Like a Bird, I Rise

by Nala Wu

"Like a Bird, I Rise"

Friends

by Jeremy Doiron

 

You’ll never know,

And nor will I,

If ever we could have been

More

Than just friends.

But just friends we’ll stay,

And good friends we’ll be;

Because I could never ask.

 

So we laugh and we joke,

We smile and we tease,

I look forward to seeing you

Every day.

 

Never will I call you mine,

Nor you me yours;

Though I will always be.

 

And I never know quite what to say to you,

Aloof behind your perfect walls.

Always I come to the point of saying, to revealing…

 

But then time’s up.

The chance over and

Done. And another day I wait,

Only to await the next,

 

happy.

Luminance

by Anthea Bell

Luminance by Anthea Bell


Love Like Magic

by Dana Dykiel

We are not children anymore. We are the monsters that scare them.

Voices raising to a fever pitch, slamming the table with our open fists. Our backs against the wall, voices sliding like knives, hissing with false sympathy. Our faces green with rot and jealousy, slimy with veiled intentions and selfishness.

It would be easy to confuse me with a cynic. There’s comfort in the definition, in the false wisdom it brings; pseudo-philosophy is laughable to the outside world, but to those who follow it as a doctrine, it means more than life itself.

After all, our parents never lied to us when we were children. About goodness, about faith, about the purity of the human soul. Those things are all true. Love is magic, and we are loved.

And yet I can’t see it. I know it exists. It has to. Yet I am not innocent enough; I am not good enough; I am not ignorant enough. I can only see the smokescreens and mirrors and cards up sleeves.

“I love you”, he says, and his smile is sharp as spades. Pricked through with the pin of love; small marks that allow him to cheat, to win the game.

He wants me because I complete him. Because we complete each other. He is loud, I am quiet; he is brash, I am delicate; he is good, and I am Satan.

Together, we create perfect symmetry.

I am too weak to resist. Powerless. I know how these things work.

The bent edges, the broken matches, the threads so translucent they seep into light.

I say I love him too.

 

12.23.16

by Daisy Yin

12.23.16 by Daisy Yin


Waking the Dancer

by Isabelle Duval

 

I fling and fumble

A puppet on strings

Coiling deep in my stomach

Twisting and tugging my heart down

With every fall

 

A wooden Pinocchio

I teeter and totter

Waiting for a fairy

To give me wings

 

The gears turn

And steam jets from my ears

As the machine

grinds to life

 

This tin man

Doesn’t need to oil

To stomach all

The work and toil

 

I open the floodgates

And fresh blood outpours

Coursing through once

Barren veins

 

A flower blossoms

The vines wither and crumble

A rumble crescendos

From deep in the core

 

Every finger

My hammering heart

I reign it in

I set my jaw

 

I thrust

And run

And jump

And Spin

 

I build myself a rocky core

Impervious to force

And with every leap

The ceiling seems less far

 

With every arabesque I bend

I arc and change my shape

I flit and float

Defy the floor

 

As I learn

I have to earn

Now I can dance

again

Leopard

by Anne Fu

Leopard by Anne Fu copy


Lost Light Found

by Kirtana Krishnakumar

 

They say it’s time to fight,

I back away.

 

They say there is more light,

I will not stay.

 

“Work hard, you’ll get it right.”

 

I work too much,

 

and get it wrong.

 

Stones atop one another,

pulling down with weight,

I struggle to get back up,

 

and fall.

 

Lying there flat,

these words on my face.

I slowly sit up.

 

they’re gone.

 

Getting up, brushing off,

sluicing away the worded residue.

 

I’m not golden, but bronze.

Bronzed with dirt, glowing bronze.

 

it is far more than enough.

 

Running far, not working so hard.

Why? It wasn’t necessary.

 

calm down.

 

Now

 

they say it’s time to fight,

I stand and fight.

 

and win.

 

They say there is more light.

I will stay.

 

Its fire never left me.

Look Back At Me

by Diana Willand

Look Back At Me


What Are We

by Tiffany Chan

 

Like little ants marching in straight lines across my vision,

For function, for organization, for discovery.

A little click with each black speck,

Each holding something,

Transporting, conveying.

 

They can carry the light weight of a puff of snow,

Or the hammer blow of falling hail.

They carry anguish and heavy emotions

And the lifting, lilting laughter.

 

Like little Oreos stacked on a white countertop,

They contain sweetness within darkness.

Each is organized, stacked one on top of the other,

Waiting to be dunked in milk and eaten.

 

They are like little clicks from a metronome,

Each one is coordinated,

Falling at a specific time,

Yet can be manipulated into varying tempos.

 

Like little hammers hitting the strings within a piano,

The next note rarely copies its forerunner.

Each note burgeoning into multiple meanings,

Echoing and repeating again, and again, and again,

Being heard differently each again, anew, afresh.

 

Little ants divided by spaces in straight small sentences,

Carrying such a large varied load across so many turns,

Each being different, but sometimes seeming the same.

It depends on the receiver.

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

by Sara Dean

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico by Sara Dean


Open Doors

by Annie Qian

 

The front door to your home.

You’ve never really thought about it, have you? It’s just a door. You turn the knob and open it. Once you go through the doorway, you turn the knob again and close it. Maybe you turn the lock, too, or you put a key in to turn the lock the other way. Sometimes you decorate it for a holiday. But it’s never seemed like anything special, right? It’s just there. Just a door.

But is it really just a door? It certainly looks like one. It’s a tall wooden rectangle painted green or brown or blue, with a shiny metal knob and lock dulled by the touch of countless hands. Each of those hands belonged to a person who probably passed through the door at some point. Guests have been welcomed on either side of that wooden divider, and farewells have been said. How many times has a “hi” and a “bye” been said under the door’s simple frame? How many times has it been slammed in a fit of anger so hard that the force makes it tremble? What kind of news has passed under this door? A spontaneous party at a neighbor’s house? The death of a relative? Festivities for a holiday?

Up until I was about nine or ten years old, that worn green door was the portal to fun and imagination. At that time, I didn’t have much homework to do, and neither did my neighbors, so we would play together almost every afternoon. I’d hear a ding-dong from the doorbell and rush to the sound, opening the door to see my friends’ grinning faces. Then they would say that simple line.

“Do you want to play?”

Sometimes we’d play in their yard, sometimes in my yard. But most of the time, the game began and finished with the opening of the front door. The parent would call, and that would be the end of it. That door saw the last goodbye from me to my friends in the summer between second and third grade, before I left that door behind and moved on to a new one.

The new door is not used to me, nor I to it. It has seen visitors come and go, and it has opened the way to fun and imagination — but not for me. Now it is my brother’s turn to dash to the door at the sound of the doorbell, to open it to find his friends waiting. My relationship with the door is like two workers in a factory. When it signals that someone is here, I go and open it. When the guests have stepped inside, I close it. When the path to it is buried by snow in winter, I go dig it out. We work with each other, but we are not friends any longer. It is just there. Just a door.

“Resurrection” by Sarika Chawla; painting by Mira Mulgund

unnamed-2

You used to skip across fields of clover

as the summer sun twinkled down on

your smiling face

and mynah birds chirped all around

 

You used to lay on beds of

intertwining blades of grass

that glistened with dewdrops

and look up at the sky

 

Blue reflected in your sparkling eyes

which fluttered closed

as the milky white clouds formed a down blanket upon you

 

But soon the grass started to wither

 

Your woven beds started to unravel

replaced with stiff threads of hospital beds

The clouds began to suffocate you

and smother the sun

as the blue turned to gray

The trees burned as they shed their leaves

as Mother Nature drained them of life

and slowly began to eat away at you too

 

Time went by

and your grass bed became no more than bits of straw lying here and there

 

Gray turned to black

 

The clouds became angry

The trees lost their leaves for good

The sun almost disappeared

holding on for dear life

trying to shine between the clouds

 

You had nearly slipped away

 

But when the blessed spring came

the blue started to reappear

The trees were reborn

The sun returned

The clouds softened their temper

but cried tears of sorrow

tears of rage

anger at what they had done in the winter

 

And as a new grass bed began to weave itself once again

the rains washed away all signs of your old one

unable to hold itself together any longer

 

They washed away every last sign of you too

 

But just like the sun returns each year

and resurrects the trees and the sky

I see your smiling eyes in the rays of light shining through the clouds

every summer

And every summer

I hear your laugh in the mynah’s song