ISSUE III SUMMER 2022
POETRY | PROSE | ART
Rising Upon by Nina Tsai
BY TIA LI
PLUVIA LITERARY MAGAZINE
EXECUTIVE + EDITORIAL
James K. Maddox
Malena Van den Broeck
Cover artwork: Incubator by Jenny Zou
Magazine Designer: Maggie Yang
6 - 13
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
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
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
INCUBATOR BY JENNY ZOU
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
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
BY PARIS LEE
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
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
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
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
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
but he only laughs and ambles away,
leaving a trail of glass shards and
half-broken reveries in his wake
BY GRACE HU
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
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.
BY SAMANTHA LU
By Maggie Yang
By Jingjie Chen
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
By Jingjie Chen
Perspectives by Stephanie Lee
Whistling wings smudge
on a buckling back -
the sky splitting
in puncture wounds.
An angel heaved from
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
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
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.
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
Already, he has started changing.
grasping smoke, catching air.
A mantra lost in echoless wind
that can only hold screams.
When angels fall,
Who is there to grieve?
Memory is like the
and crashing down.
Crushing those trapped in
it offers mercy,
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
BY SAMANTHA LU
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.
BY TIA LI
By Amelia Lim
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
Observer of Unity
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
BY VALS LIU
Earth, Wind, Water, Liar
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
Metamorphosis is a series of mixed media sculptures that depicts the three
main characteristics of youth: wonder, discovery, and power.
BY VIELA HU
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,
What Is Love
BY JP LEGARTE
What is love
velvet lyrics telling
the art of loneliness
is more intimate
than the touch of one’s skin
In this alternate universe
my desires for
less affectionate than
songs and stretched lyrics
love and relationships
that which disintegrates
Imagine attempting to
listlessness and devotion
hallucinations will speak to
of what we could be
Yet every morning
new desires to hide away in
attached to the musings that
the quickening heartbeat of
velvet flares of fantasies
a state that
is more dangerous
creating that which speaks
we listen to these narratives
connections between us
bottle seasons that
into descriptions of
a melody-induced metaphor
our subjection to
that taint our materiality.
consumable romance that
our frail bodies
By Jenny Zou
BY ERIN CHEN
in NEW YORK
BY VALS LIU
By Malena Van den Broeck
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.
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
BY KESTON RUBY
BY MILLIE SHARMAN
footsteps on stiff concrete, coated
in the achingly impermanent:
whispers of white,
it will all fade,
trickle down gritty pavement.
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
Freedom by Margaret Kuts
Content warning: there may be explicit language
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
“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?”
“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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
building side by Joseph Etchingham
the silent soil
alive with the soft hum of life,
shrugging off its blanket of
snow and frost
a blank canvas of
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
Salt on Wound by Elaine Zhuo
BY SOFIA VARMA-VITUG
We are weighed down
You can see it in our shoulders
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 fake news,
get the best of 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
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.
By Lisa Watts
i cry and i breathe,
and i cry and i breathe,
until i can't cry or breathe anymore.
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
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.
The Pilgrim’s Woods
By Natalie Borenstein
These are not Kipling’s woods:
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
Expanding with diminishing snow
And dissolving when it melts.
Quarantine by Raymond Chen
Windows into the World by Stephanie Lee
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PLUVIA ISSUE II
INSTAGRAM + FACEBOOK
I S S U E III
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 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 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://
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.
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
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 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 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.
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.
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
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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
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 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 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.
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
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 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 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.
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
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?
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More information on our website pluvialitmag.com
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.