2023 Submissions

moving on to become someone new 
By Eva Juneja we spent our middle school years together, swore we’d be best friends, gave each other gifts and cards, called and texted all the time. but now there are things i should say, even when i don’t want to think about it, i don’t think “bestie” should be my title anymore, cause i’m not who i used to be. sometimes at night, i think you, right before i fall asleep, i wonder what we could be. all of my dreams, made of paper cards, burning before my eyes. what we are searching for, is it holding us back? ‘cause loving ain’t easy anymore, and life’s nothing like i hoped it’d be. but i can’t find it in myself to blame either of us, for moving on to become someone new. we had our years together, happy as could be, but we are close to dust, letting go of who we were. cause we ain’t who we used to be, i’m still searching for who i am, and you’re learning to heal again, and we both know what we have to do. sometimes at night, i think of you, right before i close my eyes, i think about what we were before. all of my desires, made of glass wings, shattered before my eyes. what we are looking for, is it trapping us in a box? ‘cause loving is hard for me, and life’s nothing like i hoped it’d be. yet i can’t find it in myself to blame either of us, for moving on to become someone new.





By Lisa Keys-Blair

Darkness can leave me sapped of energy, but I know there will be light in the morn.

The quietness of morning gives birth to birds singing, children laughing and the warmth of the sun.

Even in the throes of sadness and grief we know the light will come. The sun will rise and we will be full again.

After rain, we get rainbows.

After winter we get spring.

Lava destroys everything in it’s path, but yields fertile earth that gives birth to trees and fruit. Life.

The lilac bush in winter is a gray skeleton, but then green buds spring, followed by purple fireworks and the sweet air of memories.

Colors bloom all around us. Take notice. They are here to fill our hearts with joy.


The Little Determined Explorer

By Kaylen 

Once there was a little girl named Victoria and she loved to explore. One day, she instructed her dad on building a house in a tree. Her father said it was tough but he did it. When he finished, they bought pizza to celebrate her getting her own exploring area. Later that day she was about to go to bed when she heard a crash. She woke up and thought it was her treehouse, but she realized it was her alarm clock that fell. She grabbed her stuffed toy bear Buddy and went back to sleep. When she woke up in the morning, she went out to her treehouse to explore. 


The Jellyfish 

By Michael

Once upon a time, along came a little jellyfish named Michael. He lived in a library in the sea. He had a special spark, he sorted his snacks and absorbed an extra-large orange. While he was exploring, he found something rare, an orange duck. It had curly hair and an orange stain. He was so excited because there is only one a year. He was lucky because it was a rare sight to see. 


Lukas and the Trip to Ohio

By Ferran

Lukas, an eleven-year-old boy from Texas was on a trip to Ohio on a boat. As he entered the state, he saw an elephant trying to balance on a bicycle tire. But he failed miserably causing him to fall on his back and break bones. Lukas called 911 on a microwave. He realized it was like that because it was Ohio and everything is top-si-turvy. He couldn’t take it anymore so he left Ohio forever and would never return again. 


By Carmina


Animals Animals

Fury Animals

Colorful animals

Fun animals

These are just a few 

Lovely animals

Beautiful animals

Insane animals 

All of these are great like 

Cool animals

Sweet animals

Helpful animals

Best of all, last of all 

I like cute animals.

Ozard and the Obedient Leaf

By Jeevika

A wizard named Ozard told the obedient leaf to grow as tall as a teenage elephant to cause mischief. The obedient leaf agreed and grew, grew, and grew until it was the size of a teenage elephant.

“Now”, said the wicked Ozard, “cause mischief whenever you can.” 

But the obedient leaf was not on the dark side. So, right when the obedient leaf disagreed for the first time and was about to say a word, the wicked wizard Ozard cursed the leaf, who was now not so obedient. “You will join the dark side and will only do the dark-side orders. You will never ever follow the bright side order for your whole life.”

This made the leaf very evil. The leaf said, “I will put out traps that will take every animal that comes near my leaf to death. Then the forest will be ours! 

“I’m happy that you have found a way to do evil and be on the dark side,” the wizard said. “ Now do exactly what you said to everything in the forest. Now be wicked and bye! See you later!” 

The leaf felt ready. He found a frog, a mouse, and a deer, and he killed them. When he came across a saint, the leaf tried to kill him, but the said wouldn’t die. 

“I know the wizard cursed you, so I’ll kill him” The saint was suddenly face to face with the evil Ozard and he zapped him to death. 

The obedient leaf was free from the curse and returned to the bright side again.

The Boy Named Infinity

By Aarav

Once upon a time, there was a person named Infinity. Infinity was born in a city hospital.

When Infinity was seven years old there were a bunch of children coming to his house for one week. They played toss the dime and two of the children were versing each other. Their names were Alberto and Nebreto. Nebreto won so he got the dime.

The next day they played rocket ship. First, they made the rocket ship and said “Blast off!!” and played coffin music. After the children left, Infinity discovered his passion for a career to be an astronaut. 

When Infinity was nine, he experimented with a water bottle. He got a tissue, just in case. Blast off, his experiment passed!

When he was thirty-seven, he was an astronaut.



Burning Pile by Katrina Torio

Marie liked playing house. She had little dolls that would represent her family, and the stories she played with them were based on her life. Others commented on how strange it was to see a girl thirteen still play with them, but Marie still enjoyed it. 

Sometimes, the The mother and daughter doll would have tea parties in the backyard, while the ones that portrayed her dad and older brother would go out and hunt, coming back with dinner. They were all one big happy family, until her older brother turned sixteen.

The mother and father doll would start bossing him around, ordering him to dress only in the clothes they chose, wearing him down further. Nothing her brother did was good enough for them, and he was always bound to fall short of imperfect, yet he tried. 

The daughter doll wasn’t let off the hook either; they'd compare her to her older brother, telling her how much of a failure she was in comparison to him. So, she’d push herself past her limits, trying to live up to his standard. She’d study until the morning sun rose, dressed in the clothes that looked like the ones her brother wore, sewed, cooked, baked, but her parents only saw a failure. 

Their once happy family was starting to fall apart under these new resolutions. Their mother had gone from a laid back, relaxed and flirty woman to an uptight harpy that would scream at everyone in a five mile radius. Her dad was no better. He’d grow violent while he was intoxicated, screaming at his family, the whole house becoming more tense when he was around. Both of them would constantly praise her brother for being so perfect, but the daughter? She was nothing but a scapegoat, a failure in their eyes. 

One day, the dad doll caught his daughter playing pretend with her dolls, and yelled at her. He broke her dollhouse and ripped apart her dolls, throwing them away into the furnace, as the stories she’d make them play out were far too dark, and were too horrible to be considered art. He called her evil, locking her in her room, saying that it was their job to keep the evil from bay to stop it from spreading. 

That’s when the spark of anger in the daughter’s heart grew into a raging fire of fury. She would use the fire that once burned away her comfort as a light that would lead her to the exit of her life. Before anyone could stop her, she threw a lamp into the fire, kicking off her parents as they tried to reach her, kicking the rug beneath her and into the furnace, watching it catch on fire, the flame spreading across the floor and up the walls, burning the shelves of books, engulfing the room in smoke. As her parents screamed at her, she made a run for it, flinging open the doors. She ran into her brother’s cage of perfection and pulled him out, holding him tightly by the hand as they raced through the flaming hallways, fire threatening to swallow them alive if they slowed down. 

They raced down the stairs, and out the door, the daughter pulling her brother out of the house, looking up as their entire house had been engulfed in flames. 

Not wanting to stay there any longer, the two siblings made a run for it, warmed by the fires of destruction, purified by their flames as they began a new life.

By Piper Tesdall

I am a painting.
I am hung in a museum, admired by few. 
I am painted by an artist you haven’t heard of. 
One person passes by, and another, but the last one stops. 
The last one studies my texture and bright colors, 
becoming immersed in ever every detail. 
They look at my eyelashes, the specks of brown littered in my eyes,
and the landscape that holds me. 
But i feel a guilt so great because i cannot reach out for this person. 
I cannot tell them how much i want them to stay staring at me forever 
just so that I can have them all to myself. 
I am a painting, and yet I am aware of the beauty of the viewer.


By Brandon Heit

I don't like the way I was forced to sit alone cowering in my own hate
I didn’t like the way they walked around like everyone would kiss their feet if they asked
We wouldn't kiss your feet.

I don't like how I didn't belong where I thought I did
I don't like how they told me I was their friend
But still, they never acted like it.

I didn't like the way that everything felt red
I didn’t like the way that the red was all I could see
I can see more than red now.

I don't like feeling like a wooden dummy
I don’t like feeling like I’m not working for myself
I’m working for them.

I don't like the way she would stare at me, but would be too afraid to get close
I don’t like the way he ignored me like I didn't say what I said
I speak words.

I don't like sitting down at my desk
I don't like wanting to do something, but having the invisible curtains fall again
Trapping me behind their flowy steel.

I don't like the eternal rise and fall of the sun and moon
I don't like the way it taunts me
“Just one more day” The sun would tell me, “Just do it all one more time” The moon said.

I don’t like their vile intentions
I don't like the way they talked
I wanted them to leave, or one of us to leave.

I don't like feeling exposed 
I don't like feeling like I’m helpless 
Every glance over my back makes my leg bounce just a little more

I don't like their stains
Goodnight and goodbye


By Milo Walker

Tea steam
fills the corners of my home

Sugar and spice
sprinkled in
Citrus smell that can roam

Taste of candied
sweetened by your gaze


Girl by Thea Wong


There was a Girl. She was the same as everyone else. 
But she was different. That was fine. Truly. She is young, 
she is wild, she is free, a creature of the night. She has 
nothing to worry about, and no one to worry for. Thankfully.
She grows older, the setting of the story changes, it is not 
right. It is too much. The Girl’s thoughts, they grow bigger, 
and bigger, they take shape. Scarily. Girl’s head is full of 
something dark, something with claws. It is a monster. And 
the monster is her. Unacceptably. The Girl and the monster, 
they do not agree, two different things in one same person. 
They will rip each other apart just to stop the noise. 
Inexplicably. She grows again, the characters in Girl’s life 
swap out. It is…better. The monster and the Girl, they begin 
to talk. Reach out a hand. ‘We can help each other’ Oddly.
Girl’s thoughts, those terrible terrible mangled thoughts, 
they begin to unknot. Girl and the monster, they teach each 
other. How to calm down, how to breathe. Exceedingly. Girl 
and the monster, one and the same, same body, same name, they
helped each other on their own. They can do this, they have 
grown. Finally.


Your love is like a sugary glaze By Milo Walker

Safe and tucked deep inside my
heart-shaped tomb

There's spoiled gifts
in the corners of my room

Injured and stressed
but stronger still

Crumbled love letters on my window sill

Hide behind my perfect eyes

I'll tell you my own pretty lies

A beautiful reconcile we could be

I'll love you forever, honey

The Haze of Good and Evil by Thea Wong

“On the summer solstice the world’s greatest superhero, Thorn, died. After a lengthy battle with lung cancer, 10 years spent in service, half of it doing chemo, half of it spent defeating various villains and thugs on the streets. They passed in what we can only hope was a painless death. The world waits as the tension mounts upon what the government will do with no one powerful enough to keep criminals in check. This is Fox News, I'm Katherine Potter, up next we have Jim Clark discussing what the next move is in the U.S.” [audio ends] [audio starts] “This is CNN, I’m Mary Langporter and many are still debating on what the major crime cities should do as we await an inevitable crime spree. Many are boarding up windows and shops, and many banks are working overtime as several of the major cities, Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, São Paulo, Mexico City, and Cairo, along with many others have had their civilians desperately trying to withdraw and safeguard their money. There are lesser superheroes that are desperately patrolling, but without their leader there’s not much that can be done. Up next-” [audio stops] TV static [emergency broadcast begins] “We interrupt this program for a worldwide warning. All patrons of major cities and any area marked on this map must go into lockdown. Do not answer doors. Do not let anyone inside. Stay in the basements. Lock all entry and exit points of your household. We have received a transmission from the Ixtal Association that all criminals, those in power, and those not, will come out in full force. We have dispatched all enhanced militia, along with SWAT, CIA, FBI, and every police station in any area that is in danger. For those who are not in danger we also ask that you remain in your homes. Any homeless civilians on the street head to the subways or underground areas of your city or town. For those that are on the road, park your vehicle on the side of the road and wait until further broadcasts. I will repeat. Do not answer doors. Do not let anyone inside. Stay in the basements. Lock all entry and exit points of your household. We will hold all of you in our prayers, stay safe.” [audio scratches] TV static [the screen remains dark] [Ixtal Association broadcast begins] “Your fallen hero was from America. They died fighting against us, fighting for what they believed was right. Simply following orders and hoping to change the world. *shuffling of papers and someone clears their throat* We were just the same, we wanted to change the view of the world, make them see what’s wrong. We started out like all you heroes, we wanted to change the world, we just used different methods. So, for the first time in the Ixtal Association’s history, we will march in America first, we will lay down arms, and we will pay respect.” [audio ends] [all devices are shut off] And so the world watches as row after row, group after group of villains, underlings, criminals, masterminds, thugs, and all march in the streets, silent, holding out candles reaching out the scent of roses. They avenge Thorn. The leader of the heroes of the world, the first ever to die in the League of Heroes. [all devices play a siren] [Ixtal Association broadcast begins] “Even villains show sympathy, even criminals, please do not be afraid, join us. Honor you hero, as we honor our foe.”