We Sit Close by Shreya Ganguly

A cup of yellow drops,
a faint breeze cripples over.

Our arms extended,
a soft song lingers within us through starlight’s specks.
What striking pathways stand before us.
A soft speck of moonlight gleams across my eyes.

Oh, the waves dance, sobbing
and the winds scurry about us.

My dear, a maiden’s flurries fall on me
beneath the night’s fairies.

And a fading essence drops
its scent to earth’s strength.
Lo, the sky is dressed in a veil of cobalt blue
Are the droplets coming near you?
They are near me.
We shall rejoice now, I ween.
Let us cross lands seen.
For us, our hands lay close.

We sit close in our night.
We sit close.
Binding us to earth,
let us not part.


Shreya Ganguly is a fiction writer and poet, and a current junior at Wayne Hills High School where she works on the editorial staff of the school’s literary magazine, Lantern. She loves exploring the fluid spaces of the human experience, often weaving nature and history within words and stories. Her work has previously been published or recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Teen Ink, Short Fiction Break, among others. When she is not writing, she can be found reading or conversing with trees.


Visual art by Serena Wang

Tagged : / / / / /

Autumn Begins at Miller School by Ben Allen

Lose me in the famishing forest,
whose azimuth leaves pull me
down, and forget my Northern Star!

Remind me of a time when
mulch trapped itself in sneakers
and you gasped at Mama’s tongue

The season writes a signature
with the stinging of your passing
through sacred youth into

the dark, which Autumn whispers
in my ear knells the tower’s bell,
droning empty hours aside



Ben Allen is a junior pursuing a Humanities Major at Miller School of Albemarle. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Maverick, Miller’s literature and art magazine, which will publish its first issue in the fall of 2023. He is also the Senior Editor and writer for The Bell Tower, the school’s news magazine. His work has previously appeared in the Crossroads IX anthology.

Visual Art by Jiho Kim

Tagged : / / / /

Death of a Frying Pan by Olivia Burgess

Everything is in grayscale
at least, before the sun is let out of its pen.
Most mornings, I catch myself standing in the ears of the wind,
listening for melting leaves and the desperate call of bogged drain pipes
in those final few minutes where it’s not night, but pre-day.
Some things like to stay quiet, folded, patted down. The voice inhabited gains volume,
Raucous, like my own folded megaphone singing
Notice me ! to veins and valves and passing cell traffic on my streets.
My bones are setting like scum on a sauce, no fault of
pectin, agar agar, or the fluidity of daylight.
Winter threatens gently, with a curled fist of ice, makes me too firm, too solid, too sorry –

To resist, I race the tick of the clock from the mantelpiece,
pore my eyes open with matchsticks, tear off fingernails like ancient games with daisies.
Frazzled guitars keep finding my eardrums,
and I start to wear more brown.
Sometimes, I smile at myself in the mirror,
thinking: today, I look like the tree in the back garden. A figment of nature’s strength.

The back door handle is fading,
and I take that too personally
along with the three other frying pans
too heat-scarred to bear the cold.
Cast away, cast iron, coat on.


Olivia Burgess is a 17 year old poet raised and residing in the UK. She has a smattering of publishings ranging from a short story chapbook to forthcoming work in Potted Purple. When she’s not composing poetry (usually based on herself, nature, or her muse) she likes to engage in the art of cooking and tell frequent unnecessary jokes.

Visual Art by Lilly Choi
Tagged : / / / /

the Thazin orchid is beautiful

On the Myanmar coup d’état, 2021

We walked to Gardens by the Bay¹ that night
within the domes we perched on the verge
of stasis; hungry the camera snapped once, twice

She told me poets in her house are shot,
the side of her cheek tender
lashes acrid. The Thazin² orchid
Have you seen it? Myanmar was not at peace to her
so she swallowed it and made it so. She
swallowed the bitter grain of news clippings
the deaf husks of static come to
commiserate through the radio. I turned away to let her

Did you know, the Thazin orchid is beautiful
She asked me what it meant to bleed. I did not want to know
so that night she drew red and the water in it: the iron in her
native soil – the slick overripe hope
sticky with perennial dissent – the night
macerated to uneasy sleep. I saw, I shot, but dared not

Did you know, the Thazin orchid is beautiful
I bought her a Vanda Miss Joaquim³ frozen in acrylic
but she laughed and said
I just wanted to go home
My Burmese hands, you still want to hold them?
Yes, yes, of course I do, but
Before the sun has set upon us
the Thazin orchid would be beautiful
In the veins of cells but not prisons
In the lens of strangers’ tears.

¹ Gardens by the Bay: A nature park in the central region of Singapore. A popular tourist attraction.
² Thazin orchid: One of the national flowers of Myanmar.
³ Vanda Miss Joaquim: An orchid and the national flower of Singapore.

Cheryl Tan is a 16-year-old Singaporean of Chinese and Indian descent. She has been published in Amber: The Teenage Chapbook, sourcherrymag and Eye on the World, an anthology by the Creative Arts Programme, Singapore, among others. In her free time she writes poems and social commentaries by the sea, and hopes to become a writer someday.


Visual art by Adiya Nabiyeva


Tagged : / / /

Staring Into a Multicolored Abyss by Ally Brunner

And just like that, you’ve given yourself away for the third time.

 You’ve revealed a little piece of yourself, burying what’s left of you a little deeper –– a little farther away from the beaming lights that flickered through the heart kaleidoscope you had as a child. 

The angles that once lined up to reflect the colorful expanse before you have sharpened, creating darker images that make you uncertain whether you’re still staring at your brother’s blue handprint on the wall or something else entirely. 

The speed at which the kaleidoscope turns astonishes you. One second you’re staring at an array of sunset-colored diamonds, the next a pool of blue stars. You reach out to grab them, hoping to grasp a morsel of beauty in your ragged hands, but each star slips through your fingers, landing in the hands of those with longer nails and ornate gloves that carry a grace and confidence you so clearly lack. 

Jewels and gems can’t hide the solitude that surrounds you.

Your ears pick up the slamming footsteps in the outside hall but your mind is too obscured by the twist and turn of the kaleidoscope to notice the blue paint running under the door. 

In your long and suitably uneventful life, the omnipresent kaleidoscope is removed only long enough for the splash of your brother’s thumbprint to become visible once more.

The lies spin as quickly as your fingers brush around the edges of the banged-up object. 

“I love you. And nothing you do can ever change that.” 


Ally Brunner is a high school junior from New York, NY. She enjoys playing sports, reading, and writing both prose and poetry. 

Visual art by Sylvie Mizrahi


Tagged : / / / /

Two Poems by Amber Kim


     Hush. Crept the Junebug in the middle of summer,
in the middle of nowhere. Where the windows were stained with rain
marks, dripping and seeping inside the sills. Hush.
Cries the mother. Where tree branches thickened &
fruits fattened to be harvested in autumn. Rain-
drops leaking through damp roofs, I pictured rain
                    litter the playhouse we built
               one summer’s day. Granola bars eaten in one bite and
                    gushed down with lemonade.

     Hush. Wept the willows. When I peeked
through the cracked holes in the wall; peeked
through the moonlight that quivers, that shudders against the doors; peeked
through the silhouette of another, that traces a back arching; peeked
at the warmth that radiated in the center of my palm.
                         They say
               the steam still eats me,
               drinks my lips & kisses my lids.
Inside the porcelain bowl,
we drain each other,
gather light by the window
& let it drown to our necks
until we were full of each other.


                         The Lady speaks in exasperated sighs.
               Sighs that carry onto the next breath
          & onto the other. She lingers
by the armchair.
We wait
in broken syllables of silence.
          Lay-dee. My lay-dee.
     Ma-lay-dee. Me. Lay-dee. Doesn’t speak often
but when she does, she does it in doses
         Hush, hush.                     Withers the nightingale & her feathers
plucked. Cries the mother. When she clutches                                                                                        on the edges of their hair strands                                                                                                               sprawled on their blanket. Hush.                                                                                                                                                Hush.                                                                                                                                                 Hush.

Crept the Junebug in the middle of summer,
in the middle of nowhere


Red in Harmony

So I am sitting for the last bus stop to town,
it’s raining, no nothing, no umbrella on me
I dig in my pockets, couple of bills and some coins,
I walk down the aisle, see the seat at the back empty,
I sit down, pull off my bag, and sleep.
Sundays, I am dancing in the red room,
velvet gown stitched on me, holding up champagne
talking nonsense, laughing discreetly,
I popped another aspirin before I got here,
I think I’ll take another when I’m home
“When do you think we’ll see each other again?”
Probably never but I smile, “Soon.” It’s January
and stars are bursting, I grab my shoulder,
and decide my bones ache. It’s February
and I hide under the sheets with my toes peeking. In May,
I’ll get to see my sister and her husband,
I should visit my mother before she calls.
I stop by the grandma selling yesterday’s produce
on the side of the street in her truck, headlights
still flickering, she keeps forgetting to fix it,
I ask to buy the rest of the apples,
molded and brown but who cares,
I carry two tons
weighing on me, slipping away
inside the night.

So I am riding the last taxi at night to home,
it’s snowing. “When are you going to come home?”
It’s my mother in her hoarse voice, cracking,
I lean on the window, watching kids
drunk, vomiting. “Soon.” Then watch
the rest around them spit their saliva like
trying to inseminate the hard dirt. “I’ll be there”
It’s December and laughter trickles out
from me, from lips. “I’m here.” January breathes,
I’m still at the bus stop waiting,
my head leaning too far into the road 


Amber Kim likes exploring loss in writing, whether that be a loss in identity, person, or place. She is currently a senior and lives in South Korea with her loving cat, Mango, and is an amateur photographer.

Visual Art by Alice Park

Tagged : / / / /

Womanhood by Snigdha Dhameja

when i think of womanhood i
remember my mother’s frost white sari draped on the bed. 

i dream of a loose-lipped girl from my future who will take me down through life and pick fresh apples from the trees that line its lanes. i think of the voice from the cracks of the walls that whispers and calls and shrieks at midnight, with husky demeanour and a quiet harshness that whipped around and sung me to sleep sometimes. 

the body grows to accommodate the soul, and mine rested in the soft bumps of my bosom at thirteen. there was something inside me that circled and shook and rattled, but i kept it to myself. sometimes the voice spoke through my mouth and breathed my air, but soon

we became one and the same. almost a woman. part of a w(hole).

but to attain womanhood was to grow up. to hold the world by your fist and smile at it. when i was fifteen i thought i had it all; but the divine feminine wasn’t fully mine
because i remembered smelling the fragrant afterlife
of the rose petals at her imminent shrine. 

i planted my flowers in the soil and the force inside me watered it
with my tears. i hang my age around my waist like a towel, waiting
to be old enough, big enough to tread the deep ocean waters of the life i’ll encounter. 

i know my womanhood is entombed in my anger, my desire to be taken seriously like her or
that one or any women in the world who seemed happier. i feel like i am rusting in this shallow steel embrace, this coldness of life without bearing the softness i’m supposed to bring.                                                                                                                           (who)manhood.

bid my time for an hour in the ashes; i am meant to be a
cleansing force. the world will turn to rubies and more. a true test, for a true being.
i walk out to the world still made of soot. 

today i grow.
the mirror shows me a face encased in gold. i bring a gun out of my purse and
cry about my impending doom. womanhood!
i shoot the sky with a bullet, and all that fall are rose petals.
the men sweep them up with their lashes,
and i am taken away.


Snigdha Dhameja (she/her) is a 17-year-old high school student from Bangalore, India. She’s always been passionate about writing, but even more so about expressing the splendid, morose, and chaotic events of everyday life.

Visual Art by Anisiia Isaeva

Tagged : / / /

Haibun for Girlhood by Katie Tian

under a city’s blue-air canopy, murky whistles can still fit themselves between disquiet & dissonance, sirens strumming alive & all the cicadas slow-singing. on nights like these we trace shadows on the sidewalk, eyes open wide for those who still scatter soot along our collarbones & call it conquest. call it glory. call it myth.


& they will syphon the salt from our bloodstreams, leave imprints of black oil on our skin, calcify us in carbon for timeless preservation. we will not know the shapes of bruises until they show themselves under streetlights, until we learn to cough & come up empty.


so i reimagine myself laid clean & bare in a field, open mouth hooked on bouquets of lilies. a phoenix rekindled in ash, stripping itself of tarred plumage. i wake instead on the living room floor of a beer-bottled apartment, mouth slick with the gloss of a red rose, & dance until the moon cleaves in perfect halves.


on cloudless nights we gather beneath the cliffside, scatter the pleas of our dresses across sandy dunes, tide reeling into the shore. watch how we catch prayers fallen from faceless mouths, unclasp forgotten elegies from our throats. how we realize how small we are in contrast.


today the streetlights dim themselves one-by-one as we take the long way home. i bite the inside of my cheek, blood welling under my tongue, the music in my earphones not loud enough for me to unhear the city. a plea falls astray between the asphalt’s cracks: let us relearn the shapes of ourselves, recapture names on our own tongues.

Katie Tian is a sixteen-year-old Chinese-American writer from New York. Her work is published in Frontier Poetry, Polyphony Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, and Kissing Dynamite, among others. She has been recognized for her writing by Hollins University, Smith College, the Adelphi Quill Awards, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Apart from writing, she enjoys collecting stuffed animals and consuming obscene amounts of peanut butter straight from the jar.

Artwork by Saki Onoe

Tagged : / / / /

Chores by Avah Dodson

time for chores dad hollers from the kitchen so loud we can’t even pretend not to hear ~ we trample begrudgingly from our rooms ~ the dishwasher shiny and metal and loud opens with a clang the dishes rattling together hot watery air billowing into our faces we pile clanking plates on plates shake out the tinkling silverware delicately pick up the knives because dad told us to be careful and we remember when we watch mom slice into vegetables the sharp edge parting the flesh so smoothly ~ whining and groaning we clamber down the stairs with a mountain of clothes shove them into the machine press the right buttons never low speed never high speed normal water pressure medium soap we listen to the whir and watch the clothes spin in the ancient machines because we’ve come all the way down here already and if you blur your eyes the colors of the fabric mix and blend together like paint on a wheel ~ unload the dryer shove the clothes back into the hamper and lug the mountain of clothes up the steps one at a time thud thud thud slowly until we reach the top and then bliss as we dump the clothes onto the couch and jump into them reveling in their warmth like baked bread right out of the oven like the extra blanket at our feet on colder winter nights mom shouts get your dirty bodies off my clean laundry but we ignore her for just a minute more to savor that warmth ~ ducking under the sink to grab new trash and recycling bags and hauling the filled bags outside to the chilled air making us crave being back in the comfort of the air of the house ~ the air humid with the sounds of voices whirring clanging rustling thuds and smelling like mom’s lavender perfume like dad’s burning toast because he always burns the toast like my brother’s gross feet because he leaves his socks lying around the house and I hate and love this air the air I breathe the air they breathe the air that fills my home to the brim and wraps around me like the clothes from the dryer



Avah Dodson is 14. Her work has been recognized in the Bluefire 1,000 Words Contest, the Royal Nonesuch Humor Contest, the Scholastic Writing Awards contest (National Gold Medalist), and the Sarah Mook Poetry Contest, among others. Her works have appeared in Incandescent Review, Echo Lit, Stone Soup Magazine, Voices de la Luna, Skipping Stones Magazine, and others. She currently is a Prose Contributor for Incandescent Review and lives in California with her family and two adorable tabbies.


Visual Arts by Meicen Deng
Tagged : / / / /

My Namesake by Chloe Basch

A tangerine
Savored in juice or whole
Seldom served as a middle name.


Flakes of white
And a shell of supple epidermis;


A seed-chipped tooth
Beckoned by whispers of sweetness.


Round to be juggled,
Round to be prodded.


Under the beaming hospital bulbs
Which crackle and spark


Wishing to escape the confinement
Of all-knowing glass;


Waxen pale
Under the grit of the obstinate clementine sun.


Scapulas flash
In insight of their hindrance.


Your tongue splits its syllables
Into gelastic pairings of giggles


A sound never enshrined.


My name bears no romance,
Burdening no fame


Blooming from the teeming seams
Of my jaundiced-yellow veins.



Chloe Basch is a sophomore at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. Chloe grew up in Manhattan and is passionate about impacting change through the written word. Her writing has been published in various publications including Creative Communications, Poetic Power, The East Hampton Star, and Bazoof Magazine. She is the recipient of the Scholastic Award Gold Key for her poetry. She was recently awarded a grant from Riley’s Way to amplify the voices of Ukrainian teenagers displaced by war. Chloe believes that words create our world and that the ability to write freely in society is a basic human right and one that allows for connectivity and powerful change.


Visual Art by Anthony Johnson
Tagged : / / / /