Prize Day Issue 2019

Prize Day Issue 2019


Students Featured

I’m told it’s best to eat low on the food chain
so if it’s okay, 
I’ll start at your feet

and work my way up tenderly 
like a child climbing a great tree
for the first time,

aspiring to your kind mouth.
But forgive me, love, I’ve lost my manners and 
I fear I’m stuck between your thighs.

Can we open this oyster up?
It’s coral silk with ocean aftertaste
against my tongue.

My attention deficit disorder beaten, 
my learning disabilities defeated.
Why didn’t they teach me to read like this?

I can taste the entire alphabet in you. 
Numbers come with colors now and 
suddenly make sense.

I feel the alchemy of poetry and art,
high mathematics and astrophysics. 
I can smell the spice of creation.

Next, you ask,
would I like to know the constellations of heaven?

Daniela Martinez ’19 

Coming to Life

she asked Her, Yes?

she asked Her, No?

Still, for all the No she was longing for one Yes
longing for confess, 
longing for the right word the right step, 
longing for Her smell on her bed,
longing for the broken heart, a needle a thread,
longing for just breathing in Her chest. 

But, people said, 
there’s too much Maybe in Her,
too little reply.
too little retry,
too little good lies,
too little mercy applied,
too little, I wish you were mine,
too little Why.

Yet can’t you see she doesn’t care about the Maybe,
neither about the Why?

’Cause after all,
when her gaze fell on Her fingertips, 
there was no Maybe.
And when Her kiss landed on her whispers, 
there was no Why

Zhuoer (Alex) Chen ’21

Sal does not appreciate the beauty of this world. Through the window, he witnesses a lot: the grass is waving to the sun, the tires are kissing the cement ground, a squirrel is hugging the golf ball next to the pond. Every existence shares those gentle and meek smiles ostentatiously. Sal would love to beg for one of those.

But he cannot. Even having that arbitrary wish for an instant moment is a crime that deserves a bitter punishment. As everything turns around to face Sal, he directly sees those convex curves of stiffness with agonizing clarity. Sal recognizes them. As knowledgeable as he is, he precisely identifies those as ruthless mocks. Learning how to sense the unsatisfying emotions takes some effort, but, fortunately, he is a master of such skill now. 

As he settles himself, he can feel the room getting louder and louder. Clusters of conversation clog his space. Most of those do not care about what he had for lunch. Luckily, some do. Though this lowly salvation always comes with malice, concealed or disclosed or publicized, like those goddamn chrysanthemums and roses and cherry blossoms laughing crazily somewhere out there. Getting overwhelmed, he senses numbness. 

“This is not good. I need to stay awake,” Sal thinks to himself. He tries to enforce some urgency, yet his hands are too slippery to even capture and hold it. He is nervous about being too calm and soundless while deadness creeps in slowly and tenderly. He decides to apply some stimulative impacts so that this struggle would not end too easily. 

Life is suffering. However, Sal does not want to embrace theoretical liberation. Not yet. He picks up and raises the scissors which were laughing at him just a few moments ago, shivering, desperately and diligently searching and expecting some hands. He will cut that opulent pile of expired coupons on his desk and enjoy the satisfying sound. By his hand, the dullness of life shall perish.

Oliver Tian ’21

i once danced foolishly with fire.

(a curious gaze.)

it whispered to me an offer,
a dare to shake its hand,
and an even louder whisper of reward:
an eternal, scarlet kiss.

(a warning ignored.)

a delicate warmth inched closer,
an exotic danger,
dipped in sweetly false desires,

(a paralyzing embrace.)

it juxtaposed my numbness so right,
harmonizing between chaotic blaze
yet meticulous creep up my skin.

it frolicked, it swayed, it twirled.

it kept a promise.

Anuoluwa Akibu ’20

ripe strawberries
too late in the field
left to rot

or to
stain my fingers
ruby red

ripe strawberries
paint their pain
in seeping strokes

they weep
but all their tears
are sweet

ripe strawberries
fear themselves
most of all

their world
is the bad dream

I didn’t want to hurt them
I only wanted
to comfort
to soothe
to touch


I saw a palace of white marble
plunked amid ruins and chaos. 
There I saw people plodding––
their skin so pure and white 
that the perfection itself became a flaw 
Staining the world of colors. 

Walking past the turbulent colors,
I sank into the castle of marble––
glowing without a single flaw. 
There was no noise nor chaos— 
only a few lines of servants—white
women and children—plodding 

Through the hall. Their plodding 
work rinsed off their colors–– 
their faces blended into the white
façade of the lucid marble, 
until they entered into a room of chaos, 
where being white became a flaw. 

In this room––full of flaws––
the servants paused their plodding
and began to hustle through a feast and chaos
of people with various colors–– 
Dark colors that casted shadows on the marble
and inked the white. 

Among the colors, a white 
maid––poor white girl––flawed
a mistake: the vase in her hands––as cold as marble–– 
was smashed on the floor while she plodded
through the crowd of colors
gulping and feasting in chaos.

Splash––the scattered glasses silenced the chaos, 
and all the eyes––black, blue, brown, reprehensive––fell on the white
girl, whose lack of colors
became the scapegoat for her flaw. 
Among scold and doubts, the girl plodded
away until her whiteness was absorbed into the marble. 

In the hall the people of colors resumed to feast in chaos. 
The marble was losing its white, as we forgot that
We––colored or not––all had flaws, like the plodding clouds in the speckled sky. 

Selina Wu ’19

‘Twas the night before Halloween when all through the town, not a creature was stirring, not even a clown. The lanterns were lit by parents with care, while visions of candy danced through the air. And Noah all tucked in his bed like a bug, while Betsy was sleeping all snug in a rug. 

At least, that’s how it was supposed to be… 

Their parents were awake putting last minute decorations up, this is true. And Noah was sleeping in his own bedroom. But Betsy was not dreaming dreams of lore, instead, she was frightened and sleep came no more. Betsy had fears like every young child, except hers were extreme, all crazy and wild. She had this fear of things that move. Creatures made of metal, both sleek and crude. Those with the blinking eyes were the worst. Or was it the turning heads, from which weird sounds would burst? They came in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Metal and plastic, different forms of surprises. To Betsy, the kind or the shape didn’t matter. All were frightening and made her thoughts scatter. All she could do was freeze in fear. Occasionally, a scream could be heard by those near. She received little sleep the same time every year, for the eve of Halloween heightened her fear. 

By the next morning, she’d slept a few hours. She had no doubt that her mood–––it would sour. But she tried to put on a hopeful and cheery face until her mother called to pick up the pace. And as she flung her way down the stairs, her brother made sure to give her a scare. Betsy turned the corner and Noah leapt out in front. She screamed as a metal face released a grunt. But not a grunt, ‘twas more like a growl. Something from nightmares, evil and foul. At this, Betsy cried out at her brother and ran to complain to her father and mother. She yelled how his mask was that of her terrors, she was angry his mind was determined to scare hers. She screamed he knew how little she could stand it, but he just laughed saying she was pathetic. Her parents, in turn, gave him a piece of their mind. But he ran off, narrowly saving his little behind. To Betsy, he shouted to lighten up, her fear was dumb, she should grow up. Her anger simmered since he didn’t understand. Her fear was legitimate, it couldn’t be manned. 

But to school she would go, she’d just have to deal. How hard could it be, it wouldn’t be real. It couldn’t be real as no one dressed in those costumes: the ones of automatons, none filled the classrooms. Computers and clocks and objects like fans brought no sweat on the palms of her hands. They were different than vacuums, droids, all in between, for those filled her nightmares. If she ever saw something like those, she’d send up her prayers. But Betsy carried on with her day. Not once did she jump as she went on her way. She did, however, feel a strange sense. That something was trailing her, had picked up her scent. A weird sort of shadow, a figure, a mist. Whatever it was, she felt something amiss. Nothing she saw gave her a fright, instead, for once she looked towards that night. Tonight was the night all the children went out. They knocked door to door, till treats ran out. Betsy spent the day with her friends, they all were dressed up as “a means to an end.” This was their theme, they thought it clever. All were dead characters, none scared her whatsoever. Each person they chose had been used in some way, to create the end of a movie, a book, or a play. The finishing touches they’d do at home, so they scurried after class quick as gnomes. 

Back at home, she found the house empty. Dropping her bag, she went to grab a Pepsi. But as she walked by the main hall’s staircase, she heard a sound she just couldn’t place. The sound was an odd and weird sort of whirring. Like a wheel or a fan, something was stirring. She jumped at the sound, and creeping on her toes, up the staircase, bounding she goes! She thought the sound came from her own room. But doing inspections, there was nothing of gloom. And just as she sighed a great breath of relief, she picked up that something was beeping, high pitched and odd, like a teapot screeching. Perhaps it was Noah, she thought to herself. She yelled for him to quit it, he’d better stop himself. With no reply, she headed back downstairs, when the beeping stopped and she felt a breeze on the back on her hairs. Spinning around, Betsy’s heart rate was flying. Past the clouds, it seemed to be climbing. Her imagination was running wild, no such fear should overcome a child. But a child she was and she heard another sound. Down in the basement, she went to take a look around. The creaking of metal was incredibly distinct. For with no other sound could her mind ever link. She knew it like the back of her hand, for when a sound is part of great fear, the recognition is grand. Curious it was when she saw nothing there. The basement was empty, completely bare. Betsy took a great breath, trying to calm her nerves. But she was terrified, to her fear she serves. 

Remembering that Pepsi she’d wanted a while ago, she crept back up to the kitchen to grab it and go. She needed to get out of this house. Just lock up the door, as quiet as a mouse. She couldn’t picture anything but the terrors in her mind. Anything she thought, in them, they’d entwine. Finally, reaching her fridge at last, she opened the cupboard to take out a glass. Opening the fridge, she’s frozen in fright. What she saw was quite the sight. From out of the cold freezer, the blinking red eyes she’d dreaded seeing. They made her silent, not once was she screaming. Its metal arms reached out with a stiff, chilly grace. The last she’ll ever see was the frost on its face.

Reevie Fenstermacher ’19

under her shakey velvet dream
and his ache to sleep no longer
breathed a song of home.
a good imagined,
where hurt felt no hunger
and the cold symphony leaves us

Anuoluwa Akibu ’20

She left me on a Tuesday––
it was sunny.
Out the door her goldness flung––
don’t go, Honey.
Sweet and sappy her love for me was,
but it got a little sticky––
don’t go, Honey.

You want me for yourself––
endless love you gotta choose.
Make me a hive where I can grow,
from her mouth these words ooze. 

All my love is yours––
all my time, all my heart, all my money––
is yours forever,
just don’t go, honey.

Jump off this cliff here––
because if your love is true, 
there is nothing that you wouldn’t do.
From her mouth these words ooze.

I jumped cliffs––I drove miles––
I buzzed like a bee, 
and begged,
don’t go, honey.

All I was trying to do is make her smile,
but honey runs out after a while.
And so she did––
so long, honey.

Kerrie Verbeek ’19

I am Jewish, I am a Jew, I practice Judaism. You could even say that I am a Hebrew, a descendant of the twelve tribes, or that I read the old testament. Regardless, my religion, Judaism, is what I believe. 

I always say that I am technically half Jewish and half Protestant, but, to be honest, I have never seen myself in that way. Yes, I do celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, as many people like to ask. However, I am not connected to Christianity as strongly as to Judaism. 

My mom is Jewish, and my dad is Protestant. My mother raised my little brother and me Jewish. This meant Jewish names, Jewish preschool, and eight days of Hanukkah, as long as my dad got to celebrate Christmas in probably the least traditional way possible. We had our Christmas tree decorated with colorful lights, dreidel ornaments, and blue-silver tinsel. We cooked sweet star of David cookies for Santa and threw a Christmas-Hanukkah holiday party. Our holiday cards always said “Peace on Earth” or “Happy New Year” because we were a mix of religions during the holiday season. 

When the joyous season came to an end, the jolly music stopped and the candles were put away, that tiny protestant side of me disappeared. Meanwhile, I continued to embrace my Jewish side, celebrating Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Shabbat (and yes, there are more Jewish holidays than just Hanukkah). Weekly classes at Hebrew school allowed me to learn about the matriarchs and confidently sing the Aleph Bet. I had a Tzedakah box, picked my Hebrew name, Shoshana Leorah bat Rivka Shiva, and lit the Friday night candles, or at least tried to, every week. This was my life for 363 days until on the 24th-25th of December protestant side of me came to life again. 

At school, many people did not realize that I was Jewish because I did not have a traditional Jewish last name, and I “didn’t look Jewish” as some people like to point out. They lined me up with every stereotype they could think of, saying, “Wait! Are you Jewish?” As if my Jewish-ness was something to be tested, something that I had to prove to them. With the questions, I got comments, insensitive statements, mostly from uneducated students. Some were jokes about ovens and the Holocaust or just outright accusations. Other people dared to ask whether Hitler was alive or if he had killed my family. Some even failed to recognize the difference between race and religion and pondered over the fact that I am Jewish and white. All my life I have been bored by the infinite monotonous questions about Israel: “Were you born in Israel?” “Have you been to Israel?” “Does your family live in Israel?” and, finally, my all-time favorite, “Do you need to serve in the Israeli Army?”

Despite these micro-aggressions –– well, let’s just call them “aggressions”, there isn’t anything “micro” about them –– I truly lived by the rhyme, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” With this sentiment, the threat of getting “hurt” never appeared to me, until people started to throw those figurative stones my way. 

When I was in the 1st grade, someone “accidentally” doodled a Swastika on their desk. When I was in the 3rd grade, my classmate decided to play ‘Holocaust’ during the break. When I was in the 5th grade, we learned about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and my friend pointed at me yelling “Jew.” When I was in the 7th grade, I had to look at the posters with Third Reich Swastikas on them because some kids misdrew the Hindu Swastika. When I was in the 8th grade, a boy told me I wasn’t the same as “all these basic white girls” because I was Jewish, and he thought that it somehow made his comments acceptable. 

The amusing aspect of these sticks and stones that bombarded me is that I never broke a bone. Maybe it was all the milk I drank as a child or, most probably, my religion. The one element of my identity that people attacked actually saved me. Every day I would come home to my Jewish mom and Protestant dad. I would see the Shabbat candles, Tzedakah box, and Challah bread. I would do my homework for Hebrew school and sit in the kitchen, three feet away from the shadow of a Christmas tree lurking, as a reminder. At my house, I was free from any labels and permitted to be a fusion of a Jew and a Protestant. Not half Jewish and half Protestant. Although those are the technical terms, I would say I was ¾ Jewish and ¼ Protestant. I was permitted to enjoy a joyous life with Santa teddy bears and Jewish star necklaces -- a perfect environment, a perfect mix for 365 days a year. 

So, to answer the questions: I am Jewish, Hitler is dead, and no, he did not kill my family. I am white and Jewish, and I hope to teach others the difference between race and religion. I was not born in Israel, I have never been to Israel, and my family does not live in Israel. I am a girl, I am white, and in order to defy that rude boy, I would call myself a “basic white girl.” I am my race, my gender, my religion, but, sadly, not an Israeli soldier. 

I am ¼ Protestant, I am ¾ Jewish. I am a Protestant-Jew. 

I celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, in case you were wondering. 

Sydni Williams ’22

I can trace the gunpowder marks on your hands
And put them on a map to show to future generations
Chances are, they won’t recognize you by your name
Chances are, neither will those who made the crimson hole near your spine
Right where the wings would be if you were some sort of a bird
Which, of course, you are not
Maybe if you didn’t wear your heart on your sleeve
They wouldn’t have made it their target 

If we existed in some other lifetime
When you are yet to pledge allegiance to your country
We’d trade the arms and bombs and all things metal
For the quiet warmth of the sand
We’d bury ourselves in it 
And listen to the shore that kisses the sea
Knows it would always come back for more
Whispers gently
Aren’t we all spoken for in some way

Yevheniia Dubrova ’20

Crystal clear was the current riveting-rolling over the moss-stained stones.
Swoosh is the voice of the ever-ebbed whimsical waterfall.
Rain-rushed, the rivulets ran about the wrath-torn road.
Opaque ocean of overturning waves crash-clawing against the stern of a steamer.
Sweet-translucent sea, turquolime iridescent waves waking the luminescent sand-soft beach.
Burning peak of summer bringing the brook to a broil, bubbling, boiling over hanging branches.
Starlit stream searching for its destination, wandering through waves of waterflowers.
Dew drops drip off dawn-speckled leaves, caressing the wings of a late-rising ladybug.

Reevie Fenstermacher ’19

I never understood city skylines.

Towering trees encompassed in slabs of soft granite,
covering the muddy cigarette butts and flee-filled rats from the rest of the planet,
tucking the never-ending bustle beneath their cement grapevines.

Venturing in is like a vicious encounter with a barking canine,
or when an iceberg nicks your boat, the Titanic,
the pace and disorder on the streets hurls you into a panic,
while from afar the city had looked divine.

I always thought people—like cities—were skylines on their own,
at a distance they stand tall as buildings of stone—scratching the skies,
but peel back their skin, and find internal smoky traffic jams and human cyclones,
the internal dirt and grime you never would have seen behind the lies.
Any person looks orderly and neat from a distance alone,
just like cities—their skyline is always a disguise.

Lindsay Strong ’19

To be or not to be
To speak or not to speak
To tease or not to tease
They want me to begone

To be or not to be
To ease or not to ease
To flee or not to flee
Yet where do I belong?

Take-outs, trash foods
Impulse, momentum
Confusion, illusion
Everything, everyone

To be or not to be 
To seek or not to seek
To free or not to free
Oh, what have I become?

Hiromi (Kevin) Takayama ’21

She runs. 

She runs in the forest, it is midnight. Smelling the grass mingle with dirt and raindrops and voids, she feels like a wild animal. 

A wild animal. No host, no friends. She is a wild animal indeed, the mind being left alone at the rainiest and most isolated corner on earth. Is this even a forest? Darkness here, Darkness there, Darkness everywhere. Even the moon looks dim, with withered branches and rotten leaves high above, disguising it. She can’t tell. Looking down, there are no feet, just purely the color black, and a vague contour of something moving very fast. Cold wind springs by her legs violently, scratching them till they feel numb, just like what other kids once did to her. If she was not certain about the fact that all human beings including herself have two feet, she might even believe that she’s sitting on a vehicle. 

She is a vehicle indeed. The anger and confusion and all the things she kept inside for months are pushing her forward like fuels driving a car since both she and a car are unable to stop unless somebody puts on the brake. She can’t control her feet. She can’t control any part of her body now. Even her mind is flying to somewhere she has no clue to find out. The fragile twigs crashed and rustled under her footsteps, moaning like wounded birds. It’s interesting that the twigs didn’t trip me, she says it to herself. But some other things trip you all the time, don’t they? A voice murmurs in her head. Her feet shudder and collapse. The body hits the ground, covered by autumn leaves. It didn’t hurt much, not as painful as the reckless wind blowing so intense that it nearly blew her mind out while running. Except for a faint pain coming from her belly, she can’t feel anything, the frigid weather has taken away all her senses. Her breathing slows down. All the sudden she realizes that she has no idea where she is going. She has never been in this forest before. She has never been in any forest before. She feels like a blank piece of paper. 

A blank piece of paper. That’s right, that’s what they gave her. Paper words Paper smiles Paper touch Paper promises Paper feelings. Blank, just have absolutely Nothing on them, purely the color white, the opposite of the forest in the night. It can be torn apart so easily, just with a simple touch. Clatter, just like that, they tear up the paper, with laughter, and throw it into the trash bin. That’s what they did, abruptly she remembers why she ran so desperately out of that place and jumped into the hug of darkness and trees. If she dies right now that would be the last thing she remembers. 

Remembers. Now her mind is back, unfortunately. I hope I never remember anything. Not how they pushed me into the corner, not how they whispered spines and thorns, not how they… She doesn’t have the strength to stand up. The weight of the memory is overwhelmingly heavy and suppressing her in a way she can’t tell. So she just sits there, like an old broken puppet. 

An old broken puppet. 

Wait, what? Wait just a second, did I just saw a puppet? In the middle of a forest? No way. 

She wants to laugh. 

I’m definitely losing my mind, am I? Seeing illusions… 

A pair of green bright marbles, just like puppet’s eyes, stand alone in the gloomy bushes staring at her, holding its breath. If this is on a normal day she would scream and run away without a doubt. But now she doesn’t even have the slightest strength to be scared. move slowly out Then the marbles move slowly out of the bush. Ah. A cat. She assumes. A black cat, with his fur blending into the surroundings, like he once was growing out of the forest and has always been a part of it. Two deep green eyes look right into hers. She feels like she can swim right into those bizarre oceans of vert and it could last forever. No more wrangles, no more noises, no more pain, just peace with this creature of mystery and the sound of the coldness. Silence. 

Silence. This is what she did all the time in her life, but now with the cat, it seems like a new skill for her to learn. For the first time, she doesn’t want to keep silence now, because, in some unexplainable ways, she trusts that the cat, and this cat specifically, cares. And when she opens her mouth, it won’t be like back in that place. It will not go back to when she didn’t know what to say, when she was too afraid to say anything, when they didn’t allow her to say anything, and when she finally stuck up for herself, people used prejudice and pride trussing her up and locked her in an attic of rumors and apathy. So she loses her lips and teeth that have always been tightly closed. But the cat shifts his elegant palms before any word comes out, lands lightly on her thighs like a balloon, and starts licking the middle of her belly. Ok. So she decides to let the tranquility last longer. In the dark, she moves her finger gently towards him. But instead of the silky soft back, she touches something unexpected. Her fingertip missed its aim, instead, it stops on something knife-edge. In the vague moonlight, it looks like this figure she touched grows right out from her body. She bows her head down closer to it. The cat next to it starts meowing.

It’s a branch. A branch with sticky liquid seeping into the wrinkles of the bark. She keeps moving her hands, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until she realizes that the branch has passed right through her flesh. Her belly, specifically. 

Her fall. Her fall with those twigs and autumn leaves. It’s all because of her fall. 

It’s surprising that she’s not surprised. The blood smells like venomous berries and drives her dizzy. The cat keeps licking the cut. It feels warm and nice. Even though her wounded area is now asleep and feels nothing, it feels like mom petting her when she was really young. She hasn’t felt that way for a long time. So she just quietly observes his movements like an outsider, trying not to interrupt him. Maybe he is a magic cat, like in those fairytales, he can heal me. And when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be fine. Both my body and heart. I will still be in this forest, but there won’t be any harsh winds. Instead, the cool waves will run towards me and kiss my face. In return, I will melt into the breeze and become a part of it as a piece of crystal sugar in a cup of tea. And when I take in a large gulp of the fresh air, I will feel like a newborn. 

So she takes a last look at the black cat and closes her eyes in the wind. 

Zhuoer (Alex) Chen ’21


Tough luck like leather––
that’s what I’ve had.
Through the chipper on Christmas Eve––
that’s where I’ve been.

Then you clunked into my life
fresh like the pine scent in my car––
gushing to the backseat
pure like the white of a Marshmallow––
melting in my mouth
strong like the smell of the Expo marker––
I breathe it in deep.

You wipe my pain like Opioids––
you patch my scars like Stitches––
you fill my dreams like Porcelain––
you wipe my past like Windex––

I feed in–– I feed off––
of the affection you serve.
Straight from your love––
Chemicals brew in my body.

Kerrie Verbeek ’19

when god made me she forgot my spine. 
my skin was too thin to bear the world she sent
me into. i constantly ask her to redefine
the name placed on my body. it meant–

god is lovely– see,
god is lovely in the way she breaks my bones with her seam ripper–
she’s lovely when she splits my skin. there are never any stitches for me.
i deserve no patching from her for i am a sinner.

i hated her for this body, a gift i don’t recall asking for.
i constantly tried to tear it apart but never could– then kiss by kiss
another taught me to love it more–
another severed soul who’d brought thread and some leftover bliss.

god is not lovely yet it was sweet 
of her to give my heart a reason to beat.

Daniela Martinez ’19

The shows of the world can be so nice to see 
It always feels bitter when cheers start to end 
There’s nothing more boring than when two minds agree 

It was grand while it lasted and carried forth glee 
Conflicts present thoughts for our minds to attend 
The shows of the world can be so nice to see 

But silence brings thoughts in a world trust free 
Everyone has their own way for the truth to bend 
There’s nothing more boring than when two minds agree 

The achieving established will lie on its knee 
Searching for wisdom for minds to apprehend 
The shows of the world can be so nice to see 

Ascending and crashing like the waves of the sea 
Breaking down reason once with nothing to mend 
There’s nothing more boring than when two minds agree 

Puppets stand as statues, then return to the debris 
Stories bring questions for our minds to expend 
The shows of the world can be so nice to see 
There’s nothing more boring than when two minds agree 

David Ragone ’19


Standing on a crowded subway platform, 
She stood alone, 
Reminisce of the beautiful stranger 
And the echo of the closing doors, 
Uttering a goodbye. 


I thought of a way, any way, 
To preserve us, 
But no matter how I told it, 
Our story would end in goodbye. 


The goodbye made its way around the hospital, 
Just another day, just another life. 


The child and the puppy 
Is to the boy and the dog 
What the adolescent is to a goodbye 


I do not know which I dread most, 
The insufferable fluster of breaking a heart, 
The shallow, hollow, husk of a loveless marriage, 
The bittersweet goodbye forced on by time and space 
Or just being alone41 


Beads of rain dribbled down the window,
Streams of tears ran down the child’s face,
The motionless form of a goldfish
Bobbed in the big white bowl.
The transition
Out of childhood
Begins with the first goodbye.


Oh, sister of the cross,
Why do you exalt your meeting with Christ?
Have you no pain for mortal goodbyes?
Those who have loved you
In this life.


I’ve known glorious times
The field went on for miles
The sun it would not sink,
It is only in saying goodbye
That I appreciate such days.


When the wedding-hall emptied and all goodbyes were said,
A new chapter started,
One with many tales to be written.42 


As the first inkling of goodbyes,
Swept their way through caps and gowns,
Even the most stoic,
Shed a few tears.


She mustered the strength
For one more floor.
At each dwelling,
She peddled her candy bars.
Many offered a polite decline,
Others slammed the door
Without so much as a goodbye.


If someone is helloing,
There is somebody goodbyeing.


Standing on a crowded train,
He took a final glance
At the beautiful stranger.
Fear forces so many goodbyes
Without even allowing a single hello.

Mei-Mei Arms ’19 

Your freshly cut hair smells of cinnamon coffee
I brewed in the morning
And spilled on the cold marble floor of our kitchen
You asked me so many times lately 
Why don’t we get ourselves a carpet
(As if it would make me less clumsy)
You don’t understand
My silly thing
How much it means to watch sun puddles dance
On the naked stone inside our house

Yevheniia Dubrova ’20

People in one big field
talking and laughing
standing but sitting
One large line

Take a right
go up the stairs
Take a left
go down the stairs

A circle of weird
yet familiar faces
loud and powerful
quietly beautifully snapping

Night is young
the lights are bright
We’re all packed sardines
with plenty of space

Short shorts and 
crop tops in the air
Durags and hoops
are slowly interfering

Suave! Caliente!
Todo el mundo 
Todos están afuera
Ellos son mi Gente

Bodies full of color
shining bright
I know
and you know

Love is the key
and there lies
Hope within us all

Bethany Batista ’21

The men from on high
And from Hell’s fiery maw
All swear that there’s no chance for usufruct law

“I want to own this”
“Well you can’t live here”
“You savages only can speak through your spears”

What gave them the right?
“Dude, why so uptight?”
Never was e’er a need for to fight!

We can all use this
See? You sleep right there.
We, sir, have dogs over here so beware.

Whatever religion, ethnicity, creed
Please never, don’t ever, sign forth that deed.

Aidan White ’19

No better feeling,
drenched in molten fireworks—flaming dew drops glistening.
Flashing lights dim and fade away,
just two mortal beings shaped from clay.

Erratic glass drum symphony,
sounding in my chest.
Epinephrine cocktail,
coursing through my head.

No better lingering taste,
dewy tangy and sweet—sun-kissed strawberry from a summer day.
Savoring a guilty daydream,
sipping sea foam steeped green tea.

Warning system red lights flashing,
out of the corner of my eye.
Destined for a one-way journey,
no end in sight try as I might.

No better melody,
translucent whispers tingling—tearing down my walls of safety.
Murmurs of wind sing songs to trees,
an apple falls and rolls to me.

Jiawen Li ’19