by Esther Fan

Find my love for you in the quiet,

In the calm of a comma

In the stillness of a pause

 

A love that

breathes

between the lines.

Find my love for you in my words

In the crooks of my CAPITALS

In the softness of my vowels

In the caress of my consonants

 

Love me louder than an exclamation mark!

Loop your hands around my curves in cursive

Whisper gently in small fonts

Remember me in italics

 

Find my love for you in a sentence that runs tirelessly

Running is only controlled falling

But I’ve lost all control

F

   a

         ll

              ing

  for you

 

Find my love for you in a chain of clauses

tied together by semicolons;

you are the subject, loving you will always be my verb

 

Not once, have I questioned my love for you.

For you are the question I long to spend my life answering.

 

Find my love for you

In the spaces in between

Us and the world.

 

You are all my words to me.

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Home Going

by Tiffani S. Ren

 

Don’t be the woman who stays

stays to be with a man, giving up

the opportunity of a refreshing, terrifying blank slate,

The wild possibility of the things you could do

with that blankness, what could you fill it with–

So don’t be that silly woman who falls easily into the heterosexual trope of

choosing romance over aspirations  

Your schooling simply doesn’t permit you to

Your schooling also asserts

women married to men don’t achieve liberation

But you still want to be connected at the joint with him,

have a joint library and joint ownership

of two lovely dogs from the local rescue

named Woolf and Ulysses

So don’t be selfish don’t have other priorities and don’t

abandon him for other lives

Your desperation for love and love of him forbids you to

But say you go,

back to China like men on the street tell you to,

In some search for home,

To see if a sense of home is really passed down

the ways brown eyes and a penchant for rice are

In search of inspiration,

In search of the little determined houses again

that you once saw climbing on top of each another on their way to the mountain top

In search of tongues like the one you lost in childhood,

           a tongue to match the ear they never could take away from you

In search of dissonance

           for the moment you realize, not for the first time and not the last,

           that you are a bastard hybrid,

perhaps a bastard without home

           anywhere except among other misfits

He asks you why, why not a vacation destination

           why not the beaches of Spain?

He says he doesn’t understand why

you’re insistent on going to this place that is not home—are you trying to make it home?

will you ever come back from it?

isn’t home with him ? why would you leave home in pursuit of another?

And suddenly you don’t know either

How to explain to anyone that you’re missing body parts

           that you have gaps where there shouldn’t be gaps

           a need to find out where home is by exploring where it could be hiding

           and a yearning for dissonance, for the internal strife and wrangling,

           a yearning to hold yourself as you change under the pressure

           as if by yearning for it, by pushing forth seeking precisely that,

it will hurt you less

 

Excerpt from “I, Mental Patient”

By Tessa Rudolph

2/24/17

We skip the diary this time, start meditating right away. As soon as I’m settled on the couch, Dr. Khan pulls out her stopwatch, tells me to take a couple deep breaths before we begin. This is really not a good day for meditation: I have an English paper due tomorrow, on animalism in Othello, and this morning I had begged Mom to let me skip my appointment. “Absolutely not,” she’d said, pouring orange juice into my glass. “You’ll have time to work afterward. And anyway, why worry? Your English grade’s high enough.”

I close my eyes. Dr. Khan is doing her thing: “As you inhale,” she says, “focus on quieting your mind. And as you exhale, release your tension.” She repeats it, a mantra: “Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension. Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension.”

I try. I do! I sit there and I breathe and I stare at the swirly star pattern I always see when my eyes are closed. I feel my chest rise and fall, rise and fall. I search for something spiritual in my dry lips, in the slow sucking of my breath.

But my mind is escaping me, running amok like a kid after too many Hershey’s Kisses. I hear Dr. Khan say, “Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension” again, but my brain is calculating exactly how long it will take to finish my paper if I have six pages left and there are 250 words per page and I write 500 words per hour, maybe 600 if I push myself. And by then I know I’m a goner.

I open my eyes. I open my mouth too, to tell Dr. Khan that I screwed up, that I can’t do it anymore. But before I can force the words out, I notice something: Dr. Khan is meditating too! Her lips are parted slightly, her hands resting on her thighs, her eyes squeezed shut like the women I see at synagogue. She keeps muttering, “Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension”—more to herself, I realize now, than to me.

It takes me a moment to register the significance of this discovery. Then I feel it, an idea burgeoning, unraveling in the pit of my stomach. I try to resist. I do! But before you can say “Shakespeare,” I’m removing Othello from my backpack, flipping through the pages, perusing my annotations. I glance up; Dr. Khan is in another world, still repeating that mantra. I find a pencil on the table beside me, start to draft sentences on the inside cover.

In Othello, William Shakespeare juxtaposes humans and beasts to convey that, despite the pretenses of civilized society, humans share many fundamental traits with animals.**

“Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension.”

From the outset, the comparison of jealousy to a “green-eyed monster” reflects a non-human component to jealousy, for by definition monsters are not human—a fact that contributes to people’s fear of them.**

“Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your tension.”

Further, by comparing Othello and Desdemona’s lovemaking to the purely physical reproduction of animals, Iago implies that beneath societal customs and niceties humans share many primordial instincts with the rest of the animal kingdom.**

“Inhale, quiet your mind; exhale, release your—”

A bell goes off, high-pitched and abrupt, like the chirping of a bird. Dr. Khan’s stopwatch. I move quickly—my fingers are already struggling with the zipper on my backpack when I hear her say, voice measured, “Is that what I think it is, Joanne?”

Catching Time

A poem I wrote in grade 9, which doesn’t fully make sense to me anymore but it was just interesting to look back at it after so long:

 

Catching Time

Inflexible, Unstoppable, Imminent, Ungraspable

Every second steals a part of it

The most miniscule fragment runs away;

Even now as my laborious pen moves

And crawls on the white wall of paper,

It’s running

In every particle, with every word,

In every book, with every annotation,

Faster than the ant on the windowsill

Faster than the rapid beams of light.

In horizontal lines, and indefinite curves,

It treads through it all, crawling through my nerves.

Behold, it’s arriving

But it crawled through that hole.

Try again tomorrow,

Catching the time.

-Mehar Bhatia

The Room in Frame

An unfinished poem I wrote a while ago to accompany an art piece I did

 

If you touched your palm

to the floor, I wonder if it’ll be splintered

by the ground beading up and rounding

around your fingers.

Exuberant particles by the masses

leaving tarantula trails on your ring finger

 

If you pressed your ear

to the door, will your attentions be drawn

to the tinkling of an abstract orchestra

anchored to a distant solar system?

Or will the sound of silence deafen you

 

If you were fatigued and overwhelmed by a sudden spell of nausea and an instinct

to lean against the walls,

how much time will elapse before

the tree branches root your

feet to the ground they stand on?

How can you stand it?

– Tiffany Chu

It’s Passion, not Pretence

by Udita Bajaj

The Colosseum.

First day, first historical monument of Rome to visit. I stood there, motionless and at a loss of words. All I could do was stare. Stare at the architectural beauty which had a gaze several hundred years old and an aura even older. It had sustained the eye of many – more than one could ever count and I was just one of those myriad puny humans who came from around the world to admire it. My novels had come to life and for the first time, I was physically there, walking towards the entrance, ready to seep myself in a history book, dissolving into the first chapter.

I’d walked in with a positive attitude and a refreshed mind but naturally, as always, something unpleasant was bound to happen. Yes, we had to take a tour guide. Yes, Rome was one of my dream destinations. But why am I then supposed to know everything? I had always been interested in history and picked up bits of information wherever I stumbled upon them perchance – books, television, movies…everywhere! Be that as it may, I intentionally never went on the Internet and researched about the places I’ll be visiting in detail. Why? I want to learn. I want to learn while being there in person so that I could fully feel it all and absorb it all. But just because I had always been fascinated with Roman mythology and history didn’t mean I was a walking talking Roman encyclopedia!

“What is this sculpture, Udita? Which God, which king? What is it made of? Why is it like this?”

“You have an interest in Roman history, right? Tell us, then. Why is this monument built like this? Why is its structure like this?”

“You don’t know this? And you claim to be interested? What a disgrace!”

These were just a few repetitive taunts I had the privilege to hear from my family, especially my brother. A twelve year old freak – that is what he was, and with those tangled strands – mischief was written on his face, clearly shown in that evil triumphant grin he flashed at me from time to time. Since that day in the snow in Switzerland, his behavior had completely turned around. He was like a monkey out of its cage! Annoying me had become his favourite hobby and was being mastered by him to perfection in Rome. Apparently, my interest had slowly transformed into a subject of mockery.

It was discouraging but I tried not to let it overpower me and remove the reason why I was in this city. I was here to learn and immerse myself in what I loved. No matter what my obnoxious little brother said, I saw every part of this massive Roman amphitheater, listening, reading and learning.

“Are you done roaming around this monument? It’s time to go for shopping now, ” my parents had said to me from time to time, who were unconvinced of my desire to learn – they thought I was posturing it and their indifferent attitude towards the city I adored further strengthened their belief. I sighed to my myself in disgust.

“No,” I said.

I only had two days in my grasp. Tomorrow would be the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. Today, I took myself to one of the most famous Piazzas Piazza Venezia. And of course, my family had to come along, with their eyes open, buried in their phones. But I was determined to see not with the eye, but with the mind.

Tall and grand. Not massive, but grand. Pillars decorated the upper half, an evident symbol of ancient architecture. Below it were carved sculptures depicting…various scenes from battle, I believe? People filled the entire space beneath this magnificent monument, milling about like a swarm of bees, the mindless chatter getting lost amongst itself. However, the most special quality of this Piazza, which I got to learn, was what appealed to me the most – those sculptures weren’t scenes of battle. They were allegory, each with a hidden meaning, symbolizing something.The entire monument was an extended metaphor.

The blazing gleam of excitement in me could not be matched. I looked at my parents who overcome with exhaustion and heat. My little brother’s head rested in mum’s lap as she tried to calm the restlessness inside him because of the heat. Gradually, a slight smile took its place on my face and I shrugged my shoulders. I turned around and headed towards the flight of steps leading to the pale white emblem of grandeur, more ready than ever to plunge into the world of the past on my own.

Someday, I will return and see everything. Explore everything. Learn everything.

Someday, I will return.

Meet the E-Board: Senator

Hi Reviewers! 43063225_10156359540843301_1685651582802198528_nStarting today we will be posting the Fall 2018 The Wellesley Review E-Board introductions starting off with our wonderful senator, Alyssa 🙂

Hello! My name is Alyssa Robins, and I am the Senator for the Wellesley Review, as well as a general member on the prose and poetry boards. I am a first-year interested in studying English, creative writing, studio art, and astronomy, along with nearly everything else!

I first learned about the Wellesley Review while visiting campus in my sophomore year of high school, and it is a dream come true to be on the E-Board. I can’t wait to share our writers’ voices with the student body!

Outside of the Review, I am a copyeditor for the Wellesley News, a apprentice of the Guild of Carillonneurs, on the Dorm Crew, Elevator Elf for my dorm (McAfee!), involved with the Unitarian Universalist community on campus, and a member of the Student Organizations and Appointments Committee (SOAC).