Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Poetry

Odysseus

By Evette Davis

it’s been a long time since Your face was red,
Your cheeks stained with cranberry hues of blush.
We’d conjugate on top of silver sleds,
on Your island covered in snowy slush.

We both know our downfall was never planned.
but Calypso, this time I set Us free.
Our immortality’s not hand in hand.
how the story goes, We weren’t meant to be.

oh how You’d hold me tight in Your frail arms
remembering I crashed here by mistake.
Calypso, yes, Your island is a charm.
but youthful beauty only makes me ache.

Calypso. I’m meant to rise, but on my own.
that’s why Your island’s never been my home.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Poetry

Sara Who Didn’t Understand

By Sara Malott

You were Shay.
You were incredibly thin,
but not as thin as the hair on your head
or as thin as that half-ply toilet paper your
father got from the dollar store
because he could afford no better.

You were Shay, my bestest friend.
You wouldn’t let me walk your dog
because you thought my hands were too
fat to hold the leash, and I believed you.
You taught me how to do cartwheels and walk
like a model because guys liked those sorts of things.

You made me laugh when we ran through
the mall in our Halloween costumes,
and we danced,
and we danced,
and we didn’t care.

When I would fall and skin my knees
trying to play basketball in gym class
you would tell me I looked dumb and
that this is why people always liked you better.

You told me where babies come from
and you told me you wanted a lot of your own some day.

Your house was never like mine.
Nothing had a certain spot,
nothing in your house ever belonged there.
I always liked that.

When we came home to eat Oreos after school
in your kitchen, we would have to watch Dr. Phil
because your dad said so. I asked what it was about
once and you told me it was people who had grown up problems,

but they were different than the kind of grown up
problems your parents had while we hid among your
stuffed animals and pretended to be rocks that couldn’t hear.

When your mother moved out of town,
you moved with her because she wasn’t your father.
Once you came back to visit your father
because that’s what the guy in charge
of your case told your mom—

even though she cried for you to stay.

I came to visit you, but the only person I saw
was a sad girl who was more bitter
than the Hershey kisses in purple wrapping
but certainly not as bitter as your new landlord
with toe hair, or as bitter as the rum cake
your mom bought you for your birthday
because it was left over on clearance from Thursday.

You made me watch basketball and fed me ramen noodles
for the first time. I turned my nose up at the noodles and stuck
out my tongue but you pinched my arm and made me eat them anyway.

Nine year olds don’t watch basketball, they watch
Disney Cartoons, but I’m pretty sure you forgot
or maybe you just didn’t care.

You slept till one in the afternoon one day and
I had to eat mini pancakes without you.

Your dad took your dog to the shelter
because he must have realized that she didn’t fit in
with the sad walls and broken picture frames.

You called the shelter to get her back but she was already gone.
Gone like my bestest friend.

You were a wild flower in a field of poppies,
out of place. But you were the focus
and you liked that.

You were Shay,
and I was Sara—
Sara who didn’t understand.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Poetry

She Will Have Eyes Like Mine

By Derek Frazier

One day I will have a daughter.
And she will have eyes like mine.
She isn’t even born yet. She stands
at the door step of a universe
she will one day call home.
The day of her arrival too far off to estimate.

One day I will have a daughter.
And she will have eyes like mine.
They will be sapphire, and they will see
our home and the world by all its wonders.
Because she will be a child of a dreamer
who will teach her to think this way.
To see past how something looks or feels
and to focus on what makes it special.

One day I will have a daughter.
and she will have eyes like mine.
I wish she knew that although she
isn’t born yet, she is loved.
I dream of holding her. My hands curling around
her softly. Scared to hurt her but strong enough
she will know the man holding her
is her father, who will always comfort her at home,
and always protect her.

One day I will have a daughter.
And she will have eyes like mine.
I will read both her and her mother to sleep
as her cradle rests against my bedroom wall.
I will walk down the halls and through my garden
with her tiny feet atop mine as she tastes spring
for the first time.
She will be beautiful. The flowers  bought for my garden
will be pulled from a cardboard box by hands that
can barely hold crayons. Every Disney movie will
be watched exactly one hundred times
as we lounge on a hand me down sofa.

One day I will have a daughter.
And she will have eyes like mine.

 

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Non-Fiction

Biohazards and Blurry Visions or Where I Thought Home Was

By Amanda Udy

Trigger Warning

For the first thirteen years of my life my place was with my mother. It didn’t matter where we actually were because I always knew home was wherever Mom was. Wherever my siblings were. Where there was an argument at least once a week. Where there was dog hair on everything. Where you could always count on dishes in the sink or hot water lasting for all of fifteen minutes. Where having friends over meant spending the whole time trying to see how grossed out they were. Worrying and wondering if they still wanted to be your friend. Despite all that, it was my best shot at home. I had my mom, my siblings, my dogs. It felt normal. We had enough money to get by, insurance wouldn’t cover braces so those had to wait. Other than that we had most things we needed and lots we wanted.

And then Alex moved out, he was only 18. He realized he was living in a house, not a home. The once-a-week fights were no longer his responsibility. Fast forward two years. Now looking into the house we have two kids, both kids are embarrassed, both kids get caught up in anxiety and stress. One decides to act on this. They can’t take it any more. In the middle of the night, when all of their loved ones are asleep, they attempt to leave this world, forever altering their family’s home.

Before that day I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Sure, there was a lot wrong, but it was still home. Now every time I walk into that house it’s a physical reminder of how bad everything got. Those stairs are the ones the EMTs forced their way up. That doorway is the one they threw clothes out of the way to get to a blood and puke-soaked teen. That bathroom is the one I locked myself in with my dogs to make sure they didn’t get in the way. That room is the one my mother held her dying child in, begging for them to wake up and breathe.

Some people say when traumatic experiences happen that they’ll get flashbacks, but instead of being forced back into that morning, I get a smell. The smell coming from blood, puke, and tears can only be described as death. It didn’t smell like a rotting corpse or anything like that but it was fresh and the air was thick with it. It’s how I knew it wasn’t a dream. How I know that it will never be just a dream no matter how much I wish it was. It doesn’t matter how elaborate my dreams are, they never have smells in them. But God was there a smell. The biohazard team has been through, destroying any and all evidence of that morning, of that smell. Still it haunts me, stinking up my once home.     

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Thoughts of that house as my home no longer occur. I’ve moved out into a new home. into a new family. I don’t think my dad will ever be able to understand how grateful I am that he came to the rescue. I don’t think my mother will ever be able to understand that it’s not her fault– I just can’t help but associate her with everything that went wrong. That’s the problem with having someone be your home. One thing can change, a slight shift in thought processes, a single night left alone with depression and anxiety, and boom.

Things will never be the same.


If you or anyone you know needs help, please visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255

 

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Non-Fiction

Camp of Frozen Fun

By Sean Callahan

Be prepared, the Boy Scout motto said. I took this advice for granted when I entered the Boy Scouts of America a few years ago. I didn’t know what to expect when I heard about this legendary ‘Winter Camp.’

When I arrived to unpack the car, my hands were solid bricks of ice, despite my wool gloves covering them. Both my hoodie and winter parka were barely keeping my torso and back warm, while my face tightened from the chilly wind drafts. My feet felt so stiff that I couldn’t tell if they were actually cold by the time we’d finished setting up our tents (I casually wondered whether I had hypothermia at this point). When we’d finished setting up, it dawned on me: I would be snoozing inside a sleeping bag, on the frozen ground, in negative 5 degree weather.

Come next morning, with only five hours of horrible sleep, I’m on clean up duty for breakfast. The boiling water I’d just poured into our dish-washing basin is frozen within five minutes, and my bare fingers have turned blue as I desperately attempt to scrub the (half-frozen) dishes clean with a sponge. I’ve lost my patience after the third pot, and my fingers are pale enough to give the term ‘vampire’ a new meaning.

Although the cold and the cleanup had been atrocious, things began to improve with the company of friends. We spent the rest of the day there doing what teenage guys do best: Screwing around, snow-tubing (and falling) down steep, snowy hills, and drowning in cups of hot chocolate while sitting by the fire. After it was getting close to bedtime, four friends and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to slide down the longest hill in a snow tube together. The tube tipped over, knocking us off right as we reached the bottom of the hill. We laughed for a bit, then began throwing snowballs at each other all the way back to our campsite.

This B.S.A Winter Camp is a frigid wasteland at first glance, but I came to realize that it was more than that. It was a beautiful winter wonderland, full of fun opportunities waiting to be unleashed.

camp of frozen fun [2].jpeg

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Non-Fiction

Not Pagans

By Aevin Mayman

The Preachain Clan is made of people who value, above all things, family; it doesn’t have to be by blood.

I have been a part of the Preachain family for as long as I could walk, and even longer before that. On the question of what we do, think Civil War reenactments, but less… civil.

We aren’t supposed to keep any technology with us, but the fire is never the only glow on all of our faces at night.

If you know something about history, you might’ve heard of the Celts. They were groups of “savages” that lived in Northeastern Europe a few thousand years ago. Absolutely hated the Romans. They were known to get into more than a few unfavorable situations and really, really liked to fight. Like I said, might’ve heard of them.

We readily follow our annual traditions. Inbulk, Beltane, Gaul Wars, Lughnasadh, and Samhain. Crazy names, but we like to stick to tradition. For each, we gather at some set location: some house, a recreational reserve, an out of the way park. We’ve since stopped the latter, as we got the cops called on us “Pagan devil worshippers” a few months ago.

That was fun, having half of us standing proud around the fire and the other half running around to try to change into more modern clothes to be presentable to the police.

So, just to clarify, we are not Pagans. Also, just to clarify, Pagans don’t worship the devil. But that’s besides the point.

What is the point is that this is home to me. Wearing nothing but old fashioned plaid, sleeping in tents with blankets of (only sometimes real) animal furs, and dancing around a bonfire singing the war songs of our Clan.

It’s home holding hands with my friends and family and telling stories of the fallen.

It’s home in the Preachain Clan, no matter what anyone else might think.

Posted in 2016-2017, Issue #01, Non-Fiction

Snow Challenge

By Sean Callahan

The massive house had a white front porch. There was a garden beside the front steps filled with white and red roses and the prickly thorn bushes. The house had a large backyard with pine trees growing along the perimeter, blocking the other neighborhood homes from view. This is my second home, Maryland.

One year, winter came. I was sledding with my cousins, named Emily and Cara. We were trying to make new paths in the snow.

When we came in for our hot chocolate break, Cara showed Emily and I a video. A man, who looked as skinny as a chair leg, was standing on the railIng of his second floor porch. He dived into the tall mass of snow below, head first. Cara said this was called the Snow Challenge.

She’s lost her mind, I thought. We had a good coating of snow this year, and I wasn’t ready to have hypothermia in my obituary anytime soon. Still, I wasn’t going to be shown up by my cousins. We got into bathing suits, ran the hot showers upstairs (for emergency precautions), and waited at the front door for my Aunt to start filming the challenge.

The dry air seeped through the crack in the door, sending goosebumps up my arms. I touched the glass, and instantly withdrew at the icy sensation. Amid the nervousness and cold, I was actually excited for this.

When we were told to run, my cousins hesitantly went first. Their high pitched screams rang out as they dashed through the garden and into our front yard. I sprinted behind them, lunging into the piles of snow. Emily didn’t get further than a foot past the flower bed before screeching back into the house. Cara screamed, continuing to toss snow into the air. Seconds later, she couldn’t take it, and ran back into the house.

I was the last one, tossing snow up, cheering, and jumping into the air. All the while, my teeth were chattering, I was shaking with excitement and shivering simultaneously, and the cold was now beginning to burn. I ran back in, desperately seeking the hot shower waiting for me. I felt the searing pain of sudden temperature change, but after recovering, I found out I’d managed to stay outside in the snow for thirteen seconds.

A year later, I was the only one who’d chosen to do the snow challenge. This year, I’m going to break my record.