The Special Things

By Francesca Pieroni ’23 

The special things

The little things

The little special things

That make my life better

My mom

My dad

My English teacher

Who taught me to write this poem

My coaches

My friends

My brother

Who taught me to love on a whole new level

The special things

The stained things

The memories burned

Into my mind forever

My first play

My first word

My first smile

That taught me to always find happiness

My last day of school

My last friend

My last special book

That taught me to find more special books

The special things.

The little things.

The stained things.

Me.

Backyard

By Karen Jie ’21

The Backyard is the sort of place you would categorize as curious. A flock of birds chirp every morning as soon as the sun rises and every Monday, a man walks out of the house to roll out a big, green box that waits in the front yard for a big, green truck. When the people aren’t being noisy, the Backyard is a peaceful place. Two pools, one big and peanut-shaped, the other small and as round as the moon, serve as a place for animals to come and drink. Some blue monster hums in its depths, making rounds underwater every once a day. A waterfall connects the two ponds, making soothing splashes all the time. The water tastes funny, though, so the only creatures who can come close are the wasps in the summer. It’s too bad that those sources of water are too close to the House, home of the people.

Many things flourish in the Backyard and you see most life in the spring and summer. Then, the yard wouldn’t be peaceful or curious. It would be lively. Hummingbirds come and go, leaving chicks behind. At night come the bats, screeching as the bobcats hunt doves. Javelinas don’t come often anymore since they ate a glass ornament on Halloween. They still come back for the pumpkins, though. When the dangerous night finally passes, you can see remnants of a dove, blood staining the walkways.

Even the prettiest roses have thorns. The Backyard does too. As beautiful as it may be, strange things still lurk in its depths. Then the Backyard can be considered a dangerous place. Sometimes the people come out to play, ruining the peace of the yard, the calm of the pools. They bring out the round, floating things and the lifeless, gigantic fish. As the little humans play, the bigger ones light a fire. They cook and a funny smell drives all the creatures of the Backyard away until the next day. And sometimes, if you wait long enough, you can see the hawk swoop down and hunt the hares or the owl cough up pack rats. Birds of prey know that things hide in the Backyard and come to hunt. Even the roadrunner, which doesn’t visit often, comes every once in awhile to enjoy a lizard or two.

But soon comes fall and then comes winter. The humans don’t come out as often. Some years, the pools freeze up and the monster inside lies still, resulting in the pool turning green. The insects disappear and the birds stop singing. There is silence and not one cicada or cricket chirp. Sometimes there is snow, other times there isn’t. The owl sits there still, staring at nothing. But the thing about winter, the thing that makes it special, is the clear sky. You see the star? The moon? When you think of the Backyard in winter, you would think it cold and lifeless.

Winter doesn’t last long in the Backyard and soon, the frost stops biting, the cicadas chirp, and the monster of the pool makes its rounds once again. Everything comes back to life. The rains come and the flowers bloom. The raptors are back in the business and the hares are on the run. Then, comes spring. Then, comes summer. Then, comes fall. Then, comes winter. The seasons take their turns as does the circle of life. That’s normal, here in the yard. So when, or if, you refer to the Backyard in general, you say: beauty.

Missing Home

By Lily Zacheis ’21

Home for me used to be something whole. Something that would always remain unchanged, a secure place, a safe haven. I never really expected that to change, and I didn’t think I would mind if it did. But I was wrong. It seems I’m always wrong these days.
Nearly three years ago, we moved from beautiful, colorful Fort Collins, Colorado to dry, hot Tucson, Arizona. I wasn’t all that bothered. It was hard watching everything get packed up and sent away. It was hard seeing the place where I grew up so empty. It was hard thinking about not ever stepping foot in my home again. But I pretended not to mind. I did.
I’m never going to forget my first night in our new house. I slept with my sister on a mattress in the guest room. For the first time I didn’t notice her kicking or rolling me off the bed. I noticed how different everything was. I noticed how hard this was going to be. I realized with a pang that everything was going to be different from now on.
My first year in middle school was hard too. Everyone else was so different. I was different. New teachers every thirty minutes, nearly a thousand kids stuffed in small stuffy areas, many of them towering above me by a couple feet. It was kinda intimidating. I had stayed in the same school for six years, with only about fifty to a hundred kids per grade. This was a nightmare. But I kept my head up.
Returning home after school at night wasn’t much relief. The house was filthy, even if you didn’t count the boxes everywhere, and I didn’t know so much as an inch of the space. This was going to be my life for the next five years. Maybe ten. Maybe more. The worst part was not knowing.
But looking back, not knowing was bliss.

Hopeless Dog

By Ethan Pieroni ’22

I have a bad situation

A dog.

A German Shephard

To protect the house.

This dog

Our lifeline to safety.

 

We drove

For half a day

To get this dog

Named Jimmy.

He was traumatized

By the time

We get home.

Being whisked away

From everything he knew from birth.

 

We love him dearly

And he has learned

To love us, too.

Then, we realize

All the problems he has.

 

He has no stimulation

As he is locked up

In a crate

All day.

He urinates in the house

With little training

Who’s to blame him?

 

And worst of all

He has a damaged hip

Preventing him

From walking normally

Ever again.

 

He is being

Sent back

to where he came from.

Something I love

Is going away

Forever

And neither I nor him

Have any control               

Over it.                                               

 

Loving and lovable

Though a bit of a coward

Even though he is a German Shephard,

He is a pet, not a guard.

Jimmy would flee

Against

Threat, violence, and pain.

 

So he would be

Sent away

For his problems

He is supposedly

Too much to bear.

Supposedly

Too much to bear.

 

I have a hopeless situation

A friend.

A German Shepherd

Who’s loved

But can’t protect.

This dog

With too many Problems

Too much to bear

This dog, pet, and friend

Is too much to bear.

 

Home

By Elisa Acuña ’22

Home. Somewhere you never thought would change but one little thing could cause the greatest impact. I never realized how lucky I was to have her with me everyday until she was gone. She might not have been gone forever, but after being with someone all your life it sure seems like it. Home is not a place, it’s a feeling, a feeling you get when maybe you’re in a certain place or with a certain someone. Home doesn’t have to be a house. She drove me to school, and we told each other everything. People say, “well just Facetime.” “You can still text.” I know I can do all of those things, but it’s not the same. Home to me is the people I love the most even if those people aren’t in one place anymore. They are still… HOME.

Red and Gold

Story by Karen Jie ’21

It was winter. Bitter. Cold. Wind blew through the town, biting everyone in its path and giving them sickness. Not everyone survived. Not everyone was strong. But none could withstand it.

Winter was too harsh that year. I remember.

A girl, too young to be left behind, lived on the streets and the alleyways of town. She wore rags wand was never treated well. But the girl stayed strong. She swept the streets of the village at night and came back to her alleyway cold and hungry. She left presents at the doors of the kindhearted. Maybe a small trinket, a drawing. Then morning came and kind people fed her, gave her money. Others walked by without a glance. This happened time and time again.

Except God had something else for this girl in mind this year. It happened one night that winter.

The girl got less money that day which meant less presents to give. Her little makeshift house rattled as the wind screeched outside. But no. You can never let one small thing stop you. The girl stepped out of her crevice. Frost immediately chilled her to the bone and she wrapped her clothes around her more tightly. The girl began to force herself to walk in the direction of the people who had given her coins. On her way, she passed a restaurant. The only best in town that only the rich could ever afford. The girl stood at a window, standing on tiptoe, looking in. She could hear the clinking of plates and rumbles of laughter. Women sat at tables in beautiful taffeta dresses as they smiled at men in complex tuxedos. The girl remembered what life was like when she had a family. A real home. There was a hearth to keep her warm and parents to share her love. Presents. There was never a winter without presents.

The girl sighed, her breath coming out in wisps. She stumbled along the cold streets and stopped at a house. The one that she had been coming to every night to give a present. The girl reached into her pocket and took out a chocolate. Sometimes if you were lucky, you could get free chocolates at the restaurant as long as no wealthy was around to judge you.

She set the chocolate down at the door. It was wrapped in gold foil. Gold for happiness and warmth. A tiny, red ribbon kept it all together. Red for love.

The girl continued to walk along the streets of town, dropping off chocolates, saving the last one for herself. When she finally reached the restaurant across her alley, she stopped, and looked in.

Everything was still all the same. Clinks, laughter, muffled voices. Extravagance, elegance, and what it truly meant to be rich. The girl unwrapped her chocolate and savored every small bite. When she finished, she tied the ribbon around the doorknob of the diner. She made a small doll out of the gold foil and slipped it into her pocket. Then, she headed toward her makeshift house. Not home. House. Because home is where the golden hearth is. Because home is where the red love is.

Bit by Bit

Poem by Karen Jie ’21

 

I’d like to thank you for what you’ve done,

And what you are still doing.

While families are celebrating, having fun,

A storm might still be brewing.

You’re fighting it,

That’s why we’re proud.

We’re winning bit by bit.

Cheering comes from around the crowd,

Because we’re winning,

Bit by bit.

 

Your family smiling tearfully.

Because the holidays are here,

They want to know that you’re okay,

If it feels like a long year.

Will it be cold?

Will it be warm?

Are we winning?

Are we losing?

The snow is falling,

The candles lit,

Memories recalling,

Bit by bit.
They’ll send you blankets,

One or a ton.

They’ll give you letters,

Much like this one.

I guess all those gifts are saying:

All these things are worth our paying.

Some people get very scared,

But that’s obviously not you.

So we send our thanks on paper and love,

To all of you and you.
Bit by bit,

We’ll win the war.

Bit by bit,

We’ll open the door.

To all the peace that we create by fighting

Each other and again reuniting.

Bit by bit.

Bit by bit.

No Grey Area

Peck or be pecked. The chicken is packed so tightly on top of, under, and next to the living and dead bodies of ten other chickens that she cannot spread her limbs one inch. Her beak is cut off and infected. Her eggs litter the floor; swarmed by bugs and infected. Her brother was ground into mush between two metal wheels while he was still alive. She must produce out of her tired and motionless body egg after egg. When every bone in her body has been crushed by dead carcasses and she can’t lay eggs anymore you can find her nameless, unloved body in a family-sized bucket for $10.99. As the crying pig worsens her pre-existing blisters, gnawing on the cold bar in front of her, her newborn baby’s tails are cut off without second thought. Just like the six litters before this one, the mother pig must stay in a separate crate from her children. She is confined within a cold, metal cage; packed in so tightly that she cannot turn around. She is as clever as a toddler and understands the cracking noise erupting from her baby’s spine as he is thrown against the cement floor means that yet another one of her children is lost. When she can no longer produce new litters, the nameless mother can be found in your BLT. The sweet cow with long eyelashes; dopey, brown eyes; and a loving, kind nature is too drugged out, her muscles too dystrophied, and her eyes too used to darkness to truly be alive. She is given a daily dose of antibiotics to force her broken body to continue producing milk. When she is too tired and weak to stand, this nameless creature can be found between two buns and smothered in ketchup. Spinning and producing every plant, animal, water-source, shelter, and breath of air humans need; she is plucked of her fruits until the point of becoming barren. These fruits are used to feed the mass factory farm population. Her oceans, rivers, streams, and lakes are drying. Their  water is used to quench the longing thirst of the mass factory farm population. Her air is growing black and boiling. She is on her last breath but this creature is named Earth and when she dies, she is gone forever. When it comes to this earth, there is no grey area; for this issue is completely black and white.

Being Left Alone

By Jane Lui ’21

 

I’m back,

After missing them for years.

Traces of them litter the floor-

I can’t control my tears.

 

I’m home! I holler

Into the stuffy, dry rooms.

No one replies

It’s as quiet as a tomb.

 

Why did you leave?

I wonder, destroying dust clouds.

What happened to you,

We were so proud!

 

The fire burned the house

Right down to the ground.

Was it the storm that killed you,

Was that why you drowned?

 

These sad memories I live in,

As I see the sign in the lawn.

“Sold” it says. I’m astonished-

This house was such a yawn.

 

But the past is in the past

And I will hope to see

Why my family left and

Didn’t tell me!

 

Missing Home

Piece by Lily Zacheis ’21. 

Home for me used to be something whole. Something that would always remain unchanged, a secure place, a safe haven. I never really expected that to change, and I didn’t think I would mind if it did. But I was wrong. It seems I’m always wrong these days.
Nearly three years ago, we moved from beautiful, colorful Fort Collins, Colorado to dry, hot Tucson, Arizona. I wasn’t all that bothered. It was hard watching everything get packed up and sent away. It was hard seeing the place where I grew up so empty. It was hard thinking about not ever stepping foot in my home again. But I pretended not to mind. I did.
I’m never going to forget my first night in our new house. I slept with my sister on a mattress in the guest room. For the first time I didn’t notice her kicking or rolling me off the bed. I noticed how different everything was. I noticed how hard this was going to be. I realized with a pang that everything was going to be different from now on.
My first year in middle school was hard too. Everyone else was so different. I was different. New teachers every thirty minutes, nearly a thousand kids stuffed in small stuffy areas, many of them towering above me by a couple feet. It was kinda intimidating. I had stayed in the same school for six years, with only about fifty to a hundred kids per grade. This was a nightmare. But I kept my head up.
Returning home after school at night wasn’t much relief. The house was filthy, even if you didn’t count the boxes everywhere, and I didn’t know so much as an inch of the space. This was going to be my life for the next five years. Maybe ten. Maybe more. The worst part was not knowing.
But looking back, not knowing was bliss.

Revolutions

Poem by Caitlin McCormick ’17

 

“Skip two at a time,” they always said,

go straight and don’t worry till the light changes:

there is no shame in love notes and truth serums

the dichotomy between magic

and buildings in the sun

glowing like vinegar bottles

on your mother’s kitchen counter

 

They were never all that different.

 

You see, we learned it by bookmarked knees sitting on

the uncomfortable couch in the guesthouse, a silent film

melting on the television. We’d had enough of walking to 7-11’s

in the dark for candy, carrying candle sticks and

bottles of water as weapons in case of emergency

 

Anything is dangerous if you will it.

 

I am not one of the rejected,

but I knew them once, in the biblical way:

which is to say I gave them a place to sleep

some straw on the floor, a hot dinner at a table.

 

At dawn their steps woke me

and we huddled down the stairs to the empty street.

We shook hands, tried to make out stars or planes

and when the street lamps turned off

 

They started walking.