In this section:
Senior Year Snowstorm by Eleanor Willard ‘20
Fruits as a Love Language by Adeline Loh ’23
Dear, by Adeline Loh ’23
Signs of Life by Alyssa Robins ’22
Fracture by Cheryl Wang ’23
Stray Hairs by Hazel J Kevlihan ‘23
Oysters by Hazel J Kevlihan ‘23
Thoughts on Sex by Anonymous
Ritual by Claire Cheek ’21
Wither by Cheryl Wang ’23
Bearer by Camille Brunetti ’20
vacancy on a bridge by Kiki Chen ’23
mochi by Cheryn Shin ’20
Senior Year Snowstorm
Tomorrow class won’t be cancelled.
Tomorrow the streets will be gray with slush and salt,
just barely clear enough to drive over.
Tomorrow everyone will return to cursing New England
and wondering why they ever agreed to move north.
Tomorrow there will still be tests to study for
and papers to write and applications to submit
and a whole terrifying, uncertain world to prepare for.
But tonight, the air is thick with falling flakes
and shrieks of astonished laughter.
Tonight the light from street lamps is soft
and evergreen boughs stoop toward the ground,
curling protectively over snow-filled walkways.
Tonight the world has become something from a fantasy,
and who cares if we have to return to the real one
Fruits as a Love Language
In this house we do not look into
each other’s eyes and say “sorry”, or
tend to the singed skin we leave
in our wake of barbed words. Only
recently have we learnt how to say
“thank you”, rolling the unfamiliar
words in our mouths and unfolding
them on our tongues, letting them
emerge from our throats as wrinkled
origami, a peace offering, an attempt to make
up for all the years we spent only
knowing how to take from each
other. Instead, we take to the kitchen,
untie bags of apples, rinse grapes in the
sink, and shake out plum powder into
small saucers. We learn that love sounds
like the crisp peeling of pears, the clanging
of a metal spoon put into a bowl of halved
kiwis, and the grating sound of porcelain
sliding across wooden tables, with fruits
neatly sliced and plated without having
been asked. So, this is how the fruits have
taught us where to look for each other: darkened
juice stains on the wooden chopping board,
stray bits of apple skin flush against
the walls of the sink, soapy knives, and
spots of dried blood on scraped fingertips.
i redact your name even though it
is shorter to spell it all
out. i scramble the letters, tuck
them underneath my tongue and press
down to keep them there, a small
mouthful, a small price to pay. but i
cannot swallow. one day
i will learn to write shorter letters, shorter
poems. until then, this will do: a verse
saying nothing, lines woven tight
with tense hands so you will have to squint
to read between them, pick apart
words stitched together, a cloth pulled taut
to hide more words.
Signs of Life
Today I forged my dying grandmother’s
so that my mother can get citizenship
to Canada Today
my brother threw away thousands of files
on our old computer deleting
tabs from 2009 that link
to dead pages Today
I found my own hair
clippings from 2002 the same time-bleached
faded brown as the ponytail
my father cut off
when he moved to California Today
trapped inside the house by a team of men
with a broken air conditioner leaking
I lay down beneath the table we bought in 2007
Looked up and saw for the first time the dark and greasy
fingerprints I had left
every day for a decade as I pulled in my chair
I speak twin-tongues mapped across parched paper:
Two worlds stretched across blue and green and black and Everest—I think in colors, ideas, ghosts. Close your eyes and breathe in smoke, smog. Cancer, they whisper. Hear the voices across a grid of electric sparks, following the twists of my unwinding veins.
One speaks of the distance between heaven and the seas. I am the split, withering brushes warring against wilting nibs. I am a thousand humming sounds at once, dialects lost in endless roads and times. Awake and asleep, two days juxtaposed into one, I am—
I confuse myself in 1s and 0s and Yous and 我s. I speak with the understanding that none of this can be mine, that I am resigned to being a spectre of half-dreams and presence.
City lights blind me from oceans away. Stars are forgotten, dreams are forgotten, I am forgotten.
The Man in the Moon tucks me in as Chang’e watches on.
Hazel J Kevlihan
I hated stray hairs
before you peeled mine off your
skin. Proof of life, Love.
Hazel J Kevlihan
Red as lobster skin
I dissolve into bubbles
soap slick and yearning
Thoughts on Sex
Spring was about to leave
the veins of the trees.
But in the underground,
time doesn’t matter.
I walk through infinite train cars,
brief bursts of chaos, clanging
metal threaded through electricity
only vibrant in between.
The blue green
sucks my skin to monochrome.
All I remember is my reflection
in the scratched up foggy
“You kiss like a goldfish.”
How do goldfish kiss,
and how would he know.
Did he leave goldfish stranded
Bowling Green & Borough Hall –
did he suffocate them too?
It was an anti-climactic
“Next stop, Borough Hall,”
he was gone.
I never understood why they call it
For me, it’s more of a
A slow fade,
a blinding white.
I am water, &
You are the cup.
I do not hold
unless I am inside you.
After we fuck, we lie there, thighs pressed together,
willing or unwilling, it’s unclear – the bed
is small and breaking the stick of release
seems too painful a challenge. Maybe
we’re exhausted, or maybe we just love each other.
You listen to the crickets, the whine of summer’s
passing, and say you wish they would sing
like this in the city. Well, I wish
they would shut up, frankly – their lament
a torment as I fake sleep to count your exhales.
Lover, there is no bigger secret than being alone.
I wake each morning dusty eyed and you ask why
and I say it’s too hot in here and maybe that is true
but what I want to say instead is sometimes you wrap
your arms so tightly around yourself while you sleep that I get jealous
and your mouth makes the smallest hole, that I can’t help
but wonder what words lay fetal on your lips.
I will spend forever trying to answer
what you cannot
tell me, the silent language of your being.
Eyes stretching to see the Peak
of standards higher than Babel
and expectations (what is
a map of the world:
— look, here is where your father
studied for six lonely years, this strange,
foreign land where landline calls
cost more than meagre savings —
or where we lived when you were
very little, do you still remember
Auntie Zhao, who taught you poems in
unfamiliar tongues and carried you
to the top of the apartment rooftops
to see the businessmen, their leather
briefcases filled to the brim with
paperwork intermingled with our hope
that you would grow to become —
traitor to the victors:
that sink into withered bones
and ache on cold days.
Everyone who looks at me sees the
brocade my mother stitched into my chest.
my blood is
By virtue of the special histories my forebears lived to bring me to them.
My lips and fingernails
The tips of my hair and eyelashes
Dust gold thread
And glow embers
Into the air.
To be a monument
to my mothers.
vacancy on a bridge
Man it feels weird to be here without you, yawning like smoking in reverse. Without you, I mean not with you, I mean I’m here and you are somewhere that is not here. With me. Without me. I might be bleeding right now, which would mean me, bloody, in the future. This is not to say that I am or have been a lamb. When I was 7 and you were 9 you taught me how to chew honeysuckles. And now I open the Washington Post to your face on page 3 and read things you hoped no one would ever know. All this because you know where the erogenous zones are on Jeff Bezos’ apricot-flesh scalp. I think we should go to Switzerland and beg the mountains for something profound to feel. The watch you gave me for my birthday still sits on my wrist. My pant legs still crinkle at the bottom. The bookstore on west richland is closing. Tell me how many of these things I have cried myself awake about. And there you are. I mean aren’t. I mean you are here only in the way that anybody can be anywhere in absence. I mean you are missing from here. You are missing from me. I have to hold my wrists myself now.
cw: anorexic ideation
what kind of milk would you like, honey? skim? whole? almond? soy?
what do you have?
skim? whole? almond? soy?
latte with skim milk is 110 kcal for 300ml according to My Calorie Calculator but i think it’s more in this cup it looks bigger because everything here is in imperial what the hell is a fluid ounce?
hazelnut latte is 4000 korean won that’s about four dollars no more no less because tax is included about you don’t need to guesstimate how much more you have to give
americano is 5 kcal but i think it depends on the roast the calories increase i don’t know how it works but my app tells me that
you are supposed to be more than the numbers you see but i see them everywhere in my planner on the wall my calendar the numbers that rise and rise and blink at me the way i blink away synthetic tears from the medicated eye drop bottle the one with the green cap the one i’m always losing
iced maple pecan latte is my favorite drink i’ve discovered here they don’t have that back home
always iced always latte the milk swirls white icing on cinnamon bun delayed dripping it’s funny here they ask what kind of milk i want and i once said half and half they all look the same white and that’s a lot of cream maybe i should go for regular
i wonder how much i ate i haven’t moved much today should i get a latte?
yeah sure why not oh and could you add three pumps of toffee nut instead of four? two important things to know:
1. everything here is sweeter
2. toffee nut is yummier than hazelnut1
look into the full-length mirror flecked speckled with age older than my twenty years i stand naked and pale fluorescent disk a ceiling sun against white arms lifted by numbers below blue feet red heels ribbed chest and bones below breasts
grab a fistful of flesh and pull waiting for it to peel away a ball of black sesame mochi from a bigger batch squishy sticky just enough elastic to rise slowly back into place filling the missing hole
how are you?
i’m good how are you?
honey, you look thin
smile at the compliment mochi hidden under denim waistbands.
1because it has a more roasted tinge chestnuts rolling in tin cans underneath a mulberry branch fire flames hot brown coals they burn your fingers bite and your teeth go through the flesh feels like the white creme layer of a double stuf oreo