“Two Roads” by Henry Unser / “Natural Beauty” by Mohanad Nahhas

“Natural Beauty”

Mohanad Nahhas

“Two Roads”

Henry Unser

There I stood, alone, cold, damp. I pulled my cloak tightly around me, trying to save as much heat as possible. I contemplated the direction that I take now, I was so content following the path that I just want to keep going forward. If I go left, I keep venturing into the forest, hoping to find my purpose that I’ve been looking for. If I go right to the village, I could also find the purpose I’ve been looking for. I hear music in the distance, accordions to my right and birds to my left. I see purpose in both paths, to the right I could prove myself as a useful person, but to the left I prove useful as an independent body. Ultimately, it’s my choice, but I’m so conflicted. I think I’m going to go my own way, make a new path, and head straight. Or I could turn around, now I’m conflicted again. I want to make my own path but go my own way. I’m confused now, the right path looks more worn, and the left seems more wild. I want to take the path less traveled but someone still has traveled it. You know what, never mind, I don’t know. Left, right, forward, backward. Well, I’m not going back, so backward is out. I don’t want to deal with people, so right it out. Now, forward or left. I think I’ll go left, but I do want to stay straight, it’s comforting. But I want to be uncomfortable, test myself. You know what, I’m done. I’m going left, and that’s that.

“The Swing” by Grace Betzwieser / “Wait Here” by Elena Hymes

“Wait Here”

Elena Hymes

“The Swing”

Grace Betzwieser

She sits on the icy swing

The air damp

Like her clothes

She listens

To the sound of the rain

Hitting the ground

As the wind softly blows against her face

Back and forth

She swings

Flying freely through the air

And the pouring rain    

A thick breeze blows back

Her wet and tangled hair

So lost in thought

She almost doesn’t notice

A slight squeaking

Just off to the left

She sits frozen

The lonely night slowly fills

As she turns her head

Inch by inch

Ignoring her instincts

And her shaky hands

But once she looks

All that’s left is the swing

Rocking back and forth

And the reminiscence 

Of what was once there.

Mockingbird Anaphora by Christina Cheng / “God’s Own Country” by Nia Augustine

“God’s Own Country”

Nia Augustine

Mockingbird Anaphora

Christina Cheng

Through the trails winding under canopies of half orange oak leaves she ran. Through the playground ringing of children’s screeches and the rustle of wood chips being buried beneath their quick feet. Through the vast expanse of pastureland dotted with cows deep in their morning graze. Through intersections met with children in strollers and their mothers. Through the back parking lot, a haven for the lone blue dumpster. Through Wertman Lane, tranquil on that Sunday morning, only the gentle whisper of a light autumn breeze to be heard.

“Golden Star” by Troy Serao / Untitled by Kathryn Harrington


Kathryn Harrington

“Golden Star”

Troy Serao 

It was no secret 

I wasn’t hard hard to please 

Just give me that little star shaped, sparkling, sticker 

No bigger than a push pin yet as sparkly as a disco ball hanging in a forgotten ballroom, 

The namesake STAR something that represents life, distance, freedom, and excellence. 

 They are given so sparingly from your teacher after you answer a question in class, from a friend on a hard day, or from the universe when one appears on your test when you get a 100%. 

They sit there on the wax paper 

ready to be peeled away to be separated from their joy to bring us JOY 

“Summer’s Embrace and Winter’s Chill” by Angelina Wu / “Hopeful View” by Zainab Bibi

“Hopeful View”

Zainab Bibi

“Summer’s Embrace and Winter’s Chill”

Angelina Wu

Summer’s warmth, in the noonday light
Gentle waves, embrace the shore
Sun-kissed days, where laughter rings
Blossoms bloom in vibrant array
In summer’s arms we find delight

Winter’s cold, a silent night
Icy winds where snowflakes soar
Frost nights, where silence stings,
Frozen landscapes in shades of gray
Winter’s touch, a tranquil sight

“Whispers of Home” by Zahra Mushtaq / “Dispair” by Alice Catini


Alice Catini

“Whispers of Home”

Zahra Mushtaq

Acres of land stretching in each direction of my front door
Sounds of the wind would harmonize with all the trees loudly whistling
Traces of my chickens left everywhere, their scent, feathers, food pellets
My water well, that creates the sound of rainfall, every time I walk past it.
My mothers garden that would stretch yards, filled with greenery and flowers
A driveway hundreds of feet long with a beautiful view of mountainous hills soaring across
My eyes were so used to this scene, nothing was exciting about it
Nor the sights, nor the sounds, nor my chickens

The drowsy city of Albany
Most gloomiest place on earth
First thought that came to mind: Dull
First color that came to mind: Gray
My first hope was to go back home
I have zero expectations when I look out the window
Everything looks the same as the street before

The contrast was so bright then it became so dull
Only on visual terms
I never fully learned to appreciate one moment of life’s reoccurrence
How could I possibly have high expectations for that next moment?

“Pluto XIII” by Nawaf Kassen / “Lights Camera Action” by Mahimn Dave

“Lights Camera Action”

Mahimn Dave

“Pluto XIII”

Nawaf Kassen

I am a water sign

As tranquil as that sounds

My thoughts never seem to align 

Disconnected from grounds, my mind knows no bounds

I write, draw, read, and bake

but that’s only a piece

because no matter what I make

it’s always the process that brings me peace

I once grasped my identity

Now I’m just lost 

Desperately seeking serenity

I wonder what that will cost


So far from reality

It’s truly bizarre

how I’m patching my life with morality

I was once adamant 

about what I was destined for

Now I’m stagnant

Wanting nothing more


to things I never thought could endure

but I continue to ensure

that these scenarios will only let me mature

I am whatever the universe makes of me

So much potential wasted 



“Our Reality” By Inna Shargorotski / “No No Fun” By Jakob Womer

“No No Fun”

Jakob Womer

“Our Reality”

Inna Shargorotski

“We were friends back then, in a way that everyone is friends in kindergarten.” We were friends back then, in a way that everyone played with each other during recess time. But now, our reality seems too difficult for us to process it. Everyone is either on their own trying to succeed in their lives, while others hide in their own personal corners. Where time never stops, to return all the memories that were created by us. Where love disappears and never returns back to us. Where laughter and joy tends to take a break from us. This is our reality. The truth that we didn’t think would be revealed. If only we knew how to act and be distant from one another. If only we knew how to warn each other of our “perfect” world. This could’ve been so simple. This could’ve been our dream. This could’ve been our typical friendship. If only we wanted to. If only we cared to. If only we tried to. We just gave up on ourselves. On our friendship. On our future. We still can forgive each other and our lame excuses. We still can respect each other, even though we aren’t on the same page in life. Both of us have no clue what we want from each other. Both of us know we don’t miss each other. Maybe just our pasts. Of our silly kindergarten friendship. Of our little clueless hearts. “We were friends back then, in a way that everyone is friends in kindergarten.”

“Run-on” by Troy Walters / “Forgotten” by Elena Hymes


Elena Hymes


Troy Walters

That cold fall air, nipping at my skin, took me back to days of pumpkin pie steaming on the windowsill. I remember you’d take me out here and we’d just talk and talk, the smoke from your cigars covering your face in a fog of misplaced memory and shooing away the gnats that loved to swarm the porch light. You would tell me the stories of sitting out here with Mom and stories of her stories of her life before I took it away from her the day I was born. You’d always let me sit in moms old rocking chair. I always thought I was taking your comfy chair from you, until that night I stayed up too late and saw you out there, alone, smoke covering your face, wistfully staring at moms chair, hoping she might take a seat and talk to you one last time.
I couldn’t comprehend how you were feeling back then. But now, as I sit, alone, in this rocking chair that creaks every time I move, I can’t help but stare at the empty wooden chair that used to hold my father, so grand, taller than the clouds of smoke that cover the wrinkles I can’t seem to remember the shape of, and I remember the incredible man who taught me everything I know and now rots, rots in that backyard where we would play, rots under the sun we would pitch tents to hide from, rots under that grave marker that i crafted with my own bare hands, rots in my head as the memory of your booming voice fades into nothing.
So I smoke, now, dad, to shoo away the gnats and blanket my eyes so I don’t have to look at the chair that holds you no longer.