It was the color of your faded overalls when you rode your tractor into the rising sun. It was the color of your eyes, crinkling at their corners as you laughed. It was the color of that October sky when we watched the geese fly south in their arrow formations, and the color of mountains on the horizon, just above the wheat that swayed in the autumn wind. It was also the color of my lips when I emerged from the pond beside our house; I was trying to catch a fish with my bare hands. It was the color of the old towel you wrapped around me as I stood dripping water on the kitchen floor.
It was the color of the fields I ran through in the summer, chasing your tractor as it rumbled along. It was the color of the black-eyed Susans you picked from beside our driveway and put in a vase on the dining room table. It was the color of the lemons at my lemonade stand and the bees that lazily feasted on the sweet water. It was also the color of the raincoat I wore as I trudged home after the girls in kindergarten called me ugly; I was too upset to jump in any puddles. And it was the color of the nail polish you let me use so I could feel pretty, even though you told me I was already the prettiest girl in the world, besides Mommy.
It was the color of the bird we saw in the winter, trying to hide among the branches of the pine tree in our yard. It was the color of the berries you told me not to eat, and the color of the cherries we picked from the orchard in July. It was the color of your truck when we went to town and the color of the signs we drove past when we were in a hurry. It was also the color of the blood when I scraped my knee after falling off my bike, and the color of Lightning McQueen on the Band-Aid you placed on my wound; you said that soon I would be faster than him.
It was the color of the grass and the clovers you helped me search for, the ones that would make me lucky if I found them. It was the color of the garden and the hose you watered it with, when you sometimes sprayed me if I got too close. It was the color of your lawnmower and the color of the lima beans that Mommy made me eat even though they didn’t taste good. It was also the color of the nettles that stung me by the creek and when I ran to you, crying, it was the color of the aloe you rubbed onto the burn.
It was the color of your face when they said you had cancer. It was the color of the fields after you stopped caring for them, and the color of the sky. It was the color of your truck after all the paint peeled off and the color of your eyes as you looked into mine for the last time. It was the color of Mommy’s hair as she squeezed both of our hands, tears spilling from her eyes. It was the color of everything because as you slipped away, you took the world with you.
-Gretal Shank (Junior)
Her eyes reflected lust.
I wanted nothing more than to be seen with her,
Her presence to me opened a new door.
She was pricked to my side like a piercing bur.
I willingly followed her tail,
Like a love-struck puppy.
But such as love, she led me down a trail
That evoked feelings of empty.
Nonetheless, the emptiness felt sweet,
Like a sour sucker that had reached its core.
So much, I felt my heart begin to fleet,
Forgetting any feeling left sore.
She dragged me through hell and back again,
But she was always there to comfort and amend.
-Maddy Midgely (Senior)
The Colors of You
Sweet Empty Nothing
Sweet Empty Nothing
She holds nothing but patience
Four new cubs so fragile
lacking all knowledge of the world.
she must teach them what she knows
and hope they grow
to understand the importance of survival instincts.
Her only daughter is the first to sprout teeth
her three sons follow soon after.
The first two years was nothing but training
but they’re now juveniles,
her sons will stay together when it’s time to depart
from their mother’s strong soul
But the daughter will be on her own
living in solitude,
but the beauty
of being a daughter
is she will verse
all there is to know
onto her legacies.
-Yazmin O'Neal-Sloane (Senior)
A Cheetah Mother
A Cheetah Mother
The Colors of You
The image of vacancy
latches onto the pupil,
a contact lens for the mind,
magnifying the empty bench.
the friend of meditation,
foe of productivity,
encircles the black garden of thoughts.
Nature attempts to fill the space,
growing to maximum size,
yearning to protect man’s creation,
wrapping its leafy arms
gently around the back.
As eyes leave the scene,
passing over the motionless resting place,
a soft wind touches the skin.
The compact air
glides through the breaches,
getting familiar with the space
before slowing down,
and sitting on the open seat.
There upon that seemingly empty bench,
rests the most active piece of life
observing the ignorant world:
Kensi Macmillen (Senior)
I have been observing your existence because I am aware that life does not treat you the way it does to me. I know you are familiar with your autism, as you would take advantage of it. Throwing tantrums to get out of things that you are fully capable of doing. Your childhood filled with limitless number of therapists and we have both grew a hate for it. To me it was challenging to accept that you received special treatment and all attention but for you I can not imagine.
You did not even care for the attention, rolling around the floor full of mulch at the park when I would push you on the swing instead of mom. You screamed during a car ride full of my friends signing to the radio which then was silence the rest of the way. You would put your head down at the table as you spit out dad’s choice of Chinese food on your plate, nothing but chicken nuggets please you. You are sensitive, Sawyer, to touch, sound, and taste.
Even though you still are disturbed by all senses, my little brother, you have grown. Dad’s podcast with the Indian’s voice, his accent and his lisp make you upset. I know you feel embarrassed because you cry quiet. It is heartbreaking to watch your face drop into your hands weeping. You have difficulties with communication, so I know your tears are a way to show that you are upset instead of tantrums.
Recently you have opened up to me. You hate the way your brain works. You hate that you sit on a spectrum. You hate the boys that tease you and call you retarded. You hate teachers that do not give you a break. That fact that you hate all of this makes me hate it too. I am upset at everyone and everything that makes your life harder.
-Lyra Carlton (Senior)
And in that moment, I realized there was nothing I could do; no matter how many times I closed my eyes, hoping to reopen them and see the cabin still standing, it would never be there.
In 1959 the cabin was built, and in 2003 I had my first vacation there. A week completely isolated from the outside world, with the only cell phone reception being a mile or so up the road at the top of the mountain.
The only technology that worked was a small radio carefully balanced on the ledge of the corner window in the living room. I can still see the couch where I would take afternoon naps, the blanket hanging from it with only a few threads. This blanket hung on the dividing wall between the kitchen and living room, which, along with the bathroom, was not added to the cabin until 1979.
The kitchen is no longer intact, yet when I walk beside the creek, I can find pieces of mugs and plates that were used on special occasions, because most meals were cooked over the campfire. One of our classic cabin snacks was ice cream in a mug, which was simply ice cream eaten from a mug. Sitting at the table which doubled as a gun rack for winter hunting, eating ice cream out of a mug, in a cabin with no air flow or breeze on a sweltering July afternoon perfectly captures how we viewed the cabin; it was a place where little things meant the most.
I can still see the markings of the stairs engraved into the cinder blocks that lead to a room with six mattresses. My entire family sleeping in one room in the middle of July with no air conditioning was a thing I never knew I could miss. At night, after turning off the lamp made of deer feet, the room bathed in darkness, I would listen to the rushing of the creek. Some nights it was peaceful and calming, but after a rainy day, I could hear the creek make waves that crashed against the rocks. We knew it was time to wake up, ready for another day full of adventure, when the sun would peek through the window and into our eyes.
The cabin was part of a routine that my family had created, and the tradition was going down at the end of every July. In July of 2018, we were unable to go because the only town we could go cross through to get there was closed due to the overwhelming amount of rain. We were frustrated but we figured that we could just vacation a few weeks after the creek levels had gone down.
When I sat down and scrolled through the photos of what remained of the cabin, I felt as though I was experiencing an unexpected family death. Seeing not only the building where I had made so many memories in, but all the cabin’s accessories scattered down the creek, was something I could never brace myself for. Playing cards caught in tree roots, shards of glass
from the kitchen mirror littered among the rocks, the deer lamp lodged into a bank, the wires making it impossible to retrieve. That cabin had stood for as long as I could remember, but it only took one night for it all to wash away.
-Abigail Lindsey (Senior)
The smile on her face shines with
New white teeth
Enough to illuminate your darkest night
The nights where there was only dinner for her
No dinner for the two who work so hard
Sacrifice, our new favorite word
A long day of sharing work
Another paycheck gone
But it’s all for her
Its always been
The smile to illuminate a thousand rooms
It’s the reason why they do it
The obstacles are no match
For the wrath of love
Even when the bank accounts empty
Full plates are hard to come by
There wouldn’t be a day that went
Where those sacrifices would’ve been regretted
Times are different now
The struggles today, have no match
On the struggles of the past
The smile to illuminate a thousand rooms
Even when it got hard and we got lost
The throne of success is finally here
Cause’ we did it
Jaiden Reid (Junior)