__

<< PREVIOUS

NEXT >>


__

Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
A Wedding Toast For Daddy's Little Girl
_
By Miriam N. Kotzin
Bread
_ By Debbi Pless
Flowers
_ By Rachel Miller
Gyokusai
_ By Julie Jordan
Hearts Without Armor
_ By Angela P. Markham
Mental Constipation and Brain Vomit
_ By Winnie Khaw
My Best Subject
_ By Ashley Polker
Piper
_ By Samantha Rae
Requiem For An Author
_ By R. Holsen
Sometimes It Pours Only Dogs
_ By Saana Tykkä
The Black Tape
_ By Brad Jashinsky

Poetry
A Slave To Time
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Colour
_ By Kaleen Love
Death By My Lover
_ By Jessica Tempestad
I Am A Pineapple
_ By Rachel Miller
Lament For the Lost Soldier
_ By Melissa Augeri
Laundry Arcade
_ By Ashley Polker
Left Silent To Dream of Wine
_ By Kaleen Love
Mortality
_ By Henry Grieves
Ode To Microsoft Spell Cheque
_ By Arielle Demchuk
Reminiscent of Society As An Individual
_ By Henry Grieves
Ship's Cook
_ By Heather Inwood
The Phoenix
_ By Kaleen Love
The Raven and the Dove
_ By Melissa Augeri
Train Dreamer
_ By Heather Inwood 

Art & Photography
S. Camargo
_ Photography and Drawings
David C. Clarke
_ Photography
Wiltekirra Samaxionn
_ Photography
Anca Sandu
_ Paintings
Austin Tanney
_ Photography
Ray Tsang
_ Paintings
Mark Warren
_ Photography

Flowers
By Rachel Miller


Bullets soared. Like birds liberated from their cylindrical cages, they sought refuge beneath the skin of whatever accidental persons crossed their paths. Or flowers—yes, they were flowers; smooth gray petals falling to the ground with a gentle sound of clinking after the thunderous burst that announced their bloom. Flowers.

It was the kind of spring day memorialized in love poems and lighthearted haikus, with benevolent sunlight and a bright blue sky. The air crackled with liveliness, crispy and cool-yet-warm. However, it was also a day of unrest, with throngs of people flooding the Kent State University campus. Protest was the most potent of all drugs going around, and as more and more students poured out of the buildings, it was evident that the whole school was high on it.

All through the crowd there was the adrenaline of inspired fury, surging like an electrical current. While some students had been violent and militant over the past few days, others did not feel this same hatred. Allison Krause cupped her hands over her mouth to form a makeshift microphone and shouted, “Stop the war!” It was the only thing she hated at that moment; she did not hate Nixon, the soldiers, or the National Guard members stationed around the school. She hated the Vietnam War. To her it was a revolting yet intangible beast, bloodthirsty not only for innocent lives but also for the optimism and innocence she was desperately trying to hold onto. With every headline detailing atrocities committed or soldiers killed in combat, she felt herself become more and more cynical. It was these moments, however, when strangers came together for a common cause, which restored her faith in the world. She was part of something bigger than herself. Perhaps her voice, calling out for peace, would not be heard by many, but the collective voice of the group would resonate.

She walked with the crowd, her arm linked with her boyfriend Barry’s. Together they meandered forward, reveling in the scene, soaking it up hungrily as if it was sunlight penetrating through their skin after a long winter. He nudged her as they walked by a National Guard soldier looking slightly less attentive than the rest. His eyes were downcast, yet his expression seemed softer than that of the other soldiers. “Isn’t that Meyers?” Barry said.

Allison recognized the soldier immediately, and tried to catch his eyes, but in vain; he didn’t see her. “Yes,” she said distractedly. She and Barry had met Meyers the day before, before an officer had humiliated him for holding a lilac. Meyers had placed the flower in the barrel of his gun, and the image had stayed with Allison.

“Say it,” Barry told her, drawing her attention back to him. “Say what you told the officer yesterday.”

Allison lit up with recognition, remembering her words. She nodded to Barry, although for some inexplicable reason she was nervous. Cupping her hands to her mouth again, she shouted in her loudest voice yet, “Flowers are better than bullets!” and elicited a few cheers from around her.

Almost simultaneously, an order was shouted into the crowd. The people surrounding Allison and Barry began to retreat to the safety of a nearby hill, and Allison watched them despairingly. The National Guard soldiers were approaching, their guns pointed aggressively at the crowd. Some soldiers threw tear gas, and as much as she wanted to resist, Allison was overtaken by a fit of coughing and sneezing. Tears welled in her eyes, which became bright red from the gas and persistent sneezing.

There was chaos around her. The tear gas affected everyone, and the soldiers’ sudden belligerence inspired immediate fear in many. Nearly everyone was withdrawing; some were running. Allison cried genuine tears as well as she turned to Barry in frustration, shouting through the cloth she was using to cover her mouth, “Why are they doing this? Why can’t they leave us alone?” Fear and aggravation had her shaking, with little earthquakes rumbling through her body. She didn’t understand what was going on, or what had provoked it. The little she was conscious of made her upset and infuriated. She barely realized that Barry was pulling her away from the soldiers.

When she reached the top of the hill with the others, she saw that the National Guard continued to follow the protesters. Frustration heaved inside her, no longer a silent earthquake but an explosive volcano, and she yelled at them, “We’re not doing anything wrong!” But still they pushed forward, and Allison felt horrified as she realized that their faces were completely covered by inhuman gas masks. They looked like aliens, like malignant creatures from a science fiction novel. “Why are you doing this!” she shouted, louder now, her voice trembling. Her face was wet and numb from her torrential tears, and her body shook as much as her voice. Barry pulled her arm. “Come on,” he said in a low, urgent voice. He was terrified as well. “It’s okay. Come on, let’s just go.”

Allison dried her face with her sleeve and tried to catch her breath—the combination of the tear gas and her screaming and crying had left her winded. She let Barry lead her away, taking deep rankling breaths as she walked. She tried to calm down, but seeing the National Guard pursuing peaceful protestors had detonated a sense of outrage within her. She could not calm down. She managed to stop her yelling but she could barely walk due to the overflow of adrenaline in her. Allison took a long deep breath. Though she inhaled some of the tear gas, she did feel the touches of fresh air gently brushing her lungs. For a moment, in the midst of all the chaos around and within her, she felt an unexpected stillness. She took one last glance behind her.

Somewhere in the cluster of soldiers a curt order was issued. Guns were raised and aimed, and with a bang those metallic flowers burst upon the protestors. Like a lover’s bouquet arrests the senses, the scent of gunpowder pervaded the campus. One Guard member, his face shrouded by the gas mask, aimed more carefully than the rest. As he was choosing his target, he made eye contact with a young woman. Could she see his eyes? He was almost certain, for he held her gaze for what seemed like minutes, though it must have been a mere fraction of a second. She turned her head away from him, and he pulled the trigger. A moment later, she crumbled to the ground.