The Room in the Attic

Charlotte Knauth


She kept ticket stubs and pieces of pottery in a jar under her nightstand, fake forget-me-not flowers in an old chipped glass on top. Bars of soap sat in each drawer so all her shirts smelled of honeysuckle, her socks (she never folded them so it was nearly impossible to find a matching pair) like pumpkin pie, and her jeans like fresh cut lilac. Her furniture was deep brown and decorated with things she couldn’t bear to part with. It was all a part of an old matching set from the sixties, clean cut in a nostalgic way.

Her ceiling took in the curvatures and edges of the roof, as she resided in the attic her parents never used. It had remained empty for quite some time, nothing but a small cardboard box of old blurred photographs and neat brown clay squirrels that she center of the room.

A small window with an old metal frame stared at a walnut tree, tall and looming, outside the house. Its branches brushed against the siding when it rained and she could hear it in her sleep, like a giant running its hands against the walls. Seven small pot plants lined the ledge beneath the window frame, four dead, three alive, and an old Windex bottle filled with water sat on the laminate floor.

A record player rested in the corner of the room, the case a fading pale aqua blue. Brand new records ran across a low shelf extending along the length of the wall. Most of them had never been opened.

There was a bookshelf cut into the wall across from her bed, shelving carved out so novels and poems were nestled inside the foundation of the house, sitting vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and even scattered across the floor, until there was no more empty space to be seen.

The room always smelled like rain, sounded like rain, and left petrichor soaked air on her tongue. The ceiling, a deep fading grayish blue, was doused in hundreds of glow in the dark stars, placed meticulously to accurately map winter’s view of a constellation filled sky.

A mountain of blankets hid her bean bag like a cloak of invisibility. It sat in the corner between her book-filled wall and the closed closet doors that look eerily similar to those from Poltergeist.

But now there are only boxes. Now there’s just her, kicking her feet out from under the blankets in the middle of the night, one last time.

Tomorrow there will be her, taking trips back and forth between the moving van her father rented with boxes stacked up in her hands to fit under her chin. Then there will be empty space in her room in the attic, the attic nobody wanted but her, because it always smelled like rain.

Dream A Little Dream For Me


Daydream with me for a moment…

You’re outside.

Mid-morning sunlight shines on the trees, casting shadows in the grass beside you.

You’re sitting by a brick wall.

Dry grass clippings from last week’s mowing tickle your legs.

A solitary star leaf rests on the grass tips,

Its crumpled and crunched neighbors buried beneath it.

Sea urchin tree seeds poke up from the ground.


A maple with wide leaves and porcupine seeds.

One dry, empty branch

Surrounded by green life.

A weeping birch.

Leaves cascade down in waterfalls from upcurving branches.

“La paz es una necesidad.”

Peace is a necessity,

Says a tall wooden pole beaten into the ground.

The bottom is worn from years of rain and weed whacking.

Circular designs wrap around the cube cylinder top.

The looping characters of Arabic and other languages

Carve down the other sides.

Wind rustles leaves.

Grass crunches under classmates’ feet.

Birds twitter from between feathered tree leaves along the brick wall.

Sun warms your arms

As the wall cools your back…

Take a photo of this moment

‘Cause tomorrow’s not promised, and here…


Is beautiful.



By: Rachel McLean


A scream

A cry

A shout for help


An endless descent

An isolated fall


Crystal wings

Shining brilliantly


Skin of ebony

A bronze hand stretches out

Reaching for help that never comes


By: Brenna Barrett

Every day, I woke up and looked at her and she sat there looking back at me. The stark whiteness that washed over her face did not reflect over me. It distorted her features, broke her face into fragments, and wiped clean the color of her skin. Yet, she was me, and I was her. Our movements and speech patterns were alike but opposite. To draw the curtains and to block out the light only hid the whiteness that washed over her face. And then suddenly it was me, staring at myself. But, I didn’t recognize the person anymore for the whiteness, the light, seemed like the only thing that separated me from the person I had become. The light from the window, I knew, was not the only thing that differed me from my reflection.


Wyn Cox


I conclude this whole life

is one of those miracles

that never seem to matter

until the minute streams burn

and turn to steam

and I begin to dream

of purple moss and

inescapable meetings.


At night, the cicadas recite

stories about how the Earth

was born and will someday die.

One by one, the moths throw

themselves into the sun

and flit between beacons

of fading starlight

in modest white dress

despite certain death.

They speak with such grace,

such warmth beneath a

stark linen canvas.


In a realized subconscious,

I translate Morse code from

beating wings, hold my breath

where the air is water and glistens.

I take notice of the trees’ stillness

and runes carved into branches—

the woodpecker’s inscription.


To awaken is to be

reborn into a world restricted.

I listen for the metal breath

of fingers against bars, magnified

only to my ears.

The woodpecker pulls the

raw flesh of the cherry tree

out from inside itself, as if

it knows how to pinpoint

the sensitive topics

for rabid consumption.


Engravings on river stones

prophesied that I would finally

stray into the lesser miracle

of reality, condemning the

wonders of the night to

be extinguished by the

flame of day.

Just 1 cent

Grace Martin





The only words that swirl around my head

When asked what color my eyes are



A pool

Like 4th of July with my Brothers

Dive deep into the abyss

And rise

Releasing a gasping breath

And swim



Like clay

Into semicircle objects

Amazing the fact that eyes hold our future

What insignificant things they are

Not bigger that a penny

A penny

1 cent

Compared to my tears and memories and happiness

What could it buy you?

Standing at the mall

Begging the person who mirrors my eyes

“Mom” I scream at the top of my lungs

“I wanna make a wish”

A penny

Compared to my sight

My vision

The capsule of my memories


By: Adora Brown

London was beautiful in the winter. Ponds had frozen over so the children could skate after school. Snow piled upon every surface, and ice danced through intricate curves. My sister and I would skate every day after classes. We’d spend hours outside, Rose and I, until our cheeks were flushed and our fingertips were numb. Mother would make piping hot stew that would send a warm chill through our frozen spines. It was a good, simple life we lived. Until I got sick.

They warned us about tuberculosis. It was bolded in the newspaper as they highlighted instances of outbreaks around the world. But mother would hold us close and promise nothing nasty like that would ever reach us. We thought it was just a cough. A simple, winter cough.

I died December 14, 1907. I’m surrounded by this house, bombarded with memories like a rushing stream. Memories of the lake my sister Rose and I would swim in every summer. Memories of my mother’s cooking or of my father sitting in his chair reading the paper. The worst ones haunt me at night, when the air is chill and the house is silent. The only thing to fill the void, the silence, are my own twisted thoughts and recollections. That familiar pain settles deep in my chest, pushing through my ribcage and spreading through the expanse of my lungs. I can’t breathe, my vision blurs. There is pain and I remember this pain and it never ends. I’m drowning, but on the inside. I can’t swim to the surface and take a deep gulp of air because there is no surface. Only water and blood. Blood, that perfect crimson red singed into my memories. Reliving my death every night. Because I’ve forgotten my sister’s face and my mother’s laugh. I’ve forgotten the feeling of humanity and now I’m a shell of a girl who can’t escape her twisted fate.

Through Fire and Change

Jaina Peveto

Siofra is too soft. She is small, like the quiet kind of mouse you find in children’s picture books. Sometimes, when the day has been long and I’m too tired to think straight, I imagine she might disappear one day. She would just grow fainter and weaker until she’s no longer anything at all.

But I say nothing. It isn’t my business. I’m just her roommate. I’ve never been one to comment on a person’s health, anyway. It’s just always seemed rather rude to me. I wouldn’t want anyone to point out that I haven’t slept, even if I feel the aching exhaustion settle into my bones. How I feel should be my business, and how Siofra is feeling should be hers.

I just make sure to give her a second helping of dinner when I can. It’s not much, but it keeps the subject quiet and it makes me feel like I did something right by helping. It’s a win-win solution, really. Except for the fact that even without my help, Siofra could probably eat a dragon if she didn’t mind the spice. And she still never seems to look any healthier.

I have grown up with jagged edges, but some part of me is gentle enough to worry for my roommate. I do not say anything, but I worry for her health. It seems she’s been handed the short stick in life, the flaming kind that your life is attached to.

But sometimes, there’s something else. Certain mannerisms of hers draw my suspicions away from an innocent sickly girl, and toward something more dangerous.

Sometimes, she speaks of things she should have no knowledge of. Her eyes look far older than the rest of her, which looks even younger than she is. Sometimes she smiles a secret smile, the kind that tells me she knows something. Something she shouldn’t.

I put out my iron-cast skillet and ask her to cook, just to put my suspicions to rest. But each time I do so, she makes an excuse and leaves me to make the meal. She won’t even eat anything made from that skillet, for some odd reason, which makes absolutely no sense because the spices in there are extraordinary.

Unless. Unless I’m right.

Finally, enough is enough. I buy a carton of eggs. And when Siofra asks me what I’m doing, I smile and tell her I’m cooking in an eggshell.

She squints down at it. “Kaida,” she says quietly, “I don’t think there’s enough room in there to cook anything. And aren’t you afraid it might break?”

Hmm. No odd poems. Maybe she isn’t a changeling after all.

Kaida is loud and brash, and she speaks like a spitfire. She seems to roar all her words, and she’s always sitting by the fire. She always insists on using this ridiculously spicy cast-iron skillet, and tries to make me cook from it as well. (I refuse. I even more of a rubbish cook than she is.) Her food is always so spicy. It’s ridiculous.

There is something very off about Kaida. I hate to admit it, but she is just a bit terrifying. She switches between hovering over me like a mother hen and squinting at me suspiciously when I so much as cough. It makes me curse my weak immune system more than ever.

I was hoping for a roommate who would leave me be. I have been hovered over for my entire life, and I am tired of it. Kaida is as bright as a searing sunrise, but she’s also as dark as the underside of a pegasus’s wings. I cannot tell whether it is that light or that blackness that scares me more.

After all, what kind of person turns on the heat during the summer? What kind of person hisses back to the snakes in the zoo? What kind of person likes food that burns off the roof of their mouth?

Why is Kaida so claustrophobic? Why does she speak of historical events as though she were alive back then? Why does she have a box of jewels in her room?

Sometimes, when she looks into the distance, if I peer closely, I can see the reflection of something else in her eyes. Something not human. Something serpentlike.

And sometimes, I can’t help but wonder…

But no. It can’t be. Dragons aren’t real, right?

I hiss at her, one day. She blinks, and then scowls.

“Well, that was an incredibly rude thing to say.”

My fork hovers above my plate. “I didn’t say anything, Kaida.”

“Yes, you did,” she insists. She takes a bite of her breakfast. “You called me an overgrown lizard.”

“That’s an oddly specific hiss,” I reply. I lean forward, propping my elbows on the table, though I know it’s incredibly rude of me. “So. You’re a dragon?”

Kaida frowns for a moment, and then laughs. “I suppose the truth is out. And, just to make sure… you’re not a changeling, right? I tried a trick with some eggshells recently, but you didn’t really react…”

I smile. “I think I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.”

Day vs Night


Jeremiah Zaeske


Green hills roll like ripples in the sea of earth

The sun reigns the sky

its fire casting light upon the grassy plane

illuminating the colors

Colors leaping out in joy

This scene has all the bright and beautiful feelings of a youthful day

Only upon closer inspection can it be seen that the sky has other inhabitants

that under the laughter of day is the sound of the moon

being smothered beneath the burning hot gold

A dark looming figure

A stain that won’t come out

A reminder that as long as the earth spins

day will always turn to night

Some dread it

and cling to day as their sanctuary

Deem the night their enemy

A killer of light

The end of all days

The more the sun unleashes its grip on the sky

the more they fear that time has slipped through their fingers like salt water

But all the beauty of the world still stands there in the darkness

You don’t need the bright colors to feel it

There’s hope in the grey

Night and days is a symbiosis



the cost of a compliment


You should have seen the look on her face when I complimented her pins. She had a story waiting to be told, and to finally be able to share it made her face light up.

I walk through days and see people treating compliments like currency, as if to utter one without motive would be alien. As if it would be foolish to waste your time on flattery.

I try to compliment someone every day.

We’ve all been in that situation, where we tried really hard on something only to go unnoticed. When we pulled three all-nighters in a row to get a B minus. Telling you that dress looks nice on you, that your coconut cookie recipe worked, that your eyes look lovely in this light; it doesn’t cost me anything at all, but leaves with you happier and me with this light feeling in my chest from being the cause of someone’s smile;