Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

Someone I Didn’t Know

by Sara Malott

I’ve never hurt so badly for someone I didn’t know.
I am working to rehumanize you, to turn your name
back into a feeling, to recover it from passing dinner
conversations. When I was younger, I used to hate
when my parents talked around me. I gathered snippets
like dandelions, but it was never enough to make sense.
I’ll explain when you’re older: worthy of little eye-rolls
and balled fists. Now, I am older and I don’t want
an explanation. I want to hold your children and cry
with them, I want to plaster your face around town
Your candle didn’t just burn out it was snuffed.
In explaining your story, my mother
started by calling you an alcoholic, but I know that yours
was not a simple tale. You are not a problem I need to
solve. I still don’t know how you ended things,
but that has not stopped me from inventing
that night in my mind. I do not want to turn you into
an example. In this poem there is only you and I
don’t believe we go anywhere after earth, but I would
try if it meant getting the chance to meet you. Yes, it
would be easy to say you got dealt a shitty hand, but
this isn’t a game and I’m sorry it was treated as such.
I found out that you liked to write, but I can’t say we would
have sat in a coffee shop scribbling about life together.
I think about it sometimes. To be honest,
I don’t know what any of this means. Processing you
is like trying to churn rock hard cement and somehow
I am always the fool expecting it to soften again. All I can
see is your skeleton hanging in my father’s closet, buried
so far in the back because I think he is trying to forget and
sometimes he exceeds.
But I never will.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry


by Heaven Angleberger

My mother is a seed.
Life grows from her,
springing up into the open air
as if reaching for the Heavens.

My mother is a wave.
A beautiful blend of blue and greens,
a blanket covering the sand.

My mother is the sky.
So much discovered,
but many things yet to unravel.
She is a planet,
orbiting around me as if
I were her World.
Her stars,
her light.

My mother is a blade of grass.
Pointy and sharp, but if you take the
time to know her, you’ll see
a blade of grass soft to the touch.
A blade of grass that can
make a mark on your life, just as
grass stains your jeans.

My mother is Camille.

Courageous and outgoing,
A mile that runs on forever, but never tires you,
Mellow as a mother should be,
Immune to nonsense–
Life is too short for that,
Even though she may not be loved back.

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, Issue 02

The Death of Life

by Gabriella Ganoe

Fall has always felt like a wake to me. A preview, a screening of the death to come, a way to see what living without the Sun will feel like, before its official. The falling leaves are like our heavy tears, the shriveling plants are the words we regret not saying. The wind is the coffin. It’s come to take the life away.

Winter is the funeral. Cold, the tears turned to rain or snow, the grass letting everyone walk right over it. There is no color, only gray. There is no Sun. The Moon has taken over, and even it seems tired. Winter lasts the longest too. They say it’s supposed to last a few months, but the time bleeds into itself, and before you know it, the whole year has been winter. Coats and hats and gloves appear on every street corner, like eulogies or wishful stories. But nothing can keep the frigid chill from seeping into your bones, the ice from frosting over your chest. This is where you lose hope. This is where you’re buried.

Spring comes as the reception. Not everyone has one, and they’re not always what they should be. Sometimes the foods bad, and sometimes, no ones in the mood to talk. Words are stuffed down throats by the cold that lingers under doorways or in corners. Regardless, this is where hope is nurtured. Words are exchanged like thank you cards, hugs are given in all directions. The color begins to return, and your heart begins to thaw. Spring is a promise.

Summer is the car ride home. Company and heat and unanswered questions. You can feel better, but still ache. Whole, but not completed. Around you are the reminders of the things you still have to lose, and the silence reminds you that you will. Summer is a distraction. It causes you to be too busy with the Sun in your eyes to notice the wind beginning to settle over the Earth. It’ll take life as easily as it has all the other times winter has won.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

The World is Ending and I Take Her With Open Arms

by Aevin Mayman

The world is ending.
The sun slides across the sky,
a smudge like a sick child wiping their hand across the blue behind it as it goes.

The ground pulls, now.
The grass is a wet carpet of quicksand
that yawns wide like a starved child

reaching for food.
A moss covers everything, a sickly green thing
like a tired bar sign, promising only despair and endings and decay.

The world is ending.
When the sun rises it is a fight, like a mangled bird pulling itself away from the road,
the trail of its heartbeats a smear in its wake.

The forests scream, now.
and they echo around the buildings still standing,
a tidal force of primal fear slamming against the crumbling bricks.

The world is ending but so am I.
I can feel myself dragging along with the sun,
leaving behind a bloody, tired trail like leaves ground against pavement

I can feel the suffering of the Earth,
of that tired sun,
of that yawning ground,
and I spread my arms the doors of a funeral parlor and say
come here, don’t worry, I’ve got you.”

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Non-Fiction

A Mother’s Silence

by Heaven Angleberger

I am from my grandparent’s house. From the little swing on the front porch and the lilac trees out back. I am from my mother dropping me off for sleepovers at their house every weekend. Her picking me up on Thursday afternoons with stories of losing track of the time. I am from disappointment.

I am from arguing with my mother. From telling her that I hated her. Telling her that I wanted to go back to Grandma’s house. That night she had me fill up bags with all of my things. Three bags sat by the door filled with stuffed animals, dora figurines, and size 4T clothes. I am from hopping into the front seat of my mother’s beat up volkswagen. From her slapping my fingers away as I fly through the different channels on the radio.

I am from driving like a bat out of hell down the highway. My mother pulling into a McDonald’s parking lot. I am from my mother ordering a Big Mac and me chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. I am from asking her when we’d go to Grandma’s. From reminding her that she had promised. I am from my mother’s silence.

I am from my dad walking through the glass doors of McDonalds. From his blotchy red cheeks as he tries to pull me from my meal. I am from “It’s okay, dad. We’re going to Grandma’s.” I am from loud voices and being ushered out the restaurant. From my hands fitting into my father’s hands. I am from greeting my dad’s girlfriend in the car. From her hello’s as my dad gets in the car. I am from watching in the rearview mirror. From watching my mother disappear into nothingness. I am from mistakes and new beginnings.

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, Issue 02


by Gabriella Ganoe

I can feel the power coursing through my veins. It burns, and tugs at the insides of my veins, a beast clawing its way out of my body. But I’m in pain. There is something about it that feels normal, like it’s was working with me. This power is mine. And I don’t have to contain it anymore.

There’s a series of shouts that crowd the air, thick and staggering voices that hit the air behind me. Dad’s probably already called the police; he’s done everything he can to keep me locked away. But now that I know, now that my body is radiating what I was always meant to be, they can’t stop me. Nothing can. Not the years of lies, the constant physiological torture. Not the hand pressing against my chest. It all feels so far away, despite the fact I’ve only run a few meters. The binding is gone. I’m free.

I suddenly feel weightless, an untethered balloon ready to set off to space. The pounding of my feet on the pavement is replaced by the rush of wind against my ears, the ground becoming nothing but a distant memory. The electricity stuck in my veins explodes out through my hands, encircling my fingers like a moth to a flame. I’m the flame. I’m on fire. And I’m burning through the clouds.

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, Issue 02

What to Remember When Exploring Abandoned Places

by Aevin Mayman

  1. If you see figures in the distance, only wave if you see more than one darkening the horizon. They will take it as a slight against them if you do not. If you see a solitary figure, do not wave. Do not pay it any attention. It is lonely, and will think you want to spend time with it. You do not.
  2. Close every gate or door that you open. Even if you’re alone. Even if you think you’re alone. It’s the only way to know if something is following you. Or someone.
  3. And things will follow you. But you don’t have to worry about most of them.
  4. If you come across anyone else, give them a fake name. Never tell them who you really are. Never tell them. Remember, your name is all you have. Never give it out.
  5. Do not take anything. Even if the flowers are pretty, and even if you really like the quartz sparkle of that rock and even if just one wouldn’t hurt, would it? Don’t. This is not your land. It never was.
  6. If/when your pictures don’t come out the way they should, do not attempt to clean them up. Leave them blurry or delete them. You don’t want to see what’s been hidden.
  7. Don’t swim in any lakes you might find. Don’t let your friends swim in any lakes you might find. Of course, everyone will know that it’s not safe to go in unfamiliar water. It could be deep. You should beware of leeches or snakes. Nevertheless, you see people swimming. You should watch out for them, too.
  8. Bring everything you need to stay for an emergency. Water, rations, bedding, rope, iron, salt, a satellite phone. You never know how long you might be staying.
  9. If you enter a building, make sure you are always by a window, never mind out dusty or age-clouded it may be. Watch the sun and its shadows as you explore. Time isn’t always linear on the inside.
  10. Do not explore the forests, or the trees that have ways of sending you in circles. Survival guides say to break small branches in order to be certain of where you’ve been. I dare you to try it. See what comes to meet you.
  11. When your electronics stop working, when the sky is hazy, when your flashlight catches the oddly viscous eyes of something – you don’t know what, and you don’t want to know – when the sun is red and the ground is dry and you can make out the music that can’t possibly be coming from where you think it’s coming from but you’re sure, you’ve only just begun.
Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

Empty Carcass

by Hailey Stoner

I never quite understood why people choose to have
open casket funerals. I guess they want
to remember their beloved in the best way.
Even if it means remembering the empty carcass.
Remembering a house no longer inhabited.

Today, I am at my great grandmother’s
funeral. I am standing in the funeral home,
opposite the open casket.
Red and blue lights shine down on her.
An arrangement of pink and purple and white flowers
sits on the bottom half of the casket.

I have to remind myself
to breathe in. Breathe out.

She’s beautiful. Her thin, grey hair is
curled. She’s wearing a blue and purple flowered
dress. A cream shawl lays over her shoulders
and arms, covering her wrinkled skin.

I want to burst into tears.

Again, breathe in.
Breathe out.

We weren’t very close, but I can’t
stand being next to the casket.
She’s hollow. The mortician removed her
furniture, contaminated the house,
sealed the door.  

That isn’t her.
There is no rise and fall
of her chest. No movement
behind her eyelids. She isn’t asleep.
Isn’t warm.
Her heart is not beating.

That isn’t her.
It is only the cold, stiff body,
that everybody wants to remember.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Non-Fiction

Around and Around

by Hailey Stoner

The air was sweet. Two robins chased one another from one tree to the next. Sunshine drenched the sky and the tree branches hung low, heavy with thick, green leaves. The tulips in the front flower bed swayed gently with the breeze. The mailman filled the mailboxes on the right side of the road, then moved to the left. I sat in the front window and waited for the mail truck to disappear around the corner. Then, I tore open the garage, hopped on my bike, and rode up and down the street, waiting for the other girls to join me.

Our houses sat in a triangle, my house on one side of the street, Hannah’s and Kassidy’s on the other, separated with an outsider’s home in between theirs. We didn’t see much of the people inside that house, but their lawn was always freshly cut and remained a deep, dark green almost year round. We never knew it was possible for grass to look that perfect. There were ten houses on our road. To the left of the triangle was the twin’s house, and the Hispanic house. To the right of us was the Lorenzen’s, the haunted house that terrified us, the old couple in the yellow house, and the people who always had cars coming to and from their house.

Our garages were always open, exposing all the internal organs for everyone driving by to see. They could see the tall, wooden shelves filled with lawn toys in mine, the couch and table in Hannah’s, and the seven foot tall Santa Claus in Kassidy’s. We would sit at the table and Hannah would teach us how to play blackjack or go fish. We tore down the toys from the shelves in my garage and hosted cornhole tournaments, but we avoided Kassidy’s garage at all cost. The Santa Claus never settled well with us. It felt like his eyes followed us, no matter where we stood.

This road witnessed many scraped knees and elbows. It was the trail that led Kassidy from one house to the next during Girl Scout cookie season. It was a canvas for our sidewalk chalk masterpieces and the road that lead us to school in the mornings. It was where we all met to start our night of trick-or-treating on Halloween. It was where we all met during the summer and ran around on the boiling pavement in our bathing suits before piling into Kassidy’s mom’s minivan to drive us to the pool. It’s where we could do whatever we desired.

Rolling down the hill in my front yard before the bees made their way to the sprouting weeds was the best thing to do. All three of us lined up at the top and layed down in the grass that was soft, yet somehow tough at the same time. Once we were in position, one person counted down. When we heard ‘go,’ we wrapped tight and pushed ourselves as hard as we could down the hill. The entire world spun around, and around, and around. We mercilessly crushed every poor dandelion that happened to be in our path and all the tiny bugs hiding in the tall blades of grass. It was only seconds, but it felt like minutes passed when we finally reached the bottom.

I shot up to make sure everybody knew I was the first to reach the bottom and it was a big mistake. As quickly as I was up on my feet, I was on the ground. The world still spun even though I stopped rolling. But once everything finally went straight, I stood up again to claim my victory.

I basked in the glory. My win made everything seem a little bit brighter. The grass looks greener, the sky bluer, and the birds sounded a little louder. A car drove by and we went silent, waiting for them to pass, making sure they couldn’t steal our secrets. Then, we raced to the top of the hill, ready to do it again.

We thought we’d be able to this everyday, for the rest of our lives. But we didn’t know that you’re not allowed to roll down hills after elementary school. Or jump in the rain puddles. Go on Easter egg hunts. Be excited for Christmas morning after Santa came the night before. I didn’t know that friendships would get complicated. Or the old couple a few houses down would die and the Lorenzen’s would move away. Or that my parents would divorce and we’d all go to different high schools.

I didn’t know my world would always be spinning out of control, even though I haven’t rolled down that hill since fourth grade.

Posted in 2018-2019, Issue 02, Poetry

Hagerstown As A Destination

by Sara Malott

I sit at a high-top table by a big open window
Looking over the streets of my birth place
I look up and I see blue skies finally
A promise of an eventual spring.
Around me are stoic brick buildings
Older than anyone I’ve ever met. Across the street
Award Beauty School, rusted hanging white sign
Above a school that has been closed for ages
And I am reminded that there was a list at one time
Claiming our city to have the third largest collection of ugly men
In the country. Satisfied customers stroll out of the age-old
German restaurant, doors held open by rusty bolts and miracles.
A man in a blue-buffalo-checked shirt
Walks through the middle of the road and inspects each car
He passes. A stop sign is angled directly towards myself
And I am worried that I am exposing somebody’s secrets.

The ground below me is all concrete and pavement. The
County commuter bus stops for no one while a balding man pushes
A double stroller down the sidewalk with only one kid.
I will leave this library and go home soon to a neighborhood
With houses that do not have TV satellites hanging by a thread
From somebody’s window. I will go home to a neighborhood
Where people still hide their drunk crumplings behind the bedroom door.
In my neighborhood there is only mowed grass and flower beds.
You will not find cop cars or cigarette butts on the streets.

Yes, I was born here
Yes I call this place my home but I have been lying to myself
For too long. I do not know what it is like to ride a bike
On these streets after sundown. I am not around to see
Lost souls shooting up in the back alleys. I am still taken aback
When I see people without homes talking to themselves
On the streets in mid-day. This is not my home
I am but a visitor. So today, I write this poem as one
Would make a scrapbook documenting a beautiful vacation.
I am a tourist. Here are the attractions.
I will be back soon.