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Amani Almadani

Although you were not blood related to me,
you were and always will be more than that
in my heart. You always made other people
smile, but you never smiled by yourself.
I am grateful to have met you, simply at
my mother's doctor's office. You then
became my aunt, and you always took care of me.
I remember all the weekends at different
Mexican restaurants, we ate like there was no
tomorrow, oh how much you loved your
enchiladas, then we would come back
home just to eat some more. We would
drive everywhere in your big black Jeep, you
would sing Marc Anthony at the top of your
lungs. I would get embarrassed at how loud
you would be in public places, I was so young,
but I would do anything to have that again.
You’d make my mom smile from ear to
ear and laugh, and you’d also make sure all the beer
would disappear. Sitting outside in your garden on
sunny or gloomy days, a garden that took you hours
to perfect, reminding me that every time I see a
butterfly, to remember you. After all the times you
yelled at me for burping out loud, and said no
boy would date me because of it, I wish you
I could meet my boyfriend now. You’d hear
the both of us burping, and I finally won't be
the only one getting yelled at.
I saw you a month before your passing, I was
only 16 years old.
Te quiero mucho, Tía.

Stratford’s Miniature Forest

Jewls Douge

In the isolated forest area within Connecticut, there flows ghostly vibes.

To maps and pedestrians

It is unfamiliar, all within this quiet state.

The air is fresh, ripely plants

BLOSSOM                                                      when walking the small path.

Graciously welcoming you to their home

Oddly, no one is sure of how the path was made, but

This heart could pump

                           even when it’s out of the body.

Before heading to Pender’s field for the senior games, you’d probably lie against the oak in the middle.

A place within a home. You’ll never fully grasp.

A secret place for me and you, for wanderers and coyotes.      


Austin Chong

Raw fish wrapped in rice
Delicious salmon galore
Always my first choice
Next to the heat lamp
Juicy red meat right below
Medium rare please
Balance greens come next
Chinese broccoli is best
All potato dishes
Fruit bowl of all fresh
Watermelon cantaloupe
Grapes honeydew too
Ice cream always last
Strawberry and coffee scoops
Fried donuts if fresh

A Wake Up Curse

Carolyn Van Arsdale

Dddringg ddringg, 
Dddringg ddringg, 
Roll over, hit snooze, 
Catch some Z's, 
Dddringg ddringg, 
Dddringg ddringg, 
Roll over, hit stop, 
Roll on back, rub eyes, hold in hand, 
New Tinder Match, 
                                                                   Slide left, clear, 
Today is Sam Levi and 3 other Friend's Birthdays, 
                                                        Slide left, clear, 
Biden and Trump to face off tonight in Tennessee, 
Tap, open, read, 
Thumb x2 on home,  
                                          Swipe up 
Thumb x1 on home, 
You haven't logged your breakfast calories yet, do it now! 
"Ugh, shut up," 
                                                        Slide left, clear, 
Connor Murphy Accepted Your Follow Request, 
Connor Murphy Requested to Follow Your Account, 
Tap, open, accept Connor Murphy's request, 
Tap on Connor Murphy, 
Scroll down, 
Tap on post of Connor and some other chick, 
Tap Instagram home, 
**30 minutes later** 
Janevanars sent you 12 TikToks, 
Tap, open, see conversation, 
**1 hour later** 
Reminder: Dentist Appt. in 15 minutes, 


Daniel Fore

I want to make my daddy understand
No, I need him to understand
What is wrong with me loving another man?
Just because I don’t like girls, doesn’t mean that I’m any less your kin
Just because I'm not the way you want me to be, doesn't mean that I’m strange
It’s getting colder in here, it's getting harder to breathe
I want to open the door and just fly free
But there’s a lock and the people around me have the key
They keep on pushing me back inside
I’ve been confined to these walls for a long time
I don’t want to be in constant fear of living my life
Reading the news and being mortified
Of the crimes against people being themselves amplified
By the fact that some would rather drink cyanide
Than live with the pain of freely being who they truly are
And being scared of scars
I’m scared of getting them scars
And getting looked at like I’m from Mars
Worried about what my friends will do when they find out
What they will talk about
I don’t have any doubt
That what they say will make me want to scream and shout
Has me wondering if it’s worth it to try

Loan Oaks

Shaniya Krausse

Cigarette smoke lingered in the air,
Old rock and roll played in the background.
As the big sign “Lone Oaks Campground” approached,
My brother and I began to count down.
We passed corn fields, and farmland with horses and cows.
Every Friday, my mom would pull us out of school early,
I always looked forward to that.
As we arrived, we headed towards the field.
And once our site was located, I exited the car, breathing in the fresh air.
It smelled like campfire smoke, and I knew I was home.
Mom and dad began to crank the pop-up camper open.
My brother and I unloaded the truck
Of all the different types of wood.
Dad worked in a lumber yard all our lives,
he made sure we knew what was what:
Cedar, cherry, oak, birch, maple, pine.
As my parents continued to set up camp,
My brother and I ran to the office to get the activities sheet.
Every hour, they offered
Capture the flag, kickball, basketball, dodgeball,
Arts and crafts in the rec hall, bingo later in the evening.

My Mother’s Home

Janelle Pompea

But she never left home: Trinidad, 
My mother’s accent still lingers 
when she speaks, foreign to others 
mom’s voice to me  
“I’m making paster for dinner” 
she prepares bake n’ bacalao for breakfast. 
Her children- half here, half home  
her family- some here, some home 
she traded her coconuts for apples and  
her beaches for lakes.  
But she never left home: my mother 
she moved but she did not leave  
Trinidad planted the seed, 
America grew the flower- 
the roots remain at home. 
Her heart the shape of an island  
spews warmth during the New England winter, 
home sends for her every February  
followed by March’s post Carnival depression, 
she welcomes spring with Cuban rum 
It's not that she never left home, home never left her. 

There is No Oxygen in Space

Carissa J. Larruiz

I tend to look up to the sky 
When I’m sad, hoping that 
This sorrow will fly so high 
To the clouds and let my tears fall flat 
To become the heavy rain on a summer day. 
And I desire to get lost in space 
By counting an infinite amount of stars along the way. 
My presence will leave no trace. 
Should I give up now 
Or should I continue painting constellations 
Free-minded alone, throughout this runaway vow? 
And I will endlessly dance with my self-aspirations 
To calm the river flooding from my eyes 
In the reflection of the moon’s euphoric disguise.


Chloe Kelly

I turn the handle clockwise ever so slightly
But then I freeze as ice cold spears hit my thin naked body

Here I stand
Frozen in place
I hurt all over
So, I just stay standing
And all I can do is ruminate while those spears still jab me

In the very same spot, where I stand now, is where he fell
Hit his head and bled to death
        It made cleaning up easy, the blood just trickled down the drain
That was two years ago yet it feels like yesterday
Since his passing, time is unhurried and so am I

I look down at my feet

They are ruby red yet
I still shiver

I need to rotate the handle counterclockwise now or I will never get out

One step forward as I force my trembling hand
My body jerks but I finally reach the handle

              Turn goddamnit!

I rotate too far
But I do nothing

And here, I still stand alone as I continue to hurt all over
But all I can do is ruminate while fiery hot spears jab me

Play Hard

Liam Hannon

I wonder what da Vinci felt like when he made the Mona Lisa?
Did he think it would happen to be something literally
Everybody would see and talk about?
Or did he just think of it as another painting?
Maybe he thought it was similar to his helicopter
Or airplane, never meant to fly off the ground.
Maybe he was too hard on himself
And he didn’t even enjoy it.
I imagine if I could create my own Mona Lisa
And see it the way other people look at da Vinci’s work
I could probably live on that feeling
At least for a while.

Zealot’s Plea

Jake Nannariello

Harken to me, sons and daughters
Of our high and mighty lord!
Cleanse our holy home of heathens.
Let them feel His burning scorn.
Snag them, drag them from their hovels.
Let them face His holy gaze.
Stack the pyre, light the fire.
Set the heretics ablaze.
Cinder, tinder, singe the sinners.
Bind and tie them, raise them high.
Char and torch them, sear and scorch them.
Watch the blaze intensify.
Flailing, wailing, flames assailing.
Fire laps and licks their skin.
Hear the faithless cry for mercy,
Blind to their own dire sins.
Flames are scathing, bodies bathing,
In the conflagration’s grasp.
They have spurned Him. Now we burn them.
Roast the pagans ‘till they’re black.
Bodies wither with the wicker
Into soot upon the ground.
Blaze is fading, naught remaining,
But a smoking, ashen mound.
Joy! Elation! Celebration!
His will has been done this day.
Sin has burgeoned in God’s kingdom,
So we’ll burn it all away!