Emily Boban

Boys will be boys

Some treat women like toys

But it is not men who are the problem

Be against sexists and rapists

But don’t blame the good men

By clumping them in the same category  

They have their guns of all sort

They hunt for fun and for sport

But it is not gun owners who are the problem

Be against murderers and criminals

But don’t blame the responsible owners

By clumping them in the same category  

Trips to the clinic can now be judgmental

Reacting to each patient as if they are sinful

Be against those who discredit consequence

But don’t blame good women receiving health care

By clumping them in the same category  

Random search at the airport is hard to believe

When TSA checks up the thawb sleeve 

Be against terrorists and spies

But don’t blame the innocent wearing a taqiyah

By clumping them in the same category  

The sale and use of cannabis Is stated to be harmless

Be against pushers and addicts

But don’t blame those treating illness

By clumping them in the same category  

There are stereotypes of each collection

Human nature to judge becomes an obsession

Be against those who give them a bad name

Because now they will never be treated the same

Because you clumped them in the same category

The Answer

Thomas Bryan

She felt like she was in a fifties film with the way the grey light poured into the room and drained most of the color from it. The walls, which were normally a bright pink, were dull. The snow white covers she sat on brought no cheer. The room felt cold, and time seemed frozen. She looked into the large oval mirror that sat on her white dresser and looked into the world gazing back at her.

Mirrors are funny things, she thought. It’s like you’re finally able to be above your own world and watch it just like any other bystander.

She looked down at her empty hands and continued to mull over the question that had been plaguing her mind since its asking three days prior.

“Will you?”

She could almost hear his voice asking it this time, and she tensed with a start. The lone tear rode down the curve of her cheek. “Why is it such a hard question?” She asked aloud.

They had been walking through the park on that autumn day, three days ago, beneath the orange and red canopies. That day had been grey too, but the emotion was different. There had been peace that day. She had worn a red toboggan and a black coat. His coat was brown, and a blue scarf rested on his shoulders. The shuffle of the leaves and the tap of the concrete underfoot kept time like a metronome.

“You’re thinking of saying something,” she said.

“Am I?” he said rhetorically.

She said nothing, and they continued pace. Finally, he turned, and said “let’s sit down.”

She raised an eyebrow but said nothing as she followed him to the wooden bench on the side of the path. He gestured for her to sit, and she did. She brushed her face with her woolen mitten as he sat down. She laid her hands in her lap and attentively turned towards him. He turned forward and away from her and leaned his lips on his folded hands. They sat for several silent moments, and she waited patiently.

He broke the silence: “I don’t know what I’m gonna do next year. In two months, we’re gonna be graduated, I’m gonna have a degree in biology, and I have no clue what I’m gonna do.”

She turned and watched a leaf as it skipped down the path in the wind. The wind stilled. They had had this conversation many times before, and she prepared to give him the same answer she always did.

“You could be a teacher.”

“No, I couldn’t do that. I’ve tried it.” He shook his hands out of frustration. “Kids just don’t wanna learn anymore.”

She gave a small sigh. The conversation was about to head in the same direction it always did.


This is different, she thought, and she looked at him as he finished.

“… but… there is something I want to ask.”

Her eyes widened, and her cheeks grew warm.

“Look… will you… can we get married?” He struggled to get the words out, but once they were, he gained composure and looked her straight in the eyes.

She looked into his and searched—she didn’t know what for. “I…” She looked away. She pursed her lips and then bit her bottom one. “I’m inclined to say no.”

He sighed and returned to his pensive position.

“But…” she said.

He raised an eyebrow.

“At least, not yet,” she finished. “At least… I don’t know. I need to think about it. Can you give me a couple days?”

“Yeah,” he said, still facing forward.

She looked him over, still searching for something she wasn’t sure of. Then she gave a small smile. She leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek.

He turned and smiled, pitifully.

The vision faded, and a small knock came from the bedroom door.

“Honey,” came her mother’s voice. “Are you ready?”

She sat in the unspeaking quiet. The knock sounded again.

She brushed the skirt of her black dress flat as she stood from her bed. She looked out at the autumn-colored oak standing in the front yard. Then she looked over at the picture of him sitting on her bedside table. His soft smile stood out amongst his blue eyes and brown hair. She leaned over and set the picture down on its face, the stand of the frame now facing the ceiling. She turned and walked over to the door and opened it.

Her mother stood there with saddened eyes. She too was wearing a black dress, and her hair was done up, and her lips were painted a dark red.

“You know that his parents are coming here before the funeral, right?” She watched as her daughter shifted uneasily against the sullen backdrop of her room.

“Yes, ma’am. I know.”


Emalyn Sharp

It sits alone in the room – empty, dark, and cold.

It desires nothing more than for someone to come along.

There are so many things it wants to say, a tale to be told.

But right now it’s all locked away, the lid has fallen closed.  

Only a few are brave enough to tangle with its power.

They force their way beyond the cover, on a random passing hour.

But after a few botched sounds from the ivory keys,

They decide that they’ve had enough, and they quickly leave.  

There’s a story that it wants to share if only people would listen.

It’d tell them about its pain–the sorrow that comes from living.

But more than that, it would reveal the joy of happy evenings,

When surrounded by the ones it loved, it never ceased from singing.  

It waits patiently for the day when it can reveal the truth,

When someone comes along who finally knows what to do.

They’ll touch the keys and strike a chord, and all the memories deep inside,

Will welling up, overflow, in the abundance of life.  

The major sounds will bring peace, lull a sweet babe to sleep.

The minor songs will serve to make the listener think.

Treated carefully in that tender care, it will begin to wonder at last,

If ever the pain was real–the trauma of the past.  

Colors of Our Flag or What the Flag Means to Me

Amy Tyler with Virginia Tyler – 1969

Today for some the fashion must be

To scoff at our flag

But why can’t they see  

The beautiful colors, the Red, White and Blue

Each has a meaning

And the meanings are True  

Red is for Courage

We must all be brave

And remember the lives

That our forefathers gave  

White is for Innocence

We’re still very young

Much beauty to be seen

Many songs to be sung  

Blue is for Justice

That means Justice for all

Not just the short,

And not just the tall

Courage, Innocence, and Justice

The right to be happy & free,

With God watching over us

That’s what our flag means to me

Failure in Europe

Tayla Vannelli

Eleven people in a whole study abroad program.

         That’s it.

         Getting to know people is easy. Finding people you like… that’s the hard part. Eleven random people from all over the country who are all studying in Spain for different reasons. Eleven different backgrounds, and, maybe most importantly, eleven different financial situations.

          I, for one, am the kid who has been working and saving for years to go to Europe. My family is not poor by any means, but I wanted to do this myself. The thing is, there are about three others in my group who made it here because of their own hard work. The others… well, when someone suggests flying to Copenhagen for the weekend, they don’t have to bat an eye. Because for them, getting 250 Euros is just a quick call home. For me, that’s how much I paid for books for a whole semester back home. That’s a whole week’s paycheck from my summer job.

         I could handle the money thing… except it also means they all complain… a lot. About everything. I’ve never known how many things there were in life to complain about. One of the girls complained that the sheets at the hostel in Marseille were too tight to the bed.

         Anyways, I’m starting to sound like them. Europe is amazing! I love it here. I just want to adventure and travel in the cheapest ways possible so that I can do as many things as possible… but I don’t really have friends to do it with. We’re all just really different. But then, Portugal happened.


         “Hey Jackson!” I turned around. “Are you coming to the club with us or what?”

         “Uh…” I looked over to the guy next to me. “Wanna explore the city instead?”

         “Sure man. I feel more like walking than drinking tonight, I think.”

         His reasoning was funny to me, but I appreciated the company. We were leaving tomorrow, and I still felt like there were places to see. Besides, I like talking to people in all of these different countries. You don’t talk to anyone in clubs. I didn’t really understand why dancing with foreign strangers was any better than local strangers.

         We wandered the streets of Lisbon, which were decorated with colorful lights everywhere. It was the end of February, but it was sixty degrees here even at ten at night. We headed towards the harbor and sat at a pier away from the city, where you could see all the colored lights leaking into the ocean. I looked at my buddy and was about to suggest heading back to the hostel, when I heard American voices booming down the pier.

         “Dude! Those lights!”

         “This is so much better than that pub they all went to, guaranteed.”

         That’s when I knew. I had finally found American friends in Europe.


         Welcome to today, the most epic fails of all the days. I had decided to go on an adventure this weekend with my new friends, Millie and Nick. We spent that whole night in Lisbon talking and wandering the city together. They were both studying in Paris this semester, in a similar program style to mine. We talked about American culture versus European culture, the differences in studying in France over Spain, our colleges back home, what places we dreamed of going to this semester, our favorite trips so far, all of it.

         It was my favorite night of the whole semester, so I was stoked to see them again. We had exchanged our WhatsApp information and planned this trip over the course of this week. My classmates had planned some exotic trips far away, but I really needed to save money this weekend, since spring break was the week after. 

         Millie and Nick trained down to me from Paris and I met them at the train station. Trains from Paris to Barcelona weren’t terribly cheap, but they weren’t crazy expensive either. Besides, they had wanted to see Barcelona anyways, and I could get them free housing. They didn’t get to the station until 11, so when I met them there, we simply rode back to the dorms, talked for a bit, and then went to bed.

         The next day, I showed them around my city. Playing tour guide really makes you remember all the incredible things about the place you’re staying in that you had grown used to. It was an absolute blast. The cathedrals, the hills, the crazy street markets, it was like all of it was new again. That was partly because… well…

         “Millie, you look…” I fumbled for my words, and my cheeks grew red.

         Millie had just walked out of a public restroom (a novelty in Europe truly) wearing her brand-new Spanish dress. It was definitely a cliché tourist thing to buy, but Spanish girls really did wear them, so she wanted to fit in for the day. She looked absolutely stunning. I really did enjoy her as a friend, but finding her gorgeous and her laugh adorable aren’t crimes, are they?

         We ended the day at my house, where my fantastic host mom had prepared an authentic Spanish dinner. She didn’t like overnight guests, so we stayed in my friend’s dorms last night since they were out traveling (with their permission, of course). My host mom loved my friends, and Millie and Nick, who also lived in dorms, both said they wished they could have lived with a host family. It’s honestly been my favorite part of the experience, but I didn’t tell them that because I didn’t want to rub it in. After talking for hours with Mrs. Loaina, we headed back to the dorms, exhausted and ready for sleep. The next day would be another adventure, and this time it would be new for all of us.

         Just in case you were curious, Andorra does not exist. If you don’t know where Andorra is, supposedly it’s this little tiny country between Spain and France. It’s only about four hours away from Barcelona by train. I had been planning to go at some point during the semester, and it was “on the way” for Millie and Nick. We were all curious what actually existed there, since it really is one of the smallest countries in the world. We didn’t do any research; we were just going to go. We figured that between my Spanish and their French, we could manage fairly well. We didn’t account for the borders of Andorra being nonexistent, however.

         Originally, we tried to get there simply based on maps, train guides, and people’s directions. We weren’t going to use our phones or Google Maps. We took one train that was supposedly going to take us into this beautiful town in Andorra from Barcelona. When we arrived there, we walked into this tiny country town and looked at the maps there. It told us we were 50 miles southeast of Andorra’s border. We asked some locals and they told us we were still in Spain. At this point, we gave up on our phone-free commitment and looked at Google Maps. Apparently, we were in Andorra. To this day, I have no idea what town we were in.

         Of course, we needed to reach Andorra still. We hopped on another train that was headed in the right direction according to the map. When we reached our stop, we got out and checked our phones to see what landmarks we could find. Our phones told us we were in France. The maps in town said Andorra, but once again the locals told us we were just shy of the border. I’m not entirely positive if our communication was simply that skewed, or if the locals did not know what country they belonged to, but someone was wrong.

         Finally, we took a bus that took us further into Andorra, right about to the central point. This time, the locals said we were in Andorra, but our phones kept switching between saying we were in France or Spain. At least the maps in town agreed with the locals this time. The town was tiny and had absolutely nothing to do, and we still weren’t entirely positive we had actually made it to Andorra, so we sat down to eat dinner and to decide what exactly our plan was for the night.

         We rested our legs and pulled out our phones again. I was just about to unlock my phone when I got a notification for an email from school. The subject line made my heart sink and race simultaneously.

         “All Students Required to Arrange Plans to Return Home ASAP.”

         I read the email further to see that President Trump had enacted a travel ban to Europe and any American citizens were asked to return to the States immediately.

         I looked up at my friends, who had similar looks of dismay as they looked at their phones.

         “We’re being sent home,” Millie and I say together. 

Genuine Happiness

Eva Cruz

Is happiness really frolicking in a sun-kissed flower field

or a dimply smile fortified with shields of whitened enamel?

Can happiness be so shallow that a toddler may splash

its feet in? With water as transparent as glass. A window

to gaze upon the rocks and sand and the shy minnows

below. Minnows kiss the chubby toes sitting on thrones

of rocks and squeaky laughter spills from the tiny vocal cords.

Just keep laughing kid─  

The minnows will swim away.


Leighann Summers

People always told me

“If you play with fire you’re going to get burned.”

But I guess maybe that’s something I never truly learned  

I didn’t obey  

You see

How can something so beautiful

So playful, So mesmerizing

Possibly intend to hurt me?  

When I got older people always warned me of another kind of flame

They said “If you stay with him, all you’ll receive is pain.”

But I suppose that’s not something I ever really heard  

I didn’t listen  

You see How can someone so wonderful

So graceful, So tantalizing

Possibly intend to wound me?  

Looking back now perhaps I would scold me for reaching out to the flickering sparks

They said

“If you come away with us, you may be led astray”

But perhaps that’s not something my heart duly preferred  

I did it anyways  

You see

How can something so innocent

So stupefying, So pure

Possibly intend to misuse me?  

People always told me

“If you play with fire you’re going to get burned.”

But I guess maybe that’s something I never truly learned  

I should have obeyed  

You see

Turns out something so mesmerizing

So tantalizing, So stupefying

Is always looking for some way to seduce me.

Highway to the End of Times

Fabrice Poussin

A thin streak flashed in a bright light

fire born in times immemorial

built a road to a furthest horizon.  

Deserted as if created for a single traveler

narrow to give vertigo to a veteran rope walker

it called for him to take that leap of faith.  

Many journeys then recalled to his soul

was this to be his final adventure

battered by decades of raging hours he was ready?  

Taking another fleeting glance backward

would he regret the days of slumber

the dreams missed in sacrifice to a routine?  

He may have heard a distant melody

calling a name so long forgotten

to be the child who first stumbled into this world again.  

Touching a wrinkle upon his brow he pondered

laughing at his own doubts what was there to be feared ahead?  

Below he suspected the streets of the old capital

dark asphalt shining with gaslights

he would never walk again.  

No one could keep him company on this voyage

but soon he would find himself among those

he had once admired yet in another era.  

Still perhaps in the shell once his home

he was granted a pass for roads to infinity

perhaps soon he would share the divine discoveries.

Lost in a Book

Isabel Borgers

I emerge

from the world

I had been, nearly,

part of all morning  

my own world

seems foreign

as if I left

half of me

back there  

I go about the

next hour

like someone who

does not belong,

separated by a wall of words  

the real world (if you can call it that)

feels hazy—but only at first

then, after a while,

I feel as if I have fully returned

after a long journey  


Something has changed

I almost forget

that I only truly visited in my mind  

By losing myself inside that book

I discovered myself

and gained much

by getting lost

Pure Communion

Ashley Lasseter

I met You and life blossomed

We danced and talked in communion together

But there was an Enemy who saw the dance we had started to learn

The crash shut the lights off in an instant and jammed the light switch stuck

Eleven years in the dark, dissociated from the world around me

No senses present, numb to everything, left with speculating why it happened

So much rage and sorrow, but You were still there

I didn’t perceive the Light had been holding my hand the entire time

You lit up the dark, and eleven years later the light was turned back on

We danced and we sobbed together, anguish and deep loss ensued

But You grieve with me, and how much more beautiful things are!

You walked me through that Valley, held my hand, and led me into renewed Life

You taught me how to tango in the dark and how to square my shoulders like a warrior

You shouted and roared a Life into even the darkest night

You flipped that switch on with a Song, a Calling to come out of the Anxiety I had known  

You and I dance together in communion and worship again

Things are still hard and uncertain, but how much more beauty there is now!

Where I was buried alive in a spiritual grave, no oxygen or light

Yet even there, Life existed. You were my Oxygen, Hope, and Light

You shook that anxious grave I had accepted and laid in, and it trembled so that the ground couldn’t clutch it any longer

Life burst forth out of that grave, and You called me forth to live again

There was Beauty for my Ashes and a garden blooming where there had once lay my grave

I now stand in the Garden You made for me and we tend it together

Those grapes that got pressed and crushed now make the wine for us to drink

There are rainbows of color where there was once pitch black

There are fruits in the Orchard that had once been scorched

Together we harvest those fruits that are bursting with juice, through the very rind!

And we dance together in the Life You have created

Out of the darkest time has sprung forth my deepest utmost praise

What the Enemy declared lifeless is now Alive in You

Out of the barren locust swarm has come a Calling

A ministry fashioned out of the bleak brokenness

Where there was desert is now a well filled with You

And people drink out of the well, parched no more

From this well they come and drink, learning that You are good

Our dark frames are filled with the Light and every need is satisfied in You

We all dance together in this pure communion with You