Cover Art - Natalie Zaterka ’22
- Angela Li '19
- Anuoluwa Akibu '20
- Daniela Martinez ’19
- Daniella Pozo ’22
- Emily Taylor '20
- Helen Huang '20
- Huijia Zheng '19
- Illia Rebechar '20
- Jack Cai ’21
- Jenny Tang '20
- John Griffin ’20
- Laura Sabino ’20
- Mary Flathers ’19
- Natalie Zaterka '22
- Niki Noel ’20
- Reevie Fenstermacher ’19
- Richard Zhang ’21
- Rosanna Zhao '19
- Samantha Wang ’21
- Sanjina Patel '19
- Will Lu '20
The blood was on me, the blood was on me.
My memories go back when Jesus died.
Not for the money, not for the money.
For ne’er had I belongéd to his side.
While my true self commits those evil deeds,
That HYPOCRITE! My conscience drive me ‘sane.
Killed him, I did, and Jesus brought him back,
The pain as well. In tears, I killed him ‘gain.
Come Pagans! Desecrate and decimate!
For holiness resides in here no more.
Come Demons! Spread your wings of lust and hate!
For every man a butcher, woman whore.
Alas Heavens nor hell, I cannot be,
For I killed Jesus and Jesus killed me.
Will Lu ’20
Helen Huang '20
The room was dim. Lit softly by one light bulb that sat on the ceiling nestled between two beams supporting the whole house. Its chain swung low as he released it, and the light flickered out. Then it was dark. Almost. There was only the moonlight shining through the deep red splattered pane of the window. Red on the window, red seeping into his boots.
The air was silent and filled with nothing. He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to run. The air was damp with a musk he wished he had never known existed. There was something metallic about it. He didn’t want to move. He couldn’t move. He was frozen.
There was a soft creak on the old oak steps behind him. He wanted to jump in fear and scream. His lungs got heavy. He screamed and screamed and screamed. But not one person heard. His lips were barely moving.
He was lying on the ground. The red all around him. Another soft creak on the oak steps and then the airy sound of the doorknob. The man who stood over him was gone. The damp pressure of his final tear made his whole soul drown until there was nothing but that first drop of red.
Emily Taylor ’20
Samantha Wang '21
Jenny Tang '20
Stares at the sky, and notices not a single familiar widow.
Turns around to see its string. If it’s been crafted yet to weave
For it’s around the people that are simply naive.
But if it’s got a pack of cigarettes in its right pocket,
Then nothing is yet bad about everything that happens today,
And a ticket for a plane with a polished silver wing,
That creases deep shadows, which in the sun just stay.
Illia Rebechar ’20
Her hair was red.
The reddest I’d ever seen on a girl.
It was long and curly and reached past her waist.
She was beautiful.
So beautiful that I’m pretty sure that the word beautiful itself was not worthy to describe her.
Her name was Ahi.
It meant fire in Hawaiian.
It was definitely a suitable name.
Like fire she was equally dangerous as she was beautiful.
She was dangerous simply because she was,
And even more so because she didn’t know that she was.
She was completely oblivious to the power she had on people.
To the power that she had on me.
When she started dating him I think I might’ve lost my mind.
I think I went insane.
She was with him.
And that was dangerous.
Like I said before,
Because she didn’t know how dangerous it was.
When you don’t know something is dangerous it just amplifies it’s danger.
She was completely oblivious.
She was fire and he was slowly snuffing her out.
She didn’t know that she was dangerous enough to burn him.
So that he’d never put her down again.
So that he’d never shut her down again.
So that he’d never snuff her out again.
And that made me see things I wish I hadn’t.
It made me see red.
And it wasn’t because I was admiring her hair.
Niki Noel ’20
I'm going to hell.
At ten, I found out I was going to hell for eternal damnation, I was shocked. My parents informed me after I confessed that I was an Atheist. Actually, they tried to convince me that being an Atheist wasn’t a thing and THEN told me I’m going to rot in hell.
The funny thing is that I used to believe in God, I knelt on the floor and put my hands together every night. I closed my eyes and said
Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo
Santificado sea tu nombre
Danos hoy el pan de cada día
No nos deje caer en tentación
Libranos del mal amén
And I wholeheartedly believed what I was saying. Maybe I was just naive or I was influenced by my parents but throughout my life God kept me going. I prayed to him when my grandmother died and I was overcome with sadness. She had been a role model and friend to me and when she died, I looked to God. When my parents were having troubles, when divorce was being considered, I looked to God.
I looked to God when feelings of fear and apprehension for school came into my head. Everyone had expectations of me. I couldn’t handle it and I would cry myself to sleep, praying to God that things would get easier and most of all I prayed, tears in my eyes, whole body shaking that I could live up to everyone’s expectations.
I looked to God when I first started having suicidal thoughts. I knew they weren’t normal and I knew that I didn’t want to feel like that. Like I was useless and irrelevant. I looked to God and found nothing. 13
I have looked to God and he has failed me. I was dutiful and put my faith in the lord. There was only so much I could take before I simply stopped believing that he was there. It’s sad, really. I’ve lost all hope in America’s favorite Jolly Green Giant. I think I held out hope for God as long as I could. I wanted to believe and that’s why it didn’t immediately come to me that God isn’t real.
It started with the disappointment of having times of trouble and no response and slowly transitioned into not knowing why God wasn’t helping me. I didn’t understand what I had done to merit God’s indifference.
That’s a big problem with religion, how do you explain to someone why the Almighty Always On Your Side God isn’t helping you? How do you explain being innocent all your life and still not receiving support? My aunt became a devout Catholic a few years ago after decades of living in what the Bible would most likely consider sin. She partied all night, had three kids all by different fathers and even got haircuts regularly! Now she’s settled down and goes to church and preaches about how God will never abandon you. I know she has the best intentions when she’s telling me to trust God but I can’t help but roll my eyes each time she recites a Bible passage.
Atheism, to me, seemed to be about coming to terms with God’s absence. Knowing that he was not out there and even if I knelt on the floor and put my hands together every night, nothing would change.
At the risk of sounding like a cliche, I will say that being an Atheist has helped me realize that I, personally, do not need God. Everything I have done and everything that I am so far has been because of me and my experiences. I haven’t been shaped by a belief, I have been shaped by life events. Concrete things that I can point to and name how they have impacted me.
I don’t take pride in Atheism because I don’t think there is any reason to. Being an Atheist doesn’t make me superior to anyone. Just like being Catholic doesn’t make someone better than the rest. It’s just a part of my identity. I understand if some people need a God to move through life. I understand that some people need the threat of burning in a fire for all of eternity to stay sane.
I’ve come to terms with my family believing I’m going to hell. I won’t spend my life waiting on someone who hasn’t been there. I won’t spend my life explaining that. I just want to live, I want to meet people and learn and eat a lot of food. I want to read books and write essays and listen to music. I want to get more piercings and curse and do all the things that make me happy. If that makes me a sinner and I go to hell, then so be it.
Daniella Pozo ’22
Will Lu '20
haunting and frozen with beauty
the kind of beauty you have to look for
soon, winter eyes start to melt
and burn a scorching red
a red just like the fire she wears on her lips
when she tells him that her summer soul
will never need him
the same red that told him
that she will never leave him
after all, she says,
who would ever want winter
when you can have every other season
Laura Sabino ’20
She cuts through my hair tangling it in itself. Leaves flutter to the ground. I look up into the sky and see oranges, reds, pinks, yellows, and purples. I close my eyes and breathe in the crisp air, relaxing as I feel her fill me up. I smile and continue on the leaf-strewn path. A sense of peace fills the air as she takes over what once belonged to the time of the hot and humid. I ponder where to go and decide I’ll go left towards the pond. I hear her whistle through the trees, creating a soft rustle to greet me as I walk by. They’ve all changed colors now, clothing her with the same shades as the sky. I sit on a bench by the pond, watching the swans glide over the water. I bask in the warm, cozy glow she provides in the evening. I pull my jacket tighter against my chest as I make my way home. As the time goes by, the leaves fall and she ages as trees go bare. Eventually, she whispers for the last time and I say goodbye, starting to feel a new, harsher wind on my cheeks. The time has come for another change.
Reevie Fenstermacher ’19
Mary Flathers '19
Dusting up a wild tornado.
You and I,
We’re right in the eye.
Blessing or curse,
Breathing the same air on the same earth.
Stuck in a loophole,
People screaming as we go.
Hold my hand,
I’m sinking in sand.
Near or far,
Close my eyes and see you afar.
Live in the same stratosphere.
No one here to see a single tear.
Or, let go of my hand, my dear.
Angela Li ’19
comes from an isle
fused in a bag
of loose leaf tea
Her ginger curls
turn the boiling water spicy-sweet
Her hibiscus lips
leave ruby red stains
I’ll steep her in my teacup
for far too long, until the taste is too strong
And I’ll drink every last drop
without sugar or cream
Daniela Martinez ’19
Jack Cai '21
“But fallen petals are not heartless matter,
Transmuted into spring soil they will again nurture flowers”
— Kung Tzu Chen
Tree had noticed the reddish hue on Leaf a while ago.
Like on any other windy day in late autumn, Leaf danced for Tree in her tattered red dress. Sharp angles and edges of the dress scratched her skin and broke her completely. Leaf sighed, then kissed Tree gently and whispered, “It’s time... Sorry.”
“You are leaving?!” Tree was consternated. “But we have gone through the bright spring, the blazing summer, and the romantic autumn together. How could you leave me like this? Did I do something wrong?”
“No! But I have to leave. Will you remember me after the winter?” Leaf replied with her body shaking as she struggled to stay still in the furious wind.
Tree’s heart was tingling. He bent his rigid trunk, causing birds to scatter and broken branches to fall to the ground so that Leaf could see his firm nod.
A wave of warmth suddenly rushed through Leaf, and she felt that the bright red on her did not hurt anymore. Instead, Tree’s firmness gave the weak Leaf happiness and courage. Leaf looked lovingly at Tree for the last time, then snapped her stem, forever leaving Tree’s generous and warm embrace. The snapping exhausted all of the Leaf’s strength, and she drifted helplessly to the ground.
A gust of autumn wind passed by. Wind couldn’t bear to see Tree being sad, so he gently pulled up Leaf to send her back to Tree. Leaf shook her head. “Tree is very fragile in winter. If I don’t leave him, he cannot survive the winter while taking care of me. It’s enough for me as long as he can remember the time we’ve been together.” Leaf turned her body twice in the air, leaving a sad arc, and fell to the ground.
The wind finally understood why leaves turn their bodies when falling: they can’t give up longing for their tree, and silently give their last dance to the tree with all their love. The wind blew deep sorrow everywhere with its tears, causing a vague melancholy to fill the air.27
Snow dyed the world white and covered everything. Tree hid in the snow and remained silent. He wished that his mind could be frozen and his heart could be stiff.
After silence filled the long winter, Spring finally arrived. Charming and delicate, Flower suddenly bloomed out of the ground beside Tree. The flower was very beautiful but indifferent-- she was not tempted by a large number of butterflies flying by her side. She only spared her gentleness for Tree, accompanying him every day and talking and singing to release his sad mood. Tree noticed that her small and delicate body and her gentleness were just like those of Leaf.
Flower’s entrance into Tree’s life released Tree from his despair and pain. Gradually, Tree began to express genuine enthusiasm around Flower. However, he felt guilty because he thought that he would be able to fall in love with Flower if his Leaf had never existed. But in Tree’s heart, nobody could replace Leaf.
One day, as an envious butterfly was telling the story of Tree and Leaf, Flower listened intently. She then asked Tree, “Is Leaf more beautiful than I am?”
Tree replied, “No, you’re definitely more beautiful.”
“Does Leaf smell better?”
“No, she can’t compare with your fragrance at all.”
Flower looked confused, “If so, why can’t you forget her and love me more?”
Tree answered with a bitter smile. “I don’t know… Even when Leaf lost her beautiful green skin and became dry and faded, she was always my Leaf. I’m sorry, but…”
Tears slid from Flower’s face: “Tree, I knew you wouldn’t forget me! I’m so happy.”
Startled, Tree carefully looked at Flower’s face. He found that Flower shared Leaf’s resilience and gentleness. At that moment, Tree felt a deep sadness vanish…
They didn’t notice a family of humans approaching until a tablecloth was placed on the grass underneath Tree. It had forever covered Flower, who was too small to be seen.
Samantha Wang ’21
Mary Flathers '19
He wanted to leave but she couldn’t at all.
By the grave he saw roses,
But he could not focus.
He found it hard to see the blood,
Overshadowed by a salty flood.
She was but an ethereal ghost,
Admired as she sat upon her post.
She was not alone she brought a heart,
Only to have it torn apart.
While she slept under crimson amber,
He fought to remember.
See the trembling of the child?
I think he’s angry but he smiled.
Anuoluwa Akibu ’20
i coax hidden purples
i soothe scorched oranges
with flecks of gold
i’m not there
they need my color
they can’t lose me
i’m left drowning
strangled by their purples
gashed with white paint
bleeding over gold flecks i kept
they left me oranges
two burning drops
melting my masterpiece
once a palette of possibility
i’m stripped down
left with crackled lines
traced on my face
their paintings hang
but i’m no painting
i’m just a mess of colors
where art once was
John Griffin ’20
Rosanna Zhao '19
Sanjina Patel '19