Categories
Poetry

Quarantine, Day ?, 2020

by Chloe Casdagli| Poetry | Summer 2021

Untitled I by Aislinn Cannistraro

A cracked white wall catches shafts of blurry sunlight, shadows dark as prison bars. A window smudged with fingerprints ripples with rain and streetlights, twisted gnarly trees.

Cars drum by full of chanting laughter and quiet hallucinations. The fire sunset grips you in its thawing yellow claws, pulling you from your world of bleach and aching dust.

A ceiling peppered with stick-on plastic stars, crude and manufactured compared to the real ones, arrange themselves into made-up constellations and pull your marionette-like strings until you’re nailed to your shallow bed. With thoughts alone, they draw truths on your skin, too terrible to say out loud. Remember when that car was your car, those laughs more than a pocket watch of time? When shadows weren’t prison bars and windows needn’t stay shut?

When you held the trees, rain, and burning day in your palm, too close to really touch? It wasn’t a dream, no, but reality is thinner than paper.
Soon, you’ll be left with nothing but the plastic stars, a shallow bed, and a cracked wall teasing you with sunlight.

Categories
Fiction

I Knew I Was Falling

by Emily Alfano | Fiction | Summer 2021

Other Half by Chloe Casdagli

I think I fell in love with you when you wiped the dirty grin off my face after tripping up the flight of stairs leading to your apartment. 

I think I fell after you watched Moonstruck with me and we talked about it for hours on end. 

I think I fell when you saw me cry for the first time and wiped the tears off my cheek with your calloused thumb. I was so embarrassed, and you held me and told me everything was going to be okay. 

I think I fell in love with you even when I hated you. I hated your crooked nose and bushy eyebrows and your sandpaper hands that pressed too hard against my cheek. But your nose had been beaten and bruised so that it looked like a mountain ridge from top to bottom. And your eyebrows frame your golden, almond shaped eyes which trapped my soul in them. 

I knew I was falling when your mother held me in her arms and I saw your smile that showed all of your teeth shining back at me. Her arms an echo of yours. 

You used to know me and my smiles and my big, ugly, cackling laugh. You said how you wished you could meet my mother, and I told you how much she would have loved you. You knew me inside and out. 

I used to know me. Inside and out. 

And I used to know you with your impulsive adventures and scarred hand holding mine in a secluded wood without fear or uncertainty. 

You, with a devilish grin that could laugh out loud with a hand around my neck. Did you ever fall in love with me? 

Did you sign your name with love on my back, my thighs, my cheek? 

I wish I could remember a time when I couldn’t go a second without touching you. Now, all I feel are your hot hand prints and they are suffocating me. 

I don’t think I know you anymore. I haven’t for a while. Your eyes are transparent, your tongue too solid against mine. You’ve stopped wiping the tears from my cheeks. I stare at my body that is not my body anymore and I swear there are marks I do not remember putting there. 

Your mother’s hug is so alien from yours now. Who could come from such loving arms and hurt someone so badly? 

No matter how hard I try, I will never get enough distance from you. You’ll never blur out of existence like I want and I will be left with your shadow lurking behind every attempt of mine to move on. 

But I will move on. And eventually I won’t feel your hands on my neck, my back, my thighs. And my tears won’t sting my cheeks in your name. The woods will welcome me back and I’ll stop thinking anyone with a scar on their hand is you. And I’ll know that my mother would have warned me about you, just like yours should have.

Categories
Fiction

Horsefly

by Ariana Hughes | Fiction | Summer 2021

Self Portrait by Chloe Casdagli

Just as I was finishing up my philosophy reading, and literally on Kant’s last few sentences, I became aware of a large horsefly
that had somehow flown into Lulu’s room. I always wondered how
these miscellaneous bugs crept their way in, and why they chose to stay. Was the space really so welcoming? The boisterous air conditioning unit fizzing, the ceiling fan hissing as it sliced through the air, our feet tapping with jerky energy as we threw ourselves into our numerous readings and assignments. Perhaps it was the leftover nibbles from a day-old scone that sat in the corner, a mellow iced tea that had become diluted and drab since the loss of its ice cubes. Was it really so amusing? Better than the vast openness of outside? This particular horsefly was wandering around in a vaguely threatening sort of way and then suddenly, distressingly, throwing itself into the air, zig-zagging awkwardly, clearly confused by the constraints of the space. It gradually zoomed closer, and I tensed up. It zagged towards me and then zigged back and then zagged closer still. Finally, I had enough.

Just as I was finishing up my philosophy reading, and literally on Kant’s last few sentences, I became aware of a large horsefly that had somehow flown into Lulu’s room. I always wondered how these miscellaneous bugs crept their way in, and why they chose to stay. Was the space really so welcoming? The boisterous air conditioning unit fizzing, the ceiling fan hissing as it sliced through the air, our feet tapping with jerky energy as we threw ourselves into our numerous readings and assignments. Perhaps it was the leftover nibbles from a day-old scone that sat in the corner, a mellow iced tea that had become diluted and drab since the loss of its ice cubes. Was it really so amusing? Better than the vast openness of outside? This particular horsefly was wandering around in a vaguely threatening sort of way and then suddenly, distressingly, throwing itself into the air, zig-zagging awkwardly, clearly confused by the constraints of the space. It gradually zoomed closer, and I tensed up. It zagged towards me and then zigged back and then zagged closer still. Finally, I had enough. Grabbing the laborious Kant I gave it a good thwack. The horsefly vanished from the air, lost for a delightful moment. Not dead or seemingly anywhere, lost in the void—and then it reappeared on the floor. Crawling, thankfully, toward Lulu. At this point the energy of the horsefly had seeped into us both, no problem or assignment could be handled until this criminal of distraction could be apprehended. Lulu commented on the somewhat bent wing it was now dragging oddly and I realized I must be responsible for this critter. At this stage, I understood that action had to be taken. The horsefly had to be put out of the misery that was this room and the thwack I had inflicted upon it. I had put it in misery, it had put me in misery. Now the misery needed to end. I held all the power. Kant was not powerful enough to take out this suffering brute, my laptop much too personal, too clean. I turned to my water bottle, it would have to suffice. And so I tracked it across the room, as it hobbled, perhaps suspecting its moments were numbered. I hesitated, and then brought the bottom of my metal water bottle straight down with an awful bang. Leaving it there for a moment, sucking in air rapidly, feeling a rush of shame. Postponing my view of whatever horror lay underneath. I raised the water bottle to find the fly dying, twitching its broken legs and wings. I brought the bottle down hard again, still moving, again, and again, harder and faster, not stopping to look at the horsefly. I was a mindless pulsing Cuisinart. When I finally stopped, it was nothing but a mush of legs and wings and horrible bug insides. Thankfully Lulu had a tissue at the ready. For a moment I felt the texture of its dead mush under the thin surface of the tissue. And then it was in the trash can, gone… problem solved… I retreated back to Kant. No more horsefly. An empty room. Lulu and I shared a nervous glance as we turned back to whatever it was that we had been doing before. The silent tension of the awful murder that had just been committed felt louder than the buzzing of the bug. Lulu tried playing music but kept skipping the songs… how could we relax and read and listen to music about love and heartbreak when we had so willingly taken a life? Not we, I. I had sacrificed another, an innocent! No, not totally innocent—a life for the benefit of my own. And all I could do was sit and avoid Kant, revolving in my guilt and the absurd amount of power I had been given. The bug was not coming back so I needed to accept its fate and move forward with my life and feel fortunate that I would never be squashed into a carpeted floor by a metal water bottle. But a rush of emotions took over, I could have trapped it with a cup, the tissue I had used for its dead carcass could have been a landing pad for a flight out of the window, I could have allowed it to continue zooming around the room—maybe it liked the small space, the nervous energy, the old scone and tea. Maybe it liked us. I couldn’t face Kant. I couldn’t face Lulu. So I took a moment for the horsefly, closed my eyes, sent out my best wishes, a silent apology, an admission of guilt, a promise to be better… 

Categories
Poetry Uncategorized

A Summer Night

by Chloe Casdagli | Poetry | Summer 2021

Untitled by Teagan Hughes

Slow sinking of a lava-orange sun,
as moonbeams rise; the laughing day is done. The
blazing smell of smoke as embers gleam a dancing
prayer, dying quicker than it seems.
Stars streak across the sky in shades of white,
casting bats in a shining silver light.
The air turns cold in gusts of rolling storm.
But summer raindrops patter soft and warm.
The crackle of the logs and fading flames
roast marshmallows as people play their games.
With words and stories they wish for finite glee,
ignoring quiet thunder warning them to flee.
They drink and sing as embers turn to ashes. With
time, will they remember only flashes?