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Issue 9

Spring 2023

3/12/23 "Paper" by Jamie Hougen-Smith

Untitled Portrait by Fallon Paxton

Field Consecration by Jonathan Schmidt

The 19th century by Daniela Sánchez

Archway (Multicolor) by Arcadia Reiken

silver drops by Madelyn Schott

February 20th, 2022 by Santiago Zendejas Solís

3/17/18/23 by Jamie Hougen-Smith

Butterflies by Arcadia Reiken

Indiana Banana by Lucy McVey

untitled by Benjamin MacLean

Ode to Aspen by Solomon McKonly

February 20th, 2022 by Santiago Zendejas Solís

May Mornings by Isabella

Green Burial by Ellis Wahlstrom

Pumpking by Gus Petrovato

War by Isaac Clark

3/16/23 by Jamie Hougen-Smith

About Limericks by Abigail Fisette

The Kind Elf by Abigail Fisette

February 20th, 2022 by Santiago Zendejas Solís

$1.00 by Miryam Hilnbrand

Bumblebee! by Arcadia Reiken

Cover Image: Bumblebee! by Arcadia Reiken

3/12/23 "Paper"

Jamie Hougen-Smith

Open the door of my room

an hour later

in the spring - 

And the cast of sun on my bed

is a painting 

or picture dancing.


Tulips I cut and put in a vase 

find their perfect fall

in the kitchen - 

Cards and drawings are new

like I have space

and ideas are 

the ground waking up

and breathing easily

like whispering -

To the edge of my room,

takes up everything

is here with me.

Untitled Portrait

Fallon Paxton

Field Consecration

Jonathan Schmidt

“Friends and heartthrobs of the past, future, and present: where I am now, the temperature has begun its slow climb, and summer is preparing its eviction notice for all the gentle breezes and drives with windows down and the incessant joyful choir of birds. We will soon have to settle for less pleasing aesthetics of romance.”

Hanif Abdurraqib, “On Summer Crushing”


My words are clumsy, because

My heart is in my throat and 

I am trying not to let it spill out of

My mouth and into the air.


This, the sole postulate forming 

In summer air that crumples me like a ton of feathers.


The deceased, Icarus.

Icarus, flying through the air like Whitney.

But don't make me close one more door

I don’t wanna hurt anymore


Some days, I choke down sentiment like cherries.

Mostly, I muster the strength to brush refractive memories off of me like cadmium fumes.


Truth be told, the haze in front of my eyes is

Not entirely air like bricks or blinked back teardrops.

The necklace slung around my wrist three times over

Burned into my palm like religion.


I threw away all my treasures because they didn’t suit me.

I am so convinced of my eyes’ fallibility, I don’t recognize myself in the mirror.


I draw grand palaces, plazas, porticoes.

Construct them out of the air that is like bricks,

Watch them fall into disrepair,

The garden’s overgrowth.


For this, I am ungrateful:

I can never be as tragic as the house made of air.

The 19th century

Daniela Sánchez

Archway (Multicolor)

Arcadia Reiken

Sometimes I wonder what being a woman means.

What’s gender? Why does it matter? Why does it make me  wanna cry?

Sometimes I wonder but I never find an answer.

Maybe I can’t find one because it doesn’t exist.

Sometimes I think that it’s just a fallacy, an illusion, 

something that never existed, something that will never exist.

But what if I’m right? What if it had never existed? What if it was just them?

Because I wonder, what makes me a woman? My hands? My chest? My nose? My eyes? My ears? My face?

None of them was the right answer.

I wonder what women’s hands are supposed to look like.

I can’t think of any. 

And I’m not surprised. Some people would have said small, delicate, soft.

But I know they’re wrong. Am I not allowed to have big hands, with calluses full of dirt?

Does that stop me from being a woman?

That just makes me from the 19th century.

Soft hands, crying all day, all night, wearing a long dress, hoping for something else.

Small nose, delicate with a pretty smile, all covered with makeup, but they don’t see that it’s just a broken smile.

They don’t see that the only thing I desire is being me.

Because none of those things represent me.

Because I’m not from the 19th century.

Because soft hands don’t define me.

Because I am a woman. 

Because I have calluses.

Because I wear pants, I run, I cry, I laugh.

There’s nothing that means woman.

There’s nothing that means man.

Because the 19th century was hundreds of years ago.


Sometimes I think about them 

How they look at themselves in the mirror

Or better said how they don’t 

And I wish

I wish women could look at themselves

I wish women could love themselves

I wish women forgot about the 19th century

Just how I once did.

Because bodies were meant to be free 

Because hands were just meant to create art,

Lips were meant to kiss, soft, delicate, passionate. 

Mouths were meant to speak, to express, to let it be, to let it go.

Eyes were meant to show what nothing else can, to rain, to drain

Heart was meant to feel love, pain, joy. 

And mind was meant to create. To create stories, adventures, dreams…

It was never meant to judge, criticize nor hurt, 

but that’s what we do.

Because we forget that the 19th century, that once hurt, is gone.

We forget that we live in the 21st century. 

And Women, who were never meant to cry with a broken heart

And Women, who can’t look at their reflection without tearing up

And women, who can barely smirk with their broken smiles,

keep being victims of a century that once flew away and will never be back again.

silver drops

Madelyn Schott

silver rain falls down from the sky,

beats upon your head, and runs

down your back

will the silver rain just keep coming

and coming, and will it keep pouring

down your back?

Is silver rain immortal?

Will it live forever?

Will silver rain fall from the sky and beat upon your head again?   

February 20th, 2022

Santiago Zendejas Solís


Jamie Hougen-Smith


Arcadia Reiken

Indiana Banana

Lucy McVey

May Mornings


Once, you said take care,

and passed it off like it was nothing,

because maybe you had heard me

before, and I told you take care -

is my favorite thing that people say.


And later in the kitchen 

with your mom and she was leaving

to go out on a date and you said

take care and she scoffed

and pointed it out, and you smiled

at me because you have this way

of saying things like they are meant

to be in your voice, or in

your mouth or in a space with you.


I think you’re lovely, and it’s

sometimes overwhelmingly

wonderful - I  like to feel like this

and see you sometimes and know

you a lot more than I used to.


Sit on your floor and go through

your records so I make sure 

not to buy you one you already have

for your birthday that’s in 4 months

that I’ve been thinking about 


And will secretly will you not to get 

Grace before then because I want to

hide it behind my back and 

hand it over to you and say 

it’s not mine it’s yours.


The music I  associate with you,

and you said you’d never want 

to associate music with people in case

you had a falling out, because what if

you had a falling out 


Then what would the music be,

and because I am like this I have to try

to reclaim some music as my own

from people who I used to love

but don’t anymore for whatever


And things happen but I am

not scared of you or scared of the end

of this, because time is a knife,

and upon learning that I can be one

part of something for a while.


And then something else - 

memories of you live here too, and love

is an overarching thing, and experience

is everything, and I thank you 

forever for being a person of the world, and someone

to know and never know everything

about you.

And biking around in spring,

and lying in the snow in winter,

I know your room will be a place

that sometime I will not return to.

The thing that there was a first, and is

a last, and not to think about it, and to 

want to come back and remember 

everything is still here all the time.


Benjamin MacLean

An empty symbol

A Hero who never cares

Watch it burn to ash.


A deadly, fake, lie

Nothing can be perfect now

A wish to the moon.


A sting, what are bees

Green grass, what is living

A mirror, a dark future.


A Broken promise 

It breaks whole universus

Evil overtakes.

Ode to Aspen

Solomon McKonly

She’s the quieter one,

the one with circle coloration, 

the one with silky fur, 

who loves to sleep on a rainy day, 

a sunny day, 

a snowy day,

a quiet day, 

a loud day, 

in the moldy bedroom, in the bed,

with the clothes, in the closet 

with the knitting stuff, on a lap. 

She walks as if she’s 

lost her legs

and they merge with her again.

She provides so much love

as we watch TV.

And, of course,

we love her back. 

February 20th, 2022

Santiago Zendejas Solís

Green Burial

Ellis Wahlstrom

You would think that the house of a dying man would be cold and damp, that the wind of death would seep through the cracks in the house, chilling its inhabitants to the bone, that the frame of the house would creak like the bones of the man who built it, that the darkness would blanket the house, and that the weight of the grief would buckle the knees of anyone to walk through its doors …but I can assure you, none of this is true. In this house, a man sits in a leather recliner in the corner, in the house he built, surrounded by three generations of love. 

The old woman massages a pungent salve, methodically working it into the raw and shaking hands of her husband. This disease is one that no salve can cure. She massages his hands anyways. Her daughter stands in the kitchen, stirring a pot of hearty soup, her eyes are full of tears, yet her face holds a sentimental smile. The dying man will take three bites, if they are lucky. She stirs anyways. Children giggle at the kitchen table, unaware of the wind outside, unaware of the darkness. They are the brightest source of light in the house. They shine anyways. The wind of death batters against the walls of love. They are cognizant of the inevitable. 

But not yet.

The old man died on October 16th. On the morning of his death, the daughter called her husband and said, “Bring the girls and come say goodbye.” The girls and their father drove north through a thick fog that dampened the fiery autumn leaves. They spend the day together, sitting by the old man's bed, telling each other stories, crying, and laughing. The old man, now too tired to open his eyes or speak, coughed or sighed occasionally in order to express an opinion. Late in the afternoon, after the old man's granddaughters had gone back to their own home, the daughter opened the big french doors in the living room. They could hear the loons mournfully calling to the old man from the lake. The sun was setting as the wind of death swept through the house. It seeped into every board that the old man laid, before it settled into his chest. The daughter sat down by her father and held his hand. She traced their hills and valleys. The old man sensed the presence of his daughter, his wife in the next room, his family who had come to say goodbye, and he was complete. He heard the loons on the lake and felt the wind on his old wrinkled skin. Then, he took two very deep breaths, let the wind fill his chest, before exhaling a final, satisfied sigh. 

The daughter and her mother spend the next day caring for his body as lovingly as they had in the days before his death. They wrapped him in linens purchased during a honeymoon in Morocco and the mother recalled memories of hot desert nights and the beginning of forever, they covered him in a quilt made by an old friend and the daughter imagined the loving hands stitching together each panel with great care, they placed bottles of amber whiskey and remembered the jokes the old man told when he took one too many sips out of the squat golden bottle, they filled vases with red and orange chrysanthemums, and lit candles that burned deep into the night beside his resting place. 

A grave that faced due west and overlooked the old man's land was dug at the top of a hill. He was carried there by his closest friends on a board carved by his son. The only thing separating his body from the land was the white linen cloth. The sun warmed the faces of his many friends and family, the trees on the hill blazed, vibrant and alive. He was lowered into the ground and the onlookers could hear the loons calling from the lake. As they watched the deep, velvet, Vermont dirt shower down over his body they thought of life and death and the earth and they were not sad.

 They were not sad, for they knew that the old man was far from gone. He was simply continuing to give all that his body could give to the land that he loved. He was simply transformed. They were not sad, for they knew that they could visit the old man any time that they wished, in the evergreens, the loons, the deer on the hill, the beavers in their dams, and in the deep, velvet, Vermont dirt.


Gus Petrovato


Jamie Hougen-Smith

Hello Moon, I said looking up to her, 

and watching clouds cross like shadows

while I was happy to see above.

I was a crow through the night, 

and descending down onto the roof

tipping up into the light: half-month, 

half-life satellite surrounding a place

where we all live and watch her shift

through shapes and shadows 

like I was invisible in the dark; a shadow

against a shadow, a bird in the high

bright night street lights only below me -

flying unseen and remembering to watch

what we forget to watch, and notice

her reflection of oceans and faces

and whatever you are to see if you tip

your pointed face up to her picture.


Isaac Clark

About Limericks

Abigail Fisette

Why are all limericks so crude

They’re indecent salacious and lewd

So I wrote myself

About a kind elf

Instead of a man getting screwed

The Kind Elf

Abigail Fisette

A kind elf was thinking one day

“Right now is the time to crochet”

and with so much skill

and such time to kill

She made socks for all of Bombay

February 20th, 2022

Santiago Zendejas Solís


Miryam Hilnbrand

You took us to the dollar store

Me and my brother

Five bucks each

But you let us choose six things

One extra special treat

From grandma


We went back there today

My brother and I

Our little sister too

You never took our little sister to the dollar store.

As soon as she was old enough

To feel the joy that was 

One dollar

You were sick.


We didn’t drive there in your car

(I still call it yours)

We meant to

But I forgot 

There’s a lot on my mind

I had been hoping

To feel the same

Walking in this time

The childish joy

Of a girl

With five dollars

And a grandma


My brother finds the same cup

He bought with you

Nine years ago

One dollar

It is the same

It is the same

It is the same

We look at the price tag.


One dollar


And twenty-five cents.


Arcadia Reiken

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