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

“The Sky Above” by Meera Joseph; “Jewel” by Anne Fu

fishfortsacoyanus

In yesterday’s light he touched me like

I had been made by God when all I wanted was

to turn my back; the stars sung our romance to

dead-eyed poets and hung themselves in constellations for

voyeurs; I am not a voyeur. I did not want love. My

mother unintentionally taught me when she

showed me the roadkill between her thighs: stories

are for those who do not have; love is a net

we wrap around our hearts like fish farmers casting

around unwilling tuna; us trawling paper doll limbs

safely towards death. She and I explore deep sea instead,

away from fake light, empty-sky-love. He wore a

cross around his neck every day and said God

breathed the stars like last night’s salmon. My

fingers felt the tapestry he wove fabricating fact

and fancy like it was okay to be ensnared.  Does religion

also feel like the open ocean? Shakespeare must have

lied when he tried to write love: it doesn’t die in

death; it dies in wanting.

“Water” by Tessali Hogan; “Moana” by Nala Wu

moana-by-nala-wu

nothing like having so much to share

and not being able to share it with you

the stories

laughs

deep contemplations

that flow through me

slip through my fingers

until the glass half full

becomes half empty

and slowly evaporates—

until nothing but the minerals

the dirt

the everything not worth drinking in

or absorbing

is left

 

i could never find this one drop in an ocean

but maybe it will reach you

on its own time

as the cycle continues

“Birds”by Srija Nagireddy; “10/12/16” by Daisy Yin

10-12-16-by-daisy-yin

Birds.

Kings of the sky

Created to soar

Above common existence.

Then why,

Are their deceased not laid to rest,

In brilliant blue.

Why is there no place for them among the clouds?

No stellar grave.

Wings rugged with use,

Broken.

They plummet.

A burial of

Asphalt,

Dirt,

Grass.

 

Why is it that Death,

Blind with milky eyes,

Groping in the dark.

Death who takes,

The first to receive his leaden touch.

Why is it that he does not look,

How far you have flown,

How many stars you have touched?

 

Birds.

Airborne creatures trapped

By illusions of escape.

“The Underground Man” by Hannah K With Artwork by Julie C

He hides between cold stares

and nonchalant contortions of face

Pretends if you plunged your best kitchen knife

into his flesh

he wouldn’t feel the skin tear

 

He convinces himself

his heartbeat doesn’t crash against his eardrums

He doesn’t feel the spark

swirling up his spine

when his fingers touch hers

He used to declare his emotions to the world

until this thing called growing up

hit him like a tsunami

and he could feel the crushed villages and broken houses

inside of him

The suffering consumed him like fire burns ash

And he never liked the smell of smoke

 

So he decided to camp out in the underground

of his soul

beneath first memories and pigments of a dusty heart

Tucked joy and sorrow into his polished briefcase

and closed it shut

He fell asleep between muscles and nerves

and tried to never wake up

Pretended he didn’t feel the forces of the world

As if there were no gravity

 

But all actions have gravitation

and as much as he calls himself

The Underground Man

He can never forget how to feel.