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Issue III ‧ Pluvia Literary Magazine

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Literary Magazine

ISSUE III SUMMER 2022

POETRY | PROSE | ART

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1


2

Rising Upon by Nina Tsai

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BY TIA LI

By NAME


JULY 2022

ISSUE III

PLUVIA LITERARY MAGAZINE

EXECUTIVE + EDITORIAL

Maggie Yang

Joyce Huang

Priscilla Raitza

Emily Li

Alyssa Xu

Nina Tsai

CONTRIBUTORS

EST. 2021

Amelia Lim

Cynthia Chen

Edward Lee

Elaine Zhuo

Erin Chen

Grace Hu

Irina Novikova

James K. Maddox

Jasmin Kaur

Jenalyn Ng

Jenny Zou

Jingjie Chen

Joseph Etchingham

Jourdan Huber

JP Legarte

Keston Ruby

Lisa Owens

Lisa Watts

Luna Yin

Lyndsie Conklin

Malena Van den Broeck

Mathew Fu

Millie Sharman

Natalie Borenstein

Paris Lee

Raymond Chen

Samantha Lu

Sofia Varma-Vitug

Stephanie Lee

Tia Li

Vals Liu

Vanessa Chan

Vicky Nguyen

Viela Hu

Cover artwork: Incubator by Jenny Zou

Magazine Designer: Maggie Yang

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TABLE OF

CONTENTS

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6 - 13

Editor’s Letter

A December night by Vicky Nguyen

Untitled by Paris Lee

the dream dealer by Grace Hu

Untitled by Samantha Lu

The Eyes I Chose by Jasmin Kaur

Angels by Mathew Fu

Perspectives by Stephanie Lee

Untitled by Jingjie Chen

Blood Rushing by Jourdan Huber

Untitled by Samantha Lu

4

The Towers of Yesterday by Edward Lee

24 - 33

What Is Love in Reality by JP Legarte

Leak by Jenny Zou

Untitled by Erin Chen

Photography in New York by Vals Liu

Eternal Silence by Malena Van den Broeck

Lovers At Dusk, Mirroball, LadyBug by Keston Ruby

spring snow by Millie Sharman

Blossoming into Light by Vanessa Chan

Funhouse Mirror by James K. Maddox

Overthinking by Jenalyn Ng

34 - 37

the earth is ready to sing again by Luna Yin

building side & old car edit by Joseph Etchingham

Two rabbits & Heart by Irina Novikova

Hardbound by Lisa Owens

Salt on Wound by Elain Zhuo

therapy. & stormy thoughts by Lisa Watts

The Pilgrim’s Woods by Natalie Borenstein

Leaf Lights by Stephanie Lee

Quarantine by Raymond Chen

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14 - 23

skin by Cynthia Chen

Suzhou by Tia Li

HANDS by Lyndsie Conklin

Untitled by Amelia Lim

Untitled by Erin Chen

Observer of Unity by Natalie Borenstein

Earth, Wind, Water, Liar by JP Legarte

Untitled & Untitled by Vals Liu

Metamorphosis by Viela Hu

Preview of Metamorphosis by Viela Hu


EDITOR’S

INCUBATOR BY JENNY ZOU

LETTER

FOUNDER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

July is the month that marks the one-year anniversary of the founding of Pluvia Literary Magazine.

It is unbelievable how far everyone involved in Pluvia has come; from the executive team, ambassadors,

and contributors, to the global community this magazine has fostered in the creative arts, in

the span of just one year, what was once an obscure idea in the back of my head has manifested into

a thriving publication far bigger than I could have imagined. What I wanted to start out of interest as

a small local literary and arts journal dedicated to emerging and BIPOC artists like myself, became

international, with diverse voices represented in each issue.

The past few years have been nothing short of conflicts and challenges; with the ongoing

pandemic, social justice movements, and numerous dramatic changes all wedged into just a handful of

years, the creative arts have never been more important to turn to. It has remained a constant through

our struggles and is a unique way of expressing each of our individualities. It has witnessed our ups

and downs and continues to be by our side as a friend and companion.

As you begin to flip through the pages of Issue III, I hope that these pieces resonate and connect

with you, just like they did with our team. From enjoying the music delicately articulated in the

melodious lines of Vicky Nguyen’s “A December night”, to taking a glimpse into Viela Hu’s dreamlike

depiction of youth and her inner world in “Metamorphosis”, we hope you appreciate this unique

exhibit of the arts. Without further ado, I am excited to present to you Issue III of Pluvia Literary

Magazine.

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A December

night

BY VICKY NGUYEN

Obsidian sky, Pacific cold snaps

Glaze backyard grass and graze frontyard glass.

Nightlamp’s soft glow, fireplace roars,

I slide my fingertips across the keyboard, lingering on the ivory tabs.

Yet, the keyboards are jammed, and melodies are entangled

Like laugher trapped in clenched teeth as the cold pricks.

So I turn to A minor staccato, then accelerando

A tribute to crystalline birches and snowy rail tracks.

The notes, joining hands together

Fly from their long-captivated residence, the barred staffs,

And swing up and down to dance away the night

Along with the flurries outside.

Forte notes following horse footprints in the sunset

become decrescendo when reaching snow-clad hamlets with smoking chimneys.

Sharps and flats mingle exquisitely

as snow and darkness entwine, crafting a rich harmony.

Time seems to no longer exist

when you play piano on a December night

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BY PARIS LEE

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the dream dealer

a man with stars in his hair

and incandescent eyes

shuffles past me in the winter,

pulling his boots up from the snow

as he offers me his wares

a penny for a promise,

a dime for a dream,

a quarter for a question,

a dollar for a scheme

two for some more,

pay three for four,

the secrets of the

meaning of this world

are yours

says he sells fantasies, every last one

of the broken paths and forgotten pledges,

dreams that died and

wishes that never came true

and he sells them by the bottle,

charging a little bit of lifeblood

for every dose, so we give

our years for better ones,

exchanging a breath to roll

the thousand-sided die so we may

land on our feet one day

outstretched hands

fingers scraped raw, shaking

from the bitter winter and coarse wind,

i wait as he pours stars

into my palms that

burn my skin and leave

nothing but reddening blisters

to bloom like rhododendrons

against the white snow

phantoms

of our creation, wraiths of smoke

that surround us all our days.

we inhale the bitter scent of the

ambrosian dream of yesteryear

to see its gilded colours fade

when we close our eyes at last;

we carry it with us, even as our

fingers bleed and our skin cracks

and what is left of divine image

crumbles into carnal frenzy

says he sees himself in me, once with

chapped lips on a pale face,

yearning to shatter and swallow

another vial of fatal illusion so that

i may be magnificent again,

drunk on grandeur,

intoxicated with the sight of

unforged paths and

unfinished plans

and i ask him for a little more

because i wither as

the delusion of reality takes hold

and rips me from destiny.

my knees buckle and my eyes water

and i crawl towards the wooden cart

to beg for a little bit more,

just one more dose

although my pockets are as empty as my

pain-stricken mind

but he only laughs and ambles away,

leaving a trail of glass shards and

half-broken reveries in his wake

foolish one

BY GRACE HU

8

laughs, says he screams ghosts

into our ears and calls them songs,

wraps them around

our feverish minds to remind us of

these winter days,

to entomb the frost creeping

into our bones,

to suffocate flesh in

seeping delirium so that we may

laugh as we lie with steel

in our necks and silver in our hands

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they capture us by

drinking us dry,

they feed us, they reap us,

they bend us, they break us

they destroy us

when they sell us fantasies,

and we buy every single one of them

until we have nothing left.


PHOTOGRAPHY

BY SAMANTHA LU

By Maggie Yang

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ART

The Eyes

By Jingjie Chen

I Chose

BY JASMIN KAUR

soft because none of us are the same people we

were five or ten or two years ago. soft because

peonies exist. soft because my plants managed to

persist patiently waiting for water. soft because i

know what it is to not want to wake up in the

morning. soft because there is a bloodhound

somewhere who has befriended a duckling. soft

because he thinks the duckling is a puppy. soft

because i carry four losses inside my chest–one

for each cavity of my heart. soft because i’m

running out of cavities. soft because i’ve been

hard on myself for so long. soft because i don’t

know what you’re carrying. soft because i don’t

know how much more weight will cause it all to

fall through your arms. soft because we’re both

human. soft because coral melted into gold at

dawn. soft because i want you to still be here in

the morning.

By Jingjie Chen

10

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Angels

Perspectives by Stephanie Lee

Mathew Fu

Whistling wings smudge

on a buckling back -

the sky splitting

in puncture wounds.

Falling:

An angel heaved from

bleeding Heaven.

Don’t worry,

His eyes tremble.

We can’t always be holy.

In knowing death, his feathers beg for release,

For severance from one

Unworthy of wings.

In knowing shame, his fathers evangelize

his leaving,

Betrayal twisted in their hands:

Ripped from death,

Seethed from birth.

The miscarriage of sanctity

And he can still taste it:

The daggered renewal of

Falling.

Falling…

And he still cries

Out to his god.

Damnation is his womb.

with rusty wounds

stained on nailbeds like

his claws: only hands

Until denounced as such,

His cause only sacred

Until he punctures ground.

Falling,

Falling,

Falling.

What does it mean to sin?

A changeling pressed

into baptized corruption.

A singed feather rises,

His teeth mouthing words

To a blessing no longer holy.

Fatal praying, fetal paying

His tongue replays the taste of nectar

Now metastasizing as poison.

It breaks: cleaved-through

And serpentine.

Already, he has started changing.

His hand:

grasping smoke, catching air.

A mantra lost in echoless wind

that can only hold screams.

screams.

When angels fall,

He shudders,

Who is there to grieve?

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Blood Rushing

Memory is like the

sea.

Slowly,

building up

and crashing down.

Crushing those trapped in

liquid embrace.

Sometimes,

it offers mercy,

but mostly

it assaults

and propels

and twists

hope.

Then

it

retreats.

It leaves

its victims wondering:

What happened, really?

Only the shells

know the true story;

know what happens in the sea.

But the victims

are too ignorant

or too incompetent

or too unwilling

to know the truth.

Instead of words they

hear blood rushing.

BY JOURDAN HUBER

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BY SAMANTHA LU

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skin

Cynthia Chen

you and me

we’re just skin

peel the seven layers back one by one

and discover we’re just skin and flesh

nerves and blood

cut, you bleed

pinch, it stings

thoughts and prayers and feelings and dreams

may be interspersed in between

but they’re intangible

they don’t come as real as skin

doubts and guilt and bad thoughts and regret

overwhelm my mind

but they’re all in my head

they don’t come as real as skin

goosebumps are pretty lies

chilling me from the inside

i may want to, but i can’t hide it

sweat and tears are almost indistinguishable

but i can always make them out

when they mix with your shade of blue

words are mere surface burns

too dull to leave a scar

i’m the real injury

a wound to close

you and me

we’re just skin

overthinking and skin.

SUZH

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OU

BY TIA LI

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POETRY

By Amelia Lim

HANDS

Lyndsie Conklin

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The lined wear of definition

matched with cosmic tellings

brings destiny into fruition.

Simplistic motions are most compelling

within everyday use, rebelling

against the touch of skin,

our contact is rather telling—

give me your hand and start again.

Your stiff fingers squeeze in ambition,

I thumb at those calloused dwellings,

sweet are our handheld explorations:

I’ll line the bends with lightest pressings

and you will crave the warmth, swelling

within our extremities’ friction.

How I crave this type of holding,

give me your hand and start again.

Innocent boy with all your questions

let me explain life’s dreadful scarring;

Time deepens the lined definitions

and destiny craves warmth, connecting

deep within fingered dwellings.

Let me hold you, forget the pain

of whatever your fear is outlining,

give me your hand and start again.

Give me all the cryptic tellings

that line the handbreadths of your skin

and I’ll hold on without questioning.

Give me your hand and start again.


BY ERIN CHEN

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Observer of Unity

Natalie Borenstein

Brandished in cloaks of Plutonian ice

You played in your secluded kingdom.

Steady asphalt crumbled to make way

For a land of fantasy and mystic day.

The times were monogrammed, allotted, numbered

Concluded in childhood’s last hurrah -

Those hours where I was on the periphery

Of a falsified truth meaningless to me

Save for its connection to your company.

But what was this company of yours, exactly?

Congealed, nauseated lapses of unclassified rejection

Steeped in the illusion of childhood games.

‘You do not have the sparkle,’

They told me,

‘The gift that enables you to see our kingdom’…

That glorious plain I never attained

And forgot as adulthood approached.

Childhood fantasies were trivial and insignificant,

Bathed in an oceanic finitude

And composed of luscious immaturity.

Yet, I remember the unattainable kingdom now.

I am an adult.

I stand before two grown creatures

And I am still on the periphery of a

Forbidden kingdom.

BY VALS LIU

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Earth, Wind, Water, Liar

JP Legarte

The effervescent glow streaming

from the slow grasp of

the horizon overlaid our motionless bodies.

We resided on this patterned blanket

so freely, so forgetfully

I worried we would be engulfed

by uneven ground where

our imprints have already wandered away.

While we descended further into

the soil’s enveloping touch, the atmosphere

aggravated the stillness of our breaths,

materializing them into frenetic breezes,

abandoned foundations for authentic words begging

to be birthed. Bringing feigned serenity

out of silent chaos, that aged evening encapsulated

the downfallen light mirrored in our fading revival.

You gifted me the fallen petals

from tulips that you picked

apart amidst nonexistent conversations. I grew jealous

of the way you dissected them so effortlessly

like your nature of deconstructing my every

drifting thought in your deceiving tongue.

That moment, I dried a flowing river further

to reveal your dirtied bedrock underneath,

picking apart the layers of you

to uncover the twisted threads

within the fabric of your interwoven story.

BY VALS LIU

When the retreating shimmer finally disappeared

beyond the juniper groves gathered together,

the teardrops of February tore open

the remains of the darkened cerulean blanket

covering us, painting us in clear liquid,

reflecting the translucence of the words

we have casted aside. Our shadows so feared intertwining

their still veins that they receded

into our mended beings, yet they still scratch

the reddened skin with aspirations

of transforming into flares of burning beginnings.

We packed everything, the blanket, the baskets,

the impulsively bought dreams and drove

back home into the velvet of the silence

that has become as comfortable as

the lies we have delivered into each other’s conscience.

By Vanessa Chan

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METAM

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ORPHOSIS

Metamorphosis is a series of mixed media sculptures that depicts the three

main characteristics of youth: wonder, discovery, and power.

BY VIELA HU

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22

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Wonder is the exploration of

the world and relationships

during adolescence. Discovery

is the curiosity and revelation

of sexuality, and power is

the explosive energy of youth.

The flower is the reproductive

part of a plant, and in

this series it refers to the uterus

and its association with

growth, puberty, and femininity.

I chose the peony for

this work to display my connection

with Chinese culture.

Flowers represent youth, and

in a way, myself. By wearing

these flowers, the viewer

enters my inner world, and

in essence becomes a flower,

becomes me.

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What Is Love

in Reality

BY JP LEGARTE

What is love

if not

velvet lyrics telling

our conscience

the art of loneliness

is more intimate

than the touch of one’s skin

In this alternate universe

desperation

that is

my desires for

running empty

remains

less affectionate than

vivid memories

Why do

songs and stretched lyrics

of impossible

love and relationships

embody

versions of

that which disintegrates

Imagine attempting to

summarize one-sided

listlessness and devotion

you

cannot contain

because

hallucinations will speak to

unhealthy expectations

of what we could be

Yet every morning

brings

new desires to hide away in

narratives of

wasted ideals

attached to the musings that

fully replicate

in reality

the quickening heartbeat of

velvet flares of fantasies

cannot sustain

a state that

is more dangerous

in dreams.

I am

a drug

leaving

closeness

on suspended

lost shadows

creating that which speaks

of you.

we listen to these narratives

that speak

universes where

connections between us

diluted

themselves into

oblivion.

bottle seasons that

love

into descriptions of

a melody-induced metaphor

everything

cries of

our subjection to

these imaginations

that taint our materiality.

sunrise

echoes of

predictable

consumable romance that

our frail bodies

will not

escape.

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LEAK

By Jenny Zou

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BY ERIN CHEN


PHOTOGRAPHY

in NEW YORK

BY VALS LIU

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Eternal Silence

By Malena Van den Broeck

28

Lightning cracks through the sky, lighting it

up and splitting it in two. Thunder booms from the

clouds above us, as if a giant has set foot not far away.

And then, darkness and a constant ringing in my ears.

Flashes of memory cascade into my mind and into my

dreams; just like the waves did around our ship that night.

The moment I open my eyes, light pours into

them, and for a moment I lay there motionlessly. Staring

into space, my mind is a mess of threads that I can’t quite

untangle. All kinds of memories, all kinds of emotions, all

kinds of thoughts, just waiting for my mind to make sense

of them. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t find the beginning

of the threads. I don’t know how to unravel them.

That’s until I see a sudden flicker, cutting its way

through the threads. There’s a disturbance in the light

flooding through the window, and a shadow across the floor.

I stare in that direction, heart beating like a distant drum.

Finally, I muster up the will to swing my legs

over the bed and stand up on two spindly legs. The

ringing starts again, and I groan, covering my ears in

a vain attempt to stop the noise in my head. Sitting

down to steady myself, I dig my nails into the sheets as

I look around the cottage, trying to distract myself from

the sound searing, burning, into the back of my head.

A cracked wooden floor, four peeling wooden walls,

a splintering wooden window ledge. A meager pile of books,

all of which lay tattered in a diagonal tower; a small circle

of stones, inside of which the charcoal remains of logs are

piled up; and a makeshift bed of sticks and rotten fabric.

Frowning, I turn towards the door, pushing my

arms against the bed to help lift myself up. I walk over to the

door trying to avoid the splinters in the wood, but wince as I

feel a faint stab in my foot. I stare at the spot menacingly as

if daring it to jab me again. After a few seconds, I continue

hobbling towards the door, taking in the cool breeze that enters

when I finally open it. Goosebumps rise along my skin

and I rub my hands over my arms, but realise I’m not cold.

With a deep breath, I take the leather satchel that

has been hanging on a nail next to the door and lift it over

my shoulder. I finger over its loose stitching, wondering how

long it would still last. I walk slowly, carefully, down the uneven

steps outside, the wood creaking with every foot I place.

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Once outside, I stop in my tracks as I narrow

my eyes against the blinding glare of the sun. A valley

of green is spread out before me, a green so vibrant

and fresh it almost looks unreal. It stretches out, dipping

and hilling until it touches a small strip of sand,

and finally the sea. The sea’s sparkling, turquoise

surface reaches out as far as my eyes can see, until it

meets with the sky. The small reflections of the sun on

the water are twinkling like stars far before my eyes.

Even from up here, the wind carries the faint salt-filled

scent of the ocean to me. I resist the urge to lay outstretched

on the grass and take in the sights and scents.

Two birds fly by without a sound; neither a

whistle, nor the wind in their wings. And yet, the ringing

in my ears persists, like a bee that is continuously

buzzing around my ear.

And then I stand there, looking out across the

landscape and over my shoulder at the tiny cottage. My

heart skips a beat, and I grip my satchel until my knuckles

turn white. My mind is spinning, further threading

into itself. All I can make out is the ice cold fear.

It grips me, settling along my arms as if a blanket is

trying to comfort me with thoughts of the sea, although

it is nonetheless a cold blanket. The ripples over my

arms do nothing to tell me what I will find, what fears

are hidden between the threads weaving their way in

and out of the little nooks and crannies of my head.

And yet, in the distance, down the valley of

green, the little suns floating atop the surface of the

ocean seem to invite me towards them, or perhaps

rather taunt me to step forward. With another deep

breath, I take a step. Then another. And another. Until

I’m walking down the valley.

Along the way the thoughts come back, so

sudden that I have to sit down, or else they would have

knocked me off my feet and sent me tumbling down

the hill. Rain flooding down, people screaming, waves

engulfing the boat.

I glance back at the cottage for a second before

I turn my head away once again, staring out into

the distance and the flickering lights of the sea, biting

my lip in agony. I sigh and bury my head in my

hands, willing everything to disappear. Go away goaway

goawaygowayagaywg…Once my strength has seeped

back into me drop by drop, I start my journey again.


By this time, the sun is right between the highest point in

the sky and the horizon, as if it can’t quite decide where to go. I

quicken my pace slightly, my shoulders rigid and my eyes glued to

the line where the ocean and the sky unite.

Skidding down hills and climbing up slopes, swerving past

bushes and ducking under trees, I follow the sun on its journey to the

sea. Sweat is beading down my forehead, blurring my vision slightly,

and the leather canteen lays crumpled in my satchel, empty of water.

Between rest stops and sudden thoughts, I reach the

beach by the time my throat has dried, and I have no more water

left in my body to sweat. My feet are raw, soles blistered from

walking without having anything support them, and my legs are

trembling with exhaustion.

The sun has set beyond the horizon, leaving in its wake

a trail of purple, gradually melting into navy. The entire sky is

scattered with stars that look to be thousands of fireflies, shining

millions of miles away. And then there is the sea, now calmer

than it was during the day.

Now, as I stand here with my feet slowly starting to sink into

the sand, the waves almost touch my toes. They threaten to reach

out and grab my feet, sweeping me away with them as the tide ebbs.

And just like that, the threads loosen, taking me back

to the scene of the night before. It overwhelms me, drawing me

under into the dark depths of this sinister ocean, and swallowing

me whole. I can’t help but sink to the ground, tears crawling

up to the brim of my eyes and almost begging to stream

from my eyes through the lack of water, until the memories

unravel themselves completely and I’m enveloped in them.

Lightning cracks through the sky, lighting it up and splitting

it in two. I hear thunder booming from the clouds above us, as if a

giant has set foot not far away. Rain floods down from the sky and

the waves slam against the side of the boat, making it rock to one

side violently, then shudder and groan before it rocks to the other.

All the people on our ship scatter, like a school of fish trying in vain

to avoid the inevitable jaws of death of the shark chasing them. I

hear their screams as I hang onto my mother’s hand, who is grabbing

it tightly as she looks at the scene in front of her, eyes wide. I

shake her hand, and she looks down at me, alarmed. I free myself

from her hand and hug her, not knowing what else to do. The chaos

slows down and mutes around us. I see or hear nothing but her,

cradling me in her arms as we say goodbye to each other silently. We

don’t need words to express anything. We know the time has come.

And as all suddenly goes dark with a final crash, my ears

ring as I fall into an eternal silence.

Lovers At Dusk

Mirrorball

BY KESTON RUBY

LadyBug

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29


Blossom

into Lig

spring

BY MILLIE SHARMAN

snow

footsteps on stiff concrete, coated

in the achingly impermanent:

whispers of white,

crystal, cold.

it will all fade,

trickle down gritty pavement.

and soon,

the traces of laughter, shadows of smiles

vestiges of touch

blooming between bodies trampling the frosty mantle

will run from memory.

mangled, lost to time —

mirrors of the dreamy shroud underfoot,

unwittingly rubbed to transparency.

BY VANESSA CHAN

30

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Freedom by Margaret Kuts

ing

ht

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31


Content warning: there may be explicit language

Funhouse Mirror

By James K. Maddox

Billy sifts through the mail. One day he’ll strike gold and

find a rare stamp, applied without care to a wrinkled circular

or unpaid bill. That’s what he’s looking for. Really, it is.

Jules is sitting on the step outside, wrapped in a

heavy coat. Through the open door, Billy can see him

tracing his fingers through the flower patch, making warrens

in the thin dark earth.

“Why do you do it?” This from Jules, now inspecting

his hands. There are ridges of dirt in his fingernails.

Billy shrugs. “It’s just what I do, collecting stamps.”

Jules stretches and says, “I used to be an actor.

On and off-screen, it’s all about discovering what makes

people tick.”

“I guess,” Billy says, “that I look for stamps because

they make me happy. I check the mail. The trash cans, too.

Sometimes I take the streetcar and I look beneath the seats.”

“No, no.” Jules shakes his head. “The stamps

are a means to an end. What are you really looking for?”

“Stamps.”

“On a deeper level.”

“Stamps,” he says. “Of course.”

“As long as it’s not for—”

“No,” says Billy. “I’m over all that.”

What does Jules know about anything? He’s not

been on screen for years now; if he had, he wouldn’t

be here, rotting in his mother’s boarding house, passing

time with the paying guests. Billy watches the actor

come inside and make his way up the stairs. Then he

looks away, back at the pile of mail. He runs it through

his hands, onion-peeler, stripping back the layers. Speak

of the devil: here’s a cheque for Jules. Beneath it he finds

a bill for the landlady, and there’s a stack of letters for

Jeanne upstairs, his neighbour across the hall, dispatches

from numerous pen pals. She has filled their shared

bathroom with trinkets and charms; he stares in the eyes

of a crystal skull whenever he uses the john. There are

a couple of letters for former roomers lurking at the

bottom of the pile, in desperate need of redirection.

Something is sandwiched between Jeanne’s letters,

poking out like cold boiled beef. He teases it free.

A travelling show has come to town and they’ve set up

shop in the park nearby. The advert shows him rides

and stalls, dotting the grass like an acne rash. A carousel.

A haunted house. A hotdog stand with a striped

umbrella, blurred and stretched by sloppy printing.

Billy picks up the mail and plays postman for the

tenants. When he gives Jules the cheque, he shows him

the crumpled funfair flyer. “I thought I might go,” he

says. “It’s on today.”

“I wouldn’t.” Jules places the cheque on his chest

of drawers, and the address inverts in his shaving mirror.

“Circuses hide in tents for a reason. They lure you in and

rip you off.”

“It’s not a circus.”

“Well, still. These places – there’s no telling what

you’ll find inside.”

It’s a wonky route from the house to the park, past the

hospital and then up north. The rain peters out on

Parkdale Road, but the wind picks up, biting at his neck

despite his scarf. The air is charged with a thunderstorm

fuzz.

He finds the fair at the edge of the park, spreading

out ahead like a plywood ruin. There’s a creaking

wheel, half-sized from the flyer, turning slow and dull in

the twilight gloom. It makes Billy think of a crashed pedal

bike, wheels swirling with dead momentum. There are

concessions stands and shooting games and he can hear

the sizzle of bubbling oil. He sniffs. There’s the scent of

an impending grease fire.

To his left stands a haunted house, leaking light

through tilting walls. A carnival worker with a painted

skull sits on a stool by the door. He stubs out his cigar

and tries to catch Billy’s eye, but Billy walks on past. Now

and again, he hears a tinny cackle. It’s the souls of the

dead on stereo loop.

Billy adjusts his scarf and surveys the terrain.

Prize goldfish bubble in plastic sacs. He’s drawn towards

the bumper cars, a childhood favourite of his, until he

catches a flash near the carousel’s rim. There’s a painted

archway to a mirror maze, and he spots a glimpse of the

first glass pane. It’s peeking out, striptease-coy.

He carries on to the bumper cars and clambers

into one colourful cab. The attraction starts. Strains of

muzak follow him as he drives around in circles. Each

time he passes, the archway flashes, a coaxing lighthouse

wink. He avoids contact with the other cars, threads a

lonely route. The engine rumbles beneath his seat. It

makes him tremble when he passes the maze.

His legs are shaking when he exits the ride and

makes his way towards the hall of mirrors. Billy is a magpie,

drunk on shine. Moving closer now. The man at the

entrance has a painted grin. It melts in the rain, mixing

with the dirt on his clown-shoe boots.

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Content warning: there may be explicit language

“How much?” asks Billy, with a fistful of coins.

The man grunts. “The haunted house is better.”

“I don’t want to go to the haunted house.”

“It has plastic ghosts. Skeletons. A guy who

jumps out and says, ‘Boo!’ Really, man, you’re missing

out.”

Billy shakes his head and pays the fee. His left

palm smells of metal and sweat from clutching the

handful of change.

His face skews cute in a funhouse mirror –

this is what she told him. He’s never been sure what

she meant by that, or what she ever really meant by

anything. The last time they met she picked holes in

her lover, a lady wrestler Billy once knew, and then told

him she was happy despite them.

“It’s weird,” she said. Her pupils looked huge

beneath prescription lenses. “She told me to leave you

and now she’s trying to fuck me. It’s a bit sneaky, eh?”

He sat on her couch and chewed at his fingers.

Now captured on glass are a dozen Billys,

five-foot-ten and rimmed by bulbs. He moves and they

mimic, no getting away. He follows fingerprint smears

along the ice-lake panes, deeper into the maze.

The passage swells. The nearest mirror bunches

him up like a dirty sock. There on another he’s

stretched on the rack. And up ahead is a trick of the

light, but it’s a trick of the light that makes his heart

pump faster. He’s got a degree in engineering; he could

take the fair apart and put it back together. He knows

there’s nothing really there.

And yet. There’s the face, there’s the chin. Her

glasses are a ring of fingerprint grime. Halogen bulbs

throw false blonde curls that snag on the glass like Velcro.

Her nose is a crack, a flaw in the sheet.

His legs are made of Jell-O. He crashes against

a mirrored wall, picks himself up, and then stumbles

again. He bounces through the maze like a high-score

pinball, leaving sweaty smears. He searches for her

ghost to anchor himself, but even that is fading fast.

She dims with every blink. Billy bulges his eyes until

tears start to form, and then his eyelids slam down,

twin trapdoors of an oubliette.

It’s dark outside and it smells like ice. The fat

in the fryers has long gone cold.

Billy sits on the frosty grass. Jules wasn’t wrong

about the stamps, nor about the things best left unseen

that lurk in hidden and mirrored halls. He might tell

him that tomorrow. And tomorrow Billy might find

what he wants, firm on paper or firmer in flesh, not

faint on glass like a phantom. Fixed like stamps all neat

in a row, solid and set like romance isn’t.

But the mirrored ghosts are here now. Billy gets

up and brushes himself. He follows the high, nostalgic

cries, faintly audible over the muzak. He goes back past

the clown with his dripping smile, and back to the siren

snag-heart glass. Back, back inside and back in time, to

find a hint of halogen blonde, a funhouse best forgotten.

OVERTHINKING

By Jenalyn Ng

Overthinking represents the destruction of excessive worrying. Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, are tenacious,

fast-growing, and invasive plant species. In this piece, their cuttings are used to symbolize the stifling nature of

overthinking. Similar to pothos, if thoughts and ideas are tended and nurtured, they will flourish, but if grown

too abundantly, they compete for space and energy until they wither away.

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33


the earth is ready

to sing again

BY LUNA YIN

the sharp coldness in the air

gives way to the scent of

earthy warmth and

honeyed sunlight

building side by Joseph Etchingham

the silent soil

breathes again,

alive with the soft hum of life,

shrugging off its blanket of

snow and frost

a blank canvas of

crystalline white

melts into clear, shimmering

dew, a layer of glossy droplets

on a painting

of lush velvet green

and pale pastel petals

the light breeze

inhales and exhales,

its breath sweet

with flowery perfume

the rain drizzles and fades,

the songbirds shake

the stiffness from their chilled feathers,

the buds below lift

their heads toward

the soft clouds once more

the earth is ready to sing again

Two rabbits by Irina Novikova

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Boulders On

Salt on Wound by Elaine Zhuo

Our Shoulders

BY SOFIA VARMA-VITUG

We are weighed down

You can see it in our shoulders

These boulders

of problems we carry

We strive to crush our boulders,

to turn them into pavement

One by one,

virus after virus

mask after mask

variant after variant

threat after threat

war after war

But we let the boulders,

the virus,

the fake news,

the loneliness,

get the best of us

Crush us

into a hole,

underneath the path

we’ve paved so carefully

We have to dig ourselves out

of the ruins,

while still carrying these boulders

on our shoulders

Hardbound

BY LISA OWENS

I am an old vintage volume,

ruby-red sprinkled with specks

of early morning coffee

or smudges of dark chocolate.

Pages folded and frayed.

Hard cover with fragile core.

Worn from neglect

with no caregiver to mend my spine.

One must look deep within

to uncover my secrets.

Seek and ye shall find,

if you dare to dig.

Crafted to withstand time.

I await the brave explorers

who possess eager hands

to behold this tattered state,

open hearts to fall in love at first glance

and inquisitive minds

to excavate all layers.

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35


therapy.

By Lisa Watts

i cry and i breathe,

and i cry and i breathe,

until i can't cry or breathe anymore.

i'm scared.

why aren't you helping me?

you are supposed to be helping me.

i cry and i cry

and i breathe and i cry,

then i stop breathing.

you are looking at me

like i'm crazy.

i'm not crazy.

i'm just scared

and i'm lost.

i’m so frustrated that you're not helping me,

you said you would help me.

but here i am,

sitting across from you

in a room with ugly blue walls

and no windows.

you pass me the tissue box.

i didn't realize i signed up

for you to pass me the tissue box.

please help me.

Heart by Irina Novikova

stormy thoughts

By Lisa Watts

my thoughts are rumbling like thunder,

and being as excessive as lightning.

i want them to stop,

but then i wouldn’t be alive.

i rip out my brain anyway

and shatter it across the marble tile,

while you sit there and watch me break.

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The Pilgrim’s Woods

By Natalie Borenstein

These are not Kipling’s woods:

Pathless

Uncharted

Abandoned.

These woods carry goods

For the secular pilgrim

To construct their path

Through crystalline patterned hymns

To natural forms -

Palaces of undergrowth and saplings in swarms

Bedecked with stalactite arrows

That point to a path for the winter traveller.

Leaf Lights by Stephanie Lee

These woods are traversed by

Imposing prints of past palmers

Whose breath the grey air has now swallowed

In echoes of a chambered past.

The phantom deer is rooted to the road

Through these woods

By its warm dye

That has bled a hole in the snow.

It turns its majestic head towards a new traveller

Whose body on the horizon grows…

old car edit by Joseph Etchingham

Away the deer runs, trailing quavers of shamrock green.

These woods have a road that widens

With passengers,

Expanding with diminishing snow

And dissolving when it melts.

Quarantine by Raymond Chen

Windows into the World by Stephanie Lee

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37


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PLUVIA ISSUE II

WINTER 2022

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SOCIAL

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I S S U E III

CONTRIBUTORS

AMELIA LIM

Amelia Lim is a high school student from Canada. She loves to express herself through writing and reciting poetry, for she believes it is an excellent

way to let your emotions out. Amelia’s writing is inspired by the music she listens to and the issues she feels most passionate about. Most notably,

whenever she is angry or upset, she likes to channel that energy into her writing.

CYNTHIA CHEN

Cynthia Chen is a high school senior currently living in South Korea. She enjoys writing about anything and everything, from shower thoughts to

2AM ideas, confused feelings and old memories. Her poetry has previously been published by Pluvia Literary Magazine. Usually, the poems she writes

are for her only, but now, she shares them with the world, hoping people cherish her words and the stories behind them.

EDWARD LEE

Edward Lee is an artist and writer from Ireland. His paintings and photography have been exhibited widely, while his poetry, short stories, non-fiction

have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll. He is

currently working on two photography collections: ‘Lying Down With The Dead’ and ‘There Is A Beauty In Broken Things’. He also makes musical

noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy. His blog/website can be found at https://

edwardmlee.wordpress.com

ELAINE ZHUO

Elaine Zhuo is a student at Lord Byng Secondary School, and is a student of the Byng Arts Visual Arts Program. She has a passion for both art and

storytelling, and she is experienced in both traditional and digital drawing media.

ERIN CHEN

GRACE HU

Storytelling is a powerful force changing the world, and Grace indulges in it through writing epic fantasy novels, poetry, playing piano, composing, or

weaving narratives into her speeches and essays. For inspiration, she immerses herself in world history, linguistics, philosophy, politics, and current

events. Of course, she enjoys listing things, and when she’s not complaining about the injustices of the world, she’ll definitely be making more daily

TO-DO lists.

IRINA NOVIKOVA

She was born on 12/11/1987 in Minsk. Lives and works in Moscow. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in

art criticism and the Moscow Humanitarian and Technical Academy with a degree in design. Member of the Krasnogorsk Union of Artists “LIK”,

Member of the Federation of Watercolorists, Member of the International Art Fund (IHF), Member of the Union of Russian Artists, Member of the

Creative Association “Artist”.

JAMES K. MADDOX

James K. Maddox lives in Sheffield. In 2021 he graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with an MFA in Creative Writing, specialising in

short fiction. He edits The Sleeve Magazine, a quarterly literary zine which brings together fiction and poetry from around the world.

JASMIN KAUR

Jasmin Kaur is a writer, illustrator and poet living on unceded Sto:lo First Nations territory. Her writing, which explores themes of feminism, womanhood,

social justice and love, acts as a means of healing and reclaiming identity. Named a “rising star” by Vogue Magazine and a “Writer to Watch”

by CBC Books, she has toured across North America, the UK and Australia to connect with youth through the power of artistic expression. Her debut

poetry and prose collection, When You Ask Me Where I’m Going (2019) was shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her sophomore novel, If

I Tell You The Truth (2021), is releasing on January 19th 2021. Currently an MFA student in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing

program, Jasmin can usually be found daydreaming about the next story she’s itching to tell.

JENALYN NG

Jenalyn Ng is a grade 12 student attending Point Grey Secondary School. Her friends, family, and faith are valued dearly by her. In her free time, she

enjoys going on bike rides around the city, tending to her many houseplants, listening to music, and creating art at her school’s ceramics studio.

JENNY ZOU

JINGJIE CHEN

Jingjie Chen is an interactive media artist currently based in San Francisco. Graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, her works often explore

how human memory, sentiments and consciousness can exist and evolve in the virtual world, through mediums

like AR/VR experiences, narrative games and photography.

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JOSEPH ETCHINGHAM

Joseph L. Etchingham is a published photographer currently residing in Bozeman, Montana. While initially trained in filmmaking, Joseph changed

his focus to still photography in the past few years. When he discovered street photographers, such as Saul Leiter, this made him want to pursue

street and documentary photography. The pandemic only reinforced this career path. Joseph is currently working on a series of black and white

portraits.

JOURDAN HUBER

Jourdan Huber is a writer and middle school teacher in Southern California. Her work has been published in Blue Stockings Magazine. She lives

with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys spending time in nature or exploring the complexity of humanity through reading and writing.

JP LEGARTE

JP Legarte is a Pilipino-American student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign double majoring in Creative Writing and Science, Health, and Environmental

Writing and minoring in English minor. He desires to provide spaces through his writing where others can process their own emotions, ponderings, and

anything else within life itself. His poems have been previously published or are forthcoming in Pareidolia Literary, Dead Skunk Magazine, Words & Whispers, Ice

Lolly Review, and The Global Youth Review among other journals and magazines. You can find him on Instagram at @jpl091 and @unspokenentropy.

KESTON RUBY

Keston Ruby is an artist experienced in digital and analog mediums. She uses rich colour and copious values to create an elaborate scene. Her work

can be described as hazy and dreamy, as well as harsh and bold. Whether it’s from observation or imagination, she is driven by the natural world.

She has been shooting since 2017 and will graduate highschool this coming June.

LISA OWENS

Lisa Owens is a poet and fiction writer from St. Louis, Missouri, USA. With a passion for connection to self, nature and others she seeks to inspire,

instill strength and build a relationship with the reader. Her work can be found in publications by Quillkeepers Press, Poets Choice, Tiny Seed

Journal, Plants & Poetry Journal, Bluing the Blade Literary Journal, Epoch Literary Journal, Unlimited Literature, Wingless Dreamer, Pile Press

and Analogies and Allegories Literary Magazine.

LISA WATTS

Growing up in a small town located in Ontario, Lisa, who goes by l.w. through her poetry, found peace in her writings at a young age.

Writing quickly became her escape from reality, as it was the only form of expression that she stumbled upon, and she still uses it as an

escape to this day. Only now, she also hopes to be that escape for someone else, if possible.

LUNA YIN

Luna Yin is a 15-year-old writer who was born in China and currently lives in Canada. When she’s not writing poetry, she’s usually writing

piano music. Her works have been published by Capsule Stories, Five Minute Lit, Milk & Cake Press, and more.

LYNDSIE CONKLIN

Lyndsie Conklin is a poet living in Colorado with her husband and cat, Beans. Through her poetry, Lyndsie wishes to illustrate the complexity

of the little, gross beauties in life found within extensive, current topics, such as mental health, LGBTQ+, and women’s issues.

Lyndsie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Colorado University and a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration

from Post University.

MALENA VAN DEN BROECK

Malena Van den Broeck is a 16-year-old student from Belgium, currently living in South Korea. She has been passionate about creative

writing ever since she learned to write, and becoming an author is always on her mind. Through describing visuals and emotions to detail

in her writing, she seeks to escape to worlds other than our own, and let readers delve into protagonists’ minds and explore their worlds

too.

MATHEW FU

Mathew Fu is a Grade 11 student from Eric Hamber Secondary who enjoys reading and writing in his free time. Mathew is often inspired

to write while travelling and is keen on connecting with other young writers. Though often overwhelmed by rigorous schoolwork,

Mathew also spends his time socializing with his friends, attending school club meetings and playing music.

MILLIE SHARMAN

Millie Sharman is a young writer with a passion for poetry. She loves exploring complex concepts — such as the passage of time — in her

writing, tackling each blank page with a different perspective.

NATALIE BORENSTEIN

Natalie Borenstein is a young writer in the UK. Her work has been published in The Dark Poets Club Magazine, Philosophy Now and

other similar publications. Last year, she won Natalie Haynes’ British Museum Competition alongside a scholarship for Immerse Education’s

Oxbridge Research Programme. At the moment, Natalie is enjoying her journey with her newly-founded publication: Aurum

Journal. Instagram: @aurumjournal.

PARIS LEE

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41


RAYMOND CHEN

Raymond is an upcoming Junior at Lord Byng Secondary School. Raymond understands the importance of expressing his feelings

and does so in a variety of literary forms: poems, drawings, and most importantly, painting and sculpting. Raymond takes great interest

in critical thinking and is involved in the study of the interrelationship of fields such as philosophy and psychology. Raymond also

has an interest in commentating and has taken the role of commentator in multiple community-organized tournaments in different

gaming communities.

SAMANTHA LU

SOFIA VARMA-VITUG

Sofia Varma-Vitug is a fourteen-year-old writer, athlete and avid reader. She loves to write poetry, prose, and fiction. To Sofia, writing

is a way to find and make beauty in the world.

STEPHANIE LEE

Stephanie Lee is a Grade 11 student at York House School. From a young age, she discovered her passion for art, specifically digital

art. She has explored photography, video editing, and graphic design. Things that inspire her include music, her faith, and her family.

In her free time, she enjoys singing, working out, and hanging out with her friends.

TIA LI

Tia Li is an art student at Crofton House School. She enjoys animation and concept design and wishes to enter the field of animation.

She believes animation is an essential visual influence that delivers animators’ messages to all people, all classes, and nations.

In the future, Tia will use her best ability to reflect on social justice issues through her animations.

VALS LIU

VANESSA CHAN

VICKY NGUYEN

Vicky (Vy) Nguyen grew up in Saigon and lives in British Columbia, but often finds herself jet-lagged anywhere in between. She is

an 11th grader who enjoys history, linguistics, and life sciences. In her free time, she scrambles her blog, chuckles at history memes,

and tries to conjugate verbs, all while thinking about the next meal. You can find some of her writings on her blog Rants and Rambles

at talesoftwocountries.blogspot.com.

VIELA HU

Viela Hu creates dreamlike mixed media works that explore the wonders of youth. In her work, including paintings, sculptures, or

films, she combines pastel hues with dark tones to emphasize the brevity and unique energy of juvenescence. Her works document

her thoughts and changes in her life. Much of her artworks are influenced by films, music, and her observations of daily life. She

is interested in the depiction of the various emotions that exist only during youth. Art to her is a way to record her existence and

consciousness, a gateway to her world.

Enjoyed reading this issue and are interested in being apart of our next issue?

ISSUE V SUBMISSIONS

CLOSE NOV 25, 2022

More information on our website pluvialitmag.com

42

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ABOUT US

PLUVIA

LITERARY

MAGAZINE

Pluvia is an international non-profit literary magazine

that publishes online 3-4 times a year. We accept creative

art forms, whether it be poetry, prose, or visual arts.

We seek to amplify both emerging and established

voices, with a particular emphasis on BIPOC and underrepresented

writers and artists. Inspired by rain’s

beauty and by how often it is overlooked, our mission

is to utilize the creative arts as a path for societal

change and expression of the inner self. We

hope to publish work that is raw and honest; work

that excavates and uncovers the beauty in the small.

We are not looking for a particular theme or aesthetic

so we welcome all work, whether it be lost

in the tumultuous waves of existence, or basking

under the emerging sun of a rainstorm.

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