The house was a green that was supposed to be key lime

by Rose Griesgraber

The house was a green that I suppose was key lime,

and the yard was defined by too much driveway.

The gate was fardown and wide swinging – chain link –

And at night, walking back from closing it, I would be frightened

because if in the sky you could see bats as the sun set and you lay upon the trampoline,

then who knew what could be creeping up behind?

But the crunch of the dirt, gravel, and decaying black, chunky pavement

assured you that there was no one;

you would hear their footsteps when you paused, scared girl.

We, my father and I, tried to make the yard a little less

driveway and dirt.

Around the firepit rarely used was sandy, weed scattered dirt-

very hard packed. And he got it into his mind to make long mounds for planting

– and then I did too.

He started the job, and had to leave (mom repelled him)

– work took him away. And I wanted (needed?) something to

take me away too.

Rough hands resulted from the first day

– pink and green from my own pain and that of the now absent and

no longer scattered weeds.

The next day – much clanking as I removed the

rusted hoe, only three quarters of a handle remaining,

from the shed that we kept these sorts of garden tools in.

Red replaced the pink of weed worn hands

and later, the yellow white of unopened blisters took its turn.

The bats told me it was time to quit

but, like them, I turned a blind eye.

That summer, as our vegetables grew

– yellow and summer squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin –

I flooded the troughs

everyday, watching the milky, pine needle filled water pool

and abstain from consistency –

I was eager – for fall and a homegrown jack-o-lantern, But

the pumpkins rotted where they sat on the vine

They Say

by Alyssa Robins

If you are willing to step down from your podium
To teach me what you know and to
Learn from me
From books, diagrams, dirt, dust in noses, the
Way stars bunch together like birds, your
Weight by the dent you leave
In the bed fifty years later, the
Beauty of a French blue door, the
Way light always changes, then
Sit with me in a night-lit diner
Let us write with
Ephemeral fingertips the
Plans of our lives
On those white Formica tables

Because He Loves Me

by Hana Kaneko

I’m hiding in my closet with my screams choking on the clothes that hang messy and disorganized. The shadows are pushing against my heart as the devil’s footsteps shake my skull.

It’s breaking. Closed eyes can’t protect me from the corners that I’m cornered in as red hot bruises are splashed on my skin.

Because he loves me.

I should be grateful for his care and shelter, be grateful for his protection from the evil man with his hungry eyes. To hide the beauty that I’m not even sure I have, because of these scars on my waist and my dirt colored skin. And her tongue is the knife that cuts into my flesh with the imperfections of my body.

A 7 year old girl with a crush on a boy who thinks she talks too much and is too outgoing stands in the pearly pink bathroom of the small school building. The white girls giggle about the black and blue paintings on her skin.

Because he loves me.

He doesn’t want me to have to rely on the patriarchy that haunted his sister who was pregnant at 16.

“Feminist,” he says.

“I am a Feminist.” With harsh words that forced me to wear baggy jeans and tie my hair up to look like a boy because it was my fault that I was born.

a girl.

Because he loves me.

A 17 year old girl who grew up much too young sits across from a boy trying to comprehend what his words mean. “I love you.” But the only love she knows is exhausting 3 A.M. fights filled with fears that fall to the floor with the flood of anger that she can no longer hold back.

Because he loves me.

But, is it okay because he loves me?

He was supposed to be my bright knight in shining armor as I curled up under the covers next to my mother in their room as he scared the monsters under my bed away.

But, Papa, you are the monster under my bed.

to that one boy i loved this summer

they say don’t fall for a boy like him

but I fell and boy

i fell hard

when he looked at me

it was as if the world had stopped

and all he could see was me

i felt his gaze in every cell of my body

from the top of my head

to the tips of my fingers and toes

my blood was on fire




it was as if I had been invisible for my whole life and it was only now that I could be seen

really seen

it was intoxicating to be in the same room as him

every time our arms or legs just barely brushed up against one another

my body felt like a live wire

i was acutely aware of




and when he wasn’t around

i looked for him in everyone I saw

i craved his warmth and his smile

i heard his laugh in the courtyard

i was nauseous at meal times

heart beating fast each time the dining hall door swung open

gut clenching hoping it was him

disappointed relief when it was not

the signs were there

the lingering, physical touch

the long, personal talks

the seeming genuine interest

and remembrance of the smallest of details

i couldn’t believe it

how could he

this man

whose body belonged to that of a god

be remotely interested



everything they say

the signs were there

and so I leapt into the no man’s land of love

t e r r i f i e d of his answer

and I waited

and waited

and waited

and then

it was too good to be true

so yeah, they tell you not to fall for a boy like him for a reason

they reel you in

sink their hooks in you deep

then tell you that sadly

there was already another fish on board

and so instead I wait

and allow myself to have a friend

but still every glance

every laugh

every hug

every moment of our bodies just barely resting on one another

and I feel so alive

so awake

so present

so consumed by his presence

and I don’t regret a single fucking moment