Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Elicitor 2013

Elicitor 2013
Volume 27
I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to write for this
introduction. It can be difficult to introduce art, especially art as
amazing as this, so I’m mostly just going to let it speak for itself. I
will say this however. A lot of work went into these pages. I can only
imagine the hours of work collectively put in by all the contributors,
and that’s not including the time it takes to pull the magazine itself
together. But in the end it’s worth it. Art, whether it be in word form
or image form or whatever form it happens to take, is always worth it.
So here is the Elicitor, a handful of pages of art made by Gloucester
High School students, each telling a unique story. Because sometimes
in life, something possesses us to make something beautiful. Here is a
collection of those moments.
Editors: Pauline Cruz, Madeleine MacDougal, Elizabeth Stephens
Advisor: Mr. James Cook
Cover image by Ella Bonfield

Ed è subito sera
by Salvatore Quasimodo
Homophonic Translation by Julia Verga
Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di sole:
ed è subito sera.

Oh you know, the solo career, Yogi Berra
Tadah! Feet, oh down we go. Desolate, eh?
Ed and Sue, Vito, Sarah.

The Stranger
by Madeleine MacDougal
Witness as I was—outside of time—
Captive in a moment
That stubbornly plods past, regardless
Time and place apart from me, and around me
I glimpsed something so catching, radiant I
Forgot to ignore the world.
Adopting awe and silent wonder at existence
You have eyes like mine
Umbrous, seeking, always seeming sour with
Tacit wonder at what is existence
The breath swells in your lungs and in mine
The vivacity, intrigue withal
Until we act in sync, forgetting existence, caught in wonder
But if I could I’d glance easily over you,
Behold the world abroad—apart from the other
Who has eyes like mine
Forcing me to let you cross my mind
Our vapid words cannot express our ardence
Nor what wallflowers see the world behind:
Tacit Wonder with what is existence
You have eyes like mine

The Hero of New York City
by Kacie Quinn
     I opened the door, just a crack, and poked my head into
my mother’s bedroom. A dirty towel was clenched in one hand, a
safety pin in the other. It was the middle of the afternoon, a bright,
sunny day, but still the bedroom was dark. The curtains were
pulled tightly over the window, allowing only two strips of light to
pass through.
      As quietly as I could, I tip-toed into the room, weaving my
way through the maze of empty glass bottles and dirty laundry. I
made my way towards the single, solitary figure in the bed, buried
under layers of blankets . My mother was pushed to the far side of
the bed, despite the fact that the entire right side was completely
     I stood at the edge of the bed and flipped up the top corner
of the blanket, revealing my mother’s face. Her eyes were closed,
so I tapped her lightly on the head.
Instantly, her eyes flickered open.
     She didn’t greet me, but nor did she shoo me away. She
just lay there, staring at me with unblinking, glassy eyes.
I silently held up the dirty, still slightly damp towel and
handed her the safety pin. Without a word, she sat up and clipped
the edges of the towel together in front of my neck. I smiled at her
and raced out of the room.
     Now, with the addition of the cape, I was fully
transformed. It swept out behind me as I dashed down the hallway
and into the living room. Once there, I yanked the cushions off of
the couches and built them up into a skyscraper. I stuck my arms
in front of me and flew around the building until I was too dizzy to
     After a few moments, the world stopped spinning, and I
climbed up onto the sofa, I leapt forwards, easily making it across
the rooftops.
     Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my cat, curled into
a ball underneath the end table. I dragged him out, ignoring his
half-hearted meows of protest. I placed him on the top of the
skyscraper I had built and commanded him to stay put. By the
time I’d made it around the city and back to the building, he had
already fallen back asleep. I swooped him and rescued him just in
the nick of time.
     I was still holding the cat under my arm as I ran forward.
I tripped over a stray pillow, knocking over the skyscraper and
crashing into the end table. The table shook and, before I could do
anything to stop it, the lamp fell to the floor, making impact with a
tremendous crash.
    I held my breath, expecting my mother to storm into the
living room and demand to know what the noise was. Even after
an entire minute, she didn’t come.
     The cat, appropriately agitated by the fall, strutted off into
another room. Now alone, I stared at the fallen pile of pillows.
I yanked the cape off over my head and threw it to the
floor. This game wasn’t fun anymore.
     I was human again, no longer the hero who foiled villains
and saved cats from trees. I wasn’t the type of person who could
stop planes from crashing into buildings. The type of person who
stopped fathers from dying.

by Diana DiLiberti
You were never my sworn protector, mother.
You were not my guardian angel,
Nor were you my conscience,
Not even my shield.
Mother, your skin was an inkblot,
Your eyes were dulled pearls.
You were shredded silk, trampled roses,
A surrealist painting, a Picasso woman.
You were not my protector.
You never saved me from the monsters
That hid in my closet and under my bed.
I was the one hiding there.
I was always hiding, always watching.
The shattering fine china,
Wine dripping onto the floor,
I saw everything, mother.
He made you a Jackson Pollock painting.
I remember a wine stained tablecloth.
He can never hurt you again,
He made sure of that, mother.

What You’re Looking For Is Not Here
by Kathryn Withers
What you’re looking for is not here
I lost it long ago
I’ve looked for it throughout the years
But nowhere did it show
The info you need went with it too
Along with the rest of the piece
I’m sorry to say, but it’s true
So leave me alone, you beasts!
I must have dropped it along the way
Or have had it stolen by Fates
That’s all I really have to say
So go out through the gates
I have nothing left, so let me be
And leave me alone to my insanity

The Hall of Wonders
by Spencer Taft
I sauntered down the velvet halls.
Trying to comprehend it all.
Knowledge of the ages.
Absorbing the wisdom of the days of old.
Reveling in the relics of the past
Grand, crimson walls
And tall ceilings, supported by grand marble pillars.
And a tasteful checkered floor.
Like a vast chessboard, all of us the pawns.
Glass cases full of relics of days past.
When great kings held mighty scepters
And commanded massive armies in glorious conquest.
I stood with Shakespeare as he wrote plays to inspire millions.
Sailed with Napoleon to the cold reaches of Russia
Experienced the tension of the writing of the Constitution.
The air, heavy with excitement and cheap heating.
Children dashing about, and returning to proclaim their boredom to their mothers
And tall men in tacky suits gazing into their cell phones.
Just passing the time, waiting for their dates to arrive.
They walk in a land of enlightenment
They just don’t know it yet.

by Bethany Haselgard
     I sank into the passenger seat of our Subaru, feeling small.
I just don’t understand why this happened to me. He turned out of
the hospital parking lot and then took an exit off the highway onto
back roads. “The scenic route will make you feel better.” No it won’t
I thought, all Michael wanted was to talk thing out and be sensible.
I didn’t. I wanted to scream and cry. I gazed out the window at the
emerald foliage. The thought of him or her running around with
eyes the color of spring, so full of life made tears well behind my
eyes. I couldn’t let Michael see me cry, he would never understand.
I exhaled deeply and looked down at my folded hands in my lap.
     He motioned to clasp my hand but I pulled away, which prompted
him to speak again. “Sweetheart... it’s not your fault.” I knew he was
trying to be comforting, but I want to be upset and angry. He paused
for a minute to choose his words carefully. “I hate to see you like this,
so down on yourself. I love you too much to see you in pain.”
     How could he act like it was just me who cared. I ran my
fingers down the stitches of the leather seats. It wasn’t even my
idea to get pregnant, it was forced on me. I had to make Michael’s
dream of the perfect family come true. And as soon as I wanted
to be a mother it was ripped away from me with no explanation. I
looked back to the trees and thought of a baby girl with my eyes,
the color of life and nature. “No, it is my fault I forgot the vitamins
that the doctor gave me once.” I needed to blame someone or
     “That would never cause this,” he said dismissing the idea
quickly. I finally tore my eyes from my lap to look at him; the man I
saw wasn’t the man I married. “We can always try again.” Michael
spoke in his sympathetic voice.
     “I just knew how much you wanted a baby.” I closed my
eyes and pictured the three of us on a picnic, laughing and playing
with a little girl running around in the fresh grass that mimicked
her eyes. I wanted the chance to fall in love with her. Make peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches with the crust cut off. I wanted to play
tag, Barbies, and house with her. But that chance would never
come. The silence thickened the air like corn starch, I just want to
shout and blame someone for it all, for the death of my baby.

A Year
by Christina Sargent
Sigh and trudge through the halls as hope leaves
Leaves turn as masked creatures stalk the night
Night comes too soon when we string lights on trees
Trees are bare and snowflakes collect in piles
Piles of homework make us feel like we’re drowning
Drowning in rain, bright flowers struggle to break free
Free at last, we throw our papers up to the skies
Skies burst and light up in incredible colors
Colors blend as lazy afternoon winds sigh
Sigh and trudge through the halls as hope leaves

One Man’s Experience of WWII
as told by his Granddaughter
by Elizabeth Stephens
When my grandfather was young, he went to war.
The Second World War.
I guess the world decided they hadn’t gotten it right the first time.
“Go back,” they said,
“We’re not done killing people yet.”
He went to the Aleutian Islands to fight the Japanese
But they weren’t there.
That was very inconsiderate of the Japanese.
You’d think that after traveling thousands of miles
Someone would be there to greet them.
In Hawaii, he ate pineapple.
Canned pineapple.
All he could eat
Until he couldn’t eat anymore.
Now he’s sick of it.
He never wants to touch another pineapple for as long as he lives.
I wouldn’t want to go to war if it was going to make me hate canned pineapple.
My grandfather went to war when he was young.
He didn’t die,
He hardly went into combat
Unless you include combating a growing dislike for canned pineapple,
Which in the end is all the devastation a person should be forced to endure.

Go To Bed
by Hannah Sumner
Get your rest instead,
It’s getting late,
Her mother quietly said.
Go to Bed,
Tomorrow is an important date,
Get your rest instead.
No!, the little girl pled.
It’s a quarter past eight,
Her mother quietly said.
To her room the girl was led.
To see her dad she’ll have to wait,
Get you rest instead.
And so the girl lays down her head.
Dad’s on the interstate,
Her mother quietly said.
A single tear the little girl shed.
He might be late,
Get your rest instead,
Her mother quietly said.

from Segregation of the Time Period and
Other Pointless or Not So Pointless Topics
by Riley Gately
Today at lunch I sat across from a guy who would breathe
on a part of his apple, wipe it to perfection with his fingers, and
then FINALLY bite into it. He did this before every bite he took.
and, to top it off, he would take such big bites that his upper lip hit
the bridge of his nose, causing me to break into a fit of giggles and
then become extremely embarrassed when he asked me what I was
looking at.
That’s how tired I am today.
“When something is lost and can’t be found, pray to Saint
Anthony to look around.”
Chant this the next time you lose something, and if you
didn’t believe in angels before, you will now.
I prefer a 2:1 ratio of jelly to peanut butter on my PB&Js. I
can’t stand the way peanut butter sits in my mouth. I prefer peanut
butter with chocolate. I think I just prefer chocolate over anything,
as a matter of fact.
My dad knows all of this. So, today he made me a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich with just the right amount of jelly, and
wrapped a smores pop tart up individually because he knows I
won’t eat the two that come in the package.
My mom, when she’s home, prepares my coffee and toast
in the morning and then drives me to school. She knows that I love
butter, but not too much butter, and if the toast isn’t crunchy, it isn’t
toast, and I won’t eat it.
My brother knows to tell me I look great even when we both know I don’t. He knows to tell me I look awful when we both
know I don’t took, because, well, we’re siblings and we have to be
mean to each other some way.
I know my mom loves tea. I know she loves mermaids. I
know she loves smelling good, and I know my love of chocolate
comes from her.
I know my dad doesn’t love a lot of things except coffee
and music. He loved my dog, more than any of us did. I wish I
could buy him a new puppy. Perhaps a golden retriever. I heard
they are amazing dogs. But, I don’t want to make him sad.
I know my brother constantly asks me for money, so I
bought him a fifteen dollar iTunes card for Christmas, because
I know he doesn’t need any more Subway and I know he’ll buy
songs that I like and that I can use too.
I didn’t know I knew it, but my dad, before he goes to
work, turns a kitchen chair towards the window and puts on his
shoes. I wondered where he was yesterday when I got home to an
empty house and saw the chair still faced towards the window. I
knew instantly where he was once I saw it.

My Heart Is the Worst Kind of Weapon
by Ally Gentile
It was dark, but lightning was illuminating the sky. Cars were zooming by trying
to make it home before the storm.
She was leaving tonight. She was done with the abuse. She couldn’t take it
anymore. She packed her things as tears streamed down her face.
He cast a shadow into her glowing room as he stood in the doorway.
You’re making a big mistake, he said.
The only mistake I ever made was being with you!
Oh, yeah? He said. Well. If I can’t be with you, no one can.
He pulled out a gun. She stepped back. Heart thumping.
Wh-what are you doing? She said.
You’re mine. You always have been, always will be. No one else can have
If you kill me, she said, you won’t have me.
If I kill myself too, I will.
She thought for a second. She knew what she had to do. She lunged for the gun.
Her adrenaline pumping hard.
He fought. She fought, knocking over a chair and breaking a lamp.
Finally boom! Flash! Bang! Thunder, lightning, gunshot. He was gone.

Still Here
by Zoe Paddock
Sitting right here still
Yesterday, today, tomorrow
Time for me to go
Time to start anew
Time to follow the others
Time to up and leave
This season makes me
Antsy, hopeful, impatient
Waiting to grow up
Sitting right here still
Hearing old conversations
This is why I grouch
Trying to wake up
But I’m so tired of this
I’ll wake up to spring

A translation of “Printemps” by Victor Hugo
by Zoe Paddock
Here are the long days, light, love, madness!
Here is the spring! March, April and sweet smile
May flowers, burning June all the beautiful month
Poplars on the bank of rivers asleep,
Bend softly as large palms;
The bird flutters in the woods warm and quiet;
It seems that all laughed, and green trees
Are happy to be together and call themselves green.
The day dawn comes topped fresh and tender;
The evening is full of love, the night is like hearing,
Through the immense shadow and under the sky
Sing something happy into infinity.

Self Portrait at 18
by Shannon Fahey
I heard that every time a prayer flag blows in the wind,
Someone’s wishes come true,
but I don’t know how true that is.
I’ve had many wishes for my future,
but I never actually thought they would become reality.
My wishes seem to not be my own,
but for someone I wish to have in my life for a very long time,
not a boyfriend, but a close friend.
The waves are crashing and my gas light is on in my car,
I have money to get gas though,
so I should probably shut off my car.
There’s a storm coming so the waves are crashing over the railings
on the boulevard.
When I leave for college,
I’m going to miss the boulevard the most,
and the Tea Co.
Looking at their menu,
but always ordering something different,
But okay with the normal outcome.
Before high school,
I thought I knew who I was;
I think a lot of people think that.
But the truth is,
it may take until you’re 30 to get to know the real you.
The real you isn’t something that you search for,
and that’s what I was doing, trying to find myself,
when all I had to do was just go with the waves of life.
I usually don’t get this in depth with life because it makes me
wonder my purpose,
but for the sake of this poem,
I’ll conform.
There’s a little boy riding his bike on the boulevard with his father
behind him,
but there’s snow on the ground,
so I don’t think this is the best time to learn to ride a bike.
But I’m guessing he wants to be good by the summer.
Playing outside when I was younger was the best.
But now I find fun in the summer is the freedom,
and the fact that I can drive and get away.
I plan on going on a lot of adventures this summer.
But people in my life have actually brought the joy of the outside
back to my attention.
I appreciate it a lot more now than I thought I ever would,
because of its natural beauty that envelopes my emotions.
I know I’ll come back,
everyone always does.
Self portrait at 18.

by Kacie Quinn
With a dress
That looks like you made it out of a tablecloth
And a pair of socks
That don’t actually match,
You waltz around the room
With the elegance of a gorilla.
Your breathing
Is a broken radiator,
Puffing out spheres of dust.
When you smile,
Which you do too often,
You reveal your lipstick-stained teeth.
Your voice
Is like the sound of someone rubbing a filled balloon.
When you speak,
We all cringe.
You’re like a crooked picture frame that, no matter how hard I try,
Will not be leveled.
You have the attention span
Of a toddler,
But your hair is graying
(Despite your attempts to stop it)
Proving that you certainly are not one.
Whatever it is,
it’s never your fault.
Maybe it’s the weather,
Or maybe the stars aren’t aligned,
Or maybe it’s our fault.
But it’s never—
Certainly not—
You are the hair
In the shower drain
And an overfilled trash can in the summer.
I don’t say this often,
But I think I might hate you.

by Christina Sargent
“It’s as easy as ripping off a band-aid,” I said to myself,
then laughed at my own joke to kill some more time. The joke is
that that’s exactly what I was doing, only now it’s not funny since I
had to explain it.
You see, I got a paper cut on my arm the other day. I’m not
even sure how it happened really. Anyway, I put a band-aid on it,
not thinking about how I would eventually have to take it off. What
an idiot, right?
Is it weird that ripping off a band-aid is the worst pain
that I can imagine? I mean, I’m sure other things hurt more. I’ll bet
getting trampled by elephants hurts more. So doesn’t getting struck
by lightning, or having a piano fall on your head while whistling
down the street. But that stuff’s probably never going to happen to
me. So in my screwed-up mind, I view taking off a band-aid as the
most painful form of torture.
I stared down my reflection in the bathroom mirror. “Just
do it, you coward.” I got a firm grip on one end of the band-aid and
took a deep breath. “One...two...three!”
I pulled with all my might. The muscles in my arm were
about to explode. Beads of sweat gathered on my forehead. Only
nothing happened. I guess I wasn’t trying that hard after all.
You know, I think someone’s out to get me. Is there really
any other way to get a paper cut on your arm? Hmm? Someone
knows my one true weakness!
Am I crazy? I’m thinking yes, but isn’t that exactly what
a sane person would say? But then isn’t that what a lunatic would
say? Anyway, I digress...
I glared at my reflection. “Not cool, man. You have to
actually try this time.” I figured I should give it just one more try
before curling up into a ball of shame and accepting the fact that I
will never be able to do anything ever. I mean, seriously: it’s not a
big deal. “One...two...THREE!”
For a moment, every atom in my body seared and popped
and melted into puddles of DNA. Time stopped altogether as our
plane of reality crossed into another dimension. An abyss opened
up below my bathroom and life itself crushed my heart with its
cold fingers.
But after that moment everything was totally cool and it
actually wasn’t that bad after all.

On Returning to School in the Fall of Senior Year
and Writing an Essay Assigned in English Class
by Madeleine MacDougal
A second ago,
Forward by recollection,
I was awake

Anything But the Atlantic
by Madeleine MacDougal
I think I once, in dank dark pools,
Had plunged and thrashed across our bay
In dead of night, in frigid dark
I can’t recall what’s just a thought;
It couldn’t mean a thing to you--
A silent effort in the sea--
Your countenance impassive;
Determined stealth, a swelling tide,
Encroaching on a shallow strand
An ocean here, and then a sky
A single shade of azure cloud
But only at the death of day.
I plunged to make that image stay.
I thought I once confused my lines
But only when as I saw your act
It was the Aeneid, and Rome
Might creak like boards beneath your feet,
Our stage we painted black. I found
That when I spoke with Virgil’s voice,
Aeneas answered and (I tricked
Myself your role was you and I)
Suppose I might mistake the crowd
For phosphorescent roman eyes;
They stared--one granite cataract,
Partaking too much of your act.
I saw the masses part your path,
The mongrels raced and jumped to scram
But hardly looking (hardly knowing
Why) they yielded unto you.
You looked and saw their every glance,
And saw despondence they possessed
So alien a thought to you,
Because you choose so willingly
To be here so deliberately.
No other human body could
(But for coercion) study here;
They had to lock their lives away,
In vapid chatter pass the day;
But you could trick the world stand
While you kept spinning, playing, humming.
But only if the world were damned,
Then you and I (together) swam.

Self-Portrait at 17
by Kacie Quinn
My birth was upstaged by the weekend Super Bowl.
While my mom was in labor, my dad and the doctor chatted
amiably about the game.
She tells the story a lot, my mom does.
And thank goodness.
I don’t think I’d remember it otherwise.
I was the youngest for only a short time.
Not long enough to remember.
A bit over a year later, my little sister was born,
and, once again, I was upstaged.
There had been no Super Bowl that weekend.
My first word was “Bobo,” since that was the neighbor’s dog’s
My dad likes to think that it was “Dad,” but my mom claims
In fact, she says it wasn’t even my second word,
Which was “Steve,” since that was the neighbor’s name.
I’m not sure when I first said “Dad,”
When I finally had, I’m sure he thought it was for the dozenth time.
Most of my first years were spent at my grandmother’s house.
I was a single wave amongst an entire ocean of children.
Gramma’s house always smells like gingersnaps,
Which is strange, because she doesn’t eat those.
My grandfather lives there as well.
Math is his religion, which no one else in the family really
He likes to listen to Irish folk music, even though he’s not Irish.
This music is often overshadowed by my Gramma blasting Celine
My first day of school wasn’t all that fun.
I refused to leave my parents, even for a few hours.
My mom told me to toughen up,
but my dad was a bit more understanding.
Even if “Dad” wasn’t my first word.
Most of elementary school was a blur
Of stale bubbler water,
Grey tiles that were once white,
And teachers that I feared more than respected.
Middle school wasn’t much different.
There was just a little more stale water and fewer teachers that I
High school was different,
Less constraints, more freedom, room to stretch our legs.
But now there are choices to be make.
Every decision I make, I feel sure it’s the wrong one.
Now I live in the present.
The future is clouded in uncertainty.

by Kathryn Withers
See this egg?
You like this egg.
You like this egg with its shell perfectly intact.
For the insides are fragile and prone to be warped by the environment
But the shell around it is fragile too.
For it the shell breaks,
The insides go everywhere
And that’s where things get messy
Maybe it’ll be exposed to the heat—gets all scrambled or fried
The denaturization is irreversible—it becomes useless for its original
(The o.f. Being to sustain life—a chick in our case)
Or it gets mixed up with a bunch of other things
Gets so mixed and mushed that it becomes so uniform with the rest
That you can’t tell it from the others anymore
Or maybe a sponge just wipes it away—
The hell if I know
What I’m trying to say is once the shell is broken,
It becomes a giant mess
That can never ever be reversed
Back to the way it was before,
So be careful, okay?

Haikus About It Not Being Summer.
by Madeleine MacDougal
lending to myself
notions oddly phrased, lopsided
lozenges of my mind
fraying Beta fish fins
ever-growing cuticles
and a/c set on High
lysing plant cell green
yellow granite petulance
and the salt sea splash
calluses scrubbed down
the drain that eats evidence
and burps with pleasure
clinging to crisp air
calling over Dogtown woods
a train declares Self

On Premeditated Inaction
by Madeleine Macdougal
Hesitate. A moment’s long.
Just time enough to meditate
But who apportions milliseconds?
Especially, in light of me,
My tendencies--to catch ‘em all--
The grainy thoughts like peptide chains
Of lytic virus DNA.
And just to think, to reckon forth:
Already I have done it all,
I’ve climbed the Aztec, Inca ruins
Spryly as a sherpa can
Peaked the summits miles high
Approached the roof of Babel and,
If you can see it in your mind,
I’ve delved the depths, spelunked earth’s crust
And dug to China and to Sheol;
I’ve led the legions in pursuit
Of every myth was ever told:
Elysian fields and Brave New Worlds.
And life’s solutions--Aqueducts,
The artifice of ages past,
An alchemy of times to come:
The microchip, the iRobot.
Heck, Hell’s own cure at my hand.
But your still staring, waiting face
Exhumes a moment long forgot
It brings me back and grounds my feet.
It’s Monday, and, if I recall,
I haven’t answered your question yet.

175 Pounds
by Jordan Westling
I tugged hard on his hand,
Once, twice, a third,
And finally he complied.
The low tide burnt my nose as we walked closer.
We were so close now.
All the while his face remained passive
As I tugged and pulled.
His hands were weathered from the years
Leaving the end result similar to leather.
His rough
Juxtaposed my soft
Making it easy for my contours to catch his.
He outweighed me
By at least 100 pounds
But he allowed himself to be tugged.
We had walked through a private lawn to get there.
The spot was nice,
Maybe not ideal,
But neither was he.
It should have been perfect for the effort.
He pulled out the rods silently
And I happily picked mine from his hands.
Despite my need to break the silence I kept quiet;
Those were his silent wishes.
I looked up at his worn face
And saw the look of peace
That had evaded his eyes for so long.
A tug at the line interrupted his thoughts,
I looked down to see the line being pulled
And looked back up
He was no longer sitting up with his rod.
He no longer had his slim weathered hands.
He no longer had a look of peace.
I looked up and we were back.
Back to the uncomfortable white room.
Back to him lying down.
Back to his swollen dry hands.
Back to his worn face being obscured by tubes.

A Poem About The People Who Like Rats
by Elizabeth Stephens
There are those of us who like rats.
The people who spend their nights braiding ropes to hang in their cages out of forgotten
rags so rats can climb them,
The people who aren’t afraid of their tails, because to them they feel like velvet.
The people who give them names like “Smooches” or “Euripides” or “Jethro” or
The people who let them crawl through their hair, laughing as they leave turds of
excitement hidden there,
The people who pick flowers and leave them by the cage’s side.
The people who pose with them in pictures.
The people who sneak them into college dorms,
The people who make treats out of peanut butter and dried peas.
The people who know the difference between cedar and pellet bedding.
The people who think rats are adorable.
The people who will never be a majority.

by Madeleine MacDougal
My mind is like
a fly
that lands all
on a succulent and lightly sweaty
then flies
It is not the slightest bit like
a Chicken
I think those things are