Sea of Sorrow

TIIA MCKINNEY
Sparkling dark blue waters violently crashed over my head, / They pinned me under their strong currents, forcefully grabbing me in a chokehold / I desperately inhaled, trying to taste the salty air on my tongue, / Instead salty water crashed past / my lips, over my tongue, to the back of my throat, past my tonsils,…Continue Reading Sea of Sorrow

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.
Continue Reading my brother gets his college admissions letter

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 

Broken Hinges

GRACIE ROWLAND
I slammed the door in Hope’s face and told Her / I was better off alone, my pride too brazen to realize that good intentions / Matter more than harsh words spoken over late night calls. / I was too ashamed to apologize back then, too ashamed of the broken hinges I left. …Continue Reading Broken Hinges

Untitled

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”

Untitled

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

Of Choosing a Favorite

DUSTIN COPELAND
The process of choosing a favorite of anything is fraught with contradiction. A “favorite” thing one moment is secondary the next, and even enduring preferences are (however momentarily)  superseded by new obsessions every once in a while. “Favorite” may not even mean what it appears to —I think it is not uncommon for people to call their favorite object something which has some kind of personal meaning or symbolic importance to them, even when that object is not actually their preference in daily life….Continue Reading Of Choosing a Favorite

It’s Quieter Than It Used To Be

RACHEL HENDRICKSON
It’s quieter than it used to be. The scientists on the television are talking about how over the summer, everyone started noticing how loud the birds were. The crumpled man and overly-polished woman debated on whether or not it was the climate, lack of people, or just an increased noticing that comes from being pent up inside all day. …Continue Reading It’s Quieter Than It Used To Be

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

It Will Pass?

A’CORA HICKSON

There’s a difference / Between being alone and being lonely / You can crave to be alone / Crave to be still / In the room / In the space / In the world / But being lonely hits you like a speck of dust / Falling on your arm / It sits and waits on the ledge / Praying / Planning / Its next attack / It goes unnoticed / In the room / In the space / In the world…Continue Reading It Will Pass?

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

In Focus

TARA ALAHAKOON
I adapted to life out of focus. // My world was an impressionist painting: earthy hues blended the landscape as swaths / of grey streaked across the sky. // Silouettes danced in and out, / their edges fuzzy. // Like an artist, I played with light….Continue Reading In Focus

Reunion

TAPTI SEN
Please come sit next to me- / I want to lay my head in your lap and / whisper about the boy you love / as you braid flowers in my hair. Once, / I knew you like I knew myself, and / now, I wonder if history is all we / have left….Continue Reading Reunion

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

Fall Relapse

ZOE ALARCON
As the leaves succumb to a coral shade / You’re reminded of your own freshness / How with each summer comes as naturally a deep renewal / A solidifying of insights / But its fragile underpinnings are also suddenly more visible / And the trees’ tactless, rapid shedding / rekindle your sympathy for your own dead leaves…Continue Reading Fall Relapse

If I Let It Happen

QUINCY SMITH
The inside of my palms are dirty / From the concrete blocks I sat on // The concrete was pressing against my palm / Creating a print in shape of pebbles // I look down and see the shape this concrete drew on my hand / My fists clench and unclench // Almost as if its searching for feeling / Almost as if i’m not feeling and I need to move to feel…Continue Reading If I Let It Happen