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Tethered

Issue one of three

Liminality

Volume Nº36

Winter is on My Tongue 

By Jessie Horowitz

Harsh air entered the atmosphere

Knocking on the doors of people

Who unknowingly await

The letters left in their slots

Filled with the blunt ice 

 

Waiting to melt and spread

Yearning to explore their homes

While running under their noses

Laughing at their blank stares

Reeling into their minds

Stealing all they find

 

Until the people understand

About the world that's about to come

So at once they all say

Winter is on my tongue 

Ariella Marmon

Fall 

By Ariella Marmon

The trees begin to shed their leaves. 

Orange, red, brown, yellow, green.

Softly floating, tumbling down;

By wintertime they’ll coat the ground.

For now they cling tight to the trees

Fighting each and every breeze.

Believing they can stick around,

Unaware they’re earthward bound.

 

Doomed to a fate beyond control,

they must nevertheless fulfill their role.

Oh what a joy to be evergreen,

Standing out in a barren scene.

The other trees stare with envy

At branches that will never empty.

A struggle that cannot be seen;

fought beneath limbs, bare and clean.

I am a Dreamer
 

By Michael Duell

My grandma was an artist 

She painted ponds 

With fishes, and frogs

who watered flowers

with their splashes 

 

My mother was a poet

she embellished those flowers

with bees, and butterflies

who clung to the arid air 

around her mother’s floral grave

 

My grandpa was a novelist 

He created kingdoms

and heroes and villains

who inspired his tales,

enhancing them with gold

My father was a scholar 

he studied Shakspeare 

 

and wars, and kings,

filling his library 

with tales enriched by his father’s career

 

I am a realist

I write about tears,

and death, and grief–

 

– my notebooks overflows with tears

as my pencil colors its pages –

painting it with curvy shapes

– we like to call “letters” 

 

No! 

that was a lie, 

 

I am a dreamer 

I contemplate artists, poets, 

novelists, and scholars,

To honor my lineage 

 

Gray Reflection
 

By Miriam Deborah

I am always stuck. 

Stuck between giving it my all, 

Or holding back. 

 

It is an issue

That I think about.

Every hour, 

Every minute, 

Every second.

It has taken over me.

 

If I give it my all, 

I can create long-lasting

Special relationships. 

But if I hold back, 

I remain whole 

If they leave me.

 

These thoughts, 

Drain all my energy. 

Leaving me,

To blend the black and white

To make a merry gray.

A perfect balance.

 

I’m stuck 

On what I should do. 

What choices do I make, 

So that I won’t end up hurt?

I don’t know. I’m tethered, 

In this state of confusion.

I need help.

But there is nobody

To hear my cry.

I scream to ghosts

And expect a response.

The Little Boy and the Lion
 

By Ellie Weisberg

      There once was a boy whose mother told him stories late at night. Stories of lions with big claws and razor teeth, who looked at little boys like nice pieces of meat. Every night she would tell her stories, and then she would kiss him on the cheek and leave. The boy never told her, but once she left, every night, he would crawl hastily out of bed. He would check under his bed and in his closet. He would lock his window twice and stare at every shadow until it was just a shadow. Then when he was done, he would climb back into bed, shut his eyes, and pray to the one up above that he would never see a lion. This is how the boy went to bed every night of every week of every year.

      One afternoon, when the sun was plastered on a blue sky, the boy went out into the forest. He spent hours between the leaves and the vines. Listening to the sound of chores of birds singing and the symphony of trees blowing, he walked deeper along the paved path into the woods. Suddenly, he heard a sound. The sound made the forest cry and the birds silent. Gradually, as he stood there amongst the silent birds, stories began to drift into his head. The stories of a scary beast with big claws and razor teeth filled his head until there was no more room and no more air, and then he snapped. In fight or flight he chooses flight, running to the increasing beat of his heart. He ran for hours past the birds and the tree and the vines and the path. 

      He ran and he ran and he ran, until he stopped. There the boy stood in the valley of Azaleas, Baby’s Breaths and Roses. Of Buttercups, Poppies, and Lilys. Of Carnations, Daffodils, and Forget Me Nots. It was a valley of flowers that lined the earth past the horizon, and it was beautiful. Yet there was one flower that screamed to him, shaking its stem under that sun-plastered sky. He sat there and stared. Out of all the flowers he loved this one with his whole heart. Maybe it was something about its color or smell. Maybe it was something about the shape of its petals or the way they swayed in the wind. He loved that flower but didn't know its name.

      He sat there a long time peering past the dirt to its roots, trying to find a label with a name on it, but he saw none. Then, he saw a man walking his way through the valley. The man walked the way rivers rolled, flowing in and out of reeds and grass, intangible. His face was warm, maybe because of the stars that gaze out from his eyes. The boy trusted him the way the flowers trust the river. He must have the answer to my questions, he thought. In the openness of the valley the boy cried to the river, “Do you know the name of this flower?''

      The man smiled and nodded. “A dandelion”. 

 

Jessie Horowitz

Bound
 

By Millie Schwartz

I have long been built up and broken down

By those I have loved and those I have lost

Forever a bubble away from drowned

 

Over every pain and tear I have glossed

I have gone every length to hide my fear

Becoming the last bloom in the first frost 

 

I cannot imagine fleeing from here

Cannot topple the foundation I am

I can’t destroy what I now hold so dear

 

I will not be my own battering ram

I will not bring myself to broken shards

I won’t let my facade burst like a dam

 

I can’t break away, it’s not in the cards

I’m your light in the dark though I can’t see

If I tried to leave, you’d call for your guards

 

And whyever won’t I let myself free?

It’s because I have tethered you to me.

Millie schwarz

Moonsong
 

By Eliana Birman

i still feel like a child

and yet i’ve never felt so old

still young, still free, still wild

still too scared to be alone

but i’m getting there, 

i know it

and I’ll be old quite soon

and the phases of my life

are moving on 

like the moon

but it is beautiful 

and so is life

 

 

and so I’ll be okay

and when i’m older 

I’ll look at the moon

just like i did today

and it will change for me

just as it has

for the last 17 years

young, free, wild, 

moving with the music 

of the spheres

i’m getting older

but I’ll always be young. 

 

Notice
 

By Ariella Marmon

Have you ever noticed how wanting burns you from the inside out?

When you yearn so fiercely for something unattainable that envy begins to consume you?

When your vision is distorted by desire and hunger echoes behind every thought?

Have you ever noticed how painful it is to love someone in silence?

When you thirst so desperately for someone unattainable that pain starts to devour you?

When your thoughts are corrupted by longing and every waking moment stings?

Have you ever noticed how much it aches to love?

                 Have you ever noticed how much it burns to want?

                                  Have you ever noticed how much it hurts to live?

 

Handcuffed 

By Lifschitz

I was born this way

I came into this world with handcuffs

Before I could even speak

This world was never built for me

 

I've always been this way

Tied up in chains

But no one seemed to notice

So I pretended I didn't either

 

She says I'm special

That it's a superpower

These handcuffs grow and grow

Yet it seems she doesn't know

It's not fair to sit in the window

Looking at what I can't have

Every time I get close to the day

It seems to run away 

 

A chain sprouts from my ankle

I look down expecting to see a big heavy ball

I look in surprise

At what’s tied to my feet

It's the girl I never was

The girl I tried to be

That tearful kid

Who never will be me

He says we make the best of what we have

Life throws obstacles at us

But sometimes it's too much

And sometimes it's not enough

 

I was born into a prison

And handed a flesh suit

Too itchy too small

It never fit at all

 

I was born into a rigged game

I was born tied up in chains

Tape on my mouth has taken my voice

Do you really think this all was a choice?

Monsters 

By Ariella Marmon

A timid pair of eyes stare into the void.

The void blinks.

“This is not how we usually meet,” says the void.

“No,” replies the owner of the eyes.

No, this time, something is different.

 

      The roles are reversed; prey seeks out its hunter.

      The scales are imbalanced and tearing asunder.

A girl crouches low, peering under her bed.

The monster under her bed is crying.

“Why do you cry?” the little girl questions.

“I cry for you, my dear,” he whispers sadly,

Mourning every harsh word that his girl must endure.

      He curses her adversaries as he cries silently.

      He simmers with rage and he seethes righteously.

 

The monster awaits her late into the night.

She returns beaten; bruised and battered.

“Who did this to you?” cries the voice of the void.

“What do you mean?” asks the girl in confusion.

Her empty gaze stares past him, unseeing.

      She will not survive this; she cannot endure.

      Their cruelty is boundless, their souls are impure.

 

A twisted form emerges from the darkness.

He will ensure they regret all that they’ve done.

“I will avenge her,” he growls through his tears.

“They will suffer for this,” he swears with a cry.

He is true to his word and they pay for their crimes.

      Retribution for the cruel; justice for the unprotected.

      Her abusers are damned, and she is resurrected.

Ellie Weisberg

Nightmare 

By Nava Lacher

At night I hear them-

Voices tittering in the dark,

Creeping across my room.

The shadows on my walls-

Are they real?

Am I?

I don’t know much,

But I know I’m not safe-

That even in my own home,

I’m not really home. 

I can’t sleep.

Our door is unlocked,

our windows opened,

And strange people come.

 

I see them, even now,

Out the corner of my eye 

Leering at me, stroking my hair-

GET OFF! I shriek, but they never do-

they only ever leave 

When my sister chases them away.

My mind can’t make sense of

Anything 

Anyone 

and I clench my eyes shut as

Tight as I can to block out the nightmares

But still they come,

And when I wake they’re just as real

And vivid-

I can hardly tell the difference anymore.

 

Ariella Marmon

Ode to a City
 

By josh stiefel

Surely the cascade of feet will arrest

The turnstiles of the breathing cityscape

Thundering trains ream the rails they compress

While the grimy skyscraped evening takes shape

“Someone will surely cease this commotion”

- Cry shattered hearts of the forlorn unknown;

their hearts of glass discarded and broken

Metrocarded spinsters of blood and bone,

Amid the discord: a harmonic chirp

A solemn sparrow stands perched in stasis

His proud thesis of hope tries to usurp

the beating of an urban night - graceless

Yet, there is no wisdom in this brave flight

Amid the chaos of the New York night 

 

Limb by Limb
 

By Rosie Fellig

There is comfort in desperation,

In the transmission of doom. 

When the twilights beckon for you to surrender 

How could you deny, 

The lunar winds that guard your bedstand? 

 

How awful are these sheets of soil our tendons have grown in between, 

To betray us so shamelessly 

And strike our hearts. 

That is to say, 

To disembowel our faith 

Limb by Limb. 

Mornings after snowfall 

There is a quiet 

Creeping from the roots of branches 

That have only known outdoor splendor.

The vanity, upright against a winter window 

Houses oils glittering with what ought to be. 

The mirrors distort the width of our eyebrows 

And void is this bedroom 

Of understanding. 

Where do the stars go?

Do they sleep when we run? 

Do they dance while we dream? 

There seems to be not a lamp in sight 

Rather, a sleeping sun, 

And the post office filled to the brim 

With greetings from the graveyard.

The current has somehow thawed, 

The drought draining the stream as if it were entitled to it’s cool rush. 

And i have only remained to watch 

How neighboring nature whims 

Slowly descend into madness.

How their swift breaths of carbon 

Consume my dignity. 

The truth? 

The stars should be left alone.

So too with the night,

they have become tired of their use in sorrowed metaphors. 

The sun need not wake.

The world is in no need for its blaze. 

The oil bottles were not sealed tight enough,

and now death oozes over cold, white wood. 

Snow has become slush

And the soil has gone coarse.

It refuses to drink. 

I remain beneath fortresses 

Of solitude, and inadequacy.

Little earthling am I forever to be,

Crazy, crazy girl 

Who ought to unlock her own tragic cage -

Once, and then never again.

Within the Castle Walls 

By Nava Lacher

You know that old bible adage-

The one that goes something like

“From dust you were created, and to dust you shall return”?

No one ever mentions the hell that’s in between-

really living in the dust.

It clings to everything—my hair, my clothes,

      my skin and my books.

All I really long for is to be clean. 

To rinse myself of the sting of my mother’s ruler,

to rinse myself of her apathy.

To get as far away from my father as possible.

That’s the only way the grime will disappear,

when his broken mind

And hands can’t reach me-

-can’t destroy my sculptures, or siphon off my freedom

      dollar by dollar.

i’m tired of this strength forced upon me.

i never asked for it.

it feels impossible to swallow back my rage most days,

to breathe with these dust covered lungs.

So i gasp at every breath of fresh air

     (that sweet luxury)

and grasp at dreams

of a world nothing like the one I know,

clutching the idea of New York skylines

      like a stuffed animal

to my chest. 

i need to get out.

                                  i need to get out.

                                                                    i need to get out.

 

Adara Wachsstock

Perception & Identity
 

By Kaden Love

I forgot my name 

I forgot the words associated with what they think I am

I forgot the discomfort that used to always dwell around me

What used to be my normal 

The way it took me over in patterns 

Like a chilly breeze on a cold winter night 

Who am I? 

Who do you think I am?

Are they any different? 

Do you see any differences?

Can you acknowledge them like I do? 

Can you feel them surround you like the taste of a warm chamomile tea? 

Or do you see them, but as what they aren't? 

A cold pain, an aching wind, a brutal storm 

Can you see it, like it is?

Or are you fazed by the storm you created 

The image of a monster in front of what was a warm hug

Aderet Feldblum

Torn
 

by Selah Ottensoser

“Help!” I scream over and over.

I am stuck in place.

The right answer flashes brightly in my eyes, 

Yet my instincts weigh on me with a gray cloud overhead.

Pulled in a tug-of-war between my pride and my empathy,

my Indecisiveness is the true antagonist of this story.

 

Is it better to free myself or die for others?

To be a hero, To be selfish.

Suddenly, there is no right answer.

I look both ways, but my fears distract me;

"Run!," they say 

Run, abandon both your empathy and your pride.

Run, let no one decide.

Run, be the coward.

 

I now see the right answer and its manipulation is dragging my name,

tethering me to itself; I can feel its freezing hand reaching out to jerk me in.

I need an escape plan, my Indecisiveness has taken over me.

Do I risk it all to shelter myself or turn for the others in need of help?

“Help!” I scream over and over. 

Help!

 

Past
 

By Shoshana urman

When I read the things I’ve written

And they take me back in time

I always marvel at that girl

And how she lived outside the lines

How her eyes shone like the moon

On a dark and starless sky 

And her hair a deep rich ink

Etching stories in the night

 

When I close my eyes I see her

Dancing, music in her head 

And she stayed outside all evening 

Watching stars from flower beds

She ran barefoot through the streets

But her scars they never bled

And she never dreamed of others

No, she never had regret

 

But is it truth or just a dream

When I recall this angel child

With a laugh that rang like bells

Reverberating ‘round for miles

 

She danced through rain and flames and pain

Armed with nothing but a smile 

Or was it nothing but a lie

A wish run rampant, loose and wild

 

No this girl she wasn’t perfect

And her heart wasn’t complete

For her eyes were filled with tears

Though they never met her cheeks

She avoided fights inside 

By sitting outdoors with the weeds

And you can only write real stories

When you feel the hurt down deep

 

The girl only ran through fire 

So her skin, it wouldn’t burn

She sat still while she was drowned

Asked for nothing in return 

And the blood drops on her feet

She said weren’t of concern 

She closed her eyes and thought of me

In hopes the future her had learned 

 

Take It All In
 

by Eliana Birman

sometimes i just feel like the smallest thing on earth

that there is nothing smaller than me 

that the world is too big

too beautiful 

too full 

for me to make anything of a difference

but even the smallest things 

like the bees and the flowers

make all the difference in the world

and so i will too. 

 

Multiplier
 

By Eliana birman

money is never spent just once

it is exchanged, changes hands, 

and is exchanged again

so why expect anything different 

of anything else in the world?

 

this is not the end. 

this is only the first exchange. 

 

Jailbreak
 

By Liat Furer

O’ to feel free and not be tethered to her mind. 

Trying to get away seems like a crime, but who wants to feel blind?

Freedom speaks to her, but so does being that secure person. 

Ominous thoughts squirm at the back of her head. 

Sitting while her stomach churns. 

Will they still love her if she chops her hair or straightens her teeth? 

Maybe she should exchange her personality for a quieter one. 

There she stood with her satisfactory name printed on her head. 

Untether her from the hopes and dreams of other people. 

Let her unleash her potential with grit you can’t fake. 

She aches to wake up and yell jailbreak.

 

Liar
 

By Kaden Love

Lie 

Lie again 

Lie since they don’t want the truth 

Lie since that’s what they’ll hear anyways

 

Lie so that you can feel normal 

Lie so that you don’t need to explain 

Lie so no one knows 

Lie so you can live in society 

Lie 

Build your world with lies 

And then, 

Lie 

Lie again. 

Antonym
 

By Eliana Birman

the opposite of love

is not ‘hate’

it is not ‘disgust’

it is not ‘anger’

it is ‘indifference’

it is knowing that

you don’t care at all

it is knowing that

you are over it

it is knowing that

you are done. 

 

Adara Wachsstock

Sitting Duck
 

By Ellie Weisberg

Like a stream-

She rushes-

Surges through the mountains

The valleys she crawls across- open 

vibrant-

 

And her waves- they crash

Then disappear back into the sea

To the fisherman who rides them-

I pray for safe travels-

 

-He longs for- silence-

And the gentle lul of her- whispers-

The safety of the dew-on blades of grass

The fish belong to her- swarm her-

And the great white -bows-

 

Even in the presence of fleeting footsteps

 

I prayed for the fisherman-

He longed to feed- on her belly -

-Full of behemoth whales

He sat there- in her eyes

 

He-

Engulfed in vehement cries-

Swallowed by her roar-

 

and that is okay too
 

By Eliana birman

i am not a thing that needs protection

i am not surrounded by eggshells

i am not weak

i am not broken

i am not shattered

maybe i am

maybe i do need protection

just until i can be okay on my own 

 

Multitudes
 

By Tzipora Gordon

It’s interesting, you know

The way that space and time bend

Create those little in between spaces

The spots where we slip through

 

Slip through the cracks

In the darkness, where it bleeds into the light

Where the lines of knowledge and ignorance

Or those of power and weakness

Blur together into something new, undefinable

 

At heart, isn’t that what we’re aspiring to be? 

Something undefinable, outside established, black-and-white laws

 

We are imaginary, and yet we are also all too real

We are everything and nothing all at once

 

Or so we hope

 

We hope that while we traverse these paths

These roads of shadow and light

We don’t fall prey to the things that wait

Stalking, to injure the night

 

We are the guardians of the in-between, 

But to do so, we must be the bane of the binary

We must dip and dodge around the edges of the real,

The beautiful, the unfathomable, the eerie

 

ElliE Weisberg 

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