SandScript 2021

Art & Literature Magazine

Art & Literature Magazine


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Sand Script<br />

ART & LITERATURE <strong>2021</strong><br />


Ashley Carmichael<br />

Magnolia Blooms<br />

Painting, Watercolor<br />



This piece is very special to me because<br />

it represents my home. My mother has an<br />

old magnolia tree in her backyard and we<br />

used to sit under it and drink iced tea. One<br />

day I grabbed my sketchbook and started<br />

drawing the beautiful spring flowers. I hope<br />

that when you look this painting, you can<br />

feel the warm energy of the sunreflecting<br />

off the leaves. It reminds me of time spent<br />

chatting with my family and the joyful<br />

feeling of a nice day.<br />



The <strong>SandScript</strong> staff wants to offer our<br />

condolences to everyone at Pima<br />

Community College for the losses and<br />

challenges that you have endured during<br />

the global pandemic. We are honored to<br />

present this assemblage of Pima students’<br />

creative work as a reminder that our<br />

hearts and minds are still flexible and<br />

vibrant, and that together we will build the<br />

next version of the world.<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> is the art and literary magazine<br />

of Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ<br />

and is published annually at the end of<br />

the spring semester. All works of prose,<br />

poetry, and visual art that appear in<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> are created by students<br />

attending Pima Community College.<br />

Students interested in participating on the<br />

editorial staff of <strong>SandScript</strong> take Literary<br />

Magazine Workshop (WRT 162) in the<br />

spring semester and apply for the various<br />

roles on the staff. This course is limited to<br />

twelve students. A student design editor is<br />

hired for the design work. Student editors,<br />

all of whom have interests in writing or art,<br />

learn through engaging in the editorial<br />

process with their peers.<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> received the first place award<br />

in the national contest for collegiate<br />

magazines held by the Community<br />

College Humanities Association in<br />

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.<br />

(The Community College Humanities<br />

Association canceled the literary<br />

magazine competition for 2020.)<br />

In <strong>2021</strong>, the <strong>SandScript</strong> staff faced all<br />

new challenges. In an entirely virtual<br />

environment, we had to get the word out<br />

to potential submitters without classroom<br />

visits, campus posters, and word-of-mouth.<br />

Added to these limitations was the deep<br />

distress of a student body entering the<br />

second year of a pandemic. Regardless,<br />

we got the work done, and additionally,<br />

we are proud to announce a new digital<br />

archive of previous <strong>SandScript</strong> editions in a<br />

Pima LibGuide.<br />

For the second time in the history of<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> Art and Literary Journal, our<br />

magazine was forced into the digital<br />

sphere by pandemic realities. Under<br />

tremendous pressure, <strong>SandScript</strong>’s <strong>2021</strong><br />

student staff has exhibited integrity,<br />

determination, humor, and generous care<br />

for the artistic submissions of their peers.<br />

As our work neared completion, it was<br />

clear that every one of us, and frankly,<br />

almost everyone we know, is exhausted<br />

on a cellular level, but we are inspired and<br />

enlightened by the writing and art we are<br />

presenting here. We hope that it will offer<br />

some necessary hope for you, too.<br />

—Faculty Advisor, Frankie Rollins<br />


Rick Spriggs<br />

Alive<br />

Ceramic 8”H x 8”L x 6”W<br />



Editor-in-Chief & Managing Editor<br />

Raiden Lopez<br />

Assistant Editor & Visual Art Editor<br />

Stephany Rocha<br />

Assistant Editor<br />

Jesse Shinn<br />

Social Media Manager, Director of Achives & Poetry Editor<br />

Maria Servellon<br />

Industry Outreach Coordinator & Prose Editor<br />

Madison Copic<br />

Prose Editor<br />

Iris Hill<br />

Poetry Editor<br />

Ocean Washington<br />

Visual Art Editor<br />

Mariah Gastelum<br />

Graphic Design Editor<br />

Cynthia Drumond<br />

Faculty Advisor<br />

Frankie Rollins<br />

Consider supporting student artists by making a donation to <strong>SandScript</strong>.<br />

For information about making a donation to <strong>SandScript</strong>, please send us an email at<br />

sandscript@pima.edu.<br />

All donations will go towards student awards and are not used for production or printing.<br />

Donations can be tax-deductible.<br />


Reed Coffey<br />

Symphoricarpos<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas 24”x36”<br />



Lee Lambert, Chancellor<br />

Dr. Dolores Durán-Cerda, Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor<br />

David Dore, President of Campuses and Executive Vice-Chancellor<br />

Kenneth Chavez, Dean of Communications Division<br />

Pima Community College Foundation<br />

Pima Community College Board of Governors:<br />

Catherine Ripley, Demion Clinco, Maria D. Garcia, Dr. Meredith Hay, Luis L. Gonzalez<br />

Maggie Golston, West Campus Department Head<br />

Dina L. Doolen, Marketing and Communications<br />

Paul Schwalbach, Director, Marketing & Communications<br />

Angela Moreno, Communications at Downtown Campus<br />

Rachel Araiza, Human Resources Specialist<br />

Zulma Tapia, Pima Community College Foundation<br />

Pima Post Josh Manis, Business Manager,<br />

Michelle Mire, Advanced Program Manager, Access and Disability Resources<br />

ASL Interpreters and CART for the Zoom Release Party<br />

Pima Community College Faculty and Staff<br />

We are on social media!<br />

Please like, follow, and share.<br />

pccsandscript<br />


EDITOR’S<br />

LETTER<br />

We are extremely proud to share this<br />

year’s <strong>SandScript</strong> <strong>2021</strong> Art and Literary<br />

Magazine with everyone. I am honored<br />

to have been the editor-in-chief and<br />

to work with such an amazing group of<br />

people. Each person brought their own<br />

wisdom, talent, personality, and passion<br />

in breathing life into this publication. It has<br />

been my absolute pleasure to be a part of<br />

this journey with each of them.<br />

<strong>2021</strong> is year two of the Coronavirus<br />

(COVID-19) pandemic, so everyone is<br />

still living with challenges and life-altering<br />

events we had never faced before.<br />

Our staff is no different, we have had to<br />

overcome social isolation from friends<br />

and loved ones, illnesses, and deaths. We<br />

have gone through hardships that really<br />

tested our resilience like custody battles,<br />

losing our homes, and having to start all<br />

over in new jobs after losing previous ones.<br />

Living during the COVID-19 pandemic<br />


has taught me that life is precious and<br />

can change drastically in an instant. Do<br />

not take your loved ones for granted and<br />

cherish the time spent, because there was<br />

a time that we were forced to be closed<br />

off from everyone. I lost my grandfather<br />

during the second year of the pandemic<br />

(<strong>2021</strong>), but I was blessed to have seen him<br />

one last time, not everyone was as lucky<br />

to get to say goodbye to loved ones.<br />

Some of these afflictions may have<br />

seemed impossible in the moment but<br />

human beings are more malleable than<br />

even we give ourselves credit for. From<br />

that perseverance we created something<br />

beautiful and transcendent despite<br />

the misfortunes of the world today. The<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> team had a vision for what<br />

we could bestow on the world as a part<br />

of history and with brilliant skill and eye<br />

for detail, our design editor, Cynthia<br />

Drumond, made that vision come true.<br />

Thank you to all our artists and authors for<br />

entrusting us with your work, you are all<br />

extremely talented and brave to share<br />

your creativity with the world. As a single<br />

mother raising a young son, I know how<br />

difficult it is to be a student in these times.<br />

We congratulate everyone who finished<br />

this semester, it is an incredible feat.<br />

I hope you all stay well and that you take<br />

time to enjoy those you care about most,<br />

because tomorrow is not always promised.<br />

—Editor-in-Chief, Raiden Lopez<br />



About <strong>SandScript</strong> 3<br />

Artist’s Note On The Cover 2<br />

Award Winners 14<br />

Editor’s Letter 8-9<br />

Editorial Board 5<br />

Meet Our Artists 174-185<br />

Meet Our Team 186-191<br />

Special Thanks 7<br />

Visual Art<br />

Abigale Robles Sunflowers 21<br />

Abigale Robles A Friday Night Downtown 124<br />

Abigale Robles Masks in COVID-19 132<br />

Abigale Robles A Snake in Chaos 169<br />

Ashley Carmichael Magnolia Blooms 2<br />

Ashley Carmichael Spring Flowers 30-31<br />

Ashley Carmichael The Quiet Observer 32<br />

Ashley Carmichael Desert Blooms 54-55<br />

Avery Goldberg Coming up Pink Poppies 44<br />

Avery Goldberg A Shamble of a Band 87<br />

Brianna Stevens Garden Spirit 131<br />

Clarissa Holguin Whimsical Waves 96<br />

Claudia Nazario Selena 104<br />

Claudia Nazario Franny 112<br />

Cynthia Drumond It is Me 29<br />

Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie Beating.Still 74<br />

Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie Chula Chapala 90-91<br />

Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie Tepalo 103<br />

Danielle Bond V Day A series: 6 120<br />

David Parsons George Floyd- SAY HIS NAME 66<br />

Desert Ehrhart Portrait 135<br />

Desiree Garcia Raven’s Skull 152<br />

George Key Esperanza 172<br />

Grace Johnson Red Eastern Screech Owl 116<br />

Grace Johnson Taurus 127<br />


Javier Dosamantes For She Had Eyes 143<br />

Jennifer Prybylla Time 56<br />

Kimberly Calles Solitude 115<br />

Kimberly Calles Metamorphosis 51<br />

Kimberly Griffen No Parking 80<br />

Luisa Espinoza Las Dos Fernandas 52<br />

Luisa Espinoza Los Tiempos Se Van Volando 77<br />

Luisa Espinoza Tentacle Tessellation 100<br />

Micheal Christopherson You Can’t Hide Forever 99<br />

Miyeon Kim It’s Addicted Me 62-63<br />

Miyeon Kim Survival 170<br />

Monica Nelson My Dads Favorite Teapot 147<br />

Mya Palacios Emotional Growth 139<br />

Nathan Coffey Columbia 88<br />

Nathan Coffey Cactus Car 15<br />

Nathan Coffey Huddle 49<br />

Portia Cooper Rocket 59<br />

Portia Cooper Rodent 160<br />

Rebecca Farris Inner Feelings 39<br />

Reed Coffey Symphoricarpos 6<br />

Rhea Stanley Scorned 151<br />

Rhea Stanley Tonight 163<br />

Rick Spriggs Alive 4<br />

Rick Spriggs Life 16-17<br />

Rick Spriggs Red Top 155<br />

Sarah Bryg Light Travels From A Dead Star 72-73<br />

Shelby Quiroz And... Doubt 41<br />

Sivanes Ananda Dutch Windmill at Golden Gate Park 84<br />

Sofia Fetsis Falling Magic 164<br />

Thomas Webster Trichocereus 107<br />

Thurwin Lane John and Rena 65<br />

Thurwin Lane Saving The Heart 140<br />

Ulises Ramos F.E.L.T. 95<br />

Ulises Ramos Dejen Al Musico Dormir 119<br />

Weston Lane Scaredy Cat 20<br />


Weston Lane Dotted Cat 128<br />

Weston Lane Feminine Masculinity 159<br />

Yanna Aiken Am I Worth Love 148<br />

Yanna Aiken Am I Worth Life 156<br />

Zevi Bloomfield The Virus 23<br />

Zevi Bloomfield Siren 83<br />

Prose<br />

Chretien Martinez Stygian 67<br />

Courtney Armstrong Fading into the Watercolor 28-35<br />

Courtney Armstrong I Closed My Eyes 38-48<br />

Josie Lugo Adder’s Binds 16-25<br />

Mora Hedayati Mommy Comes Back 62-65<br />

Nadia Celaya-Alcala Mexican American without the American 53-55<br />

Raymond Butler The Little Wind 70-79<br />

Poetry<br />

A.Z. Martinez The Song to Come 86<br />

Alexa Lewis Who’s Counting 57<br />

Arial Autumn 27 58<br />

Carol Korhonen Missing Already 60-61<br />

Chacara Thomas Good and Evil 89<br />

Christopher Valenzuela Documented Thoughts 90-92<br />

Christopher Valenzuela Smoke Signals 97<br />

Courtney Armstrong I Smashed a Fishbowl 101<br />

Courtney Armstrong Hope 105<br />

Courtney Armstrong Drunken Lunacy 98<br />

Courtney Armstrong Oh, Antigua 102<br />

Desert Ehrhart She Was Near 165<br />

Diego Tobin Something Playing in …Reality Is a Flower 106-109<br />

Elena Acuna The Mesquites Keep ...Know Your Sins 162<br />

Elena Acuna Siren Call 171<br />

Esmeralda Garcia It’s A Dream 113<br />

George Key Look Too See 114<br />

Iris Hill Anaerobic 81<br />


Jazmin Garcia Two Daises 85<br />

Jazmin Garcia The Blue Carpet and the Cherry Pie 82<br />

Jazmin Garcia Waves 94<br />

Kentaro Herder Water 136-137<br />

Kentaro Herder Strange Weather 117<br />

Luke Cottrell Carousel 118<br />

Luke Eriksson Overkill 122-123<br />

Luke Eriksson More Than Anything 121<br />

M.J. Copic Strength 129<br />

M.J. Copic A Return 125<br />

M.J. Copic Dragons Can Be Killed 126<br />

Mara Durán Time Blurred/Tiempo Difuminado 130<br />

Mark Anthony Ferguson Ripped and Scattered 161<br />

Mauricia Manuel A Body of ... Principles: We the People 68-69<br />

Mauricia Manuel Quarantined 133<br />

Mauricia Manuel Repudiation 134<br />

Michele Worthington Ice Cannot Be Unnmelted 141<br />

Michele Worthington Unshrouded 138<br />

Raiden Lopez Where I Am From 142-143<br />

Salina Riggs-Molina Enrobe Yourself In Velvet 173<br />

Salina Riggs-Molina Groundhog Day 144-145<br />

Salina Riggs-Molina When No One’s Looking 146<br />

Salina Riggs-Molina Options 168<br />

Samantha Barrera The Book of Life 166-167<br />

Sierra Vigil Falling Stars 149<br />

Sierra Vigil A Love Letter From the Sea to the Olive Tree 50<br />

Sierra Vigil A Love Letter From the Olive Tree to the Sea 36-37<br />

Solace Bergman Prettier If You Smiled 150<br />

T. Gullett Lemons and Oranges 110-111<br />

T. Gullett A Consideration of Love and Teeth 26-27<br />

Travis Cooper CA Conrad’s Squirrel 153<br />

Veronica Martinez Pleads to the Virgin Mary 154<br />

Yareli Sanchez Dying 157<br />

Zoe Galmarini Dreamers 158<br />



Visual Art<br />

First Place<br />

Second Place<br />

Third Place<br />

The Quiet Observer<br />

Ashley Carmichael<br />

Time<br />

Jennifer Prybylla<br />

Tentacle Tessellation<br />

Luisa Espinoza<br />

Prose<br />

First Place<br />

Second Place<br />

Third Place<br />

Fading Into the Watercolor<br />

Courtney Armstrong<br />

Stygian<br />

Chretien Martinez<br />

Mommy Comes Back<br />

Mora Hedayati<br />

Poetry<br />

First Place<br />

Second Place<br />

Third Place<br />

Water<br />

Kentaro Herder<br />

Unshrouded<br />

Michele Worthington<br />

Options<br />

Salina Molina<br />

—Awards funded by Pima Foundation<br />


Nathan Coffey<br />

Cactus Car<br />

Photograph<br />



Josie Lugo<br />

Fiction<br />

The pain on her wings returns as<br />

Adder’s mother finishes tightening the<br />

metal binds to keep her wings bound. This<br />

time her mother uses two binds—since<br />

Adder broke the last one in only a week.<br />

Mother stands back to admire her work<br />

and asks Adder to try and move them to<br />

make sure that they are secure this time.<br />

Sirens have overly sensitive wings in order<br />

to detect changes in wind currents, but<br />

while bound she can only move them<br />

up and down slightly, and any chance<br />

of extending them past her shoulder is<br />

impossible.<br />

“Good.” Her mother claps her hands<br />

as if she’s proud with her work. “Now, this<br />

time, let’s try not to break the binds Adder.<br />

Regardless of what you may think, I don’t<br />

have an endless amount and they are<br />

expensive. But if you would simply let me<br />

cut them off like mine you wouldn’t have<br />

to endure this anymore. I know it can’t be<br />

comfortable for you.”<br />

Adder gives her mother a noncommittal<br />

groan and leaves her to put<br />

away the extra bindings and tightening<br />

tools. Just looking at the metal binds sends<br />

a shiver down her spine, so she gives her<br />

mother space to hide them back under<br />

her bed. Having two binds instead of one<br />

is worse than she could imagine. Adder’s<br />

wings are sensitive enough to detect<br />

16<br />

even the slightest of currents in the wind<br />

and the metal rubbing against them as<br />

she walks, or even breathes, makes her<br />

back feel as if it’s on fire. Over time, she<br />

had gotten used to one band—not that it<br />

ever became comfortable—but it wasn’t<br />

as excruciating as this new banding, set<br />

just below the original one, both rubbing<br />

against the sensitive feathers of her<br />

wings.<br />

Even though she would like to,<br />

Adder doesn’t blame her mother for the<br />

bindings. Well, she doesn’t only blame her.<br />

Eons ago, Sirens made up the brute force<br />

of the King’s armies and since then they<br />

Rick Spriggs<br />

Life<br />

Ceramic 4”Hx7”L

have been given a merciless reputation<br />

for killing. Stories after stories of the torture<br />

and destruction caused by her ancestors<br />

has made beings of all shapes and sizes<br />

fear them in groups. Her mother long<br />

ago cut off her own wings—a horrible<br />

procedure that has left her back scarred<br />

and destroyed—to appease the nearby<br />

villagers, but she has never understood<br />

why Adder hasn’t done the same.<br />

The wind is quiet today, like it knows<br />

not to tempt her. Once a year, for the<br />

last twenty-two years, Adder’s mother<br />

removes the binds and allows her to fly<br />

free. Not around the house, or in the<br />

village, in case someone was to see. But<br />

that one day, she wakes up before the<br />

sun shows her face on the horizon, and<br />

travels four nights to reach the Valaryian<br />

Mountains, and stares up at the highest<br />

snow-covered peak from the ground<br />

before flying to touch it. The mountains<br />

are in a constant whirl of snowstorms—<br />

usually more than one on a single peak—<br />

and it takes all the strength of her wings<br />

to fight the black clouds holding cold,<br />

wind, and sleet. Each trip from the ground<br />

to the peak takes a couple minutes and<br />

by midday, Adder finds herself jumping<br />

off the highest points and enjoying the<br />

free-fall until she thrusts her wings out and<br />

glides on a breeze that was only created<br />

from her fall against the side of the rocks.<br />

Then, after a beautiful day of freedom,<br />

Adder is forced to return home and allow<br />

her mother to bind her wings until the next<br />

year.<br />

She hasn’t visited the mountains yet<br />

for her twenty-third year, but with two<br />

binds, she might be inclined to visit soon<br />

for a break from the searing pain. Maybe<br />

this time she will stay there. Maybe this<br />

time, her mother’s guilt won’t convince<br />

her to lower herself back to the ground<br />

and allow her to be bound again.<br />

Maybe—but she doubts it.<br />

Coming out of the house, Mother<br />

hands Adder the basket of vegetables<br />

and goods she plans to sell at the market.<br />

“What does that look on your face mean,<br />

Adder?”<br />

“I was thinking I’ll take my trip to<br />

Valaryian soon.”<br />

Her mother raises an eyebrow, lips<br />

pursed, but doesn’t say anything else for<br />


the rest of the walk. It’s a warm summer<br />

morning and without Adder’s wings being<br />

free to provide her with shade, she sweats<br />

instantly as they make the three mile walk<br />

to the inner village market.<br />

Already, the market is crowded<br />

with probably near two hundred beasts<br />

already shopping. Decorations splay on<br />

top of temporary stands and along lights<br />

that straddle the walkways. It takes the<br />

whisper of a nearby lycanthrope scolding<br />

her daughter for Adder to notice the<br />

excessive decorations and creatures<br />

crowding the path. Green and gold<br />

thrown everywhere as if those are the only<br />

two colors that exist. The King’s colors.<br />

Wolves, sabers, and fae of all different<br />

ages crowd the paths to the little stands,<br />

bustling about as if they are at risk of the<br />

sun lowering in the next few moments and<br />

the market closing.<br />

The impending closure is not the<br />

cause of the solar cycle, but for an arriving<br />

guest to the village. The King himself will be<br />

stopping by—that’s what the lycanthrope<br />

mother growled to her daughter who tried<br />

to change back to her human form. All<br />

beasts must maintain the form they were<br />

born in—if they have multiple forms—for<br />

the King. Any other form would be a<br />

threat, like hiding in the shadows, instead<br />

of exposing their true self. How the King<br />

would know—Adder wasn’t sure—but she<br />

was willing to risk the words that fell from<br />

her lips next:<br />

“Mom, do you think you should<br />

unbind my wings?”<br />

“Of course not.” Her mother stopped<br />

walking and stared at Adder as if she<br />

has slapped her in the face and then<br />

demanded she breathe underwater. The<br />

look of annoyance on her mother’s face is<br />

one Adder is familiar with.<br />

“But look how the lycanthropes and<br />

pixies and sabers wander around in their<br />

born-flesh. The binds are not a natural part<br />

of my form.”<br />

“Don’t be so ridiculous. Would you<br />

have me strip naked since that was the<br />

form I was born in?”<br />

The look on Adder’s face must have<br />

been answer enough because her mother<br />

simply exhaled sharply through her nose,<br />

tipped her chin up towards the sky, and<br />

walked away knowing that Adder would<br />

follow. And she did.<br />

When they finally came upon the<br />

empty stand that was left alone for them,<br />

her mother went quickly to work, taking<br />

out every item and elegantly displaying<br />

them for everyone to see. Time seemed<br />

to continue on slowly as words that Adder<br />

would never dare say out loud whipped<br />

and whirled in her mind, begging for<br />

release. It was a useless effort to think that<br />

she could so easily convince her mother<br />

to let her wings go free but she couldn’t<br />

deny that she did indeed have some<br />

hope or the words would never have<br />

made it to her mother’s ear.<br />

Plenty of marketgoers came by to<br />

gently examine the layout and enquire<br />

about prices. Some walk away with<br />

her mother’s goods and others simply<br />

keep their sneers at her high prices to<br />

themselves. Adder’s job of maintaining<br />

guard of the stand is easily accomplished<br />

simply with her presence. As the only<br />

two Sirens in the village, Adder and her<br />

mother are constantly encountering<br />


lycanthrope, fae, as well as other shapeshifting<br />

beasts that all sneer that her kind<br />

is no longer revered as warriors but market<br />

attendees.<br />

As more and more villagers fill in the<br />

marketplace, and the sun hits the apex<br />

of the sky, her mother dismisses Adder<br />

for a break. The real reason is because<br />

Adder will scare off potential buyers as<br />

more swarm the stand, but at least her<br />

mother has the decency to lie and tell<br />

her that she should go see about getting<br />

something nice for the house. Just the few<br />

hours she spent at the market this morning<br />

will spread word of mouth and protect<br />

her mother’s work from thieving hands.<br />

A couple of silver pieces are shoved into<br />

her hand and then she is off, wandering<br />

around as if she doesn’t know the exact<br />

location of the supplier she has in mind.<br />

The only bright side of being feared<br />

in her village is the wide berth everyone<br />

gives her as she walks—effectively<br />

protecting her wings from unnecessary<br />

friction of bumping into other creatures.<br />

A quick flutter of her wings and<br />

Adder stops walking. There’s a shift in the<br />

air that she can’t identify—something<br />

not too distant from a warning call that<br />

has her wings moving on instinct without<br />

her permission. She lifts her head to look<br />

around, forcing several others to almost<br />

walk into her, and mumble apologies.<br />

Not listening, she feels another tug at<br />

her wings, the pain of the binds scraping<br />

against them, but there’s nothing. No new<br />

threat.<br />

She can feel it pulling on her like she<br />

is being tugged on the end of a rope;<br />

something deep inside her body that<br />

she can’t identify as either pain or joy.<br />

Vaguely, she is aware that eyes have<br />

started watching her as she frantically<br />

looks for the source calling to her. In her<br />

bones, in her veins, she can feel the call as<br />

if her own soul was receiving the summons<br />

and her wings are frantically trying to<br />

greet it.<br />

Around her an obnoxious loud sound<br />

ripples from every direction. An explosion?<br />

No—clapping. Shouts and cheers and<br />

something in the air with colors of gold<br />

and green and again her wings try to<br />

spread and she can’t control the whimper<br />

that escapes her lips. Adder drops to her<br />

knees, ignoring the miniscule pain that<br />

shoots through her thighs to her hips, as all<br />

her focus is drawn to the metal scraping<br />

against each feather of her wings.<br />

“Look up.” It’s a voice, old and<br />

young, strong and soft, beautiful and<br />

shaky that she’s never heard before.<br />

“Look over there. Find him. Find the mirror<br />

of your soul.”<br />

She does.<br />

The King is nearby—kneeling beside<br />

a mossy troll—a crown of black adamant<br />

atop his head like it weighs nothing. But<br />

that’s not what catches Adder’s attention.<br />

It’s his back that keeps her eyes from<br />

looking away and momentarily dulls her<br />

pain. His wings. Solid white just like her<br />

own, tucked in gently, but free to spread<br />

of his own will.<br />

The scream that leaves her lips<br />

sounds distant even to Adder’s own ears.<br />

She covers her ears, trying to hide from<br />

the sound only to realize that it’s coming<br />

from her. From her own throat as her wings<br />

struggle uselessly against the bindings.<br />


Weston Lane<br />

Scaredy Cat<br />

Drawing, Color Pencil 10”x13”<br />

Behind her she can hear her name<br />

being called from a feminine voice, but<br />

the sound only makes her wings more<br />

frantic, wanting to escape before the<br />

familiar voice can appear with its tools<br />

to keep them in place. She throws all<br />

her muscles into the force of breaking<br />

the binds, but the searing pain turns the<br />

edges of her vision black and she’s quickly<br />

gasping, trying to pull air into her lungs.<br />

A figure in green appears in front of her,<br />

yelling something, but she can’t focus on<br />

making out the words. All of her attention<br />

is being pulled to her wings and then<br />

someone touches them.<br />

And the world stops.<br />

White wings that don’t belong to<br />

her are splayed out, stretching wide, and<br />

she can feel the need inside of her to<br />

match—to copy those wings. In the back<br />

of her mind, a primal part of her existence<br />

is telling her to match up her wings to his<br />

and claim him as her mirror: her mate. The<br />

figure comes into focus only a couple of<br />

inches from her face and she takes in the<br />

dark halo around his head, the tanned<br />

skin of someone who spends his time<br />

under the sun, the beautiful green fabric<br />

of his coat, dipping in a low cut to expose<br />

his bare chest.<br />

“Get. Them. Off,” her mirror says, not<br />

to her, but someone behind her she can’t<br />

see.<br />

Despite the tears, her eyes are<br />

locked on his, and she can see the fury<br />

behind them. His hands are cupping her<br />

cheeks and wiping away at the droplets<br />

that escape her eyes and his fingers are<br />

nothing but gentle as he holds her and<br />

tells whoever is behind her to cut the binds<br />

off.<br />

She stops screaming, trying to catch<br />

her breath through her silent sobs, and<br />

hide herself from the looks she knows she<br />

must be receiving. Her mirror mate simply<br />

holds her face in his hands and stares<br />

relentlessly in her eyes. Then the pain<br />

finally subsides. The burning feeling against<br />

her wings breaks away in one spot and<br />

then another. Both wings fly open with a<br />

force that would kill anyone who might be<br />

too close as they copy the male in front of<br />

her.<br />

Her mating ritual complete and the<br />

male in front of her claimed as hers.<br />

Finally, she can breathe with ease.<br />

Air returns to her lungs and her tears dry<br />

on her face. The hands holding her don’t<br />


let go but continue to rub small circles<br />

over her cheekbones, trying to soothe her.<br />

She reaches out a finger and touches the<br />

white feathers in front of her. The male<br />

sucks in his breath but doesn’t tell her to<br />

stop, so she continues, running her finger<br />

over his muscles that let him fly. When<br />

he gently flexes the muscles in his left<br />

wing, she feels her right wing mirror him,<br />

matching his movements.<br />

“Adder,” she says. Her voice is hoarse<br />

but it’s the only thing she can think to say<br />

right now. “My name is Adder.”<br />

His lips tug upwards on the side as he<br />

says, “Lorcan.”<br />

“Thank you, Lorcan.”<br />

“Anything for my mirror mate.”<br />

***<br />

Almost two years have come and<br />

gone between Lorcan and Adder since<br />

the mating bond had been discovered<br />

in Adder’s home village marketplace.<br />

Lorcan and Adder spend their mornings<br />

together, flying to near impossible heights<br />

and banking around trees and homes in<br />

the nearby city. Young children come out<br />

in the streets in the morning and scream<br />

with laughter as the King and his mirror<br />

mate fly by with enough speed for the<br />

wind to knock them on the ground.<br />

This morning, a rare winter morning<br />

with the sun melting the snow that had<br />

fallen from a previous night, finds Adder<br />

waking up alone in the bed. A note on the<br />

small table has her name on it written in<br />

the elegant handwriting she recognizes as<br />

Lorcan’s. She quickly sits up, and pushing<br />

through her yawn and groggy eyes, plucks<br />

the note up to read it:<br />

Abigale Robles<br />

Sunflowers<br />

Drawing, Bristol Paper and Micron Pens<br />

My dearest Adder. Despite my<br />

complaints, Lord Breham has demanded<br />

my presence early this morning. I’m sorry<br />

to cancel our flight but I will make it up to<br />

you tomorrow. I will sneak away to see you<br />

as soon as I can.<br />

Adder smiles at the words and<br />

places the letter in the drawer with the<br />

other notes of cancellation, tallying the<br />

missed flights up to eleven since their<br />

time together. Normally she finds herself<br />

going to an early breakfast on days when<br />

Lorcan can’t join her, but her flights this<br />

past week had left frost on the tips of her<br />

wings and today is too beautiful to pass<br />

up. She quickly gets ready and opens the<br />

door to their balcony at the highest level<br />

of the palace and jumps off.<br />


There is little wind today which forces<br />

Adder to use more strength for creating<br />

currents, but she doesn’t mind. Any<br />

chance she gets to fly overfills her heart<br />

with joy to the point where she wonders<br />

if this much happiness can kill her. Lorcan<br />

prefers to fly around the palace and<br />

the neighboring city, but Adder prefers<br />

the mountains. They aren’t as tall or as<br />

demanding as the Valaryian Mountains,<br />

and they rarely see any snow, but it’s<br />

better than the straight path Lorcan<br />

desires.<br />

Up and up she flies until she lands on<br />

a cliff overlooking her home. Four large<br />

stone pillars make up the edge of the<br />

palace grounds, and anywhere within<br />

the grey stone she is free to roam. Several<br />

miles south, in the opposite direction of<br />

the nearby mountains, is a small city that<br />

Lorcan enjoys flying through. Between the<br />

two locations lays a dense forest but going<br />

either direction east or west of the palace<br />

greets any traveler with jagged rocks<br />

four times as large and hundreds of times<br />

heavier than they appear.<br />

The small part of Adder that once<br />

existed that missed her mother has now<br />

disappeared completely since being<br />

allowed to fly so freely with Lorcan. Each<br />

flap is a reminder of the binds that once<br />

controlled and limited her.<br />

Leaning backwards, she lets her<br />

body fall, tucking her wings in tight to<br />

increase her speed. Even after all this<br />

time her stomach still tightens at the free<br />

fall until she thrusts her wings outward,<br />

leveling off and forgetting all her painful<br />

memories.<br />

Joy.<br />

Joy is what coats her skin and keeps<br />

her smile permanently placed on her<br />

lips.<br />

She flies longer than usual today, the<br />

good weather pushing her to fly higher<br />

with no clouds as her limit. Maneuvering<br />

around trees that are naked from the sun<br />

melting the snow filled nights, Adder holds<br />

herself in place and watches the city<br />

awaken. She sits on the highest cliff she<br />

can find and curls her wings around herself<br />

simply because she can.<br />

When her stomach finally grumbles<br />

loud enough to bother her, she returns to<br />

the balcony. Lorcan is there, his meeting<br />

with the Lord over, sitting on the bed with<br />

his head tucked into his hands.<br />

“Lorcan, what’s wrong?” Adder lands<br />

soundlessly, her words the only sound of<br />

her approach as she hurries to Lorcan’s<br />

side.<br />

His head snaps up as he quickly<br />

meets her halfway, his hands touching<br />

her face, her arms, her stomach, as his<br />

eyes scan over her body and wings. After<br />

deciding she has no injuries, he lets out a<br />

breath and says, “Where have you been,<br />

Adder?”<br />

Lorcan’s fingers curl around her chin,<br />

forcing her attention on him. There’s an<br />

emotion swirling in his eyes she’s never<br />

seen before so she speaks slowly, not<br />

knowing why she feels nervous. “I went<br />

out flying. I’m sorry I stayed out later than<br />

usual, but the day is lovely and…”<br />

“I flew around the entire village<br />

and palace. Twice. Where were you,<br />

Adder?”<br />

“I went to the mountains.” Heat<br />

floods her cheeks, but his grip on her chin<br />


doesn’t allow her to look anywhere but<br />

directly at him.<br />

He drops her face like the contact<br />

suddenly burns him. The seconds seem to<br />

stretch into minutes as she waits for him to<br />

say something. Anything.<br />

“Why?” Lorcan asks, his voice harsh<br />

and unlike anything Adder has heard from<br />

him before.<br />

She opens her mouth to explain, but<br />

he cuts her off saying, “And I don’t want to<br />

hear that it is a lovely day. I want to know<br />

why you risked your life to fly around some<br />

damned mountains. The wind current that<br />

high is difficult to fly against and you could<br />

have tired yourself out and fallen without<br />

anyone knowing where the hell you were.<br />

Or you could have been slammed into<br />

one of the ledges and broken your wings,<br />

is that what you want?”<br />

A small gasp escapes her lips as<br />

Adder tries and fails to come up with an<br />

explanation to soothe him. She tries to<br />

push away any retort of him not thinking<br />

she’s strong or fast enough because she<br />

knows that his worry won’t allow for those<br />

reasons to mean anything. Lorcan knows<br />

her stories about her trips to Valaryian and<br />

even when they fly together, she is always<br />

faster, flying higher than even he dares.<br />

“I’m sorry I worried you. Please don’t<br />

bind me, I couldn’t take it,” Adder pleads.<br />

Zevi Bloomfield<br />

The Virus<br />

Painting, Acrylic 24”x16”<br />


Unable to maintain eye contact because<br />

of her growing guilt at being caught,<br />

Adder looks down at her feet, and tries to<br />

blink back the frustrated tears. She wants<br />

to demand why he’s acting this way when<br />

she’s obviously safe now, but she bites her<br />

tongue, not wanting to risk an argument.<br />

Inhaling sharply through his nose,<br />

Lorcan says, “I was worried about you<br />

Adder. You can’t pull a disappearing<br />

act like this. I figured after being here<br />

for a couple of years you would finally<br />

understand what you mean to me. I can’t<br />

lose you.”<br />

Not having any words, she hugs<br />

him—her mirror mate and king—and<br />

whispers into his neck that she is sorry and<br />

won’t fly to the mountains alone again. He<br />

embraces her back, taking in her scent,<br />

and murmuring how he loves her and only<br />

wants to keep her safe.<br />

For two years, she kept that<br />

promise.<br />

For two years she kept by the King’s<br />

side in flights and never took flight by<br />

herself. She even stopped flying off past<br />

the clouds when she was with him so that<br />

her mate wouldn’t worry. They continued<br />

to fly in the mornings but after a while,<br />

every path seemed to have been flown.<br />

Those who lived in the village continued to<br />

wave as they flew by, but no one shrieked<br />

anymore or laughed at the speed in<br />

which Adder passed. Their morning flights<br />

continue but only last a few minutes<br />

now.<br />

As Lorcan and Adder sit for breakfast,<br />

her appetite much smaller than it had<br />

been those first four years due to flying<br />

less now, Lorcan carefully clears his throat,<br />

grabbing her attention. “Adder, my love,<br />

I know you said last night that you didn’t<br />

want to speak of the topic anymore, but<br />

I’m afraid I have to bring it up again. I can<br />

see how lonely you get when I am forced<br />

to entertain Lords all day and I think<br />

having someone to take care of will be<br />

good for you. For us.”<br />

The piece of fruit Adder had just<br />

swallowed gets caught in her throat,<br />

forcing her to cough repeatedly and<br />

take a drink of her water. Once her initial<br />

reaction settles, her jaw involuntarily<br />

tightens as the memory of their<br />

conversation last night runs through her<br />

mind. It isn’t the first time Lorcan has<br />

brought up wanting children, although it<br />

was the first time he claimed it would be<br />

for her benefit. Over the last two years<br />

she has continuously told him no, that all<br />

she wants is to live her life with Lorcan,<br />

but lately the topic has been brought up<br />

again and again.<br />

A child.<br />

Children.<br />

As if they should have more than<br />

one.<br />

Could she truly do it? There’s no<br />

doubt that she loves Lorcan. All the love<br />

Adder can spare in her heart has gone to<br />

him. But she also knows that she has been<br />

bound to this palace in the same manner<br />

her mother used to bind her wings and the<br />

thought of limiting the flight of her child<br />

breaks her heart.<br />

“I told you Lorcan, I’m not interested<br />

in being a mother,” Adder says as calmly<br />

as she can before returning her attention<br />

to her food.<br />

“Adder, do you think I don’t notice<br />


you wasting away? You’re bored and<br />

what you need is something to occupy<br />

your time. You’ve tried knitting and sewing<br />

and dancing and even kitchen duty but<br />

nothing has held your attention longer<br />

than a few months.”<br />

This time, Adder has to bite the inside<br />

of her cheek until she tastes blood to keep<br />

back her retort. She wants to roll her eyes<br />

and tell him that of course he doesn’t see<br />

the problem because he caused it. She is<br />

in a nice, comfy, and safe palace, what<br />

more could she ask for. What more could<br />

she possibly long for, he wants to know.<br />

But that is her best kept secret. For<br />

two years she has kept herself inside<br />

the palace and away from windows<br />

with winds that seem to call her name.<br />

Because she knows. She knows that<br />

two years ago she chose Lorcan over<br />

her wings and every day her resolve to<br />

choose him again seems to be fading<br />

away. The more he doesn’t catch on to<br />

her unhappiness the more she begins to<br />

resent him. Adder wants to scream from<br />

above the clouds and demand how<br />

he could notice her suffering and not<br />

guess why. While it slowly eats away at<br />

her, Adder keeps her thoughts to herself,<br />

knowing that if she forces Lorcan to<br />

choose between herself and her freedom,<br />

he’d chose her. And that would surely kill<br />

her.<br />

“Just consider it. I think a child will<br />

be good for us Adder, and I’m not giving<br />

up trying to convince you.” Lorcan gets<br />

up from the table, and after a quick kiss<br />

goodbye, he leaves to begin his daily<br />

meetings.<br />

The rest of the food on Adder’s<br />

plate goes untouched after Lorcan’s<br />

declaration and immediate dismissal.<br />

All the energy feels sucked from Adder<br />

as if her bones have gained weight and<br />

her muscles can no longer support her.<br />

Instead of trying to find some way to pass<br />

the time, she simply returns to her room<br />

and sits on the edge of her bed.<br />

How could she let it get this bad?<br />

For most of her life she had allowed her<br />

mother to bind her wings and then she<br />

allowed Lorcan to limit her, all for Adder’s<br />

perceived safety. She had loved her<br />

mom. And she loves her mirror mate. But<br />

neither has ever tried to answer the call of<br />

the wind like Adder loves to, so how could<br />

she expect them to understand?<br />

A cold breeze slams into her room,<br />

swinging her balcony doors open and<br />

carrying silent words into her bedroom.<br />

She recognizes the voice from that day<br />

at the market four years ago, the one<br />

that brought Lorcan into her life. A voice<br />

with no age, nor species, but somehow<br />

trustworthy.<br />

So, when it tells her to fly away, she<br />

doesn’t hesitate.<br />




T. Gullett<br />

Consider the sharp smell of pine,<br />

and the soft give of mud underneath your feet.<br />

Consider the sound of bark dragged against a denim jacket,<br />

and how the creek soaks into the hem of your jeans.<br />

Consider your heart in your ears,<br />

pounding away in your throat with something<br />

so heavy you could choke around it,<br />

you’ve always known love would choke you.<br />

You knew it would hit you like a stone, Danny Vance,<br />

you’ve always bitten off more that you can chew.<br />

Always wanted that overwhelming love that dragged you<br />

underneath the waves, the downpour,<br />

down into the hollows and the creek.<br />

You always wanted the love with teeth,<br />

something with bite, weight to it.<br />

Your heart between their jaws, their jagged teeth,<br />

the kind of thing to make you shake and howl,<br />

fulfill the craving in your teeth.<br />


So here it is now, the hounds of love<br />

descending from the trees.<br />

Lunging and leaping and gnawing and catching,<br />

swallowing up the man you once were,<br />

leaving something new behind.<br />

You knew, Danny Vance,<br />

knew as well as your own name, own hands,<br />

that you wanted this. Wanted this transformation,<br />

rebirth, what have you, whatever fit right, made<br />

your skin finally fit better than a cheap Halloween mask.<br />

You knew the second the moon changed,<br />

the first time you saw his grin, heard his laugh,<br />

that your heart would fit nice between his teeth.<br />

It’d look good there, better than wrapped around your<br />

mother’s finger or locked away to be forgotten.<br />

So you stay in place for once, why not?<br />

Find the right clearing, the right place, and sink into it,<br />

into him, into the arm around your waist and<br />

the gentle hand in yours. The smell of pine lingers<br />

on his jacket, a solid line of warmth against your back.<br />




Courtney Armstrong<br />

Fiction<br />

A small square of paper floated<br />

in his eye, what looked like a miniature<br />

postage stamp hovering in the white void<br />

of sclera where nothing is ever supposed<br />

to be. LSD. He put it there to get a better,<br />

faster high, he said. As if ingesting the<br />

hallucinogenic drug were not enough, the<br />

course of travel from mouth to stomach<br />

too far, too diluted. He feared he couldn’t<br />

escape the pain soon enough. The fear.<br />

Of someday being just like his mother.<br />

Or worse, his father. He always asked<br />

me, which was less forgivable — to be<br />

beaten by someone crazy or by someone<br />

perfectly sane?<br />

***<br />

I remember the first time I saw<br />

him. We were in the fourth grade, I was<br />

nine. Benjamin was tall for his age, a<br />

bundle of twigs always wrapped much<br />

too tightly in a twine of dirty clothes that<br />

were much too small, mismatched socks,<br />

toes poking out the front of his shoes.<br />

Everyone knew that his family didn’t have<br />

money. Not because his father worked<br />

at the mines in San Manuel. Not because<br />

there were eight children. But because<br />

poverty sometimes oozes out of a person’s<br />

essence like the milk in a sickly eye, thick,<br />

oily, so horrible that you can’t not see it, so<br />

mesmerizing that you can’t look away. I<br />

knew this because it was the same thing I<br />

saw in every mirror I’d ever looked into.<br />

But on this day, Benjamin was not in<br />

clothes, but rather, naked, all except for a<br />

diaper. An infant-sized, disposable diaper<br />

whose adhesive tabs had failed to meet<br />

at the sides, where crude duct tape had<br />

been torn off into lashings of long strips<br />

and placed on top as if it were a logical<br />

solution. He sat on a buff of sunburnt,<br />

umber grass where it met the curb of the<br />

street, his pink skin beetling over the top<br />

of the plastic waistband, not fat, but rolls<br />

of pure flesh that had nowhere else to go.<br />

A handwritten sign was attached to his<br />

chest, again fastened with that horrible<br />

grey of tape. Upon it, there were four little<br />

words scrawled roughly in red ink.<br />

I AM A BABY.<br />

It was how Benjamin’s father chose<br />

to discipline him for wetting the bed.<br />

Beneath the damp down of his<br />

straw-colored lashes, the little no-see-ems<br />

swirling at the corner of his mouth, the<br />

sweat pulling at his platinum curls, I saw<br />

something I had never seen before. It<br />

was something so foreign that I couldn’t<br />


Cynthia Drumond<br />

It is Me<br />

Painting, Watercolor<br />


even call it by name. Something that the<br />

mothers in the neighborhood whispered<br />

about at the bus stop. What the fathers<br />

watched from the corner of their eyes<br />

while mowing the lawns. Nobody looked<br />

at it straight on. No one addressed it. And<br />

I didn’t even know it was a thing. Child<br />

abuse.<br />

I lived across the street from<br />

Benjamin, and I watched, hiding myself<br />

behind the vinyl vertical blinds of my<br />

empty living room. I always felt like the<br />

outcast at school, living in a subsidized<br />

apartment, my mother long-gone, my<br />

father never home. I prayed often that I<br />

was adopted, that my real parents would<br />

show up and rescue me. From my life. But<br />

looking at Benjamin, the ratcheting grip of<br />

the diaper that squeezed and licked his<br />

purple limbs, the shame that flogged his<br />

posture, I knew that what I had was a life<br />

of absolute privilege.<br />

The titian sun set, its russet blood<br />

spread along the splash of the Arizona sky<br />

where it met the horizon, what seemed<br />

like the edge of the world, that long streak<br />

of sapphire ink where I thought everything<br />

stopped, like the outline of a boundary on<br />

a map. I wanted to run to it and jump off,<br />

to be covered in the watercolor, to drift<br />

into the stipple of a calm that I thought<br />

could only be brought by oblivion. I<br />

looked out the glass and knew that if<br />

anyone could relate, it was Benjamin.<br />

***<br />

The next year, he showed up to<br />

school wearing a dress. This time, it was<br />

a punishment from his mother. For what,<br />

I still don’t know. I was eating my lunch<br />

in the bathroom, alone, hiding from the<br />

30<br />

other kids when I snuck out to drink from<br />

the water fountain. I heard a sound from<br />

the boys’ room.<br />

I looked over and saw Benjamin<br />

hiding behind the half-open door, the<br />

weight of its industrial size heavier than<br />

he could handle. The door slipped every<br />

second or two, whispering peesh, peesh,<br />

as the rubber strip at its base swept the<br />

ground, and I pictured his undernourished<br />

arms on the other side struggling to keep<br />

himself hidden.<br />

“Jenny, right?”<br />

I nodded.<br />

He opened the door a bit wider<br />

and waved for me to go inside. I looked<br />

behind me to the empty corridor. I had

31<br />

Ashley Carmichael<br />

Spring Flowers<br />

Painting, Watercolor and Ink 12”x18”<br />

never been inside a boys’ bathroom.<br />

I tried not to laugh when I saw<br />

those funny little urinals. I had only seen<br />

them in the movies before. Benjamin<br />

locked the deadbolt behind me and that<br />

was when I turned around and saw him in<br />

the dress. A frilly, pink, baby doll dress, the<br />

bodice too narrow to contain the expanse<br />

of his torso, pearls of buttons unable to<br />

join, his chest exposed in an upside-down<br />

triangle of flush skin. He didn’t look me in<br />

the eye.<br />

“Can we swap clothes?” he asked<br />

the floor.<br />

I looked down at my corduroys<br />

and t-shirt. The pants would be too short<br />

for him, but Benjamin had worn far worsefitting<br />

clothes before. He finally looked me<br />

in the eye. I saw in them that unnamed<br />

rawness, desperation, torturous grief that<br />

stained him. I knew I had no choice but to<br />

wear his clothes and let him wear mine. It<br />

was as if I were lending him my own skin,<br />

even if only for just a few hours.<br />

***<br />

In return, it was as if Benjamin gave<br />

me everything of himself. And with his<br />

friendship came a perennial light. The<br />

white lips of the school’s walls were no<br />

longer the only things to speak to me,<br />

being ignored no longer my only solace.<br />

For, when one is different from the pack,<br />

singularity is torture — on my own, I was<br />

vulnerable. But with Benjamin as an ally,<br />

we became not just two misfits, but a<br />

possible threat. Never again was I the<br />

target in dodgeball. People stopped<br />

tripping me in the hallways. I wasn’t worth<br />

the effort, and that I could handle. I was<br />

used to that at home.<br />

We met at the abandoned<br />

treehouse every chance we got. I had<br />

more chances than he, and often sat<br />

waiting in the silence of the wood, alone.<br />

I loved the sound of the wind whipping<br />

past its shell, the whispers of breath that<br />

snuck through the mismatched slats far<br />

better than the dead air that lingered<br />

between me and other people, that<br />

starched, stagnant void when I was with<br />

my father, one that told me, shouted to<br />

me, that I was meaningless.<br />

Benjamin brought us a broken<br />

broom one day, the handle splintered, but<br />

the flax of the straw still mostly together.<br />

He told me that his father broke it against<br />

his back. Because he had left a wet towel

Ashley Carmichael<br />

The Quiet Observer<br />

Painting, Watercolor and Ink 18”x24”<br />


on the floor.<br />

We swept at the dirt leading up to<br />

the treehouse. We lined a pathway with<br />

river rock and ate kumquats, spongey skin<br />

and all. It was a paradise of imagination.<br />

Of freedom. But at the end of every day,<br />

the sun draped down into folds, while stiff<br />

cuffs of darkness called for Benjamin to<br />

go home. Each time he walked off into<br />

the black expanse of night, I feared it was<br />

the last time I would see him. I knew it<br />

would be the last I would see of him, as is,<br />

for each time he returned, so did a new<br />

set of bruises and wales, puffy scratches,<br />

cigarette burns, a gimping arm, a limping<br />

leg, bandages hanging onto screaming<br />

skin. I don’t think that one single part of<br />

Benjamin’s body had escaped some sort<br />

of pain. Injustice. And his mind certainly<br />

hadn’t escaped, either.<br />

***<br />

It was a year or more before<br />

Benjamin told me about his mother. The<br />

woman who birthed him was, at times,<br />

someone younger than he. At other<br />

times, someone of a different gender.<br />

Someone who got into trouble with him.<br />

Someone who punished him. He called<br />

it “multiple personality disorder.” I didn’t<br />

understand it. When he talked about<br />

her, it was as if she were a child, innocent<br />

and ineffectual as a colorless sash that lay<br />

slack on the floor. But the stories he told<br />

gave horrible life to that piece of fabric,<br />

turning it into a belt, a noose, a sword,<br />

something capable of slaughtering much<br />

more than just one’s spirit.<br />

“And she has a new game,” he told<br />

me.<br />

“Oh.” I knew his mother had a few<br />

personalities that were close to his age.<br />

But I had a feeling this wasn’t a good<br />

game. “What kind?”<br />

“She makes me sit in a chair. She<br />

lights matches and flicks them at me. If I<br />

don’t flinch, I win.”<br />

“What happens if you lose, Benji?”<br />

“I always lose.”<br />

***<br />

Out of the eight children, Benjamin<br />

was the second-oldest, his older sister<br />

institutionalized before he was out of<br />

diapers. From that day, he was at the<br />

top of the line, silently entrusted with the<br />

role of scapegoat. For some reason, as<br />

long as Benjamin took the abuse, the<br />

others were spared. With it came an<br />

entire identity. Benjamin was a literal,<br />

human shield for the younger siblings. His<br />

pain was their salvation. And as he grew<br />

into a teenager, the spankings turned to<br />

punches, the paddling to pummeling. But<br />

as long as the younger ones were safe, he<br />

told himself he could take it.<br />

I only heard Benjamin refer to<br />

his mother by name. Not Mom. Never<br />

Mother. Only Velma. The same went for<br />

his father. Not Dad. Never Father. Only<br />

Jerry. But the words for his father were<br />

tattooed with a venom, a guttural sound<br />

that I originally thought was fear. But I<br />

learned it was a visceral, primal hatred.<br />

Because what his mother did to him,<br />

Benjamin almost denied, defended. What<br />

his father did, an otherwise normal, sane<br />

man, were things that Benjamin could<br />

never understand, horrors that he certainly<br />

could never forgive.<br />

***<br />

I can’t remember when the<br />


McAllisters moved onto the block. A nice,<br />

unsuspecting couple with a baby. They<br />

hadn’t heard the gossip about what went<br />

on inside Benjamin’s house. And when the<br />

cherubic, blonde woman at the grocery<br />

store offered to babysit their sweet little<br />

Finn, they thanked the heavens for<br />

sending them an angel.<br />

That angel was Benjamin’s<br />

mother.<br />

***<br />

I spent more and more time at<br />

the treehouse by myself, my teenage<br />

body developing among the raw<br />

bark, often sleeping nights there rather<br />

than be strapped by the loneliness of<br />

my own home. Benjamin showed up<br />

sometimes, late after I’d fallen asleep,<br />

smelling like Boone’s Farm and Newport<br />

cigarettes. Then the other drugs crept<br />

in, pleating a haze over his eyes, a film<br />

over his existence. Jittery paranoia from<br />

cocaine. Swinging from the boughs of<br />

the treehouse after taking multiple hits of<br />

acid. Fits of rage followed by fists of tears<br />

when he was sober. It was as if he could<br />

no longer just be.<br />

***<br />

A baby bird tapped at the<br />

window while I slept. A Gambel’s quail,<br />

a Mourning dove, perhaps a Common<br />

starling. Whatever it was, it drummed the<br />

glass in feathery beats to the rhythm of<br />

“Little pig, little pig, let me in.”<br />

I woke and saw not a trio of birds,<br />

but Benjamin, on the outside of the<br />

encasement, his eyes wet with sleep,<br />

crescents of tears at the corners of his eyes<br />

like hands folded in prayer. It couldn’t<br />

have been any later than six am, the sun’s<br />

shadow a half-cocked rifle leaning in the<br />

corner of the yard.<br />

I crept past my father’s bedroom<br />

and saw the empty bed. The plate of<br />

dinner I’d made him on the kitchen<br />

counter, uneaten. I went to the front door<br />

and called Benjamin inside. He didn’t<br />

come. I called again. I went outside and<br />

turned the corner. Benjamin was covered<br />

in blood.<br />

I rushed to him and as I got just<br />

before him, he fell to the ground. I put my<br />

arms under his and got him to his feet. He<br />

yelled in pain as I touched his arm.<br />

“He broke it.”<br />

“Who broke it, Benji? Your dad?”<br />

“He was wearing steel-toed boots.”<br />

His right forearm was already swollen,<br />

discolored and bent, an arrowhead<br />

without a shaft. He tried to hold it with his<br />

left hand, to keep it stable, like someone<br />

trying to keep from spilling the contents of<br />

a cup, from trying not to make a mess.<br />

We walked inside. I had never let<br />

him in there before. He looked around,<br />

at the Playboy centerfolds scotch-taped<br />

to the walls, the cracked, plastic patio<br />

chairs that bit and smacked my bottom<br />

every time I thought I was about to get<br />

comfortable. The dirt everywhere.<br />

I hurried him into my room. It<br />

was where I pretended that things were<br />

normal. Where I dreamt of another world.<br />

One pink silk scarf, the only thing I had of<br />

my mother’s, of my mother, hung over the<br />

top of the lamp sitting on a cardboard<br />

box, my baby blanket folded neatly on<br />

the floor where I slept.<br />

“He told me I’m a liar,” Benjamin<br />

said.<br />


“Your father? About what?”<br />

“He said she didn’t do it.”<br />

“Do what? Where did all of the<br />

blood come from, Benji?”<br />

“I don’t know.”<br />

“Benji, you have to know.” I lifted<br />

his shirt to look for the source of blood.<br />

There were so many wounds, slices and<br />

scars, thick, pink, angry lines betraying the<br />

secrets of Benjamin’s life. But there was<br />

nothing new. Fear paddled my insides.<br />

“Benji, did you hurt someone?”<br />

“No, but she did.”<br />

“Who, Benji? Your mom?”<br />

“Velma. She killed the baby.”<br />

I didn’t understand. I knew his<br />

youngest sister was five. There were no<br />

babies left.<br />

“What baby?”<br />

“Baby Finn. He kept crying and<br />

crying. So she put him in the hamper to<br />

make him stop. Or so that she didn’t have<br />

to hear him anymore.”<br />

I took a breath. But there was not<br />

a drop of air left in all the world to draw<br />

from.<br />

***<br />

Benjamin always asked me, which<br />

was less forgivable — to be beaten by<br />

someone crazy or by someone perfectly<br />

sane?<br />

I could never comprehend that.<br />

How was either forgivable? How was<br />

one better? But to Benjamin, it was a<br />

rhetorical question. He had already<br />

charged, sentenced and convicted<br />

the guilty — his father. No matter what<br />

Benjamin’s mother did to him, she was not<br />

responsible. His father, on the other hand,<br />

was a monster with a brain and a will, able<br />

to spoon out punishments far worse than<br />

anything physical — incessant, calculated<br />

beatings that butchered Benjamin’s<br />

being.<br />

His mother had charged,<br />

sentenced and convicted herself. After<br />

realizing what she had done to baby<br />

Finn that day, she locked herself in the<br />

bathroom. Benjamin broke in the door,<br />

only to find his mother lifeless, lying in a<br />

demise of razors to wrists.<br />

***<br />

I see him on the streets at times,<br />

a resident to the concrete and abyss,<br />

homeless and incoherent, often talking<br />

to the silhouette of himself, an erasure of<br />

existence that everyone else walks right<br />

by. For all the years Benjamin endured<br />

horrid, severe scrutiny and attention as a<br />

child, he was paid back with invisibility in<br />

adulthood.<br />

“Hi Benji,” I stop him and try to<br />

remind him who I am, of our friendship,<br />

but his eyes are always void of any<br />

recognition of me. Of us. Of him.<br />

“You have to do the laundry,” he<br />

says to me the first time I see him. He<br />

says it again, the second time, the third. I<br />

wonder if maybe he does recognize me.<br />

If I remind him of that day we switched<br />

clothes. Or the day he told me of baby<br />

Finn.<br />

I give him some money and offer a<br />

hug. He always accepts the former, never<br />

the latter. I wave good-bye and turn<br />

away from my friend, that young boy who<br />

had no fault in life except to be born, who<br />

suffered far too much, whose then only<br />

choice was to fade into the watercolor of<br />

oblivion.<br />




Sierra Vigil<br />

We live literally a world apart.<br />

My roots will never touch your salty lips,<br />

for if they should<br />

I would shrivel up and surely die.<br />

This fact makes it all the more romantic to me<br />

so, I<br />

turn to face the wind<br />

and<br />

sigh.<br />

The wind,<br />

she tickles me sweet, loves me tender,<br />

leaves me breathless all the while,<br />

but she is not you, that much is true.<br />

My dear<br />

Though, she can make me smile.<br />

Me and the wind<br />

we have been made<br />

for each other since<br />

The beginning<br />

of<br />

time.<br />


She caresses my branches<br />

and scatters my blooms<br />

dries my wet tears<br />

all my forms she assumes<br />

too.<br />

But even on the breeziest of days<br />

I swear i can see your face<br />

and still daydream of your playful waves.<br />

Because how I do yearn<br />

for your waves to turn<br />

and find their way to me.<br />

For I stand alone<br />

on this hill I call my home<br />

admiring you from out of my reach.<br />

While you roam free<br />

in Your wild beauty<br />

the loneliest olive tree and his perfect fantasy<br />

called the sea.<br />



Courtney Armstrong<br />

Fiction<br />

I stood<br />

at the side of my mother’s bed while she slept<br />

not only staring at her naked body<br />

but at the man who lay on top of her<br />

I imagined how incredibly uncomfortable this must have been for her<br />

squeezed flat against the sheet under the weight of the man’s bovine white skin<br />

her face hidden somewhere underneath the furrows of his neck<br />

I wondered how she could possibly breathe<br />

I wondered who the man was<br />

I stood<br />

within the breath of her bedroom<br />

like a mere patron in a gallery<br />

the backdrop of her art painted on the large wall behind me<br />

only she would color a rainbow with neutrals<br />

splendor reduced to mushroom and taupe<br />

its curves undulated<br />

sighs and whimpers and spankings<br />

I waited<br />

for someone to wake<br />

I waited<br />

for someone to see me<br />

I watched<br />


Rebecca Farris<br />

Inner Feelings<br />

Digital Media<br />


the heaving of the sleeping man’s torso as he breathed<br />

something more like a cough a sputter a struggle<br />

anxiety tapped my shoulder<br />

each time he exhaled<br />

his weight crushed my mother<br />

I could swear I heard the splintering of a bone<br />

I gripped<br />

the paw of the stuffed bunny I was holding<br />

and rubbed my forefinger among the velvet puffs of pad<br />

I stood<br />

I waited<br />

I watched<br />

a bit of the cotton sheet<br />

was crammed in the cleft of the man’s ass<br />

I had to think that my mother was as disgusted by him as I was<br />

I hoped that her lying underneath him<br />

silent<br />

was not in pleasure but in contempt<br />

I feared it was because she had no other option<br />

the smell of alcohol cocked hard in the air<br />

an overlapping of dried sweat and heat<br />

buckling beneath its weight<br />

his weight<br />

salt<br />

bitter onions<br />

mildew<br />

I tried to squeeze shut my nostrils with just the sheer force of my mind<br />

I tried to shut my eyes<br />

I tried I tried I tried<br />


Shelby Quiroz<br />

And... Doubt<br />

Blue Rollerball Pen on Paper 9”x12”<br />


***<br />

After the divorce, my mother and<br />

I moved into an apartment. I had my<br />

very own room at the top of the stairs.<br />

My place. It even had a lock on the<br />

door. Inside my room was an over-sized<br />

closet. That had a lock on the door. It<br />

was large enough for my small table and<br />

chairs. Each seat held one of my friends.<br />

The kitten with paws of satin. The puppy<br />

with paws of velour. And of course, the<br />

rabbit with paws of velvet. Which left<br />

one free chair, the only place I was ever<br />

guaranteed to have a seat saved for<br />

me.<br />

“Tennyson,” my mother called from<br />

downstairs. I barely heard it, the walls of<br />

my closet a protector, the words only able<br />

to travel up through the air conditioning<br />

vents.<br />

I put down the book I was reading<br />

and got up from the table.<br />

“Tennyson! Come down here<br />

now!”<br />

I unlocked the closet door.<br />

Unlocked the bedroom door.<br />

At the top of the stairs, I turned<br />

backwards, got on my stomach and slid,<br />

feet first, the rubbing of carpet on my<br />

belly, fuzzy, filtered friction over the entire<br />

front of my body. Pain. That felt so very<br />

good.<br />

“Yes, mother?” I went into her<br />

bedroom. It was empty.<br />

“Come in here. Now.” She was<br />

in the adjoining bathroom. I turned,<br />

walked over to the archway and stopped.<br />

Quickly. Directly inside the door was a<br />

small space with the toilet straight ahead.<br />

My mother was bent over the bowl, her<br />

backside facing me, scrubbing furiously.<br />

She wore only a top, one not nearly long<br />

enough to cover the unclothed bottom<br />

half of her body. I turned and left the<br />

bathroom so that I was standing outside<br />

the door.<br />

“What is it, mother?”<br />

I stood.<br />

“Get in here.”<br />

I waited.<br />

I did not want to go back in there.<br />

I wondered why she couldn’t talk to me<br />

from inside. Or put some clothes on. Or<br />

not be bent over.<br />

I took two steps to the edge of the<br />

doorframe and hovered just outside. I<br />

peeked in to see if she had changed<br />

position, but still, she hunched over,<br />

legs spread wide apart, scrubbing and<br />

scrubbing and scrubbing. I stepped back<br />

outside and cleared my throat, throwing<br />

its sound in her direction, hoping that she<br />

thought I was inside the room with her.<br />

“Get in here.”<br />

I went in.<br />

I closed my eyes.<br />

I stood.<br />

I waited.<br />

“Did you clean your room?” she<br />

asked, her voice bounding from the<br />

depths of the porcelain.<br />

“Yes, mom.”<br />

“Yes, mother,” she corrected me.<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

“Did you clean your bathroom?”<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

“Did you eat?”<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

“Do your dishes?”<br />

“Yes, mother?”<br />


“Were you reading, again?”<br />

I paused. I wanted to lie.<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

“Oh, come on, Tennyson. Go<br />

outside. It’s too nice of a day to have<br />

your nose in a book.”<br />

“But I don’t know anyone here,<br />

yet.”<br />

“I don’t know anyone here, yet,<br />

mother.”<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

“Go knock on doors and try to find<br />

a friend. Now.”<br />

I was six years old.<br />

“Yes, mother.”<br />

The apartment complex was<br />

vast, an exhaustive expanse of somber<br />

sidewalks and mansard roofs. I held my<br />

breath every time I raised my fist to a<br />

door. Doors and doors and doors. Never<br />

knowing what was behind them. Who<br />

was behind them.<br />

“Do you have any children my age<br />

I can play with?” I asked.<br />

A few of the adults looked stunned.<br />

Most were annoyed, waving me off with<br />

the back of a hand. I was hot, tired, and<br />

still alone, so very lonely. I decided to try<br />

one last apartment.<br />

A girl my age opened the door<br />

and I held my breath. Her beauty was<br />

peculiar. Exotic, I thought they called<br />

it. Her hair was black tinsel, a decorative<br />

frame of pixie around the whitest skin,<br />

pure as puffs of fresh cotton. Her eyes<br />

were not simply oval-shaped, but rather<br />

crescents of eggs that had been flattened<br />

by the ballast of her creamy lids and thick<br />

black lashes.<br />

I had seen her before at school,<br />

sitting on the edge of the playground,<br />

alone, separated by not only pillows of<br />

air but a palpable line of demarcation<br />

— she was a foreigner. Her inability to<br />

speak English was apparent not only in her<br />

speech, but in her body language. The<br />

way she looked at the ground. The way<br />

she wore shiny patent leather shoes and<br />

dresses when the rest of us wore Izods and<br />

deck shoes. Looking back, I see the irony,<br />

walking around in leather and rubber,<br />

as if in protection. But not her. She<br />

didn’t know the dangers of living in this<br />

neighborhood. In my world.<br />

We sat on the floor of her bedroom,<br />

both of us flush with the excitement of our<br />

new friendship.<br />

“Kyoto,” she said as she pointed to<br />

her chest.<br />

“Kyoto,” I repeated.<br />

She shook her head.<br />

She said her name again, but I<br />

didn’t notice any difference from the way<br />

I said it.<br />

I tried again and this time when<br />

she shook her head, she smiled. Her teeth<br />

were so very white, the pink rose of her lips<br />

blossomed as she stressed the area of her<br />

name that I mispronounced.<br />

“Kyoto.”<br />

I got it. The k and y were said<br />

as if they were one, their own special<br />

consonant, not a blend of two.<br />

She walked over to her dresser<br />

and grabbed a small, pink book with a<br />

colorful cat on the front. Hello Kitty. The<br />

Japanese character that was so popular<br />

in the late 70s. The doll I had asked Santa<br />

for Christmas. The character in the book<br />

I’d asked for my birthday. The feline on<br />


Avery Goldberg<br />

Coming up Pink Poppies<br />

Digital Painting<br />

the lunchbox I’d asked for the new school year.<br />

The gifts I’d never received.<br />

Kyoto brought the book to me on the<br />

floor, and we read through it together. I was<br />

mesmerized. The thick pages were cool and<br />

slippery, and I rushed to touch them. My fingers<br />

brushed Kyoto’s several times in my haste, until<br />

she finally let me do all of the turning.<br />

A woman’s voice called from another<br />

room. Kyoto left and I sat there with the book,<br />

the weight of its pages pressed down on my lap.<br />

I stroked the cherry red of the cat’s bow. I had<br />

an urge like I’d never had before.<br />

I wanted this book.<br />

I needed it.<br />

I pulled up my shirt and tucked the book<br />

into the waistband of my shorts.<br />

***<br />


It was a house of contradictions<br />

plaques and degrees<br />

rows of shiny metal squares that housed yellowed paper<br />

Harvard Stanford<br />

and an empty garage whose cars had been repossessed<br />

a bartop<br />

made from discarded bottle caps<br />

remnants of the hours upon hours upon hours of drinking<br />

lined up like dots of candy glazed in a sheen of glue<br />

an over-sized dictionary on a large wooden stand<br />

pages filled with red checkmarks<br />

from the times my father forced me<br />

to look up a word I mispronounced<br />

where I stood and pretended to lecture<br />

where I stood and pretended people listened<br />

supple leather<br />

lamps with tassels<br />

and in the bathroom cartoons copied from the Sunday funnies<br />

drawn in stiff sticky black acrylic<br />

entire comic strips that looked down at you while you sat on the toilet<br />

people<br />

whose names I didn’t know<br />

people<br />

who were there for days or weeks or months<br />

or only hours<br />

and then nothing<br />

I shuffled down the hallways bunny in hand<br />

nothing more than decoration<br />

like the paint on the wall<br />

a guest<br />

a visitor<br />

nothing<br />

nothing made sense<br />

and yet it was all I knew<br />

come here little thing he said to me<br />

it was the naked man with the sheet stuck in his ass<br />


I’d been told<br />

he was now my father<br />

I sat right next to him<br />

I didn’t know how much closer I could possibly be<br />

he patted<br />

his leg the meaty thigh that peeked out from his corduroy shorts<br />

I didn’t like the way the material felt against my bare leg<br />

his skin<br />

nubs and sand and spiny hair<br />

he tried to smile<br />

it was always an effort just that<br />

it was no smile I had ever seen before<br />

one I would never forget<br />

his handlebar mustache wrinkled and waved<br />

fingering me to come<br />

closer<br />

he smelled<br />

say hello to Mr. Bill he said<br />

Bill was his name<br />

and its name<br />

oh nooooo it’s Mr. Bill he said<br />

he drawled and dragged the vowel<br />

elongated it<br />

his eyes widened<br />

and his mouth formed an open hole<br />

he thought he was being funny<br />

I laughed the first time I saw the Mr. Bill skit on Saturday Night Live<br />

and now this man sitting beside me<br />

the man living inside my house and my life and my mind and my mother<br />

thought it was a way for us to bond<br />

Mr. Bill<br />

the clay figurine manipulated by a hand<br />

tortured<br />

the malleable creature that had bad things happen to it<br />

over and over and over and<br />

over<br />

***<br />


Another divorce. Something called an annulment. Another move. Another<br />

apartment. Back to the same complex as before, though, and even closer to Kyoto this<br />

time.<br />

Not all of our furniture had arrived yet and I lay on just a mattress with my mother,<br />

the full morning sun flashing across my closed eyes, urging me to wake for the day. That<br />

and the sound of humming from my mother’s vibrator.<br />

I closed my eyes, hoping to fall back asleep. I shifted my weight, to alert her. To<br />

stop her.<br />

I pressed my ear into the bed. To mute the buzzing. To block the thoughts. The<br />

pillows hadn’t even arrived, yet. But the vibrator had.<br />

I lay.<br />

I waited.<br />

I fondled the pages of the Hello Kitty book inside my pajama pocket. I carried it<br />

with me no matter where I went, the cover no longer pristine, its pages bent and mounted<br />

by dirt. I dreamt of living between the pages, erect in its world, any world other than my<br />

own. The sharp edges of paper tickled my fingertips as I flicked them into rhythm, a silent<br />

feathering of the pages that went Prrrup, Prrrup, against my skin.<br />

Finally, silence. Finally, I was dismissed.<br />

I walked to Kyoto’s. I was eager to be in the warmth of her home. The kitchen that<br />

always bubbled with pots of food. Faces that were always happy to see me. No words<br />

were ever exchanged, just many nods and smiles. But it was acceptance, the only kind I<br />

had.<br />

I pulled my fist up and knocked on the door. A man opened it. I had never seen<br />

him before.<br />

“Kyoto?” I asked.<br />

He looked down at me and nodded, caressing his hand along the air between us,<br />

coaxing me in. The look in his eyes scared me. I wanted to turn and leave. Immediately.<br />

But I needed to see Kyoto. When I was with her, I could pretend I was like her. Happy.<br />

Simple. Normal. I thrust my hand into my pocket to touch the cover of the book.<br />

Kyoto came from around the corner.<br />

Today she didn’t look happy. It seemed like I had interrupted something. Like she<br />

didn’t want me there.<br />

Today she wasn’t simple. She was wearing lipstick, the color of fire and candied<br />

apples, shocking against the innocence of her snow white skin.<br />

Today nothing about her was normal. She was wearing very short shorts. A lace<br />

halter top that showed the white of her stomach.<br />

She kept pulling at the hem of the short shorts. But they didn’t move.<br />


She motioned me inside and nodded her head at the man.<br />

“Father,” she explained to me in stilted English. I had only met her mother all the<br />

times I’d been there before.<br />

He grunted at me, and through the parting of his lips, I smelled a foulness.<br />

She grabbed me by the hand and walked me back to her bedroom. I tried not to<br />

look back over my shoulder at him. I tried. I tried. I tried.<br />

The warmth of her room was what I had missed. She closed the door behind us.<br />

I stood.<br />

I looked at the door knob, wishing for a lock.<br />

I wanted a lock.<br />

I needed a lock.<br />

I waited.<br />

The doorknob began to turn.<br />

Her father came into the room.<br />

he looked at Kyoto<br />

I noticed the lipstick on her teeth<br />

the strap of her top falling down her shoulder<br />

he looked at me<br />

he smiled<br />

I knew that smile<br />

it was one I had seen before<br />

one I would never forget<br />

I stood<br />

I waited<br />

I closed my eyes<br />

over and over and over and<br />

over<br />

again<br />


Nathan Coffey<br />

Huddle<br />

Photograph<br />




Sierra Vigil<br />

I am the salty sea<br />

rough and tempest too,<br />

and you are an olive tree<br />

in strong arms you hold the baby doves’ coo.<br />

I’ll lap and I’ll rap at the soft earth that cradles your roots<br />

my gentle knock<br />

a friendly knock<br />

a lover’s game of pursuit,<br />

and you will wave your branches in the same breath,<br />

I’ll see their shadow on the horizon<br />

when the ball falls and the sky turns red.<br />

I can feel your being<br />

though we are apart;<br />

but it’s not something that needs to be seenthe<br />

gentle waves inside our hearts.<br />

So here we are<br />

counting stars<br />

among other pointless things<br />

and I love just being with you -<br />

thank God we’re in the same galaxy.<br />


Kimberly Calles<br />

Metamorphosis<br />

Drawing, Pen and Pencil 14”x17”<br />


Luisa Espinoza<br />

Las Dos Fernandas<br />

Painting, Acrylic on Bristol 11”x14”<br />





Nadia Celaya-Alcala<br />

Non-fiction<br />

Spanish was my first language. Coming<br />

from two Mexican immigrant parents, it<br />

was all I knew. It was all I needed to know. I<br />

spoke Spanish because I am Mexican and<br />

I loved it because I felt connected to my<br />

parents and culture. However, that love<br />

for being Mexican turned into a confusion<br />

of who I am and who I was supposed to<br />

be, being Mexican, but being born in the<br />

United States.<br />

I began speaking English when I was<br />

around 4 years old. I began preschool and<br />

I had to learn or drown. Like many children<br />

learning a new language, it came easily.<br />

Soon, it became all I spoke. Spanish faded<br />

into the background of my mother’s orders<br />

and my father’s conversations with my<br />

Nana and Tata, who were also Mexican<br />

immigrants.<br />

Like the fading of my mother<br />

tongue, my heritage began to fade into<br />

the background at school, and school<br />

being where I spent most of my time, it<br />

affected me. One day, I was celebrating<br />

the 4th of July and the next Dia de La<br />

Independencia de Mexico. My culture<br />

felt like it was on the back burner, but I<br />

felt it had to be okay. I lived in the U.S. I<br />

knew I was Mexican. I could love Mexico<br />

and be grateful to live in this amazing<br />

country. However, in the coming years I<br />

would soon learn this “amazing” country<br />

was against me for something I could not<br />

control.<br />

Though I embraced the American<br />

life, it was never enough. My brown hair,<br />

skin, and eyes set me apart from those<br />

in my predominantly white school. I was<br />

ridiculed from a young age for having<br />

full eyebrows and hair on my arm. I soon<br />

began to realize that this country was not<br />

as amazing as I thought it was. I did not<br />

feel welcome.<br />

My first eye-opening experience with<br />

racism was when I was merely 9 years old,<br />

while shopping at ROSS in the perfume<br />

section. The cart was in the aisle of sorts<br />

and my mom was bent over looking at<br />

the perfume selections. She was speaking<br />

to my sisters and me in Spanish. My sister<br />

and I heard a woman rudely say, “Excuse<br />

me.” As she continued to repeat herself<br />

more loudly and aggressively each time,<br />

my sister and I got my mother’s attention,<br />

as it was loud in the store and my mother<br />

could not hear the woman. As we<br />

signaled to my mother, the woman lets<br />


out one more, “EXCUSE ME!” in a rude<br />

condescending voice. My family and<br />

I moved out of her way looking at her<br />

like the crazy woman she was. She and<br />

her blonde, white children finally passed<br />

by us. As these movements occurred,<br />

we hear this woman yell one last phrase<br />

directed at my mother, “Ugh, wetback!”<br />

as her children, specifically the oldest one<br />

appearing about 14 years of age, began<br />

laughing and pointing at my family and<br />

me. We were shocked because though<br />

we were young children, we knew the<br />

gravity and intentions behind that word.<br />

My mother raised her voice at her telling<br />

her to shut her uneducated mouth up.<br />

I felt lost on how a person could be so<br />

cruel.<br />

As I grew older, I realized more and<br />

more that the U.S. was not the country I<br />

had presumed it to be. It was full of hate,<br />

racism, and bigotry against my people<br />

and me. I did not want to be a part of<br />

that society. Though throughout my<br />

whole life I hated being called Mexican<br />

American as opposed to Mexican, after<br />

these experiences of racism, I began to<br />

emphasize this hatred to be classified as<br />

“American” even more. I was not and<br />

did not want to be an American. I did not<br />

want to be a part of a country that did<br />

not even want me.<br />

I realized where I belonged. I began<br />

to love my culture more than ever<br />


efore. I felt home speaking Spanish and<br />

surrounded by those who understood me.<br />

I did not enjoy the celebration of America<br />

like I once did. I appreciated my parents’<br />

sacrifices for me to live in a country with<br />

more opportunities, but that was the<br />

extent of my love for America. How could I<br />

love a country that hated me?<br />

As a child, I jumped from school<br />

to school, most being private schools<br />

populated by white wealthy families. The<br />

experiences at these schools made it that<br />

much more special when I found where<br />

I felt I belonged, being able to compare<br />

this feeling of community to the opposite<br />

feeling I had felt throughout my time in<br />

private school.<br />

In October of 6th grade, I moved to<br />

the first public school I had ever attended,<br />

Rivera Elementary School. It was filled with<br />

Mexican Spanish speaking people. It felt<br />

loving, nurturing, and it felt like family. Here<br />

was when I felt most utterly and uniquely…<br />

ME.<br />

Though the journey of appreciation<br />

and acceptance of myself and my culture<br />

has been filled with difficult experiences,<br />

I could not be prouder of my culture. I<br />

learned that being born in the U.S. did not<br />

have make me American, nor did I have<br />

to fit into society’s idea of how Mexican I<br />

could really be if I was not born there. My<br />

family is Mexican, my culture is Mexican,<br />

and so am I!<br />

Ashley Carmichael<br />

Desert Blooms<br />

Painting, Watercolor and Ink 18”x24”<br />


Jennifer Prybylla<br />

Time<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas 16”x 20”<br />



Alexa Lewis<br />

Statistics show one in three women will have become victims of sexual violence at some<br />

point in their lifetime.<br />

I think of how unlucky I must be to have been sexually victimized three separate times<br />

before the age of twenty-one.<br />

I think about how unfortunate it is to have a friend group of six<br />

And out of us six,<br />

four of us were victims of sexual assault/abuse before we were even eighteen years old.<br />

I was only thirteen the first time,<br />

And nineteen the second time.<br />

Twenty the third time,<br />

And how scary to think that I cannot guarantee it will be the last time.<br />

The numbers just don’t add up,<br />

And it’s only visible if you’re counting.<br />


27<br />

Arial Autumn<br />

Twice before and now again<br />

we find ourselves at beginning’s end.<br />

Wars are lost as we have grown,<br />

and humanity is unwittingly dethroned.<br />

Wolves and vampires wait in darkness,<br />

in realms unknown and deepest slumber.<br />

The worlds gone quiet and now we awake,<br />

anew and free with a world to take.<br />

Our cold forests and empty cities,<br />

in hallowed dusks and quiet mornings.<br />

Born to love, lust, and hunt<br />

we preserve what humanity has lost.<br />

Mankind is not on top anymore.<br />

The food chains corrected,<br />

and nature rejoices.<br />


Portia Cooper<br />

Rocket<br />

India Ink on Bristol Paper<br />



Carol Korhonen<br />

Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

have determined and decreed<br />

the proper place for damp towels is<br />

on the bathroom or their bedroom floor<br />

wadded strategically to insure<br />

maximum mildew growth.<br />

Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

all go to school close by.<br />

The two girls go to U of A<br />

four blocks away, but they drive<br />

or are chauffeured by me.<br />

The 14-year-old boy, a high school freshman,<br />

always needs a ride.<br />

Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

all dearly love our two big dogs<br />

who shed black and white fur<br />

in copious amounts,<br />

but they never walk the dogs<br />

and never bathe them, or<br />

(god forbid)<br />

clean up the dog run.<br />


Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

Don’t like to vacuum up the dog hair<br />

Except 14-year-old Josiah.<br />

Jo - “I vacuumed almost the whole house,”<br />

me - “Wonderful, good job,”<br />

Jo - “I just kept going ‘til the vacuum sort of stopped working,”<br />

me - “Ah.”<br />

Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

all love my husband who is forever willing<br />

to help them out, give them money,<br />

complaining bitterly to me later, in private.<br />

Now he complains, “Why didn’t he change the bag?”<br />

as he helps me try to reassemble the vacuum cleaner,<br />

its innards choked with dust . . . and dog hair.<br />

Those under 21s living at my house<br />

(there are three of them)<br />

are all very busy with classes, band, clubs,<br />

and choir plus part time jobs.<br />

They’re hardly ever here.<br />

And when they’re not here,<br />

I miss them.<br />



BACK<br />

Mora Hedayati<br />

Non-fiction<br />

Yesterday as I sat eating my lunch,<br />

my four-year-old daughter began bringing<br />

me her stuffed animals one-by-one<br />

to “drop them off” at school. I sighed,<br />

resolved to dive, once again, into playing<br />

“mommy comes back.” The game has<br />

gotten more elaborate over the years<br />

--this particular version involved her roleplaying<br />

several different parents as she<br />

dropped them off with the teacher (me)<br />

and then came back to pick them up,<br />

one by one. Each time, the joy and relief<br />

of seeing her kid again after a long day at<br />

school was still so real it was palpable.<br />

We have been playing “mommy<br />

comes back” in some form or another<br />

since my daughter was 14 months old and<br />

I began dropping her off at the YMCA<br />

daycare for an hour or so each day as I<br />

went to exercise. Every parent knows the<br />

slight panic and heartbreak of dropping<br />

their child off with strangers for the first<br />

time, whether that child is six weeks old<br />

and the mother has no choice but to go<br />

back to work, or 3 years old and they’re<br />

heading to daycare to be cared for by<br />

someone outside of the family for the first<br />

time. For me, who had the privilege to<br />

choose to stay home with my baby for the<br />

first years of her life, it was a much needed<br />

62<br />

Miyeon Kim<br />

It’s Addicted Me<br />

Black Ink on Canvas 21”x26”

eak for my mental and physical health.<br />

And though worth it, it was always really<br />

difficult to hand my screaming toddler off<br />

to the very patient and loving caregivers<br />

in the “bumblebees” room at the Y.<br />

Even now, after a couple of solid<br />

years of preschool under her belt, my<br />

daughter’s trembling lip and brave tears<br />

at drop-off mess with my emotions in a<br />

way that nothing else does. I say, “Have<br />

so much fun today sweetie! I’ll be back!<br />

I love you,” and sometimes I have to<br />

hold back my own tears depending on<br />

my mental state of the day. I think about<br />

how for almost 3 years, we have been<br />

talking about, singing about, role-playing<br />

and processing this transition away from<br />

mom. I think about singing “Grownups<br />

Come Back,” one of the jingles on “Daniel<br />

Tiger’s Neighborhood” (a children’s<br />

show written by child psychologists who<br />

know the psychological toll saying “bye”<br />

to the grownups in their lives takes on<br />

kids) hundreds of times before putting<br />

my daughter to bed. I think about my<br />

chubby little toddler handing me a stuffed<br />

bunny and then waddling out of the<br />

room, pausing for a moment, and then<br />

waddling back to joyfully pick up her<br />

bunny, roleplaying the “mommy comes<br />

back” scene before she even had all of<br />

the words. I think of the cherished noodle<br />

video, that we adored and laughed<br />

at, and look back to watch often and<br />

fondly, which shows my barely two-yearold<br />

daughter sitting in her high-chair and<br />

reciting a whole story about daycare<br />

dropoff with her noodles. I think about my<br />

baby girl who has taken years to process,<br />


and who is still processing through play,<br />

the most difficult part of her day. I think<br />

about all the patience and love and time<br />

that has gone into assuring my daughter<br />

that grownups. always. come. back.<br />

And then I think about the children at<br />

the border.<br />

I think about how those ripping the<br />

screaming children from their pleading<br />

parents are not kind ladies in the<br />

“bumblebees” room. They are men and<br />

women who have been able to warp their<br />

minds into believing that these children<br />

are not human in the way “our” children<br />

are. They are trained military personnel,<br />

not child psychologists. They are people<br />

who have been able to fathom a level<br />

of cruelty beyond what anyone wants<br />

to see, and what we in fact often try to<br />

avoid, because it is too painful to know<br />

that this is happening under our watch.<br />

This country was founded on<br />

ripping children from their parents (see<br />

Washington Post’s America’s Cruel<br />

History of Separating Children from Their<br />

Parents). It is something we have always<br />

done and continue to do. We separate<br />

families when we incarcerate parents at<br />

a rate at least five times higher than any<br />

other country. Over 5 million American<br />

children have been affected by parental<br />

incarceration, with black and brown<br />

families being affected most severely. We<br />

separate black and brown babies from<br />

their mothers when these mothers die<br />

in childbirth or from pregnancy-related<br />

causes at a rate 2.5 times higher than<br />

white women. We shackle imprisoned<br />

women to hospital beds while giving<br />

birth, without informing their families,<br />

and then make them turn the babies<br />

over less than a week after birth to be<br />

taken back to prison. This separation of<br />

families is something our current state of<br />

politics still emboldens many people to<br />

do, and encourages the greater masses<br />

to be too numb to care about. To this<br />

day, at least 600 parents of children<br />

who were separated under the previous<br />

administration’s “zero tolerance” policy<br />

have still not been found, and we are<br />

faced with the horrifying reality that<br />

they may never be reunited. “Grown<br />

Ups Come Back” won’t be true for all<br />

children, and this will have lasting effects<br />

for generations, as it has for generations<br />

before us.<br />

My daughter was born by c-section<br />

one week before the 2016 election.<br />

The first thing I remember is her squeaky<br />

cry and her dimpled chin. I remember<br />

laughing so hard (and wincing in pain<br />

because the laughing hurt my incision)<br />

with my husband as she bobbed her tiny<br />

face against my breast like a little blind<br />

kitten looking for milk. She was so fragile.<br />

As we start moving through her fourth<br />

year, I’m amazed at how much she’s<br />

grown, the interesting questions she asks,<br />

and most of all, her brilliant imagination.<br />

But her tininess still amazes me too, and<br />

her dependency. She’s still a little kitten<br />

learning her place in the world. She still<br />

depends on me and her dad for her food,<br />

her shelter, her physical and emotional<br />

comfort. I can hardly imagine her being<br />


Thurwin Lane<br />

John and Rena<br />

Painting, Acrylic on Bristol Paper 8.5”x14”<br />

forced from my arms by an unknown<br />

militiaman. But I think this is what we all<br />

have to do-- to use our imaginations to<br />

understand--just like my daughter has<br />

done for years. Because it is not just in our<br />

imaginations; it is real. Sadly this nightmare<br />

is not new, and it is not over just because<br />

there are new people in power.<br />

At the end of the noodle video my<br />

daughter dictates for the mommy noodle:<br />

“I was out exercisin’ -- now I picked you<br />

up!!!” and her chubby cheeks form a<br />

huge grin. Then she imitates a noodle hug<br />

before saying proudly, “The end….of my<br />

noodles.” I want to live in a world where all<br />

stories have happy endings like this one.<br />

To donate to Arizona Justice for Our<br />

Neighbors, a local Tucson organization<br />

helping provide legal services to<br />

immigrants, please visit azjfon.org<br />

Sources:<br />

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/2018.<br />

html<br />

https://www.cdc.gov/media/<br />

releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnicdisparities-pregnancy-deaths.html<br />

https://www.theguardian.com/usnews/2020/jan/24/shackled-pregnantwomen-prisoners-birth<br />

https://www.aecf.org/resources/a-sharedsentence/<br />


David Parsons<br />

George Floyd- SAY HIS NAME<br />

Digital Media 81/2“x11”<br />



Chretien Martinez<br />

Non-fiction<br />

The damage that has been done<br />

to the minds of young black men may be<br />

irreversible. We stand as these beasts of<br />

burden, told that we may carry our weight<br />

freely, but is it truly freedom that has been<br />

given to us? Too often we meet men who<br />

wish to block our paths, spit in our faces,<br />

dishevel our spirits, and drive us to an<br />

everlasting anguish - a White Death.<br />

Our color, black. It is synonymous<br />

with evil; the black plague, the black<br />

devil, the black expanse of space - airless,<br />

breathless, a backdrop for the glorious<br />

white stars which grab the eye’s wonder<br />

and the mind’s affection. We are but the<br />

void - nothing, vacuous. Our minds do not<br />

contemplate, nor do they ponder upon<br />

philosophies, or meanings, or emotion.<br />

What is the gloaming without its gloom?<br />

We drag our knuckles not from<br />

stupidity, but from the overbearing eye<br />

of he who has placed such heavy weight<br />

on our shoulders. Could those veiled eyes<br />

beam gossamer then, and touch my<br />

rejected flesh?<br />

This existence isn’t pure. This life we<br />

live is not one of lascivious reverie. Our<br />

very hearts have been ripped from our<br />

chests and compared to those who deem<br />

themselves of the highest form - what<br />

conclusions did they draw? They drew<br />

the ones which allowed them to treat us<br />

as ogres - not human enough to respect,<br />

but close enough to fill with disease. Do<br />

I even value myself? For the Son of the<br />

Father now has blonde hair and blue eyes<br />

for that mythical Aryan to kiss his feet and<br />

feel emboldened. For this image does<br />

the intellectual racist serenade his flock<br />

with scientific riddles, filled with the jargon<br />

of imperial justification - oh, if they only<br />

knew how much we could love them, our<br />

brothers! If only they knew how strongly<br />

we yearn for an eternal embrace.<br />




Mauricia Manuel<br />

Part 1<br />

“We the people, living between litter filled oceans,<br />

Selected citizens born on land<br />

but floating on an endless stream of judgment.”<br />

I worry about the clothes I put on, too much thigh, too much chest?<br />

Too much sunless skin, covered in moles and birthmark, nothing like the rest.<br />

“We are practicing to be perfect, entirely without fault,<br />

Satisfying all requirements of being a standard American with all obstacles included,<br />

while the world conspires against generations of imposed poverty.”<br />

I search for the big yellow clearance sign for clothes, for food, no tag goes unturned.<br />

Always skimming through coupons, hand me downs and day-old dinners without concern.<br />

“We have become crabs trapped in a barrel,<br />

yanking on each other, in fear of someone making it out first.<br />

Programmed to believe that there can only be one winner.”<br />

I thank the creator for scratcher wins, close calls, and found pocket dollars.<br />

For making it home at night, through parking lots, around every corner without a hollar.<br />

“We the people. Are expected to be more than we are in flesh, in mind.<br />

Encouraged to be tranquil during a period of violent efforts. Told that we are liberated<br />

While still enslaved by screens and job demands, leaving our families without us.”<br />

I have been trapped in a loveless marriage, before the rivers dried up, while roads were paved<br />

Been screwed over by broken treaties and gentrification, following too quickly to be saved.<br />

“We, whose soles beat the concrete. We are not in union, but we still create a connective<br />

rhythm.”<br />


Part 2<br />

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,<br />

insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and<br />

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this<br />

Constitution for the United States of America.<br />

Part 3<br />

We the people, that have broken and rebuilt this land under death and dreams<br />

People of an accepted ignorance proclaim a fresh start to create more,<br />

A perfect union, hidden under generations of repressed change.<br />

In thought of our future children, saving them from all forms of hatred. We<br />

establish justice for protection and not for power, one that will not crumble under greed.<br />

Justice for the silent mouths and twisted bodies of past and current wars, deserving of<br />

a domestic tranquility. A stillness to the current flow of madness that digs graves and regrets.<br />

Peace is our common defense to an unsavory foundation, to grow in essence and in intelligence.<br />

General welfare is for those bedless and hungry. We strive to be compassionate and courteous,<br />

Blessings without debit. The Liberty, the power to choose another day, another path.<br />

Our children are free to be. We are the change, the justice, the serenity in this world.<br />

We the people embody these morals for the growth of a harmonious county.<br />



Raymond Butler<br />

Creative Non-fiction<br />

I’m tired of running to stay fit. I still<br />

run, not because I want to, but because<br />

I have to; I don’t have a choice. I was<br />

diagnosed with hypertension when I<br />

was 25 years old and I’ve had to take<br />

medication just to control it. My doctor<br />

said this condition recognizes no class of<br />

people and that exercise is better than<br />

any medicine he could give me. I have<br />

been running ever since. I run because<br />

hypertension runs in the male side my<br />

family. I feel like I race hypertension every<br />

day and I run to save my life.<br />

I am Navajo, a survivor, and running<br />

is an important part of my culture. I remind<br />

myself that running is a reverent prayer<br />

spoken with one’s body. It is a spiritual<br />

exercise as well as a physical one. When<br />

man and woman were created, the<br />

gods discussed who would take care of<br />

their creation. The Little Wind spoke up<br />

and claimed this as an honor. The Little<br />

Wind blew into the man and woman so<br />

now each of us breathe and if we hold<br />

our hand near our mouth, we can feel<br />

the Little Wind as we exhale. We can see<br />

the Little Wind’s tracks on our finger tips’<br />

whorls and arches. With every breath,<br />

I am reminded of the Little Wind, more<br />

so when I run. That is how my father and<br />

grandfather taught me.<br />

This afternoon, I change into a t-shirt<br />

and shorts, to once again shoulder the<br />

burden of my genetics. The entire time<br />

I hear my complacency’s seductive<br />

voice in my head, and I see myself on a<br />

comfortable recliner, nibbling on a light<br />

snack, and sipping an iced beverage. I<br />

add a pair of socks and shoes. Before I<br />

change my mind, I walk to the front yard<br />

for my stretches. I can feel my pride swell<br />

from overcoming complacency. My<br />

grandfather’s image floats across my mind<br />

and I see him nodding. My grandfather’s<br />

teaching is that I am what I choose to be,<br />

but only with my own effort. My father,<br />

echoing my grandfather, told me that<br />

I could be and do anything I wished if I<br />

was willing to work for it. I touch my toes<br />

to stretch and warm up the back of my<br />

legs, feeling the tightness ease away. I feel<br />

the muscles in my lower back resisting the<br />

stretch but gradually giving way. I grab<br />

my instep and stretch my thighs, creating<br />

the familiar sensation of almost pain but<br />

not. I push against the wall of my house to<br />

awaken my calves. I jog in place followed<br />

by some jumping jacks and my heart<br />

rate climbs. It takes me about 15 minutes<br />

to limber up and now a five mile run is in<br />


order, as usual.<br />

I can hear complacency purring<br />

sweet nothings in my head. “You know<br />

it doesn’t have to be such a long run.<br />

You’ve already exercised for 15 minutes<br />

and that’s better than most people get.”<br />

“If you listen to that, you’ll end up<br />

being a can of Crisco with legs.” My pride<br />

strokes my self-image. My masculinity<br />

barks like an alpha. I ponder when I let a<br />

part of myself become so militant.<br />

I begin my run toward the west. I<br />

know my grandfather always required<br />

that I run toward the east before the<br />

sun rose to greet Dawn Boy and Dawn<br />

Girl as I ran. White Body comes from the<br />

east and we hail White Body by shouting<br />

as we start our run. White Body showed<br />

patience and understanding when he<br />

explained to The People how to cleanse<br />

their bodies in preparation for prayer.<br />

White Body translated the Holy People’s<br />

speech so The People could understand.<br />

I pray for forgiveness for starting my run so<br />

late in the day and going in the opposite<br />

direction. I shout, trying to keep within my<br />

grandfather’s teaching and I talk myself<br />

into believing that since my neighbors<br />

live east of me, the holy people will<br />

understand.<br />

The sky is cloudy and the<br />

temperature is very nice, hovering<br />

between 70 F and 75 F in the afternoon.<br />

I run in loose dirt and sparse high desert<br />

vegetation. I see only one saltbush. They<br />

are few and far between, although<br />

they used to proliferate along my route.<br />

I run past sand sagebrush, also fewer in<br />

number, but it is a hardy plant that has<br />

some spiritual qualities. Its smoke carries<br />

one’s prayers and its ashes can act as a<br />

form of protection. It is also a medicinal<br />

plant when used appropriately. There is an<br />

occasional plant called Mormon tea, with<br />

its green, straw-like foliage, which makes<br />

a tea that tastes similar to orange pekoe. I<br />

see Navajo tea with its yellow flowers and<br />

remember sipping it while my dad would<br />

drink his morning coffee. Navajo tea is<br />

quite similar to Oolong tea; the color and<br />

flavor are the same. I remember adding<br />

honey to my tea and sitting like my father,<br />

sipping my tea whenever he sipped his<br />

coffee. I pass yucca, displaying its wide,<br />

knife-like bladed leaves, which makes a<br />

great soap if you know how to use it. My<br />

grandparents taught me about these<br />

plants so I notice them.<br />

Melancholy swells within me at the<br />

scarcity of vegetation, yet it is a very nice<br />

afternoon for a run. My complacency<br />

places an image of a warm blanket and<br />

a nice fire in my mind offering up comfort<br />

while it softly breathes, “That hot tea<br />

sounds heavenly. It isn’t like you follow<br />

your belly through a door.”<br />

My knuckle dragging masculinity<br />

chuckles at the notion. “I can hear you<br />


laughing, you know,” I tell myself. My<br />

pride, my masculinity, my complacency,<br />

and my self-image begin arguing, posting<br />

images of me across my mind’s eye. I tell<br />

myself to ignore them, even though they<br />

are me.<br />

This area where I am running is an<br />

array of sand dunes and the dunes will<br />

become bigger in the future if the winds<br />

continue as they have been. The drought<br />

has caused the deterioration of plant life<br />

and I think about what used to be. The air<br />

I’m breathing is a dry echo to the lack of<br />

precipitation.<br />

The sand grabs my shoe and forces<br />

me to expend more effort with each step.<br />

I imagine it sucking me into the beauty of<br />

these dunes. The gentle slopes roll along<br />

but at their own pace. I note that they<br />

are multi-faceted. Parts are covered in<br />

ripples and other parts are so smooth I feel<br />

like reaching out to touch them. Particles<br />

of sand reflect the sunlight and seem to<br />

twinkle while other parts gleam a steady<br />

reflection of the sun. The dunes curve,<br />

sculpted by the winds, and casts shadows<br />

in the sunlight that highlight the sparkles,<br />

winking with my every step. It is almost<br />

like gazing at the night sky with its stars<br />

twinkling, but in full daylight. I marvel at<br />

the artistry around me. Whenever Mother<br />

Earth, Father Sky, The Sun Bearer, and The<br />

Little Wind combine their work, creating<br />

such astounding visions, I am reminded<br />


Sarah Bryg<br />

Light Travels From A Dead Star<br />

Drawing, Pen and Ink 10”x14”<br />

that I run with beauty all around me. The<br />

Little Wind whirls, picking up sand and<br />

carrying it in a column, as it continues<br />

to sculpt the sands. The Little Wind has<br />

decided to run with me.<br />

It isn’t long before I am breathing<br />

hard, my core temperature rises, and<br />

I begin to sweat. My body, a bipedal<br />

mobile canteen, provides moisture to the<br />

thirsty desert. It wicks away my sweat,<br />

leaving me feeling cooler. I feel the<br />

fatigue in my lower leg muscles and my<br />

hip muscles start to strain. I push myself<br />

since I know I will get to the end of the<br />

sands soon.<br />

I struggle up the face of one dune<br />

and peek down at my feet half buried in<br />

sand with each step. I see another facet<br />

of these dunes. Each step causes the<br />

sand to flow downhill, carrying me down<br />

with it. I have to step faster, to continue<br />

my upward climb, further straining my<br />

muscles.<br />

“You know, you’ll get the same<br />

work out if you walk these dunes,” says<br />

my common sense. “Walking? You can<br />

double time or you can double chin,” says<br />

my knuckle dragger side. An image of<br />

rippled abs flow across my mind but it only<br />

reminds me of the ripples in the dunes.<br />

The undulations of the terrain, like<br />

tan waves frozen in place, sap my will to<br />

soldier on, but fortunately I can see the<br />

edge of the dunes. It’s not endless. It only<br />


Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie<br />

Beating.Still<br />

Ink on paper, 4”x4”<br />

feels that way. I’m a mile from home; just<br />

one mile.<br />

“Was it really worth it?” I hear in<br />

my mind. Gulping air, I’m not sure which<br />

part of me had spoken. An image of my<br />

grandfather riding his horse at dawn pops<br />

to my mind. I remember him waking me<br />

at dawn to make me run. He would follow<br />

me on horseback to make sure I didn’t<br />

stop. I became adept at running and<br />

forced his horse to work for its oats. I hear<br />

parts of me chuckling and I join them.<br />

Together we remember that time I saw<br />

grandpa’s horse covered in sweat after<br />

my run. My grandpa smiles and nods to<br />

me as he began wiping down his horse.<br />

These fond memories move to the front of<br />

my mind and I smile to myself, although it<br />

wasn’t fun at the time.<br />

Now I’m on hard packed clay<br />

and running is easier. I can get into the<br />

groove and allow my body to run as it was<br />

designed; for long distance two-legged<br />

travel. My arms, my legs, my breath, and<br />

my heart are now in rhythm. I feel peace<br />

and tranquility ease into place. I am in<br />

harmony and I can run as far as I can<br />

see.<br />

My ancestors walked from place to<br />

place, traveling great distances. Running<br />

grew in importance to honor the Holy<br />

People and to maintain communication<br />

between far-flung communities. I imagine<br />

myself to be one of these runners.<br />


To my right is a tall cottonwood<br />

tree, majestic among the low desert<br />

vegetation. It started in a small wash<br />

where it received what little runoff was<br />

available. I salute this solitary denizen of<br />

the desert as I run by. To my left is a stand<br />

of tamarisk trees, native to Africa and the<br />

Middle East, crowding together against a<br />

water retention dike. These trees bloom a<br />

delicate pink, almost tan, flower against<br />

its dark green foliage, almost like the<br />

ground, an Army pink hue, migrated into<br />

the trees. I see birds flitting about among<br />

the branches, their song adding to my<br />

heartbeat and foot falls. The pond is dry<br />

like the surrounding beige landscape. The<br />

pond basin is cracked dirt forming odd<br />

shapes as it dried and curled up after<br />

baking in the sun. I see the mesa still a<br />

mile away, a strange dark outcropping<br />

in the tan of the desert. My legs are twin<br />

pendulums swinging back and forth as the<br />

miles tick by.<br />

The Little Wind moves its hand<br />

across my face. The azure of Father Sky<br />

is overhead extending from horizon to<br />

horizon of Mother Earth. I exist between<br />

their embrace. I begin to understand why<br />

Mother Earth bedecks herself in turquoise<br />

and warm colors. I try to ignore the Sun<br />

Bearer glaring down at me; he who is<br />

the father of the Hero Twins. I move on,<br />

knowing I run with the Holy People.<br />

I reach the base of the mesa where<br />

I intend to run to the top and then some.<br />

I lean forward into the upward slope. My<br />

toes bear the brunt of my weight. I notice<br />

bits of igneous rock and realize the mesa<br />

top is one big slab of the stuff. I wonder<br />

how this could be since every other hill is<br />

the sandstone the southwest is known for.<br />

My mind wanders as I labor up the slope.<br />

It’s not a good thing to lose myself in<br />

thought as the danger of a slip and injury<br />

rises as I climb higher.<br />

I feel the effort of running uphill first in<br />

my thighs, and then my big muscles begin<br />

to feel the burn. The mental struggle to<br />

stay motivated becomes as real as the<br />

struggle of my muscles. I step on bits of<br />

igneous rock, pebble sized, along this trail.<br />

Larger pieces are more treacherous so I<br />

avoid them. I watch the ground in front<br />

of me but the slope is steep and I could<br />

reach out and touch the ground.<br />

Complacency nuzzles my ear.<br />

“You’re running as fast as you could walk<br />

this. It’s better to just walk uphill.”<br />

“Quit now and the hill wins, right, fat<br />

boy?” My pride and self-image combine<br />

forces.<br />

My brain cries for more oxygen, but<br />

my lungs blanch at the extra effort. I peek<br />

up and see I’m halfway to the top. From<br />

the depths of my memory I recall The<br />

Dichotomy, one of Zeno’s paradoxes. It<br />

is a theory of infinite halfway points. No<br />

matter how close you get, there is always<br />


a half way point and you never arrive. I<br />

wonder if this is what hypoxia feels like.<br />

“Since you’re always halfway, you’ll<br />

never reach the top. It makes more<br />

sense to turn around and go down.”<br />

Complacency is making sense. I hear a<br />

cacophony of objections from other parts<br />

of me.<br />

Images from the objectors vie for<br />

attention until my eyes sting from the<br />

sweat that flows freely off my forehead.<br />

Almost to the top, I decide I’ll walk when<br />

I reach the top. I can sense the smugness<br />

of my pride and self-image. All that’s<br />

missing is their ability to chest bump. As I<br />

think it, they do it in my mind.<br />

I reach the crest and see<br />

thunderstorm clouds headed my way.<br />

I walk to recover and consider my<br />

options: go home or continue. The<br />

storm is still a ways off so I keep walking;<br />

I can always turn around if the storm<br />

gets too close. I look back at my route.<br />

Walking backwards, I can see, in the<br />

distance, Castle Rock, a massive block of<br />

sandstone. Its four parapets make it easily<br />

distinguishable from the other sandstone<br />

ridges. Slide Rock is near the castle but I’m<br />

too far to see it. Other mesas are clearly<br />

visible miles away, all formed by a slab of<br />

igneous rock and looking very similar to<br />

the one I walk upon.<br />

I turn and see Dook’o’oosliid, the<br />

sacred western mountain of the Navajo,<br />

a hundred miles to the southwest. The air<br />

is clear and I can see the tree line near<br />

the peak. Closer, I see a dark line across<br />

the desert. I recall that this is a fault line<br />

where igneous rock and lava rock rise<br />

to the surface. This fault line is aligned<br />

with the mesa I stand on and I question<br />

whether I am on a volcano. I see Shadow<br />

Mountain further west; a monumental pile<br />

of volcanic cinders forming a dark mound<br />

against the tans and greens. I look the<br />

other way, to the north, and see a dark<br />

peak far in the distance. This peak is very<br />

much like a volcanic peak and I realize<br />

the fault line extends for many miles.<br />

The sacred mountain’s name could be<br />

translated as fire-belted mountain, which<br />

seems to fit with the fault line and other<br />

hints of a volcano which has been hidden<br />

in the past.<br />

The top of the mesa where I walk is<br />

flat and barren except for sparse, shin-high<br />

vegetation. The air is somehow different<br />

and it is refreshing. I see an air navigation<br />

building near the center of the mesa and<br />

jog closer to it. I can see that it’s fenced<br />

in and the gate is locked. I walk around<br />

the entire building looking for an opening<br />

but there is no passage through the fence.<br />

There’s a brick enclosure a short distance<br />

from the building. I move to the enclosure<br />

wall and jump up to peek into it. There is<br />

something blue behind the wall. I grab<br />

the top of the brick wall and hoist myself<br />


Luisa Espinoza<br />

Los Tiempos Se Van Volando<br />

Painting, Acrylic on Bristol 11”x14”<br />


up, and see a blue propane tank hidden<br />

inside the brick fence. Looking down on<br />

the tank, I wonder if there is a propane<br />

device inside the air navigation building.<br />

There is a bright flash of light and<br />

a crash of thunder, so close it vibrates<br />

through my body. It startles me back into<br />

the moment. The storm I was supposed to<br />

watch has snuck up on me. The hair on<br />

my arm and my head reach skyward. The<br />

wind whips dust into my eyes and the sky<br />

dumps rain on me.<br />

I scamper to the lee side of the<br />

brick enclosure where I cringe, partially<br />

protected from the wind and rain. The<br />

clouds seem close enough to touch, and<br />

lightning plays among them. I imagine<br />

myself struck and my epitaph: Here lies<br />

what used to be a dumb human male.<br />

The thunder is so loud it reverberates<br />

through the brick wall and seems to<br />

rattle my brain. The ravenous Thunderbird<br />

craves the flesh of a buffoon, namely me. I<br />

look up and see lightning running its fingers<br />

through the whirling clouds. In stark terror,<br />

my mind ponders how Monster Slayer, one<br />

of the Hero Twins, could do battle with<br />

the Thunderbird, while my body tries to<br />

disappear.<br />

I crouch down as low as I can<br />

get, hugging my knees in a vertical<br />

fetal position, and imagine myself an<br />

imbecilic electrical conductor. I imagine<br />

the Thunderbird screeches and lightning<br />

flashes across the sky. Each wing flap<br />

creates a roar that shakes me to my core.<br />

I understand why my ancestors believed<br />

in the Thunderbird because I feel tiny<br />

and insignificant, not even a toy to the<br />

Brobdingnagian Thunderbird. I don’t have<br />

the courage to stand up in defiance of<br />

the Thunderbird. My primitive mind tells me<br />

to freeze or run; my cognitive mind asks<br />

where that word came from.<br />

Indecision sits with me and simply<br />

waits while I cower in my poor shelter.<br />

My choices are to stay and get struck by<br />

lightning or run for my life and get struck<br />

by lightning.<br />

“Since you’re going to get struck<br />

anyway, flip the bird the bird. Be a<br />

man.” My pride has more courage<br />

than common sense, I chide myself. My<br />

cognitive side, trying to be helpful, says<br />

I’m having a fight or flight response. I can’t<br />

fight so it is hide from the storm or run.<br />

I bolt from my cover; my feet barely<br />

feel the ground, which is now mud and<br />

rock. All I have to do to survive is outrun<br />

lightning. No problem. The mesa edge<br />

stretches farther away. I marvel at how<br />

my muscles are no longer fatigued. I<br />

imagine myself a live lightning rod as I<br />

pound through the rain; my legs no longer<br />

pendulums but twin pistons driving my<br />

flight. With every step, a life time passes,<br />

each heart beat takes an eternity to lubdub.<br />

I run in defiance, for I will not simply<br />


wait for my end. The Thunderbird will have<br />

to work for this meal.<br />

Maybe I got lucky, I’ll never know,<br />

but I’m at the edge and I begin the<br />

descent. I resolve to curb my curiosity<br />

and to stay alert to my surroundings. It<br />

is strange how my curiosity nudged me<br />

out of harmony and I didn’t even realize<br />

it. That is until the Big Wind brought the<br />

Thunderbird and the male rain. Now, I<br />

run pell-mell down the trail I struggled<br />

up a short time ago. I can see clearly<br />

the treacherous rocks and I adroitly<br />

avoid stepping on them. I glimpse how<br />

a mountain goat does it, but only for a<br />

moment. I reach the bottom, and at the<br />

base of the mesa, the Thunderbird seems<br />

far away. The Big Wind doesn’t trouble<br />

to follow me as the male rain bashes the<br />

mesa top. The hair on my arms and head<br />

have relaxed and returned to normal. I<br />

notice I am gulping air and my legs are<br />

quivering. I begin a slow wobble toward<br />

home.<br />

I’m soaked and my clothes cling to<br />

my body. I notice the breeze and realize<br />

the Little Wind is with me again. “I never<br />

left you,” it whispers. I am emboldened by<br />

that but at the same time I’m chagrined<br />

that I was caught with my pants down.<br />

My legs, once pendulums turned pistons,<br />

are simply the things that keep me from<br />

falling. I am back by the cottonwood tree<br />

before my legs recover.<br />

I run on; the way my ancestors have<br />

for generations. This seems to be a natural<br />

part of who I am. Taught to me by my<br />

fathers before me, encouraged by my<br />

mothers, I am a part of my people and<br />

I exist among the Holy People. I, once<br />

again, notice the beauty all around me. A<br />

deeper thought occurs to me. We all walk<br />

in beauty, whether we see it or not.<br />

With my clothes still damp and<br />

clinging to me, I continue toward home,<br />

grateful to still be alive, running with a<br />

greater appreciation for life, a deeper<br />

understanding of my ancestors, and a<br />

new perspective of who I am. I am a more<br />

humble man, still needing to run, but now<br />

it is not such a great burden. The Holy<br />

People have reminded me that running is<br />

truly a celebration of life and I recognize<br />

that they are a part of me. I run to live. I<br />

run to honor the Little Wind.<br />


Kimberly Griffen<br />

No Parking<br />

Photograph<br />



Iris Hill<br />

I will come over and repot your plants<br />

delicately around the edges<br />

eventually under your roots.<br />

My knuckles will bleed into the new soil<br />

And I will recoil<br />

into the<br />

runoff.<br />

This is the closest I’ll ever get to flourishing,<br />

like a coffee plant in Arizona.<br />

I will grow and bloom,<br />

But I can never provide you with what you want.<br />




Jazmin Garcia<br />

The cozy cozy room<br />

paintings on the wall<br />

black and white photos<br />

that familiar blue carpet<br />

gone.<br />

A vibrant blue<br />

existing in the shadow of maggots<br />

numerous and thriving<br />

the blue had ceased to live,<br />

but no one knows when.<br />

Death’s foul room<br />

feeding off sorrow<br />

stealing the blue off the carpet<br />

damaging everything<br />

except -<br />

-the cherry pie in the kitchen<br />

untouched, undisturbed, eternal<br />

so picturesque<br />

even if touched by death’s breath<br />

unchanging, even as the blue decayed.<br />

A glimmer of hope<br />

or dark reminder<br />

so, it joined the blue carpet<br />

similar fates<br />

never to be seen again.<br />


Zevi Bloomfield<br />

Siren<br />

Graphite With Colored Pencil and Collage 16”x16”<br />


Sivanes Ananda<br />

Dutch Windmill at Golden Gate Park<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas 20”X16”<br />



Jazmin Garcia<br />

Two daisies in a field<br />

growing together<br />

almost identical<br />

away from the rest.<br />

Always together<br />

rain or sunshine<br />

wind or drought<br />

side by side.<br />

The lonely daisy<br />

Outstretched its leaves<br />

Looking for a friend again<br />

Until her arms ached<br />

A pesky weed sprouted<br />

too close to one daisy,<br />

it grew and took hold<br />

pulling them apart.<br />

Now the rain drowned<br />

the sun dried<br />

the wind bent<br />

and the drought parched.<br />

One in the clutches of weeds<br />

the other stood alone<br />

a single daisy in the field<br />

away from the rest.<br />

The single daisy<br />

tired, alone, beat<br />

withered alone<br />

away from the rest.<br />



A.Z. Martinez<br />

Sweet land of “liberty”;<br />

My country, ‘tis of thee––<br />

America;<br />

Land of the Free<br />

I raise up my glass––<br />

toast, and drink<br />

To thee<br />

Raise a glass(!) to (freedom)<br />

Something they can<br />

never(?)<br />

take away<br />

(we pray)<br />

Land of the Pilgrim’s pride<br />

Land where (my) fathers died:<br />

We sing from day to day;<br />

With each added weep<br />

Another joins the fray––<br />

For?<br />

A somber, bitter tale<br />

Told in vitriol and gore<br />

From sea to shining shore<br />

Revolution<br />

Cry the masses<br />

Their drunken delusions rein––<br />

they bring us to; again down they swing<br />

Hear the call:<br />

Raise a glass to freedom<br />

Something<br />

you will never see (again)<br />

O’ say does that star-spangled banner<br />

… yet wave?<br />


Avery Goldberg<br />

A Shamble of a Band<br />

Digital Painting<br />


Nathan Coffey<br />

Columbia<br />

Photograph<br />



Chacara Thomas<br />

A response to The Judment Day by Aaron Douglas<br />

They’ve told false tales to tarnish my character<br />

Stripped me of my livelihood<br />

Drained me of my sanity<br />

I don’t blame them<br />

I blame their parents<br />

And their parents<br />

Matter of fact, I blame Cain<br />

For allowing hatred, envy, and jealousy to run through his flesh<br />

Causing a domino effect for generations to come<br />

Hearts are truly made of stone<br />

They may laugh or celebrate the pain they’ve caused<br />

They may even get away with their evil doings here on this earth<br />

For their justice system isn’t for all mankind<br />

Specifically my kind<br />

Still I must warn them<br />

It will come a time<br />

their power will fade-away<br />

Sound the alarm!<br />

Here lies a judge with all powers<br />

Fair and true<br />

I shall drop to my knees and rejoice<br />

Judgement is here to swipe the nations<br />

Dividing the evil from good<br />

For their time is long over due<br />

Work Cited<br />

Douglas, Aaron. The Judgement Day. 1939, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.<br />

https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.166490.html<br />




Christopher Valenzuela<br />

Who am I<br />

to call myself Chicano<br />

when for so long I thought<br />

Mexican<br />

was a dirty word<br />

when I thought that el barrio<br />

was a place you escaped from<br />

like a prisoner<br />

those people who<br />

had shackles on them<br />

that looked like flannels<br />

with one button<br />

and when I thought that chunti<br />

meant ugly<br />

Who am I<br />

to look in the mirror<br />

and whisper softly<br />

te amo<br />

te quiero<br />


to speak in the same tongue<br />

as people who seem to never waver<br />

in their pride<br />

for la raza<br />

to ask La Virgen de Guadalupe<br />

if she can hear my prayers<br />

when I stumble<br />

through ñ and rr<br />

because I never took the same time<br />

learning Spanish<br />

as I did English<br />

learning how to write poetry<br />

craft story<br />

understanding the ladders that make up<br />

grammar<br />

Who am I<br />

to wear nothing but band tees<br />

and get embarrassed<br />

when banda starts to play on the radio<br />

hoping none of my friends<br />

might see me<br />

at my tio’s house<br />

celebrating life<br />

with my family<br />

Who am I<br />

Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie<br />

Chula Chapala<br />

Painting, Acrylic on Canvas 14”x14”<br />


I am raped by white culture<br />

and grow up thinking<br />

that I am La Malinche<br />

not the mother<br />

who helped birth our people<br />

but the traitor<br />

who thinks her own culture<br />

not worthy<br />

of being studied<br />

made to feel like it is my own fault<br />

I take French lessons because Spanish<br />

reminds me of summers<br />

in Nogales<br />

and how small I felt<br />

inside my father’s big house<br />

on top of a hill<br />

with a thousand stairs to reach it<br />

from up there I am reminded<br />

that I belong to<br />

the other side<br />

of the border<br />

I am white (passing)<br />

until I exist<br />

in white spaces<br />

then<br />

I am other<br />

beaner<br />

brown<br />

ese<br />

I am called wetback<br />

because so many who look like me<br />

float across a river<br />

searching for the dreams<br />

that white men sold them<br />

for pesos by the hour<br />

and while their backs are wet<br />

with water<br />

that brings life<br />

the men here have hands<br />

that are soaked<br />

in blood<br />

blood of the past<br />

blood of the present<br />

blood of the future<br />

the same border that is only<br />

200 years old<br />

and cuts deep into the histories<br />

of ancestors that I don’t know of<br />

because it is like an open wound<br />

festering and bleeding<br />

over soils that are not even tended<br />

by the hands that claimed it<br />

as their own<br />

For my ancestors<br />

this is the promised land<br />

Aztlán<br />

but all we are given are<br />

broken promises<br />

from conquistadors<br />

that say we are<br />

illegal<br />

alien<br />

on land that they claim<br />

to have discovered<br />


No trespassing<br />

they tell us<br />

trespassers will be shot<br />

(and raped, and maimed, and beaten,<br />

and dehumanized)<br />

Who am I<br />

to question the systems<br />

that shaped me<br />

and gave me these gifts<br />

of anxiety<br />

and depression<br />

and self-hatred<br />

to break cycles<br />

when I keep thinking that progress<br />

is linear<br />

to not remember that<br />

internalized<br />

is another word for buried<br />

and the unearthing<br />

of trauma<br />

that I inherited<br />

feels destructive<br />

because I am<br />

used to seeing myself as the serpent<br />

but maybe I am the eagle too<br />


WAVES<br />

Jazmin Garcia<br />

I was standing on the beach<br />

toes buried in the toasty sand<br />

smelling the salty air as the clouds chased the sun.<br />

You shouted my name under skies of peach and cherry<br />

as the waves were crashing.<br />

A love song drifted from the pier,<br />

I looked up while the breeze hugged me lightly<br />

you took me by the hand<br />

and led me to the water’s icy lullaby<br />

as the waves were crashing<br />

I stepped into the foaming sea<br />

and I froze as the water slowly became obscured.<br />

Darkness was approaching and I felt hesitant,<br />

but you said stay with me<br />

as the waves were crashing.<br />

I saw the fading seafoam green<br />

reflecting with brilliance in your eyes.<br />

The chorus of the seagulls filled my head<br />

never letting go while we lost our balance<br />

as the waves were crashing.<br />

You and I were standing under the moonlight.<br />

The water and the delicate wind grew chilly,<br />

it was euphoria: just you, me, and the sea,<br />

you whispered it will be alright<br />

as the waves were crashing<br />


Ulises Ramos<br />

F.E.L.T.<br />

Digital Drawing 12”x12”<br />


Clarissa Holguin<br />

Whimsical Waves<br />

Painting, Acrylic on Canvas 8”x10”<br />



Christopher Valenzuela<br />

I don’t need to fly into the Sun<br />

to catch myself on fire<br />

because falling from so high<br />

is easy<br />

when you’ve practiced a thousand times<br />

I don’t need to light a match<br />

to scritch that scratch<br />

as my own flame strikes hot<br />

only to be tossed aside<br />

when they’re all used up<br />

You see I am good<br />

all on my own<br />

at burning myself<br />

from both ends<br />

hoping that I can meet<br />

somewhere in the middle<br />

But I have to wonder<br />

if you’d be able to see<br />

the stress inside my signals<br />

as I burn<br />

on my own<br />

little island<br />

out at sea<br />



Courtney Armstrong<br />

I envied the dead who lay in release<br />

pillows of silence beneath satin skin<br />

But mostly, I wanted death’s sweat and sweet<br />

quiet to kiss my own black poisoned lips<br />

To drink the pink of my stalled heartbeat<br />

stroke me with fumbles of glass fingertips<br />

Was it a mirage of serenity<br />

where bloodshed struggles sleep without chagrin<br />

If it were delusion I would not plead<br />

show me the moon bit by obsidian<br />

Sated thirst with hunger to end life’s lease<br />

drowned by puce liquor of rue’s sedative<br />

Please give me paradise in a syringe<br />

one last smack of hope for lunatic fringe<br />


Micheal Christopherson<br />

You Can’t Hide Forever<br />

Visual Art<br />


Luisa Espinoza<br />

Tentacle Tessellation<br />

Drawing, Graphite on Bristol 11”x11”<br />



Courtney Armstrong<br />

against the soft of my head<br />

we fish do not swim<br />

here, dry and empty<br />

gasping, nitrite poisoning<br />

steel nautical chain<br />

void of lust — your pet —<br />

you laugh while I worm and ache<br />

for the phantom limb<br />

of you, our past love<br />

covered in mandarin shell<br />

now my flayed skin rains<br />

cold luminescence<br />

please, please, for once just see me<br />

scales and gills and fin<br />

I pick at the shards<br />

but I can never fish out<br />

all the bits of shame<br />



Courtney Armstrong<br />

The air smelled like lemons. The scent so powerful it was as if strips and spools of yellow<br />

rind twirled in the clouds above. Lemongrass. The natives had to burn it or else it would<br />

devastate the landscape, the way absinthe swirls into an oily stain on artisan glass. Puffs<br />

of smoke dotted the mountainside all the way down to Monserrat. Leaves the size and<br />

shape of elephant ears fell from the dome of dense trees and lay on the ground, discarded<br />

trophies lucky enough to be missed by the spreading fires, only to be scooped up by<br />

happy tourists and smuggled into Chanel backpacks when the guides weren’t looking.<br />

Black pineapple, the gold of Antigua, cut up into the smallest of cubes before the long<br />

hike back down to the bottom. Sticky juice stippled their chins, smoke stung their eyes, and<br />

they looked up at the sky as it squeezed citrus rain upon the mountain for the very first time.<br />

The air is quilted with smoke. It burns our eyes and stains our clothes, two-ply anger<br />

that penetrates our souls. Stupid lemongrass. Brought in by tourists who sneered at our<br />

handsome terrain, unable to see the bronze rivers of cursive that flowed through the sand.<br />

So now we must burn our land, scorch our hands and singe the hair on our arms to keep<br />

the grass from smothering it, from suffocating us. The old trees discard their leaves, futile<br />

and furious effort to hide the soil before the enraged blades devour more. And the tourists<br />

scoop up that fallen foliage to take back to their homes, trophies that they don’t deserve.<br />

They guttle our fruit and smack their lips. They do not notice the beauty, the spirit, the<br />

music of our Antigua. And they certainly do not notice the rain that falls from our very souls.<br />


Dani Gailbraith-Ritchie<br />

Tepalo<br />

Pyrography on Wood 12”x12”<br />


Claudia Nazario<br />

Selena<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas Board 11”x14”<br />


HOPE<br />

Courtney Armstrong<br />

Damp, cherry-blonde curls clung to her forehead<br />

while her unquestioning freckled fingers plucked the puzzle<br />

pieces<br />

her busy thoughts pacified by the sound of the sleepy raw<br />

wood<br />

that plinked and tinked upon return to their splintered slots<br />

the smell of mold and pinecones repulsive and delightful<br />

dead and yet, somehow alive<br />

she loved the weight of the timbered pieces<br />

the way the acrylic oozed into motley outlines<br />

of green brawny zeal and robust brawn —<br />

the cowboy, the fireman, the doctor and the astronaut —<br />

rosy destinies painted pointedly on the blocks<br />

that promised eternal rainbows of freedom<br />

the women on the puzzle —<br />

the nurse, the ballerina, the mother —<br />

were allowed only simple short hyphens of coal<br />

dashes of smiles that disguised<br />

muzzled mouths and straitjacketed souls<br />

harnessed angels in weathered, tawny leather of doubt<br />

she scooped up the ballerina by the buttery, yellow knob<br />

crudely jammed into its pink satin abdomen<br />

she willed away its corseted pain<br />

and chucked it across the room<br />

and at the same time released herself<br />

because all such beautiful things deserve to be free<br />





Diego Tobin<br />

Standing there bobbing your head<br />

all your organs in a suitcase- skin a big disguise<br />

somewhere that internal voice<br />

in hysterics, is suddenly vacating<br />

the soul’s bordelloit<br />

says drunken things to you, things like this:<br />

You’re sitting in the water, half-dead<br />

acting cruel in a cruel body<br />

taking breaks in between to maintain stamina, the flowers slouch in the vase<br />

and the voice continues like God:<br />

Are these drive-by television ads? Can you hear the radio loud enough? Talking over the<br />

radio- are you in tune?<br />

Are you thinking of a clean getaway?<br />

Are the years hidden in your pockets, weighing you down?<br />


Thomas Webster<br />

Trichocereus<br />

Archival Digital Print on Canson Baryta 13”x20”<br />


Is your mother bitter?<br />

Have you ended up like father?<br />

Have the roses swallowed you up, when you look too close? Have the creeps and the<br />

shudders torn your pages in two? Has your internal voice coughed up something black?<br />

In other words,<br />

the cloth swaddling the world<br />

becomes undone.<br />

And regarding history and fleshmy<br />

thought bubble<br />

now in a plume of gun smoke, as somewhere in the distance, below<br />

shouts<br />

A woman in the street to her sister, in the desert air<br />

something is playing in the background, while I sit on the balcony watching the mountains.<br />

Suddenly, the voice<br />

whispers of unease in the world opium den,<br />

while everyone in the room begins to jeer<br />

mid-laughter the clock strikes 12<br />

the room can hear everything<br />

and the revisit is cut short, by some suited, cruel-looking men.<br />

The pulsing yesterdayand<br />

yesterday’s decor, yellowed from fire in the sky<br />

sitting outside while metropolitan muzak joins the sobbing trafficmy<br />

true love’s voice disappears down the roadbecomes<br />

the horizon<br />

and its vacuum eyes.<br />

and its vacuum eyes.<br />


Sometimes, the voice grabs ahold of another<br />

outstretched hand<br />

and there’s a blossoming Goddess<br />

with her wilted facewho<br />

says sweet nothings about your own history, unrefined.<br />

Sweet nothings and<br />

its petals of reality that have escaped you<br />

SOMETHING PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND on the balcony, looking at the mountains,<br />

Growing, outstretched<br />

Overgrown,<br />

Reality is a flower...<br />

...Are the stars a perpetual audience?<br />

Do they look at you kindly from their banisters?<br />

Does this poem<br />

sound like a<br />

rose hitting the stage floor?<br />



T. Gullett<br />

Hello darling, how are you?<br />

I’ve been busy, if you couldn’t tell<br />

by the ink in the table grooves and the<br />

acrylic on my shirt and the graphite on<br />

my hands staining the curve of my palms.<br />

I’ve been trying to keep myself focused,<br />

busy while you’re away, and I just-<br />

Well to speak plainly, my love,<br />

I feel half-faint from the fixatives, and<br />

half-drunk on paint water and the sight of your face.<br />

I keep trying to work on my lessons,<br />

the poster for that theater, the landscape for<br />

that exhibit, the open-form for that show, but<br />

I keep returning to the curl of your smile,<br />

the dip of your shoulders and the slope of your back.<br />

The camera might wash you out, leach all the color,<br />

but I see the color of your tie in my paint,<br />

your eyes in the bottom of my morning cup,<br />

your hair in the graphite I lay on the page.<br />

No classical muse, maybe, but mine anyways.<br />

Yes, I’m using your mug right now,<br />

Lemons because I’m so bitter.<br />

But, my love, you sweeten just like them<br />

with a bit of sugar and care, a tender touch,<br />

and, honey, it’s far lonelier without you.<br />


It may be warmer here, but that means<br />

no place for my sweaters, the scarf you bought<br />

me in ’99, no excuse to slide my hand into your<br />

coat pocket, your grumble about the chill even as<br />

you’d kiss them warm when we got back.<br />

Yes, alright, sue me, I’m nostalgic for our city,<br />

where I ran as a young man and where we got all<br />

tangled up together. Nostalgic for the cold and the cat<br />

on the fire escape and the horrible coffee in the cafeteria<br />

of that place you worked and still work at, but most of all-<br />

I just miss you, plain and simple. Miss your cologne<br />

on my jacket and dinner on your breaks, the taste of honey<br />

custard on your mouth. I miss your shirts next to mine, and<br />

the sound of your laugh underneath the yellowed lights.<br />

Is our Greek place still open? I’ve been dreaming about it.<br />

They haven’t extended my contract yet, no, but there’s been<br />

murmurs. I think I’ll try to come back for the summer though,<br />

work on my plans while draped over you. No, you won’t be a<br />

distraction, well, not much, of one, but… It’s all about balance,<br />

and I think we’re good at that by now, aren’t we?<br />

If you want to visit instead, I found another Greek place. Their<br />

custard doesn’t taste the same, too sweet, but maybe you’d<br />

balance it out, my bitter darling. You could steal your mug back,<br />

even, if you really wanted to, and give mine back. Oranges are<br />

a dime-a-dozen here, so it wouldn’t be that out of place.<br />


Claudia Nazario<br />

Franny<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas 16”x20”<br />


IT’S A DREAM<br />

Esmeralda Garcia<br />

TThose brown eyes you wish you could stare into<br />

The unique pools of honey, a different type of hue<br />

It’s a dream<br />

The soft skin you wish to touch<br />

Person whom you love so very much<br />

It’s a dream<br />

The slightest smirk will make you blush<br />

Your heart and mind, it feels like a rush<br />

It’s a dream<br />

Cheek being so softly caressed<br />

Absence of this feeling distressed<br />

It’s a dream<br />

Walking hand in hand<br />

Toes in the sand<br />

It’s a dream<br />

Avoiding to look into the eyes<br />

It’s time to say your goodbyes<br />

It’s a dream.<br />



George Key<br />

When we open one eye, we clearly see<br />

cousins in search for another church. They<br />

hope to have tickets on the gray dog north.<br />

Perhaps a shower, new clothes, a bar of soap?<br />

When we open one eye, we clearly see<br />

signs mark failed crossings of lower life<br />

of silhouetted fleeing families snuffed,<br />

by those drunken sailors who plead no sight.<br />

When we open one eye, we clearly see<br />

flags marking blue barrels of Christian deeds<br />

quite carefully placed with love beneath a tree<br />

moisten the lips of survivors that flee.<br />

When we open one eye, we clearly see<br />

brothers and sister’s bleed. They, them there, those people<br />

delight in our pain, be it by whip or chain.<br />

All pain be done burnt, strung up, and tree hung.<br />

When we open one eye, we clearly see<br />

Orangutan Towers sitting high looking down<br />

upon those running from death yet to be free<br />

self-proclaimed elector, insurrectionary.<br />

When we open our eyes, we clearly see<br />

the bigot’s motto spewing Langston’s words.<br />

there is no we, they, us, nor team, rather,<br />

me, mine, my fallaciously inflated self.<br />


Kimberly Calles<br />

Solitude<br />

Digital Photograph 8”x10”<br />


Grace Johnson<br />

Red Eastern Screech Owl<br />

Traditionally Illustrated, Changed to Digital 8”x10” - 8”x91/2”<br />



Kentaro Herder<br />

for every bird chirping,<br />

there is a brown boy crying<br />

for Coca-Cola<br />

for milk.<br />

if bright brown had to be one name,<br />

I would call it monsoon<br />

where and when a wet dog<br />

turns into mud.<br />

a black shirt drowns in explosion,<br />

bleach is used to tie dye,<br />

a grandfather is still<br />

in war, sun rays abort on beaches.<br />

a jet soars above,<br />

one rock tumbles down a canyon side,<br />

a grandma turns the faucet<br />

of a church sink.<br />

a sheep is hung, and a throat is slit<br />

blood drips into Tupperware,<br />

there is strange weather<br />

in my lungs.<br />



Luke Cottrell<br />

Carousel winding and troubled children<br />

whine for Mama and Dada.<br />

Carousel winding and exhausted parents<br />

say “you’ll understand when you’re older.”<br />

Carousel winding and jaded teenagers<br />

dream of independence at eighteen<br />

Carousel winding and struggling people<br />

sell their energy and time to keep alive.<br />

Carousel winding and retired wrinkles<br />

form where the grind wore its grooves.<br />

Carousel winding and senile patients<br />

are left to make sense of the traces of memory.<br />

Carousel winding and struggling people<br />

pay another fee to bury their dead.<br />

Carousel winding although<br />

it’s running out of oil.<br />

Carousel winding and the cynical ones<br />

shake their fists at the clinking gears.<br />

Carousel winding and nobody knows<br />

what they would do if the carousel stopped.<br />


Ulises Ramos<br />

Dejen Al Musico Dormir<br />

Digital Drawing 6”x 9”<br />


Danielle Bond<br />

V Day a Series: 6<br />

Photograph 8”x10”<br />



Luke Eriksson<br />

You and me<br />

naked in a double bed with a plush blanket<br />

and there is a small dog there licking our faces.<br />

We might be on shrooms or molly, but it is an equally intimate experience, sober -<br />

and it is peaking.<br />

The experience<br />

and the dog is barking at us because it does not really know what sex looks like<br />

and we both come and lie back down -<br />

and pass a joint or a cigarette or a nothing between us as you rest your head on my chest<br />

and tell me you can hear my heartbeat,<br />

and every part of my body is holding you -<br />

and we are both still except for the gentle movement of fingertips on skin.<br />

If you let me<br />

I would be whatever you wanted me to -<br />

your gay best friend<br />

your dominator,<br />

the recipient of your redirected self-hatred (you are not the first) -<br />

your shoulder to cry on -<br />

the crying person who makes your shoulder feel needed,<br />

the bearer of your most fucked-up secrets.<br />

The only thing I really just can’t be for you<br />

is someone who has moved on,<br />

and someone who does not see your face in every new person I meet.<br />



Luke Eriksson<br />

Content Warning: Queerphobia, Addiction<br />

They let you up and shove you back down again maybe a dozen times.<br />

The football helmet does not protect your nine-year-old head from the hard ground.<br />

That ugly, ugly word<br />

being chanted with a laugh (with a sick, sadistic fucking laugh)<br />

The world is bad, you think to yourself – It must be<br />

Either you are fundamentally bad or the world is, and you refuse to accept the former<br />

when you’re only nine.<br />

You come to discover that the world was built by and for people unlike yourself and that<br />

you would do well to say no to it.<br />

Participate along with billions of other outcasts in the grand, grand refusal of all that this<br />

world deems good and holy.<br />

It is really a beautiful freedom.<br />

The free fall into the void provides a more thrilling rush than any rollercoaster or<br />

horror flick.<br />

Who is to say if it is wrong that tonight you will ride the train -<br />

The hard drugs and alcohol train of course<br />

right up until the edge of the cliff<br />

looking down into the void<br />

Death, sublime oblivion, nirvana, escape at all costs<br />

Your intellect does not protect your seventeen-year-old head from the excruciating<br />


hangover -<br />

As you have countless times before, last night you came so close to never seeing another<br />

tomorrow -<br />

not that you even really wanted to see tomorrow all that much,<br />

you think and rationalize and tell your family members circled around you during the<br />

intervention.<br />

That they don’t, they couldn’t understand. They might as well be villains for trying to<br />

change you<br />

Leave and drink<br />

The voice says, and you oblige -<br />

you keep obliging until the worse possible outcome, the unthinkable loss of the single<br />

human being you loved the most -<br />

and through the burning hell of that most intolerable depression you abandon<br />

everything in search of a new way of being.<br />

You scream “God help me” in the manner of a man falling off the Golden Gate<br />

Bridge.<br />

Now you are twenty and in rehab and six months sober and, even without sex or drugs,<br />

happy -<br />

and you wonder what all that kicking and screaming, and self-destruction was really for,<br />

and that now that you have finally crossed over and seen the other side of pain.<br />

What message could I possibly have given that scared, angry little boy?<br />

You aren’t as alone as you think you are<br />

don’t give up or lose hope,<br />

the strength to love yourself has always been within you.<br />

Trite and cliché I know – probably so much so that he would not listen,<br />

but it is okay,<br />

because I am listening now.<br />


Abigale Robles<br />

A Friday Night Downtown<br />

Drawing, Bristol Paper and Micron Pens<br />


A RETURN<br />

M.J. Copic<br />

Set out on the open road<br />

Clear blue skies above<br />

Flat desert dirt below<br />

The occasional saguaro<br />

Standing tall and proud<br />

Or not<br />

Fluffy white clouds gather<br />

The words OSTRICH FARM<br />

In bold letters by the road<br />

The Peak rising high<br />

Breaking up the skyline<br />

Tearing it apart<br />

Miles and miles pass in a blur<br />

With nothing to do but<br />

Turn up the radio<br />

And look for dust devils<br />

More cars now, too many<br />

Fast fast fast and we blow<br />

Past the casino, the outlets<br />

Pass by my old high school and<br />

The parks I spent tipsy nights at<br />

Keep going, further still<br />

Merge here, right by the big<br />

Shamrock Farms and ugly<br />

Bridge, the mismatched one,<br />

And finally whip past the roller<br />

Coaster park by the freeway<br />

Turn left, fly by the old liquor<br />

Store that my mom bought<br />

Beer from underage, past her parent’s<br />

Pink house and just one more<br />

Right turn and everything is finally<br />

Orange trees<br />



KILLED<br />

M.J. Copic<br />

Do not stray, my child,<br />

This house, it is not safe.<br />

Floorboards creak and shift<br />

And shudder as you pace.<br />

These dark walls are so thin<br />

And, my child, I do not know<br />

What kinds of toothy monsters<br />

May be listening from below.<br />

Shadows creep, so hungry,<br />

Crawling all around the floor<br />

Please, my child, leave me<br />

And run, run, for the door.<br />

If you will not leave me here<br />

Then we must stand and fight.<br />

Chin up, my child, have some faith<br />

Tomorrow we see the light.<br />


Grace Johnson<br />

Taurus<br />

Traditionally Illustrated, Changed to Digital 8”x10”- 8”x 91/2”<br />


Weston Lane<br />

Dotted Cat<br />

Graphite Drawing 91/2”x111/2”<br />



M.J. Copic<br />

Follow bloody footprints<br />

Ignore the whispered warnings<br />

March up to the lion’s cage<br />

And aid them in their mourning<br />

The lion keepers smile wide<br />

Teeth sharper than their charges<br />

As they point to all the joy they bring<br />

They don’t mention how this started<br />

Look into the lion’s eyes<br />

And see the lies writ plain<br />

These creatures are not happy here<br />

The cages are their pain<br />

Their keepers are not keepers kind<br />

Nor help the way they claim<br />

They rule with fear and iron fists<br />

In their attempts to tame<br />

So push the cage doors open wide<br />

And throw away the key<br />

Run with the lions, don’t look back<br />

Finally you are free<br />



TIEMPO<br />


Mara Durán<br />

Dreams<br />

that<br />

fade<br />

and<br />

give<br />

shape<br />

a<br />

small<br />

illusions<br />

painted<br />

of<br />

colors<br />

Sueños<br />

que<br />

desvanecen<br />

y<br />

dan<br />

forma<br />

a<br />

pequeñas<br />

ilusiones<br />

pintadas<br />

de<br />

colores<br />


Brianna Stevens<br />

Garden Spirit<br />

Illustration, Digital, Photoshop 8”x11”<br />


Abigale Robles<br />

Masks in COVID-19<br />

Drawing, Bristol Paper and Micron Pens<br />



Mauricia Manuel<br />

Confined to this house<br />

concealed inside,<br />

missing rain and shine,<br />

whether employed or a child.<br />

Attempting abnormal rituals of sanitizer spritz,<br />

rubber hands, and hidden smiles<br />

expressionless eyes exposed.<br />

Crow’s feet are rare, but warmly welcomed<br />

knowing we are all still reaching out.<br />

Confined to this draining mindset<br />

cornered by fear,<br />

what-ifs and false facts,<br />

eliminating playgrounds from molding minds.<br />

Stuck on exhausted screens<br />

poor connection, virtually distant chats,<br />

searching for new hobbies to counteract the deterioration<br />

in order to defeat covid confusion.<br />



Mauricia Manuel<br />

How do I present myself to the world, to my family?<br />

Show who I am when I’ve barely had enough time to figure it out.<br />

I’ve been up against the ropes, bound by sealed lips for too long,<br />

shushed and dismissed when my views are too different.<br />

I become a know-it-all when showing passion for facts, “too eager to show off.”<br />

But keeping quiet implies “I’m too good to fit in.”<br />

Sometimes I hold my tongue,<br />

but my temper tends to slip passed gritted teeth.<br />

I’ll kick and curse only to still go unheard,<br />

labeled less of a lady by the ears my venom reached.<br />

Always encouraged by pinched finger tips sliding across lips<br />

silencing my opinions, my plea to be me.<br />

I can smile politely and wait my turn to speak, maybe go unnoticed<br />

or I can be the child my mother forged from observation.<br />

Loud and demanding of attention,<br />

hated by all, but standing with strength.<br />

Cutting others with the sharpness of her tongue,<br />

rolling eyes and snapping fingers until she feels she’s won.<br />

Believing such a hard shell is always necessary loses your courtesy,<br />

the softness gone from your face and mind, becoming an obtuse persona.<br />

I’m only wanting to speak how I feel, say what I want, to be who I am,<br />

without being accused of being my mother’s daughter.<br />


Desert Ehrhart<br />

Portrait<br />

Painting, Oil on Canvas<br />


WATER<br />

Kentaro Herder<br />

your mother carried you through new moon<br />

and full moon<br />

creating craters<br />

here you are out of your mother’s<br />

cratered womb<br />

your mother birthed you<br />

along a stream<br />

creating a river<br />

here you are raging and choking in your mother’s<br />

quivering rain<br />

your mother shed tears six generations<br />

deep, you seven<br />

creating pain<br />

soiled tears<br />

here you are drinking recycled rain from your mother’s<br />


your mother suffered the loss of<br />

blood, fed by the river<br />

creating a sea<br />

thick blood<br />

here you are drowning in a flood of your mother’s<br />

your mother drank from the nearby pond,<br />

birthed by the Earth<br />

creating you<br />

black oil<br />

here you are bathing in<br />

your mother buried by the Earth,<br />

now shallow with no ocean<br />

here you are,<br />

no sea,<br />

no pond,<br />

no tears<br />

creating,<br />

nothing.<br />



Michele Worthington<br />

They brought their dogs<br />

as they were told<br />

and all of their belongings, worn<br />

or folded into small bundles,<br />

set upon the station platform<br />

waiting in sepia.<br />

The command to separate shouted<br />

and punctuated by bayonets<br />

pushed the last ones down the tracks<br />

bare and shorn of history<br />

vacant, baskets and blankets left untaken.<br />

Abandoned,<br />

the pack tried to follow<br />

loping faster as the wheels gained speed until<br />

the train was no longer in sight<br />

just puffs of white<br />

and a mechanical scent<br />

of loss<br />

in the desert.<br />

Howls faded into the air<br />

echoes of when<br />

they had fellowed with them over the Bering<br />

and down into the continent<br />

incanting Athabaskan, panting<br />

sheltering together under bellowing clouds<br />

pulling pole sleds covered with cook pots<br />

and cloth dolls and ghost-borne stories<br />

helping hunt the giant sloths and mastodon.<br />

And now the only remnant<br />

of the Pleistocene<br />

is the shadow of the condor<br />

sweeping the periphery<br />

of the hollow west.<br />


Mya Palacios<br />

Emotional Growth<br />

Color Pencil and Acrylic 13”x16”<br />


Thurwin Lane<br />

Saving The Heart<br />

Conte Sticks on Steel Gray Tone Paper 191/2”x201/2”<br />




Michele Worthington<br />

At first, we tinkered<br />

and diverted the flow<br />

of the Tigris<br />

to irrigate rice<br />

Just rearrange the stones<br />

and it is undone<br />

back to the beginning<br />

But slight footprints in mud<br />

can be traced, millennia later<br />

and microbial stowaways<br />

in bilges of ships<br />

can undo the drift<br />

of tectonic plates<br />

in a day and a night<br />

A small campfire<br />

compared to a volcano<br />

is inconsequential<br />

but the conversation around it<br />

builds temples to goddesses<br />

and eventually<br />

a hydroelectric dam<br />

across the Nile<br />

Digging for coal by shovel<br />

has no earthquake Richter<br />

and diatoms ignited<br />

are measured in magnitudes<br />

of parts per million<br />

but inevitably<br />

the heat exceeds<br />

in Fahrenheit degrees<br />

what can be weighted<br />

One mammal alone<br />

from the cut forest<br />

is not missed by the tigress<br />

but its tiny internal biome<br />

finds a preordained<br />

eternal home<br />

all around the globe<br />

Our disaster is not so bad<br />

compared to that asteroid<br />

but history cannot be undrowned<br />

and nothing can be put back<br />

by moving stones<br />



Raiden Lopez<br />

I am from José & Hollyanna,<br />

Virginia & Donald,<br />

Adalberto & Ana.<br />

From the great mountain ranges and Ranches of Cucurpe Mexico and Barcelona Spain.<br />

I am from decedents of Mexican royalty and Spaniard Warriors<br />

From writers,<br />

singers,<br />

musicians,<br />

artists<br />

and architects.<br />

I am from those who envisioned more from their life than those of their parents.<br />

From horseback riders,<br />

cattle herders,<br />

river swimmers,<br />

and dancers in the rain.<br />

I am from sitting around the fire every night,<br />

telling stories,<br />

making music lovers.<br />

From women who believed hard work goes into every marriage and there is no such thing<br />

as divorce.<br />

I am from women who work all day and still came home to take care of their family.<br />

From mothers who taught their daughters and sons it is alright to love a partner but also to<br />

love yourself.<br />


Javier Dosamantes<br />

For She Had Eyes<br />

Graphite and Digital 81/2”x11”<br />

I am from strong, valiant men and women who protected their country.<br />

From men who respect their women and treat them like queens because they are<br />

cherished above all others.<br />

I am from Gentlemen and Ladies who wanted their values passed on.<br />

These values have shaped my life and<br />

from the spirit I inherited from those before me<br />

I created my own rhythm I dance to.<br />



Salina Molina<br />

On the day I found my first gray hair<br />

Three and a half legs on a coyote<br />

Wandered through my parking lot<br />

In search of a restful place to lay<br />

My face cringed with the uneven saunter<br />

My heart broke at the pack animal’s loneliness<br />

My soul wept for the anxious smile on its face<br />

A dying coyote, always my February omen<br />

On the day I found my first gray hair<br />

Two pieces of first quarter moon<br />

Hung in the air from a bright red string<br />

Like a Raytheon-branded stress ball<br />

Glowing fluorescent neon and needlessly<br />

Forcing me back into a Spencer’s Gifts<br />

So I can pay my formal respects<br />

To versions of myself that never came to be<br />

On the day I found my first gray hair<br />

Sixteen-year-old me ditched class<br />

In the body of a twenty-six-year-old<br />

And felt like an asshole about it, but still<br />

Insisted on grabbing anxiety’s hand, excuses’ leg<br />

So I could run far, far away into an abyss with them<br />

Where we swapped recipes and clicked pens<br />

Sitting in a semicircle to feel less alone<br />


On the day I found my first gray hair<br />

A queer friendly show about bondage<br />

Freed me ten episodes in, self-imposed<br />

Restraints lifted by appreciative laughter<br />

Now vacant to use as anchors to dream reality<br />

A reality where the feeling of being seen by myself<br />

Is a given rather than an earned privilege<br />

And I never wake up from the dream<br />

On the day I found my first gray hair<br />

One strand of silk began to glow from the top of my head<br />

I learned to treasure the Easter grass I was sprouting<br />

My mind’s pores revealed to me a diamond tether<br />

I discovered a piece of rainbow tinsel growing<br />

Out of my skull, so bright, so shiny, so youthful,<br />

So vibrant, my mirror’s new best friend, wisdom<br />

Fostered by trauma and funneled through a follicle<br />



Salina Molina<br />

Were you the excited dog in the car next to me,<br />

body happily contorted to maximize the wind on your face<br />

as you barked frantically at all the other cars around you<br />

on a highway so far away, you’d never be able to envision it?<br />

For all I know,<br />

You go for car rides down strange highways everyday<br />

and lick yourself when no one’s looking,<br />

but only if your owner’s car has come to a complete stop.<br />

Were you the baby being pushed in the stroller,<br />

skin red and feet excitedly kicking at the morning sun<br />

like you just couldn’t wait to get at life and all it has<br />

in store for you, on a Main avenue that looks like any other?<br />

For all I know,<br />

you’ll grow up to be happy, successful, and well-adjusted,<br />

your baby feet kicking until the day you die<br />

and filling in all the gaps to make your life whole.<br />

Were you the old man in that window today,<br />

staring, bored, from an unhappy building<br />

trim: red but faded like the Golden Gate Bridge<br />

on a corner near a bus stop 2,000 miles away?<br />

For all I know,<br />

you’ve lived there since the late seventies<br />

and only stay because of the carpet in the living room:<br />

it’s brighter than the rest of the apartment<br />

glowing with the memory of your children’s first steps<br />

and the idea of losing that small piece of magic<br />

that life so graciously blessed you with<br />

once upon a time, is absolutely unfathomable to you.<br />


Monica Nelson<br />

My Dads Favorite Teapot<br />

Stippling 8”x16”<br />


Yanna Aiken<br />

Am I Worth Love<br />

Colored Pencil<br />



Sierra Vigil<br />

To: Earth<br />

The crickets sing their melody<br />

stars dive into the sea<br />

simple beauty shrouded in sheer mystery,<br />

divine.<br />

Interstellar pilgrimage to earth<br />

a race to see who can kiss her first.<br />

“We have travelled lifetimes<br />

(just to hold you)<br />

and to lay upon your rocky face<br />

Weathered with reverent age<br />

We have fallen intensely<br />

for your craters.”<br />

Deeper than the ocean<br />

Eternal love unbroken<br />

atmospheric kisses<br />

Set<br />

them<br />

ablaze<br />

“Unpack all our clutter<br />

as we explode<br />

right under<br />

your watchful bright eye,<br />

the prettiest yellow gaze.<br />

We are torn asunder<br />

as we explode with wonder<br />

everything we dreamed of<br />

no more floating restless days”<br />

Yours truly,<br />

Falling Stars<br />



Solace Bergman<br />

A response to to Lucille Clifton’s homage to my hips.<br />

these teeth are crooked teeth,<br />

they are chipped perfection,<br />

partitioning tongue and cheek.<br />

they do not stand<br />

in straight lines at attention.<br />

these teeth are sovereign teeth,<br />

they refuse to be bound by metal bars.<br />

they lean and jut like teenage hips<br />

cradled by loving lips. these teeth will<br />

cut through kisses like a knife.<br />

these teeth are biting teeth,<br />

I have known them to<br />

chew a man up and<br />

spit him out like gristle on a steak!<br />


Rhea Stanley<br />

Scorned<br />

Oil Painting, 16”x20”<br />


Desiree Garcia<br />

Raven’s Skull<br />

Drawing Paper, Ink, Ballpoint Pen, Spray Paint, Wax 28”x 34”<br />



Travis Cooper<br />

I accidentally kicked a wooden squirrel.<br />

Shmoo said the squirrel cursed me<br />

so I burned it in the firepit,<br />

its chirpy face smiled at me as it blackened.<br />

That night I dreamt of the burnt squirrel,<br />

it took my giant nut—<br />

the one I was saving to pay rent.<br />

It darted to the top of my bookcase<br />

and spoke in a high-pitched helium voice,<br />

“You can have your nut, if you sign the Devil’s book”<br />

Nuts are so expensive these days.<br />

I woke up hungry<br />

Shmoo made blueberry pancakes<br />

She asked where her heirloom squirrel was<br />

I said I didn’t know.<br />



Veronica Martinez<br />

I slam my tender wrists onto the cold tile, hoping for the chipped ceramic to<br />

stab through my palms, for crimson to stream down the powder blue counter onto<br />

the floor of the empty bathroom, pooling around my bare feet as I stare wide-eyed<br />

into the reflection of a stranger. The purple marks under my jaw scream and echo<br />

through my conscience and my mother’s voice rattles my eardrums. Hail Mary, full of<br />

grace, the Lord is with thee…His chapped lips hungry against my thin neck have left<br />

a consequence for my actions, the lust churning at the bottom of my stomach now<br />

replaced with guilt. He doesn’t love me. He never will. My lips merely an outlet for his<br />

desire, my body merely an object for his disposal. Blessed art thou among women,<br />

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus… I pray over the water rushing out of the<br />

rusted faucet. Faith and rigidity ingrained onto my shoulders. Religion, a sharp pain<br />

piercing my side at the thought of his hand gripping my hip and his bottom lip on my<br />

collar bone. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners. Now, and at the hour of<br />

our death…I pray that my body will still be a temple. I pray that God will never tell<br />

them. I pray for forgiveness. Amen.<br />


Rick Spriggs<br />

Red Top<br />

Ceramic 11”H x9”D<br />


Yanna Aiken<br />

Am I Worth Life<br />

Colored Pencil<br />


DYING<br />

Yareli Sanchez<br />

How am I drowning when breathing air?<br />

Trying to breathe<br />

trying to think<br />

something so simple seems so impossible now.<br />

What comes first<br />

breathing to think or to think to breathe?<br />

Something so simple seems so impossible now.<br />

What is there for me to do when I am counting my last breath?<br />

Countless questions<br />

where are my answers?<br />

Trying to breathe, trying to think<br />

think...breathe...think<br />

breathe...think...breathe<br />

think<br />

breathe<br />

...<br />



Zoe Galmarini<br />

We are dreamers.<br />

We want things we can’t have and<br />

people who do not care.<br />

We say things to get us by,<br />

but never stay long enough to hear.<br />


Weston Lane<br />

Feminine Masculinity<br />

Digital Painting 8”x10”<br />


Portia Cooper<br />

Rodent<br />

India Ink, Fineliner Pen, and White Pen on Bristol Paper, 41/2”x3”<br />



Mark Anthony Ferguson<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

it’s like leaving the dentist after having your wisdom teeth removed.<br />

You wake up feeling nothing and no senses seem to work properly.<br />

You feel nothing for quite a while until the pain hits you like a wall.<br />

And when it hits, you find the pain is merciless.<br />

You take old memories like meds to try to soothe yourself,<br />

only to find out that meds don’t work on pain like this.<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

It’s like leaving the dentist after having your wisdom teeth removed,<br />

A part of you has been ripped out.<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

It’s like you lose all your leaves, like the trees in autumn after a long, fruitful summer.<br />

Each moment of investment flutters to the ground.<br />

They are raked up, played with, then disposed of.<br />

When winter hits, you try to hide in your new clothes; frozen, stripped, colorless.<br />

Your skeleton feels like a pile of ridiculous sticks in snow,<br />

With the potential to become a snowman, but no such thing is made.<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

It’s like you lose all your leaves like the trees in autumn after a long, fruitful summer.<br />

Little bits of you lie scattered on the ground.<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

You feel numb and empty.<br />

Your memories haunt you, perhaps forever.<br />

The worst is when your soulmate tells you they love you while en route to another person’s heart.<br />

You gave all your love like an addict who spent all they have on coke.<br />

You feel lower than the dirt, no, like you’re frozen in outer space,<br />

When your soulmate marries someone else.<br />

When your soulmate leaves you,<br />

You wish the best for whoever they are with.<br />

A part of you is ripped out and scattered on the ground.<br />





Elena Acuna<br />

The desert is unforgiving<br />

Abuelita leaves out clay bowls to collect rainwater<br />

Lets the javelinas and the coyotes drink it all up<br />

Watches the sky paint the red clay dark<br />

I try to tell her that she has done her part<br />

She can rest now<br />

“The desert is unforgiving,” she tells me<br />

“Los mezquites guardan tus secretos pero los saguaros conocen tus<br />

pecados, Mija.”<br />

I want to tell her what I’ve done<br />

Ask her if she thinks the prickly pears will still bloom for me in the springtime<br />

Welcome me with open palms<br />

How many secrets will those mesquites really keep<br />

When you are caught beneath the moon<br />

Does she tell the coyotes<br />

will I hear it in their howls<br />

The desert is unforgiving<br />

I want to ask her if she thinks it will find a woman worth forgiving in me.<br />


Rhea Stanley<br />

Tonight<br />

Charcoal 14”x17”<br />


Sofia Fetsis<br />

Falling Magic<br />

Photograph 8”x10”<br />



Desert Ehrhart<br />

She was near.<br />

I could tell as the air was thickened and moist<br />

and electric, stimulating my senses.<br />

I was once caught on the wrong side, at the wrong time,<br />

wandering the wrong arroyo,<br />

taken down, washed away in a flood<br />

with the rest of the unsuspecting debris.<br />

When she came in, the sky was fierce and pouring, lightning cracking.<br />

The streets already flooding.<br />

With the long drawn out heat of summer,<br />

thoroughly penetrating, beat into everything,<br />

heavy, pressing me further<br />

into the depths of my mattress, sheets strewn far from me.<br />

I was ready for the release.<br />

And as quickly as her presence and the floods poured in,<br />

the sky became clear<br />

and the sun again upon me.<br />

My only memory of her found through the following weeks<br />

in the lush growth and bloom of the desert.<br />

Monsoon season.<br />



Samantha Barrera<br />

There comes a time within one’s life, when you start to reminisce.<br />

Was every hope that came before this moment all for this?<br />

At what point do we reach the chapter when we finally come of age,<br />

where life, it finally all makes sense; where can we find that page?<br />

We spend our childhood years, dreaming of the very day,<br />

that we step into our adult self; oh, how we wish our youth away.<br />

Yet when we peel away the layers of growth and wisdom gained,<br />

it seems within every one of us, our core remains the same.<br />

There long yearns an inner child seeking happiness and love.<br />

Now tell me, in which chapter of life can I find such things thereof?<br />

Although it’s hard to stop and pause in the continuity of life’s book,<br />

I encourage you to find the time to take another look.<br />


Does love pour from the pursuit of the ultimate career?<br />

Or is happiness defined by the quest of an academic frontier?<br />

Are we fulfilled by our relationships built with family and flames?<br />

Or can these be met with times of friction, turbulence, and strain?<br />

The truth is, life is fragile, and no single source alone,<br />

can be cited to reference all the joy that we long for in our bones.<br />

Life is constant and it is ruthless, we cannot predict the times of plight,<br />

but we can take charge of how the story unfolds, with the words we choose to write.<br />

For you are not a character in someone else’s fiction.<br />

Let your wildest dreams unfold; there is no limit or restriction.<br />

Don’t let life turn the page and simply wait for come what may.<br />

Put pen to paper and write your story, for your future starts today.<br />



Salina Molina<br />

a. Order a fresh limbic system<br />

new on Amazon for $229.50<br />

in a shrink-wrapped,<br />

temperature-controlled box<br />

with all the manuals<br />

and step-by-step instructions<br />

to install it yourself,<br />

or used for $137.74 plus $14.99 shipping<br />

if you’re feeling lucky.<br />

b. Sever all the synapses<br />

that allow information<br />

to zig-zag around your brain<br />

with something heavy and final<br />

like a small pick-axe or some bleach<br />

so the neurons that torture you<br />

each and every day<br />

can feel just as stranded and helpless<br />

as you do at their eternal movements.<br />

c. Immerse yourself in the static of art and music,<br />

poetry and film, hot tea and<br />

blankets that were knit with love,<br />

and enrich your broken life<br />

with neglect, with too many dabs<br />

with gallons of wine, until your brain<br />

is so numb to itself<br />

that you only have to confront<br />

the absolute disarray of your amygdala<br />

in dreams.<br />


Abigale Robles<br />

A Snake in Chaos<br />

Drawing, Bristol Paper and Micron Pens<br />


Miyeon Kim<br />

Survival<br />

Acrylic, 13”x17”<br />



Elena Acuna<br />

She ducks in from the cold<br />

Red clinging to her cheeks like it’s never known<br />

Roses<br />

Or blood<br />

Or fire<br />

You assume everyone in the room feels the way you do<br />

Captivated<br />

Awestruck<br />

You wonder what her voice sounds like<br />

The kind that draws fishermen from their vessels to the bottom of the sea<br />

The way her eyes scan the room<br />

How softly she rests her chin against her palm<br />

She is washing over you and it’s easy to imagine the way it feels to drown at the hands<br />

Of a woman like this<br />

She goes as quickly as she came<br />

Takes all of the air out of the room with her as she does<br />

If I existed the way she did<br />

Swallowed up the room as I walked into it<br />

Would it be enough?<br />

A man choosing between a savior and a siren is never wise enough to stay ashore<br />


George Key<br />

Esperanza<br />

Photograph<br />



VELVET<br />

Salina Molina<br />

Surround your mirrors with candles<br />

of various sizes and shapes<br />

and light them as you pass by<br />

so the height of each flame<br />

can illuminate a different part of yourself<br />

you no longer wish to see.<br />

Cloak your eyes in a haze of smoke:<br />

incense, cigarettes, old journal pages,<br />

and good old-fashioned weed by-products,<br />

to further obscure the image you have of yourself<br />

and worsen that astigmatism<br />

that you’ve been cultivating<br />

to keep your vision good and blurry.<br />

Foil your nails with gold leaf<br />

and pretend that your muse<br />

is worthy of being your muse<br />

instead of just someone<br />

you’ve known for years now<br />

who’s only slightly better<br />

at being a person than you are.<br />

Live under a set of standards<br />

revolving around distraction,<br />

“self-soothing,” deep denial,<br />

more distraction, making it to<br />

enrobing yourself in crisp green velvet.<br />

Visually stunning<br />

and aesthetically compelling,<br />

cheap to the touch<br />

enough to make you dislike your face<br />

when you look in a mirror.<br />



Visual Art<br />

Abigale Robles – My name is Abigale<br />

Robles. I was born and raised in Southern<br />

California. I have been in Tucson for 3<br />

years now and I absolutely love it here. I<br />

am currently a Business major at Pima. Last<br />

semester I took ART100 with Mr. Marquis.<br />

He helped me find my artistic style and<br />

progress in my artistic abilities. Art has<br />

always been an outlet for me. My family is<br />

filled with amazing Artists. It took a lot for<br />

me to submit my drawings and was out of<br />

my comfort zone. I am so happy I decided<br />

to submit and that I am of the chosen<br />

Artists to be featured in the <strong>SandScript</strong>.<br />

Ashley Carmichael – Tucson based artist<br />

Ashley Carmichael creates intricate ink<br />

and watercolor art inspired by nature. Her<br />

work focuses on the tranquility of being<br />

in the natural world and the cyclical<br />

stories of growth and decay. Ashley<br />

obtained a Minor in Fine Art from Indiana<br />

University and has participated in shows<br />

by the Southern Arizona Watercolor<br />

Guild. She now works out of her home<br />

studio in eastern Tucson. Instagram: @<br />

ashleycarmichaelart<br />

Avery Goldberg – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

Brianna Stevens – Hello, My name is<br />

Brianna Stevens, also known as Bebe Tea<br />

on social media. After recently graduating<br />

from GCU, I’m currently going to Pima to<br />

continue my character design studies. The<br />

piece “Garden Spirit” was created using<br />

mood boards and my love for the Asian<br />

culture. I wanted to express my interest in<br />

the mythical and fantasy elements. The<br />

main goal was to convey serenity and<br />

calmness. Creating this piece was very<br />

interesting and different for me. This was<br />

my second piece using Photoshop for just<br />

drawing purposes.<br />

Clarissa Holguin – My name is Clarissa, I<br />

love the desert, animals, art and music. I<br />

love bright colors, detail and representing<br />

my Mexican culture with my art. I focus on<br />

making pieces that make me feel happy<br />

or send a message. Overall, I try to enjoy<br />

the journey I took to get to the art piece.<br />

Claudia Nazario – Claudia Nazario is a<br />

California native that took up painting<br />

as a creative and stress-free outlet to<br />

balance her doctoral research and<br />

teaching responsibilities at the University<br />

of Arizona. Very quickly she realized art<br />

was more than a hobby and storytelling<br />

medium. Now, Claudia seeks a way to<br />

marry her academic interests with her art.<br />


Cynthia Drumond – Drawing and painting<br />

were my favorites hobbies when I was<br />

young. Life brought me discoveries, new<br />

interests and sent me on different paths.<br />

When I went back to college to pursue<br />

a new career as a Graphic Designer,<br />

Art resurfaced, challenging my world<br />

perception. I can not say I am an artist but<br />

a curious explorer!<br />

Dani Galbraith-Ritchie (She/Her) –<br />

Galbraith-Ritchie is a self-taught artist,<br />

goldsmith and small business owner with<br />

a passion for the natural world. Galbraith-<br />

Ritchie is pursuing her Associate Degree<br />

in Business Administration from PCC. She<br />

has further goals to attend Eller College of<br />

Management in pursuance of a Bachelor<br />

of Science in Business Administration with<br />

a double major in Business Management<br />

and Marketing. Galbraith-Ritchie is a<br />

Mexican-Canadian immigrant, raised in<br />

Sedona, Arizona but has lived in Tucson for<br />

almost 10 years.<br />

David Parsons – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Desert Ehrhart (1) – Desert Ehrhart has had<br />

a deep interest in visual art their entire<br />

life. Their adult work, spanning many<br />

mediums, has been deeply influenced<br />

and embedded in their love of ecology<br />

and plant medicine. In more recent years<br />

this love of artistic expression has taken<br />

them to exploring poetry and other forms<br />

or writing. Currently Desert is weaving their<br />

passions together, working as an herbalist,<br />

a tattoo artist and on a path towards<br />

becoming an acupuncturist. (1) Also on<br />

Poetry<br />

Desiree Gracia – Desiree Gracia was<br />

born and raised in Tucson, her creative<br />

works are influenced by her interest in<br />

psychology and life experiences. She<br />

enjoys experimenting with different<br />

mediums but mostly works with ink or<br />

pencil.<br />

Danielle Bond – Danni B is a Tucson based<br />

photographer who specializes in creative<br />

portraits. Being a young artist herself, she<br />

strives to uplift other artists and push young<br />

adults to pursue their creative passions.<br />

You can learn more about Danni B and<br />

other pieces of her work on Instagram @<br />

dannib_photography.<br />

George Key (2) – Key’s image, Esperanza,<br />

(Hope), reflects upon tragedies survived<br />

and God’s daily bread gift of appreciated<br />

beauty. This consecutive fourth year<br />

of being chosen for publication in the<br />

Sandscript was an honor received in<br />

both poetry and photography. The<br />

challenges of the pandemic, due to a<br />


Spring 2020 lengthy battle, were answered<br />

with his composition and delivery of the<br />

Keynote address to the graduating class<br />

(YouTube,2020), several degrees and<br />

certificates in Social Services/ Social Work,<br />

and necessary completion of intercultural<br />

perspective in the Fall 2020 Semester. (2)<br />

Also on Poetry<br />

Grace Johnson – My name is Grace M<br />

Johnson and I am a mostly self taught<br />

artist, with a few classes along the way!<br />

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can<br />

remember and being an artist has<br />

become a part of me forever. My art<br />

style usually consists of highly detailed<br />

pieces of mostly birds, dragons, and<br />

robots that I have named Mechnicians.<br />

My artwork tends to exaggerate a bit<br />

too, with very vibrant colors and out of<br />

proportion proportions! I hope you enjoy<br />

the art pieces that I have made with<br />

immeasurable care!<br />

Javier Dosamantes – Javier Dosamantes<br />

is a creative born in Tucson and raised in<br />

Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. As an adult, he<br />

returned to Tucson for school, and now it is<br />

his second home.<br />

Jennifer Prybylla – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

Kimberly Calles – Kimberly Calles is an<br />

art major student at Pima Community<br />

College. Currently studying to get<br />

an Associates degree in Fine Arts<br />

concentration in photography. Her<br />

work consists of mixed media such as<br />

photography, painting, and drawing.<br />

Kimberly Griffin – Kimberly Griffin is a<br />

native Arizonan. She has always been<br />

told that she has a unique way of<br />

looking at the world. Photo was taken<br />

while in photography class at Pima.<br />

Experimentation and happy accidents<br />

result in art pieces like this one. She hopes<br />

that one day, she can make a living<br />

stumbling around in the art world.<br />

Luisa Espinoza – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Micheal Christopherson – Greetings! I’m<br />

Micheal Christopherson, I’m a student at<br />

Pima Community College and my major<br />

is fine arts. My works consist of a mix of<br />

cartoons, digital edits, and horror. I have<br />

not explored the horror genre in my art<br />

until the start of <strong>2021</strong>, and the results have<br />

been outstanding. I am always working<br />

to make artwork that stands out and<br />

makes an impression. If you’re interested<br />

in following more off my work, I post my art<br />

on my Instagram “MikeR0b0.” I also make<br />


video content on my YouTube, named<br />

“MikeR0b0.”<br />

Miyeon Kim – I got an art award in middle<br />

school and stopped painting after high<br />

school in South Korea. Six years later, I<br />

came to the United States and went to<br />

college in Texas for a few months, but<br />

I had to stop. I started to go to college<br />

again after 10 years at Pima Community<br />

College. It is meaningful to receive an art<br />

award at this college. I’m so glad I didn’t<br />

give up on my dream. This is a great start<br />

to my dream as an artist. I draw myself in<br />

“Addicted”. My friend took a photo of me<br />

using a cellphone on the couch while I’m<br />

laying down. I never used a cell phone this<br />

much before. I admit that I am addicted<br />

to smartphones.<br />

Monica Nelson – Monica Nelson is a<br />

retired educator with over 44 years of<br />

service. She has enrolled in several art<br />

classes at PCC over the past two years<br />

as a “life-long” learner Art has become<br />

a whole new experience for her and has<br />

been especially important during the<br />

pandemic!<br />

This piece “ Emotional Growth” is mostly<br />

colored pencil except I used paint for the<br />

somewhat abstract background.<br />

Nathan Coffey – Nathan Coffey is a<br />

hobbyist photographer living in Tucson, AZ.<br />

He is pursuing digital game development<br />

at Pima with a focus on programming.<br />

Portia Cooper (She/Her) – Portia is a dualenrollment<br />

student studying computer<br />

science and mathematics. She works in<br />

many art mediums, but prefers pen and<br />

ink. Her work is often inspired by folktales<br />

and myths.<br />

Rebecca Farris – Rebecca is an aspiring<br />

graphic artist. Her dream is to one day<br />

make a career out of publishing graphic<br />

novels, and is going to school for her<br />

art degree. She was born in Arizona but<br />

moved to Colorado at the age of 10 with<br />

her family. After some family loss, she<br />

returned to Arizona and moved to Tucson<br />

to finish college.<br />

Reed Coffey – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Mya Palacios – Hello everyone! I go by<br />

Myabella. Art has always been a big part<br />

of my life and I have my mom to thank for<br />

that. She taught me how to be creative.<br />

Rhea Stanley – I started at pima in 2018<br />

with no drawing under my belt. This May,<br />

I’ve got my associates in fine arts and a<br />

passion for drawing. I’ve lived in Tucson<br />


my whole life and have a family full of<br />

artists that inspire me every day. I’m<br />

transferring to the University of Arizona this<br />

fall to pursue Studio Art. I’m excited to see<br />

where art can take me.<br />

Rick Spriggs – Rick Spriggs has been doing<br />

art for most of his life. Recently his focus<br />

is making 3D art. Ceramics comprises the<br />

bulk of his current artworks.<br />

Sarah Bryg – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Shelby Quiroz – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Sivanes Ananda – I am a Tucson based<br />

artist, avid gardener and enjoy nature and<br />

travel. In my art, I use a variety of media,<br />

oil being my preferred medium. Most of<br />

my paintings are based on photos taken<br />

during my travels and inspired by the<br />

natural beauty and amazing architecture<br />

of places I visited.<br />

Sofia Fetsis – Sofia Fetsis has grown up<br />

in Arizona her whole life, as one of six<br />

siblings. She competitively played tennis<br />

and volleyball throughout high school,<br />

winning several state titles in tennis. In<br />

her free time she enjoys hiking, playing<br />

beach volleyball, working out, cooking,<br />

and artistic pursuits such as sketching and<br />

photography. She loves the warm weather<br />

and sunshine in Tucson, but enjoys cloudy,<br />

rainy days when they come. Sofia will<br />

be joining the nursing program at The<br />

University of Arizona this fall to start her<br />

junior year, and looks forward to pursuing<br />

a career as a NICU nurse.<br />

Thomas Webster – I retired from the<br />

practice of anesthesiology in 2007.<br />

Enrolled at Pima Community College and<br />

received my Associates of Arts Degree<br />

in 2010. Since then I have worked as a<br />

volunteer in the Digital Photography lab at<br />

PCC and taking continuing courses at the<br />

college.<br />

Thurwin Lane – Born on August 1, 1992<br />

at Phoenix Memorial Hospital, Jeanita<br />

Johnson gave birth to her fourth child,<br />

Thurwin Tisbahe Lane. Thurwin has early<br />

memories of living in Phoenix, but he was<br />

raised mostly on the Navajo Reservation<br />

with his seven other siblings. Living on the<br />

reservation made Thurwin strong, allowing<br />

him to excel while serving in the United<br />

States Army as an airborne infantryman.<br />

Growing up on a reservation and serving<br />

in the armed forces left wounds on<br />

Thurwin’s mental health enticing him to<br />

pursue a profession in art. With art Thurwin<br />

was able to understand the experienced<br />


trauma aiding him in becoming a good<br />

person for his wife and son. Art created by<br />

Thurwin can be tied to being raised on a<br />

reservation, military service, and his family.<br />

Zevi Bloomfield – Hopes to major in<br />

psychology and become an art therapist<br />

Prose<br />

Ulises Ramos – Ulises I as a young artist<br />

from Mexican descent, I don’t only<br />

represent my cultural background but also<br />

a long tradition of printmaking. That is my<br />

goal in life, to preserve and develop such<br />

a traditional method important for me and<br />

the art world.<br />

Weston Lane – Weston Lane is a proud<br />

Native American student who is pursuing a<br />

Visual Art degree and Film Arts / Animation<br />

degree. He makes digital art, traditional<br />

art, and short 2d animations. He aims<br />

to evoke deep feelings within his work.<br />

He loves to make art and will continue<br />

to do so. His goal is to take part in the<br />

production of an animated project (e.g.,<br />

music video, advertisement, or movie/tv).<br />

Yanna Aiken – Hello, I am a 19 year<br />

old that has been doing art since I can<br />

remember, and seeing it progress and<br />

my art forming it into something, not only<br />

something other people are proud of, but<br />

I am proud of it just the same. So I thank<br />

you dearly for the support through the life<br />

I have lived so far, and the life I will live in<br />

the future.<br />

Chretien Martinez – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

Courtney Armstrong (3) – Courtney Hayes<br />

Armstrong is the recipient of the Fall<br />

<strong>2021</strong> Margaret Sterling Award for poetry<br />

at the University of Arizona, where she<br />

is completing her bachelor’s degree in<br />

English and Creative Writing. Her poetry<br />

and fiction were published in the 2020<br />

edition of <strong>SandScript</strong>. She was a finalist in<br />

this year’s <strong>2021</strong> Tucson Festival of Books<br />

Literary Awards Competition for fiction,<br />

poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her love<br />

for writing comes second only to her love<br />

for her two sons, Hayes and Blaze. (3) Also<br />

on Poetry<br />

Josie Lugo (She/Her) – At 21 years old, Josie<br />

has poured all her courage and trust into<br />

a single goal: create stories about strong<br />

females and prove that they are powerful,<br />

beautiful, and capable of anything and<br />

everything. This story was her first to be<br />

published but she firmly believes that it will<br />

not be her last. As time goes on, she hopes<br />

you will continue to come across her<br />

name and enjoy her work.”<br />


Mora Hedayati – Mora is a mom, a doula,<br />

and an artist. She is currently taking<br />

courses at Pima Community College to<br />

fulfill her eventual goal of becoming a<br />

nurse midwife. She hopes to continue<br />

expressing her thoughts in writing and<br />

would love to write/illustrate a children’s<br />

book one day.<br />

Nadia Celaya-Alcalá – My name is Nadia<br />

Celaya-Alcalá. I am 15 years old and am<br />

currently studying general education at<br />

Pima. I plan to transfer to The University<br />

of Arizona in the fall to study Dance and<br />

Political Science. Some of my favorite<br />

pastimes are dancing, cooking, and<br />

writing.<br />

Raymond Butler – A Navajo from Arizona<br />

who grew up on the reservation. Retired<br />

from a law enforcement career. Began<br />

taking classes at PCC.<br />

Poetry<br />

A.Z. Martinez – Martinez is a young tutor<br />

with aspirations of professional writing.<br />

Creatively oriented, with a drive for<br />

creativity and telling stories.<br />

Alexa Lewis – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Arial Autumn – Writing is only one of Arial<br />

Autumn’s many creative pursuits. She also<br />

enjoys painting Gundam Models, film and<br />

photography, and sword play. She is a<br />

world traveler who published her first book<br />

of poetry in 2015. She is currently attending<br />

Pima Community College, while living in<br />

Arizona with her partner and daughter<br />

. She considers all of her poetry a single<br />

anthology, thus she titles her poems with<br />

numbers.<br />

Carol Korhonen – Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

came to Tucson from Michigan in 1978<br />

after one too many encounters with icy<br />

highways. After ten years of teaching<br />

school and twenty years of practicing law,<br />

she retired and tried her hand at writing.<br />

Some kindly writer friends suggested she<br />

could use some help and suggested a<br />

class at Pima and she has been taking<br />

writing classes ever since. Carol thanks<br />

her husband, children and grandchildren<br />

for their unwavering support and<br />

encouragement.<br />

Chacara Thomas – Chacara Thomas was<br />

born in Milwaukee, WI, in 1996. Growing<br />

up, she developed a love for music,<br />

which transformed into a passion for<br />

creative writing, music production, and<br />

performing arts. As a hip-hop/performing<br />

artist, Chacara uses her voice and lyrics to<br />


uplift communities, peers, and even herself<br />

at times. She has been a part of several<br />

benefit shows, raising funds for important<br />

causes in her hometown Milwaukee.<br />

She is proud to have performed in Black<br />

Renaissance here in Tucson, AZ, 2019,<br />

contributing to the small community of<br />

local African American creators.<br />

Christopher Valenzuela (They/Them) – is<br />

a Tucson born writer and poet. Their<br />

work focuses on their relationship with<br />

substance abuse and understanding/<br />

deconstructing their intersecting identities<br />

as a non-binary, Chicanx, queer artist.<br />

Diogo Tobin – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Spring 2020 lengthy battle, were answered<br />

with his composition and delivery of the<br />

Keynote address to the graduating class<br />

(YouTube,2020), several degrees and<br />

certificates in Social Services/ Social Work,<br />

and necessary completion of intercultural<br />

perspective in the Fall 2020 Semester.<br />

Iris Hill (They/Them) – Iris Hill is currently an<br />

English major at Pima Community College.<br />

They plan to transfer to the University<br />

of Arizona to continue their education<br />

in hopes of becoming a middle school<br />

English teacher. They are currently working<br />

on their first book of poetry aimed to be<br />

released come Leo season. They currently<br />

reside in Tucson, Arizona with their partner<br />

and cat, Gaston.<br />

Elena Acuna – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Esmeralda Garcia – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

George Key – Key’s image, Esperanza,<br />

(Hope), reflects upon tragedies survived<br />

and God’s daily bread gift of appreciated<br />

beauty. This consecutive fourth year<br />

of being chosen for publication in the<br />

Sandscript was an honor received in<br />

both poetry and photography. The<br />

challenges of the pandemic, due to a<br />

Jazmin Garcia – I was born in Tucson and<br />

moved to California when I was 11 years<br />

old. After 10 years of hardship, I moved<br />

back to Tucson. The 3 poems were all<br />

inspired by important events in my life;<br />

falling in love, growing up and naturally<br />

parting ways with my sister, and losing a<br />

loved one. I speak English and Spanish<br />

and come from Mexican descent. I<br />

like art, reading, writing, and watching<br />

movies.<br />

Kentaro Herder (He/Him) – Language was<br />

a barrier between my grandmother and<br />


me. She and I would sit with a pen and<br />

paper. I’d write the ABC’s while she drew<br />

spirals and asked what design should<br />

be on her next rug. We’d communicate<br />

with nods. This is how I met poetry. I grew<br />

up in Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo<br />

Nation. I am honored to present my love<br />

for language to you. I am thankful for<br />

the <strong>SandScript</strong> staff and for the amazing<br />

professors that tug on my words like little<br />

me tugging the frays of my grandma’s<br />

rugs.<br />

Luke Cottrell – Luke Cottrell is a singersongwriter<br />

and visual artist from<br />

Oceanside, CA. He moved to Tucson, AZ<br />

in 2019. Find his music by searching Luke<br />

Cottrell on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Apple<br />

Music, etc. Instagram: lukecottrell<br />

Luke Eriksson – Luke Eriksson is a writer<br />

from Lexington Massachusetts, a student<br />

at both New York University and Pima<br />

Community College, and currently lives<br />

in Tucson, Arizona. He enjoys writing<br />

about topics such as longing, addiction/<br />

sobriety, and the passage of time. He can<br />

be reached by email at eriksson.Luke.b@<br />

gmail.com, on instagram at Luke_Eriksson,<br />

or on twitter at ErikssonLuke.<br />

M. J. Copic – M. J. Copic is a writer of<br />

speculative fiction living in Tucson, Arizona.<br />

This is her first publication.<br />

Mara Durán – A wife and a mother is the<br />

one who ensures dreams take their shape.<br />

A psychotherapist by profession. Master in<br />

Brief Therapy, lecturer, workshop leader,<br />

inspirational speaker, passionate learner,<br />

and lifelong lover of letters and literature.<br />

As she writes, she finds worlds that do not<br />

have the words to be described. These<br />

are metaphors, stories, and poems that<br />

encourage us to self-reflect. She seeks to<br />

break down barriers that impede growth<br />

and promote emotional strength in human<br />

beings. She is a collector of memories.<br />

She bathes in doses of reality that splashes<br />

with fantasy while she navigates the<br />

uncertainty provoked by verses, endless<br />

verses, one and a hundred, that awaken<br />

dreams.<br />

Mark Anthony Ferguson – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

Mauricia Manuel – Mauricia Manuel is<br />

a mother of four and has been working<br />

towards her goal of becoming an author.<br />

She is a member of the Tohono O’odham<br />

Nation. Her love for words and history<br />

inspires her writing and hopes for it to be a<br />

positive influence within the community.<br />


Michele Worthington – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

Raiden Lopez – Raiden is a proud single<br />

mom, a writer, a singer, an editor, and an<br />

honors student at PCC until she transfers<br />

to the U of A fall of 2022, who is working<br />

towards being a book editor and publicist<br />

as her chosen career. “I want to help<br />

others bring their stories to life and be<br />

the absolute best they could possibly be.<br />

That is why I always dreamed of being an<br />

editor, my dream is already coming true<br />

and I’m loving every minute of it.”<br />

Salina Riggs-Molina (She/Her) – Salina is a<br />

native Tucsonan, a self-proclaimed data<br />

nerd, and a nonprofit professional. Poetry<br />

is her voice, her vice, and her means<br />

of creative expression. She’ll never truly<br />

understand the complexities of being,<br />

but she loves the process of trying to<br />

understand.<br />

Samantha Barrera – Samantha Barrera<br />

is a British-born and raised mother of<br />

two. Samantha came to America under<br />

troubled circumstances, but she has not<br />

let adversity stop her from achieving her<br />

dreams. Presently, Samantha is pursuing<br />

her Forensic Psychology degree at Pima<br />

Community College and is eager to<br />

become accepted at James E. Rogers<br />

College of Law thereafter. Samantha<br />

appreciates that we live in a world where<br />

it is easy to lose sight of our purpose<br />

and sense of happiness. Thus, she wrote<br />

The Book of Life to inspire others to take<br />

control of their life, and to encourage<br />

those who are facing their own adversity<br />

or hardship to never cease their efforts in<br />

overcoming.<br />

Sierra Vigil – Attends Pima Community<br />

College<br />

Solace Bergman – Attends Pima<br />

Community College<br />

T. Gullett (He/Him) – T. Gullett is a writer,<br />

artist, and trans creator interested<br />

in sharing stories of queer happiness<br />

combined with genre fiction. Through<br />

his written work, he explores his own<br />

experiences of identity and yearning. He’s<br />

not 100% sure where his time at Pima will<br />

take him, but he’s excited for the journey.<br />

He would like to thank his friends and<br />

family who have supported his creative<br />

endeavors, as well as the teachers who<br />

have played a part in him getting here.<br />

This is his first time being published.<br />

Travis Cooper (He/Him) – Travis is a preengineering<br />

student who has lived in<br />

Tucson all his life. He writes poetry and<br />


short stories that include paranormal and<br />

macabre elements.<br />

Veronica Martinez – Veronica Martinez<br />

is a 20 year old from Tucson that has<br />

been writing fiction stories since she was<br />

a child, but did not begin to write poetry<br />

until taking an introductory poetry writing<br />

course at Pima Community College in<br />

the Fall of 2020. Since then, Veronica has<br />

found interest and inspiration to write<br />

poetry from daily life and the historical<br />

events that young people are currently<br />

living through. Veronica is now studying<br />

Creative Writing at the University of<br />

Arizona and plans to continue to write<br />

poetry throughout her life, along with<br />

writing horror and fantasy fiction.<br />

Zoe is a Pima <strong>2021</strong> graduate on her way<br />

towards a career in graphic design.<br />

However, you can always find her with a<br />

pen in her hand and a poem on her mind.<br />

Yareli Sanchez – The percentage of<br />

young Americans experiencing certain<br />

types of mental health disorders has<br />

risen significantly over the past decade.<br />

Yareli Sanchez (24), focuses her writing on<br />

depression and anxiety. Yareli wrote Dying<br />

to let the reader know a brief description<br />

of what a person goes through when<br />

having an anxiety attack. Sandscript<br />

published another piece of hers and you<br />

can read it in the 2020 magazine.<br />

Zoë Galmarini – With a strong passion for<br />

the arts and an eye for all things creative,<br />




Editor-in-Chief & Managing Editor<br />

Assistant Editor & Visual Art Editor<br />

Raiden Lopez (She/Her) is an English<br />

Literature major at Pima College, with<br />

plans to pursue Creative Writing at the<br />

University of Arizona to become a book<br />

editor. She is a proud single mother to<br />

an amazing son, who enjoys all types of<br />

music and loves to sing. Reading and<br />

writing are her passions and hopes to do<br />

them happily for the rest of her life.<br />

Stephany Rocha (She/Her) is a Liberal<br />

Arts major at Pima Community College<br />

who plans to study journalism and minor<br />

in marketing and p.r. at the University<br />

of Arizona. She plans to use her degree<br />

to become a media editor or book<br />

editor. Writing is her passion and loves<br />

to read a great book to de-stress. When<br />

she is not writing or reading, she can be<br />

found at work, petting her two dogs or<br />

embroidering a new shirt!<br />


Assistant Editor<br />

Social Media Manager, Director of<br />

Achives & Poetry Editor<br />

Jesse Shinn (He/Him) can be found<br />

working on his novel, spending time<br />

with his cats, or playing with his friends<br />

online. He’s a liberal arts major with his<br />

sights on an English degree to aid him<br />

in venturing into the world of literary<br />

publishing.<br />

Maria Servellon (They/Them) is pursuing<br />

an Associates in Science and is planning<br />

on transferring to a four-year university<br />

to pursue their studies in Cell and<br />

Developmental Biology. Maria considers<br />

themselves a patron of the arts, and<br />

firmly believes that art speaks for those<br />

who cannot. In their spare time, Maria<br />

does cancer research, watches entire<br />

seasons of animated TV shows, and<br />

orders Thai food through DoorDash.<br />


Industry Outreach Coordinator & Prose<br />

Editor<br />

Prose Editor<br />

Madison Copic (She/Her) is an English<br />

major at Pima who plans to study<br />

Creative Writing at the University of<br />

Arizona in the fall of <strong>2021</strong>. Writing is<br />

her passion, and she particularly loves<br />

fantasy and horror. When she’s not<br />

editing, writing, or reading, you can find<br />

her roller skating at the park, playing<br />

Dungeons and Dragons, or pampering<br />

her cat.<br />

Iris Gonzalez-Hill (They/Them) is currently<br />

an English major at Pima Community<br />

College. They plan to transfer to the<br />

University of Arizona to continue their<br />

education in hopes of becoming a<br />

middle school English teacher. They are<br />

currently working on their first book of<br />

poetry aimed to be released come Leo<br />

season. They currently reside in Tucson,<br />

Arizona with their partner and cat,<br />

Gaston.<br />


Poetry Editor<br />

Visual Art Editor<br />

Ocean Washington is a young father,<br />

a 3.9-4.0 GPA student, an aspiring<br />

ethnographer regarding human<br />

behavior, a BMX’er, and lover of people<br />

interaction. Ocean’s core competency<br />

revolves around storytelling. His goal<br />

is to enter the film industry after he<br />

completes a contract with one of the<br />

United States academies for military<br />

officers.<br />

Mariah Gastelum (She/Her) is a student<br />

at Pima Community College who is<br />

currently finishing an Associates in<br />

English with plans to transfer to the<br />

University of Arizona and major in<br />

creative writing. “I was really glad to<br />

be apart of the <strong>SandScript</strong> team and<br />

to have a magazine this year, things<br />

have been out of the norm with this<br />

pandemic. Covid-19 has taught me<br />

how fast it can take a persons life and<br />

how distance gives us more reasons to<br />

love harder.”<br />


Graphic Design Editor<br />

Faculty Advisor<br />

Cynthia Drumond is a business<br />

administrator, and she is pursuing a<br />

second career as a graphic designer.<br />

During the college years, she worked<br />

as a volunteer managing social<br />

media content, did an internship, and<br />

freelanced developing brand identities,<br />

marketing strategies, and websites.<br />

She won six student awards given by<br />

AAF - American Advertising Federation<br />

in categories such as logo design,<br />

rebranding, poster design, and video<br />

advertising campaign.<br />

Frankie Rollins relishes the alchemy<br />

of working with the intelligent, artistic,<br />

and progressive students in English<br />

and Honors at Pima Community<br />

College. Along with teaching, Frankie<br />

is fiercely devoted to writing and<br />

publishing her own prose, publishing<br />

a flash fiction novella, The Grief<br />

Manuscript (Finishing Line Press, May<br />

2020), releasing a collaborative<br />

video, The Grief Manuscript Video<br />

on Youtube (https://www.youtube.<br />

com/watch?v=j71Y4cEnaqQ) and a<br />

collection of short fiction, The Sin Eater &<br />

Other Stories (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2013).<br />



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