Category Archives: 2021-2022

“Untitled” – Anonymous ’22

“We have plenty of time.” 

That’s what I tell myself amidst a work-induced breakdown. Mom says this as well, trying to get me to calm down. I tell her that this is not true, there are only 24 hours in every day. She tells me that is more than enough. She points out the pimple on my forehead and tells me the stress isn’t good for my face. She tells me it is getting worse. Apparently having too much work is not helpful. I sigh and fold my head between my legs, begging for this conversation to end soon. She yells that I am rude and that we can be done talking for the day. I duck past my reflection in the kitchen window and head upstairs, taking two at a time. I have been living in this repeated cycle of conflict and avoidance for almost 18 years now. I have perfected it. 14 stairs to my room from the kitchen. Enough time for her to drop the F bomb once, maybe twice if she was in a mood. Taking the stairs two at a time eliminated the chance for a third time.

These were my evenings. My mornings were almost the same. Lucky Charms and spilt milk. Smudged mascara and a forgotten water bottle. There was usually less swearing, though, because Mom was at work. Every day had a predictability. Every day I awoke with the same fears, insecurities, and dread of the next 24 hours. 

April 25, 2015 was approximately the 10,000th time this day had repeated. I woke up, picked out a sweater and a plain pair of pants, and threw on my boots. I hadn’t had time to do my hair the night before, so I put it up in a ponytail secured by a blue elastic and called it a day. I hardly ever looked in the mirror. My face was put together wrong, and I didn’t like to dwell on things I couldn’t change. Plastic surgery? you might ask, to which I would reply: Expensive as fuck and I’m a minor. It was easier to just avoid mirrors anyways. I grabbed my backpack, a snack, and my headphones, and I headed out the door.

I loved the outdoors. You were much less likely to run into a mirror there. There was lots of other stuff going on that took the attention away from me, and I loved it. I tried to put myself in scenes of chaos in hopes that I could melt into the background, become pixelated, and be forgotten. I kicked the leaves as I walked to school and stepped on every crack in the sidewalk. Crazy kid I am. 

The first period bell rang at 7:55, which meant that you could find me strolling into class casually at 7:54:35, folding myself into the chair furthest to the left and in the back row. You see, I had done this like 20,000 other times, so, everything had been timed out to a science. 1:30 to go through the metal detector. 45 seconds to go to my locker. 10 to get the code right, and another 10 to grab my books without looking at the reflective metal on the inside of my locker. Shit was so worn down, and yet I could somehow still see my face in its grimy reflection. Some world we live in. Anyways, it was 25 seconds to the classroom, and here we are. Every day, the arrangement was the same. Confident Nerds at the front with the Barbie Girls, followed by the Self Conscious Nerds and the Sport Boys, and then in the back, Me. There were a few other nobodies that sat around me, but it would be off-brand for me to know their names, so, I don’t.  I have a feeling that they avoid reflective objects too, though.  

First period is art. It’s stupid, vague, and useless outside of the styrofoamed walls of a disheveled public high school. Usually we are tasked with coloring some animal or making something out of clay. No matter the project, I always make the same circular blob because in art, you seriously can’t be wrong. The teacher always calls my work a “creative masterpiece” to which I respond with a slight scoff and then we both continue on our days. It really is that simple. Like I said, I’ve done this before. 

Today, Ms. Leechy, our rather plump, annoyingly optimistic teacher that ate unicorns for breakfast, came in with her store-bought smile plastered to her face like an advertisement. She was carrying a bag of something that was making a ton of noise and sounded faintly like a bag of cats being thrown against a wall. She heaved it on to the top of her desk and stood before us, grinning as if she had just cured cancer or something of the like. She reached into her bag of horrible things and pulled out something that was small and rectangular. I couldn’t make out exactly what it was, but her following sentence made me certain that I hated it.

“We are going to be making portraits!” 

Fuck. That is definitely a mirror. You all are probably thinking that I’m crazy, right? Like just draw your usual circle and stop having some weird fear of your own reflection… but I would tell you that a) This was worth 40% of our year long grade and b) F you. 

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, she continued: “And you’ll be drawing someone else!”

It wasn’t that I didn’t like myself. I hated everything about me. My eyes were too small, and my nose didn’t curve right. My bottom lip was way bigger than my top one and my hair was the kind of color you would forget about if someone didn’t remind you. I had a chin that was too pointy and a forehead that was too small. I had every reason to hate myself entirely, and although I had done my best to become invisible, you can’t hide from yourself. 

We got paired up “randomly,” which meant that she paired all of the memorable kids with good faces with each other and then paired up whoever was left. That meant I was with Liam Torry, a short kid who was also forgettable. She sat us each at our own table and forced us to face each other. We both had a mirror, pencil, and sketch pad. Why do you need a mirror if you are drawing another person, you might ask? I would tell you that you don’t, but Ms. Leechy would tell you that “The best art happens from observing things from more than one angle, all at once.” Load of shit. 

I absolutely refused to look in the mirror. No way in hell was I going to study my reflection, analyze my face, and then draw it in year-old crayon. Not happening. So, I decided to focus on the other piece of the assignment. 

I wasn’t entirely excited. Mom said that art was not a career. Mom said art was dumb. So, I rarely drew. While the other kids colored, I was doing my multiplication tables and fixing the too-tight bow on my head. It was a waste of time that had resulted in me having no artistic ability whatsoever. 

Anyways, Liam picked up his pencil and started drawing without saying anything. My face was burning and I tried my best to hide it behind my hair. I figured that the only chance of escape here was to focus on something else and hope that an asteroid hit the school at some point in the next 30 minutes, so I started to sketch. Liam’s head was a normal shape, sort of like a squashed circle. His eyes were dark blue, navy, and round. I had no idea how to draw noses, so I fudged it the best I could, although his wasn’t half bad. His lips were small and angular, pressed together now in focus. Overall, his face really wasn’t all that hard to draw. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was good enough. And much better than mine. Although I was looking down at my paper, I could tell he was staring intensely at my face. I don’t know why he was taking this so seriously, or maybe he was just an angry kid, but it seemed weird that he would be this into drawing MY face. It was sort of weirding me out, and I really wanted to go into the bathroom and slam my head against the wall. I shaded a bit more before glancing over at the clock, and holy shit: 3 minutes left in class. If this kid didn’t hurry the fuck up, he was totally going to wreck my schedule. I only allotted myself 45 seconds of buffer time in between first and second period. 

The clock continued to tick its rhythmic song as Liam curiously peered at my face, occasionally scribbling something down, erasing it, and then replacing the original pencil marks. I had basically finished mine, and although it was in no way an accurate representation of what this kid looked like, my art skills were limiting and it was “adjacent” to what a portrait of him would look like. I tried to hide my face in the neckline of my sweatshirt — didn’t work. I couldn’t bring myself to look in any of the mirrors that were plaguing the classroom, so instead I focused on the clock, hoping that Liam would be done sometime this century. A few seconds before the clock read 9:30, and the class ended, I felt Liam staring at me. I turned my head back and he had set his drawing in his lap, obviously at peace with whatever he had managed to draw up. 

He swallowed twice, relatively awkwardly, and then said, “Uh – you wanna see?”

Just to be clear here, I would rather – slam my head through the drywall of this dilapidated classroom and stay there until death could relieve me – than look at this drawing.

 But he looked sincere, and I could tell he wasn’t going to leave me alone until I saw whatever horrific thing he made.


He spun around the clipboard and I squinted, hoping to distort whatever picture would soon be in front of me. To my dismay, I could still see relatively clearly. Hopeful, he grinned and awaited my reaction. 

The picture was definitely not going in a museum, but it was way better than mine. The lines were cleaner, and this picture looked much less like a blob and much more like a fully formed human. The eyes were even and almond shaped. The hair was neatly tucked behind two semi pointed ears and parted right down the middle. The lips were tucked neatly between an almost straight nose and a smooth chin. 

Is this what I looked like? There is no way that the reflection I gawked and cried over is the same person represented in this picture. It felt like maybe he had messed up, or was trying to make me feel better about myself. I mean, who could draw someone that looked the way I did? My features were beyond modern art techniques, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Liam was still sitting, goofily smiling, waiting for me to say something. 

“Is that really what you think I look like?”

“Well, yeah… Do you not like it?”

“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I do, I do. It’s much better than mine. I’m sorry.”

I turned around the sketch I had made and he laughed a bit.

“No worries, I like it. Plus, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so, no use stressing about it.” 

My pulse slowed for the first time that day. 

Liam said, “Look at the clock; I guess we’re running a little late.”


We were never going to make it. 

“The One That Hides” – Kayla Zhu ’24

The one that remains in silence,
Though strong in mind 
Is weak in guidance
Though heart most kind.

Darkness remains unscathed
The light shines through the frame
In light there is no pain
The dark and light remain.

To reach for help is not a crime
All times I’ve heard it said
I wish I would be given a dime
Maybe then I’d pay my debt. 

Although these things have stayed the same,
I hope that one day they will change.

“Firstborn” – Campbell Tucker-Hill

As a new king in an old country rules
With the laws of the land already made.
Or when a new teacher arrives in  school,
Even the thought of change can seem forbade.
I was first born, a gift to those who bear,
Though often raised with ignorance abound
My small missteps would lead into despair
For oft I felt mistakes were not allowed.
Through error leads the strides in life,
For hindsight sees all annals in new lights.
No longer the need to stay on the knife,
Discovering the way to blunder right.
Accounts may fade and records ever lost,
But this new view comes with no extra cost.

“Untitled Sestina” – Madeira Semins

Remember when you cut your foot on the guardrail?
The fireworks were booming around you like sharp music
As you stared out into the fading blush
Of the sun’s glow. And on the walk
Home, when the neighbor boy held the flashlight
You turned back to see, retreating into darkness, the woods.

How much time have you spent in those woods
Or walking barefoot on that sharp guardrail?
How many times have you been so captivated by the blinking city lights
That you forget you’re even there, forget sometimes to listen to the music
As you stroll along the paths on which you so often walk
In the later hours, under the sky’s dwindling blush?

Watching the sunset, colored in its sky-blue-pink blush
As your mother fills the firepit with sticks from the backyard “woods”.
You observe the deer as their babies learn to walk
And creep tentatively through the bushes, over the guardrail,
Leaping on shaking legs. You listen to the music,
And although you cannot see it, your smile casts a blinding light.

Outside your window still glow the streetlights.
Their security breaks at the end of night with early morning’s golden blush
And the bird calls echo like long-forgotten music.
As they flap their wings over you and the deer, the once-dark woods
Come alive again, sunrise catching on the rusted guardrail.
Your mother goes for her morning walk.

Each night again down the darkened alley you walk,
Peering through the trees to catch a glimpse of the lights,
Teetering dangerously on the coarse edge of the guardrail,
Admiring the way the growing cold makes the trees seem to blush
In the speckled red canopy of the woods. 
You close your eyes and bury yourself in the music.

What simple pleasures of life we often overlook! Music,
Bringing its contemplative distraction to even the most dreadful walk, 
The sights and smells of changing seasons in the woods, 
The moments of peace before we surrender to the death of light,
The faces of the ones we love, aglow with rosy blush,
And the long, cold nights spent sitting and thinking on the guardrail.

Don’t forget to appreciate the woods, or to photograph the light
Which resonates like the soft music of fairies. You hear it as you walk.
But no camera could ever truly catch its blush- that is for you; well, you and the guardrail.

“Tic Tic Tok” – Sophia Sandholm ’23

Tic tic tock. Around goes the winding clock.
You know time is of the utmost essence.
It’s every man’s walk.

From morning twelve to evening twelve o’clock,
you detect Time’s unrelenting presence.
Tic tic tock. Around goes the winding clock.

We may awe at forceful Time, sit and gawk.
Or fight inevitable senescence.
But we know, it’s every man’s walk.

Time can write our whole life in sidewalk chalk. 
Time knows their infinite quintessence.
Tic tic tock. Around goes the winding clock.

Time seems to hunt us like a dogged hawk,
until we have seen it’s omnipresence.
It’s every man’s walk.

Time is everyone’s ultimate roadblock.
We feel it much before adolescence.
Tic tic tock. Around goes the winding clock.
It’s every man’s walk.

“Dreams and Reality” – Andrew Paterson ’24

Recollections of dreams, in state of waking
Free will is therefore achieved, allowing us to perceive
No recollection of waking up while dreaming
As a result of our actions while awake
Life lessons we progressively learn
No recollection of waking up while dreaming
Confirms the dream state’s enlightenment
Especially true during sleep, where mental images are forgotten
No memory of waking while dreaming
Debilitating drop in awareness
the mind can be a concealed forest
Recollections of dreams, in state of waking
When all of the states are equal
No desires left, which may tremble
No recollection of waking up while dreaming
Regardless, continue to move on,
Despite the fact that life is complicated
Recollections of dreams, in state of waking
No recollection of waking up while dreaming

“Perception” – Mac Mohn ’24

Perception clouded by a sea of timber
Fire burns and ravages the woods
Revealing the path, I can now see clearly

Fire burns without remorse, leaving smell of cinder
Born of nature it destroyed its creator, if only it understood
Perception clouded by a sea of timber

Who’s the man who lights the tinder?
The forest burned down and there He stood
Revealing the path, I can now see clearly

The decision, the end, He aches from splinter
He stepped on ash, walking forth as he should
Perception clouded by a sea of timber

He burned the forest, to show the kinder
The way the woods had not withstood
Revealing the path I can now see clearly

Time will persist, the fire will simmer
He marched through the woods, the way he never could
Perception clouded by a sea of timber
Revealing the path, I can now see clearly

“Running to Nirvana” – Andrew McKim ’24

The thump of the music numbs my pain, 
My every step matching the endless beat,
As the rhythm and blood pumps through every vein.
I hear it as I run through the pouring rain,
I feel it as I push through the deathly heat,
The thump of the music numbs my pain,
The tempo inspires me to sprint up steep terrain
The constant pulse drives me to compete
As the rhythm and blood pumps through every vein
Running to Nirvana stimulates my brain 
It’s the perfect distraction to my aching feet
The thump of the music numbs my pain
Soundwaves that motivate elevation gain
Pound the pavement on the downbeat
As the rhythm and blood pumps through every vein
As the end is in sight muscles strain
Overflowing pride comes with the last street
The thump of the music numbs my pain
As the rhythm and blood pumps through every vein

“Untitled” – Aaron Little ’24

What is a world without the land and sea
And what is land without wildfire and flood
What for are plains and rolling hills to be
Without the shed of Gea’s children’s blood
They build, evolve, and spread as they begin
Erecting mighty towers as their homes
But what are cities without all the men
And what are men to be without their bones
As such we search and crawl along the ground
Like worms and snakes we slither to and fro
But what is lost can not ever be found
And still, by nature we will come and go
We cry for help but no sound will come out
For we all clasp our hands over our mouth

“Me and My Stuff” – Andrew Hoe ’24

O, I am not myself, we are two minds
Ever in analysis, one scrutinizes the other
The second is of another kind
So impulsive, a fool, but a brother
That scrutiny is what separates the two
A scrutiny, reserved only for one’s own
A game of self blame, but compromise comes true
When I just kinda do whatever sounds good
And it’s all justified cause it’s meta
Maybe some time later, I’ll suss this out 
Spittoon, four syllables, poinsettia
If you couldn’t tell I’m getting burned out
Well now it’s all ruined, become some meme
At least I should maintain the rhyming scheme