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A Desperate Attempt to Salvage What’s Left — Emylee States
A Little Past Neptune — Grace Freer
A Song of Tears —  Alex Tarnowski
Caterpillars — Jacqueline Ketcham
Do you know where I can find a plant? — Robinson Witt
earthworm — Hannah Hampton
Exception to the Accepted — Emylee States
I don’t have a telescope, only a watch — Anna Shura
In the Grand Scheme of Things — Margaret Opperman
In the Name of Science — Anushka Sharma
may 17th — Jordan Harris
peace, the pine trees sighed — Alison Manges
Stove — Alison Manges
The Replacement — Grace Freer


A Desperate Attempt to Salvage What’s Left

By Emylee States

I have discovered a raging, ravenous need
to explore one’s youthhood
that will continue
into adulthood.

Who decides where youth ends?
Is the lady in the pantsuit
not allowed to enjoy her young age,
as it flies by her at the speed of light?

Does the woman with
grey hair and a cane
not have the right
to let out her untarnished adolescence?

235 months.
That is how long I have been alive; 235 months.
Each month, you’d think my youth
would leak through,
like mercury falling from a skimmer.

And yet, clumps of my youth stay put,
clinging to the metal strands,
ignoring the shove and tug
of gravity and time.

Before I have a moment to grasp
the concept of years,
I am old and grey,
yet still exploring myself.

My existence is filled
with experiences that only I know
the extent of, experiences that
no one else will ever understand.

And yet, my grey hairs and
excessive wrinkles have not
experienced the feeling of wind
whipping them around as I
leap off a plane, freeing myself
of a floor of trembling stability.

As a girl,
he rescued me from my tower,
besting my naivety and winning my heart.

As a woman,
he rescued me from my mistakes,
besting the wrong knights and winning my gratitude.

he rescues me from my years,
besting my time and winning my life.

My old mind, fragile and forgetful,
cannot forget the trials I’ve escaped,
robes ripped and mind mangled,
nor will it forget my faceless prince
of changing time and
ever-blooming youth.

A Little Past Neptune

By Grace Freer

Discovered and accepted, propelling on,
me and eight others, spinning through life.
Together we were an unbeatable system,
around and around and around.

Small as a dwarf.
Touch as cold as death.
Inhospitable like unwelcoming home.
Slow as a trip across the universe.

I’ve always been like this,
which never seemed to eclipse the others.
Seventy-five years of stellar friendship flashes by,
around and around and around.

But something changed –
“you’re different”
“you are not a part of us”
“you don’t fit in”

Small, cold, inhospitable, slow.
Seventy-five years.
Around and around
and around.

It used to be “partner” or “friend.”
now it’s “outcast’ or “dwarf.”
A crater forms in my heart,
when they call me “a falling star” in their orbits of life.

Their words hold gravity.
Their dark words matter, to me
Yet, I will continue on
spinning in my lonesome.


A Song of Tears

By Alex Tarnowski

“Come back! Come back! I’ve missed the heart you bring,
The shine of life I see when you’re around,
Reminds me of the tepid touch of spring,
Before the heat has soaked into the ground.
The chill of breeze that quells the burning coals, Blows fast across the surface of my skin,
And throws the river back to deepest shoals,
To hide the thought of loss that dwells within. The thought is shut inside and can’t release,
I try to break the wall and bring you back,
But all that leaves are bells that never cease,
And birds that carve the sky from blue to black.
Perhaps one day I’ll see your smile return
And then the coals and sun won’t need to burn..”



By Jacqueline Ketcham

A tiny green caterpillar crawls up my leg
I feel it moving across each individual hair
Sighing, I reach down and flick it off for the fifth time
Is it the same determined caterpillar?
Or a small army that has decided to attack?

I can’t waste the time to investigate
Because I am supposed to be studying
I’m doing my best but the heat is unforgiving
I’m soft, spoiled, used to the AC
I feel a single drop of sweat make its way down my chest

I try to concentrate
Instead, I think about where I am now
Outside under a tent, trying to study
This is the most I’ve been outside in months
Maybe the little green caterpillars are trying to tell me something

It could be a message from Nature
That powerful force
Reminding me that I’ve strayed too far
I need to become Romantic
I need to return to the Earth

I want to be in tune with Creation
To live naturally, as God intended
Become Transcendental
Disappear into the forest
Find myself

I stop to pick off another caterpillar
The same bright green color
My mind returns to the broiling tent
I feel another drop of sweat
And more frustration that it’s so difficult to focus

It’s stupid of me
To think the caterpillars mean anything
They’re just bugs
Besides, it’s much too late for any of that now
I return to my work.


Do you know where I can find a plant?

By Robinson Witt

A small one will do just nicely.
One whose green leaves and vibrant petals
will add a splash of color to my grey walls.
One that I can name Gregory
if I so choose.

One whose stem will strengthen,
whose leaves grow more bold,
and whose petals will blossom
as I sit for a chat with it
or even give it a passing greeting
as I leave for my work.

I plan to place it on the windowsill
or on the shelf at my desk to remind me
while I do my studies.
Although there is a tad less sun there.

And when its body wilts
and its roots dry right up,
I hope I can look back in fondness.



By Hannah Hampton

baths with bubbles that smell pink
the hazy tangerine spread of a sunset
the harsh grit of rooftop beneath your palms

it’s a hole, yes, but it’s not a matter of falling
and locking eyes with the sky
and wishing for wings
it’s more of a coffin
when you’ve already been smothered and deafened
and you remember how oppressive gravity is
to the buried.
i never notice the falling.
only the cold click of the casket.

a hundred times i’ve pressed my palms to icy silk
ninety nine times i’ve slunk to the surface:
remembered the scent of rain on places asphalt has never touched
and wormed
through the stem of some flower
to blossom into myself again

it’s not a clawing, feral screech,
careening upwards
and exploding into an epiphanic firework.
it is slow.
it’s convincing yourself that things will get better
or you will get tougher
and praying you’re not wrong.
it’s believing that bubbles and sunsets and a rooftop will be enough someday and nosing your way through layers upon layers
of filth
until you break
open the ground
and remember what birdsong sounds like.


Exception to the Accepted

By Emylee States

I have a support system
made up
of people
who don’t have faces.
I go home to the ones I love the most
and put my fake face on.

Try to ignore when my grandma calls
the two girls kissing on TV “inappropriate”.
Try to make myself like guys
so my parents never
are uncomfortable.

Put on a fake smile, with crinkled eyes
they’ll think are genuine.
Scream in ear-bursting laughter
to scare away my panic.
Wear a blanket of my straight self,
a bookshelf to hide the true me behind.

My mind clings
to the similarities between me
and my loved ones.
It makes me think about the possibilities.

The cute girl who smiled at me from down the hallway,
The exciting thoughts of a relationship
that could be beautiful.
I envision the times I could have,
The moments, the feelings, the intimacy.

I imagine her meeting my parents, my family
my world. I imagine bright nights
in dark rooms and
honest words followed by
tenderly passionate kisses.

And then those words cut me off,
the cruel words I’ve heard too many times.
“Couldn’t you just choose not to be?”
As if it’s a choice
who your heart embraces.
Did either of you choose to love me?
Will you choose to stop?

When the ones I love won’t accept me
For being completely and utterly me
Hurt fills my heart,
Blood blocked by broken aorta.
And the nagging nausea
chips away at my insides,
screeching its unacceptance.


I don’t have a telescope, only a watch

By Anna Shura

Beneath the starry roof of my backyard,
twilight tugs truth to my mind.
From withered ground,
I peer into the seething stretch of familiar heavens
and listen to my kin.

Betelgeuse burns bracingly awaiting
the end we’ll know lightyears too late.
How many funerals occur over oblivious orbits?
Stars outpace our tiny lives, and we are abandoned forever by

A mother, a black hole, history herself speaks at the center of the universe, Hush, little dust.
I lean into her inky masses and listen as
womanly Janus, doubling present and past, beats outward
rippling warnings back to me too late, too far across my soggy milk bowl galaxy.

All I receive are reflections of celestial death in my cereal.
Surreal to know nightly wishes and photos and handshakes are all unexceptionally dead. Life is a mere game of hopscotch in the rain;
I jump over chalky lightyears, but when I land, my earned minutes are already washed away.

Time twists around ankles in Yesterday’s Knot, my ground my siblings my mother my mind and
I wait.

In the Grand Scheme of Things

By Margaret Opperman

The vanilla in my creamer
is unusually sweeter today,

the breeze wraps its arms around
my room and encompasses
me in chills,

the steady sound of traffic
matches itself to the rhythm of my heart,

the teardrops of rain plinko
their way to the ledge of my window
gaining momentum with every drop they encompass,

the sweater draping my skin
comforts me in the smell of his cologne,

my nails are freckled with old polish
and my incessant nervous tick
of always peeling at their perfection,

the dusty bud of my cactus
scavenges its way out the dirt to life,

the spirals of my dog’s hair
perfectly combine to create tiny tornados
that spread warmth wherever they blow,
the smell of fresh newspapers and taxi exhaust
brushes its way past me to fulfill my soul,

the corners of my notebook are
wrinkled with splatters of coffee stains from
endless vacations to cafes;

I look around me
and see all these little things
they tell me to cherish,

and I do;
or so I try.

I blink,
and it’s all gone –

in the grand scheme of things.

In The Name of Science

By Anushka Sharma

I have an idea.
Teenagers. Lord of the Flies style
thousands of them–yes, Yes! –40,000
All herded within a couple miles.

(A pause as the others consider.)
And what of their memories?

We’ll coax the past out of their hands,
feed it back to them as unlikely dreams.

We’ll need surveillance,

Robots nestled in the branches,
in the marbled eyes of cicadas,
perched on the brush-stripes of honeybees.

Bigger creatures,
clunky harmless-looking ones with spider eyes,
scrambling across the expanse.

Won’t that be obvious?
They can’t ever know.

Then–let’s name ‘em something cute.
Cute, innocent robots with cute, innocent names.
Oh! And they can deliver Starbucks lattes.

(Chuckles around the table.)
And experimental groups?
Variables? Constants?

Variables–spontaneous conversations and giddy spikes of energy,
ice cream dripping down knuckles and discarded boba glasses.
Epiphanic run-ins with hidden bookstores,
unexpectedly short lines for sushi.

And constants–an ever-humming ocean of homesickness,
rising and withering with the weather.
Zombie hallways with lime green carpets,
full of people yet oddly quiet,
the air quivering with only the half breaths taken before conversations that never began.
Acres and acres of freedom.

(Meaningful glances around the room,
brusque nods of agreement.)
One last thing–
high tuition?

High tuition.


may 17th

By Jordan Harris

on the cusp of Summer
the air is unpredictable,
i spend the mornings singing love songs and
writing poems about fruit

by noon black ants stick to the scent of lilacs
on my fingers,
while i rest my limbs and my grievances
in fields not yet golden

in the evening i can no longer remember
the sound of snow,
only of robins with swelling bellies
sharing their gossip in the sycamores

the deep sun sags with anticipation
as the wise moon alights with prophecy,
and this return of warmth is familiar to my blood.


peace, the pine trees sighed

By Alison Manges

the day you left
the white facade overhead 
cracked like an egg 
fat flakes floating,  
for the first time again.
covered the grass,  
the trees, 
the tip of the house,
the corpse of you frozen into the ground
clean, the sky whispered 
peace, the pine trees sighed



By Alison Manges

He hung his coat
plaid as his heart
warm hands grasp mine
then pulled apart
he sunk down rhythm in time
to hear my mother scream her sigh

He was a stove
churning, burning, pleading
barring shadows beyond his light
the Cold crept through
fire roasted logs still
popping, pushing, bleeding
into the night

he was there when I shattered
glinting pieces reflecting the sky      
the Cold finally caught me 
grasping for a plum too high 
She snatched each piece 
She chipped every pore 
laughing, haunting, squealing 
as She came back for more 

without my pieces I lay there; gone. through.      
naked, pale, pink against reflected endless blue   
He stood there, atop a stoop 
breathed me an ember 
ignited from his tongue  
watched it turn my skin aflame      
watched me turn back young 

I was anyone: I was new 
Some body burnt away 
Cold picked me apart 
Fire washed my heart 
I wasn’t me 
I was Who 

Ceaseless; I could be 
I would be a stove as well 
but not for anyone; 
for Me


The Replacement

By Grace Freer

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
At least that is what I have been told.
I reassure my friends that I am quitting.
My fingers will not house a reckless cigarette.

The gurgle from the coffee pot seeps into my ears
and the sweet aroma lingers in my nose.
The emerald mug cupped between both my hands
pairs nicely with the steaming brew inside.

Tongue – patiently pending
a mixture of nutty, unfamiliar flavor.
Tongue – anxiously anticipating
a bitter, familiar taste?


No more “bathroom breaks”
in the middle of homemade pizza night.

No more washing my jacket three times over
to hide the ashy perfume embedded in the threads.

I cup the emerald mug between my ruby painted nails.
Busy hands have no room for nonsense.
Cigarettes, you awful obstacle,
My hands are full.

Dinner will no longer be interrupted by tobacco’s beckoning.
Now, I wash my clothes once from the wear of the day.
I hope I can enjoy my replacement one day
and without thinking of another long, relaxing drag.