Volume 39 ~ 2016



After "Originally" by Carol Ann Duffy


Liv O’Clair


I welcome the water. I love the thrill of hurtling toward something I know will catch me. People watch me fall. I can't stop. I plunge into the cold, clear water, which cuts to the bone. I see what I’m made of. I sink: deep, deeper. I watch the blurry board disappear. Will I sink? Will I surface? I curl into myself, lungs about to burst.



Evy Holmes



Depression is a lilac withering

in summer’s fever.

Grandma works under

that scorching sun. She brought up

our family in the blinding pain

she never speaks about.

Like a bat, Mom hides

from daylight, but the cave

she dwells in is no cooler

than the flares outside.

I never knew she felt it

until she knew I felt it too.

Dad sits for hours outside,

doing puzzles, napping

on the back patio. His skin tans,

but he burns underneath.

I, too, wither in the sunlight.

Baby brother, I watch you grow,

hoping you’ll never know

the constant heat that

burns the rest of us.



Anna Stenka



I feel distance growing between

who I was and who I am. I’ve been

forced to accept that change must occur

and unlike the waning moon, I’ll

never return to my former state of

cellar doors and tulip gardens. I traded

streetlights for starlight and suburbia

for a Suburban. I was forced into this mold

of modern, middle-class, lake-loving, beer-binging,

too-quick-to-judge town and had forgotten

the sound of my voice. It once echoed like

wind through hills but was whisked away with

the river, so now I seek a new sound.



Jade Gonzalez


Feeling only a scrape of shame when primary colored lights took you away. Screamed nicotine confessions trapped us in the confines of a cold hearted, mirrored existence. Scarlett rivers cascaded into a ruby dead end at the tips of you. Scolded scar hearts dove off tumbleweed waterfalls into vulnerable vulture pits of peers. A color darker than black encompassed your palette, pausing only to reflect on the swift strokes of a landslide brush. Liquid lullabies hush liquor lips smoother than your drunken kisses ever could.



Cora Lu Welton



I see myself packing

boxes, staring at the

vacant rooms where we

don’t live anymore.

Wind whistles through

the open windows

of the empty house,

sweeping away my fingerprints.

I see myself tiptoeing

around a room that isn’t

mine, careful not to wake

the ghosts in unpacked boxes.

Stars look the same

from where I sit, a pleasant surprise,

but this house is a stranger.

Here, no one knows me.

Trapped in unfamiliar corners,

At every door, I hesitate.



Abby Cleveland



Dad’s been working on our house since I was three. We lived for years in other homes: first, it was a trailer outside Franklin, then a yellow rental in town, and now it’s a big two-story-not-nearly-finished home dad’s still working on. I sit in the loft overlooking everything.



Tessa Wagener



At first, the Holdrege girls glared at me.

At my back they spit venom.

Mom had said we would leave for the better

but I no longer believed, my back ached

from betrayal.



Jasmin Wengler



In Franklin, or any small town where the kids have been together since before they could talk, newcomers are never welcome. You are the blue cheese to their American. Moving was hard, especially into a town where everyone knows everything you do and say. If you aren’t careful, you will have a bad reputation. Once you’re in high school, groups form. You stay with your clique. Then you transition to college and the real world, trying to forget.



Olivia McCain



I voyage in lofty flight, soaring above

enclosed boxes. Lego towns, built

on hinges from the ground, are infested

with arrogant minds, believing in world’s

sheltered from any obliteration.

Fairies supply air-dyne limbs. Mermaids

deliver scaly fins. Sea creatures

of their own breed reside in catfish water.

Rocky sand built my castle from the strand.

I roam corridors as royalty, adorned in

pebbled crowns crafted of twigs

borrowed from trees barricading empires.

I marched triumphantly to battle

merciless dragons, conquering wars,

hitherto now, when the adversaries vanquish me.

My castle dissolves into sand. Suddenly,

my world no longer stands.



Maddie Cervera


We left Arvada just before the eighth grade graduation swimming party that my friends planned for months. I didn’t want to leave. My sister was afraid she wouldn't be smart enough for the new schools. The first night, we cried together, lying next to each other, wishing for the sun to rise and dry up our storm. Now we are closer than we’ve ever been, and I know the sun follows the rain.  



Abby Waldo



The dark, smooth, asphalt street

melts away into dust;

I become a child of gravel roads

and rain that turns to rust.

Cracked concrete and broken skies,

where freedom was once a dream.

I now roam through wildflowers,

and dance in the flowing stream.

The black night covers over me,

no streetlights to show the way.

I will not be afraid of the dark,

The stars won’t lead me astray.



Sara Lundeen


The komodo dragon claws its way out of its egg. The superb bird-of-paradise flies away from the nest in which it was raised. The luna moth hatches from the cocoon it made to spread its wings to climb toward the moon. Eventually, we all leave the place we feel safe.