2004 - Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

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2004 - Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

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Southern VoicesVolume SixteenSpring 2004StaffEditorJeremy CrawfordAssistant EditorPreeti KumarArt EditorJordan RichardStaff MembersHayley HillBrittany HollisTina JenkinsJessica JenningsAddie LeakNyssa PerrymanAdvisorEmma RichardsonCover PhotographyKimberly Golden, “Bloom”and “Oh, hey!”JudgesArt JudgeSelden LambertFreelance ArtistStudio 206Photography JudgeBirney Imes, IIIPhotographer:Juke Joint(University Press of Mississippi, 1990)Whispering Pines(University Press of Mississippi, 1994)Poetry JudgeBeth Ann FennellyAuthor of:Open House(Zoo Press, 2002)Tender Hooks(W.W. Norton, 2004)Short Story JudgeJack RiggsAuthor of:When the Finch Rises(Ballantine Books, 2003)Essay JudgeEric DaffronAuthor of:Romantic Doubles: Sex and Sympathy inBritish Gothic Literature, 1790-1830(AMS Press, 2002)

Table of ContentsEssaysJamie Ausborn“My Black and White Medium” . . . . . . . . . . . .6Mattie Brown“Who Ate the Last Piece of Chicken?” . . . . .44Jeremy Crawford“Whoopings” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Tom Feng“My Little Tiger” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46Hayley Hill“Fluff” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24Jessica Jennings“The First Rung” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Addie Leak“A Typical Monday Morning” . . . . . . . . . . .41Jordan Richard“Columbus 23” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20Jershuntas Webber“The Essence” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Ken Wells“A Hard Path” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Short StoriesJeremy Crawford“Cigarette Breaks” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16Hayley Hill“Uncle Jim” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34Nyssa Perryman“Dixon Grey” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Ryan Scott“Virgos” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Caitlin Wolfe“Modern Immortal” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29PoetryMonica Cook“A Moment” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27Jeremy Crawford“Poetry” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Chris Gresham“Felt Tip Pen” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Hayley Hill“Spring” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37Brittany Hollis“Jordan” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7“Walking in the Rain” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Jessica Jennings“Last Night As You Lay Sleeping” . . . . . . . . .7“The Color of Gone” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23“Dance” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Preeti Kumar“Hands” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39Addie Leak“Autumn” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21“Flowers at Dawn” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27“Stained Glass” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38“Waiting” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38Jack Neldon“Demented Thoughts” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21Brittany Penland“Melancholic Bliss” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23“Characteristic Nostalgically” . . . . . . . . . . . .42Nyssa Perryman“Beautiful Blue” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22“Random Thoughts of Life” . . . . . . . . . . . . .36Jordan Richard“Biorhythmic Repetition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15“Comfort” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37“Grey” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45Quinnon Taylor“Reflection Gone” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43SV

ArtHannah Burnett“Ella” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15“Beauty” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24Jeremy Crawford“Hallowed Trees” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Orlando Croft“Woman of Night” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28“Fractal” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38“Nude Woman” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43“Self-Portrait” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46Eric Davenport“Say Cheese!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Andy Guan“Grass” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8“Rolling Field #2” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23Kristin Klaskala“Notre Dame” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20“Wave of Midnight” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42Felicia Mo“Hands of Time” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39Jordan Richard“Phoenix” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35“Wonder” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38PhotographyHannah Bruce“Natural Coordination” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21“Natural Bridge” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Kyle Doherty“Vertigo” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31Kimberly Golden“The City That Never Sleeps” . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5“The Past Lives” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11“Past Reflections” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26“Bloom” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Front Cover“Oh, hey!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back CoverLaura Beth Moore“Celestial” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27Sara Peek“Tiline” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9“Me?” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44Nyssa Perryman“Fallen Angel” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43Brandon Thornton“Left Behind” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6“Ford” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37Laura Amye Williams“una mariposa transparente” . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Jordan Smalley“Vertigo” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21“Jacy” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45Lekha Sunkara“Woman” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Emily Vance“Operation Condor” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25“Rumble in the Bronx” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47Angels Guard MeThrough the NightKristin Klaskala’s glass etching, Angels GuardMe Through the Night, was awarded anHonorable Mention in the Art Competition.Due to technical limitations, the work isunable to be represented in this publication.The staff of Southern Voices expresses itsapology and congratulates Kristin on heraccomplishment.SV

Virgosby Ryan ScottHonorable Mention, Short Story CompetitionHis hands shook a little as he fumbledthrough his glove compartment, looking forhis box of Turkish Jade Camels. It was notuncommon for his hands to shake, for he wasa nervous child. He had long been labeled as“troubled” by those nearest him so the shakingwas hardly of note to him anymore. His face,normally a plaintive olive, had, after flushingbright red, drawn a melancholic pale. He battledwith the cheap lighter until his cigarettehad finally been lit, and then glanced throughhis rear view mirror at the blue duffel bag,green pillow, and red quilt that he had hastilythrown into his back seat a little over fourhours before as he blew his first puff of smoke.“I suppose I’m done crying” he thought. Itwasn’t a conscious choice of defiance and personalstrength; his glands were empty, his eyeswere sore and more tears were literally impossibleat this point. He took a small sip from thebottle of Sprite that lay in the cup holder of hisJeep Cherokee before putting the cigarette backto his lips, taking off the safety brake andputting the vehicle in drive. “I’m almost toGeorgia—don’t want to stop now.”He had no idea where he was going. Hehonestly could not remember why he had left.Surely something traumatic had occurred thatcould spur him to make the decision to abandonhis life at home, but he could not thinkwhat it was. Something must have driven himto continue driving on across the Alabamastate line into Georgia, but he did not knowwhat it was. Something must have happened.There had to be something. But no. Nothing.The sun went down as he directed his routenorth to South Carolina. Nights were nevereasy for him. Ever since he could remember hehad had nightmares or bad thoughts in thedarkness. The setting of the sun literallydrained him of all energy. As the stars cameout, his mind became a fluid pool of time andspace. Events, places, and people of the pastintermingled with those of the present andthose that might be the future. He saw vividlythe entrance to Mountain View Hospital inGadsden, Alabama— that ethereal place wherehe had lived for over a month in a constanthaze brought about by twenty-four-hour-a-daytherapy and the rigors of de-tox. “We believethat each patient has individual needs thatmust be mutually identified, planned and metin order to facilitate the attainment of his/heroptimal level of functioning and maximumhealth potential,” the check-in sheet had read.He thought it funny that he could still rememberits exact wording.He had tricked himself for a while intobelieving that these people were totally insaneand he was completely and totally separatefrom them. He then came to believe that it hadbeen those on the outside that were the onesinsane and that he had finally found “his” peopleand a place to belong, but this too wasfalse. “You are in control,” his psychiatrist hadtold him. “It’s not easy— It’s a fight every dayto the death— but you are in control.” He hadbelieved her. Perhaps he still did. “Don’t stayhere,” she had told him. So he didn’t. Andwithin a month’s time he had left MountainView, according to his sign-out sheet, a “recoveredbi-polar.” ”What signifies recovery?” heangrily demanded, silently in his head to Godor whatever higher being was there to definethe limits and boundaries of “recovery.” Hadhe really recovered? Was recovery even a realisticallypossible goal?He remembered that James, one of thepatients at Mountain View, had been totallyconvinced that the idea of recovery was a lietold by societal heads in order to suppress individualityand force conformity. Perhaps Jameshad been right. He had liked James a greatdeal. James was, unlike himself, unashamed ofwhat society considered to be his weaknesses.James was flagrantly open about an addictionto some form of speed as well as his homosexuality.But the fact remained; he was on theS V0 3

outside. James was still in. Perhaps there wassomething to be said for shame, at least insome instances.He blamed his mother. Perhaps too much.She had tried tirelessly, but the genes were stillhers. He blamed his father for not being ableto understand him or his mother, leaving themalone to their own devices of recovery, whichmore often than not included a bottle of JackDaniels, a handful of Sominex, and a box ofKleenex. He blamed them. And he foundblame in the entirety of society for their standing.He also felt guilty and more than a littleashamed, for he knew that the driving force ofhis life had been a search for someone orsomething on which to place the blame. But hehad not found it. And he knew he neverwould. “Why,” he wondered, “must someonebe lower for me to be higher?” He couldn’tanswer that question. But he accepted the theorybehind the question as truth, and whetherright or not, he refused to refute it.He had been driving for almost an entireday when the phone rang. It startled him. Hedid not want it to be his mother, and he feltcertain it was. He dug around in the junk in hispassenger’s seat, trying to grasp the cheaplymade Nokia cell phone he had received as agift from his parents. “Caller I.D. Unavailable”it read as it flashed a bright green and sangGeorges Bizet’s Toreador from Carmen in annoyinglyelectronic tones. Hesitantly he acceptedthe call, expecting to find, without a doubt hismother’s shrill and angry voice on the otherend.“Hello”There was a pause.“Hello”“Ryan...” a broken female voice quietlysaid.“Yes.”“I’m so glad you answered. I really didn’texpect this number to work. It’s been almost ayear since you gave it to me.”His eyes widened somewhat as the unfamiliarvoice slowly became a familiar one.“Eileen…,” he said.She answered with a simple “yeah.”Eileen had been at one time the mostpromising prospect of real friendship he hadbeen able to find. The two had met dancing inthe chorus line of a musical, both of themmaking a singularly desperate attempt to connectwith the rest of the human race throughthe particularly commercial entertainmentknown as the musical theater. They had fooledthemselves together into thinking that whatthey were doing was artistic and important anda means by which to gain the love of others.The venture had proven to be a devastating failureon many terms for the both of them.“I was going through one of our old programsthe other day. Your number fell out ofthe pages. I just had to see if it still worked.”“I’m glad it does,” he said.“It was written on that little piece of napkin,remember? We were talking out on theback patio at the closing night party. We saidwe’d keep in touch because us crazy Virgos hadto stick together.”He laughed a little, remembering howthey had discovered upon their first meetingthat they had the same birth date, and howexcited Eileen had been, being intensely interestedin astrology, at the prospect of discoveringthat another Virgo besides herself trulyexisted.“How have you been?” he asked, trying togo through the motions of a typical phone call.“I’m better now. I’m so glad this numberworked. I’ve wanted to talk to you for forever.”She could no longer hide the crack in hervoice. His voice followed suit. Words suddenlyspilled forth from his mouth like a ragingwhite river.“I’m in Georgia. I got in my car and Idrove. I don’t have any money or anything. Idon’t know why I did it. I just couldn’t staystill. I couldn’t stay still. I don’t know whereI’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m soscared. I don’t want to be me anymore.”Tears and words poured like sweet rainfrom heaven as Eileen told him of how, only afew hours before, she had cleared out her bankaccount and filled up her cheap car with gas,having every intention of skipping town in thesame way he had. He confided in her his memoriesof Mountain View, of Quaaludes, ofsleepless nights and detachment from his family,only to discover that her memories were onein the same.“Why did you call me, Eileen?”“I needed a reason to stay. I wanted toknow that there really was nothing here for mebefore I left.”Tears flooded his eyes. His throat closed offand he could not breathe.S V0 4

“I want to be enough to make you stay,” hesaid.“I’m so scared right now,” she told him.“I’ve never felt like I needed people. I’m soscared that I could come to depend on you.”The words sounded so much like his veryown, running simultaneously through hismind that his tears turned cold and he felttinges of ice travel up his neck. He finallybroke.“I want to go home,” he sobbed.Her sobs bled together with his. “I’m glad,”she said.“I don’t know where home is,” he sobbedeven more heavily.“It’s not running,” she said.“It’s not hiding. It’s not reaching. It’s resting.You’re almost there.”He sighed through his sobs. Her words hadsimultaneously destroyed him and rebuilt himwithin the blink of an eye.A half hour later he pulled into a BurgerKing. After ordering a chicken sandwich and acup of Sprite, he returned to his parked car toeat his meal. After he was finished he beganfeeling around in his glove compartment,searching for a Turkish Jade. His hands shook alittle as he fumbled with the cigarette and thelighter, but it was not uncommon for his handsto shake, for he was a nervous child. He wonderedif his mother’s hands shook as well andfelt ashamed that he had not in his eighteenyears paused to notice. He glanced at the blueduffel bag and the green pillow once againthrough the rear view mirror as he blew thefirst puff of smoke from his cigarette. Heturned on the radio as he put the car in drive.He came to the exit driveway and turned left.Westward. Home to Mississippi.As he traveled back, he decided that if hewere to ever feel the need to “just drive away”again, he would drive west as opposed to east.Eileen lived in Arkansas.The City ThatNever SleepsPhotographSecond Place,PhotographyCompetitionKimberly GoldenS V0 5

LeftLeft BehindSilver Gelatin PrintBrandon ThorntonJamie AusbornBehindHonorable Mention, Essay CompetitionMy Black andWhite MediumAfter a long, stressful day filled with testsand homework, I make a short hike acrosscampus. When I reach the old building, I tugon the heavy door and walk inside. Climbingthe stairs to the second floor, my footstepsecho through the building, disrupting thesilence. As my eyes adjust to the dim lighting, Imake my way down the hall, lined with smallrooms on both sides. The creaking of my footstepsceases when I reach the last door on theleft. I turn the handle and flip the light switch.Staring at the blank wall in front of me, Isit on the bench erect. A million thoughts arerushing through my head: worries, fears, hopes,and dreams. Thump, thump, my heart pulsateswithin my chest as the pressure builds insideme.Exhaling, I slowly release the air from mymouth and then gently lower my fingertipsonto the cool, slick keys. My emotions floodthrough my veins and focus themselves in thetips of my sweaty fingers. With intense concentration,I begin translating my emotions withmy fingertips, releasing a surge of energy. Thesweet melody pours out from within my soul,filling the room, as my hands glide first slowly,then rapidly over my black and white medium.Twelve years of practice have helped me to perfectthis tune. My ability is for myself alone. Ido not intend to please anyone but myself withmy song, for only I know the true meaningbehind each note. My mood changes, the pressureof my fingers increasing with the crescendosof the melody. Each staccato and accentreveal another thought. Each chord exposes apart of me, my undisclosed feelings. My expressionis original and, if not expressed, will belost. No song is like another because of thehidden emotions behind it. Without my art,my feelings and emotions would remainentrapped within my being, piling and addingmore pressure to my already crammed life.Staring at the blank wall in front of me, myfingers linger on the last note of my song. Mytight muscles relax, and my heartbeat slows. Aweight is lifted from my chest. My soul isrefreshed; my mind calmed. I no longer feeloverwhelmed with the anxieties and demandsof life. I pull the cover down over the keys,push back the bench, and stand. Walkingtowards the door, I flip off the light switch, andthe room becomes flooded with darkness. Myshadow stretches on the floor in front of me,formed by the faint light in the hallway. I turnaround and take one last look before leaving,barely able to make out the shapes and formsin the room. Patiently waiting for my return,the piano will remain dormant, enclosed withinit the music of my soul.S V0 6

Last NightAs You LaySleepingLast night as you lay sleepingI looked upon your face,And startled by such beauty,My heart picked up its pace.Behind those tender lashesI think I saw your soul;I saw each of your tomorrows;I saw your dreams unfold.Though no mystic light surrounded you,I felt God smile down from aboveOn this most innocent babeThis precious child of Love.Then with readjusted focus,I noted the rising of your chestSending waves of comfort through my bodyWith each reassuring breath.Then looking again upon your faceI couldn’t help but touchThe one I’d grown so close to,The one I loved so much.Trailing my fingers through your hair,Feeling warmth I never knew,Inside my heart I made a vowTo never let anyone hurt you.Then before I left the room,A simple farewell I bade;I asked the Lord to keep youAnd on your brow, a kiss I laid.Not just any kiss,But a promise etched in stoneThat I will always be hereAnd you will never be alone.Jessica JenningsJordanBrittany HollisBlack fingernails run across my hair,Comforting me in my darkest hour.I look up to see shining eyes,Short cropped velvety brown hair,Gentle streaks of light running through herhairAs the sun’s rays paint her with goldenrod rays,A cross necklace draped from her neck,A heart of gold shines in her gentle glance,Shimmering with the glow of kindnessThat lights up a room.As the world around her weeps,She is always there,The last thread to hold togetherTheir world as it falls apart, piece by piece.Her air of both sadness and warmth,Darkness and light,Mixes with her pale blue veins.Her white scars that run over withPain and despair deep withinAre hidden by her vibrant laughterAnd a smile that makes everything all right,As she shields herself by the constant books inHer hands: magic, vampires, philosophy—all her refuge from this worlduntil she returns to earth to mendthe broken among us again,reaching out to them from the musty graystone dungeonsof time with her dark fingernails.S V0 7

Felt tip penAcross your skin, graceful lines form valleys of ink.Your pores expand to let the foreign substance in.Your body reacts and you tingle with excitement.Heavy breathing starts to come in.Light, wispy touches tickle you with glee, as pup’s paws are drawn on your feet.Feeling more daring, you bare your stomach… a heart is drawn with an arrow pointingdown the middle. Ah, but physical love isn’t for what you aim.A second heart, under a bare chestHalf under sternum, half under breast.Creamy, smooth skin, Can I touch it again? The passion of tension increases.The pen is drawn up the neck, where our lips meet for the first time.Eyes open wide, did I cross the line?You look back languidly at me. Then it can be truly seen.A love so deep in body, spirit, and mindPhysical tension so strong, yet undefined.The pen is dropped as a full embrace occursThen the tongue takes the place of the pen’s soft swerves.Bodies glisten, and consummation takes place.Hunger and exhaustion leave us loosely at peace.On the mass-less void, we drift within.All because of a felt tip pen.Chris GreshamSecond Place, Poetry CompetitionGrassSpray PaintAndy GuanS V0 8

A Hard PathKendrell WellsAt a very young age, I was sent by myteenage parents to live in McAdams,Mississippi, with my grandfather. My grandfatherwas shaped by the 1920s and didn’t hesitatein passing on the hard-knock life to me. Asa lesson on resourcefulness and appreciation, Ihad to buy my own soap, toothpaste, andother toiletries with the money I earned. Afterspending the day at school, I would grudginglycome home to help my granddad cut timber;repair farm equipment; tend to livestock; andeither plant, hoe, or harvest the endless fields.The tasks seemed tedious at the time, but Iknow now that my grandfather was showingme the virtues of life rather than preachingthem to me.My grandfather’swork ethic was greaterthan that of any man I’veever known. He didn’tstop working after retiringfrom a twenty-fiveyear career in theChicago steel industry;instead, he returned toMississippi where heworked his 120 acres offarm and timber land. Inaddition to farming andcutting timber, my grandfatherand I created Wells& Sons Lawn CareService, a business thatbrought our number oftrades to three. At thetime, I thought mygrandfather was crazy forgiving up a “made” life only to pursue hardlabor. I now appreciate my grandfather’s sacrificeof giving up his retirement to teach me therewards of hard work.The years passed, and as I aged, so did mygrandfather. As the eldest of all the grandchildrenthat he provided home for, I began totake on responsibilities beyond that of normalteenagers. Very few high school students havebeen the cook of their house. “What’ll it betonight?” I’d ask my grandfather as I anticipatedthe night’s challenge. Perhaps the most frequentand challenging response he gave was,“Whatever you can whip up.” Although itseemed to be a nonchalant response, mygrandfather was calling upon my ingenuity andcreativity. He was reminding me that the fate ofour home was becoming my responsibility andthat I must learn how to make important decisionsfor myself as well as others if I am tobecome a leader.With my grandfather’s passing, I’ve adopteda new rigor, attending the Mississippi Schoolfor Mathematics and Science, a residential highschool for the academically gifted. Jugglingadvanced courses, athletics,and club leadershippositions; beingan Emissary; conductinguniversity researchprojects; and takingindependent studycourses can potentiallybecome a burden.However, the ethicsmy grandfatherinstilled in me allowme to overcome theseobstacles.The most influentialconcept that mygrandfather taught mewas that I could beanything that I wantedto be. Regardless ofmy race, hometown,or high school attended,I was not at a disadvantage. Simply beingborn in a small rural town did not destine meto become a country boy who works his fingersto the bone and has nothing to show for it butbony fingers. Rather, I was given an opportunityto learn through the work set before me.Hard work, though a hard path, will lead meto success.TilinePhotographSara PeekS V0 9

The very essence of my life rests in thepalms of my grandmother. She lives deep inthe hills of Una, Mississippi, where the favoritepastime is sitting on a creaky, sun-dried porchor under the old shade tree that grows in frontof Big Ma’s house, its leafy arms swaying in thecountry breeze, just to enjoy the simple pleasuresof life. A place where everyone is relatedand people greet each other with a genial hello.A place where sitting by a glistening pond inthe birth of the morning, holding an old rod inone hand and pulling down your great-grandfather’sfavorite straw hat over your eyes in theThe EssenceJershuntas Webberother, takes the place of corporate businessmeetings and the bustle of Wall Street. A placewhere the best conversations are silent, gazingupon the emerald cornfields, sipping a tallglass of ice tea, and reflecting on this majesticworld, whose beauty seems to be reborn everyday.Here is where I first learned what life was.My grandmother is a simple woman,whose only worry is what to send to SisterMarble to show that she’s in her prayers afterher recent hospital visit. But in her humblesoul lies knowledge and wisdom from herseventy-something years of trial, error, andlearning. Our visits were often; every Sundaythe family would gather at the old bluehouse on the hill and have dinner after hearingRev. McMullen raise fire from our souls.The conversations were always the same.“Rev. sho’ did preach today, didn’t he?” Thereply was always, “Sho’ did.” Then the conversationevolved to smacking and crunchingon golden fried chicken, slurping up collardgreens, and washing it down with a coldglass of sweet, red Kool-aid. At the center ofthe chaos was always Grandma: sitting withone of her great-grandchildren in her arms,rocking steadily in her favorite rocking chairthat her late husband designed just for her.With a twinkle in her eye, she watched overus, only talking with the smiles upon her face.First Place, Essay CompetitionS V1 0However, it was my summer trips toGrandma’s house where I learned the most.Early in the morning, while the dew was freshon her lawn and glistening in the morning sun,I would step out of the back seat of my father’s‘76 Buick, holding a My Buddy doll firmly inmy arms, dragging my favorite Ninja Turtlesblanket behind me. I stood on the splinteredporch of Grandma’s house and watched as myparents pulled out, headed to their summertimedestination somewhere off in the distance.Heading into the house, Grandma immediatelypicked me up and placed me in her gigantic,pillow-covered bed, pulledmy blanket over me andwatched me fade into arealm of magic and mystery.Awakened later by thearoma of fluffy buttermilkbiscuits, hot gravy, grits,and the sizzling of baconon the oven, I rose frommy slumber and headed toits source. Greeted by a smile warmer than thekitchen she was cooking in, she picked me upand sat me down at the table and placed a bigplate of steaming food in front of me. Thegolden biscuits swimming in molasses, thecrispy bacon, the stomach-warming grits, andthe mouth-watering eggs were enough to fillthe mightiest of men, but I gobbled it all andwashed it down with a cool glass of orangejuice.The backyard was our next stop, where a listof chores that never seemed like chores awaitedus. First, we picked ripe peaches from her peachtrees, careful to avoid the wormy and rottenones. Then we would take her clothes off theline, which was hilarious for me becauseGrandma’s underclothes always looked funnyto me. Together, we would fold them and placethem in their proper drawers, not knowing thatTheshe always followed behind my sloppily foldedshirts with a crisp fold. Then we would head forthe porch where Grandma would watch mefrolic in the field, chased by a swarm of bees,while she peeled our morning pick. She cameto the rescue when an angry bee stung me onthe arm, holding me and assuring me thateverything would be all right. After placing aBugs Bunny band-aid on my wound, we wouldsqueeze lemons and make a fresh pitcher oflemonade. She would pour us both a glass, andonce again, we would head back out to the

The Past LivesPhotographHonorable Mention,Photography CompetitionKimberly Goldenwhite rocking chairs on the porch. Creakingunder the weight of our bodies, we both rockedsteadily, as I tried desperately to keep up withher pace. No one said a word; instead, we letthe silence of the country talk for us. The sweetsmell of the prairie air, the low buzz of beesswarming over Grandma’s marigolds, and theEssencelow rustling of the trees in the wind soothed mysoul. There, without a word between us,Grandma and I connected. Our souls becamein sync with each other and the beauty beforeus. Before the sun went down, we would enjoya nice bowlful of homemade ice cream and curlup in bed. I felt safe with her lying next to me,embracing my body as I slowly drifted backinto my realm of magic and mystery.Those summers at my grandma’s housewere about more than delicious food and agorgeous landscape. Those summers wereabout growth. Watching the gracefulness andS V1 1humility of my grandma taught me that thereis more to life than being rich or famous. Thegreatest rewards in life are free and are availableto everyone, despite their reputation orbank account. The greatest rewards in life areas simple as enjoying the smell of your grandmother’sorchard and admiring the beauty ofour world. Success is not measured by howmuch a person is worth, but how well a personcan appreciate the things that they have.To my grandma, success was measured in thesmiles of her grandchildren, the fiery sermonsof the Reverend, and the hearty hellos of herneighbors. I have learned to appreciate what Ihave as well as strive to achieve what I do nothave. My grandmother taught me the greatestlesson of all: Life is what you make of it andnothing more. We only have one life to live;appreciate it, cherish it, and strive to make itall that you can.

Dixon GreyNyssa PerrymanSecond Place, Short Story Competition“Dixon Grey.” The immortal namestretched out across the main wall of the cafeteria,masking the chipped, mint green paintbeneath. From where Susan was standing, sheknew it was an act of defiance. Globs ofmashed potatoes, over-steamed broccoli, andHeinz 57 shaped the vowels and consonants ofscrawled infamy. Groups of curious ninth andtenth graders crowded around to gawk aschunks of the cafeteria concoction slid slowlyto the tiled floor below, leaving behind a verticaltrail of shiny slime. Susan cringed at thethought of cleaning the mess up, and evenmore at the punishment which loomed aheadfor the culprit. Yet, Susan had no doubts as towho was responsible for the atrocious act.Everyone knew in the back of their mind. It layright in front of them, spelled out in a colorfuldisplay for all eyes to see. But over the roar ofsecond lunch and the bark of staff and teachersdesperately trying to restore order in the lunchroom,Susan wished with all her strength forthe impossible, the fallacy of truth, an act ofsome higher being, or a miracle, even. Just areplacement for the one person it could be, theone person it had to be.“Dixon Grey, please report to the office,”the powerful voice of Mrs. Ballard, the NavarreHigh principal, boomed from the overheadspeakers. Susan felt her stomach take a sharpturn. Plopping down at a side table, away fromexhibition, she finished the stale fries and coldhamburger she had selected from the grill linebefore she spotted the food graffiti. As shestarted in on the sugar cookies, Susan glancedup to see a figure parting the crowds. His stridewas rhythmic, his stare firm and empty. A pairof battered Converses scuffed a heavy pathbeneath bulky second-hand jeans. In his handwas the only evidence of his C.D. player sincethe earphones were hidden deep inside thedark, fuzzy monster perched above his face.Frizz seemed to consume everything except thejet black jewels which sparkled beneath thefullest eyelashes Susan had ever seen on a guy.His complexion was also unique, being asmooth, milk chocolate cappuccino shade. Hiscolor was his downfall. He wasn’t light enoughto be white, nor dark enough to be black. Andthere was no band of brothers in the middle atNavarre High. No one was stuck in gray butDixon.As Dixon passed her table, Susan made certainnot to make eye contact. His presencealone was enough to throw a tremble intoSusan’s pale hands. It happened every time.Dixon struck her down with his frozen glance,then melted her with his sweeping lashes.Susan compared it to the process they putdrunkards through to sober them up. Enoughto make anyone sick.Pushing his way through the double-swinginghinged doors of the lunch room, Dixonshuffled on down the hall, out of Susan’s view.The noise subsided to the normal level as studentsfiled back onto long-benched picnic-styletables to scarf down as much food as timewould allow. Susan brushed her dirty plate andtray to the side while glancing up at the crackedbeige clock bolted to the wall above the doors.Fifteen minutes to contemplate the consequencesand why she even cared so muchabout what they were.This would mark the fourth, real “act ofrebellion” as the teachers referred to it, onDixon’s record. He had done countless of otherpetty acts such as trashing freshman lockersand putting washing detergent in the frontcourtyard fountain along with a few riskierstunts like locking the blonde cheerleadingcaptain in the bathroom and leaving her to bediscovered four hours later, an act which theydidn’t have enough evidence to pin on him.But everyone knew. Most of the time he madeit obvious. But his reasoning was an urban legend.Of course, students had some pretty crazyideas as to why he acted so brashly. Rumorsranging from “maybe he’s an only child” toS V1 2

“maybe he didn’t get into the college he wantedto” and the most popular belief of “It’sbecause he doesn’t have any friends.” Susanhad heard them all, whispered in the hallwayand classrooms. Only Susan knew the truth.That’s why she cared so much.Tamika Johnson, considered the most maliciousgirl in the history of Navarre, cut herdeep, brown eyes toward Susan as she limpedby Susan’s table on the way out of the dininghall. They said Tamika headed up the WestPosse, a gang from the ghetto which roughedup the weak and white. Dixon was in love withthat despised tomboy. He would do anythingfor her, lose it all if just for the approval ofTamika. Lose his good standing with teachers,lose his place onthe basketballteam, even hiseducation as longas Tamika noticed.But it was morethan just a teenagecrush that pressedhim to do the irrationaldeeds. Itwent deeper thanthat.The rusty bellpushed Susanfrom thesethoughts as acrazed flock ofstudents rushedtoward the doubledoors and on totheir fourth periodclasses. She threwaway her trash,walked throughthe doors and onto Biology 101. Itwas the only classshe shared withDixon, and to her surprise, he was already seatedin his usual spot—far left, back row—whenshe arrived. Usually after one of his antics, theprincipal held Dixon hostage in her office untilhis parents came in for a conference. Susanhoped it was a good sign, but in the back ofher mind winced at the truth. Dixon staredblankly ahead, ignoring the multitude of eyesleeched to him, head slowly bobbing up anddown to some unheard melodic rhyme flowingunderneath his furry beast of a mane. He wasslouched in the “I don’t care” position, andSusan prayed that the lashes would be paralyzedlong enough for her momentary valor towalk her over to the seat beside him. She easedher weight into the plastic chair and immediatelywent to work, trying to appear busy in a“search” for the only huge binder in her bookbag. As she pulled the notebook out, Susan feltit from the corner of her eye. Dixon’s gaze hadshifted to look in her direction. It was a heavy,penetrating gaze, and in her fight against thatsoft cocoa look, the gaze won. The turn wasslow and contemplated, but Susan managed toshift around and meet Dixon’s glossy stare.“What?” was the rich, velvety baritoneresponse. Susanfigured it wasworthless tomake conversationwith Dixonsince he wouldn’tbe able to catchanything she saidabove the chantsof his angry C.D.But it never hurtto try.“Are you suspended?”Susanwas wary of hisreply. They usedto be best friendsbefore he metTamika. Hecouldn’t leaveSusan now; thiswas their senioryear.“I dunno.” Itwas the nonchalancewhichannoyed Susanthe most. Shereally wanted him back. The little kid thatclimbed trees with her, bought her the BlackLab for Christmas two years ago and helpedher name it “Cookie.” She wanted the latenight-movies and water gun fights. If only hecould look at her the same way he used to, ifonly he could view her in the same light asTamika. If only she could be black.“They just said I had to clean it up afterschool,” he suddenly mumbled, just as Mr.WomanCharcoalLekha SunkaraS V1 3

Reed began the lecture on some cold-bloodedanimal that Susan didn’t catch. She was toocaught up in her plan for that afternoon, a planof courage and possible salvation. It was timeto win Dixon back.The end of the day came much too soonfor Susan. Her initiative and guts seemed towax and wane throughout the day. Runningover possible words and phrases she woulduse, Susan marched through the swingingdoors of the cafeteria with the sound of the lastbell still ringing in her ears. Dixon was alreadythere, sitting on a bench next to his dry work ofart, scrub brush in hand. Setting down herbook sack, Susan weaved between each longtable, cursing the sticky bottoms of her shoeswhich noisily ripped a layer of white from thetile below with each clingy step, proclaimingher approach. Of course, the C.D. player concealedher footsteps, and she stood there agood five minutes before he realized someoneelse was in the room.“You better get started. That’s a mightythick layer of greasy plastic to cut through inone hour.” She saw traces of a smirk comeacross his face before the lashes took their toll,sweeping away Susan’s sharp focus. His eyesalmost seemed tame for a moment beforejumping back to the work in front of him. Anold cloth floated in a bucket of steamy Pine-Solwhich rested beside his feet. Bending over,Susan grabbed up the rag, wrung it out, andstarted in on the Y of his name. Taking her cue,Dixon dipped his scrub into the murky waterand rose to start on the pink potatoes whichformed D, scrubbing gently at first beforeadding the extra effort needed to scrape thetough carbohydrates from the wall. TheyDixon worked in silence, stopping only to rinse theirGreycleaning tools before tackling their task withgrowing enthusiasm. Susan broke the ice fifteenminutes into their scrubbing frenzy.“What are you trying to prove to them?” Itwas bold and Susan expected the worse possiblereaction. But she was tired of dancingaround the issue. She didn’t want to do it anylonger.“You don’t know what it’s like to be me.You don’t know how it feels to be rejected onall sides. People judge me by my color. And I’mnot one of the primaries.” His biting sarcasmdealt a crushing blow to Susan’s insides. Shewanted to hug him, let him know it didn’tmatter what other people thought. People werestupid. Still, Susan knew rejection; it was staringher in the face. He turned back to scrubbing,the strokes becoming harder and harder.“What about our friendship? Doesn’t thatmean anything to you?” She was desperatenow. Something had to break. He stoppedscrubbing, and turned slowly to see her questioningface. He was searching for something tohold on to in her eyes.“Susan, you know I love you. You’ve beenthere for me year after year. You’re an angel tome, my savior. But you don’t understand….”“I understand that I’m tired of knowingthat this isn’t the real you,” she cut in, pointingup at the letters now dripping with soap suds.“And I know that you’re tired of playing thesegames. You shouldn’t have to prove you fit inbecause of something you were born with.Can’t you see the truth? I miss you, Dixon! Imiss the real you, your personality, your horriblejokes. I miss you. Not your skin color orcrazy hair. You shared life with me, and thatpiece of me is gone if you change.”A flash of anger mingled with regret slowlybuilt up on Dixon’s milk-chocolate visage duringthe length of her plea, finally escaping inthe violent sling of his filthy rag across the cafeteriafloor. Dixon’s lashes were the ones incombat now, fighting off the tears welling upover his brown gems. Damp Converses carriedhim over to a bench where he buried his faceinto crossed arms and wept. Only his messyhair was visible, sinking up and down witheach sob. Never in her life had Susan seenDixon Grey cry.Dropping her soiled cloth into the water,she quickly moved to sit beside him. In thehaste, soapy tile caught her off balance, carryingSusan to the ground with a loud smack.Startled, Dixon looked up to find Susan rollingin laughter. The amusement caught Dixon offguard, forcing out a rumble of laughter characteristicof the Dixon Grey she was so fond of.In an act of pure delight with the resurrectionof such a laugh, Susan reached into the foamybucket and threw the largest pile of suds shecould gather, right into those lashes.S V1 4

BiorhythmicRepetitionIf I could see the mountains againthen let it be with your eyes,and let the wind cool your skinas well as mine.If I could taste the ocean againthen let it be with your tongueand your tastein my mouth.If I could sail this world againtake this trip a second timethen let it be you forever on hand,and let it be your figurethat stands at my side.Walking inthe RainA light sprinkle fallsDown from the cloudsAs we run laughing throughThe puddles, splashing the world around us.Everyone stares from their windows.We dance soaking wet in the rainAnd marvel at the blue lightning flashes allaround us.A soaked leaf falls on the sidewalk,He puts it in my hairAnd laughs as our lips touchAnd the sky lights up around us.Brittany HollisIf I must take this road againthen let there be no moment,and no day of travelwithout you.Jordan RichardEllaScratchboardHannah BurnettS V1 5

Cigarette BreaksCrawfordJeremyHonorable Mention, Short Story CompetitionChilled breath condensed before myeyes like ghostly tendrils of smoke as the oldMaxima sputtered to life. The car shook andjived as though it had spent the entirety of winterin hibernation and was dancing in excitementto have been awakened. Too old forantics, it groaned and squealed with eachmovement, and I rushed to make my waydown the street before the noise awoke someone.Thoughts of my unfortunately restlessmother awakening from a much-deservedslumber gave me a slightly heavier foot.As I rounded the curve near Olive BranchElementary School, I slowed to a mere creep,rolling slowly over the speed bumps and takingcareful precautions at every intersection andstop sign. The OBPD was only three blocksfrom my house, and at fifteen I was not legallyallowed to drive past ten o’clock. I blamedsleep deprivation for my intense moments ofexaggerated paranoia, and I spent the remainderof the drive creating excuses for the policeofficer should I be stopped. “I had a flat tireand that’s why I’m late,” or “My mother isawful sick, sir, and I had to run out to get herCigarettesome medicine.” Perhaps the real reason wouldwork just as well as those obvious fabrications,and as I pondered the explanation, I realized itto be somewhat comical and at the same timeslightly depressing. “I’m on the way to go pickup my alcoholic friend (she’s a whole twentyfiveyears older than me) so we can go makedonuts over there at Hacks Cross Road.” Icouldn’t help cursing “my friend” silently asthe car sputtered ten miles out of the way inthe direction of the police department just topick her up.Connie Douglas was rough. In fact, she wasmore than rough. She was rugged, lacking anyculture or finesse, even when compared to theinhabitants of small-town North Mississippi.With a face marked by furrows and a mouthtwisted from years of the bottle, Connie wasable to pull off the menacing look of a convictS V1 6biker while standing at a measly height of fivefeet two inches. Her hair was coarse and oily,unnaturally thin for her age, and tangled locksshadowed a near toothless grimace in betweenrounds of Marlboro Reds. On top of it all, herarms were covered with enough grease-burnbattle scars to capture the minds of listeners forhours on end.The brakes screeched as I slowed to a stopin front of Connie’s tiny apartment. Flashingthe headlights, I signaled my arrival, hopingshe wouldn’t invite me in. But I knew shewould; she always did, even for just a moment.Unfortunately, it was usually for far more thanjust a moment. She turned on the outside lightand cracked open the door to wave to me,beckoning. “Hey, man!” she said as I came in,finishing her cigarette and wrapping up herphone conversation. “How’s it goin’ tonight?”“It’s fine, Connie,” I said under a deep sigh.“We better get going. It’s almost eleveno’clock.”“It’s fine? Just fine?” she asked, completelyignoring the latter half of my statement. Herface contorted as though she were shockedwith my reply, sending a chain of wrinklesacross her cheeks and revealing her near-toothlessgums. “It’s not great, or even real good?”Connie was the type of person that didn’tlet anything bother her, and she felt everyoneelse should be the same way. She lived in asmall apartment with her youngest son Dillonand not a penny to her name. Her mother stillhelped support her, and she had to bum ridesto work because she lost her license for DUI’s.But, nevertheless, she didn’t let it get to her,and if at any time she started to get down inthe dumps, a drink would bring her right backup.We always got to work a little bit late. Nomatter how early I arrived to pick her up,Connie would be doing something that justcouldn’t wait. “Just let me finish this cigarette,man,” or “I’m on the phone with my mom,it’ll only be a minute.” It didn’t really matterwhat time we got to work, considering we werethe only two people there. As long as we gotour job done before the morning shift came in,

we’d be fine. The donut shop was always coldwhen we arrived, but we knew better than toadjust the heat. Instead I would walk immediatelyto the fryer and flip the switch. It wouldn’ttake long for the enormous vat to start bubblingand popping, and in no time the entirestore would be hot enough to smother aMississippi water moccasin in a frozen pond.In no time, the entire shop would come tolife. The dough would be mixing in one of thegiant mixers, and the fryer would be meltingthe fresh vegetable shortening. Connie wouldalways turn on the radio, and we would spendthe entire night jamming to her old-schoolrock-and-roll. Dancing and laughing, we wouldknead the dough, making half a table of soft,pillow-shaped loaves. We held deeply intellectualconversations about the art of donut-making,and how Connie could make better twiststhan I, while I could make better cinnamonrolls than she could. We had contests to seewho could recognize the name and band of asong whenever it came on the radio, and sometimeswe would get so carried away trying toshout out answers before each other that anunknowing observer might think us near deaf.Connie would entertain me with wild storiesabout parties and concerts; and she wouldalways answer my complaints about working atnight, or being burned by the grease, or beingtired, with gruesome details about her last job,or one of the many before it.The way that donut dough rises, Connieand I would always have two “cigarette breaks”before things really got rolling. After the yeasthad been mixed into the dough for twelveminutes, it had to rise for twenty minutesbefore we could do anything more, and thenBreakswe had to knead it into loaves and let it rise anS V1 7additional twenty minutes. This was our quiettime, our time to relax and talk about our families,our hopes, our dreams, our goals. “Comeon, man. It’s time for a cigarette break,” Conniewould always announce, even though I wasusually already headed for the door. We’d gooutside and sit and talk, me rambling incessantlyin my mind but saying little and Conniecommenting between puffs as though sheknew what I was thinking. “We need to stayuntil five tonight at least, so I can get my hoursin. Rent’s due tomorrow.” I didn’t object;Momma needed the money as well.The blue “Heavenly Donuts Plus” signabove us cast a faint glow over the surroundings,which concocted a surreal setting whenmixed with the apparitions of Connie’s smokerings. Connie was the only person other thanmy grandfather I knew that could blow smokerings. During rainy days when there was nowork to be accomplished on the farm, mygrandfather and I would hollow out the nub ofa dried corn cob and plug it with a whittledcane shoot to make a homemade pipe. Papowould slit the tobacco out of one of my grandmother’slong cigarettes to pack the rude contraption,and we’d spend the rest of the afternoontalking about how we were going to getrich off of selling homemade pipes at theannual Watermelon Carnival while I watchedhim puff concentric circles of smoke into theair. Connie couldn’t blow concentric circles likePapo, but her smoke always stayed circularlonger than his, and was much thicker. Shewould move her lips, and tiny wisps wouldemerge and expand to the size of a glazeddonut before drifting up into the darkness ofthe night sky. I was always amazed to see therough old woman create something so delicate.Donuts were one thing—soft and beautiful, itwas quite hard to imagine Connie playing anyrole in their creation—but watching hermanipulate something as fragile and disgustingas cigarette smoke to form such beautifullymagic rings was extremely captivating. I couldn’thelp imagining where the rings were driftingoff to. Perhaps they floated off to join the smogof the big cities up north, or maybe theybecame the ironic aureoles of the seraphim.As the tinge of orange left her firstMarlboro, Connie would always ask the samequestion. “How’s your mom doin’?”“She’s okay… still working three jobs. She’salways tired.” Connie knew I didn’t work thenight shift just for spending money. My familyhad been having a hard time ever since wemoved to the city, and I volunteered to contributeas much as I could. It wasn’t too bad,though. Despite my protests, Mom wouldalways make me keep some of the money Imade to spend at the movies or on a new CDor something like that.“You still doing good in school?” She knewthe answer hadn’t changed since the nightbefore. “You’re a momma’s boy, you knowthat?” I would just look at her in response.“Nothin’ wrong with that. I’m the same wayabout my family. You can do whatever youwant to me, as long as you don’t mess with my

money, my kids, and my momma.” Connieexplained these values to me every night.The only other quiet time we would everhave was when we had fried the last of thedonuts. By this time, we were usually exhausted.Connie was always ready to get home andwatch Star Trek, and I was ready to go take ashower and grab a quick nap before school. Itwould take us about thirty minutes to cleanthe entire kitchen, a miraculous event consideringall of the dough, flour, sugar, jellies,cream, and grease that were scattered throughoutthe room. Connie always got onto me formaking messes. “Man, you’ve got to learn toclean up as you go!” She’d turn off the music,and as she finished the dishes she’d exclaim,“Okay, Jeremy… Mop us out of here!” Thatwas my signal. I knew we didn’t have muchlonger. If we could just finish up a few moreodds and ends, we’d have survived anothernight in the blistering heat of the donut shop.Then we would clock out, a night’s worthof work on our ticket and a week’s worth ofsoreness in our muscles. We were allowed onemeal on the company every night, and wewould gather a few donuts to take with us. Ialways got donut holes, because that’s whatMom likes, a chocolate twist for my little sister,and a cinnamon roll for my best friend Cierraat school. Donut holes were the easiest tomake, but Mom still proclaimed them to bethe tastiest. Sometimes, after watching Conniework on her twists throughout the night,kneading, shaping, concentrating, it was hardto let my sister eat one. I couldn’t help comicallyimagining a donut full of tar and nicotine.But my cinnamon rolls were the best, andI was always proud to give Cierra a glowingbronze bun that shimmered as the light caughtstreams of the glaze.As we stood in front of the door ready tolock up and leave, Connie and I would alwaystake a last look at the display cases to ensurethat everything was in order. “Man, thosedonuts sure do look pretty,” Connie would say.“They turned out real soft. Come on, man, I’mtired. You wanna take me to the store on theway home so I won’t have to walk to get cigaretteslater?” I always consented, and thereforenever answered.The drive home was a cold one after thewinter season had time to settle back into thedepths of my old Maxima. This time, though,we did turn on the heat. Dropping Connie offwas always the easiest and most relieving partof the job. “See yah tonight, Connie!”“Okay, man. You take care!” she’d nearlyyell as she slammed the door. I would sigh inreprieve as I made the way to my house. Bythis time I was too tired to worry about policemenor excuses for driving before six in themorning. I was only concerned with gettingclean and taking a nap before class. I wouldleave my treats on the table for my family, andthe cinnamon roll was always hand deliveredto Cierra’s beaming face.“Hey, Jeremy! How’s it goin’?”“It’s great, Cierra,” I’d say as I watched hersavor the sweet bun. “It’s real good.”Say Cheese!CharcoalEric DavenportS V1 8

Many teenagers with straight A’s and along list of extracurricular activities are tagged“over-achievers” and feel pressure to achieve ahigher vocation; but what is “vocation?” TheLatin root, “vocare,” means “to call,” so whendid a vocation’s value become based on salaryinstead of calling? It is no big secret that aneducator’s salary does not compare with that ofa doctor’s or physicist’s, but the rewards ofteaching are outstanding. This valuable lesson Ilearned in my eighth grade year through Mrs.Patricia Parker and her unwavering confidencein my potential.Mrs. Parker, mygifted teacher forfifth througheighth grades,challenged me todo the unthinkable,changed mylife forever, and implanted in me a seed thathas grown into the desire to sow the same seedin others.In every student’s school career, there is atleast one special teacher — a teacher who reallyconnects with the student and helps her tofocus on her talents and prepare for success.For me, Mrs. Parker was that special teacher.Mrs. Parker knew that I loved to write; she hadbeen there when I wrote the very first poem infifth grade. She also knew that I was extremelyintroverted and that I hated for people to readmy poetry. However, Mrs. Parker saw potentialin me that I refused to believe was there, andshe was unwilling to let me throw it away. Thatis why she convinced me to apply for thePromising Young Writers Award, awarded bythe National Council of Teachers of English. Atfirst, I refused. My writing was the only thing Ihad that I could be proud of, and I was terrifiedof having a panel of English teachers tellme that it was worthless. Mrs. Parker was persistent.Eventually, I gave in and reluctantly satdown to write. That year, only three students inMississippi won the award—and I was one ofthem! Growing up in a low-income familywith an abusive father, “success” was just aword I learned to spell in second grade. But ifconfidence leads to success, I had definitelytaken my first baby step, all thanks to Mrs.Parker.Taking that first step changed my life completely.I had more self-esteem than I had everknown and I was no longer afraid of takingrisks. More importantly than that, the confidenceI gained from the experience gave mehope. I was no longer destined to make thesame decisions that my parents had made. Iknew that I had a way out — an opportunity tobe “more.” Opportunity knocked, not on mydoor, but in my mailbox two years later. Mymom showed me the application for theMississippi School for Mathematics andThe First RungJessica JenningsS V1 9Science (MSMS) with pride in her face.Remembering my eighth-grade success andthinking that this was the opportunity of a lifetime,I carefully filled out the application.Waiting was scary, but my teachers were verysupportive, and I even called Mrs. Parker andtalked with her about it. When I got my acceptanceletter, she was the first person I called.Sometime after arriving at MSMS, I didsome reflective thinking and realized howmuch Mrs. Parker’s simple act had affected mylife. I decided then that I want to have the sameeffect on someone and that the best way toensure that is to become a teacher. I want togive my time and attention to children whomight otherwise not know what it means tohave someone believe in them. I want to seethe light in a tiny pair of eyes when the first100 is made on a spelling test, or the first contestis won. I want to meet the parents ofremarkable children and get them involved inthe education process, let them know howimportant they are to their children. More thananything, I want to give some child what Mrs.Parker gave me — a connection to success.If my parents, friends and teachers everwanted me to be something “more,” I do notthink I am letting them down. I will never goto Harvard or work for NASA, but I will changelives. I will touch hearts. Hopefully, I will bethe first rung on someone’s ladder of success.

Columbus 23RichardJordanHonorable Mention, Essay CompetitionNotre DameGraphiteHonorable Mention,Art CompetitionKristin KlaskalaComing onto 84, out of Natchez, I stopthinking in terms of minutes and miles andbegin to measure the distance in music. It isthree-fourths of a CD from Natchez toBrookhaven and the exit onto 55, then the restof the disc straight up to Jackson. I change discsjust before hitting the freeway and stick withthat til I’m almost to Starkville. From there,Columbus is barely five or six tracks.The signs on the sides of the highway tickby like a metronome. Signs for roads to townsmost people will never hear of or have any reasonto go to. They are my only landmarks onthese monotonous stretches of pine forests,hunting lands, and travel distinctly devoid ofgas stations. A green sign announcing the turnfor the Roxy Business District tells me I’m stillclose to Natchez. An increase in the signs mentioningMcComb gives warning that I am closeto my turn, and I begin to scan the horizon forthe blue roof of the Chevron that I know willsoon coming gliding into view at the top of acrest. Just after it passes, I make the switch andpoint myself North. The number of green andwhite clicks drops off on narrow 55, and I easeinto the Zen-like state of focus that will carryme through the increased traffic here and thecoming insanity of the Jackson freeway. In andabove the city, the signs whiz past and I glanceat them only long enough to know that I don’tneed them; I follow the ones that readMemphis and Grenada, because those are theones that will take me to blessed LakelandDrive, north. Personal necessities are seen to atthe Fast Track in a wide intersection onLakeland, then the trip continues, easing nowinto the miles of completed and underway constructionbetween Jackson and Starkville.Another CD should last most of the way. Atleast until I can see the edge of Mississippi StateUniversity stadium, or that red light at the campusentrance.Here, also, there aren’t many signs. Butthere are more trees, fewer gas stations, andgreener grass that grows between the tell-talelines of sand left-over from months of pouringS V2 0asphalt. I notice the difference in the road. Lastyear, there was more construction than fourlaneon this stretch.Then there’s that stop sign, random stopsign in front of a gas station in the middle ofnothing. I love it. Because five minutes downthe road is “Louisville / Starkville / Next Right.”And I sigh, ready to be there.Recently, I finally noticed the “StarkvilleCorp Limit” sign, a remarkably inconspicuousmarker, but it makes no difference; apparently“Starkvegas” officially begins at an arbitrarilychosen pine tree as there is nothing else of consequenceto indicate the spot.Driving in S’ville is like pushing a brokenbuggy around clothes racks in Wal Mart, completewith women on cell phones and kids withbig toys. So I watch the signs and the suspiciouscars through one corner of my eye then theother and wait for it to clear, wait for the signs tobegin reading “Columbus.” Then I see it. Thesign I have been waiting for, the one that I thinkof through every meter of road from Home tohome and back, so simple and unassuming, soglorious to have brought me to tears on occasion.How easy it would be to miss the sparselittle shape that says ”Columbus 23.”Then the exit onto 82 and a fresh disc ofmusic. The album barely has time to get goingbefore I’ve sailed up Main Street, waved to theguard at the front of campus, and eased my preciousred van into a place of precarious parking.Now I’ll unpack and go find Ashley because wealways go for lunch on the days of Return.

DementedThoughtsAhhh!My mind screams its insane thoughtsAs the rest of the worldCloses in on my lifePain piercing my wretched heartSoiling the sacred groundWith my unholy red waterVertigoAcrylicSecond Place, ArtCompetitionJordan SmalleyJack NeldonNaturalCoordinationPhotographThird Place,Photography CompetitionHannah BruceAutumnA chill North windWalks his bitter fingersAcross my cheeks,And winter threatens.But the sun shines bright;She laughs her defiance,And the world remainsUnder her golden spellFor one more day.Addie LeakS V2 1

BeautifulBlueSplash of fresh sea-breeze in my lover’s eyesCast upward on angel’s swimming poolLaced with fluffy sky dunesWhich sadly cry to earth crayon tearsuna mariposatransparentePhotographLaura Amye WilliamsBerries, Hibiscus, Birds—all drenchedWith bright colorEndless shades and tonesOf beautiful BlueNyssa PerrymanHonorable Mention, Poetry CompetitionNaturalBridgePhotographHonorable Mention,PhotographyCompetitionHannah BruceS V2 2

RollingField #2AcrylicAndy GuanMelancholicBlissDays fly by in a rushing tide,I get older, sentimentally.The rain falls depressed down;Distorting time—For a moment,For an everlasting second,For a brief year.Yet, the cosmic cycle still continues,And moons orbit planets orbit suns.In one instant my whole life changesWith an unstoppable forward momentum,But the universe stays exactly the same.Predictably.In a state of orderly chaos.In a state of melancholic bliss.Brittany PenlandTheColorofStringy brown hair,Almost dirty blonde,Split-ends tied back, GoneFaded burgundy t-shirt and faded blue jeans,Flat white tennis shoes;No one will know they don’t match—the fivedollar kind all look the same.Reaching into a sagging, tan, third-hand purse,A little more beige to soothe the black,The swollen blue and purple;Maybe no one will notice,Cheap brown shades to make sure;And easing the door closed behind her,She left.JenningsJessicaS V2 3

BeautyMixed MediaFirst Place, Art CompetitionHannah BurnettI have never been much of a girly girl.I don’t like to wear make up, I don’t fix myhair, and I’ve never liked girl activities such asshopping. In fact, I have always preferred themore natural approach to style and life ingeneral. The way I saw it, if God had intendedfor us to have blue eyelids, He would haveFluffHayley HillThird Place, Essay Competitionmade them that way in the first place. Ofcourse, as luck would have it, I was raised bythe queen of all girly girls. It’s not an uncommonscenario at my house to find my motherchasing me out the door with an eyelashcurler in one hand and a tube of lipstick inthe other, determined to smear a mask of oiland wax all over my face so I will look like my“true, beautiful self.”Apparently, though, these years of abusehave warped my psyche, and, as a result, I havealways disliked any girl that could be labeled asfluff. In my opinion, these girls were exactlywhat the name fluff implied: pretty to look at,but not much substance. All my life I havedone my very best to stay away from and be ina separate category from the fluffs, and I hadsucceeded until I made the life-altering mistaketo compete in the Miss Teen program. I shouldhave known I was stepping into a pool ofsharks as soon as the Miss Teen director forcedall the girls to chant, “It’s a program, not apageant.” They were lying. It was a pageant allright.I came to this realization during the weekof rehearsals at state Miss Teen in Meridian,Mississippi, when I found myself surroundedby all the top fluffs from each county across thestate. They pranced into every rehearsal witheach hair in place, matching spandex workoutclothes, and elaborate stage makeup. Just picture“Barbie Goes to the Gym.” I, on the otherhand, had not a stitch of makeup on withmuddy softball shoes and a mismatched baggyt-shirt with shorts. It was obvious; I was notone of them. I never would be, and I didn’twant to be. They were finely tuned and polished,which of course made me want to runaway and lick cold steel, and they were hungryfor the title of Mississippi’s Miss Teen (perhaps,though, because they were all anorexic). Imade up for this by telling myself that I wasbetter than them because I was smarter. I evencompensated for the weight issue by persuadingmyself that there was just more of me tolove. I would have never dreamed at that pointthat one of these fluffs would teach me thegreatest lesson I have ever learned.The final night of competition had arrived,and every girl was frazzled. We were tired ofdancing, prancing, and smiling for the camera,and we were ready to just get it all over with.S V2 4

The only problem was that one girl was missing.The Miss Teen director searched all over forher and eventually found the girl had oversleptat her host family’s house. The rest of us sataround backstage in our puffy dresses andmile-high hair chatting until she arrived andwe could start the show. The poor girl arrivedten minutes later and hurriedly changed intoher gown. It was then that she realized she hadleft her makeup at home. Now, to a fluff, thisshould have been the end of the world, and infact many of the other fluffs were freaking outfor her. This fluff, though, did something veryunexpected. She started pinching the fire out ofher cheeks, and then she began pillagingthrough every drawer backstage. All of ustrailed her, asking what in the tar-nation shewas doing, but the blond-haired, blue-eyedfluff just ignored us. She kept on searchinguntil a moment later she whooped with enthusiasmand thrust her discovery high into theair. I swear you would have thought she hadstumbled onto something like King Tut’s tomb,but no, all she had found was a black finepoint Sharpie pen.“Rachel, what in God’s name are yougoing to do with that Sharpie? We’re on intwo minutes.”“Honey,” Rachel replied, “when life throwsyou lemons, you shove them inside your braand hope everyone notices. I’ll tell you whatI’m going to do with this here Sharpie. I’mgoing to line my eyes. So, if you don’t mind,how about you just shut your mouths and findme a mirror?”I was shocked. Not because this crazy girlwas about to line her eyes with a Sharpie,though, but because it was right then that Irealized how wrong I had been about the capabilitiesof all fluffs. This girl was actually tentimes wiser than I could have ever imagined.Life had thrown her a lemon, alright, and thisgirl hadn’t cried, whined, or given up. She hadshoved that lemon in her bra and moved on.Rachel ended up placing in the competition,and her eyes had never sparkled on stage theway they did that night. I, on the other hand,walked away with no awards and nothing toshow for the hard work I had put into the program.I was okay, though. I just shoved it in mybra and moved on.Operation CondorAcrylicEmily VanceS V2 5

I know what it’s like to watch the lifebeing choked out of the woman who gavebirth to me. I’ve felt the weight of seven boyscompressed into the small of my back, thepressure intensified by their screams of discriminativeinsults as they attacked me. I understandthe dread that comes when the dismissalbell rings at school and a student has nowhereto call home. I know the South, the DeepSouth. Its generosities. Its prejudices. I conquerthem daily.His rage was all but fleeting; rather, thistrait marred his personality near consistently,exploding without cause or warning. That dayhe took it out on Mom’s neck, straddling herWhoopingsby Jeremy CrawfordPastReflectionsPhotographKimberly GoldenSecond Place, Essay Competitionstomach as whispered gasps escaped herswollen throat, muffled by dirty, wrenchinghands. He wasn’t even my step dad, just thethird drunk to live with us for any extendedperiod of time. Ronnie abused us more thanthose drugs abused his body, and that says alot. My half-sister, a toddler at the time, was hisillegitimate daughter, and I thank God he treatedher a little better than us. Most of the timehe just let her watch the show, often from hisarms. Sometimes I wouldn’t fight back justbecause I was afraid she would get hurt. Hercontinuous attempts to escape his alcoholicstench made her easily dropped. But today hewasn’t drunk, and his anger seemed to intensifywith all the more vigor, perhaps fueled bysome purchase made from the rusty trailer parkdown Old Seven Highway.I wondered how long it would take thepolice to arrive. At our old house, a 110-acrerun-down estate that was once the prized dairyfarm of Potlocana, they never arrived in time—or at all, for that matter. I guess the windingroads through the densely forested hills ofNorth Mississippi were too frustrating for theofficers to travel. The trip from Oxford aloneinvolved trekking over the Yocona River and atwenty-minute drive through hay fields andcow pastures just to arrive at Tula, an outlyingcommunity in the forest we referred to as theS V2 6“Big W.” And once someone got there, notmany people knew of our farm still twentyminutes further into the woods. Surrounded bythousands of pines, three near-empty catfishponds, and two rundown home places, wewere at the mercy of the land. I missed thatmercy.Next it was my turn. I had somehow drawnRonnie’s attention from my wheezing mother,though I forget how. Instead I remember thesudden intensification of horror that overwhelmedmy senses as he turned towards me.How can anyone imagine his mother beingchoked to within an inch of her life, and thenimagine becoming even more afraid? My barefeet slapped the cold concrete floor as I racedaway, but I didn’t have far to run. He corneredme in my room, pushing me to the floor as heraised the butt of my shotgun for a strike. Myarms were crossed in defense: one blow couldsurely finish me, but he enjoyed observing me,watching me scream and cry in terror and painas I pushed my face into the hard floor. It wasicy against my flesh, and it shimmered with thereflection of his towering figure. Momma and Ihad spent weeks staining that floor, swirlingthe wax to create just the perfect imitation ofMexican tile, a mélange of browns and reds.Our move from the country to the city hadbeen a challenging one, and she tried so hardto make it a home. We had planted azaleas andpoppies and wildflowers to make it feel morelike “the old house,” hung our hummingbirdfeeders, and unleashed our pets. But alcoholcuts through wax, and bloodstains overpowerany wildflower, no matter how resilient thepetal’s hue.I’m not sure how, but Momma’s screamssaved me. Managing to recover herself for themoment, she appeared in front of my curledbody with raised arms. “He was just scared forhis mother’s life!” Her pleas fell upon adamantears as Ronnie kicked and stomped. He swiftlybrought the shotgun down upon the concretefloor, shattering the butt and suddenly exposingthe room to the stiff scent of gun oil. Iguess the realization of what he had just donesurprised him. He’d given me that shotgun as agift a few years before, and it was one of thefew guns in the house that he didn’t keeplocked up in his gun-safe. He loved that vault,filled with his treasured rifles and pistols. It washis trophy, a trophy he killed with, a trophy heused to claim his other trophies: deer, and

eavers, and our obedience. He almost loved it asmuch as he loved our fear.We managed to make it to the car, Momma andI. His hands were grabbing at her head through thewindow, and as we sped away he hurled a weedeatertowards us. A sigh of relief…wait, it wasn’tover yet. My little sister was still there, unable to getto us in the frenzy of our escape. We had to goback. My mother’s purple mascara dripped from hercheeks as she puffed ferociously on a cigarette. Thequick loop through the neighborhood proved to beuncomforting. We were surrounded by his familyand his friends, and a few miles down the roadmarked the beginnings of a city we didn’t know ortrust. “Jeremy, we’re just going to go back and takeour whoopings. We’ve got to get your sister. Wecan’t leave her there. We’ve just got to be brave. Justtake your whooping.”It wasn’t the first time I had taken my whooping,and it wouldn’t be the last. Sometimes whoopingsare the only way. I did what I had to do, keptmoving. Couldn’t stop. Else I’d get caught, getdrawn into the unmotivated mindset that claims somany of my southern neighbors. I took whoopingsto get my sister back; I took whoopings for beingdisrespectful; I took whoopings for being a countryboy in the city; I took whoopings to teach me a lesson;I took whoopings for being different. I mighthave been beaten, but I didn’t lose. I kept trying,and with each punch and each prod I got a littlestronger, my objectives became a little clearer.These days, my advanced courses at theMississippi School for Mathematics and Scienceissue my whoopings. The rigorous course load,matched by my numerous extracurricular activities,provides an impossibly busy schedule. Balancing APCalculus with Yearbook and Literary Magazine editorialduties, as well as maintaining my position asStudent Government Association Vice-President,can be rather difficult. As one of the few membersof my family to value education, whoopings alsotend to come in the form of destructive criticismconcerning my academic priorities. However, thatdoesn’t stop me from pursuing my classes and mydreams to their fullest. The ceaseless battle for myrights only spurs my motivation. I may take a fewwhoopings along the way, but I’ll come out of theordeal with something to show for it: an A inphysics, an understanding of college-level chemistry,a successful year as the President of the MSMSSenate, a place to call home, or my little sister in thesafety of my arms.“Celestial”Photograph, Laura Beth MooreA MomentThe sun begins to setNo fear a new dawn awaits us yetThis chapter has come to a closeWe can only guess what the future holdsA timeless adventure that awaits us allNo fear we must take a step before we canfallFriends forever our paths once crossedWe’ve grown and now must partThose who are always with you are thosethat touched your heartWe will all venture out full of hopes anddreams andSomeday a long time from now we willremember back to these yearsAnd think fondly, smile softly, shed tearsWe remember yesterday, live today, and hopetomorrowMonica CookFlowers at DawnBeauty unfolds,Its tender petals caressedBy a gentle breeze,Its faces upturned,Waiting for a kissFrom the early morning dew.Addie LeakHonorable Mention, Poetry Competition

Woman ofNightOilOrlando Croft,Modern Immortal“Your father’s dead,” my mother yelledindignantly down the hall. Her voice was loudand piercing in the early morning.I sat up and rubbed the sleep from myeyes.As I crawled out of bed and stumbleddown the hall on my way to breakfast, I had topass my parents’ room.A strong smell floated from the room andbegan to mingle with the fresh air about me, asour-smelling gas that gripped my throat andlungs.I made my way to the kitchen.My mother was bustling about trying toready a breakfast for my two siblings and me.My sister was sitting at the table, with her headhuddled in her arms with her long russet curlssprawled across the table.“Don’t put your head on the table,” mymother scolded her as I sat down.She sat up straight, but not without sneeringat my mother’s back.My eyelids still felt heavy from the night’ssleep; they flew wide open when my motherslammed a plate down in front of me.I looked down at the small lumpy mush,what my breakfast looked like every morning.Usually, I would go through the routine ofwhining for her to change suppliers, but I knewshe was already upset and didn’t want to makeit worse.After I ate, I hurried back to my room to getdressed. I passed my mother on the way, whowas pushing my brother down the hall.S V2 9by Caitlin WolfeFirst Place, Short Story CompetitionThe Chris Read Award for Fiction“You’re the last one up and now you’regoing to make us all late,” she nagged.He would get an earful. My brother neverdid anything but mope about, and my mothernever did anything but badger him about anythingshe saw unfit about him. It was becauseshe had to go through labor twice for him. Thefirst time he died due to pneumonia. He waseighteen months old, young enough to bereborn by the GCS’s standards, instead ofrebuilt. The second time they kept him in thehospital for an extra two months to make surehis immune systems were up. My mother was,indeed, grateful.I pulled on a t-shirt and some jeans fromthe floor of my room. I grabbed my jacket offthe bed and my book bag from the floor.“Get in here, Lexi,” my mother yelled as Iwas on my way to the door.“Ready, Mom,” I sighed.She came out of her room, overloaded withher usual work bundle of papers and bags. Shewas flipping through the keys in her righthand. The bag on her shoulder began to falland she just let it plop to the floor with anexasperated sigh.I stood by patiently, longing for my bed,and watched her try to manage more than she

could handle. Dad wasn’t here to help thismorning.“Go get your brother and sister,” she said asshe let her purse go to use both hands to try tofind the right key.I shifted my bag and went to my sister’sroom. The hall light poured into her darkroom. She lay on her bed with her eyes closed.I flipped the light on and watched her wince.“Get outside before Mom has anotheraneurysm.”She rolled off the bed with a sneer, pickedup her bag, and headed to the door.I walked a couple feet to the doorway ofmy brother’s room. As I stepped in and pushedthe door open a bit, I caught a glimpse of hisreflection in his bathroom mirror across theroom. I walked over.He was at the sink, his left shirtsleeve rolledup and a razor in his right hand.“Do that later,” I sighed, “we’re alreadylate.”He jumped when he heard my voice andthe razor clattered inside the sink.Quickly, he pulled down his sleeve and followedme out, picking up his bag on the way.My mother and sister were already outside.As I closed the door, the tram appeared aroundthe corner, its bald metal head glaring angrilyin the early sunlight. I shielded my eyes andstepped up the metal platform, the last of myfamily. The steps disappeared and the door slidshut with a prominent clunk as I followed theothers to our seats.As we waited for the tram to stop at thenext house, I noticed the empty seat beside me.I glanced at my mother. She was quiet,undoubtedly fretting over the imminent hospitalbills. Her face was set with a stern expressionthat never seemed to disappear. But thismorning the wrinkles at the corners of her eyesand lips were more evident than usual. I alwayssat beside my mother because I was the onlyone who could handle her. Even my father losthis grip at times.My sister sat opposite my mother near theaisle. She stared angrily out the opposite window,her lips pursed, her eyes narrowed, obviouslyupset, yet still unnoticed by my selfabsorbedmother.Looking at them, both angry and intent, Iagain realized the likenesses they shared. Theyboth had long, curly, dark brown hair, but mymother’s had gone limp years ago from stressand exhaustion and now she always kept thefrizzled strands pulled back in an untidy bun.My sister let her hair fall freely in ringletsaround her face and over her shoulders.They both also possessed small dark eyesthat looked distant and cloudy, a thin, sharpnose, and high, protruding cheekbones—likeancient goddesses, chiseled and cracked in thepages of history books.My brother, conversely, resembled myfather. They each had dusty blonde hair, a widenose, and a prominent chin. They were sullenand quiet, shy and acquiescent. Compared tomy mother and sister, they resembled a pair ofmeek, substandard mortals.I was unlike both of them, like a foreigner.Short, straight black hair fell around my face,with a wide, blunt nose and dark, olive-shapedeyes.The tram stopped at the Prep School firstwhere my brother timidly scurried down theramp. Next, at the Intermediate School, my sistergot off, flipping her hair angrily towards mymother, who was now staring past me and outthe window. I noticed the lines in her face hadeased somewhat.When we stopped at the Secondary School,I started to get up, when I felt my mother’shand on my arm.“Come with me to the hospital,” she said.“I don’t mind if you’re late for classes.”She was more telling than asking me.I sat back down as the tram began to pullaway from the school. I saw my classmatesdragging themselves up the gray steps to themain building for assembly. I was relieved tomiss the tedious morning address.I glanced at my mother. She was sittingwith her head against the seat and her eyesclosed. The wrinkles were almost invisible, herface almost placid.I knew why she wanted me to go the hospitalwith her. She grew up with the developmentof the Genetic Cloning Session. Therewere so many protests and so much controversy,it took a little over nine years for the SessionS V3 0

to be established and become a federal-fundedorganization.My grandparents strongly opposed theSession and refused to donate samples to harvestspare parts. My grandmother said theSession was sending mankind into a regressionof humanity, and sooner or later we’d all beempty shells living infinite, meaningless lives;we’d be as miserable as the gods. Maybe shewas exaggerating. Or maybe not.It always gave my mother chills to go to thehospital, though she was never outwardlyagainst the Session. She never said that,though; her pride would never permit it. I suspectedit when my grandmother died. Mymother avoided the white building as much asshe could. And since Grandmother had nospare parts, that made it easier for her.But bits of my grandmother were in mymother still. I knew she didn’t like the ways ofthe Session, how they cheapened life to nothingby their “advancements in technology.” Herpride, though, just let you think she didn’t likethe bills. But she went through the routine ofdonating and cataloging replacements in caseof an accident for her and the rest of my family.We stopped at a general station to take thehospital tram. Silently, we rode to the anodynebuilding.We walked inside and rode up to a floorlabeled “Deceased In Waiting.” My motherwalked confidently to the secretary’s desk, heranxiety dissolved.The secretary wore a long, black robe buttonedin a single row in the front and straight,loose white pants. Her long hair was in a braidand stacked on top of her head with a diamondof cloth covering it, one of its pointsresting in the center of her forehead.“Jaye Harrison,” my mother said, the linesreturning to her face.“Let me check the catalog,” the womansaid robotically.My mother and I waited as she pulled out aVertigoPhotographFirst Place,PhotographyCompetitionKyle DohertyS V3 1

small personal catalog and began scanningthrough it.“Jaye Harrison,” she finally read, thenlooked to us. “Brought in for a fatal heartattack.”She pressed a button.“He has a replacement cataloged, but it willtake a couple hours to create a spare before weput in the replacement.”“When will he be out?” my mother askedbluntly, her pursed lips causing a web of linesto shoot out from the corners of her mouth.“The surgery will take an hour at the leastand he will be released at the end of the day.”“Yeah, thanks. I’ll be looking forward to thebills,” she said as we walked away.The secretary seemed to have taken nooffense because when I glanced back she hadalready busied herself with other things anddiscarded my father’s catalog to the corner ofher desk.My mother and I walked back outside tocatch the next tram. I’d be an hour late forclasses. She didn’t seem worried.When we reached the school she sent mein without an excuse. The office secretarymarked my tardiness with a large red T on myschedule then sent me to classes.I sat for hours through the tedious lectures,the monotonous drone of the professor’s voice.I dozed off for half of one class and woketo my red-faced professor looming above me. Iwas assigned a ten-page report on the historyof genetics in the twenty-second century, due intwo days.I dragged myself through the next class andan exam in my last period. I was afraid to scanmy test, knowing I wouldn’t get a high mark. Iwas right.After classes, I picked up some books fromthe Archives Hall for my report then caught thetram home.When I walked in the door, a smell alertedmy senses. It wasn’t the sour-smelling gas fromthe morning but more like the smell of hospitals,that opened your nostrils and lung with aburning sensation.I passed my parents’ room and glancedinside. Under the thin blue-gray thermal blanketa body lay on his side with his back to thedoor. A patch of tousled, thinning pale blondehair stuck out from the blanket. The bodyheaved up and down with slow, raspingbreaths.THE CHRIS READ AWARD FOR FICTIONThe Chris Read Award for Fiction, instituted with the 1994 issue of Southern Voices, honors amember of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science’s Class of 1991. ChristopherDavid Read was an active leader at MSMS as a member of Emissaries, the Debate Club, andthe Southern Voices staff. Chris’s first love, however, was writing. Southern style.Chris often wove his Southern tales late at night. Chris would compose either on thecomputer or on (his favorite) the old, brown Royal typewriter he had bought from the pawnshop down 13th Street South. Faking sleep, I would watch the grin on Chris’s face as heworked out the next great story. When he finished, Chris would always “wake me” and excitedlyread his new story to me. He never knew that I had been hiding, watching his creativeprocess with admiration. I was not the only one to admire Chris’s work. This award stands astestimony to the admiration that we all held for Chris and his work and as a memorial tothe Southern writing tradition which Chris loved.Chris had the potential to become a great writer. Unfortunately, Chris never reached thispotential: he was killed in a car wreck on January 17, 1993. Though Chris will never attainhis dream of writing a great novel, all of those who loved and respected Chris hope that therecipient of this Award, as well as all the other aspiring writers at MSMS, will achieve theirdreams.Michael D. GoggansClass of 1991S V3 2

I walked on to my room to start on myhomework.I’d gotten to the first page of my reportwhen my mother summoned us for dinner.Everyone crawled into the kitchen. As I startedto take my first bite, I realized my father’s chairwas still empty. I stuck the fork in my mouthand chewed as my mind drifted to otherthings.My family ate quickly and quietly, as wedid every night. No one wanted to share theirday, announce an upcoming event. My motherserved, we ate, we left, she cleaned.I was almost half-way through with thepaper when my clock beeped the time to be12:30. I leaned back from the laptop andrubbed my sore eyes. My back ached from sittinghunched over the computer for so long. Iclosed my eyes to let them rest.They popped open when I heard my mother’spiercing voice in the early morning.“Lexi! Get up !” she yelled.I sat up. The computer still sat beside me,its screen black. I crawled off the bed andinto the kitchen. I joined my sister and brotherat the table. My mother passed out theplates, putting one at an empty seat, and webegan to eat.I’d choked down about two-thirds of thebrown mush when I heard someone comingdown the hall. I knew who it was, but reflexmade me look.My father came stumbling into the kitchen,his face pale and unshaved. He looked thinner,despite his usual muscular frame. The surgerymust have added ten years, I thought lookinginto his pallid, wrinkled face.“Morning.” His speech was slurred fromthe medication.No one responded except for my mother.She just told him to eat his breakfast becausehe would need the strength.I watched him wince as he lowered himselfinto the chair. He looked up at me. Oureyes met for a moment then I averted them tothe plate in front of me and forced downanother bite.I felt his eyes watch me a minute more,then he sighed and looked down to his ownbreakfast.We ate in silence then went to our rooms.I pulled on another pair of crumpled up jeansand a fresh t-shirt.“Get outside before the tram gets here,” mymother yelled.I grabbed my bag and started down thehallway. I passed my father, walking slowlytowards his room. He smiled weakly and againI saw the years in his face. He looked so sad, sopitiful.“Bye...Dad,” I said awkwardly.His smile widened. “Goodbye, Lexi,” hesaid as clearly as he could.I quickened my step to the door, the discomfortof the situation turning my stomach.My mother held the door open as werushed outside, the tram just appearingaround the corner. I stepped onto the rampand into the cabin of the tram. I sat down andlooked out the window at the gray concretewall lining the tracks as the tram pulled away.Past it, the tops of the few trees left by thetram engineers, wafting gently in the breeze.I knew my father would be back to hisdaily routine by tomorrow. He’d be there to eatbreakfast with us, he’d sit with us on the tram,and be there for supper. But something in medidn’t want things to return to normal.A sick feeling rushed into my stomach.What does anything mean if you can’tlose it?ModernImmortalS V3 3

Laura gave her mom the eye as shepulled in to the parking lot of Rolling AcresGroup Home.“I thought we were going to the doctorfirst.”“Well, Uncle Jim asked if he could comealong. You know, Laura, he looks forward toseeing us all week, and he promised he wouldbehave himself this time.”Laura had been through this before. UncleJim always promised to behave, but he neverseemed to be able to do it. Once, he had madeUncle JimHayley HillThird Place, Short Story Competitiona spectacle of himself in Wal-Mart by cussingout a cashier because he believed she was plottingto kill him. One other time, Uncle Jim hadcried all during Thanksgiving because Mamahad been ten minutes late to pick him up fromhis apartment. It never took much for UncleJim to embarrass Laura. Just the fact that hedrooled, talked to strangers, and wore mismatchedclothes made it hard for her to beseen with him in public. It wasn’t her fault thatshe had a middle-aged, mentally handicappeduncle.Uncle Jim was already waiting outside hisapartment when they arrived, a big goofy grinplastered on his face. They had hardly stoppedthe car before he had jumped into the passenger’sseat and rolled the window down; UncleJim always rode with the window down.Laura crouched low in the back seat, hopingUncle Jim would think she was asleep. Asbad as it seemed, she just didn’t like to talk tohim. He laughed for no reason at all, and hewas always drooling, drooling, drooling. Hugepuddles of spit would migrate from the cornersof his mouth, down his chin, and onto hiswhite T-shirt. He also had a bad habit of askingabout Laura’s non-existent boyfriend; itannoyed her that relatives, especially UncleJim, always assumed she had a boyfriend.As they pulled into the parking lot, Lauranoticed that there weren’t many other cars,which relieved her; that meant not many peoplewould have to see her with Uncle Jim. Theygot out of the car, explained the no-talking-tostrangersrule to Uncle Jim, and made their wayinto the clinic’s waiting room. Laura chose aseat in the far corner and began reading theSeventeen that had been resting in the seat nextto her while her mama and Uncle Jim signedin.The waiting room was small, square, andextremely cold. Pink couches and chairs werearranged around the walls with stacks of magazinespiled on a table in the middle. An olderwoman with short brown hair and small, penetratingeyes was the only one of the three peoplein the room to even glance up from herreading when they entered. She gave them adisapproving stare and then shifted back to hermagazine. Laura could tell they would need tostay out of her way; she didn’t seem like awoman of much patience. Another woman andher teenage son sat on the other side of theroom directly across from the older woman.They were whispering back and forth to eachother, unaware of anyone else in the room.“Laura Ann, can I sit next to the beautyqueen?”“I’m not a beauty queen, Uncle Jim. JuniorMiss was not a beauty pageant.”“I’m gonna sit next to the beauty queenanyway. Hey, y’all! Look! I’m sitting next to thebeauty queen!”Laura’s frown grew deeper as the beadyeyes of the older woman darted straight in herdirection.“Some people are trying to read. Perhapsyou should keep him quiet.”Mama and Laura just nodded their headsat the woman as she positioned herself in achair facing towards the restroom at the otherend of the room and away from where UncleJim was sitting.“Oh, God,” Laura thought to herself, “I’llnever make it out of here alive.”Laura hid her face with the magazine andprayed that her name would be called soon.She couldn’t put up with it much longer. UncleJim was too much.Uncle Jim didn’t seem to notice her disdain.He just went right on talking and laughingto himself. Laura stared at him. His peppered,thinning hair and deep-set laugh linesS V3 4

made him look so old, even though his mentalcapabilities were that of a child’s. Actually, hiseyes were the only part of his physical appearancethat showed how childlike he was; UncleJim had huge blue eyes that danced with boyishenthusiasm.Laura was still waiting there in her seat, tryingto wish herself invisible, when it happened.Uncle Jim got up and headed towards therestroom on the other side of the room.“Mama, you’ve got to stop him. Please.What if he makes a mess?”“You hush! If he makes a mess, I’ll clean itup. He’s not doing anything wrong, Laura.”All of her life, Laura had been made awareof Uncle Jim’s problems with personal hygiene.She couldn’t count the number of times shehad to clean the bathroom at home after heused it and the number of times she had towash his soiled clothes for him.“Please, God, let him make it in the toiletjust this once. Please, God, let him make it justthis once. Please. Please. Please.”Laura closed her eyes and waited to hearthe toilet flush, and after a while, it did. Sheheard the handle shake, and she saw UncleJim’s profile as he stepped out of the bathroom.Laura couldn’t believe her eyes; helooked dry.“THANK YOU GOD! Dear sweet Jesus inHeaven, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANKYOU!”Her sudden exultation was interrupted asUncle Jim turned in their direction. His entirefront side was darkly moist. The older womanwith snake-like eyes gasped and covered hermouth. Mama and Laura looked at each other.They didn’t even have to say anything; theyapologized to each other with their eyes. UncleJim headed back toward them to take his seat,but he stopped when the older woman muttered,“Look at that crazy fool. Why do peoplelet him out of his cage?” Uncle Jim just stoodthere. The mother and son glanced up at thecommotion, their eyes growing large at thesight of Uncle Jim’s stained pants and the olderwoman’s comment. Mama closed her eyes, andLaura sat frozen in shock. The entire room wassilent and still, not knowing what to say orthink in response to Uncle Jim’s accident or thewoman’s offensiveness.That’s when Laura saw it: a huge tearwelled up in Uncle Jim’s eye, spilling over ontohis contorted face. The only sound that couldbe heard in the waiting room was that of UncleJim’s weeping. His tears were flowing freelynow, and all the older woman did was standup and march out of the clinic without a word.The mother and son tried to pretend like nothinghad happened. They just sat there, staringstraight ahead, flicking their nervous eyestoward Laura and her family every other second.Laura felt so sorry for her Uncle Jim. Hewas standing there crying like a baby, and shehad been so mean to him earlier. Laura’s memoriesof Uncle Jim when she was a childflashed through her mind. She rememberedhow nothing ever seemed wrong with himwhen she was growing up, and she couldn’tremember when her perception of him hadchanged. Laura thought back to the time UncleJim had taken care of her when she had thechicken pox. He stayed by her side the wholetime, entertaining her with countless games ofcheckers and wild stories about what he andLaura’s mama used to do when they wereLaura’s age. Another time, Uncle Jim had comfortedher when the family’s cat died by takingLaura fishing at the old pond behind theirhouse. Uncle Jim had even made Laura a dollonce during arts and crafts when he was at hisold group home. Uncle Jim had always beenthere for Laura, and it hurt her to think she hadabandoned her uncle as she got older justbecause he was different from other people.Laura wanted to rip that woman into shredsand then do the same to herself. How couldthat woman have done that? How could she?Uncle Jim didn’t know any better.Mama and Laura went to him, put theirarms around him, and took him back to thecar. They just drove around Hattiesburg whileMama tried to calm him down. She soothedhim with her voice, assuring him that it wouldbe okay, that they loved him. Laura just satthere in the back, not saying a word. She felt soterrible for every bad action, word, or thoughtshe had ever had towards Uncle Jim. She hadbeen such a brat, and he had never deservedany of her petty cruelties.“Uncle Jim, I love you. How about I showyou my beauty queen pictures when we getback to the house?”PhoenixColor PencilJordan RichardS V3 5

RandomThoughtsof LifeWhen I grow upI want to writethe deep sayings foundin greeting cards oron those bright, quirky t-shirts.When I grow upI want to travelon a road-trip to California(because I’m too afraid to live there)or on another mission to moon(because I don’t believe we really went the first time).When I grow upI want to learnfrom fortune cookie advicewhat the true meaningof life is.When I grow upI want to divehead-first into an exciting jobevery morning,and sleep each nightwith anxious anticipationof the day to come.When I grow upI want to laughat all the crazy anticsof my teenage years.When I grow upI want to danceoff arthritis and deathto the horrible music of the 1980s.When I grow upI want to livewith my tongue sticking outin the madness and pure excitementof the moment.Nyssa PerrymanS V3 6

FordPhotographBrandon ThorntonComfortGoodness livesbecause Love is warmand smells of rainand clean clothes.And Blessed Blessed are the dayswhen you are light,the nightswhen our kisses taste of chocolateof breathof weeks withoutand golden hours of silence.RichardJordanHonorable Mention, Poetry CompetitionSpringThe world emerges from her cocoonFresh and childlike,Slips out of that old gray coat,And paints her face.She steps out proud,Head held high withConfidence like high heels,Flirting with the passers-by,Making them blush crimson.The young mother’s belly swellsWith the promise of rebirth,A clean slate.Hayley HillS V3 7

StainedGlassA star, its glory falling softlyUpon a simple manger,A dove, gently alightingUpon a humbly offered arm,A cross, rough-hewn, but beautiful,A man, His eyes filled with love,His arms outstretched.An empty tomb…Through this glass,I watch the world go by,And it is painted in hues of truth.Addie LeakFractalAcrylic/Charcoal/Color InkOrlando CroftWaitingWonderPen and InkJordan RichardShe sits alone.There is a book in her lap,But she isn’t reading.She stares, her gaze unfocused,Into the melee of the crowded mall.It is Christmastime,But she has already finished her shopping…She is only watching now—And waiting…A tear falls from a heavily-mascaraed eye,And my heart weeps for her.Addie LeakS V3 8

HandsIn the morning,I see his hands reach for his watch, his wallet, his sunglassesHis hands seem to know exactly where to landOn the left side of the picture frameTo the right of the alarm clockRight in front of the tape playerI see his hands guide him through the houseTurn right at doorTurn slightly to the leftNow go forwardBut stay close to the couchBecause it’s right behindAt meal time,His hands guide himTo the leftAnd then straightOnto the hard floorHis hands pull the chair outMaking just enough space from him to sitThey reach for his pillboxKnowing exactly which compartment to openAnd then they reach for waterBouncing here and there until they hit a glassThen his hands bring the glass to his lipsAnd let him drinkWashing down those big pillsHis hands show him where what food is on the plateAnd then his hands feed himAt bedtime,His hands lead him to the bathroomGo straight out this doorwayAnd then turn slightly to the rightHis hands show him the toothbrushThe paste,The denture boxHis hands tuck him into bedPulling the warm covers over his exhausted bodyThen his hands rest as he sleepsKnowing that tomorrow will the same…Not only tomorrow, the day afterAnd the day after thatPreeti KumarS V3 9Hands of TimeChalk Pastel/CharcoalFelicia Mo

HallowedTreesAcrylic/ChalkJeremy CrawfordDanceNight falls,Music danceAcross a bitter sky.Love gone,Faces lost,Coffee shared in days gone by.Time, work, world—dead.Emotion—free.Ink flowsAs blood,As tears.A night spent in remembrance,Bittersweet,Pain and Bliss,Candle-light,The song! The eyes!…the deep brown eyes…Wild childWild deep from inside,Wild childBeing forced to hide,Moon and starsThey cry your sweat;Don’t leave me now!Don’t go just yet!Silver beads of perspiration,Silent cries of desperation,LeakingLongingInto the night;DreamingDrawingon childish fright.Breaking barriers,Born to bleed,Sweet wild childUnconscious need.Don’t wake the babe!Don’t turn her sour!Let her danceJust one more hourThere in her worldOf broken skin,She’s in control,…just let her win…Jessica JenningsPoetryJeremy CrawfordThird Place, Poetry CompetitionThe call came at 3 a.m.,“Jeremy, I need a favor.”I wasn’t even fully awakeas I stumbled up three flights of stairs.“Jojo, wake up.”His groans weren’t unexpected.I handed him the phoneand curled up on his stomach.Then came the conversation,a heart-wrenching talk concerninglove, sex, drugs, life, the future—one that only happens at 3 a.m.And through tearful whispers,I lay there staring at the ceiling.Glow-in-the-dark stars hung from fishing line,flowing with the vent’s slow current.As I lay there barely consciousand took in everything around me,I looked at those stars and thought,“Now that’s poetry.”S V4 0

A TypicalMonday MorningMy mama has always been a little bitscatter-brained. Well, maybe scatter-brainedisn’t the right word... I love my mother;there’s nobody like her in the world. She isbrilliant and funny and good with my friendsand a health nut— everything anybody couldpossibly want in a mom. But she doesn’talways think... Perhaps that’s the best way ofputting it.I remember one particular morning in thefall of my freshman year of high school. I wasstressed out— I was stressed out a lot backthen. Anyway, I wasn’t at my best that morning...I’d been up late the night before, studyingfor some test, and I woke up late, too,probably at about 7:30. My first class, EnglishI, began at eight, and I barely had time towash my face and throw on my school uniformbefore my mother’s yells echoed throughthe hallway of our house— “Tim-o-thy! Addie!”Her voice always went up on the last syllablesof our names. My little brother was typicallyunresponsive; of course it never matteredif he was late. The elementary portion of ourlittle K-12 school had no punishment for tardiness;after all, how could they— it’s not likethe kids could drive. I’d only been introducedto tardies a few years before— in seventhgrade— and I’d discovered that I didn’t likedetention.“TIMOTHY!” I hollered. I threw my longbrown hair into a messy bun and stormedthrough the hall into my parents’ empty bedroomand into the closet that served as my littlebrother’s room. He was stretched out on hisbed, leisurely reading a book. I snatched it upfrom him, and ignored his irritated yell as Istole a glance at the title before placing it out ofhis reach. Captain Underpants and the Attack ofWedgie Woman. It figured.“We’re about to be late,” I hissed. “Areyou ready to go?” It would be his fault if wewere late— it was always his fault if we werelate. I flounced back out of his room and intomy own where I proceeded to jam my feetS V4 1Addie Leakinto my worn Doc Martens and pull myschool anorak over my head.Makeup, makeup, makeup... “Aaad-die!”Never mind. I grabbed my makeup case, tossedit into my backpack, and half-jogged to thekitchen, where my mother was standing withher purse already slung over her shoulder andher keys in hand. “You ready?”I gave her a pained look— “Almost,Mom— I just woke up.”“All right. You have five minutes. I’ll be inthe computer room.” She looked rather impatient,but I decided to overlook that. After all,she was my mother; wasn’t it her job to wakeme up if my alarm clock didn’t go off ontime?I grabbed an apple from our fruit basketand a half of a protein bar from the fridge,unscrewing the top of a bottle of water as Idid so and placing it under the tap. I was ona health kick then (Mom’s fault), and noteven a bad morning would allow me to skipbreakfast. As the bottle finished filling, Ireplaced the top and threw it into my backpackas well, taking a bite out of my appleand shoving the protein bar into a pocket.No time to fix lunch, but I’d already decidedthat if worse came to worse (and it appearedthat it had) I could always eat a salad in thecafeteria.I hurried toward the front door— “I’mready, Mom!” Then a thought struck me—actually, I wasn’t; I hadn’t printed out my essayfor Mississippi Studies. I sighed exasperatedlyand changed course, heading back to my roominstead and pulling up my three-page report onMississippi in the early twentieth century. Iclicked the print button and suddenly rememberedTimothy.I yelled his name again, and was absolutelyinfuriated to see, as I rounded the corner to hisroom, that he had pulled out yet another bookand was reading it. “Are you READY?”

He looked up at me, all injured innocence.“Yes...” He was, too. I glared at him for amoment and then returned to my room at topspeed to collect my report. “LET’S GO,THEN...!”When I got to the door, Mama was standingthere looking at me. “I thought you wereready.”“I am now— Timothy!!”“He’s already in the car.”“What? Oh...” I hurried past her to the carand slid into the backseat. “Timothy, put yourmirror down.”“Why?”“I have to put makeup on.”He flipped the visor down and adjusted itfor me; I frantically began to apply concealerand eye makeup. Mama got in and started thecar, and I promptly jabbed myself in the eyewith my eyeliner. 7:55. Gogogogogogo...The five-minute drive to the school seemedlonger than usual. I was all set to spring out thedoor as we pulled up to the high school building,and I did, reaching back into the car to getmy backpack and turning to go— the problemwas that when I turned, the car rolled forward—right up my heel.I daresay my voice must have gone a littlehysterical. “Mama. The car. Gobackgobackgoback...”“What?”“You are running over my foot. Back up.”Thank heaven she finally understood andbacked up the Caddy. I’d have been even laterif she’d had to rush me to the emergencyroom. As it was, though, I got to English just asthe second bell was ringing— with only a slightlimp... and a very interesting excuse.CharacteristicNostalgicallyWave ofMidnightAcrylicKristin Klaskalait’s so characteristicnostalgicallythe abundance of ironyand the infinite distance whispering all arounda bittersweet letdownresolving to stand aloneto move aloneto be alonefor that is the way the setting sun goesnot with an entourage and grand formalitybut with an acceptance of solitudewith an understanding of finalityBrittany PenlandSV4 2

Fallen Angel“ReflectionGone”Reflection goneThe face of a man in a boy’s eyesTrapped; longing to realizePhotographyNyssa PerrymanWho he isReflection goneDisappearing in this magic actThis act of disappearanceLooking thru this invisible fenceAnd he still longs to figure outWho he isReflection goneBound beyond his wildest dreamsWith the torture of knowingThat he’s never going 2 knowWho he isReflection goneSurrounded by this river of mirrorsAnd if only they were clearerNude WomanChalkOrlando CroftHe’d know who he isReflection goneQuinnon TaylorS V4 3

Who Ate the LastMe?PhotographHonorable Mention,PhotographyCompetitionSara PeekPiece of Chicken?I had been in my room set in my favoriteposition: stomach pressed against the fadedcarpet on the floor, knees bent, feet in the airswaying side to side with the rhythm of themusic creeping in under my door from the outsideworld, and a book glued to my palms.Suddenly the harmonious aroma of collardgreens, mashed potatoes and gravy, candiedyams, corn bread, and, yes, fried chicken floatedthrough the vents, filled the room, and sangto my soul. I remained on the floor for aminute trying to believe it could be true: We’rehaving fried chicken today!We hardly ever had fried chicken. Our mostfrequent source of protein was dry eggs fromWIC and two for $1.00 packs of bologna fromGreer’s, our small town’s only grocery store.The task of supplying enough chicken for meand my nine siblings was not so easy for anunemployed mother and a father who mademinimum wage. Obviously, I was anxious toindulge. After finishing a chapter of MildredTaylor’s Let the Circle be Unbroken, I got up,stretched a bit, and headed for the kitchen.Forcing my way through the crowdedkitchen of my six older brothers’ towering,sweaty, bodies and two sisters trying to rationout portions between them, I kept my sight ona bowl of golden brown, crisp pieces of chicken.As my mouth increasingly watered, Ireached my destination, looked in the biground bowl, and sank to a bottomless pit ofMattie Browndisappointment: “Who ate the last piece ofchicken? Ma! I didn’t get no chicken!”As ridiculous as it may sound, I grasped apertinent piece of knowledge from that incidentwhich otherwise may require some peoplea lifetime to figure out: in order for one to succeed,one must have their priorities in order.My hunger to finish the chapter of Let the CircleBe Unbroken conquered my hunger for beingthe first in line for rare, finger-licking friedchicken. Even after gazing into that greasy,empty bowl, I never regretted my choice. Sincethat day, I’ve learned that having my prioritiesstraight will never let me down and did notthen. Earlier that day, my mom peeked in myroom and saw me wrapped up in the book.She put aside the best piece of chicken for me,so in fact I ate the last piece of chicken!From that moment on, I continued makingwise choices and am continuingly reaping thegood, still receiving that last piece ofchicken. I worked hard and excelled atmy previous high school, GreeneCounty High, and got accepted to theMississippi School for Mathematics andScience, a residential high school forMississippi’s best and brightest juniorsand seniors. I worked hard for my successfuljunior year at MSMS, and I amdetermined to bring about an even moresuccessful senior year. Between communityservice, classes, clubs, homework,and personal relaxation, I still find timeto devote to my friends and classmatesand clock in eight hours of sleep per night.Growing up in a large family, I have had noother choice but to learn from my surroundingsand to be thankful. Sometimes a couple ofthings have slipped my mind, and I have consequentlyyet painfully had to be reminded.But one lesson I’ve learned that has never failedme is that if I keep my priorities straight, lifewill always give me that last piece of chicken.S V4 4

Grey.She carries home the starsafter the revelry of the night,Orion, drunk and aching,leans upon her shoulderand stumbles home to sleepaway the light.She dresses too thinfor the cold witching hour,she shivers under silver,and sheer dull shimmersunder grey.She sweeps away the skyjust in timefor brilliant sister Dawnto throw carmineto the grey.The bastard half-sisterof Dawn, Day, and Darkdances when no one can see.She gathers the stardustfrom the constellation raveand sets the silver canvasfor Sunrise.JacyAcrylicJordan SmalleyRichardJordanFirst Place, Poetry CompetitionS V4 5

My Little TigerTom FengClutching a little tiger in one arm, a boyalmost six climbs down four colossal flights ofstairs. They are not only layered with soot butsprinkled with charcoal chips. He smiles at thisgraffiti caused by his bump into a stack of coalearlier in the day. His right hand envelopedpartially by a moth-eaten glove fumbles alongthe wall to avoid those pillars of coal.His papa trails him with a box of matchesand zhong ze, rice cake wrapped in lotusleaves. Once outside, Papa lights the tigerlantern and tells his son, “I’m going up to helpyour mom finish making your favorite, tangyuan.” After checking his son’s plush coatbought from Beijing Mall one last time for anyopen zippers, he leaves, glancing over hisshoulder with each stride.It is the fifteenth day of the New Year. Theboy has a tiger lantern, cleverly picked for theanimal of his birth year. Beaming with pride,the boy trudges along the snow-covered pavementtowards the dances of ten-foot long lions,lit with flashing eyes and bodies; poundingdrums, cymbals, and brass instruments; andthe multicolored butterflies, dragons, birds,and many more that accentuate the ordinaryred, spherical lanterns.In one hand sits the savory zhong ze. Hedebates whether or not to give in to his wateringtaste buds and lose the sole source of heat.Meanwhile, his other hand tugs on the string ofhis lantern, traversing through the firecrackerremains embedded in the snow.“Your little tiger is catching on fire!” screamsome boys twice his size. The little boy turnsinto the cheek-battering winds and staresblankly at his blazing tiger while tears flood hisdumbfounded eyes. His tiger is no more, onlyashes and four shiny black wheels resting onthe endless monochromatic pillow. The zhongze falls to the ground melting the snow aroundit as the boy tries to collect the wheels, only tofind them seized in the bullies’ hands. He criesmore and more when they play catch with theleftovers of his lantern.Distinguishing the hiccupping whimpersfrom the roaring hee-haws, Papa plunges fromthe fifth floor to the little boy’s side. One handrests on the boy’s shoulder caressing him andthe other hand, densely muscled and tightlytendoned, lies palm up in front of the big boys.Without a word, the bully hands over thewheels of the lantern with a timorous, tremblinghand. Clutching the wheels tightly, theSelf-PortraitPaperThird Place, Art CompetitionOrlando CroftS V4 6

Rumble inthe BronxScratchboardEmily Vancelittle boy seeks comfort on the brawny shouldersof his papa and falls asleep after a few circlesaround the eight-story building where theylive.That was thirteen years ago and my lastlantern. Upon my arrival in America, I was different:not able to sing the alphabet song; oreat the nauseating cheese glued on to fish fillets;to play a simple game of kickball; or toblend in with the blond, brown, and redhairedkids in class pictures. As a child wantingacceptance, I tried to become as much of anAmerican as my classmates. Saying “Amen”before eating, competing for the best scores onNintendo games, and pledging allegiance tothe flag of the United States of America everymorning in elementary school made me asAmerican as anyone else my age.Yet in this transition from childhood, Inever realized that much of the Chinese part ofme had burned away like my tiger lantern haduntil my summer in China after graduatingfrom middle school. Back in my home countryagain, I did not find the delight which I hadexpected from being with people of my culture.Instead, I was again different. Unable to read orwrite Chinese symbols, I was illiterate. I did notknow where the stops of transit buses were,how to order food at restaurants, or how toexchange currency. In addition, the colloquialChinese that I speak to my parents in Americaproved useless in conversing on folklore andcomputer jargon with my friends. More surprisingly,my relatives and friends sometimes couldnot comprehend my Chinese because of theSouthern accent I have acquired from living inMississippi for over half my life.Now, I am aware of the importance of myChinese culture, and consequently, my tieswith it remain as strong as ever. After my summerin China, I attended Chinese School everySaturday with a passion unlike before: readingpassages to the advanced class, cramming hundredsof symbols in a week, and writing essaysthat won first place consecutively for two years.Though I do not attend Chinese School anymorebecause of my studying abroad, I stillreview my notes and reread the stories in myspare time to prepare me for the Chinese classesthat I hope to take in college. Moreover, Ibuild on my culture by actively participating inthe Mississippi Chinese Association, an organizationfunded by the locals in Jackson and theChinese Embassy. I volunteer with decoratingand organizing the festivities on the Chineseholidays and also plan activities and care forthe younger kids.I am now as resolved as ever to retrieve myculture. Although this will require patience,hard work, and determination, I will succeed ifmy fervor is as strong as my yearning for thewheels of my lantern. Now, I truly understandwhy I had cried so much just for four blackwheels of a burnt tiger lantern.S V4 7

Contributors’ NotesJamie Ausborn (Aberdeen)Jamie’s favorite writers are Agatha Christie andElizabeth Barrett Browning. She plans to attendPrinceton University in the fall. “High expectationsare the key to everything.” —Sam WaltonHannah Bruce (Saltillo)Hannah attributes her love of photography to someprints she took of fall scenery which turned outunusually well. “Enjoy life.”Mattie Brown (McLain)Mattie plans to attend Millsaps with a major ineither physics or English. Some of her favorite artistsare Bebe Moore Campbell, Maxwell, and ErykahBadu. “Life is fabulous.”Hannah Burnett (Ocean Springs)Hannah will be attending Yale University in the fall.She is influenced by the work of Henri Matisse andJoan Miro. “A person should do one thing worthwhileor that they truly love every day. The morethings you enjoy, the easier it is.”Monica Cook (Pontotoc)Monica plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academywith a major in marine biology. “Life is what youmake of it.”Jeremy Crawford (Olive Branch)Jeremy has been influenced by Dr. Maya Angelou’s IKnow Why the Caged Bird Sings. His life philosophycan be summed up in lines 73-81 of Bryant’s“Thanatopsis.” Jeremy plans on attending Duke inthe fall.Orlando Croft (Hernando)Orlando plans on majoring in neurobiology atRhodes College. His favorite artist is Monet. Thesong which best describes his MSMS experience is“Good Riddance” by Green Day.Eric Davenport (Greenville)Eric plans to attend Grinnell College with a major inbiology or mathematics. His favorite writer isLangston Hughes. “Enjoy the sunshine, laugh, andsmile because today is the day.”Kyle Doherty (Meridian)Kyle’s favorite artists are Salvador Dali and FranciscoGoya. He plans to attend Millsaps College in the fall,where he will major in English.Kimberly Golden (Eupora)Kimberly plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a major in international business andfine arts. She wishes to work in a museum whilefreelancing as a photographer. “Beauty is everywhere.It takes an imaginative eye and camera to capture it!”Tom Feng (Madison)Tom plans to attend Princeton University in the falland major in molecular biology/chemistry. "Far andaway the best prize that offers is the chance to workhard at work worth doing." —Teddy RooseveltChris Gresham (Lake Cormorant)Chris plans to attend Mississippi State University andmajor in music and CPE. His favorite artist is DennisMcKiernan. “Never regret.”Andy Guan (Ridgeland)Andy’s favorite artists are Norman Rockwell and VanGogh. He has been interested in art since the seventhgrade, especially the work done on the human body.Hayley Hill (Taylorsville)Hayley plans to major in English or history atRhodes College in the fall. “It is with the heart thatone sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to theeye.” —The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryBrittany Hollis (Brandon)Brittany plans to attend Mississippi College with amajor in medicine. Her favorite authors are SylviaPlath, Ayn Rand, and Michael Crichton. “Leave yourmask at the door. It’s you that I want to see. The realyou.”Jessica Jennings (Yazoo City)Jessica plans to attend MSU with a major in giftededucation. “Round here we talk just like lions/ Butwe sacrifice like lambs.” –“Round Here” by CountingCrowsKristin Klaskala (Starkville)Kristin plans to attend MSU or MUW with a majorin art. Her favorite artist is Michelangelo. “Do all youcan— ’til you can’t anymore.”Preeti Kumar (Vicksburg)Preeti plans to attend Ole Miss with a major in premedor pharmacy. “You must have control of theauthorship of your own destiny. The pen that writesyour life story must be held in your own hand.”—Irene C. KassorlaS V4 8

Addie Leak (Woodville)Addie’s favorite writers are J.R.R. Tolkien, JaneAusten, and T.A. Barron. She plans on becoming ajournalist or novelist in the future. “Life is beautiful!”Felicia Mo (Natchez)Felicia will be attending Millsaps College in the falland majoring in business. She has been influencedby the works of Vincent Van Gogh.Laura Beth Moore (Tupelo)Laura’s favorite artist is Van Gogh. Her future plansinclude attending Ole Miss with a major in pharmacyor pre-med. “I’m sorry, try again later.”Jack Neldon (Glen Allen)Jack plans to attend the U.S. Military Academy with amajor in electrical engineering. “A cadet will not lie,cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” — U.S.M.A.Cadet Honor CodeSara Peek (Ocean Springs)Sara plans to attend Caltech as a researcher inphysics or biology. Her favorite artist is RichardFeynman. “If you think you can, or if you think youcan’t, you’re right.” —Henry FordBrittany Penland (Columbus AFB)Brittany is influenced by the Bible and plans toattend MSU in the fall. “Never be bullied intosilence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”—Harvey FiersteinNyssa Perryman (Columbus)Nyssa is influenced by Melissa Bank’s book The Girl’sGuide to Hunting and Fishing and the writing of ShelSilverstein. She sums up her MSMS experience withWeezer’s “The Good Life.”Jordan Richard (Natchez)Jordan plans to attend Ole Miss with a major inbroadcast communications. She is influenced by E.E.Cummings and J.R.R. Tolkien. She best describes herMSMS experience with “The Baka Song.”Ryan Scott (Vardaman)Ryan plans to attend Savannah College of Art andDesign with a major in musical theatre or speechpathology. “You can’t deserve the sweet and tender inlife unless you can take the rough and cruel with itandyou can survive it- as long as you have a twinklein your eye and a wink.”Lekha Sunkara (Ridgeland)Lekha’s favorite artist is J.W. Waterhouse. She plansto attend Washington University with a major inbiology. “Most people are other people. Theirthoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives amimicry, their passions a quotation.” —Oscar WildeQuinnon Taylor (Greenville)Quinnon plans to attend Belmont University andmajor in vocal performance. He is influenced by theworks of John Mayer, Aaliyah, Beyonce Knowles, andMadonna.Brandon Thornton (Carriere)Brandon plans to attend MUW with a major in culinaryarts. His favorite artists are Allen Ginsberg andAndy Warhol. “Anything can be made into art with alittle self-influence.”Emily Vance (Starkville)Emily’s favorite artists are Douglas Adams andSalvador Dali. The Beatles have influenced her writing.Emily best sums up her MSMS experience withQueen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”Jershuntas Webber (West Point)Shun plans to attend Tuskegee University with amajor in mechanical engineering. The work whichhas influenced his writing is The Rose that Grew fromConcrete by Tupac Shakur. “Make every momentcount.”Kendrell Wells (McAdams)Kendrell plans to attend Dartmouth College with amajor in both mathematics and pre-med. Hisfavorite artist is Blondie. “When you’re born, you geta ticket to the freakshow that we’ve all become.Enjoy the circus; don’t for a second take it seriously.”– George CarlinLaura Williams (Gulfport)Laura plans to attend Ole Miss with a major in pharmacy.Her favorite artists are C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling,and Anne Geddes. “If you can dream it, you can doit.” —Walt DisneyCaitlin Wolfe (Brandon)Caitlin’s favorite writers are Edgar Allan Poe,Alexander Dumas, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, andJane Austen. “Wait until it is night before saying thatit has been a fine day.”

Southern Voices is a magazine of creativeworks by students at the Mississippi Schoolfor Mathematics and Science1100 College Street MUW-1627, Columbus, Mississippi 39701Southern Voices is available on the Internet athttp://www.msms.k12.ms.us

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