Flashbulb Memory and the Things I Have to Remind Myself to Forget

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SOFIA HINCAPIE-RODRIGO
1. It’s a hot one, even for the South—the kind of summer where we are sticky with sunscreen and smelling like a flurry of coconuts and careless adolescence. I tell you I’m not jumping off the cliff unless you’re at the bottom waiting for me. You don’t hesitate—you never do. Escaping the heat, I watch you dive into the lake, shattering the stillness it held….Continue Reading Flashbulb Memory and the Things I Have to Remind Myself to Forget

my brother gets his college admissions letter

SARAH WU
On the day my brother gets his college admissions, he picks his envelope up ever so gently, drags a finger across the edge of the flap, and peels back the white like he would peel back the skin of a banana. The envelope bulges with expectations, ripe with the fleshy substance of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs; if he could slip the paper into his mouth, the faintly salty tang of sweat from his upper lip would mix with the dryness of the paper, letters blurring together into inkblots indistinguishable from each other.
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Pause and Break 

CAROLYN THOMAS
The winds howl outside, and the rain smacks the ground with a heavenly force. Although it is nighttime, the lightning strikes illuminate the sky—the clapping sound of thunder echoes outside. The weather creates an unstable atmosphere inside Riverbend–a suburb of Silicon Valley. It does not often rain here, and rarely does it pour like this. …Continue Reading Pause and Break 

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MARIANA RIVERA-DONSKY
She got in the car at half-past two in the morning. / It didn’t really matter to her where exactly she was going as long as it was away. There was only a certain amount of time that she could ignore the steadily growing pressure in her chest – right underneath her collarbone. Right above her lungs. She had lain in bed for hours doing absolutely nothing productive….Continue Reading Untitled

“Till Some Blind Hand Shall Brush My Wing”

JOE SWEENEY
I wasn’t thirsty anymore, so when I heard him calling from over the belts it was ok. Part of it, too, was his voice, which sounded like it had finally decided being exhausted wasn’t worthwhile. TSA workers (agents?) don’t seem to have time for anything. But really that’s only true about the ones behind the belts–at the gates they’re always waving me through. Go on ahead. For some people it’s easier to imagine behind their mask than it is to see, their smile….Continue Reading “Till Some Blind Hand Shall Brush My Wing”

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RACHEL HENDRICKSON
Amongst the curved cutlery, puzzles missing pieces, and books with yellowed pages, a vase held a collection of costume jewelry. When the sun hit it just right, the glint seemed to capture the attention of every customer who entered the front lawn of the Church. Lou was no different. Unable to ever resist a good sale, Lou turned off Route 11 as soon as he saw the posterboard scrawled in sharpie on the side of the road….Continue Reading Untitled

Doe, a Deer

GABBY AVENA
When I am thinking of what to write, I pick at the skin on my lips. I hold the cracked bits between my nails, pinch, and pull transparent flecks of thoughts as a snake peels off its skin, exposing soft flesh underneath. This, too, is an act of translation. I wonder–if I picked, and picked, and picked, maybe I would have a story for you. Maybe I could trade my mouth for the fullness of the world. Maybe this is what the world would say:…Continue Reading Doe, a Deer

Smudged

ARI DENGLER
Liza is awake, lying in bed, listening to the intent scratching of pencil across paper. Lukas hasn’t slept for more than three hours a single night this week. Instead, he’s spent all day and night hunched over his desk, lamp basking him in light as he scribbles down his new book. …Continue Reading Smudged

6:43 PM

JACKELINE FERNANDES
6:38 p.m. She finds herself on the platform dialing the number at about the same time she began to think about pulling out her phone from the front pocket of her jeans. In fact, he has already declined her call. She’s probably thinking he won’t show, he thinks, as she rolls her eyes and angrily shoves her phone back into her pocket, thinking he won’t show….Continue Reading 6:43 PM

Doom Creek, AZ

DUSTIN COPELAND
Death removed from his mount, and spoke: To remove thee I am come, and send thee from the garden forth, to till the ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil. And it was certain that she did not want to die. But she knew, more certainly still, that she did not want to step down the mountain. To Death, therefore, she replied: How shall we breathe in other air less pure, accustom’d to immortal fruits?Continue Reading Doom Creek, AZ

Archival Time

JACKELINE FERNANDES
Sauntering along these wooden planks, sputtering words into the studded dusk, syllables falling, slipping onto the chiaroscuro of the busy walkway under my feet, that’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m calling, to remember to record and to record to remember. My lips, dry like forgotten flowers, unwatered but dotted with evaporating droplets of spittle, every expulsion of air condensed into trailing, fleeting streams of water vapor that dip with the weight of all the syllables tumbling tangibly from my tongue, descending into the intangible in this art of presence and absence. Do we belong to history, or is it ours?…Continue Reading Archival Time

Homecoming

GABBY AVENA
Ever since the Nabisco factory closed, you can no longer smell the cookies in the air. My Lola keeps telling me this, once as we pass through colorful concrete tunnels on our way from the Newark Airport, again as they are replaced by the tall trees that tower over the road, and a final time as we pass the empty corpse of the factory, its darkened neon lights welcoming me to my hometown: Glen Rock, New Jersey. She tells me that when she first arrived from the Philippines, she wondered how the neighbors could have so much time for baking, day-in and day-out. …Continue Reading Homecoming

Strangers

SARAH WU
I see you on the bus first. Or maybe, it’s you who senses me, turning around just enough for our eyes to meet. Somehow, past the friend I am talking to, past the earbuds pressed tightly against your ears, our eyes lock. You are skinnier than I remember. Age has sharpened your cheekbones, stolen the roundness from your cheeks. The nest of brown pine needles on your head has softened, curling gently at the tips. It is hard to imagine them as the same rat hair your mom used to comb through, her fingers gently untangling the knots, the burrs in your curls….Continue Reading Strangers

Passing

MIKAYAH PARSONS
You came to me in seasons. / In summer, you were bright and full of life. / You climbed your way up the staircase on all fours / And dared me to do the same. / You had a nice smile, / So I listened to you. // I tripped over those stairs. / That summer was a series of awkward renditions, / With me squeamishly asking for your pat­ience / As we traversed the great unknown….Continue Reading Passing

Decomposition

MAGGIE WU
Autumn in New England always strikes me as an ostentatiously formal affair in which one pulls out their finest wool and leather silhouettes, all in the most somber umbers and teals and siennas. And the dynamic frenzy of summer air crystallizes itself to clarity, a percussive precision dearly embraced. There are colors, too, that convey a taste of sweetness as the leaves caramelize to browns, oranges, apples— apples dipped in maple glazes and chocolate. The mountains are brightly foiled in dark ferns and the sun frosts the valley in maple….Continue Reading Decomposition

I Saw the Edge of Death in a Dunkin Donuts

LELAND CULVER
“Why are so many people getting Dunkin Donuts at 2pm on a Sunday?” / That was the question that started it all. I was driving to get groceries with Nicole and Elena—Elena was driving—and on our way out of the little strip mall parking lot, we had to navigate through the Dunkin Donuts drive-through line, which had somehow grown long enough to overflow from the space around the store….Continue Reading I Saw the Edge of Death in a Dunkin Donuts

Synthesis

LELAND CULVER
So I’m a hiker. Since I was little, I’ve been in love with nature. I’ve been through forests, canyons, prairie-country, even took an extended trip through the Sonoran. I’d like to walk the whole Appalachian trail someday. Can you imagine that? Surrounded on all sides by forested ridges, the noontime sun filtering calmly through the canopy. I’d need the money, though, and the time off work. Still, everywhere I go, I try to take the chance to hike….Continue Reading Synthesis

What the Fuck is Self Care

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ARI DENGLER
There is a wolf trapped inside of me. The wolf gnaws at the soft skin of my belly, digging sharp claws into whatever vulnerable flesh it deems suitable. It is ravished and unpleased, pacing up and down my spine, soft paws sending silent shocks throughout my body. Its howls emerge as sobs, its yaps as nervous chatter. I despise the wolf, despise its hunger for happiness, a hunger that leaves me drained, dull, deprived….Continue Reading What the Fuck is Self Care

Five Til Noon

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SAM SPRATFORD
I first ran a lap in a scarlet sunrise, magenta clouds parting. Do you remember the way my hands shook as I / tied my shoelaces in the humid mist, double-knotted? Sprinting into the wind so quickly it was suffocating? / Staring at blank, ruled lines was the same and my heart was pounding as I clutched your hand in chemistry, / learning that too much oxygen could poison you. I guess there was such a thing as being too free….Continue Reading Five Til Noon

Cosmic Poiesis

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JACKELINE FERNANDES
When the world crumbled last March, I hadn’t expected it to last so long that I would spin off course from my quotidian orbit around Earth, attracted by the unrelenting gravitational pull of Mars. I didn’t know it at the time, but the email correspondence with a sophomore in my Letter Writing J-term class would soon become something more, something indefinable, rooted in a mutual appreciation for the graphemic, morphological, and semantic elements of language. …Continue Reading Cosmic Poiesis