We hope you appreciate these wintry meditations and images.
In My Eyes by Josie Hatch
I’m eight years old, my parents are separated so I sleep at my dad's house on the weekends. I’m eight years old, with no care in the world, so I don’t notice that my dad never has money to buy us real groceries. Spaghettios and cosmic brownies are all that fill the cabinets, but they are delicious.
I’m nine years old. When I walk into my dad’s house on a Friday afternoon the smell of secondhand smoke fills my nose, but comforts me because it reminds me of the best man I know. I’m nine years old, and I never question why I visit my dad every weekend, but I never get to see him. I never question why he’s never home or when he is home why he’s too tired to play with me.
I’m eleven years old. My dad lives with my grandmother so I visit him there. One day I walk into the house and after about an hour I realize I haven’t seen my dad. I ask my stepmom where he is but she continues to walk straight, ignoring me because she was too scared to tell me the truth. So I asked my grandmother. “He’s working in New York,” she told me. I’m relieved; I knew this must be true. My family works there all the time.
I’m eleven years old, and I’m writing my dad a letter to New York so I can tell him how much I miss him.
I’m eleven years old, and my mom just told me that my dad is in jail. She tells me not to worry, because he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I think I was about twelve years old when I lost my innocence . I was twelve years old when I realized the world was filled with as much evil as it was good
I’m twelve years old and today is going to be a good day. My dad is coming over to visit me. I don’t see him anymore. I made him a drawing and I can not wait to give it to him. I hear a car pull up, and I run outside and hand him my drawing I made just for him.
He takes the drawing and thanks me.
He looks sad. He pulls me in for a hug,
“I’m going to work with the horses again for a while,” he tells me. I knew exactly what that meant. My dad was going back to jail.
I’m twelve years old and I’m crying alone in my room because I know my dad was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m crying alone in my room because I know why he was never there. I’m crying alone in my room because my dad is not the best man I know.
I am now sixteen years old, and my dad is in the ICU due to an overdose. I am sixteen years old and my dad was pronounced dead for fifteen minutes because he couldn’t fight his addiction. I’m sixteen years old and I don’t have the tears to cry for my father because I knew that one day this was bound to happen.
Today, I’m seventeen years old. My father is alive and I think he’s well. I’m seventeen years old, and I’m writing this essay with absolutely no idea of who I wanna be but I do know I will never become the person my dad made himself to be.
I’m seventeen years old, and I know I will be the person who you can rely on with everything in you. I will not be the person who turns my back on you, or leaves you wondering why I haven’t answered your calls for a week. I will be the person who tries my hardest to do all the good in the world that the pain and suffering unfailingly cancels out.
An Insomniac’s Prayer by Katie Houde
Closed eyes, parted lips
Dreaming dreams of
Peaceful days and beautiful nights
But I sit here, under the covers
Feeling as if this awakeness
Will never leave, tossing, turning
Fighting for that eight hours, seven hours, six, five, four
Three, two, one
God, please, can you grant me this one miracle
This one blessing
To close my eyes and drift off
To a heaven that I used to experience
Every night, I sit here praying to all the gods
That I’m still not sure I believe in
Hoping one of them will work their omnipotence
To fit my prayers, to give me sleep,
To take the fits that curse me
And bless me with some goddamn melatonin and dreams
Hell, I’d settle with nightmares and screams
To get those eight, seven, six, five, four,
Three, two, one hour of rest
Do fish sleep?
by Jonah Pishkin
You read that right. This is a question that almost nobody knows the answer to. Fish have no eyelids. But at the same time, fish aren’t us. So why is it so unnatural that fish don’t blink. To me and many others, fish do sleep. There is such a thing as not sleeping with your eyes open. This could be just a trick you learned, or it can be a genetic mutation. Why are mutations feared. Mutant creatures could invade some day. This is just showing how our society is afraid of another species that isn’t human. Who knows if we even have ancestors from this world. We could all be from a fake place called the Zumbillion system and dropped off years ago. Wouldn’t that make you feel different about yourself. What if you had some superhuman ability. Who knows if you do? Have you ever tried flying? Or putting your hand through what you’re reading this through? Come on. Try it. Did nothing happen? Good. This just proves that you are like everybody else. And many people will now accept you for what you are. But others who have a conjoined twin, or six fingers on each hand, will probably be looked down upon. Why is that? They are just like us. They can’t put their hand through a screen or fly. They are descended from the first people on this planet. So why are these mutations so feared? Many people don’t like anything different. While this is wrong, it’s understandable. Our world hasn’t been invaded by aliens or mutants. As far as we know. This shows other people’s distrust in something different. So why do we put trust in a dog? A dog is not like us. It’s small, furry, and doesn’t speak any english. I guess this also goes with others that can’t speak english. They might be planning to take over, and you wouldn’t know anything about it. This goes for how a fish is different as it has no eyelids like us. And so what do we do in return? We eat them. In other parts, people also eat dogs. So maybe the untrust goes through everyone. In that case, are any of us normal. We could say yes, but how do we know. Maybe the people who we call insane are the sane ones and we are the ones that are insane.
don’t feed the animals
by Ashley Kelly
feed into the urge
if you give in to it
for a while
when they ask, you’re okay
the urge never goes forever
it always comes back
when you feed wild animals
they never leave you alone
just once more
tell yourself this is the last time
but you know it’s lies
that wild animal never goes
don’t give in
you plead to be left alone
the wild animal tears at you
from the inside
but the marks they leave are on the outside
by Katie Houde
bones and rusty screws
and a complete difference of opinion
blood and fraying thread
and the same argument repeated
gray matter and chipping paint
and the slow separation of meandyou
atrophy and decay
and the words I wish you would say
the death of us and the world
and I just wish we were okay
The World At Times
by Jacob Nunn
Summer chill brings winter flowers
Piping cold tiger lily’s breathe so softly
The sun freezes the grass as the day lives
The moon burns all that look upon it
The ocean is dry and the fish are clean
The desert is wet and the cacti are soaked
Woman is Man and Man is Woman
So children are to be nothing of the such
War is as Peaceful as those Summer Chills
The price is as much as a wet towel
Corruption is key to well working lifestyle
Those subjected are unruly by nature
The poor kill the rich they must be stopped
The rich are subject to the most vulgar life
Cats kill dogs
Rain melts water
Ice is not cold
Life is simple
The depression uplifts any weary soul
The sad man brings his smile everywhere he goes