Winter Issue 2019



Students Featured

If my head was full of aurora

I wish that my head was full of aurora
Or the glow on a July pond
Or ideas as enchanted as glisten in whales’ spout.
But there’s just sand
Sand. And thoughts of the misty warmth on his tongue.

The mind was stung,
by the stain in my brain.
The will was hung,
by deception coursing through my veins.

Still shall I declare more clearly,
Or shall I run.
Since never will he understand my insanity,
Nor see in my eyes the midnight sun.
Nor grant the light in my endless melancholy.
Nor feed my gentle hunt at dawn.

So if my head was full of aurora,
Maybe he will walk into my frigid maze,
Maybe he will unravel my flitting gaze.

But if not,
I will still have endless affection for the aurora on his plain.

Zhuoer (Alex) Chen ‘21
I saw that girl
walk in with a whirl of confidence
curly auburn hair splattered with paint
To be honest, I’m kinda surprised I didn’t faint
because that was the first time
I felt to my core
that I was more,
that I had a heart open to more than what it was ‘assigned’
that I was given the gift to love those who were
born as they are
or changed as they went
even those who aren’t this or that
and I know pansexuality isn’t something lots
of people know about
but I’ve set my life on a route
to tell those who don’t know
inform those who are against
Love is love

and I personally feel I give some of the best
because I don’t care what’s in your pants
or under your skirt
I want you for you
and it’s true
that there are people who think when I’m with
a girl I’m gay
And when I’m with a guy it’s back to straight
And all I can say to that is
« NAH »

You know, I liked a boy, told him I was pan
he asked if that meant I was into threesomes
Afterward, he was confused
he said my sexuality was a ruse
that I’m either hetero or homo since there’s no
in between
I asked him what he thought pansexuality was
and he said
a broken light switch stuck between gay and

at that point it’s too late
to keep calm when someone calls you defective
As if I’m some toy that has the stuffing spilling
showing things I should have kept locked away
according to society’s perspective
He told me just act straight
it won’t be hard since you like men
I almost punched him right there and then

because to say I can just pretend
Is just bullsh*t
There’s not just two sexualities
There’s not just two genders
It’s not just boy or-- -- girl
It’s not just gay or straight
It’s a rainbow, it’s a spectrum and you can fall
anywhere on it and when you fall in love it
doesn’t even matter where you land
As long as you’re happy
and I am so so happy

and when I get to go to my first pride parade
and I get to be validated with glitter and kisses
in the streets, floats, signs and banners
Maybe then, you’ll have good manners
Daniela Martinez ’19

She looked at the framed photograph on her coffee table. It was a picture from her childhood. She was running through the grass, smelling flowers, and playing games outside. She smiled, looking up from the green-filled memory and out her living room window. The sun was shining outside for the first time in a few days.

The small town she lived in had gray skies almost everyday, save for the days when it was white, green, or black. Snow storms, thunderstorms, and tornadoes were on the daily news in every area of the world. Every summer, a new record for the highest temperature in history was set. In the winters, record-break- ing low temperatures. The seasons were shifting too fast. Instead of prolonged fall and spring seasons, shorter, rainier periods now connected the heat to the cold. Throughout the world, a category 5 hurricane was no longer breaking news. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or more was a monthly story. She had experienced almost every kind of storm, even the ones that used to plague only other parts of the country. Her small town in Massachusetts still mostly dealt with huge snow storms, but hurricanes and tornadoes during the warmer months could be expected on a weekly basis.

She smiled as the sun warmed her wrinkled face. She decided to go out onto her porch to soak it up. Her comfortable, upholstered pink chair squeaked as she slowly stood up to walk across her small, overly decorated living room. She placed a shaky hand on the brass doorknob and turned it slowly. Taking a few wobbly steps out onto the painted wood, she made her way over to her rocking chair. All of her neighbors were still in their homes. She lived in a younger neighborhood, being the oldest resident by a few decades. The young kids were never outside playing like she remembers doing. Lord knows what they were doing inside on a beautiful day, especially because the weather hadn’t been pleasant in weeks. She was beginning to doze off when she heard a car pull into her driveway. She blinked her eyes open to see a cop car. The door opened and a large man in a police uniform stepped out. He was wearing dark sunglasses and had a radio clipped to his shoulder.

“Good morning, Mrs. Peters!” he called, walking up to the porch.

“Who are you?” she asked skeptically.

“I am the local police chief. We spoke yesterday, remember?” the man said.

“Oh, that’s right,” she lied, because she didn’t remember.

“Mrs. Peters, you must go inside. It is too dangerous out here for people. The weather could change any minute, and you might get stuck in a huge storm.”

“But I was just enjoying the sun! Don’t you think it’s a beautiful day?” she asked, distractedly.

“Of course it’s a beautiful day, but you must enjoy it from inside. It is suspiciously agreeable. They say there is always a ‘calm before the storm,’ so I would be wary.”

“Well, I don’t think what ‘they’ say is always true, do you? They also say that ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ but our government hasn’t done anything about these storms. It wasn’t always like this. Shouldn’t they use their power to do something?”

“I guess you’re right, but there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it at this point, so you might as well just go inside and enjoy the weather from your window,” the policeman said, beginning to get visibly annoyed with the old woman.

“Fine, I’ll go,” she finally conceded. On shaky legs, she stood from her chair. She shuffled over to the door, waving goodbye to the policeman. After going inside, she went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. When her tea was done, she went to sit in her chair by the window. She noticed how beautiful it was outside, and had the sudden urge to go out onto her porch to appreciate the day. She went to her door, opened it, and stepped outside. A cop car came up, and a man got out of it.

“Mrs. Peters, you must go inside,” the officer said.

“Why?” she argued, wanting to stay and enjoy the day.

“It’s dangerous out here,” he replied.

“Ok, sir. I guess you must know what you’re talking about. I’ll go inside,” she said.

She went back inside and sat near the window. Dark clouds were spiraling in the distance. The darkness reminded her of a time from when she was a child, the same memory from her picture frame.

The rain fell warmly on her face as she played outside. Though it was raining, it had been sunny for the few days before, so she wasn’t sad about the change of pace. The sun was still shining slightly through the rain clouds, perfect weather for a rainbow. The grass tickled her feet as she chased her best friend around the yard, not wanting to be “it” anymore.

The fond memory put her to sleep. She was awoken by the pattering of rain on her window. Oh, wow, it’s raining! she thought excitedly. I always loved playing in the rain! I should go outside and enjoy it! She walked across her small living room and opened her front door. A huge gust of wind shoved the hair off her face. The rain was falling almost horizontally. She stepped out onto her covered front porch to watch the rain fall. The storm was stronger than the ones she remembered.

A dark car approached her house. It was a police car. The wipers were going faster than they could man- age, and the rain still wasn’t clearing off the windshield. The man inside tried to get out of the car, but the wind made it hard to fully open the door. Once he finally managed to get out, he struggled against
the wind. It was too strong. A huge tree branch from the maple in the front yard flew through the air. It hit the policeman in the head, and he fell to the ground, blood pouring from the large gash. He stopped moving. The woman on her porch looked on curiously. She did not know who this man was whom she had just seen die. Overwhelmed by the sight of death and the heavy rain, she had to go inside. Once inside, the wind was muted to a light howling noise coming from the chimney. The rain made a pleasant pattering noise on the roof. She found a cup of tea on the counter, unsure of how it got there. She sat down with the picture frame by the window and drank the tea, enjoying the sound of the rain.

Mary Flathers ’19

Little Tokyo, LA

I explored the deepest seas
But you had a fear of the water
You were swimming right next to me
You didn’t even look bothered
I explored the darkest caves
But you had a fear of the night
You held me tight and braved it
trusting you’d be alright
I went as close to the sun without burning
But you had a fear of heights
Though you built your own wings out of paper Said there’s no one but us in sight

you’d follow me with your eyes closed underneath a blindfold
you’d walk with me through your nightmares why aren’t you scared with me?

I screamed all my thoughts to the mountain dwellers But you had a fear of judgement
Still you admired my bravery
And followed my path to the summit

I crawled through the tiniest tunnels But you feared suffocation
No matter how slow and how dark You stayed happy and patient

I explored my darkest emotions
But you feared confrontation
I talked and I thought and I struggled But you loved the communication

you’d follow me with your eyes closed
happy in the shadows
you’d walk with me through your nightmares fearless through the dark.

Frances Hornbostel ’21

The market was a dusty patch of open stalls selling stalks of sugarcane, skeins of bright yarn, bits of tin cooking ware, and fly-bothered meats. Every Sunday, the ven- dors set up tables inside their respective stalls, all pushing the limits of what the space could hold. Produce rolled across the ground as people flooded the area all yelling over one another being promised the best prices and deals.

Through a hole in the tent that covered the weekly event, the sun shone down on two children, a girl and a boy wrapped in bright colors, carrying satchels on their backs. The siblings crawled through crevices and under tables, knocking fruit and fish off of stands and coating their hands and knees in the red clay that made up the floor.

Juniper and Nashua. They were closer than the average twins. Juniper always did the talking for the two of them while Nashua always stood a few feet behind him waiting for a queue to move along. Without more than simple eye contact or a nod, Juniper al- ways knew what Nashua needed and wanted. He’d relay her thoughts to their family and friends who seemed more than eager to accommodate. Juniper always appeared to be the strong one, positive, outgoing, hopeful. Nashua, his silent supporter.

Juniper loved to travel to the market every Sunday, dragging Nashua along. Nothing else happened in their small town and it gave his mind a chance to wander and explore a whole new world. It was an escape from the peering eyes of everyone he knew, which he could never understand. No one asked how’s your family doing or how are things with your sister or how are you doing lately. People only desired to scold him for stealing strawberries or running too fast near tables with expensive fabrics and jewelry. Ready- ing for the day, Juniper and Nashua stuffed their satchels to the brim with the apples and berries and breads and meats they snagged from the traders who weren’t looking.

They sprinted out of the tent away from anyone who might try and regulate their ad- ventures and began to walk down towards the river. It was Nashua’s favorite place to go, sit, think, eat, and purely exist. All of their childhood, Nashua would drag Juniper out to the water and force him to spend the entire day with her. Juniper would frolic in the sun and try to catch fish with his bare hands while Nashua sat on the shore, sketching the surrounding forest in her journal. Juniper would always beg her to get in the water with him, but she always refused. It was the one thing about Nashua he could never un- derstand. They loved all the same things except when it came to the river. There, they split. Nashua loved the arts and nature while Juniper absorbed himself in the adventure and athleticism of it all.

This time though, Nashua dove into the water headfirst. She walked through it as if she was one with it as if she knew something about it no one else could. She waded across the gaping waterway as Juniper trailed behind. Trying to catch up to her in the waist deep water, he slipped on one of the rocks worn smooth by the current. He fell back and the racing cold water came over his face and body. The water carried him, pulling him under. His life played like a movie reel as he gasped for air and tried to call out for help but failed. He saw all the talking to’s he’d received from vendors and the waterside picnics. Bright greens of running through the forest and black sketches of Nashua’s drawings. Tears streaming from an escapade gone wrong. He saw himself push Nashua into the water. He saw her land face down and be spun as the undertow caught hold of her. Nashua’s hands fly above the surface trying to grab onto something ... anything. Her back crashing into the hollow tree and blood rushing out. Her skull cracking on the rocks behind it, loud enough to scare the birds. He remembered thinking she was joking and not going out to save her until it was too late. Choking as the water began to flood his lungs, Juniper accepted this as his end too until he caught on to a tree jutted out into the stream. He leaned over it, coughing and wheezing until his lungs were free enough to cry.

All the memories from the last year came back, but different this time. He realized why everyone so desperately wanted to know how he was and why no one seemed to react on the off occasion Nashua spoke. He understood people’s puzzled looks as he constantly looked over his shoulder and gestured to someone who wasn’t there. He put together why he always had leftover food from their picnics and why Nashua never seemed to dis- agree with him. Juniper processed Nashua’s new found love for the water as he walked down banks, back to his satchel, cold but not caring. Juniper walked home and upon opening the door his parents asked how was his trip. Unable to find the words to say it was an experience that almost killed him and tore out his heart, he fell to his knees. The water had given him everything he wanted: love, memories, happiness. But also impart- ed on him things he longed to give back: self-hatred, rage, grief. Although it was all he had left of Nashua, it bore a hole in his chest to think about. Even so, he had fallen in love with the river.

Kennedy Petties ’19

I tend to fall.
I tend to fall, when people around me rise.
I tend to rise, when the war inside me rages.
I tend to fall, when I believe I’m at peace with my soul.
I tend to rise, when I see the world burn.
None of this was my choice, but the responsibility that has fallen upon me.

Eduaniel Reinoso ’21

Autumn had arrived in Arkansas. The Ozarks exchanged their green hue for the browns, reds, and oranges befitting the season. Harvest time was done and now the only thing to do was to make the most of the remaining weeks before the frost set in. There were dances, eating con- tests were arranged, marriages carried out (and after the Autumn Hoedown in Fayetteville, not a few ended on account of the drunken behavior of one or both parties involved therein), and the most exciting event of all: the Turkey Drop.

The Turkey Drop had been a tradition since a man had first taken to the skies and wished for turkeys to do the same. Turkeys are not predisposed to aviation, and, save their tendency to roost in trees, seldom leave solid ground. It was designed to correct this evolutionary shortcom- ing, as well as to entertain the audience below. A biplane would leave Fayetteville armed with a few unsuspecting fowl and bound for Yellville. After reaching a suitable altitude of 500 feet, the pilot would jettison his feathered cargo, which would flutter wildly in an effort to summon the Bernoulli Effect, but to no avail. And so each fall, Arkansans from every county flocked to Yell- ville where the drop was to be carried out. Indeed, it seemed that everyone in the state would be in attendance and even a few who were not in the state. After the invention of the radio, those unable to attend would crowd around to listen to the events of the day.

With everyone so distracted, it seemed to Bill Jenkins to be the perfect day to put in motion his escape. Bill had been a jailbird for most of his life, and had recently garnered the honorific of “Flight Risk.” He enjoyed prison, and had found a home amongst the insubordinates, degener- ates, scoundrels, fiends, and criminals of society, but every so often his bonds became tiresome, and he wished to shed them, if only for a little while. He had tried most every escape known, and even a few unknown, to man. He had tunneled out, he had climbed out, he had used disguis- es to walk out, he had rendered every menacing object he could think of from bars of soap and threatened his way out. Once he had even attempted to bribe the warden. Much to his chagrin, this required a good sum of money and unfortunately, the warden did not share his avarice for bubble gum wrappers and cigarettes. Bill was not a violent man, who drew the line at causing any harm to his fellow man. His distaste for violence, and a lack of funding to boot pushed his escapes to be more creative and cunning than the Conway County Jail had ever seen before. As Thanksgiving approached, Bill gathered the materials for his next escape: a hot air balloon.

“Ya see, I done just about everything to get outta here. I gone under, but then I remember I’m claustrophobic and I had to go back.” Bill was huddled over his contraption and explaining his plan to his cellmate Randy, “Then I tried going up and over the wall, but the going over part was troublesome on account of they got the barbed wire, dogs, and men with guns just a-waitin’ on 'other side. And so I got to thinkin’ and well I think I just about have it licked.”

“How’s that?” inquired Randy.

“Well, I figured that the furthest I got was when I went up and over, but I can hardly go over as I explained to you before, as they’ll get me for sure. And so I says to myself, I says ‘Why, Bill, if’n you can’t go up and over, why not just go up?’ And friend, that’s just what I aim to do. I’m constructing this here hot air balloon to carry me up.”

Randy thought a moment before asking, “Well, ain’t you gonna have to go over the wall eventu- ally? And can’t they shoot the balloon?”

Bill had anticipated Randy’s question and had altered his plan accordingly. “Well, friend, I aim to take off on the day of the Turkey Drop.”

This was all he needed to say. Randy understood that the guards would be glued to the radio, and without them to arrest his flight, Bill could go high enough into the air to be out of range, at which time he could traverse the wall and go wherever the wind could take him.

“Well dog my cats, if that ain’t just your masterpiece!” Randy was duly excited and it showed.

“Why now that’s awful kind of y’, but I’m awful feared of heights and I imagine I’d only ruin the fun. You tell me all about it when you get back, though.”
“Oh I will, Randy, honest I will. You’re some friend Randy, and I sure will miss you when it is that I am gone.” The men were now dancing about the cell and holding hands like children on Christmas Eve. A call came to “Quiet down, dammit! Or it’s the shoe for both of y’!” and quiet down they did.

“Well shoot, Randy, you want I should take you with me?”

“Why now that’s awful kind of y’, but I’m awful feared of heights and I imagine I’d only ruin the fun. You tell me all about it when you get back, though.”

“Oh I will, Randy, honest I will. You’re some friend Randy, and I sure will miss you when it is that I am gone.” The men were now dancing about the cell and holding hands like children on Christmas Eve. A call came to “Quiet down, dammit! Or it’s the shoe for both of y’!” and quiet down they did.

The next morning, as a plane prepared for takeoff in Fayetteville, Bill prepared for takeoff in the yard. He had smuggled his balloon with the help of a friend in the laundry department and was assembling it behind the bleachers to one side of the yard. The balloon itself was sewn to- gether from Bill’s bed sheets, as well as his uniform. The absence of a jail uniform on his person meant that he could limit the weight in his aircraft, and also that he would not be so easily identifiable as a convict. It did, however, mean that he was stark naked, and he did not look forward to the autumn weather, especially at the altitude that he would shortly find himself inhabit- ing. The basket had been repossessed from the laundry, and the burner was a tin of sardine oil collected over a week of trips to the mess hall, and a wick to burn it with. Bill boarded his craft with all of the fanfare of an adventurer departing to explore some unknown portion of the earth, and after a proper send-off from the O’Malley gang and their rendition of “Into the Wild Blue Yonder,” Bill lit the burner and began to drift up over the yard and into the clouds. The plan worked. Bill’s balloon flew, and the guards were all unaware of the escape and happily listening to the radio. By this time, the plane from Fayetteville was nearly over Yellville, as was Bill. The turkeys were hurled from the plane and began their final flight home. Bill had never taken much heed to the weather and had ignored the possibility of being blown off course. He was now directly under the biplane and had caught the eye of one desperate fowl.

The bird saw that Bill had defied nature and built a flying machine, and it saw no reason why Bill wouldn’t find its company to be pleasant. The turkey lunged for the basket, but Bill shooed it away, and it plunged its talons into the balloon. Bill came to understand the plight of the turkey in America as he plummeted towards the Yellville Thanksgiving parade and vowed never to eat another one as long as he may live, which he expected to be only a short while. His luck improved, and he landed atop the children’s hayride, which broke his fall. As anyone knows, the luck of a wanted man is not long for this world, and upon seeing Bill in his unclothed entirety, the town rushed the hayride to apprehend the deviant before them.

And so Bill found himself once again in the iron clutches of the law. He was greeted by his com- rades at the Conway County Jail as though he had been lost at sea for years and presumed dead, instead of being gone for hours and appearing on the radio. In fact, when Bill’s fall from heaven was immortalized in the AM frequency, the guards recognized another one of Bill’s harebrained escapes and rushed to the scene of the crash to make their dashing arrest.

Naturally, none wished to miss out on the glory of catching Bill, and their absence from the prison paved the way for quite a row in the mess, and that day forever went down in Conway County Jail history as the best Thanksgiving the convicts had ever witnessed while incarcer- ated. Cans of cranberry sauce were purloined, along with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even several large turkeys, which were roasted over an open fire in the yard (courtesy of the resident arsonist, Peter Shirley). A good time was shared by all, and even Bill was having a good time despite his bumps and bruises, and the absence of any poultry from his dinner plate. Yes, sir, mashed potatoes were good enough for Bill.

Aidan White ’19

young and innocent heart made of gold she picked a flower pretty flower

and sniffed it and she told
me that it was lovely
she was happier than she’d been but a little
happy girl was
gone with the wind

the flower was sweet when she first took the stem
but now it’s killing her inside and in
she can’t live without

the sweet as sugar smell
and sometimes i think
could i stop it?
did i have the power?
she traded in freedom for a flower a flower

a flower
she traded in innocence for a flower

couple days later
it was sunny but cold
she picked and picked
too many flowers
she sniffed it and she told me that it was so amazing all the colors and the sights i worried for
the little girl
pretty girl
that she was trapped
in the darkest night

the flower was sweet when she first took the stem
but now it’s killing her inside and in
she can’t live without

the sweet as sugar smell
and sometimes i think
could i stop it?
did i have the power?
she traded in freedom for a flower a flower

a flower
she traded in innocence for a flower

the smell was too much i saw in her eyes
that her brain
was wasting suffocating

by the fatal floral in disguise

it’s funny to think
she once was young
because i can’t remember when
the flowers weren’t consuming her when the petals didn’t win
it’s funny to imagine her innocence because it all was lost
the first time she picked a flower she paid the final cost

the wonders of life left her eyes
and she wistfully kissed freedom goodbye


A long day in the City of Boston consisted of a morning lift, work, and late emails run- ning through the hours of midnight and one in the morning for Steve Smith, a senior man- ager at a local investment firm. The day would start at about six in the morning when his ten-year-old daughter comes running into the room of Steve and his wife, Elizabeth. After a nice breakfast, consisting of two eggs and toast with his three kids and wife, Steve would take the forty-five-minute drive from his home in Newton to downtown Boston. The drive was less stressful in a newly acquired Mercedes CL 63 AMG. A car worth almost as much as the average house price in the United States, Steve has always loved depreciating assets that made his friends think he was going through a continuous mid-life crisis.

The day was always the same for Steve at work. Morning meetings, lunch, and then two hours devoted to time with clients in the afternoon. For some reason, he felt off today. As he was walking to his first client meeting on the twenty-first floor of his building, his eyes got blurry. He couldn’t remember where he was going. A fellow worker of Steve remem- bered hearing Steve ask; “Does anyone know, whether I am going to tsh place?” With slurred speech, he asked his assistant to call an ambulance because he knew something was up.

The ride to Mass General felt long to Steve. Timing and everyday life activities seemed
to disorient him and leave him in a state of confusion. Arriving at the hospital, the nurse did not see a real urge in having Steve looked at. Although his assistant pleaded to the nurse that something was wrong with him, the nurse told her that the wait was almost two hours. As time went on, Steve began to fall asleep and before he knew it, he was inside an MRI machine learning the fate of the rest of his life.

With his family by his bedside, the doctor came into the room. Looking relaxed, as if the news had no effect on his life, the doctor stated: “I’m sorry Mr. Smith, but as it looks to my fellow staff and I, that you have stage four brain cancer.” The room went silent for minutes. There was not much to be said. A daughter who is ten, two sons, ages sixteen and eighteen, and a wife who loves him unconditionally.

“There has to be something you can do!” his wife screamed.

“Unfortunately with this diagnosis, there is no way to cure or prolong life. The cancer has already spread to primary organs such as the heart and kidney. I give Steve, at the most, two weeks to live. We need to keep him here, under hospice care, in order to further the life he is living,” the doctor said.

The next week was filled with visits from his kids. Although his wife would not leave his bedside, there was not much that Steve could say. His brain was being taken up by tens of tumors that were making his brain lose function by the minute.

On the 20th of December, a week after he was admitted to Mass General Hospital, things took a turn for the worse. Steve started to hesitate in his breathing and the nurse had to tell his wife, Elizabeth, his daughter, Victoria, his two sons, Steve and Robert, that their dad was starting APD or the “Active Process of Dying.” Although the nurse said that this could take weeks, she also said that it could be a matter of hours until their dad and husband was taken away from them.

As the news sunk in with Steve Jr. his eyes started to tear up. The eighteen-year-old finally realized that his Dad would not be around to see him graduate from high school, get mar- ried even have a child. With a cry, Steve Jr. blurted out his love for his father. Followed by Robert and Victoria. Lastly a long speech from his wife Elizabeth, so powerful that the nurs- es, in the middle of the depressing room, broke down in tears. As the life support machine beeped, Elizabeth talked to her husband about all the special times they shared. From meet- ing to their engagement in Hawaii and the three beautiful kids they have raised. Twenty-six years of marriage later and a combined eighteen years of being a role model father, Steve Smith passed away in front of his family at eleven thirty-two on December the twenty-first.

Life after losing a father and husband was hard for the Smith family. Elizabeth picked up a job that paid low wages. To keep her mind off the thought of losing her husband, she would drive herself to work every morning. Stepping in for his late father, Steve Jr dropped out of school and got a job at the same firm that his father worked at.

Death had taken a toll on the slightly smaller family. With a sob, Steve Jr. asked God to take care of his Father and to make sure that his family was always taken care of. There was a faint knock on his door. With a hesitant tone, the police officer spat out words that made Steve Jr. fall to his knees. “I’m sorry, Steve, but we received a call from D’Angelos. Nobody can seem to find your mom. We will open up an investigation but make sure to keep an eye on your brother and sister until we hear more and come to get you.”

The next day, all together in the family room, the kids decided to take their mind off the stress and uncertainty. In the middle of the game, the policeman came knocking. Their mother was found lying dead at the cemetery, next to their father, with an empty bottle of liquor laying beside her.

Connor Berry ’19

i’ve held a desire
as taintless
as the winter’s light slicing off snow
the purest, truest white eager to show you everything

a desire for
a morning cup brewed
clasped dreamily
through the slender, worn fingers
of messy-hair
bundled under my gray hoodie

coffee laced with steaming wisps they roll
over slowly
and spin

lazy ribbons pulled in by her frosted-cheeks that settle between

my rough hands that tell me:

she’s still sitting
under the window’s tempered, dandelion rays

that tell her:

I’ll always be sitting still
steadied by

our breakfast. what it was
i don’t recollect

John Griffin ’20

The sun pierces through the cloud and shines across the morning mist, the empire faintly awakens. The sound of ancient chimes echoes within the courtyard of the Emperor’s palace, an isolated enclosure elevated on a hill overlooking the capital. Two orange trees stand on the two sides of the palace’s gateway, teeming with juice and dew from the mild monsoon season.

The day starts differently across the Emperor’s vast empire. His land stretches so far that the day even starts at different times. But the emperor’s day starts with some pain. He wakes up in his dim bedroom with heavy curtains drawn, and his almost fatal wounds in his knees ache every morning to remind him of the more courageous moments of his past. “The only warrior of this land,” they would call him. But the pain that lingers on this day bears something unusual. The entire palace was filled with an empty silence. The servants are nowhere to be found and even the ancient bells are a little quieter.

The little old man, sitting on his bed, lets out a sigh. His shrinking muscles barely hint at the hero he once was. Nothing else has changed otherwise: dark skins, dark eyes, and a slightly crooked knee that limps as he walks.

“Now have they left me too?” he murmurs to himself.

He slightly opens the curtain just enough to let some light in. The emperor, curiously, has very bad eyes that never got along with lights. This for a long time was thought to be a curse mandated by heaven that marks his imperial prestige; and now, it seems like the only one. Fresh air soon entered the room to cover the displeasure of the emperor’s un-emptied chamber pot. Hiding his dark eyes from the bright sun, the emperor goes outside to pick up the usual items: an orange, his favorite fruit, and letters from his counsels. With reading glasses on, he sits at his empty desk, and unhurried, he nibbles the orange peels and enjoyed his one of very few indulgences in life.

Then, like every other morning, he opens the same meticulously sealed and carefully addressed letters and lets out a sigh because they are the same letters that he had meticulously sealed and carefully addressed days, weeks, months, years ago. Unopened, they were sent back from his counsels with only a red stamp saying “declined” on the back of the envelope. The red stamps are a lot like the ones he once used that says instead “acknowledged” or “accepted” and that he would bang onto petitions and official documents along with a stamp of his signature. Now, the stamps lie dried up in a dusty drawer alongside a few rusty coins minted with his portrait- the most recent but the cheapest of rare coin collections. Nevertheless, the emperor still keeps two feather pens that he uses to write yet more letters to his counsels that have not replied to him since the year of the dragon.

A day is a short time. But many days spent in this way ruffles the heart of even the once wisest and most heralded monarch. At the limbo between day and night, the emperor stands on a hill overlooking his foreign empire. He stands in his own limbo between an emperor and an old man, purpose, and futility, memory and oblivion, and life and death.

Soon, on that earthworm-like winding path down the hill, the old man carrying a dim lantern disappeared into the darkness never to be seen again.

Sophia Liu ’19

How do wars end?
When is the moment,
that the awful, horrific,
life-scarring conflict,
ceases to exist.

A fraudulent peace-treaty
might terminate the warfare
in a seemingly forgiving
compromise of deceit,
that inevitably concludes
with recurrent hostility.

Perhaps, the combat expires
with forfeiture,
out of a fatigue for fighting,
a lethargy for witnessing destruction.
They lower the flag,
but all battles reappear.

After all,
the only fashion
to halt bloodshed is outright annihilation,
a dismal downfall of
extinction, and

That is how all wars end.

Sydney Williams ’22

I walked into the bookstore, a bell ringing as my feet crossed the threshold. My eyes widened as I took a look around. It was darker inside than out, with books covering the space from floor to ceiling. Like a labyrinth, I could only see what the aisles before me revealed. To my right was an old wooden cashier’s desk with even more books and a gold cash register on top, with a cat winding itself around. A beam of light shone down from the storefront window, lighting up the main aisle of books. I made my way down the path, admiring the dust-covered books, some cracked and torn. Not many seemed to be new, but then again, new wasn’t why I stepped into that place anyway.

I found my fingers tracing lines through the dust on the backs of the spines. I breathed in the musty smell of ink and paper. Smelled like home. I wandered through the maze of treasures and somehow made it to the back of the store. It was there that a particular book caught my interest. It had been leaning against the shelf wall, not completely vertical but at an angle, and seemed to be thoroughly loved. The spine was as worn as some

of the others, so it didn't stand out, but there was something about it that drew me in. As if I was destined to open it. I picked it up, caressing the cover so as not to break it. I flipped through and found the title page, faded and barely legible. Jane Eyre. An original copy. I smiled as I flipped through the First Edition of the book I’d listened to so often as a child.

As I gingerly sifted through, something fell out from between two pages. It seemed to be marking the place. I gasped as a picture of a young couple fluttered to the floor. The girl and boy seemed strangely familiar, then it dawned on me. But what was this doing here? I went back to the front of the book looking for some clue, and there I found it, “Margaret Jane Warcrest,” written above the title, so faded I hadn’t caught it the first time. It was then that I went back to the page the photo had been stored in. I read both pages realizing it was one of the passages about love, the one my grandmother quoted the most from this novel. A warm voice behind me startled me as I read, making me almost drop both book and photo from my hands.

“Ah, a classic.” I turned around to find a wrinkled face with kind eyes. They seemed to glint with a sort of mis- chief that I could only place as a still-young spirit.“I see you’ve chosen a fine tale.”

“Um, yes, it sort of chose me actually,” I stammered.

“Yes, I’ve found that books tend to do that. You could say that’s why I became a bookstore keeper.” I picked myself up from the floor, studying the man. There seemed to be something about him that I recognized. I had my suspicions, but I couldn't be sure.

“I actually was wondering if you might remember this copy in particular?” I showed the old man the piece of bound leather I still had in my hand. He shuffled away towards the front of the store. He chuckled.

“Hard to forget that one.” When he didn’t press on, I wondered if I should ask him to elaborate, but he beat me to it, “What brings you to this town?”

“Just trying to get some answers on a few family matters. Part of my family lived here once, but no one ever let us visit once they’d all moved.” Something inside me felt like he would answer my questions so I took a breath,

“Have you always lived here, yourself?”

He smiled, the light in his eyes brightening ever so subtly. “Yes, I have. Though not always alone.” That’s when I remembered the picture I’d been holding.

“This photo. It was lying inside the book. I don't suppose you know who it’s of and why it’s inside?” This time the man’s eyes faded, taking him to another place altogether as he sat down on the window seat.

“That photo is of a girl and boy, who once were very much in love.” He paused here and looked at me sideways through his glasses. “They were high school sweethearts you see. They planned on getting married, but he was then called to fight in the war. So their families promised they could marry once he came back. It took a year, but he finally returned, and soon they sealed the deal.

“However, a couple months later, he was called up again, and this time, for a much longer period of time. She wrote him every day but was told her husband was unable to receive the letters in the particular area he was stationed. Every now and then, though, he would hear from her, and she from him. But then months turned into a year, and a year turned into two. And by that point, he was out of contact completely. He didn't know she’d become pregnant right before he’d left, that she gave birth to a baby girl, and that her parents thought it unfit for their grandchild to grow up without a father, and their daughter to raise her with no husband. She still wrote him every day, retelling all of this, but keeping them in a box beneath her bed.

“When she was told her husband had gone missing, she waited six months with no response. By the time he was found, she was remarried to another man. He came home to find their small house abandoned, with nothing but a box of letters and a book. A First Edition of Jane Eyre with a photo from their wedding day tucked inside the page of her most favorite quote.

“After reading all the letters, the young man tried to find his wife and child but was unsuccessful. He never found them, and never knew what came of his daughter.” The old man rubbed his glasses as he sighed, finish- ing his story.

I cleared my throat, “That young woman, she was Margaret Jane Warcrest, wasn’t she?” He nodded. “And you, you’re the young soldier, the one who never saw her again or the child?” He shook his head no, but slowly, as if he knew what I was going to say next. My tears welled up as what I’d suspected earlier was wrong.

“You know, my grandmother’s favorite book was Jane Eyre, too. She always told me that she would always recite her favorite passages to her great love, but that wasn’t my grandfather. She loved him, yes, but she’d been mar- ried once before, and that they’d only been separated because of great tragedy. She’s the reason for my love of literature. And she’s also the reason I’m in this town.”

With both sets of our eyes brimming with tears, the old man looked at me with the utmost curiosity. “I never asked you what your name was, child.”

“Jane,” I replied. “Jane Warcrest Dulcy.”
He smiled, sadly. “I knew your grandfather. But I’m sorry to tell you, he died not a month ago.”

Reevie Fenstermacher ’19