Archived Writing from 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 School Year

Purpose and Bison Parades

By Lydia Abigail Metzger

Splashing and thundering

Troops of bison

Dance their heavy dances

On their own, trail,

the river stays ever rambunctious

under many hundreds of mighty


Young, those tawny cows

That frolic so triumphantly,

they leap as if they have won a war,

a victory,

songs of jubilee rise from the

fierce noise

of mass movement over

rolling plains.

Noticing the gray blue mountains,

and here a truth is realized,

they are owned by this army

and its allies,

and its enemies,

but not by us.

Grazing on the slopes,

they look as if to say

a million things,

but not to us.

There is purpose in bison parades.



By Perla Jorge

That Summer

When we wore Abu’s big old shirts

And we all got a chunk of the back wall to paint.

When the purpose of sand

Was to get as much of it on you as possible.

When the purpose of the hose

Was to water us,

Not the plants.

When food wasn’t eaten

And instead was shared with friendly lizards

That came every day

To eat with us.


During that Summer

The mural was fresh.



We were short,

And the swings were almost too tall to reach.

They were a place of authority.

A place for making up songs

About everything.

A place to bend over backwards

And let your hair sweep the sand

Even though our parents told us not to.


During that Summer,

bathing suits replaced pajamas,

And the pool was a deep ocean

Full of mermaids and dolphins.

The hours lingered,

And we enjoyed every moment.

And at the end of the day

Everyone eagerly went to bed

And fell asleep quickly,

So the next day came quicker.



The days are shorter now.

Hours fly by.

The purpose of sand

Is to stay off clean, new shoes.

Lizards are gross.

The pool is too shallow

And we don’t fit in the swings anymore.

The mural is faded.


But sometimes

If you sit in the sand

And let just a little bit of it to get on you.

If you spare a grain or two of rice for a hungry lizard.

And if you let the hours linger,

The mural,

Is colorful again.

White Dream Clouds by Gabby Huizinga

The frost bitten cold wraps around the Earth

like a scarf and it pulls it in softly

like a warm embrace.

A glimpse of white catches my eye

and I’m released

from the warm fire place to the stained glass window

that holds my world so dear.

It is the wall that cannot be broken,

but shattered,

between warm and cold

as the wall between routine and adventure

is so thin, but so thick.

The bare branches reaching for my embrace call me and I run and jump and shatter the glass and I am released.

I am released to a world of white,

like a dream I might have known if I had been given a chance to dream that dream.

My footsteps are covered with the white dream clouds,

but I am not lost.

The sounds of awake still ring in my ears,

but maybe it is just an echo.

Flowers by Heidi Glynn

The last vase of flowers

that didn’t get thrown away

because my mom said

they’re pretty.

They’re dead.

and they stink.

The vase has a ribbon

tied in a loose bow

a pretty pink

like the color of the nails

she called me about

when she had them done

There is a red rose

decaying and turning brown

like the fluid running from her nostrils

A flower was blue and black

and wrinkled,

her lips the tiny petals

almost gone,

they dried out and broke off into dust.

around the vase on the table.

Things are floating in the water.

the yellow orange

murky water

like her eyes

half open

looking at nothing

And there is one dark purple carnation

the color of her skin

they told me to touch

to tell her I Was There

to tell her she would be okay

i couldn’t tell her anything

when i was screaming

i didn’t want to touch her

they put my hand on her


carnation foot

she hates when people touch her feet

When It Really Prevails -Chapter One

By Lisa Ramirez, 12th Grade

We are here. Finally, we are finding somewhere new to live where we can actually stay. The large, black, rusted gates stand before me, towering a full twelve feet above. This grand iron giant seems to stare down at me, as if it admires my innocence or lack thereof. Something about those gates speak to me; if gates could speak, I’m sure it would say “Welcome, I’ll keep you safe…for now.” The thin bars of the gate are dark—dusty and crispy to the touch in fact—and cubed shaped from the ground up and the very top tips of it spiraled into a sharp point. There is a keypad on the gate and a small, green button labeled Call.

My mother steps out of a yellow school bus with my newborn baby brother in hand and my four year old brother gripping firmly to her ankle-length denim skirt. My mother, brothers and I are just one of the many small, broken families that are to live in the old fire brick building protected behind the gate. I stand mesmerized by the iron giant and drift into a slow dream that increases in vividness with each passing second as it gropes a hold of my reality and trades places with it in my mind’s eye. I see myself, or at least it looks like it could still be me except that my seven years old body and features were replaced with those of a powerful and beguiling woman who is in bed, one not made of rags, fast asleep.

“Hey, good morning babe,” a tan, warm-to-the-touch hand rocks my shoulders as I squirm and groan my way out of the spell of sleep. “Come on beautiful; don’t make me drag you out of bed. You have a husband to make breakfast for.” He shakes me once more and succeeds in getting my eyes to flutter open in a slight squint. “See, I knew that’s all I had to say to wake you up. I joke, I joke; I made breakfast—those God awful pancakes you pretend to like.” This man with a romantic, and therapeutic deep-toned voice sits on the edge of the bed wearing nothing but plaid print, black and cerulean blue, fleece pajamas pants with thin, gray lines that run along the pant legs horizontally. I manage to wriggle out of the sheets and reach over to this man, who I have never seen before but am sure that I know genuinely and whole heartedly. As I sit up, my arms extend and bend around the contours of his body in a bold embrace. His arms soon follow the gesture. Oh, he feels utterly amazing; I lack the other words to express the level of intensity and comfort I feel while in his arms. It is disarming. Oh, I must know this man; I have to know him. He is so unfamiliar but this contact of body against body tells me that somewhere in some deep-rooted distant life we shared a love and familiarity like no other two beings. His body radiated an immense amount of heat which made me melt inside with comfort. His skin feels so smooth, as his arms envelop me with firm and strong embrace. As if some sort of animalistic instinct, my arms impulsively tighten grip of him and bring me closer to him. Oh, I could sit here forever. I can feel his muscles clench against my belly and my heart responds to his movement, palpitating far too rapidly –not out of lust or fear—of happiness, an emotion I was once sure never existed. I must know this man. I know I love him. Wait, I haven’t taken a good look at his face. The sunlight has failed me, for the shine of the all-seeing globe in the sky reflects far too brightly on his face and all I see is a head full of dark hair and big, honey colored eyes bating at me with lustrous lashes. “Come on my beautiful, beautiful wife. I’ll carry you to the living room if you’re too sleepy to walk by yourself.” And there he goes again, lunging me in his arms, cradling me as he stands and then, the sunlight shifts and all I see is a row of pearly teeth, enclosed in full pink lips, and accented by perfectly placed dimples. “Go one Lisa, go wash up. I’ll make you hot chocolate just like you like it. You want hot chocolate? With the little marshmallows?”

“Lisa!” I nod mindlessly; I am seven years old once more in front of the iron giant. “Lisa, push the call button, Linda. Everyone is off the bus already.” My mother bounces my baby brother on her shoulder as I regain the sense of hearing, sight and cognition that I lost in the depth of my daydream; I notice that he has been vigorously crying for a while and that I am no longer the only one facing the gate. People of all ages, bearded men, youthful women, and flustered children crowd around me. I glance up and look at the green button. Call. Extending my index finger, I raise my arm and make way to press the button as my mother told me. The button lit a green traffic light color. Beyond the gate, about twenty feet away from the entrance, I spot a black booth.

It looked as if it was made of brick, cinder blocks perhaps, and then coated with recurring layers of glossy black paint. The paint had lifted in random spots and corners and underneath the black scabs of paint, there it was, more black. From a side door of the booth a man in a navy blue-collar shirt, slacks and a badge walks toward the gate. He is a security guard.

The security guard stands face to face with me, only the iron giant and the distance of two feet between us. While reaching for his belt he unhooks a giant key ring filled with what appears to be hundreds of keys. As he searches for the proper one to open the gate with, my eyes catch a glimpse of something hidden in a case hanging off of the security guard’s belt—a gun. I gasp and before I know it, the gate is open, people rush through the doors, I hear murmurs and whispers and chuckles and shouting. A hand places itself on my shoulder and I flinch. “Come on Lisa; hold your brother’s hand, would you? I’m holding the baby and I don’t want him to get lost in the crowd. Lisa, wake up! Move, we have to find our room. This is our new home, okay?” And suddenly, I feel a tightening and awkward thickening in my throat which in turn causes a pressure in my chest and feels as if an omniscient, malevolent force reached its hands through my body, clasped a hold of my lungs and squeezed. Squeezed. My breath escapes me and I sigh. A single tear runs down my cheek and I immediately catch it at the corner of my mouth with my tongue. Salty. I swiftly glide my sleeve across my left cheek, erasing any trace of vulnerability in my face. I can’t quite distinguish what that tear was caused by. Perhaps it was fear. The fear of having a new home, starting a new life all over again, or maybe it was the fear of knowing that this home wasn’t really mine.

I found it.

It’s the fear of not being able to mark up the wall every six months or every significant day—birthdays, Christmas—to see how much I’ve grown. It’s the fear of never painting the walls and making the room my own, because it wasn’t. It’s the fear of calling a place “home” when it never was to begin with, and it never will be. This is just another shelter, and I’m just another homeless girl. I nod. “Okay, mommy.”

“Get this key out my pocket, will you? I can’t get it out.” As instructed, I burry my hand in my mother’s skirt pocket and pull out a key with a yellow sticker on it that read, 3B. This is our new apartment. Suddenly, I feel that uncommon swell in my throat that I experienced not too long ago downstairs while standing by the gate. I need to cry, but this time, it isn’t because of pain. I cried in appreciation that I could finally go to sleep tonight under a roof, covered from the rain. I can now sleep with both eyes closed, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I can dream like children dream –and just maybe, those dreams will come true, even for little shelter girls like me.

Call Me Forever

By Beth McElhaney

            The ocean waves crash with jealousy along the bank of the shore, almost as if they wanted me. I began to step forward just enough to let the edge of the water sweet lightly over my feet, sending a chilling cold throughout my slim, frail body. It was dark and I couldn’t see but a few feet in front of me. The light from the stars was all that illuminated the area, and even then was a faint glow. My dark curls danced about my shoulder and swooshed all forward as to say, go in, you know you want to. Everything seemed so right.  It was peaceful in a way, but all too deadly just the same. Sighing, I picked up my tossed around boots and my bag and headed up the hill crowded with trees and everlasting green. Not realizing how far I’ had gotten, I began to yawn, the soothing mental state of sleep wanting me to succumb to it. My eyes felt as if they would roll back in my head any minute for I had not known sleep in days. All that would call to me were those stars and those waves. He cool breeze and mist rushing about my body like a swarm of fireflies dancing about you. Even then that could not compare.

When my tired, lost eyes finally focused on the place I tried to call my home, I reached in my bag, hands fumbling to find my keys. Hearing the familiar click of the door as it opened and shut chilled me to the core. That night I did not bother to take the sweet, salt stained clothes of the ocean off. Climbing into bed with them just felt too right. As melancholy as it was to wake up the next morning to the sun shining brightly through my curtains and the disarray of bed sheets around me I did not bother that night. I did not dare trudge to meet my other sanctuary and rush to call it my true home. As if something had come over me unspoken and not felt on mere skin, I laid there puzzled and amidst my own thoughts. Closing my eyes and just listening, I knew I had discovered my true home. The waters that spoke to me would always be with me and would always call my name wherever I went, but I would not follow. I would know that is where I belonged but I would not dare hold myself to it. I had found my true home but I could not have it for it would always leave me that same night.