I Think

by Cassie Walters

Whenever I make love,

I think about you watching-

Wincing and shuttering

As your little girl gives herself away.


I think about your bones-

Still and cold.

I wonder how much flesh has since decayed,

And if I would recognize you.


I think about you thinking about

What you could have done differently.

I think about

What I could have done differently.


I think about that night months ago,

When you came to me and said,

“You made good choices.”

I think about that everyday.


I wear your clothes.

Your scent no longer lingers.

I think about the man

I would have died to save.

Little Blue Pills

Little blue pills,

All nice and packed.

Take one for your troubles,

Feel “nice and relaxed.”


Little blue pills,

Swallow one by the hour.

Wash down all the pain,

So the taste isn’t sour


Or stays lingering.

To remind you of

Those dark, dreary points

That just won’t get out


Of your head or your body

And have taken control

Of your thoughts and your feelings,

Your heart, and your soul.


But, with one hasty gulp

Of a capsule and water,

Things begin to clear up,

A nice change, for starters.


Then, soon enough,

The sensations of dread

Quickly subside.

The demons have fled.


Then you suddenly realize,

The pills weren’t so bad.

They helped you get through,

With no shame to be had.


Because it’s not abnormal,

Although it once seemed.

The results are yours.

With newfound esteem,


To keep moving forward.

Believe it’s true that

Things are better now,

With much thanks to you.


You little blue pills.

So compact and small.

Maybe taking each one,

Wasn’t so bad after all.

by Megan Benjamin


I saw her run

and mountains moved beneath her feet


She told me her thoughts

and I felt enlightened

and at the same time, unworthy.


I heard her speak,

a river of words flowing forth

from her mouth


I heard her laugh

and I fell in love.


I saw her smile

and knew, then and there,

I would do anything to see that joy again.


But she couldn’t hear

couldn’t speak

couldn’t see the beauty and grace

I saw.


She bore her beautiful mind

like a cross and a crown of thorns


She found me, and I lost myself in her
I found her, and she was lost.


by Maxwell Barnett

Rocks Fell On My Head

By: Train Schickele

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

“Excuse me … Ms. Corgan, what are we suppose to do?”

The most hateful glare I had ever seen arose from her desk. She had black tuft for brows and old, serpent eyes, pointy lips and angry looking creases in her cheekbones. Red-nailed claws wrapped around her pen like a scorpion. I felt vultures perched in the corner of the classroom, hungrily stretching their necks over my young corpse. By her veiny hands, a bright, red apple made of clay sat on her desk. It matched her nail polish. I wondered if she made that apple. And did she have gold leaf in her earrings? A shiny bronze pendant beneath her earlobes made me think about a statue in city hall, and I began to think how city hall wasn’t that—

“Do you listen? I have said what to do three times.”

Her voice was not soft. It was raspy … or choppy. It was a coarse voice, but not as bristled as it was stern. Her voice stabbed me. I began to answer, choking between my chest and eyes, stuttering for an ans—

“Class!” she called.

Every 2nd grader from planet Earth turned their head to look at me, the peasant, shivering in front of Ms. Corgan’s throne.

“What are we suppose to do?” she crowed.

The class answered in unison like a lifeless children’s chorus. And I could not hear them. I could not understand. I listened hard. I listened close. But I could not translate the words. I was crying. But no one could see that.

I turned back to Ms. Corgan in hope that she would repeat the directions once more. Her face had grown darker, and when I saw her spearing glare, a most hateful glare, I turned on my heel and walked to my desk saying,

“Oh. Oh yeah. Of course.” And yet,

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

I clasped my hands between my legs and hung down my head, dripping tears on the waxy-wood table. Ms. Corgan would sometimes tussle the hair of her students. If I could have this blessing, all my life tasks would become trivial. I wanted to make her proud—to impress my greatest fear.

The corner of my watery eyes spied around the classroom. Angelica had construction paper. I could hear scissors clipping. I saw the butt ends of pencils and I could tell that Hayley was writing. We had put up paper screens to hide our work. Spying was never easy, but I had become good at it.

I took out some construction paper from beneath my desk and began to fold. A frog? A crane? I did not know how to fold animals. I knew how to make a paper airplane, but not a very good one.

        I began to fold after observing moving elbows. When the paper walls came down, my vultures spread their wings. The class had written nouns and verbs on slits of paper and folded them into little books. On my desk: a half-crumpled, one-winged, paper airplane. Angelica snickered and Cary, a girl with blue and orange hair, laughed out loud. I did not persist with my work.

        Ms. Corgan talked with me after class.

“This listening problem is really an issue,” she said, as I focused on the center of her nose. Could she notice that I wasn’t actually looking at either of her eyes? And could pigeons nest in her perfect, black shrub of hair? Wait, pay atten—

“Are you listening?”

I had dug my own grave.

“Yes.” I told her.

“What did I say?”

I had dug it very deep.

“…I don’t listen,” I said.

Ms. Corgan reconciled for something. But I could not hear what she said. I watched her pointy lips move.

        I left my paper airplane on the desk with only one wing. Inside the folds of the plane I had written: “I am sorry. I think a rock fell on my head. And it is hard to listen.”

        The next day, Ms. Corgan tussled my hair.

She did not know what she was supposed to do.

But she did the right thing.

Breaking Open

I just need to write until

every drop of what I have

inside me is on the page, in

permanent ink, bleeding

blue or black, and irrefutable.

No one can tell me

I don’t feel settled, because right there

on the paper, they can see

in curly ink letters

what is scrabbling inside.

No one can

tell me I shouldn’t be

reacting this way, because

the paper is accepting

it, accepting me, it is

what I use to justify just

what I am feeling when and

if my feeling isn’t enough to prove it, then

why do the words make it better, albeit,

       not lesser?


Let me tell you about how

the wrinkles around my eyes crinkle

like dead leaves tracing

the cracks in the dried out road, but

the tear-stains marking my cheeks sparkle

like traces of crystal catching light inside

a geode and I can tell you


how I need to write what I feel

inside on this paper,

so it isn’t inside anymore. I

need to write

until it’s all out there,

all empty in here. I need to write

until it can’t hurt me anymore,

so I can tear the words

into tiny pieces and see them

out in front of me, so I can tell them:

“you’re real, but you’re not all I am”

even though

I will pour myself a cup

of words, some drowning

some floating

in the savory swirls, and drink

it all back in.

by Emma Sheinbaum