by Hannah Pickering

Child: Small hands, wondrous mind, bright eyed and staring in amazement at the stars. Decides then that all they want when they’re older is to be among them.

Teen: Bigger hands, mind not so wondrous as it once was, eyes dulled around the edges, losing the enchanted glow.
Times changed, life’s gotten harder, reality bearing down on them to grow their roots inside the box instead of outside it.
Their eyes still sometimes glance to the sky thinking if they can one day find themselves among the stars when they’re older.

Adult: Grown hands, mind has been shut down but reborn and rewired, eyes are tired and rarely glow now.
Life’s brought them to where they are, different path then they’d imagined, roots confined in one place.

They sit on the porch in the dead of night, gazes directed to the billions of twinkling lights and one murmurs, “I always wanted to be among the stars…but I could never quite reach them.” There’s a moment of silence followed by a gentle hum, hands outstretched as if to touch the stars in the sky, and the other replies,

If you can’t get to the stars yourself, creating your own will work just fine.”


by Hannah Pickering

Who commands your unending journey, adventurer?

What are we more than scattered immortal supernovas, compressed into mortal bodies?

When we pass my dying stars that shatter into billions of ions, spreading light through the galaxy.

Where your brilliance shines just as bright as mine.

Why do we sit in idle wonder when we can sail the galaxies and discover?

How can I convince you that there is more to this universe than what you see with your narrowed eyes?


by Hannah Pickering

There’s blood in these waters son.

Blood that runs so deep in the sediment, that no amount of draining and cleansing would ever strip it.

There have been many men who have stopped at these waters.

Good men.

Bad men.

All men.

Every man has passed through these waters.

Every man has stopped at the edge and stared at his reflection.

Every man has seen the blood swirl in the water to reveal his soul.

And sometimes, the hidden image that’s cast back to him is more terrifying than the one seen by all.

That is the devil that runs in the waters.

There’s blood in these waters son.

And you’d best be careful when you look at your reflection.

For the blood lining your hands will surely reveal your unholy nature.


Emily Dickinson had said that her life had stood a loaded gun.

I do not think my life is the same.

I believe my life is a revolver with a single bullet.

A revolver playing Russian Roulette.

The bullet still waiting to leave its chamber.

The cylinder still spinning, waiting to land on the lucky shot.

My revolver is still waiting to take upon the shame and damnation found in the crevices of alleys I have yet to travel.

The metal is still polished, still sitting shiny in the case it was placed in the day I brought it home.

There are no fingerprints to be found by those who have held it, wielding it to their whims,

I have kept it safe.

And hidden.

But God help the soul who believes themselves brave enough to wield what is mine.

For luck is a dangerous thing,

And a hammer pulled back is even more so.


by Hannah Pickering

Kid, when are you gonna stop taking it?

When are you gonna spit the blood out your mouth and clench your jaw?

When are you gonna rise on broken bones and skinned knees to stand against the tide?

Kid, when are you gonna take a stand and make something of yourself?


by Hannah Pickering

I have never understood why they say look to the stars when you are in need of guidance.

Our bodies are forged upon the shattered remnants of dead stars.

Why would I look to the universe for the answers?

When they are written upon my very soul?


By: Annh Browder

Oh, how she wished she had listened. What tragedy could have been averted if she had only paid mind to the underlying pangs of uncertainty that had plagued her from the moment she had made her choice? It had seemed so perfect in the beginning—people laughing, children playing, the constant bustle of activity around her. She believed this moment to be the pinnacle of her young life, a story to be told to her children and later generations. Her story would still be told, but oh, how different it would be.

She could still smell the saltwater mingled with the sweet aroma that floated from the dining hall, the taste of the delicious food still on the tip of her tongue. At first, she had wondered where her next meal might come from, but the reality was, food, at this moment, was no longer her main concern. Now, instead, her only goal was to survive the night and freezing temperature it brought. She recalled the way the moonlight glinted off the lustrous handrails, the slight, momentary jostling of the ship, the sound of her hurried footsteps as she ran across the ornate, teakwood deck, polished to perfection.

The next thing she remembered was the look of panic on the first mate’s face as he passed her by, his shoulder coming into harsh contact with her own as he rushed towards the captain’s quarters. At first, she thought nothing of it, dismissing it as only a small inconvenience somewhere on the large vessel. She had continued her trek back to her cabin, ignoring the feeling of doubt that had arisen within her. To regret that action now was pointless, as she realized there was never anything she could have done to change what happened next.

The scene had changed drastically the next time she ventured back onto the deck. On the decks below, she could hear the panicked scurry of running feet and the loud voices that indicated something was very wrong. The horizon appeared unlevel before her eyes, and it seemed that the bow of the ship had begun to sink into the depths of the inky, black water. The fear was palpable as the screams grew louder, panic soon overtaking the minds of all those aboard, despite the calming music that constantly played in the background. She moved without thinking, her mind solely focused on her own survival.

Now, here she sits, eyes taking in the open expanse of the deadly Atlantic, ears filled with the eerie wailing of those pleading for a help that would never come and body numbed from the shock of the unspeakable horrors she had witnessed this night. Oh, if only she had listened. Even now, as she trembles in the cold, she knows these three things will never leave her mind: The sound of the gunshot that echoed across the night as the first mate took his own life; the screams of those unable to find sanctuary on one of the too few lifeboats; and the ship’s name, in bold letters, as it descended to its watery grave—TITANIC


By Kristina Stanfill

Luminous lights scatter in geometric patterns. My surroundings come alive through a dance of vibrations. It seems as if everything is breathing. Euphoria embraces me. Gravity feels nonexistent yet still bounds me to this ground. My spirit elevates as it resonates with rhythmic vibrations which pulsate through dimensions beyond human comprehension. 


by Tatum Hogan


Working day in and day out,

Tending the garden,

Preparing meals,

Caring for my sick children —

Ernest, Jan, Silas, Virginia —

But never, never letting them see my struggles.

I was all they knew.

As I’m watching them mourn, I wonder.

Who will take care of them?

Maybe they’ll soon have families of their own.

They will struggle;

Good days will outweigh the bad;

They’ll think of me often.

But for once, I have something I’ve never had before:




by James Frazier


Heroes are made immortal.

For heroes, they make bronze statues

And put on parades on beautiful Spring days,

When the White Ash and Willow flowers bloom overhead.

All to commemorate the valiant acts

That heroes commit in the name of peace.

Upon my steed I sat, wearing medals I had not earned,

And waving at people who believed

My tall tales of valor that I had borrowed.

Then a garter snake spooked my horse into hysteria.

He bucked and kicked until I fell, striking my head.

Now I lie alone in this foxhole

That I had heard so many stories about —

Ashamed, for my tales did not follow me,

And my purchased heroism was stripped from me.