"But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth's darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Letter from the Editors

Dear Reader, 

The theme of this issue is “Awaken.” Following our first issue, “Cursed,” this is the second step in our fairy-tale journey and overarching theme of “Once Upon a Time.” Our characters have discovered their mission, know their purpose, and can now take steps to break the curses placed upon them. You will read pieces and view artwork full of inspiration, of realization, of a striving to fulfill newfound purpose. Our characters have been cursed — but they now have hope, they have a way to break their curses and lead to happily ever after (or not). We hope you enjoy taking this next step of the journey with our characters. 

Happy Kalliope-ing,

Talia Berg, Annabel Kermaier, Brooke Kohl, and Nadav Lemberger

My Own Private World
By Chananya Zaider

Just one jump, eyes closed, and there I am. My own private world. 

I love it there. It’s so much better than here. 

I can talk to animals there. It’s always sunny out. There’s no stupid, weird people in white jackets. It’s amazing. It’s like heaven. 

My best friend is a horse, and he can fly. I love playing games and having races with him. His name is Jack and he likes to fly me up to the top of the universe and he goes really fast and upside-down and it’s like a roller coaster ride, but better, since it’s only fun, not scary. I have other best friends too. A dragon and an alien and a polar bear. And I live in a giant mansion with a pool and it’s awesome. Sometimes we stop by different planets to take a break from our home planet. There are so many; there’s the cars planet, the bird planet, the arcade planet, the monster planet. And we’re all friends in my own private world, because we all like each other and play basketball and football and cool stuff and drive fast cars, so

we’re all friends and we can visit each other anytime we want and nobody gets mad. 

I bet you wish you had your own private world. I bet you do. 

I get to have hair in my own private world. It’s the coolest hair in there. Everyone says it looks good. It’s the type of hair I always wanted; spiky, black, and with hidden wings so that I could fly and be higher than everyone else. I forgot what it felt like to have hair. But it doesn’t matter because I have it there, and there is better than here. 

Also it doesn’t hurt there. It always hurts here. It always feels bad. There it feels good. I like it there. I feel worse everytime when I’m here. I think the best part about my own private world is that I can go anywhere I want. I can go to the beach or I can go to the superbowl and be the quarterback of the Packers or I can even go to Iron Man’s world and meet him and help him kill bad guys. Here I only stay in one room every day. I can’t even walk, just lie down in a dumb white bed

with stupid stuff attached to my body and I haven’t done anything in a really really really long time. 

Yesterday Dad told me some great news; soon I won’t have to be here anymore! I’ll be free, no more of this dumb world, and I said “Where am I gonna go?” and he said, crying tears of joy, “To a better place.” I couldn’t believe it! I’m gonna get to live in my own private awesome, better world forever! 

I was so excited! “When am I going?!” 

Some of his tears fell on my bed. He must’ve been just as excited for me as I was for myself.
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll make the best of it.” 

He got up and left, I think to finish crying. I was so excited, I wanted to jump out of bed and run around the room fast a bunch of times, like I used to do. I felt a bit bad, because I would miss my dad, but hopefully someday soon, he’ll join me in my own private world. I think he would like it.

artistry
By Talia Berg

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i am glass shattered in a million pieces

shards sparkling on the floor.

 

i am a torn tapestry slashed with a knife

its once vibrant colors, now vibrant no more.

 

i am an old teddy bear with patches all over

under the bed and no longer adored

 

someone once told me

art is both broken and beautiful

because we can’t know true joy

unless we’ve known true pain

 

but i don’t want to live with this hurt

 

so maybe i can’t be an artist in this lifetime.

maybe my fingers stop typing

my pencils stop writing

every music note gone

i forget every song

 

cause my heart won’t stop hurting

my eyes keep on burning

my tears stain my cheeks

days go by, or weeks

alone and afraid

and covered in pain

 

but at least i know what heartbreak feels like.

Sculpture by Gila Senderowicz

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Photograph by Zehava Shatzkes

I say:

sentences, shrill and screaming 

emergency, unnerving and endless

 

They hear:

babbling grumbling burbling gurgling bumbling groaning 

 

 

colors kaleidoscope in and out of my consciousness

white light bright blazing flaming 

scanning with a fiery laser for controlled motion, 

intention behind my enlarged irises. 

as blurs move too fast to find figures

to see the shapes silhouetting something someone

 

anyone?

 

the thunder is roaring, reverberating in my ears, 

torrential noise flooding the frightened, desperate trickle of words 

that are drowning in a deluge of monitor beeps, 

struggling to surface with the tube, pushing down down down,

forcing me to listen to the blurs of the room, the rush of ringing roaring, blood 

booming in my blushed, flushed, crushed ears 

 

the whole world is caving in, crushing down on my lungs, 

benumbing my body besides for my 

palms sweating stomach churning,

flailing flapping flying, a bug splattered on a spinning top, 

whizzing whirling whipping around too fast too fast too fast 

 

my heart is pounding, fast-paced pacing anxiously in its chamber 

back and forth and back and forth and back and forth

beep and flash and beep and flash and beep and flash and 

BEEEEEP.

(no flash)

Speechless
By Tamar Rosenfeld

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Unlocked
By Tamar Rosenfeld

Photograph by Adiel Ramirez

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It’s kept completely hidden. 

Locked inside a dust-covered box 

Under the floorboards.

No one knows where it is, that it even exists

Except a select few. 

 

It’s kept disguised, 

Many pass by, ignorant, blind to it.

Even the ones chosen don’t go near it, so it remains 

Untouched by the human hand for centuries. 

 

Until someone cautiously opens the box and peers inside.

 

It’s kept unlocked, 

But still a secret to the world

The ones who can find it are still looking for a key, 

 

Unaware that the key has been turned and the lock broken. 

 

It’s kept open. 

Those who know of it

Peer curiously into its depths, still unsure of how to use it

Cautiously waiting, so it remains dormant, its purpose still hidden. 

Unsure of which door the rusted key that lay in the box opened. 

 

Fingers curl around it.

The metal still a faint pulse of warmth, still glowing against his palm

He still did not know which box the key was supposed to open, and where:

After all, it’s kept completely hidden. 

Awake
By Jacob Lopchinsky

One morning we are awakened

Eyes open to see a world unfamiliar

Every morning we awake 

Everything is new; we must learn how to adjust

Every morning we awake 

Except for those who slumber past noon

Every morning we awake 

Even if sleep would bring us more joy

Every morning we awake 

Enjoying whatever we can

Every morning we awake 

Earning sleep from hard work

Every morning we awake 

Everything is not guaranteed

Every morning we awake

Even just one little mistake

One morning we are awakened

Photograph by Tzipora Lifschitz

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"Just Take a Deep Breath"
By Toby Volcovics

Screaming, Screaming, Screaming

She chases her sanity

Screaming, Screaming, Screaming

Her sanity abandons her

 

She becomes entranced

Her mind takes over

Wandering, wondering, pondering

She is centered no more

 

“Who is controlling me?”

“I cannot breathe”

“There is no hope”

“When will this end?”

 

Screaming, Screaming, Screaming

She chases her sanity

Screaming, Screaming, Screaming

Her sanity abandons her

Euphoria
By Annabel Kermaier

The pain was stark against the blank canvas of flesh, blooming like a flower beneath my skin, thorns digging in, sparking out a feeling of life and death rolled into one. It was delicious: not to me, but to them. They devoured it, sucking every fallen drop from their lips, teeth glinting bright red and beautiful, hungry eyes hypnotic and repulsive at once. I tried to shrink back but was held in place by the force of their desire. It was powerful, like a crackling fire eating away the floor beneath me, consuming and producing, feeding on itself and blazing, sending thick plumes of darkness up to tangle with the sun.

I was up there with the smoke, feeling the hot caress of the sun trail down my back. I was with the people, my people, feeding on the energy of the moment, of the day, of the noise and the swollen crowd, pregnant with itself, ready to be reborn, and already screaming into the world. I was myself. I was sticky with blood and excitement, seeping blissful agony from my every pore, muscles clenched, teeth bared, fingers curled into claws — euphoric and

delirious, drunk on the heady wine of my own centrality.

In that moment, the intensity of the pain overcame me, so hot and intense it felt freezing, overtaking me. In that moment, I was no longer another face in the crowd, jostled for a few inches, toes crunched underfoot, too far to see someone else’s blood splatter on the stones, swept along on a tide of impatience, feeling that same hungry vacuum in my chest gasping at the air for life and for pain. I was no longer that person, or my own person, or any person. I was a symbol. They spilled my pain out into the world and lapped it up where it pooled, crimson red and gleaming, dark and bright in the sunlight, and they were reborn. It was absorbed into the hot desert, soaked into the parched stones, evaporated into the thirsty air.

I was no longer myself, ordinary girl made important only by the chance of a lottery and the weight of my people’s attention. I was a sky goddess. Blood no longer spilled from my veins, but fire. My back arched like the sun’s path during the day, and the bruises forming behind my nails spilled like ink across the night sky. Pinpricks of

light gleamed in my eyes, rotating and spiraling, containing the fate of the universe. This was the first time I had opened my eyes in my life. The outlines of the platforms around me were as sharp as knives. Clarity. It was a visceral clarity, paid for in broken bones and sacrifice, and with it I could see the truth. I could see the people around me: families, strangers, lovers, and enemies. I could see the swirl of the crowd like a slowly spinning galaxy, like a calendar spinning ever forward, gears sliding past each other and never interacting. I could see them come together and drift apart, drops of oil through water, and then die. They were all insignificant. They were a cloud of gnats, softly buzzing, circling and circling, flying endlessly, getting nowhere. Circling me.

It was a beautiful revelation, more lovely than the cactus-flower bruises on my body, more sweet than the honeyed blood dripping down my lips. It buzzed through my brain, a sweet blissful shiver tingling over my skin. It was worth it; it was euphoria.

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Photograph by Eliana Birman

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Our Light
By Jessica Horowitz

The world spun faster today

The wind stronger

The day shorter

But with you it felt longer

Your gravity spun me further

Because of you

I watched the seconds turn to minutes

A world of you, me, and no limits

Our light danced around
Painting memories

While creating our crown

Bright and beautiful to you and me

But to everyone else 

A piece of debris

We see them trying with all their might

Trying to catch our piece of light

Little do they know

You can’t touch something that glows

Whirlwind Vibes
By Chananya Zaider

“I kinda wanna be an actor when I grow up. In like, films and stuff.”

All I could do was laugh. The flashing images warped my vision, but in that moment, I saw clearer than the hood of my dad’s new Porsche. In just that one moment.

All I could do was laugh.

At how hard The Amazing World of Gumball slaps at 3 AM when you’ve got a physics test in two days.

At how the pain of toxic words from toxic people became irrelevant, for the first time in ages.

At how fast we were growing up.

At how the mark on the back of my neck from yesterday suddenly stopped hurting. At how unready I am to be an adult in two

years. I’m just not ready. I wanna be a kid again.

After all we’d been through, sharing regrets, friends, fears, jokes, screw-ups, hopes, and dreams and how we truly felt in every damn fiber of our bodies just how far we’d come, on the carpeted floor of his attic against the tattered, brown couch, staring straight into what felt like our TV in our world on our night, as our signature unruly laughs cut through the air, infecting the room with something we were only going to feel once in our lives.

The ageless spirit of youthful camaraderie, which doesn’t die alongside childhood.

All we could do was laugh.

Not gonna lie, I wanna be an actor too.

The Beast
By Brooke Kohl

The bad news came in waves. 

They stood on the beach, the lines of young soldiers in shapeless suits, armed with love for their country and toothpick swords. Each time another bottle was carried to shore they collectively inhaled and tensed up, waiting for their commander to grab it, unroll the scroll inside, and deliver the doom it was sure to contain. 

A frosty atmosphere, only worsened by the periodic flakes of snow that fell from the clouds scattered in the gray sky above, pervaded the crowd. The soldiers shuddered with each new message: Haladrian fell to the Conquerors. The wildlife died in Demarna. The Nightress used her final spell. 

As Commander Padin reached for the latest message, the sound of hoofbeats echoed against the mountains to the soldiers’ back. As one, each man drew his sword. Commander Padin slid the bottle into his belt and then did the same. 

The men waited in terror as the hoofbeats came closer and closer, and still, no horse appeared. Each man huddled close to the ones nearest to him, forgetting about early morning skirmishes and mealtime brawls. In that moment they were united, as close as they had been the one time they’d come face to face with the Conquerors. 

Finally, after what could’ve been hours of waiting, a figure appeared. Far back in the ocean, astride a majestic black horse, a man. The soldiers were able to make out his features as he got closer. Clean-shaven face, longer-than-average hair flying in the wind, piercing green eyes that were full of wisdom. 

A murmur spread through the soldiers. “It’s Findon!” “He’s back!” “Are we saved?” 

“Quiet!” the man, Findon, called as he and his

horse neared the shore. “It would suit you to mourn today, as the mighty Saldio has fallen.” 

A collective gasp echoed around them. 

“What does that mean?” Commander Padin asked tremulously. 

“As you and your men may know, Saldio has been Keeper of the Curse for the past century,” Findon said. As he spoke, he dismounted his horse and then continued walking towards the shore, his feet and long robes somehow remaining on top of the water. Despite his being shorter than many of the soldiers, his presence commanded an attention given to only the most well-respected in all the land. 

“I am not strong enough to reBind it,” Findon said. “The beast awakens.” 

A tremor spread through the crowd as each man internalized what this meant for them, for their families, for the rest of their lives. They were unified by their fears of the future, and could barely stomach hearing Findon’s words. 

“Every other battalion is in use. You men are the only people we can send to fight the beast,” Findon continued. “I will be with you, but my protection only goes so far. You must be ready to risk your lives for the world.” 

Murmurs arose in the crowd. “Why not use it to help us?” a brave voice piped up from the back of the crowd. “Use it against the Conquerors! Put it on a leash!” 

“Don’t you think I’ve thought of that already?” Findon asked with an air of annoyance. “It won’t work.” 

“Why not?” the voice countered. 

Before Findon could respond, the sea exploded. “Stand your ground!” Findon bellowed as the men turned to run. He raised his arms and, as the water fell towards the men, molded the sea into a shield of sorts, a bubble stretching over all of the people. The rest of the water in the

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Photograph by Jessica Horowitz

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ocean froze. 

And caught, a writhing statue in a sea of ice, was the beast. 

Twenty feet tall and covered in golden porcupine-like quills, the beast was a more daunting enemy than any of these men had ever been faced with. A giant forked tongue slid in and out of its mouth, and disco ball eyes bugged out of its face. It was more imposing than anyone could describe; only seeing it could truly allow someone to understand the terror it instilled in the men. 

Cries of, “We cannot fight it!” rose from the crowd. “We’re not strong enough. We’re the weakest battalion from the weakest country and we cannot possibly do it.” 

“Fools!” cried Findon. “If you don’t believe you can do it, of course you cannot. But you can. You must. If you let me fall, humanity is ruined.” 

The men continued to grumble. Findon turned around to berate them further, and as he did so, the beast broke through its cage. It lunged for Findon’s shield of water, fell against it, and broke through. 

Havoc ensued. Findon tried to rally the men, but to no avail. And so he stood there, facing the beast alone as the men ran away. He cast spell after spell, and yet each one barely damaged the beast. 

But Findon, the Nightress’s apprentice, had never been one to give up. So he fought on and on, as the sun sank below the horizon and the men cowered in the mountain caves. 

But a man cannot counter the power of the beast. With the last bit of daylight, the beast finally overcame him. 

Findon fell, and with him, any hope for the entire world’s salvation. 

Nostalgia
By Katie Nachmani

I love the smell of syrup: sweet spring air as it wafts between people and breathes through the casement window. 

I love the sound of hushed chimes echoing from a buzzing alarm as excitement distorts orderly routine.

I love the sight of an unknown figure’s lingering eye searching across my image as if it had seen a polished new toy. 

I love the taste of bitter chocolate and pulpy juice as they intertwine and melt instantaneously on my tongue.

I love the feeling of regret, drying off damp memories and teasing the warm future that is to come.

 

But these tokens of self-possession do not rise without punishment 

For it is foolish to think that bliss is not accompanied by affliction  

And that the mindset of nostalgia is prolonged joy, 

While it is spreading destructively through the body, numbing passing days of dripping saturated ink.

 

We are harassed with the phrase of “look to the future, never the past”

But if the past holds the gifts that we desire the future to multiply 

To maximize and to grow, to preserve those hours of stillness

Now if that is not a mentality of mindlessness 

It's a ride to diminish the colorless beating weeks 

It is an emblem of perseverance; the youth is more wise than crude 

 

From the fine edge of dawn to the gaping cavity of dusk 

Above the pulsing rhythm of the clouds to the overcast crescent moon

I charge recklessly while refusing deflection from staying in this age

Because it is impossible to subdue this feeling 

 

 

I love to love.

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Photograph by Ellie Weisberg

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The Yellow Kite
By Hannah Friedman

Sleep. Alarm. Work. Repeat.

Sleep. Alarm. Work. Repeat.

Sleep: Seven hours exactly. 

Alarm: An incessant blaring sound. She sighs as she shuts it off. 

Work: Train number 586 to cubicle number 129. Identical desks, chairs, and computers. They say each job is “unique” and designed to “keep our world flourishing.” Flourishing? Flourishing? Flourishing or cycling? Moving perpetually to the tune of the rhythm. 

Sleep: In her single-room square shaped apartment, she crawls into her bed. She thinks about how above, below, left, and right of her, beyond the grey monotone colored walls, lie several others in identically shaped apartments in identical beds. She wonders, are they pondering the same thing? 

Alarm: She turns it off, and so does every single person in her building, as well as every single person in every other building. 

Work: Everyone walks into the large room holding their cups of coffee. From nine to five, each person has eyes glued to a screen and fingers tapping instinctively along a keyboard. Are they cognizant of what they’re doing or is it purely automatic? She thinks it’s automatic. The world in routine. Cycling.

Sleep: The room is so empty and quiet that

her shuddering breaths echo. With no window, she stares at the ceiling in a trance until her eyes draw closed. This time, she dreams. It's a sunny day, not one cloud in the sky. She walks hesitantly along the grass, which tickles her feet. Where are her shoes? She doesn’t care, so she continues to travel along the green carpet drowning in the blue ceiling. Blue, not grey. Then she notices a yellow kite on the ground. She reaches out to it, and lets it escape into the freeing wind. She watches as the kite gradually becomes smaller and smaller. Flying farther and farther and farther…

Alarm: It rings. And rings. And rings. She doesn’t want to shut it off. But she has work, so she must get up. She outstretches her arm and presses down on the clock. 

Work: She arrives a little late, but it doesn’t matter. No one would take her cubicle. Rather than turning on the screen, she stares at the black that harbors a distorted reflection. Rising from her chair, she glances around at the other employees who are dedicated to their jobs. Each person works on their device and a chorus is made from the clacking of the keyboards. They don’t see their reflection, she thinks. Sleep: She had awaited this moment, excited to see the yellow kite once again. And there it is lying

in the grass. Throwing it out to the air, she smiles as it takes flight. This time, she gazes out at the sky for longer, getting to see the kite go farther. What happens when the string runs out? Will the yellow kite be truly free? Impossible. Perhaps the kite won’t be tethered down, but if not attached to a string, is it still a kite? The spool unravels faster and faster and faster…

Alarm: She doesn’t want to get up, so she lets the alarm ring.

Work: She doesn’t make an appearance that day, but who would notice?

Sleep: She feels more alive when she sleeps than when she’s awake. Lying in bed, she chuckles. Then she slips into her slumber, this time running to the yellow kite.

Alarm: Jumping out of bed, she slams the alarm off.

Work: She gets onto train number 586, but does not go to work. She goes to the store and when she arrives back at her apartment, she dumps the metal cans of paint she purchased on the floor. Hours later, she laughs as she drops a wet paintbrush and falls back onto her bed to admire her work. The ceiling is now painted blue and is covered in yellow kites.

Photograph by Eliana Birman

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Photograph by Brooke Kohl

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The Truth
By Justyn Peverell

In a time, in a place, a person is there. They have been there far too long but cannot leave. They have not been there quite long enough. They shake with fear of God. They are afraid that they are not doing what is right. They beg of God only to show them what to do, what is right, to explain.

They are there. They are me. They ask God for compassion, and they beg for a good judgment. They do not move until they are answered with one. They fixate their eyes on what they cannot see but know is there.

“I don’t understand,” they say. “So show me.”

“I am willing to die if you show me.”

“Show me so I can understand.”

And they are answered. They are not shown what they want to see. Instead they are told what God is not. Flames emerge, and shatter the earth. They catch on to a tree. And this time, it burns. The mountain on which the person huddles is illuminated by its colors, and lightning thrashes the soil.

The earth, too, strikes. It trembles so loudly that it is an earthquake. The wind cries out

and circles the mountain, the earth, everything. And yet it is told to them that it is not God. The magnificence of the phenomena leaves the world empty and void. As if all life, potential, and understanding has been sucked from its atmosphere. The person stays, begging for it to be filled again. All that is left is a whisper. A quiet voice is there and it is steady. It says nothing but that it is there.

“This is where,” it says. “This is where God is. You cannot see God, no. But maybe you can be comforted. Because this is God.”

The person cries out still. “Show me. Show me what is right. A way that I will know it is the truth.”

They are answered. “Why do you fear that you do not know truth, do not know right? I made you so that you would not know.” Still the person’s eyes do not leave, do not dare to stop begging for an answer.“Have compassion on me please,” they say, “and if not, if not, then I refuse to leave until you let me be good. I refuse to abandon my power to be good!”They hear an answer, once again. “I am

God. God of mercy and kindness. Slow to anger, abundant in kindness and truth. Iremember the kindness for thousands of generations, and I make sins disappear. I am the truth. So why do you fear that you cannot see it? It is me that is the truth, me that is the right, me that is the kindness. You want to see me, and to know me. So you want to know truth, you want to know right. I am the truth.” The words strike the person and they bow. They bow to the truth, and the world is void of sound once again. Not even a whisper is heard. Not a sound.

The ashes left of the fire are scattered like shattered stone, sapphire. What was left of the tree that once stood is gone. They do not move, they will not move. Until they do. They gather the ashes of the tree that was destroyed. They walk away. They walk down the mountain. And a silent wind carries the ashes away, into the wind. It creates just the slightest whisper.

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"Are you okay?"
By Toby Volcovics

Three words.

One question.

No certainty.

 

“Oh yes, I am fine

Oh, so, totally fine”

 

But am I really fine?

Am I really okay?

 

Every day feels like a nightmare of another

I can’t tell if I’m going up or down

If I’m walking or running

 

But

 

“Oh yes, I am fine

Oh, so, totally fine”

A man offered "happiness"
By Richie Nadritch

A man is on his knees, defeated and heartbroken. He is on a mountain top, so no one can see him weakened. Upon his lap, a corpse, the corpse of his lover, red flowing from the body like water through a broken dam. 

 

The man's eyes, the color of the dirt on the ground, let streams of molten metal burn his face. The man screams, a scream only heartbreak can fuel. The ground cracks all around him, lava pouring through the cracks. As the man sinks into the corpse, lava fills the mountain top.

 

Jingle. Jingle. Jingle.

A door appears behind the man. A

short figure walks out. He wears a green and orange jester's hat, his pants puff out far, and his shoes are pointed like wooden stakes. The jester walks up behind the man and says, “It’s time to go.” He holds out a mask. The mask has an eerily wide smile and blacked out eyes. He takes the mask from the jester, gets to his feet, and waves his hand over the corpse. The corpse is consumed by the lava and the man follows the jester through the door.


 

Years later, a man wearing a mask with blacked-out eyes and an eerie smile sits on a throne, his legs over the gilded arm. “It’s time for the meeting, sir.”

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Top: Drawing by Aderet Feldblum

Bottom: Photograph by Eliana Birman

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Calypso
By Eliana Birman

‘Callie, are you one of them?’ he asked me, and I paused and waited for his eyes to stop watching me, for everyone to stop watching me, for everything to go away. But it didn’t. It never went away and it’ll never go away. This power, this magic, this curse, it’ll never go away. I’ll be stuck like this, hiding myself away from him and from the rest of them and from the whole entire world for as long as I can stand it.

The leaves rustled, bringing me back to reality. 

‘Are you?’ he urged. The leaves rustled again in the wind. Reminded me that I needed to answer him. I couldn’t escape the question. ‘Are you?’ he repeated, and he tried to sound angry, but I think he just sounded scared.‘Yes, Levi. I am.’ And he didn’t know what to say, just like I didn’t know what to say when I found out, and I’ll never know what to say when they ask me, because if they ask me, they

already know the answer. I can hide my hair and I can hide my freckles and I can hide my pale chest and the nagging feeling in my stomach, but at the end of the day, they’ll always find out. They’ll always ask me, ‘are you one of them?’ because I am, and they’re taught to fear me. That should make me feel powerful, right? But no, instead I feel weak and helpless because I have nowhere to turn. No one to go to. No one to tell me that I’m not a monster. No one to tell that I would change it all if I could and I would never have chosen to be born this way. 

‘That’s all I needed to know, Calypso. I’m going home.’ Not Callie, Calypso. The Callie he knew when we were little kids, when we were climbing over roots and rocks and trees, when he and I both didn’t know who or what I was, gone. I guess Callie died when I told Levi

the truth. Now I’m Calypso the freaky little monster, manipulating everyone into worshipping me like mindless zombies. People won’t even talk to me. They won’t talk to me, but they’re always looking. 

Does he still love me? How can he, if he’s afraid? I know he loved me and I know I loved him and maybe I love him still. But how can I love him when he’s afraid of me? And then he started walking away and I could barely even whisper ‘keep my secret’ and I pleaded it with my eyes and the panic on my face but I don’t think he saw because he didn’t turn around. He couldn’t face me. How can I love him when I’m afraid of him? When I don’t know if he’ll tell? He probably won’t keep my secret forever. He’ll tell them eventually. He’ll tell them all. They’ll find me and ask me, ‘are you one of them?’

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Icarus and the Sun
By Ellie Weisberg

Here comes the Sun in her blazing glory! 

Charging forward like a bull running to red,

My Sun.

Filling my eyes with light until they overflow.

The surplus slipping through the corners of my eyes,

My Tears.

They flow into rivers and then into the sea.

But they are not salty.

They are sweet like nectar.

Warm against my skin like your fire,

My Sun.

 

There is a tale they told of me as I drowned in the sea.

That I reached for something too far.

From Me.

But how could I not try to reach the heavens high?

 

They say she loves no one.

My Sun.

And they gape as I fall from grace.

Poor Icarus: too cocky, too young, too dumb.

They mock me, but I do not mock them.

As they whisk past me to their other,

Their Sun.

 

I will drown here,

The Sea.

Burying myself beneath the waves.

I am so close to you, my dear.

I can feel your strands of light tickle my lashes.

You have burned me and branded me with our love,

My Sun.

Do not send your clouds of rain and thunder after me,

A Storm.

If you do, I won't be able to gaze to you any more.

My Sun

 

There goes the Sun.

Photograph by Eliana Birman

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Alarm Clock
By Brooke Kohl

When you walk into the bathroom, trying to avoid the people walking out, there are three girls sitting on the floor. As you wait for a stall to open up, you can’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation. 

The conversation seems like it should be private, the sort of thing you’d feel really guilty for eavesdropping on if they were speaking in a more secretive place. You consider walking out, going to find another bathroom, but then you think about how they’ve chosen to be here, they know that anyone can walk in, and yet they’re still sitting there having that conversation. 

So you stay and listen. 

As you listen, you ponder why some people find bathroom floors the best place to have serious conversations. Are they not grossed out by it? Or maybe the grossness is the whole reason why they sit there, it’s something they’re unable to stop thinking about and thereby something to prevent their conversation from getting too deep. 

That doesn’t seem to have worked in this case, though. It’s a deep conversation, the exact sort that, had you overheard it a few months ago, would’ve completely ensnared you. Listening to it today makes you thankful for the passage of time, although also somewhat guilty. It was circumstance that got you to this point, nothing that you yourself accomplished. 

And besides— circumstance hasn’t been enough. Even today the words are like an alarm clock, ringing and ringing and not allowing you to forget about them. 

You think that you could maybe tune the girls out if you really wanted to… but you also can’t tear yourself away from listening to them. You stand there and listen and let their words wash over you, let them cascade down your cold body like a warm shower, hear them and turn them over and over. And you want to say something, you feel words on the back of your tongue, but you know that the longer you stand there and listen to them the closer the words will get to the tip of

your tongue and the harder and harder it will be for them to go unspoken, and the harder it will be to go back to how you were before the conversation set off this alarm clock in your mind. 

Your mind is a wheel, spokes spiraling out in all directions, and in the midst of it all is that clock, that conversation, the three girls speaking what they probably think are harmless words, but they’re not harmless and— 

A toilet flushes. A girl walks out of a stall. 

You walk in, and the three girls are suddenly a lot quieter. 

The bell rings, and by the time you’re out of the stall, they’re gone. 

The alarm clock is off. You breathe a sigh of relief as your mind goes back to sleep. 

12 Years
By Eliana Birman

my brother loves polar bears 

he knows and he cares 

it’s incredible, really,

the knowledge he shares. 

but I’m worried and I’m crying and don’t know what to do

because how do I tell him his bears are dying?

no chance of defying their fate 

relying on the earth, their ever-tempting bait 

it’s just dragging them down for the slaughter. 

how do I break that news to a toddler?

 

I’ve seen too many NatGeo photography headlines 

I’ve seen one too many declining trend lines

they’re shocking.

meanwhile, my knees are knocking ‘cause it’s cold 

but not as cold as it should be

‘cause it’s December, I think, if my thoughts are correct

and it’s hotter than it should be (trust me, I’ve checked) 

but I’m cold.

maybe my anxiety can’t be controlled and that’s why I’m shaking, 

come watch me unfold

“we have 12 years left,” we’ve been told,

 and I wish there was some sort of ceremony, I could 

anoint the world, hope to fix the burning

but oil just raises the flames

and there are still people who reject the claims that 

anything’s changing at all. 

why do I feel so small? 

 

but my brother’s still innocent, he’s only 3

and the temperature’s lowered a couple degrees

“we have 12 years,”  they said to us 

and I don’t know for sure, but it might be enough 

to polish the world that is right now scuffed.

it’s a little less blue and a little less green but 

maybe one day we can fix this machine.

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Top: Photograph by Jessica Horowitz

Left: Photograph by Ruby Samson

To My Concerned Neighbor
By Ella Morgenstern

"You know, every day when I was a kid, I’d always wake up with this same thought, more of a resolution I guess. ‘Today I’m going to go mute.’ That’s what I’d say. ‘Today I’m going to go mute, and I’m going to see if anyone notices.’ Like a morning ritual. Of course, it took me a while to ever actually test out this theory. The urge to speak was always all too tempting. But then came this one time. I was eleven years old. I had been playing a game of hide and seek during morning recess with some kids in my class. I was this tiny little thing, barely able to brush my teeth without going on my tippy toes. And I had gone and crawled way underneath the swirly slide. Squeezed myself in till I nearly fell to pieces. A couple of minutes go by, I heard the girl finish counting, and listened to her scamper on those little wood chips. A few more and I stopped hearing anything… Then ten, then twenty, and then so many I stopped keeping track. Except my dumb little self was still squished underneath that swirly slide. Finally, I

took the hint, and I got up, which was difficult since my legs felt like jelly being all cooped up. I went back inside, saw class going on, business as usual, and then I looked over at the clock. It had been two hours...two hours. Can you believe that? It had been two hours and no one, not even my teacher, thought to look for me. That’s when I decided to go mute. On that day, I didn’t make a sound. I bet you can guess what happened. Mhm. Nobody even looked at me, not once. And at just age eleven a thought dawned on me like a big slap in the face, because I knew it to be true. “I thought,  ‘If I dropped dead right now, who the hell would even know?’ From then on, it always felt like I was drifting. Like a crumpled piece of trash floating in the sewers, a phantom lurking beneath the shadows. That is until I met Connor. It was like BAM, this blinding spotlight aimed right at me. I mean he’d look me dead in the eye and I knew ,for the first time, I knew I was real. It was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was wanted, needed. I was

loved. Shoot, even when he smashed my face into our bathroom sink I knew I was loved! I mean, I had the power of making someone feel something so strong that they just needed to hit something! And I didn’t care if that something was me. I can see it on your face, you judging me. I see that same face every day. See people like you thinking, ‘What kind of a woman lets herself get knocked around like that? How little can she possibly think of herself to stay with a man who puts her down?’ But you, and all of them out there, don’t get that that’s just it! He doesn’t put me down! Each punch is another “I see you,” every hair pull is another “I love you,” and all em bruises that’s left is proof that there is someone out there who cares; someone who I have an effect on. And so I guess now you know why I stay with him through everything. See, I’d much rather have my body painted purple and blue than be transparent."

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Her
By Ellie Weisberg

The words burn like the dead sea 

She struggles to wash them off

All of him off 

But he leaves a stain

As she slips down the drain

As she slips down the drain

Numbed at this point by pain

With every slap he's winning

She's so helpless just sitting

Sitting on the stories of yesterday

Wondering how a world of color could be so gray 

 

Her screams are silenced 

She yearns to forget the violence 

But she can't

And she wont 

So she sits there 

Her body bare 

Her soul 

Calling fold 

She doesn’t thrash 

 

She gives in 

To the rushing faucet water

Letting it cut her throat 

A lamb to the slaughter

Losing her breath

Choking 

On his tongue

images 

words

Shoved into her 

As he whispers 

“You love me”

Photograph by Jessica Horowitz

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Photograph by Adiel Ramirez

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Sleeping Beast
By Ariella Marmon

“For the longest time after the curse fell, I did not know if I was a beast who dreamed of being a man, or a man who dreamed he was a beast.” 

—Leife Shallcross, The Beast’s Heart

 

We each have a beast inside us, but they do not control us—unless we allow them to consume us.

Resisting our beasts can weaken them, and, more importantly, it shows that we aren’t beasts ourselves.

Evil is characterized by the intentional repetition of immoral acts that negatively impact others.

We are not defined by our worst crimes or even our worst thoughts (so long as we don’t act on them).

Impulsive, reactionary thoughts are natural, but they reflect what society has taught us, not what we truly believe. It is human nature to

question whether we are the villains in our lives or the heroes: remember that villains do not care enough to wonder.

What we are is simply human: we fight our inner beasts to the best of our ability and hope, in our most callous moments, that we haven’t damaged anything—or anyone—beyond repair.

When our beasts take over, we do not fall unconscious: we are responsible for every casualty, even if it’s easier to blame our beasts.

Whether real or imagined, our beasts can be terrifying; but do not be afraid to challenge your perception of reality.

Are you dreaming? Does it matter? What happens next is up to you.

Monument
By Annabel Kermaier

It’s not that you’re here

It’s that I’m not

Cold stone carved with a name

In place of memory

I can’t feel your hands

Fingertip-soft as they

Brush across a lifeless rock

I can’t taste your breath as

You whisper secrets to the ground

The breeze of your blanket

Settling over me

Ruffles only the grass

Not even the roots reach

My roof

A butterfly lands on a monument

While worms eat my eyes

I can’t see the point

 

The spire of a mausoleum

Is the backdrop of your picnic

Darkness, mine

You spread food before my name

Like an offering to a Greek god

Wine for Dionysus and

A sip for you

Dark, rich bread for your lover

You imagine I am above

Mirroring your feast

But that, too, is for you

Because

Beneath your feet

I am the meal

Don't Go Into the Woods
By Hannah Friedman

Don’t go into the woods.

You were told, weren’t you? Don’t run into the labyrinth of slim tall trees. Don’t step under the canopy of emerald leaves. Don’t ponder the thought of going into the woods. 

Fools view it as a shortcut; the wise venture the longer route around. People have gone missing. Don’t go missing. Just stay in the light. 

How silly, you think. It’s not that bad. You’ve seen maps before. The woods aren’t that big. The walk is a straight path, it would be impossible to lose your way. But most who think that way are naive, ignorant, or engulfed by the boldness of youth. You look out to the forest of warning. The forest of secrecy. The forest of opportunity. Where the trees mock your rebellion. Snigger at your hesitance. Watch as you cower in the bright sanctuary of the sun.

And you realize all of this. The knowledge snakes to your core in like roots.

So does the desire to waltz into the prohibited blossoms. The view of the forbidden is taunting. 

What if you didn’t heed the warnings? What if you crossed the invisible line separating the open blue sky and the dark expanse covered in clouds of green? Who would know you ever crossed a toe? Who would know you ever reached a foot? Who would know if you leaped into the unknown of the mysterious, curious forest? There are no witnesses, except for the grass, the insects, and the birds. And the trees. You can’t forget the trees. The trees are always watching and listening.

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Photograph by Adiel Ramirez

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Anachronism
By Nadav Lemberger

An anachronism: cottages on the cliff, plains of snow behind them.

The cliffs in the distance give the scene a sense that civilization is far away, that this is a shelter—a bubble of quiet.

The only hint that things are otherwise is the street lamp.

When you zoom out, you realize this is the edge of a city—not a refuge from civilization, just an illusion.

Someone standing in front of those cottages sees skyscrapers.

Photograph by Brooke Kohl

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Endless War
By Millie Schwartz

When will we grow up and find that our peers aren’t the strangers we thought we were fighting?

When will we see that, in this broken world of poverty, pain, and people,

This messed-up swirl of blue, green, white,

When will we see that we don’t have to fight?

When will we see that we’re like one another?

When will we see that the others aren’t so other?

When will realize that, below our differences

Below our opinions

Below our flaws 

We are all

Simply

Human?

Please,

Let it be soon,

Before we destroy ourselves over who we thought was the truer man.

There are too many wars.

Wars inside, wars of the mind.

Wars fought loudly

And wars fought silently.

Too many battles so tragic, the blood fuels the battles fought today.

Too many battles fought for nothing, over nothing.

Too much blood spilled for no reason.

When will these wars cease?

When will we strive for peace?

At some point, eastern turns to western

And black turns to white.

Hate turns to love

And blindness to sight.

At some point, we’ll forget what we’re fighting over.

At some point, we’ll realize we’ve destroyed all we thought we were fighting for.

So when will we wake up and see?

When will we trade fear for unity?

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Photograph by Brooke Kohl

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The Edge of Free
By Eliana Birman

He waltzed through life

He sang and danced

He took me with Him

while He lept and pranced

He had me reeling at that

wonderful feeling 

that i thought was love;

i was wrong, i was stuck 

on His hand like a glove

that didn’t fit right

just a little too snug

and a little too tight

but “ill-fitting” somehow fit

and i learned to submit

but day by day 

His ship would sink

and He pulled me down with Him

brought me to the brink 

and i was done sitting, watching,

cast to the side

and i wished to take back all the 

tears that i’d cried

my eyes glittered like the stars

as i bathed in their light

that was no longer ours

it’s a bright, airy night

and I’m free.

Photograph by Toby Volcovics

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Monochrome
By Tamar Rosenfeld

An ALARM! blares

Inter     rupting my sleepy haze

I open my eyes but still I see blackness

Prepare for my day, still under the blur of a dream

  

   r

  h   o

t        w open the curtains but still I see blackness

Look in the mirror, piercing GREEN eyes staring back at me.

Trudge to the elevator, but the arrow never lights up. 

I take the stairs. 

In the lobby hangs a tangible silence, devoid of people 

I look out to the city street, but the b e e p i n g cars

Have raced away leaving my thoughts 

to dissolve into the op   en air

 

My watch dings, signaling the start of work

I pull open the door, a blast of blackness

Meeting my eyes

No people, no familiar hum mm m mm

 

The hallway    c  k  minute hand reaches the 1

                      l      c                                            2

                         o 

Echo o o o o ing against the dark walls

A mirror on the wall draws me in 

A colorless face stares back at me

Green eyes now gray

Like a Prayer
By Rosie Felig

I press my nose to the glass

And search for your pretty soul. 

Heartbroken, happy, I’m digging for you, 

You, 

All brown waves 

And old love. 

 

I see you climbing a ladder, 

Begging for correspondence with the angels. 

You’re fogging up God's window, 

But he doesn't care - 

He draws the curtains and keeps you falling. 

Falling down, down 

And somehow your tiny webbed toes 

Never find the ground.

 

It's been 6 months now, 

And there's no more honey flowing around these parts,  

So I bargained with God to let me catch you. 

You were all bruised and weepy in my arms 

You calling my name, 

Felt like one long-lost prayer. 

And then you were singing.

All those years of me wandering, that's where I found myself. 

In that plain, broken song of yours. 

 

I carried you through the glass 

My nose all red from God’s frigidness, 

And when you stopped breathing, 

I didn't try to save you. 

I just let time take you 

And listened to your last prayer.

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The Game of Life
By Eliana Birman

we’re playing the game of life

and it’s not fair that some peoples’ lives are fairer than mine

so I stick by the rules in the hopes that it’ll help me improve

because not all of us are given rights that we can abuse  

 

we’re playing the game of life

and it’s not fair but I’ve given in to not playing it right

I feel uneasy giving up and letting them win

because I know that they’re trying to get under my skin

 

my parents say, sweetie, you don’t 

always have to be right 

if it’s just gonna lead to another fight

but I can’t help it, try as I might 

I’m both bark and a little bit bite.

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Photograph by Adiel Ramirez

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