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

Stories & Essays
...gone tomorrow
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By jp Rodriguez
Barbie and the Burn Scars
_ By Dion OReilly
Bright Lights
_ By Nicole Exposito
Cricket Theory
_ By Sophia Alev
Dieciseis
_ By Kate Delany
Fines Double In Work Zone
_ By Brian Stumbaugh
Guy and Doll
_ By John P. Loonam
Lake
_ By Erlynda Jacqui Chan
Lala's Diner
_ By Nicole Exposito
Laundry
_ By Allison P. Boye
Love Story
_ By Cynthia Burke
Magic Bags and Forgotten Princesses
_ By Ken Goldman
Squirrels
_ By Benjamin Buchholz

Poetry
Baking Bread and Other Subtleties
_ By Leland Jamieson
Corpus Christi
_ By Taylor Collier
Early Cold
_ By Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb
Ekphrasis at the Mall
_ By James Owens
Games In Your Uncle's Den
_ By Robin Stratton
My Spanish Rose
_ By Jose Rivera
Northern Lights, Southern Soul
_ By E.F. Kramer
Posted on Fifth Avenue
_ By J.R. Salling
Sirens
_ By Naiya Wright
Summer Sojourn
_ By Cheryl Butterweck-Bucher
The Himalayan Sunset
_ By Rohith Sundararaman
Time Decays, Clots
_ By Kristine Ong Muslim
Turn
_ By Terrance Schaefer
Where You Rest
_ By Stephanie N. Barnes

Art & Photography
Bissan Alhussein
_ Paintings
E.W. Hung
_ Photography
Papa Osmubal
_ Drawings
Linda Pakkas
_ Drawings
Anastasiya Tarasenko
_ Paintings
Filip Wierzbicki
_ Paintings and Digital Photography
Nancy Xu
_ Paintings and Drawings

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Magic Bags and Forgotten Princesses
By Ken Goldman


The article in the morning paper about Denise Duncan covered little more than two inches of column space. There was no photo, no mention of her accomplishments, and nothing about what had led her to do what she had done.

It had been over ten years since she had sat in my fifth period English class, but she was the kind of student a teacher doesn't forget. How many 11th graders could write essays that still haunted you after a decade? I wish I had kept more of them, but I remembered a brief one she had written that I had filed with the few other student essays I had saved. I read it again, and the damned thing still got to me after all these years.

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FORTY-YARD LINE
By Denise Duncan

Tommy Watson got hit hard yesterday during the fourth quarter of Harrington's play-off game against Washington Prep. I watched him writhe in pain on the forty-yard line in his blue and gold uniform, thinking he looked like some kind of large tropical fish who had flopped out of its tank. A few moments later when they carried Tommy off the field, the stadium exploded in cheers for his valiant effort.

But I didn't cheer. I wanted Tommy's leg to be broken in six different places for what he had done to me four years ago.

One cold Sunday when I was twelve, Tommy had kept me waiting for an entire day with the promise that we would be going to a movie. I dressed in my best new clothes and my mother let me put on make-up for the first time. But Tommy never showed, and he never called. I cried all night.

My mom somehow took care of it, because she was good at that sort of thing. She told me that after a while, the hate and hurt would go away, and for these last few years I thought she had been right.

So I smiled whenever Tommy was around and acted like he didn't know me. I smiled when I saw him walk down the hallway holding hands with one of the cheerleaders. I even smiled when I saw them together at the Junior Prom. And I smiled yesterday, when I saw Tommy flopping in pain and I could only think "Now you know how it feels!" I wondered how long it would take for Tommy's pain to heal?

Probably nowhere nearly as long as it has taken mine...

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Denise Duncan kept the pain well hidden, but the smile she had strained so hard to maintain did not show in her eyes. Still, her writing indicated a vague optimism that happiness waited in some magic place that she could create for herself.

I hoped Denise’s files might provide me with the answer to her magic place, but I had no idea what a chore I had set up for myself. The school system doesn't computerize the records of any student who graduated before 1983, and there's a quarry where the old Harrington High School building had once stood. I had to go down to the Central Administration Building, and it took two hours there before anyone could even find her name listed.

Finally a temp named Patty, who was on her lunch break, took me to the eleventh floor and led me to a small filing room lit by a single bulb that I had to reach for a chain to light. I told her I was a teacher and that I wasn't breaking any rules being there, but she never even asked for my name. I mentioned I needed a photocopy machine just in case I found what I had been looking for. She pointed down the hall, and that ended our conversation.

The filing cabinet listing 1982’s graduating class from Harrington High School clearly hadn't been opened for years, and for a moment the dust itched my nose. I searched under the "D's" and there she was: Denise Duncan, Honors Course, Straight-A student in her senior year. A yellowed photo (which showed her at age six, smiling, minus one front tooth) was affixed to her medical records. There was a separate folder for awards: Future Leaders of America Award in her sophomore and junior year; winner of the Scholastic Achievement Essay Contest in her senior year; honorable mention for her volunteer work at the Clayton Home for the Aged throughout her four years at Harrington High School. She had received a full paid scholarship to Midwestern University three months before she graduated.

(Turn the page)