Table of Contents
An Ode To The Love Of A Mother, Julia Perez 
Sorry about that, Kayla Tingley 
Celebrate, Victoria Lising 
My Sun, Krishna Najjar 
You Better Love Me, Noelia Veras 
Untitled, Anonymous 
Cómete Los Libros, Gemma del Carmen 
My wall, Fatima Vasquez-Molina  
The Girl and Her Routine, Maddy Mustin
Radiating Beauty, Nicholas Scalzo, Victoria Lising, and Bill Dinges 
Untitled, Valeria Vega Herrera 
Identity Politics, Chris Carey
El Sol Todavía Sale, Marta Fernández            
Top 10 Lessons I Learned from College, Victoria Lising
The Lilac, Alexia Camacho
The Truthful Smile, Cindy Cintron
Words Fail Me, Ava Burkat
the journey thus far, Anonymous
Untitled Artwork, justine rae talamayan
Thank You Mom, Artwork, Anonymous
Borderline, Artwork, Juli Walsh
Untitled Artwork, Daneev Imbert 
Untitled Photographs, Leandro Mendez

The 2021-2022 edition of “Our Voices” marks the second year of this publication’s existence. This year, the editorial board felt it prudent to ascribe a theme to this year’s edition as we accepted submissions. After much deliberation, the team settled on a line from American poet Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb.” One stanza in particular stood out to the “Our Voices” board: 

“When the day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? 
The loss we carry. A sea we must wade. 
We braved the belly of the beast. 
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” it isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. 
Somehow we do it.” 

The Board of “Our Voices” felt the words “the dawn is ours” perfectly encompassed the struggles and triumphs of the past year as well as future opportunities. Together, we students have grappled with political turbulence, a global pandemic, mass injustices and wars, all while growing as young adults and working our way to becoming teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more. “The Dawn is Ours” signifies our hope for the future and our desire to become change makers in this world. We hope you enjoy these pieces and find solidarity within them just as we have. And remember, the dawn is ours. 

An Ode To The Love Of A Mother by Julia Perez
My mother is a mountain that stands strong against the forcing winds.
Beautiful inside and out--
layers of fields filled with flowers,
coursing rivers, and high sycamore trees.
No matter the earthquake, no matter the floods,
she protects me and holds me so I never break.
She gives me her stones that never seem to end,
despite those who reap her resources endlessly.
My mother is a mountain and I am a stone.
A part of her and rooted in our souls.
She keeps me grounded yet shoots me towards the earth.
That perhaps one day,
I will be my own mountain.
Built with her foundation, I know I am safe.
Our trees will flow and rivers will stream. 
Dents and cracks, falling trees and broken rocks.
We stand together.
Two mountains rooted together in love and strength that no earthquake could take away.
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Sorry about that by Kayla Tingley-Renaudin

“What are you?”
When posed this question, I know exactly what answer they’re looking for. Yet, I cannot help but let the petty woman come out of me and say “human, what are you?” Sometimes I let her come out a bit too much. Writing this now, she sounds a bit harsh, and yet I think sometimes, she deserves to come out a bit. The answer they’re looking for is Haitian and American, yet, I cannot give them the satisfaction of an answer, sorry about that.

“Are you selling your hair? Can I have it?”
In 7th grade, I became a writer. I started writing about living abroad, fictional stories about murder mysteries, etc. 7th grade was also when this question was posed. My response shocked and thought she was kidding, was “huh? No, you can’t have it, I’m not selling it.” My curls (along with my skin tone) are my biggest connection to my Haitian heritage. Although I’m not as connected as I’d like to be, I’m not willing to give them up, sorry about that.

“How do you get your hair so curly?”
Almost every Black person has a moment when they found out they were Black. Although this is not about that moment for me, it is about the start of my appreciation for my race. In my sophomore year of high school, I became a cheerleader. My coaches, Coach A and J, were two lively, bubbly, energetic Black women. And my most important mentors throughout high school. They taught me how to appreciate my hair, my culture, and most importantly, my Black. I can’t put a finger on when this question was posed, considering it happens a few times a year, my response is always an irritated “water.” Writing about my race has always been difficult for me. I’ve always steered clear of it, defaulting to writing about travel or family, due to the amount my race has been invalidated. Realization and appreciation came in waves for me, and it took me a long time to appreciate who I am, sorry about that.

“I’m Black.” “So am I.” “Mhmm.”
Two years ago I was working as a lifeguard, and a verbal altercation between my boss, me, and a resident, occurred. She was trespassing, trying to film a video, and my boss asked her to leave. “It’s because I’m Black” she mumbles as she storms out, my boss says, “I’m Black” and I chime in “So am I,” she looks me in my eyes and says “mhmm.” There are (and have been) a lot of times where a person’s skin color is the reason they were kicked out of places, yet, at that moment, all three parties Black, one word invalidated my entire existence. Writing about this experience is difficult, considering there are still days where I don’t feel valid in my skin. Nevertheless, I persist. After this altercation, tears flowed from my eyes in the coming minutes. I allowed my sensitivity to override the reality of an angry person, sorry about that.

“Can I touch your hair?”
My senior quote. A question that represents a wanna-be appreciation, but, a micro aggression at its finest. Again, I cannot pinpoint when this question was posed, considering this question happens every few months as well. Often though, the respect of a question is rarely given. When I got to college, I made sure never to straighten my hair. I refuse to adhere to the majority. Many people reach out and touch my curls, stretching them to their brim, digging their nails into my scalp. Part of me thinks, Black people don't wash their hair as much as white people, are you sure you want to dig your fingers into my scalp? “I wish I had hair like you,” they say as they attempt to run their fingers through my hair. Selfishly, the rest of me thinks, you don’t deserve curls like mine, sorry about that.

“What are you mixed with?”
A slightly better way to ask than “What are you?” Still, absolutely none of your business. Writing these quotes out forces my inner writer to expand herself, testing the limits as to how much she is willing to share. Growth, I think. Since we are on my turf, I’m bi-racial. 50% Black, 50% white. Mom’s white, dad’s Black. Although I have not done one of those ancestry DNA kits, so, unfortunately, I cannot give everyone who asks a full racial breakdown of my bloodstream, sorry about that.

“Don’t ever filter because you don’t want to be ‘that Black girlfriend.”’
This quote was said by someone very close to my heart. One of the most validating things I’ve ever heard. In college, I’ve advanced my writing a lot. Grown enough that I’m willing to write this. I’ve learned rhetoric that advances my truth, language to speak that truth, and analytical tools to help me analyze... me. I thank the majority for that. I write to validate my existence, myself, others, higher beings, and anyone who is listening. And in fact, I’m not sorry about that. 

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Celebrate by Victoria Lising

Rejoice in the Truth! 
Yes, the Truth will set you free.
Rejoice in the Truth!
I thought of this haiku after I had finished a peer coaching session with one of The Woman School strategists. The revelations that I had about myself, my self worth, and my identity brought me to tears and were more freeing than I could ever imagine. I had gone in with no expectations, unsure of what we were going to talk about. It was a prime example of "you don't know what you don't know." These words are inspired from 1 Cor. 13:6.

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My Sun by Krishna Najjar

As the gold in the sky turns to a dark shade of blue,
Why does it feel like I am missing a part of me?
The only person who cared was you,
And I am still here fighting to be free.
A misunderstanding of what is clearly not black or white,
As I am a man of color in a colorless world.
Smiling at those who see me as a blight
While I cannot truly ask for help, a plight forever learned.
The cold sand on my feet and the abyss of the ocean,
It grants me no place but to be alone and frozen.
I wish the gold would come back to the sky.
The world does not want me here while I am just one guy.
What can grant a person a second chance?
All I yearn for is her smile, please once again,
Golden shining sun, just a glance
When the world was easier than being a man.
What can be done to be strong?
Can I really keep going?
I want to be here for her, my golden sun.
My love keeps me fighting, but I keep crying.
Back in the sand once again.
Just a man hoping to be with you in the end.
I love you my golden sun.
The world will not stop a colored man stained with love.

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You Better Love Me by Noelia Veras

I am yours, I am yours, I am yours it seems.
I’m a part of your atmosphere
And the woman of your dreams;
Or am I the dream of the woman in the pier?
Yes, in fact, I know she’s the one that dreams of me.
She knew me before I knew me.
The woman with the oxidized face.
Is that a smug look? Old and still as a tree.
Free, but I know she’s stuck in place.
But, I think she’s one of us, one of me.
So I am yours, I am yours, I am yours.
I'm a part of your story, a part of your wars.
But I’m theirs too.
The ones that speak the first way I spoke.
The ones like my grandmother who
Is gone but is with them through the smoke.
I am yours, and I am theirs, and I am mine.
Red, white, and blue but the flags are two.
I am yours because I am theirs, a part of their line,
And you better love me too.
Love me for the fix of my jaw when I walk
In your cities at night and try not to talk.
You have created, molded, labeled me,
You have antagonized and ransacked me,
You have ignored and harassed me,
And you better love me.
Love me for the fires I light in your name
Enveloping the sky every year just for you,
Once a year after the dumb cornhole game.
Love me because I am red, white, and blue.
Love me for making, breaking, and forgetting me
In the rubble of history. You better love me
With your boot stepping on my island
And my boot stepping on your land.
I am yours and you are mine
However, fraught our bloodline.

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Untitled by Anonymous

When coming to campus I was alone and kind of scared. I hate the prospect of meeting new people and I struggle with social anxiety. For the first few weeks, I felt alone and isolated. I didn’t fit in with anyone and it was difficult for me to feel comfortable with people. Eventually, I found a safe haven in the CCE. I have met people there that have brought out the best in me. I have found people now that give me a reason to keep trying. They make my life so much better and make me feel seen. I am a little intimidated at the fact that I may never see them again as they are mostly upperclassmen, but they have given me hope that things do get better, and that it's okay to feel weird in my own skin. I love them, cherish them, and am so grateful for everything that they have instilled in me. The CCE and everyone in it have made me hopeful, confident and happy, and I cannot express how much they mean to me and how much they have changed me for the better.

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Cómete Los Libros by Gemma Del Carmen

As I approached my first year of college
My father said to me, “Cómete los libros.” 
“Eat the books.”
What he really meant was “study so hard, it’s like you’ve digested the whole book.” 
It’s silly, I know. 
But being the daughter of immigrants means that failure is never an option, 
only success. 
There has been too much sacrifice for anything but my best.
When you grow up hearing stories about your parents suffering through communism, not speaking a word of English, and late hours at work to send you to private school, disappointment doesn't seem like an option. 
So when I say that I’m too tired to go out, 
Or that I’m waking up early to get started on schoolwork, 
What I really mean is that I am busy making sure that the sacrifices that they made were not in vain.
As I approach my first year of law school this coming Fall,
My father once again looked at me and said, 
“Cómete los libros.” 
“Eat the books.”
The sun is rising and my appetite has never been stronger. 

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My wall by Fatima Vasquez-Molina

My wall…
The rust on the bars,
Stains my alma. (1) 
The spikes on the wire,
Pricks my calma. (2) 
Who am I…
¿Quien soy yo? (3) 
To cross my wall.
My wall…
The thickness of the bar,
Stops me from crossing.
The height of the wall,
Stops me from dreaming.
Who am I…
¿Quien soy yo?
To cross my wall alone?
Sola (4) no…
Alone no…
My raza (5)
The colors of our cultura, (6)
Purifica mi alma. (7)
The vibrancy of our language,
Sana mi calma. (8) 
Who am I…
¿Quien soy yo? 
To cross my wall alone?
My raza
The thickness of our skin,
Give me fuerza (9) to cross.
The height of our determination,
Give me esperanza (10) to dream.
Who are we not…
¿Quién no somos nosotros? (11)
To cross our wall together.
1. Soul
2. Calmness
3. Who am I?
4. Alone
5. Race
6. Culture
7. Purifies my soul
8. Heals my calmness 
9. Strength
10. Hope
11. Whom are we not?

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The Girl and Her Routine by Maddy Mustin

A reflection on Quarantine 2020 ~ Written in 2021 ~ Submitted for publication 2022
Trigger Warnings: Brief, non-graphic mention of disordered eating & self-harm

It was another mundane Monday…or, perhaps, Tuesday…maybe even Wednesday…the girl never knew anymore, and (for what would be a long while) she didn’t care. Even scarier to think about was how everyone around her mirrored her sentiments. You see, Time, Humanity’s oldest, most reliable friend, stood stock-still, while Society seemed to slowly fall asleep. Both forcibly cowered at the feet of Covid-19, who, hand in domineering hand with Quarantine, turned Normalcy out onto the streets and beckoned Anxiety, Fear, Chaos, and Confusion onto the world stage. 

Despite how all the days blended together, the girl had a routine (a notion she would soon, paradoxically, come to both revere and resent). But, dear reader, I must warn you that it wasn’t a very happy one. Received five days before moving back to college, the email broke her heart. An imminent online fall semester was a nightmare brought to crushing fruition, and each subsequent groundhog day lowered her spirits. Whatever fraction of her head left untainted by constant worry headaches was filled with increasing insecurity, anxiety, aggravation, guilt, stress, loneliness, and sadness. Life felt like riding a rollercoaster-one without enough uphill pulls to balance against the drops.

With experience in theater, she was a skilled actress. To her, putting on a mask each day meant more than just dutifully wearing a face covering in public. No, her mask extended beyond the nose and mouth. Eyeliner brightened the dullness of sleep-deprived eyes, foundation smoothed over stress-induced acne and blemishes, and a bulky winter coat sheltered a body running on too few calories. As an English major, she already knew how to manipulate her words and simply learned how to “happily” disguise her voice. As a young adult in the 21st century, she already knew how to make her social media feeds look perfect and simply obsessed over the idea of making those highlights become “real.” Besides a small handful of her most trusted confidantes, no one else really sensed those pockets of darkness, such as the early anxiety felt when gripping the steering wheel. The first holiday she avoided her family and loved ones. The disguised tears. The sad poems. The sadder songs. The gritting of teeth when well-meaning acquaintances said, “Why aren’t you at school?” or “I’m sorry if college won’t be the best four years of your life.” The envy felt when others’ pictures at school circled online. The way she let schoolwork consume her. The nights she aimlessly walked around or punishingly exercised to avoid returning to what seemed a too cramped household. The way even just the sound of her family members’ voices began to make her tick. The disordered eating. The self-hatred. The brief contemplation of self-harm. She lost herself. She began to see newer, uglier sides of her character that further entrenched her in a cycle of feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. An already present penchant for perfectionism and a fear of sounding whiny/conceited/ dramatic/ungrateful kept her frozen-in-a-fake-smile lips shut, and, just like her food, pride was difficult to chew and swallow. 

She could add more. She could go on and on. She could expand on her trials, expound on her tribulations, and explain how her experiences don’t even come close to the losses of others…but she won’t. She genuinely wants to leave you with goodness. She promises that there were many blessings, positive experiences, lessons well-learned, and supportive people too during those dark times. Admittedly, she refuses to give you a happy ending because sugar-coating was never truly her style, because Covid-19 still manages to battle Normalcy, and because Anxiety (and Company) remain present in her own micro narrative and the world macro story. But she will offer you Hope. Hope-Humanity’s guardian angel and saving grace-especially greeted her, in 2021 and 2022, when she needed it most. She’s in a much better place now, both literally and figuratively. No longer infected with isolating inhibitions and now washing her hands clean of constant negativity, she is building herself back together, mending, praying, and healing. She is loving to learn, learning to live, and living to love all over again. She knows her story is just one amongst many and feels privileged and grateful to take a bow alongside amazingly resilient fellow human beings on an ever-changing world stage. 

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Radiating Beauty by Nicholas Scalzo, Victoria Lising, and Bill Dinges

Cherry blossoms grow
Flourishing in the sunshine
Enjoy the beauty
This haiku was a team effort that was inspired by the University Honors Dinner theme of cherry blossoms. 

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Untitled by Valeria Vega Herrera

My initial expectations when I arrived at Annunciation House were to deal with logistics. Who needs to go where, who needs extra attention, and who is going to sleep where. Stay for ten weeks and then come back to DC to continue with my life, as if nothing had happened. Instead, I took a semester off from school, stayed for six months, and became a sponge. A sponge that absorbed my guests’ emotions. The emotional pain they felt when leaving their homes. The physical pain they felt when they fell off of a wall designed to divide and cause injury. The anguish of not knowing what is to come. I absorbed and absorbed until I could absorb no more. Until their tears overflowed from me in a waterfall mixed with my own. 

Sometimes I was nothing but a shell of a being, completely consumed and empty. Often though, I was filled with so much love for all my guests. So much pride in their ability to overcome hardships. So much hope for what was to become of their lives. 

Leaving AH after six months was the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Hardest because I felt a responsibility to serve more, and a need to help people I had not even met yet. I knew our future guests would need someone loving and welcoming to help them along their journey, but that person could no longer be me. Their stories and my time spent with them drained me, and I am still processing the second-hand trauma this experience left me with. 

Every single guest I encountered left an imprint in my heart, and even though I am not ready to dive deeper into myself, I would still like to share some of the stories that I will forever carry in my heart. 

Their Stories:
An eleven-year-old boy. A curious boy, wanting to understand the world. Those who were meant to protect him threw him headfirst into a life-long addiction. An addiction that cost him his family. An addiction that cost him his kidneys at thirty years old. An addiction that cost him a real chance. He had done some bad things, even though he has a good heart. He did some good things even though he's had a bad life. He tries every day to stay clean and passes the day craving what he cannot have. Craving what will, in the end, kill him. So he draws instead. He draws the children that run around and ask him why he has so many scars across his arms. He draws the birds that fly freely just outside his window while he lays still, attached to his dialysis equipment. He remains clean to save his own life, and he dreams of what is to come as his life finally begins. 

A twenty-something-year-old man. A gaping hole on his neck. All he wanted was a chance. A chance for a better life for himself and his loved ones. Instead, he now has a gaping hole on his neck. Something as small as a broken tooth nearly cost him his life. The pain was unbearable and the coyotes indifferent. One day turned into two, two into six. The infection spread and nearly reached his brain. Lack of nourishment left him weak, so the coyotes left him, weak and alone. When he was found unconscious, there was no other way to treat him than to carve a hole in his neck. That's how he came to us. Weak, injured, sad. He spent his days watching the once curious boy draw. They helped nurse each others’ wounds and gave each other the strength they needed to go on. 

An eighteen-year-old boy once wondered in, alone and confused. He had been left in the street after he was released from the hospital. Back brace on tight, and eyes tightly shut. Unbearable pain with no relief in sight. He crossed the desert in hopes of an opportunity to be someone. ICE chased him like a dog, shoved him into the back of their car, and sped off, rushing to process and deport him. Instead, they flipped the car and broke the spine of this once healthy boy. With little hope and the weight of the world, he calls his mother and tells her nothing of what has happened. “She has enough to worry about. I have eight younger siblings and they are all counting on me to help them have a better life”. He cannot lift anything heavy ever again, so he spent his days brainstorming on what other jobs he could do. 

A beautiful woman born in the wrong body. A body that was punished in the cruelest of ways for existing. Cut, burnt, scarred, she persisted. Her strength admirable, her resilience unmatched. Her love endless and boundless, her desire to help nearly compulsory. Her fear overwhelming, her pain too large to fit into her small frame. Her desire to go on perished often, but she persisted. She feared she would never be happy. Never find a place that would accept her. She left her home in search of that and came to a country she believed to be safe. We helped her find a community of women, who offered her the love and support she always craved but never had. 

Eyes stared into my own. Eyes that looked so dull, as if they had seen everything there was to see. They probably had. Those eyes belonged to countless children no older than twelve. No longer confused, no longer innocent. Resigned to a transient life, not knowing where they will sleep most nights and not knowing when their next meal will be. They look to their parents and find fear and desperation in their eyes. The knowledge that their parents are doing everything they can offers little comfort, and reassuring words mean nothing. They long for stability, stability that was promised in this land of opportunity. They hope and wait, looking forward to the start of the school year in a new home. 

She looked so frail. Her frame swallowed by the wheelchair she sat on. Her shaking little hand reached out to comfort us, as she could see the pain her appearance caused. Those same little hands capable of creating the most beautiful of arts. Her eyes, as wise as her age implied, looked into our own and shared our pain, even though she had too much of her own to process. It seemed as she had more broken bones than whole ones. She had been pushed off of a wall designed to hurt. Designed to cause the type of damage that sat before us. I had never seen anything like it. Her frail little voice spoke only words of strength, her broken body did nothing to break her spirit. She was my personal ray of sunshine and my personal cloud of despair. 

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Identity Politics by Chris Carey

I never thought much about identity politics.
Of course those around me thought more.
After all, I really only got into school because I checked the “Hispanic/Latino” box.
Oh, but what’s that? I’m not really Colombian? Gotcha. 
Straddling two worlds is tough. 
Being adopted is just plain confusing.
Not for me, mind you. No. I’m proudly Colombian by blood and Irish by adoption.
This is for those that struggle comprehending identity that threatens homogeneity.
For those that invalidate personally lived experiences.
For those that tout diversity so long as it fits convention.
For those that love to dictate who is not [insert culture/race/identity here] enough.
Nah, I never thought much about identity politics.
Have you?

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El Sol Todavía Sale by Marta Fernández
(The Sun Still Rises)

I was ten years old in my childhood bedroom as I saw the warm golden rays waft through my 12’ to 24’ inch window
Too bright to look at, yet too bright to look away
If there’s one thing about life, is that the dawn never stops rising
I was eleven years old when I first learned that being used for someone’s advantage isn’t love
I was twelve years old when I began rejecting my roots
I was thirteen when life taught me that no one owes you anything
I was fourteen when I discovered that sacrificing who you are for an attempt at fitting in gets you nowhere but losing yourself
I was fifteen when I started finding myself again by meeting people who will later become my non-blood family
I was sixteen when I acknowledged that I’m not the only one growing older, my parents are too
I was seventeen when I finally accepted my roots
I was eighteen when I found out my mother wouldn’t see me graduate high school
I am nineteen years old in my college dormitory as I see the warm golden rays waft through my
12’ to 24’ inch window
Too bright to look at, yet too bright to look away
If there’s one thing about life, is that the dawn never stops rising
And just like that, every day, the sun still rises
It’s still mine to chase.

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The Top 10 Lessons I Learned From College by Victoria Lising

"You don't know what you don't know." So find people that can help you learn about what you don't know, including yourself. 

  1. Relationships are built on trust, transparency, and communication.
  2. Ministry is all about relationships.
  3. Immersion is essential to understanding solidarity and other people's perspectives
  4. Never get too comfortable
  5. Friends are like extended family that you choose-choose wisely and care for them.
  6. Live in the moment. So much easier said than done, but I refer to Matthew 6:25-34 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 when I need to be reminded
  7. Eat and sleep regularly (or as regularly as possible)
  8. Everyday is an adventure and a celebration. Remember what you are grateful for and look for a daily win/victory. Have fun!
  9. There is no success without failure. Fail forward fast

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The Lilac by Alexia Camacho

Down the street following the sounds,
In familiar scents and intimate grounds.
Allowing for a difference in opinion,
Rather than welcoming the blooming of this one in a million.
Seeing the sun far, far, away,
Sinking into the Chesapeake Bay.
To finding the bud of a lilac
Quivering in the wind and starving for love.
Not only does the lilac always give color to the seasons,
But night or day the color could be taken away.
The lilac yearns for watering,
But it’s not fair when others are faltering
And no one is ever offering.
But there it is: the one, the only.
The rainfall, the shower, the drizzle.
My sprinkle aspiring for more power,
Not only to supply water, but to soothe the flourishing of the flower.
The wonderwall of other flowers throughout the land,
Always hoping to understand.
Nurturing the love and chances of the lilac,
Racking up the affection of the rainfall just to pay back.
The lilac grows without a doubt
As the petals sprout all throughout,
Whilst the colors begin to thrive,
The lilac finally blooms, to be admired in everyone’s eyes.

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The Truthful Smile by Cindy Cintron
(In dedication to Alondra)

Her smile has a deep authenticity.
It shines through to the special.
It’s bright and brilliant and most of all real.
This smile is not ordinary,
For it is earned.
She worked hard for that smile.
Her soul toiled endlessly
Through hurricanes and wars,
So she could find a truthfile smile.
The work paid off for her.
It was earned only by her,
Yet we all feed on it.
She has found her smile
And shares it with us.
Not because we deserve it,
But because she has blossomed
And deserves to shine for herself.
She will share because of her love.
She has struggled for herself,
So that we,
Can see that truthful smile.

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Words Fail Me by Ava Burkat

When within me my soul writhes,
and like a child in distress,
longs to escape itself
and all it has endured,
Words fail me.
When unknown to humankind
are the melodies
that could describe
the awful distance traveled
by this body and this adolescent mind,
Words fail me.
For what terrestrial refrain
could articulate the pain
quenched like fire by the pound
of familiar footsteps on the ground?
What sounds could possibly portray
the wounds behind the glassy eyes
of a life that has been saved
by an understanding gaze?
Words fail me.
But you never will.

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the journey thus far… by Anonymous

a Journey,
one I wasn't quite so sure I’d make it through
one that instilled so much fear into my heart
one that made my heart feel so heavy
that with every foot forward I trembled and shook
and I didn't know what I would do next..
but here I am, reaching the end of the Mission
on which I was set upon.
I don't know where I’ll go
I’m not even sure if this reality has completely set in, 
Of how far I have come.
But, alas, that is the story of life, this silly story of mine,
the story of my ride through this thing called college, 
and part of this thing called life.
I lived through so much on the road to get here
and I don't know where I’ll be going after this.
I was so afraid to start this journey,
I was so afraid of what it would bring
but now I am even more afraid of it being gone,
of the end of the Journey.
So much so that it feels like the end of it all,
the end of my life.
I’ve struggled to get this far,
I’ve managed to work through everything that's been thrown my way, 
my scars have all but healed
I’ve hurt and cried, I’ve laughed and loved,
I’ve met many people, made many friends
some closer than I ever thought I would have and lost a few along the way as well.
I even fell in love, something I’d never thought I’d be able to do.
I learned so much
And forgot a bunch
But nonetheless I’ve made it this far.
I learned myself, and learned from others,
I’ve worked real hard
And fought my battles
I’m proud of where I’ve come,
I’m excited to see where I’m going
And I can’t wait for the world,
That I still have yet to see.

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Untitled Artwork by Justine Talamayan


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“Thank you mom” by Anonymous


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Borderline by Juli Walsh (@saintnihilist)


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Untitled by Daneev Imbert 


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Untitled Photographs by Leandro Mendez




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