Fall Issue 2019

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Well, here we are, the present. It’s been a while. Too long.
I guess it makes sense though, not understanding the world around you. It’s freak-ishly normal.
I don’t like it.
Yet here we are. It’s complicated I guess, me and them. We don’t really know what happened.
Anyway, the reason for this wrongdoing could be categorized under many different circumstances.
Not that I care.
Yet here we are. It seems I can never escape. The Midas’ Touch of problems is a
gift of mine.
And the Medusa’s gaze of quixotic ecstasy keeps me from running away.
I just can’t.
Yet here we are. One could say that I’m really trying. That I’m something worth
trying for. Or not.
I could keep trying to run, to outrun the shadow that never leaves me. I could easily
stop this now.
I want to.
Yet here we are. Volition has no place here among the Gods it seems. That is in
fact where I am, among the Gods.
Are they my imagination? Or really there? Does it matter? Maybe it’s just the rain
outside and I think it’s their footsteps.
Maybe, just maybe, there is no one else around. Maybe it’s just me, surrounded by
higher power; I, the valley beneath, am worthless.
Maybe I’m alone.
Yet here I am. I could run from it. I could really try. But no, no, I know better.
Well, who’s to say?
Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m already dead.

- Kian Sahani ’20

saw you last night
out the corner of my eye
couldn’t look away
cause you were too tempting
my words went dry
didn’t try to hide it though
mr blue eyes
tell me what is it like to be you

easy going
darling, I wish
I cared a little less

what breaks your heart?
what mends your world?
when your fists clench
where do you go?
who calls you home?
or do you not know?
if you’re just getting by
on your own

east coast angel
everything is changing now
heart is racing
everyone’s too loud
drowning out your voice
but they’re just white noise to me
mr blue eyes
don’t tell me that you have to leave

easy going
darling, I wish
I cared a little less

what breaks your heart?
what mends your world?
when your fists clench
where do you go?
who calls you home?
or do you not know?
if you’re just getting by
on your own
I’d like to know

easy going
darling, I wish
I cared a little less
what breaks your heart?

-Padma Mynampaty ’22

Before I take in his sermon,
words Fall with the House of Usher.
Such sickening call of morose,
no more than a hypochondriac’s utter.


Confirmation, just anything anything anything
he demands.
Solely the indulgence of tragic vanity!
Yet as if a sweet breath at my most private wonder
sings the childhood lullaby in a distanced tongue I do not speak.


Silence, softly with the most naked desire
I concede.
Solely the lurve for such indulgence of tragic vanity!
Yet the necessity of disguise performed through empty meanders
seems as the only answer to the mere skin of question between us.


But the hypochondriac,
for whose abysmal solitude now deepened by my belated remark
again.
Twitches his heart into unwarranted sins and illusional war.


And I,
for whose sentimental nous now subsumes in his obligatory chaos
he doesn’t know.
Retreat my heart to the dream of reality once more.

- Alex Chen ’21

“Do you think it’s safe to drive a little further, Jim? It’s probably just a nail, isn’t it
Jim? God knows why they throw these damn things on the road... Should I go a
little further?”

He sat up straight and looked out of the front window. The green rolling hills
stretched into the distance, farther than his eyes could see. Just for a second, he
wondered if they go on forever.

“Should I pull up to the motel? Do you remember the motel, Jim?” she fixed her
eyes on the road and pushed the gas pedal. “They kept a jar with goldfish in their lobby. The man said it’s for luck. Can you imagine? Those poor little things...” she chuckled and nudged him.

He cringed.

“I don’t suppose they’ll help us with the tire. Do you think they’ll help us? At least
we aren’t stuck in the middle of nowhere like that last time.”

She was talking again.

The heavy fog covered the hills, but he could still see their outlines here and there.
He lowered the glass and closed his eyes. Fresh air entered the car.

“I don’t think they’ll help us... But it’s alright, isn’t it, Jim?”

He felt the wind on his face and kept his eyes closed for a little longer.

“Of course it is.”

She turned to him and smiled.

The squealing tire pierced their silence from time to time. The hills stretched as far as the road goes.

- Jane Dubrova ’20

Curves around empty space
And imagines it to be filled.
It is an open door to an empty house
A set plate to a vacant seat.

Memory foam
Does not understand change.
It simply cannot comprehend it:
The future is nonexistent
The present irrelevant
It lives solely in the past
When the first iridescent touch was engraved
The colors are faded now, the luster dull.

And the irony is, Memory foam
Never truly remembers
Why nothing fills that hollow. It always forgets
Just as you can never piece together broken china
And call it a new thing again.

It is a fleeting moment flash-frozen in time
And extrapolated over eternity.

My heart
Is memory foam.
Curving around a grave
A hollow in the memory foam of the earth
Oh so stubbornly.

- Lina Zhang ’21

Perhaps for a moment
Perhaps for an eternity
A train of perhaps is driving right into him
At precisely 88 miles per hour


Perhaps this isn’t actually happening
Perhaps he wasn’t human
Perhaps he was a helicopter
Built in with a super quantum computer
Disguised carefully by the most advanced cloaking tech
As an irresponsible teenage boy


Perhaps it wasn’t his fault
Perhaps it was his mom and dad
Perhaps it was the whole universe itself
Perhaps it was the whole universe and his mom and dad


Perhaps he should’ve taken Books without Borders just to read the Train Driver
Perhaps he should’ve just read the Train Driver anyway
Perhaps he’ll like it a lot
Perhaps he’d done a lot better if he had read the book


Perhaps he doesn’t need any meters or rhymes to make poetry
Perhaps he doesn’t need anything to make poetry
Perhaps he doesn’t need poetry
Perhaps his poetry doesn’t need him
Perhaps this is poetry by itself


Perhaps it’s all meant to be
Perhaps it’s not in third person this time
Perhaps it’s all too late now
Perhaps it would’ve turned out some other way
If there isn’t a train coming at me
At precisely 88 miles per hour


Perhaps the tracks are there just for decoration.


- Will Lu ’20

There are little things I noticed.
How when her hair is wet,
The curls condense.
How in the sun,
Her eyelashes sparkle in a special way.
How my heart is given an extra beat,
when she walks in.
My eyes scan the room to see if I can meet her’s.
How I wish I didn’t do that
But how I simply
Cannot.
Look.
Away.
Because her face
is like a book left out in the sun
Her smile faded
Unreadable
A uniqueness to the curves and twists where the sun has brushed her skin
Freckles are like a book’s remaining words
Sparse, but beautiful
Her face is misty bright, timeless
Exquisite, yet untouchable
Seen, but unappreciated
Beautiful.

- Kendall Sommers ’22

“I love the new place, Ann! I can’t believe you got it so cheap,” my mother exclaims
as her eyes twitch around the house. Every little detail is dissected under her gaze, and I hold
my breath when her eyes stay on the toaster for even a second. I wonder what she thinks about
the heart magnets. Her nails tap against my new counter in a way I know so well. Once, it was
soothing, but now this sound makes me sick. I tell her to stop.
Her laughter fills the room and pushes against my ears. “Look at you, all aggressive!

Now, tell me why on Earth did you decide to leave the town? Are you on the run from the po-
lice?!” she chuckled.

My eyes drift towards the shiny little toaster with its crimson hearts. I wonder if she sees
what I see.
“Ann, hon, are you alright?”
I want to tell her everything, but I can’t. I want to tell her who I’m running from. I want

to tell her what I did to Tom, but I know better than telling people everything. You do one stu-
pid thing, and they hate you for it. I can’t deal with people hating me. I couldn’t deal with Tom

hating me.
“Ann, sweety? I... Everyone’s been meaning to ask... What exactly happened to your
boyfriend?”
I knew he was watching me right now. I could feel him staring at my face from the silver
surface of the toaster. I tried to look away but couldn’t.
“You know it was an accident, mom.”
He laughed. I prayed for him to stop, or else my mother would hear it.
“Oh, dear. How terrible it must have been for you.”
I took a kitchen towel and threw it on the toaster, hoping it would shut him up.
“Well, I’m always there if you need me,” my mom smiles and pats my shoulder.
It’s quiet for a bit until my mother leaves the house. I look at the toaster -- the sun is
reflecting on the metal surface of the crimson magnets.
“Are you here, Tom?”
He laughs again.

-Jane Dubrova ’20

i

It was sunset. Velvet cloud gently embraced the red sun. And soon, the blush dissipated in the
ethereal carnival of confetti.
An immaculate night-blooming cereus had elegantly slipped into the pond— ripples danced
through the surface, but within a while it returned, tacit.
She was abnormal, overwhelmed by the dazzling corolla around her. Her pale petals were morti- fied with embarrassment, her stem wilted. A few dew drops landed on her fragile bud. So cold, so
icy, so inhumane.
She raised her head, desperate to embrace the dying warmth of the sun. It was her belief, her
faith, her last bit of hope. But the sun had quit floundering in the bloody smog, exhaling its last
breaths as the darkness consumed its brilliance.
It was exhausted.
The last thread of sunlight was swallowed by the encroaching tendrils of night.
As well as her one and only hope.
She was born grotesquely, jeered at naturally, lived sentimentally. From the moment she was creat- ed by the gods, her tragedy has been assured as imminent... She stared ruefully at herself——sick
bud dropping in the summer breeze, full of melancholy and somberness. No wonder she had been
scoffed at, reviled; even she herself felt ashamed of her unpleasant appearance.

ii

Nebulae stir up the nocturnal sky, and galaxies envelope the night. Velvety stars inlay themselves
onto Nyx’s blue blanket. Every piece of air is jocund, vivid and lively. Except her, the only solitary
silhouette, hiding neglected in the corner, enduring the most arduous pain imaginable.
A beam of moonlight soothed her wilted petals, illuminating the damp corner. The forlornness
was dissipated by the gentle conciliation of the moonlight.
The frozen heart thawed. She could feel every fiber in her petals awakening, exposed, vibrant.
The bud was no longer hibernating; suddenly, it dehisced. Like the first time a nestling unfurled its
wings——she was emancipated from her long time in purgatory.
They shielded their eyes from her shining glory. Their utmost contempt gradually transmuted into
golden admiration. Hundreds of eyes were on her, full of greed, of envy, of jealousy.
But there she stood, innocent, purer than the pearls of the deep sea, more virginal than the snow.
Like a lantern igniting the whole pond.
A dew drop on her translucent petal, so warm, so gentle, so docile.
It was the euphony from heaven, the eulogy of the angel. The arrogant nightingale opened her
laconic beak:
In the far desert
On a distant blasted plain
A forgotten corner
Amid the death of all things
Not under the blinding sun or the cultivator’s toil
Only in darkness does the flower take hold

She blooms at night, she blooms at night.
The rivulet is plasmolyzed with eulogy, burned with fierce joy. Fireworms surrounded her and
danced, worshipping her as though she were the Inviolable. The anguish seems to be soothed and
forgotten. The past was going to bury its dead and the future would be bright and golden.

iii

Brutally, the bloody sun ripped off the corner of twilight. Instantly, the rosy canvas was contami- nated with mortal blood.
It was dawn.
The nightingale unfolded his wings and flew up into the sky, concealing himself in the fading
darkness. He was mourning, lamenting:
One moon, one bloom in the sky
One elusive cereus
Exiled to earth.
The sunlight was unmoved as it sucked away her moisture. She could tangibly feel her life reluc- tantly draining out of her body. There was a dull pain in her back, spreading with every second.
It became hard to breathe. She was aware of the early frost moving past her petals as though
animated with a life of its own.
She looked up to the sun, pleading for some meager help.
But the sun was hanging up there aloof, veiling himself from her grimace. He spoke no words, did
not grieve, his heart was unmoved and unwavering.
She watched in dazed fascination as the glowworms scrambled to escape from her as if she were
doom itself.
Her heart was stone again again.
She closed her eyes to rest them from the blinding agony of the unforgiving sky.
The frost turned to icy sleet .
But she no longer felt anything.
Of that fleeting darkness, the nightingale’s melancholy song started again, but this time it was
hysterical and long—
In the far desert
On a distant blasted plain
A forgotten corner
She fled on the wings of the night
She vanished at dawn, she vanished at dawn.

-Kelly Yang ’23

Close your eyes, as if nothing matters anymore.
Slowly the darkness lies,
without a single source of malice,
swirling around inside you so delicately.
Let it take over you.

Stars shimmering in the pitch-black sky,
slip into its darkest shade,
wander around the shining stars.
Whispering leaves softly request,
as if they are to remind you, it is time to take a rest.

Tired muscles loosen under the smooth sheets.
O how nice and soothing, the feelings of heat.
All worries shed, frustration softly unfold.
Eyes grow as heavy as two big bricks,
pushing them to close down.

Slowly, sketch a scene on your mind.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, or
perhaps a white bird singing by the shore.
A beautiful bird with flawless, white lore,
unlike its pink cheeks seeming to blush.

Recall mother’s words back in childhood days,
when she would tell you to hush
and rest until you see the sun’s bright rays,
once again. No need for a rush.
Let yourself fall into the peaceful silence.

-Suha Choi ’22

The smell of my first heartbreak
was stale tea bags.
Fig leaves spread across the
Kitchen counter,
Late at night.
My mind running like it was
mid morning.
Notebook pages torn apart
And the leather case scratched
and wet with tears.
I sit in the center of the
floor, but head on a cliff ’s edge.
The cupboard holds tea bags, but
they’re stale. Nobody considers them
worthy of their lips.
The porcelain cups are beautiful,
but too fragile.
My cup is broken, pieces mixed with
tea leaves. And with the lights off,
I search for my notebook,
with taped-in photographs,
creased in the pages
the night before.
But it must be right where I am,
Lost. Torn and out of sight.

-Kendall Sommers ’22

He woke to the squeaking of crickets
Some seven or millions of them
Shut the window, back to bed
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep
Some courtroom empty except for one
One tied up to the witness stand
He cried, veins popping, he cried, he cried
Something guilty, something something I...
His dream did run out before his sleep
So he had to wake up to shut the window again.

-Will Lu ’20