouth that turned to vapor in the air. The only thing to be seen for miles is rows of streetlights, curving off the street and trailing into the night, seemingly leading him home. In a decidedly uncharacteristic move he came here, hopeful that stagnation would produce some semblance of reflection or cohesive thought. A ridiculous idea by any measure, but an understandable course of action. The conflict: trivial; the apocalypse: nonexistant; the thought process: ironically natural. So he sat, and the minutes slowly drifted away with the lights, trailing the vapors, returning home. His breath-ing slowed as his mind stopped racing. He could feel every inch of himself shiver as the frost pierced him. He slumped over and drifted off to sleep. He lay stationary as the night blanketed him.

But here I was thinking the world would just stand still. The prospect of movement seems... unecessary, even antithetic to the basic notion that I can adapt. My surroundings suddenly disappear and it just seems like a void. It obviously isn’t, but in spite of that people can be inconsolable. Again, I was not, but I began to sympathize with those people, simply because reason is not terribly comforting.

He opened his eyes. Before him he saw a theatre, completely empty with the stage lights on, lighting up the deepest pockets of the decks. Eyes closed, his hands take control of the music and his fingers dance across the taut metal. With every motion came a cathartic internal accompaniment in a tenuous harmony.

Hesitantly I walked, hearing the echoes from every step reverberate through the delicate balance of the silence. I finally stepped onto the stage, surveying the vast expanses of empty seats and imagining the face of the entity that is the audience. Stepping out to the middle, I warmed myself in the glow, my eyes reflected in the polished wood of the floor. Looking up again, a weathered acoustic guitar lay in the corner. I picked it up and felt the raw string tear through the the recesses of the room. Again. The room trembles under the might of a gentle note.

I awoke. I looked around at the park again. I exhaled and realized that I never really left. Those stage lights were no different than those streelights, curving off the street in an effort to take me home. I never moved. The world stood still. I shook off the weariness under my eyes and picked myself up, trailing into the night like breath that turned to vapor in the air.

Sidd Bhaskura

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Neither pain nor maturation.

Tumbling thoughts,a wordless cry,ring untethered against the sky;

Laughter sweeta burning need to launch forever from the ground.

Distended feetin rainbow boots that spin unheeding to the clouds;

Adelaide Conway

Carrie Sauder

Life is only saturation.


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On the Cliffs by the Sea

On the cliffs by the sea, there was a little brown shack covered in moss with five windows of broken glass and a door that hung perpetually open. A long ago draft had blown it open and no draft was obliging enough to come from the opposite direction and blow it closed. It had stood abandoned for time immemorial, and in all likelihood would continue to do so. It was cold, dank, and lonely, and no one could be troubled to go

there for any reason. Even the view of the wide blue sea was blocked by towering black stones that rose craggily from the bay, shutting the sunrise and the eastern horizon.

The one man who did find himself there, on a blustery grey day somewhere between winter and summer would not have done so were it not for simple serendipity. He was an old man,






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grey like the wind, and not particularly pleasant to be around; He had only one passion in life, and that was bird watching. It was useless to talk to him of ornithology, for he couldn’t distinguish a sparrow from a falcon, but he derived great plea-sure from his beetle-eyed binoculars and the swift, strange creatures he watched across the sky.

It began as a day like any other, a day that commenced with a cup of strong coffee and a solitary walk in the brisk breeze that swept the cliff-tops like a well-made broom. It was a satisfy-ing morning, as far as birds went; the man managed to spot an osprey only a few shambling steps from his front door, and he followed it avidly with the binoculars until at last he was obliged to chase after it, or else lose it to the endless grey air. It was this osprey that led him to the little brown shack, drawing him farther and farther out of his way until he was stumbling up a hill with no clear track, panting and puffing and cursing under his heaving breath. Then at last, the osprey wheeled out to sea, the cliff came to an abrupt end, and the man noticed that he had wandered clear out to the abandoned hut, the place that no one came or ever had come.

He took a few moments to regain his breath, and when he had done so and turned to go, he noticed a figure sitting on the stoop. It was a girl, of an indeterminate age between twelve and eighteen, and she was looking at him with a curious ex-pression on her face, somewhere between surprise and alarm. It appeared as if she was about to ask him a question, but as many minutes went by she didn’t speak, and the man got over his astonishment and stomped sourly over to her.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded, with all the righ-teous anger in his creaky voice of one whose property has been obscenely violated. Up close, he could see that her hair was a nondescript color between blond and brown, and her eyes were a nondescript shade between blue and grey. She had an imperious tilt to her jaw, a stubbornness that the man quite rightly believed to be found in all young people.

“I’m running away to home.” She answered readily enough, but her eyes kept shifting and darting like silver minnows in the tidal pools, never settling long on any one thing and being careful never to drift too near the old man’s sharp, flinty gaze. Nevertheless, she looked as defiant as any youthful rebel, sim-ply by being in that intrinsically forbidden place.

“To home?” the old man groused, marveling at the strange notions that entered the minds of young people these days. “Why on earth aren’t you running away from home? I thought that’s what all kids did. Ran away from their loving parents and warm beds and good food and looked for someone who understood them.”

“Maybe,” the other said simply, getting to her feet and climb-ing the lopsided steps until she stood in the perpetually open doorway. “But I already understand myself. And what I under-stand is that home isn’t necessarily where your family is, but where you can be loved.” She turned and went inside, so that the shadows inside the endlessly gloomy shack reduced her to a faint pinprick of color, a blotch against all the endless grey like some exotic, colored bird against the leaden clouds. The man considered for a half-mad moment pulling out his binocu-lars to observe her, but instead he harrumphed to himself and followed her up the tilting, lichen-covered steps.


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Inside, the girl had made herself quite at home. A little rug had been spread in one corner and a plush black sleeping bag unrolled on top of it, while a rucksack of food lay splayed on the table, along with the basic essentials of toiletries. The man sat down on the one wooden stool that remained in the shanty, watching as the girl rolled up her sleeping bag, fas-tened the straps, and then stood it on end to use as another seat. Only when they were both sitting, staring with their re-spectively strange gazes from opposite ends of the table did the man speak. “Doesn’t your family love you?”

“No,” the girl replied, almost jauntily it seemed. “They don’t, and you can’t convince me otherwise. They’ve never cared about me, never paid attention to me, neglected me, beaten me, almost lost custody of me, but they always win me back. This time I won’t let myself be won.” She put up her chin again, and her stormy eyes looked back at the man with their darting minnow gaze.

The old man considered this for a while, plodding slowly through the unfamiliar process, and then asked, “Where are you going to find your home?” He was surprised at his curi-osity in this impertinent girl and her plans, but not nearly so surprised as at her answer.

“Right here, I think,” she said slowly, running her long fingers over the unvarnished whorls in the table. “It’s a lonely place and it’s uncomfortable and there’s no good way to make a fire, but I like it here. It has a nice view of the sea.”

At that, the man recollected himself by falling into the old habit of being unpleasantly contradictory. “There is no view. Those blasted rocks block the whole ocean.” He jerked his

arthritic thumb in a general way over his shoulder, indicat-ing the teeth-like protrusions of weather-beaten stone that loomed outside the open door. Then both he and the girl fell silent, and a wordless conversation of thoughts and glances passed between them. The sea roared softly in the bay below and ospreys wheeled against the clouds, unnoticed outside the five broken windows. At last, with all the popping and creaking due to one of his years, the man got to his feet and fixed the girl with his fierce, stern stare. She looked back at him calmly, all the restless unease gone out of her eyes along with the uncertainty that had cloaked her future. She knew, as well as the man, what he would say. “Well...I suppose...” He cleared his throat gruffly and shuffled his binoculars around in his hands until the lenses pointed up, reflecting his own eyes. “I suppose that I could give you a home. With me. Here.” He stopped, almost afraid of going on, but the girl went on for him. Her eyes glistened like the flash of wings across a summer sky, wholly unlike the eyes of any human he had met before or would meet again. “We could get new furniture and build a chimney and fix the windows and mend the step and plant a garden. And every day you could watch birds from the cliffs and I could comb the beach for minnows in tidal pools.” They smiled then, an-unchoreographed and uncharacteristic gesture on both their parts, and the man placed his binoculars gently on the table: a solemn promise. Then he turned and stomped away down the slanting steps, into the hesitant sunlight that poured through the rocks in the bay. Behind him, the perpetually open door swung closed on a breath of soft sea wind.

Carrie Sauder


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Caroline Roddey

Emily Lang

Those who climb each of my mountainsare the Lost,the Found,the Curious,the Wise.

They use shiny boxes to remembermy neighbors and I.

Some walk,Some run.

Some are here, ever risingwithout failure.

Some bring back Their Little Onesfifteen years later.

Some go slowly,while others speed by.

During the cold, They leave melonely and untraveled,

but They always return as the colors reappear.

What is my goal?For the Seekers to find what they seek,

for the Lost to be found.

Why, I am what You make of me,for each of you will never repeat

the same path.

The trail


Caroline Roddey

Emily Lang

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A pearl sheen like sunlight through a cloud,Or opalescent smiles tooled in gold,Silent songs of summer and simple

Understanding.Leaf-dappled words in hues of autumn,

Or the cadence of feathers against the sky,Messages brushed beautifully in

Friendship.Sweet whispers on the eastern breeze,Or a sentinel of sunlight in my mind,

Promises of spring-green laughter andLove.

Sunlight Carr

ie S



Emily Lang

Kayla Reische

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During the pearly hours

of the morning,

I watch your back

as you sleep away from me

and try not to think about it.

I’ve noticed that, since

we married all those

years before, we don’t

want to be around each other

as much.

But you’re willing to ignore

how my face isn’t as smooth

and young as it used to be,

and I can pretend not to notice

when you smile at her.


Adelaide Conway

Leigh Ann Wilson


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I am the sun and I am the moon. I am the raging sea, and I am the stormy skies. I am the air, and the trees, and the birds. I am the grass in the fields and the flowers in your hair. I am the child that was born unto you, but that you left. I am the man who sleeps beside you. I am all of these things. He looked at the beach and the water; there was a girl on the beach, and she had long hair- it was swaying in the wind. It stared to rain, and the sky was gray. The girl stood in the sand and looked up, her arms were raised to the clouds. She looked peaceful, and she stood until the storm stopped. Her clothes were wet, and her hair stuck to her back. Her eyes were wide, and she appeared to be thinking. She twisted her hair into a knot on the top of her head. She picked up her sandals and started walking. He got up too, from the rock he had been perched on. The sand felt nice, and it crunched slightly when he stepped on it because of the shells. He followed the girl because she was someone, and he didn’t feel like being alone. The girl looked sad, but then again he felt sad too, and he didn’t know why. I am the tears that fall on your cheeks. I am the soft flannel of your shirt. I am your church, and I am your preacher. I am the only god that hears your prayers. I am your problems. I am your words. I am every book in your library and every library that ever was. I am all of these things. He saw the girl again at school. She sat outside at lunch, even though it was drizzling. She was alone at her picnic table, and he thought about going to sit with her, but it seemed wrong. She didn’t eat anything but instead was writing in a brown leath-er book. He listened to the soft noises of rain falling on the roof. He liked the rain, and the way it sounded. The loud voices of people around him were converging, and he felt claustrophobic. The girl looked up then, right at him. She still looked sad. He didn’t look away. The power of her stare surprised him. She had gray eyes, like the rain. I am the house you live in. I am the bed in which you rest. I am the food you eat and the water that you drink. I am the people you love, and the ones you hate. I am your religion; I am the idols you worship. I am the Atheist, and I am the Secu-larist. I am all of these things. He did not like high school. He did not like the ignorance of his peers. He did not like the arrogance of the wealthy and intel-ligent. He did not like it. He saw the girl in the hallway today. She was wearing overalls and a striped turtleneck. She stuck out from the other girls, with their tight clothes. She was so skinny, unnaturally skinny. Her gray eyes were big on her thin face. She had brown hair that was long down her back and curly. She was so beautiful and fragile. She still looked sad. He wanted to talk to her, to tell her it would be all right, whatever it was that plagued her. He wanted to know what it was and then abol-ish it, so he could see her smile. I am the bullets that killed the murdered. I am the killer. I am the coffins the dead rest in, and I am the earth that envelops their bodies. I am the worms that eat their dead flesh. I am the crow who flies above and the sky he calls home. I am you, and you are me. I am everything. I am your starry night sky, your moon, and all that is above it and beyond it. I am all of these things. The girl was moved into his advanced English class. She was a year younger than him. She sat in the front row. He sat in the


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back. He walked in and saw her sitting in the first line of desks. She looked up at him with her sad, wide eyes. He slunk to his usual seat in the back. But he wanted to sit with the girl. She wore a loose white dress that day. It had long lacy sleeves and a high neck. It made her look very beautiful. The teacher introduced her, and she did not say anything. She did not volunteer to read or answer questions, but when she was called on she was always right. She never really seemed to pay attention. She was always writing in her leather book. I am your government. I am the anarchy that shakes the ground you stand on. I am the rich, and I am the poor. I am the walls that confine you and the doors that open to admit you. I am the angry and the sad; the lost and the broken. I am the savior and the captor and the man who means nothing. I am all of these things. One day he went to talk to the girl. They were walking to class in the hall, and he sped up to catch up with her. She saw him, and her eyes were scared. She ran into the girls’ bathroom. Like she was afraid of him. It bothered him. He wanted to hear her voice. It was quiet and whispery, and he liked the way she phrased things. Everything she said sounded like poetry. She seemed so contained and frightened. She was so beautiful and surreal, and he wanted to know her. I am the eyes from which you view the world. I am your hands and legs. I am the path of your movements. I am everything you love. I am the mouth from which you speak. I am all that has ruined you and all that will ruin you. I am all of these things. He saw the girl crying behind a tree after school. He went and sat beside her. She jolted as he moved, like she hated his pres-ence. But still she cried softly, as though she didn’t want the world to know of her pain. He did not know what to say, so he just sat. She got out her leather book after a while and started scribbling so fast he wondered if anyone could even read what she was writing. And then she got up and left without saying anything. “Who is this sad, broken husk of a girl?” he wondered. “Who is she?” I am the whole of the earth. I am the passing ages that will kill you. I am your revelations and ignorance. I am the routine of life that claims you and breaks you. I am the animal you skin for fabric. I am the vegetable you kill to eat, thinking that it does not matter because it does not move or scream. I am the utensils by which you eat, for you are above hands. I am all of these things. The girl said she was sad because she didn’t know why she was alive. But everyone expected her to keep living anyway. Ev-eryone around her felt the same pain, and they knew how the others hurt, just not understanding that they did. No one knew how she hurt. No one felt her pain or indecision or how the world crushed her. She was alone, and she liked being alone; she just wanted to be understood a little. She was sad: so, so sad. I am everything you live for and all that will destroy it. I am the burden that stoops your weak body. I am the solitude that consumes you, and the people who lift it. I am your strength, but I will burn you. I am the empty lamp whose flame is dying. I am all of these things.


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He found her sitting outside of the bathroom one day after school. She was crying, and she had a knife. It was pressed to her wrist. “Stop,” he cried. “Life is for living, not waiting to die.” She looked up at him with big, tortured eyes. “How can I live if I don’t know why I’m alive?” she asked him. “How can I exist if I have no purpose? I am on an endless road with no destina-tion. I will die anyway; it does not signify much when I do.” “It does to me,” he said. He sat with her there while she cried for things he didn’t understand. I am your knives and bullets and chains and guillotines, hanging nooses and car crashes and cancer. I am the strangling hands and gouged eyes and diseased bodies of the dead. I am all that could end you. I am all of these things. He got her schedule and memorized it, and then he made sure she was at school every day. He sat with her at lunch while she wrote in the leather book. He loved her in silence; he loved that sad, tormented, skinny little girl. I am watching you. I am all that you think, but do not say. I am your lust. I am your love. I am the fire that slowly burns you. I am your impending demise. I am all of these things. The next day she did not write in her leather book at lunch. She wrote on her arms and her hands. He did not know why, and he didn’t ask. She was a strange girl, a book written in a language he couldn’t read. She looked at him when she was done. He smiled, and she tried to smile back, but it wasn’t really a smile, just a movement of the mouth. He wanted it to be a real smile. I am all the tongues spoken, and all the ones that have ever been spoken. I am the rain that falls on your roof and your land and your head. I am disappointment and anger. I am all that could have been, but is not. I am all of these things. A week later she was not at school. She did not sit with him at lunch, and he panicked. He didn’t go to class. He ran around the school, looking for her. He couldn’t find her. So he just sat on the sidewalk and cried. He knew what it meant. She had killed herself, the girl he loved, because she was chased by demons he didn’t know and couldn’t see. They sent all the stu-dents to assembly and announced it. He did not listen to their manufactured sadness and lies. She wrote on her arms and hands, they said. A poem. They did not read it, but he could guess what it was about. I am nothing, and I am everything. I am the boy who cares and the rest who don’t. I am pain; I am the hot sear of sorrow and the aching throb of loss. I am all of these things. He was angry at the girl, at the world for taking her, that he didn’t know if she loved him, that he wasn’t enough for her, and that they didn’t read her poem. It was a death poem; it was meant to be read. And he was so sad. He said the first thing that came to mind, a part of a poem he heard long ago. “My darling, you were my sun, and I cannot see now, but blindness I am doomed to.” I am the sun that eternally burns, which your blind eyes strain to see. I am words supposed to be heard. I am the unknown. I am the wasted love of men. I am all of these things.


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She was right: there is no purpose to life. He walked the earth as a mechanized creature. He cried at night, and he sat at her table at lunch by himself. He screamed to himself; he blamed himself. What he had seen before was now foreign; people said his name, and he thought this is my name? He was only sixteen, but he was already so lost. Where should he go? Where should anyone go? The whole of the forsaken world was empty. She said it didn’t signify when she died, the girl he loved, but it did. It did to him. Why wasn’t that enough? What was enough? The whole earth was not enough now. I am enough. I am not enough. I am you. I am all that you feel. I am life and death and in between. I fight with myself; I destroy and create and lash out unpredictably. I am unorganized; I know not reason, and yet I am reason. I am conflicted. I exist, and I do not understand, but I am understanding. I am all that was taken from you and what took it. I am the continua-tion of all things; I am the infinity of everything.



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m o r p h e u s Sa



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m o r p h e u s Kristen Heritage


Feel,It’s just too good to not be

real.The colors are too bright to

beAnother tepid fantasy.


Strange,I watch the world around me change.

I take in stride the world I see,For surely, it’s reality.

I see The edge,


With sweet, intoxicating fear,I plummet into the abyss.

And far too soon, I wake from this.



The truth could never touch me here.Here, sanity can’t mar my bliss,

All apprehension, I dismiss.


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These car speakers can’t set right.

The stifling silence of this night,

of nothing left for me--

of doorbells that

I dare not touch.

Your vacuum

robs me of so much--

in silence, now I see

the asphalt, clammy by street light,

my city, dead, while I just might

have also ceased to be.



Kristen Heritage

Shelby Weaver

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Get lost within this sea of clouds,Cotton soft and gentle-white.



Please leave me be so I can doze,Turn off the coldly stabbing light.


The pull to where I must not fly,So downy soft and velvet black.



I rue the sleep that I have missed,But Hypnos always calls me back.


Kristen Heritage


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He considered himself married to his work. After all, he spent every waking moment thinking about it, working on it, and making sure everything was alright with it. Stacks of papers and manila folders with neat little labels occupied the second half of his bed. It demanded attention and nagged just as militantly as he thought any human wife would, would leave if ne-glected for long enough, but at least a paper wife didn’t mind him talking to other women, or at least attempting to. His acute awkwardness with the opposite sex was probably the reason his Paperwife consisted of work reports and tax returns to begin with. His day began with a cup of coffee over three pages of Employee Self-Reports, which he over the years had slowly learned to skim and then disregard. He sipped his coffee in silence and tried to tune out the ever-increasing sounds of children screaming and giggling outdoors, instead flipping a switch and smiling as the radio crackled to life. The light sounds of Chopin fluttered out the window. Fine, honey… I’m just tired, that’s all. My coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. Out of the bin he selected one of two obese manila folders and set to work. Paperwife never asked how his day at work was, or kissed him softly on the cheek and inquired how he was feeling. She already understood fully, knew almost more than he did by the subtle changes in his countenance and the rate at which she was filled with scribbles of ink, like aging wrinkles or temporary tattoos, depending on his optimism. Once the meager plate of scrambled eggs, toast, and turkey bacon had been all but cleared, he was busy devouring phone messages and infor-mation and long strings of numbers. He never left the plate completely empty; most theorized he was more aware of his size than the stretched cotton of his shirt would imply. He himself reasoned it was to leave room for his work, as Paperwife meekly waited atop his kitchen table as he absorbed a message or checked his email. She never spoke, she never asked questions. She simply was a presence in his home, watching him with catlike eyes and saint-like patience. It was a quality he admired in a woman. Patient, intelligent. But she was cold.

Hello, honey. Good morning. How did you sleep?

PaperwifeMadison Seale

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It wasn’t until that evening, just as he was placing Paperwife back into her comfortable cardstock blankets

that a question hit his head like a dart. Did you ever want kids?

He stared in surprise at the process evaluation he held in his hand. I’m too old.

No you’re not, hon; you just enjoy telling yourself that.

He slipped the file into its proper folder and placed it back in the bin, glancing out the window. The sun had long since fallen, and the children had retired to their homes for dinner and a storytelling hour of their day. He had slipped into a more comfortable evening robe and admired the constellations from his porch, a luxury he seldom found the opportunity for. He eased into an old blue chair which still had some rocking power left in it, letting his muscles relax. A few lingering pages of Paperwife rested on the arm beside him. An old couple sitting together on their porch. How romantic.

So… you don’t want kids?

He scowled. “Since when do you care!” he nearly griped aloud. He didn’t have the time for trivial things like children or real girlfriends inside Paperwife’s suffocating grip. He only left the house for groceries, and his specific line of work offered no coworkers to become friendly with. Why was she bringing up these questions all of a sudden? No, he thought affirmatively. I’m fine.

You’re lonely, she said.

No, he repeated, I’m fine. Now please, stop asking.

But don’t you want- “SHUT UP!” he screamed, his cheeks suddenly flooding with color. His voice cracked uncomfortably, shaking off the cobwebs strung from God knows how long of silence. The paper just lied there, however, dry and lifeless, deaf to his words. “It’s just paper,” he sighed. He grabbed the sheets by the middle and crumpled them into a ball, tossing her in the trash on his way in. He swept the manila folders off the table in one fell swoop, and picked up the phone.

A few empty rings sounded before a gruff woman’s voice answered the other end. “Hello?” she asked.

He took a moment to muster his strength before finalizing the divorce.


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Quinn O



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That they would become lost somewhere on a rarely traveled highway and eventually die.

And for a while that seemed to work.

But I kept finding pieces.More and more of you within me.

And I would scoop them up and toss them out,Again and again and again.

And then, I was empty.

My stomach was caving,My lungs were deflating,My heart was entirely hollow.

I had scooped away my insides,

And I stood hunched over because my body had nothing within it to hold its shape.

My skin sank towards the earth.I wished that you would come and feed my hun-ger, inflate my lungs and fill my heart.

But you didn’t come.And truthfully, I knew you wouldn’t.And so I laid on the ground like a paper doll,Flat, lifeless and empty.I laid there for a long time. (For so long)

But here you see meFull, standing upright and strong.

And you wonder if someone else came and filled me up?

Someone better?Someone stronger?Someone with more to give?

And you are right.Because Someone did.

They would never catch up to me again.

I was full of you when you left.My body was warm and stuffed with pieces of you which you had given to me.

But when you left those pieces within me, I ached for you.

So I tried to throw away your pieces.I tried completely to get rid of them.I would scoop them up into my hands and toss them out of the win-dow of a moving car.


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ÉLane Vaughn


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enter b&w spread



rushing past the known

through the lit concrete tunnels

into the faded, the darker, the provoking

think just a bit more before taking...

introduced to that obscurity.

the irony of things:

blooming in the black


Sidd Bhaskura

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A mix of iron chill and ethereal lightness.The taste of a cloud, like you’d imagine it-As a child.The outline of children’s attempts at biblical allusionsline the road.And when it melts, everytime;I cry.

The black wind tunnel with white snow.Frosty crunch akin to the leaves of autumn.A velvet carpet of crystal cold coats the dead grass.Place the snow upon your mouth.It always tasted like the sky to me.

Caroline Wilder

An Uncommon Event in the Strange Southern Chill

Hannah Kinney-Kobre

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Caroline Wilder

I’ve been here forever. At least since the moment I was dropped from that bird’s mouth and I settled into the earth. My roots spread and grew deeper with time. I slowly got taller and my branches wider, unlike those planted ones that now come with roots protected with burlap. Those early memories are a blur though, a vague recollection of blue skies, green grass, and the changing of seasons.Things only began to get interesting when the people came, from the place that spews black fog into the sky. They discussed things like ballroom sizes, gardens, and if it would be better than the Dardens’. The lady with the big middle that the others called Lady Monteclaire

said how lovely a bench would be beneath me. I was thrilled by the idea of company; I was so lonely all the time. But then they left. I did not see the people for a long time, my leaves changed and crumpled to the ground until one day things began to arrive. Men with loads of things came, I watched as right before me a monstrous structure sprang up. One was peculiar enough but off in all directions; similar things the people called “houses” seemed to be growing out of the ground. And I would have known no different if I had not watched the men build one. They worked hard until one day everyone stopped coming, and they took all the supplies

away. I waited through another falling of my leaves before Lady Monteclaire came back, this time her belly did not protrude from her as it had before. This time the lady came with other people. One normal sized man, two little men, and a smaller version of Lady Monteclaire. They called her Elizabeth. As they came around the house Elizabeth ran up underneath my branches, looking up through my leaves, something light on her face. She ran back to her “mother” and conversed. Two days later an elabo-rate bench was set up in the shade of my expanse.

Lucy Murrey

Olivia Larson


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Every day from then on, Elizabeth would wander out of the house with a book and read in the protection of my branches. She was not allowed to play because she was “sick.” People would come out to bring her tea, to tell her it was time for a rest, or that the doctor was there; but whenever someone called out asking where she was, she would yell back “I'm reading under my tree!” I was hers wholeheartedly. I cared for her with everything I had. I took pride in the fact that she came everyday to sit underneath my branches.One day she came out looking paler than usual, she ambled over and took her usual seat with a shiver. As she read, she coughed and sniffed constantly. For several days she came out behaving in this manner, until one day she did not come. Maybe she was spending time with family elsewhere. Or perhaps she was taking a longer rest. For a brief moment the thought that she had found another tree terrified me, though I knew she loved me and would never do that. My leaves turned from green to brown and began to fall, yet still I had not seen my Elizabeth. One day a man come out to stand beneath me, in his hands a board. I was unsure what it was. He knelt down beginning to tack it to my base, water streaming from his eyes. I was so confused, where was my Elizabeth? As he backed away from me, my last caramel brown leaf flitted in the wind settling next to my new accessory. Finally when he was gone I was able to see what was written on the plaque. It read:

Elizabeth May Monteclaire's TreeMay she read beneath its branches eternally


My Elizabeth was gone. I had seen those symbols before, with that dash separating them. They were always placed over the spot where a person had been laid below the ground. She was in the ground somewhere, and she would never read with me again. Life became a blur once again, this time all tinged with sadness. Blue sky, green grass, seasons. Though each year when my last leaf fell I remembered her. I could imagine her happy, reading aloud below me, not even knowing how much her company meant to me. But the moment the leaf hit the ground, I was overcome by a sensation of loss. She was truly gone. And all I had to remember her by was a metal plaque, and and the memories brought on each fall by my last leaf.


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Azure strokes and streaky pens,Memories seen through life’s thin lens:Luminous stars around you glow,Pressed in the dark of summer sloe,While all around your fair hair flies,Caught up in the noctur-nal skies.Eyes like zephyrs, hands like air,A windy soul with feelings bare;Your spirit always made me whole,I miss you, sister of my soul.


Carrie Sauder

Molly Kenny

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Rose-orange hurricanesStain the deep grey skyAnd whirling leaf sparksTang wild on the air;Wrapped in burrowing coldMy cheeks burn a crimsonThat blazes like the palette Of the quaking trees;Change whistles through the windIn the empty twilight And chilled stone and shadowAwaken the earth to fall.




Carrie Sauder






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Suddenly Ellis stood up, taking in a calming breath before shuffling from switch to switch, turn-ing the lights off and sending his home into complete darkness. A weary smile crept onto his face as he again took his seat and buried his face into his hands. "Dark and quiet" he mumbled to himself, "just like home." He let out a low, half-cry laugh and reclined in his chair, looking up to his ceiling. "Just like home...” He repeated.

At last he could sleep.

Ellis dragged his feet, sliding across the tile of his kitchen and taking a seat at the cracked, rotund table he'd placed in the middle. His eyes were red, and drooping. His hair was in a tangled, frenzied mess while sweat trickled down his forehead. He felt his heartbeat, its sporadic thumps and pounding only making his anxiety worse. The clock on the microwave read 2:00; the outside world was dark and lonely.

Outside, a car sped past, its lights spraying through Ellis' cracked windows and projecting faint, swaying stars on the ceiling. The old man smiled wider, and closed his eyes slowly. He imagined space around him, the stars dancing and playing all around while his ship cracked and groaned. "Home" he whispered to himself.



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Caroline Frame

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Catie Ball

Could you do it?Take the leap off

The impending pinnacle thatPenetrates your heart?

Could you traipse to The edge, feeling the

Unyielding rock that blankets The precipice and appreciate

What your next Action would do?

Could you stare into the Vast abyss and not

Tremble at the obscurity Of uncharted territory?

Could you leapFrom the crest, earnestly, Prepared for death but

Also for life, primedAnd keen with intentions

To not fall into,But fly through

The remarkable odysseyOf enchantment?


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Traditions Evening cotton candy skies Our flashlight shadows reflect on the dirt roads Arms hooked, we walk in sync In the distance we see twinkling lights gleaming through the windows of the rustic green clubhouse Inside is still but is immediately awoken by our laughter We make a bold entrance, the squeaking door slamming behind us Quarter past nine The smell of must and fresh paint The feelings of innocence Skinned knees and tangles hair We sip our bubbling root beer We use the wooden snack bar as a catwalk, I burst into laughter Faith struts her cutoff shorts and sandals Stevie laughs behind the counter, “Silly girls” “Quiet children” comes an irritated voice Alex sits in the bar alone Whiny, off tune singing, strumming his guitarWe look at each other and then at the clock, almost time to leaveFaith takes my handBare feet on the diving boardThe water on the lake and the black sky have combinedNothing ahead but unknown darknessI hesitate,“C’mon Soph” Faith says“On three”We jump.

Sophia Bacon

Adelaide Conway


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Amidst bright noise I stood, chin-down,waiting for a cart to sweep us away,when from across the platform,my eye caught the torso of a man,protruding from a pile of dirty blankets, garbage. He said unto the group of phantoms around him:“Look at me now!” He said--“A composer, I tell you, but the publishers..”He reached from beneath a pile of filthy scrap,and thrust into a listener’s hand torn and crumpled pages.

I heard the screech of the approaching subway:it pushed a gentle breeze across the vast surface of tile,scattering particles of dust.From the window I saw him:Left index-finger on the page, tracing;right in the air like a magic wand;eyes closed, in bliss--I could not hear his humming, only the rattleof metal on metal,as we speed into darkness and dissolution.

I Saw Ozymandias Green Wu






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i. MorningA fluorescent blue blush stains the pavement beside the walled-in windows, pulsating in a muted rhythm beneath my bicycle tires. Car horns crow the advent of the sun, sing-ing in dissonant choirs from overpasses and four-lane highways. Urban adrenaline zings through my veins, like coffee humming down the tar-paved arteries of this stainless steel empire. A fiery red sun peels back the curtains of smog that drape its bed and prepares to usher in the day.

ii. NoonBleached white reflections hiss off skeletons of steel and taut glass skin, scorching into the sunlit silence. Scales of silver mica wink at the powder blue sky, a quilt criss-crossed with broken stitches of airplane trails. An exhaust pipe breathes a petroleum sigh, ex-haling fingers of dancing heat into the abandoned air. My fingers worry pensively at the strings of a clammy grey rag, feeling instead the brush of bone-dry desert wind.

iii. EveningEngines rasp like cicadas inside their glossy black and green shells, humming in urgent chorus from the curb. Purple shadows splatter in the alleys and ooze with canny preci-sion along the cavernous pavement cracks. The raucous chatter of headlights sweep-ing stone interrupts my brown study of the blossoming darkness and my feet leap back against the fractured brick wall. Above, an opaque navy shroud draws softly over the face of the bulbous yellow sun. iv. NightElectric orange letters kiss the air, leaving smudged after-image stains sprinkled across my sight. Bass lines swim through a milky-way of streetlights, invisible in the clarion glow that streams through fingers of splintered scaffolding. Voices tumble in Catherine-wheels through the burning darkness, howling their raucous laughter to the burnished gold moon. As sirens shriek over graffitied walls and streak in peacock trails through the night, the city draws a vibrant breath and opens wide its neon eyes.

Carrie Sauder


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d Meie


Caroline McKinley

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shivers cross my skin

but when you speak

your words flow over me

and suddenly

i’ve sipped on tea

you engulf me in your warmth

painting my face a new shade of pink

i’m tickled by the thought of you

and lately

i haven’t been so cold



d Meie


Caroline McKinley

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WILD Molly



Kyrie Mason

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Kale sat quietly with his legs crossed on the field. The wind blew gently on his hair and shirt, sending the cooling breeze around his sweat covered body. He sighed in relief, staring up at the enormous white gaseous sheep that seemed to graze on blue grass forever; Kale never particularly noticed the clouds before, he didn’t know why he started to now. Their formless, ethereal shape looked almost alien compared to his tight, blotchy red skin. He sighed again.

“Anderson” came a shriek that had Kale shooting up straight like a rocket. He looked down, hiding his gaze from the giant

that lumbered towards him. “This isn’t ‘look up at the sky and daydream’ time, Anderson. This is ‘stand the hell up and continue your laps’ time.” Each word the Coach took seemed to explode like a bomb in Kale’s ear; his body trembled with the Coach’s, but he did it out of fear instead of anger.

“Yes sir” murmured Kale as he broke into a half-sprint. His face shone bright red as he jogged, black tuffs of hair bouncing wildly; with lean, stalky legs the boy thought of how tedious it was to run. “We’ve got cars now... cars and trucks and planes and trains... Coach is just, ugh.” He gritted his teeth. “I hate that bastard.” He realized he hated a lot of people, actually: the faceless majority of Ocean Peak Middle School, his so-called “friends”, his neighbors, his older brothers, his father...he hated his father most of all. He tried to picture his father’s face yet the closer he came to seeing it, the more the faceless ghost retracted.

And then all he felt was alone. He hated being alone.

“Good hustle out there” was what ended Kale’s run. He had lost track of time in his aimless loathing, and now as he slowed down to a stand he began to calm down. He looked down at his track shoes, the dusty grey exterior shrouded by the thick green grass. The wind picked up, rustling the leaves of the trees that lay at the boundary between the school and the forest. Kale turned around to look at the forest - the trees stood like sentinels guarding their castle; even light failed to pass through the steel canopy. Yet something was there, Kale could see it. He squinted trying to make out the form that hid behind the tree. It tools step back, a wide gleaming white smile forming as a single black skeletal finger lifted up to its lips. “Quickly...” It seemed to say.

Kale shot off into the forest, his feet flying above the ground. He didn’t hear the Coach yell his name as his skinny frame was lost behind the army of trees. To be honest, Kale didn’t much know where he was going; he wasn’t even sure if what he saw was real. But something drove him, and once it had released him, he found himself lost in the wild. Kale had been to the forest before; he and his “friends” had trekked through on many occasions. They, his “friends” mostly, would smoke and curse and jump and scream among the trees, sure that civilization couldn’t see their sins within the woods. But they’d never gone far

past the boundary... they’d never reached the cyclopean elder trees that shot up hundreds of feet into the clouds. Kale felt small - smaller than usual - surrounded by the wooden giants.

But this part of the forest was different than the edge. Life lived here... thrived here. As he sat in a clearing at the base of a tree, he marveled at the festival happening around him: The furry things scurried around and leapt from the trees like hairy acrobats while the birds performed, in psychedelic uniforms, a triumphant anthem for the proud marching ants. It felt as if the forest breathed with Kale; he felt like real air was filling his lungs after years of suffocation in plastic. The boy closed his eyes, recalling hid stillborn city. It was grey there, stagnant grey concrete and ugly silver metal. It was dead there but here... here everything lived and existed like shrieking, scurrying, breathing, jumping paintings.


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The voice was attached to a skeletal body. It looked like an empty black void yet as Kale stared he began to make out little dots...miniature stars, galaxies even, painted faintly across the void. Small whippets of black gas rose and surrounded the phantom only to evaporate completely in the air. It had a big, pointed black face and a wide, gleaming white smile with teeth like a sharp. “Yusef” it said coyly and it stuck a slender hand down at Kale.

He took it without wanting to, his hand acting freely as it gave a jerky, mechanical handshake. “Kale” the boy muttered.

“Yes, yes welcome little boy, welcome.” Its smile seemed to grow with pride. “I’m a little confused, but pleased nonetheless, that you decided to follow me.” He leaned in close to the boy’s face, staring into his eyes with blank white orbs. “Now, I pro-pose we get right to business.”

“I don’t even know who you are, man. I don’t even know why I came in here.” His head bumped against a tree as he tried to pull back from the demon. His hands trembled, and his heart sped up. The boy even flinched as Yusef let out a maniacal, shrill cackle.

“You don’t know who I am?” He stepped away from Kale, allowing the boy to stand up and dust himself off. “Eh, it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is how you’ll help me.”

“Help you?” Kale said, shooting the black form a puzzled look.

“Indeed, help me. To be frank, your species is... cancerous. I’ve been sent to clear it out” He sounded somber even as the smile remained splattered across his face.

He loved it until the quiet came.

It was a quick, sudden change. The air grew cold and flat, the festival dying as the acrobats burrowed into wooden tents and psychedelic singing turned into cacophonous shrieks that flew off into the distance. Even the proud marching ants refused to soldier on, disappearing as a mob in the dirt. “Hello...” came a whisper gliding on the last vestige of summer wind, “hello and welcome.” Kale looked around nervously, leaping with a yelp as he felt a cold, bony hand rest on his shoulder. “Relax...” purred the voice as the boy’s eyes glued themselves to the ground, only to begin hovering up slowly as something pulled him like

before, his body tensing while his skin drained of color.

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Kale stood still silent for a moment, the blood going cold in the vein. “W-what?” He babbled. “Why?”

“You already know why” Yusef hissed as the cold wind picked up lazily. “You’ve breathed the dead plastic air for years and here, finally, you’ve founded something that connects to you.” His voice seemed to deepen with pride, and threw his arms up as he spoke again. “All of you humans are the same...you think the more you build, the more of Earth you harvest, the hap-pier you’ll become. Yet you’re still unhappy: six billion people and you’re all still lonely. It’s a mockery of life.”

Kale kept quiet, his leg bouncing as he listened. Yusef made sense, yet something was wrong. The air seemed to die around him, and the insects scattered away from his feet. Even the light and color around him seemed...dimmer.

“I am life the way it should be. The living universe flows through me” Hissed the black figure. “And with your help, perhaps your species can be saved.” He extended his hand again towards Kale, who slinked back towards the tree. “Don’t you want to

be happy? Don’t you hate being alone?”

His voice hid as the demon approached with an outstretched hand. The boy tried to back away further, but the tree behind him seemed to grow wider each time he tried. He could feel the cold wrap around his body, the invisible force pulling him towards Yusef. For the first time Kale realized how dark it was in the forest. He realized how afraid and confused and angry he was. His heart beat with quick, heavy thumps and he could hear a shrill scream in his mind. Everything grew darker as Yusef inched in close until the only thing visible in the blackness was the monster’s twisted, demonic white grin. Tears rolled down the boy’s cheeks as he drowned alone in the dark.

But he didn’t drown. He opened his eyes and something had saved him. It had picked him up, dried his tears. It sang away the demon’s blackness and left only clean sunlight in its wake. Kale cried as he fell to his knees. He didn’t feel cold or scared anymore. He felt as if a soft, warm blanket had fallen over him. The forest breathed with the boy, and he didn’t feel alone anymore.

He cried quietly in the field.


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The Blue Room Carrie Sauder




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I press my face against the window, watching as hot clouds of moisture bead against the cold glass. Houses rush past, some hollow and dark, others ignited from within by light and laughter. None of them mean any-thing to me; I am waiting for one house only, a house with a single illuminated window and a solitary occupant. The others blur together before my eyes, no more noticeable than the sound of the radio or the inane chatter of my little sister, swinging her legs idly in the front seat. After a veritable eternity my questing eyes snap hold of the street sign, registering the familiar name as the car swings swiftly onto the quiet residential street. Mom is driving fast tonight, hoping to get home before the ice cream rolling around next to me melts; I’ll have to look quickly in order not to miss it. Slowly, slowly, the landmarks pass by: the broken box-wood hedge surrounded by splintered sticks and lonely leaves; the stone bench perched by the side of the road; the arid pond covered with dusty green tarp. Suddenly, my heart stings with an electric jolt, pumping at a fran-tic pace as my eyes discern the faint whisper of light ahead. Almost there…Almost there… And then we come into full view of the window and there she is, my girl in her Blue Room. She stands still before the long, revealing window as always, her eyes turned sadly out to-ward the night as long, dark hair frames

her pale, lonely face. Behind her is the cornflower glow of the Blue Room, reflecting off of painted walls and plush carpets and shining out into the dark-ness. Her eyes, as always, are unfocused, staring wistfully and haunt-ingly into the shadows creeping around the edges of our headlights. Her hands clasp the windowsill almost desperately, as if the Blue Room is a prison she cannot wait to escape. Our car begins to slide past that single beacon of il-lumination, and I prepare myself to say goodbye for one more night. But this time something is different. Her dark eyes focus, clinging onto the car… my window… me. For what seems like an eon, and yet only an instant, her eyes look straight into mine. Maybe it’s only my imagination, but they are desperate and pleading, and the walls of the room around her seem to narrow like the mouth of a trap. For that endless moment, we seem so close; only two fragile sheets of glass and a few yards of empty space sepa-rating us forever. Then the car whisks around the corner and she is gone, as suddenly as that, lost to me for another endless cycle of the day. As my heart slowly calms and my mind drifts back to reality, I imagine that her eyes are looking after me still, waiting for me to come back and release her. But all I can do is look forward to the day when we will be together in the Blue Room.


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quiet and


in the


of the

night .

I fell for you the way snow falls --

Caroline Frame

Michelle Newman


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