Opened Shell

by Zayne Ali

You could tell your friends,

but you don’t.

Instead you turn to the adults you’re so used to.


How would your friends act if they knew?

Would they scorn you?

Think you’re too vulnerable?

You don’t know.

You don’t want to know.


Why are you afraid of judgement?

These are your friends for gosh sakes!

They’ve been through the same stresses and challenges you have!


But you still don’t say.

Fear weighs on your heart.

Avoiding the topic is like a slow, careful dance.


But one day, the clouds were too much.

You just needed someone to talk to.

Someone who understood.

Someone who cared.

A peer that been through this dark storm like you.


This person appeared,

just like an angel.

The two of you had a heart-to-heart talk.


“It was like talking to a mirror,

you think to yourself.

“Someone who’s an introvert with depression too.”


You hugged together,

cried together.

You built a friendship that could never be broken.


Though depression might seem like a challenge,

don’t think it makes you any weaker!

It makes you stronger,

as a matter of fact.

Don’t let anything or anybody tell you otherwise.

The Bard

~ Brenna Connell ~


I ride under the guise of a simple traveler,

Wandering far and wide in search of the distant unknown;

I keep myself hidden with every strange encounter

But by the fire, by my dear companions, away the cloak is thrown.

I paint word-pictures in the air, hold one-sided conversations,

Speak my truth and pierce the air with unapologetic honesty;

I see potential in the sparks of fire, the star-speckled sky

For grand epics and long-woven yarns, the making of a story.



Matisyn S.



The cold land of white

Trees twist, icicles dangles

Frost kisses the grass

The Water Lily

Sitting on the blue

A pink crown with pollen

Long roots swirl around


Ready for War

Packing a kit bag

Go marching to enemies

Return home with fear



Birds of a feather

A plume, the quill separate

Opposites break off


Trust it to return

A yellow glow through the trees

Have faith in mornings

we’ll carry on


Along the way, the candle in your lantern may blow out. Make sure you bring matches to relight it if you have to;

Along the way, you may run into something. If it is a bear, ignore it and hope it ignores you. If it is a spirit, offer up anything you have for good passing through their forest. You can hunt more. If it is a weary traveler, only give food you have to spare;

Along the way, you may lose your map. Follow the stars. They are here to guide you;

Along the way, your hopes may dampen. Never mind that, for you must be stronger than doubt;

Along the way, your extra clothes may become burdensome. Always keep them, though. The nights can get cold;

Along the way, follow the songbirds. Sing back to them; enjoy their kinship while you can;

Along the way, you may run out of kindling. Bark or dead leaves will do;

Along the way, you will miss home. But the adventure is your home, the sky your ceiling, and as long as you keep pushing through, homesickness will be at bay;

Along the way, you will be inclined to give up,


rainbow effect

kaja rae lucas



in the last scene of the suicide

someone shines a light through

two fastened prisms

shining out on the other side

like rainbows.  


didn’t god send a rainbow after the flood?

wasn’t the road to valhalla paved with it?

didn’t sylvia and marsha start riots for it?

or is it just an effect?




the rose on the tips of the rainbow was

re-purposed for a color of violence– now, our flags

of pride appear with violence, a stripe,

where we are aware of how violence shaped us.


your girlfriend put on rainbow eyeliner for pride

somewhere in Istanbul. she came home with

a rubber bullet in her leg and the rainbow

eyeliner running down her face;

don’t you know we’re not wanted here?


the prisms seem to break the light apart

showing the way white light holds all of these colors

but white is not brown and we are not mentioned.

blackness is not a part of your rainbow.



Someone please kill me
before I explode
into over 7 billion pieces of glass
and scatter over all the places anyone has ever deemed a landmark,
for someone to discover me
or mindlessly stumble over me
as they stare up at some soulless, unforgiving structure
that seems sturdy and eternal
but will one day return to the dust
that all things return to when faced
with the ever-reaching claws of time
If they stumble,
their feet will snag on my edges
and bleed over the ruins,
or perhaps someone will pick me up,
and cast me away again
on the assumption that I am simply a piece of something
broken and long-forgotten,
or maybe the sunlight will bounce off of me
at just the right angle
and I will gleam in a child’s eye
and their unconscious attraction to ordinary things
with no place in the world
will draw them to me
and they will pocket me to add to their collection
of things they found to have uncategorizable beauty
in a world constantly flooring the gas pedal of the fastest car
to meet the loving embrace of death
while declaring victory or success
or some other kind of fulfillment
and I will gather dust in a drawer
alongside rocks and pebbles
and small shells
and pieces of lost pottery with chipping paint
until everything rots


-Jeremiah Zaeske

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




Samantha Tyler Engler

One flick and
color splatters
And another flick
Droplets fly

You grab colors
and brushes
Hand writhing in

Arguments and
insults flung
away from the body
Exorcise demons

Unrepentant guilt
Unrequited love
Red blood, anger,
passion, fear

Don’t let them see
Throw the blankets
over, Pretend it’s
ok. Ok?

Bright, bubbling
false facades
Standing in the
whirlwind. Ok?

Everything’s everywhere
Messes are for making
Pristine canvas
turned battleground

You’ve done it
again, no surprise
Life imitates
art imitates

Life, and
You know how
to ruin the
both of them

thoughts from a cherry wood shelf

By Maddie Jaffe

to be an overthinker,

you must first understand what it means.

is there such a thing as an underthinker?

whose skull is a dusty, hollow, echoing shell?

or a just-right thinker,

with thoughts piled neatly on cherry wood shelves?

maybe not

or maybe so

but the point is

what makes the overthinker? what encourages one to flirt with insanity?

is it the never-ending nights watching your ceiling as


hours pass, your beauty sleep a runaway paper on a windy day, always, always

blown just out of reach

or is it the fact that decisions as simple as what flavor of ice cream you want

are traumatic


and leave you aching, wondering, still, an hour later, if strawberry was the right choice?

maybe it’s the eraser marks

tainting your page with an irreplaceable, indestructible gray from half-finished,

scrapped ideas and answers

that are now long gone.

so what, out of these, truly makes an overthinker?

what does it mean, and how do you become one

or make it go away?

well, friends.

I suppose we’ve overthought it.