Summer Storm

 

A bowl of overripe cherries between you and I,

The casual angel you are in summer,

And the simple pleasure of your smiles turned wry,

And the bruising purple sky against the brutality of thunder.

 

We are tying and untying the same tired knots,

With the wet whispering from behind clouded glass.

Time slides gently through us with the sloth summer allots,

And the dew collecting, beading, and falling from the grass.

 

Isabel Ruppel ’21

Stephanie Zhang '21

Hannah Adler '21

Joy Liu '21

house party on a summer night

 

the world ended here

when we missed the turn the first time

and the splintered gate, the dark road

under the sky, hazy

the cicadas screaming in the trees as we heard

the drifting smoke and voices

screen door ajar, letting them in,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone

sat on the couch in the living room

dampness seeping into bones, the humidity suffocating

bare feet itching on the floor, our hands

drinking in that muddled scratchiness they needed,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone

lying all over each other, words

swirled around mouths, easy, and spit out, easier

hair curling at the ends, twirling

skin on skin, slipping, out onto the deck

to the hot tub, and we raced them,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone

crowding into the water that boiled from the inside

and listening to the sounds, the night

catching on the edges of vision, snagging

on the loose ends of familiar smiles, and stories

that we didn’t have last year

late August before we knew them better,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone

who snuck in while we were tapping our fingers on the dashboard

I missed my chance with you

when you kissed her and it wasn’t everything, anything

the stars behind the haziness mimicked

by fireflies, far out in the backyard

and I was silent as the laughter stained

the stuffy air, I can’t lie

and they hate me when I don’t force conversation,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone

who doesn’t know that this isn’t you

or maybe it is, and I’m just grasping

at the pieces of something, the burned paper

curled into dust that sifts through fingers

my fingers, tapping on the dashboard to a song that’s too loud

the hollow sound of speakers

and the high buzz before we killed them,

the mosquitoes, I mean, and everyone


 

Eleanor Peters ’20

Ella Xue '23

The Scourge of Man and Sea 

The sea, the lurching stomach, spews out foam from the black depths. 

White droplets of liquid silver interlace my defenseless toes. With each surge, I dig my heels into the moonlit beach to fight the water’s fierce blows, as if each grasp could pull me into the expanse below the surf.

As if being underneath the waves is somehow worse than being above.

The moon dips dazedly, a drunken sailor atop the whispering waters, retreating back into the horizon. I whisper him goodnight as an old friend.

The ocean grows sick as he departs.

My feet barricading their approaches, the tides tremble, belching up something unnatural, something poisonous. A venom so foul it turns this beautiful world grey.

A torn, wax-paper wrapper lazily bumps against my calf.

What could it be, this trifle adorned with such an innocent face, that comes to bid me welcome?

I bend, picking up the plague with my forefinger and thumb.

A plastic bottle drifts ashore beside me, smiling deviously, making my efforts futile.

I move to take it, but a vacant plastic bag spirals out of the depths and brushes against my foot, cackling

something infernal with the chorus of waves.

I look up.

A wave towers over my body. I feel like an ant under its massive stature.

Rubbish covers the wall of water.

The sea, finally ridding itself of its affliction, bares down on me, pleading for a moment of peace.

How could I blame the ocean, for if I had been cursed as horribly, I’d attempt to rid myself of my sickness as well.

But as the water stares, I realize I already had.

With a thunderous crash of plastic, the debris engulfs me. I am drowning in my own creation. The parasite returns to the sandy host.

I thrash, but the virus ensnares me; barbs slice my body.

As I stand upon the beach, which once was spotless, which once carried footprints more kind, which once was pink but is now grey, I cannot help but cry.

And the sea sleeps at last.

Aidan Cooper ’22

To Judge What You See 

 

My identity as we speak

is a mask plastered with

the assumptions you make,

thoughtless and unforgiving,

contaminated with your critiques

 

And your torturous tongue

lashes out at each skin,

too strange,

seeking the surface and

twisting it to fit a “better” frame

 

You suck on my sorrow,

scorn the blood in my marrow,

and reject my thoughts,

for I am nothing to you,

not even an afterthought

 

When I bare my heart,

you slam your unaccepting

doors and toss away

the key when you cannot

welcome what you see

 

But as you peel away

the layers, the categories in

which you boxed me,

you perceive that I’m person,

not the label that you think

Krishnapriya Rajaram ’21

Hold Me, Catch Me

  

Will you hold my hand?

As I take my first baby steps?

I will teeter precariously

On my unsteady legs

But mother, will you catch me

If I fall?

 

Will you hold my hand?

As I receive my diploma?

I will do my best

To walk up that stage

Tall, and proud

Like the woman you raised me to be

But mother,

When my jitters overcome me

Will you catch me if I fall? 

 

Will you hold my hand?

As I float down the aisle

Encased in a gown of white

You will hand me to my husband-to-be

But if he breaks my heart, mother,

Will you catch me if I fall?

 

I will hold your hand

When you no longer can walk straight

If you forget where you placed the keys

And your hips ache with pain

If the simple things

Become the hardest tasks

Even if you don’t want me to see you like this

I will be there, mother,

To catch you if you fall

Debi Chakrabortti ’21

Ella Xue '23

Audrey Zhang '21

"Peony" Julie Chung '21

The Social Rabbit Hole

 

                          Memory Map

 

The burning glare of the screen at night

I couldn’t hold it in anymore

The people whom I thought I knew I didn’t anymore

My room was my rabbit hole

I could hide in it and let my emotions go

To come out again and act normal

 

The feeling of rejection never leaves

To have ever felt happy

To be used as a place holder

I never had this happen before

Until the winter of that year

 

It seemed that nothing was left for me

But a sad and lonely girl

I didn’t think I had a purpose anymore

And felt left for dead

I couldn’t bring myself to do it

Thank God I had some guidance

And was fished out of that deep dark rabbit hole

 

The pictures never stopped

No one ever seemed to care

Whenever I mentioned not being there 

It never crossed anyone’s mind

Those I would tell about the exclusion

Would just say, “it will be all ok”

Even though it never was

 

But if I really did bring myself to do it

People would turn their heads

They would wonder what happened to that girl

And others would never know her

 

The ones who cared and loved me 

Were the ones there to help me 

I now find myself happy

And I managed to make more friends 

 

The rabbit hole is now cold and lonely

Left for dead 

I hope no one, not even Alice

Falls down that hole again

Sabrina DeGraw ’21

Janus Yuen '21

Aidan Cooper '22

Maze of Mind

 

People venture into me.

They run through the entryway

and they feel so big—

a sense of thrill lives about them,

one that I know will never last

for most.

 

I see them running at first.

Even without competition,

they want to make it out fast,

to set some impossible record.

 

I see them hit their first dead end,

yet they do naught but hesitate.

They know they're wrong,

they turn to another direction, another path,

they run.

 

I see them caught in the trap of a loop,

finally realizing that they have been circling

around and around

like a wooden horse

leashed to a carousel.

They slowly slow down,

a standing figure.

 

The figure stands

small, trapped,

in the midst of maize, of me

till death, perhaps—

for death is not an exit.

There remain the prancers,

the jumpers.

 

They, too, are small.

Yet they prance, they jump,

they unwind from the spirals

of corn stalk and vine,

their ambition, their vision

ricocheting off the narrow walls,

reflecting against the leaves,

echoing into the open sky above me.

 

Through the exit they run,

up the steps they climb,

so high that they can hear—

they can feel—the echoes

ringing.

 

They look down at the view,

at the path they have maneuvered,

at the passage they have carved

and shaped

of me.

 

The survivors,

they are level with the clouds.

They feel so big.

They are so big.


 

Amy Song ’23

Joy Liu '21

Janus Yuen '21

Audrey Zhang '21

Nothing

 

At last, the weekly hum settles dry in the stereo set.

The earth has become a library, and I relish in its silence.

No bird creaks, no human whispers.

Only the sun makes noise with its shine.

I listen to the space between the lines of daily life,

Wishing, somehow, for something I’ve never liked,

For a pad of blank pages. For a long awaited sigh.

The coffee cups are passed around from lip to lip at a boarding school,

But I want to drink tea

Slower than clouds inch across the sky,

Tasting the droplets spilled by us all in our hurrying to class Monday to Friday and then

Saturdays and Sunday in rehearsal and then

Games Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I want to write

Not because of a deadline

But because I wish to.

I want to see the earth more than I can with this lifestyle of rapidity and a world of constant change.

I want to press a quiet finger to my lips,

And hold your eyes in a hopeful stare,

That we may see the sun from a corner of the sky,

And do nothing one day but ardently care. 


 

Eva Evans ’21

Dora Lin '23