issue one

Sluggish Summer Love  by Riley Nee
Untitled by Lucia Quinn
Persephone and Hades by Olive Cape
Red by Olive Cape
Distance by Maitri Kovuru
Dina by Maile Smith
SILENCE by Cami Gomes
The Other Sun City by Iris Eisenman
Dog Ears by Ananya Vinay
Inner Rebel by Ananya Vinay

Sluggish Summer Love by Riley Nee
Untitled by Lucia Quinn
Persephone and Hades by Olive Cape
Red by Olive Cape
Dina by Maile Smith
SILENCE by Cami Gomes
The Other Sun City by Iris Eisenman
Dog Ears by Ananya Vinay
Inner Rebel by Ananya Vinay

Sluggish Summer Love

by Riley Nee

The smell of summer clings to the air, as a warm night beckons. A breeze floating through an open window to reach me. Calling, insisting I make the best of this early July evening. I've wasted enough daylight hours as it is. The unbearable heat of the day, suspended once the sun faded from view. 

I texted her nearly forty minutes ago. Checked my phone every three minutes until the gray speech bubble appeared at the bottom of the screen. As soon as she responded with a "yes" and offered about twenty minutes before I had to be ready, I threw on old sneakers, made sure my hair looked okay and slipped out the door. Now I wait, on the corner of my street. Bouncing my leg anxiously, seated on the curb, I trace the scuff marks on the tips of my green converse. The summer air carries music from houses over, and hollow laughter. The kind of laughter only elicited from tipsy adults, seated around a fire, making bad jokes about America's political climate. The increasingly polarized right and left making appearances through their voices. Strained in disagreement, stubbornly seated in their own blinding opinions.

I sigh as I watch cars pass, turn the corner to the highway and disappear. A couple of kids play basketball on the dead end street, a pair of bikes tossed to the side. The taller one holds the ball up high and giggles with delight when the shorter one whacks it from his hands and they chase after it like puppies. I watch as they tussle for the ball again, grappling with one another and letting out high pitched yelps. So I didn't notice when she snuck up behind me. Ruffled my hair and hugged me from behind. "Idiot." I mutter as I bury myself in her embrace, my face in her hair that smells like oranges and soap. She shakes her head at my empty insult and kisses me on the cheek. Begins to walk down the street and drag me along behind her. “C’mon.” She says, and turns her back to me. I follow. Our fingers weave through one another, impossible to tell where one hand starts and the other ends. 

Let the haze of sunset envelop us into a dream-like state. We wander just because we can. I trace the bridge of her nose with my eyes, her subtle jawline, and rosy cheeks. She’s beautiful. 

The thud of our sneakers on pavement cut through the eerie silence of a nine o'clock summer night. With arms slung around shoulders, and fingers linked through fingers, we venture through a neighborhood to which we don't belong. One we yearn to leave someday. Move on to bigger things, and brighter lights. 

We fill the spaces between us with complaints of our parent’s mundane existence, make fun of their hobbies, idiotic middle-aged lives. She smiles in the fading light, and her hair frames her face perfectly, falling in glorious golden strands. 

And it's all perfect for a minute, the two of us here. Or at least seemingly so. 

Lost in each other's stories, arms, and embraces. Lying in a field. Body against body. Skin touching skin, we stick to each other, sweat like glue. Smiles contagious, exchanging exhales of liquor heavy breath. The empty bottle she brought from her parents stash, discarded to the side. Looking almost lonely lying there, bugs stuck to the cap. 

For a moment we can forget about the impending doom of high school's end. Forget about the fact none of our friends know I belong to her, and she belongs to me. Forget about the long sleeve shirts that hide scars running up and down our arms. Forget about the girl who jumped in front of a train, and the mess she left behind. Forget about the fact that one of us is down a friend. Forget about the girl’s parents who sobbed through the funeral. Forget about parents who don't understand. Forget about our helplessness to stop any of it.

For a moment, we can be perfect while the world falls apart. Her hand in mine, mine in hers. Our glassy eyes looking through one another and for the first time seeing it all. 

Exchange sloppy wet kisses, play shitty music. Laugh about nothing, feel cool breezes and grass tuck us in. Two girls lying in a heap, waiting for sleep. For a moment in this fading summer dark we can be fine.  


by Lucia Quinn

Mirjam Joenssen could easily be described as an adapter. She has had an adaptable personality her whole life, a trait often needed when your fathers job takes you all over the world. Perhaps if you wanted to be more crude, you would call her a corporation brat. Moving from Germany, to Japan, back to Germany, then to America, all before the eighth grade, is really a big reason for adaptation.


As a young girl she resembled her mother, with an oval face, and honed structure. A sharp nose, scattered with freckles, fit her face well. Her hair was the shade of fresh baked Pfeffernuesse, and fell to her shoulders in straight simple locks. Most often, she wore a bright pink jacket, which now, one could easily tell was from the late eighties. 


She had a wild imagination, creating the craziest worlds, games, and ideas for her and her friends. When she was in Germany, she created treasure hunts for her friends, and sold all of her moms clothespins with her best friend Melanie. In Japan she would climb on the roofs and jump across the little border from house to house with her friend Marcus, in Japan. She made the most of it, wherever she went.


School was sometimes difficult, especially in America. It was hard being an immigrant, especially in America. Children are cruel, and they’re even worse when someone is different. They made fun of her accent, and her lunches. They made fun of her name because it wasn’t something American, like Jennifer. They even would yell at her for not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance, which let’s be honest, is a pretty dumb thing to state every damn morning. But she adapted, never ashamed to show who she was and made it through high school in America.


Eventually the time came for her family to move back to Germany, and even though Mirjam’s homesickness hit her in nauseating pangs every day, she decided to move to Milwaukee and finish her college education at Marquette University. She had already started, majoring in English, and she had met a boy. She was different than she was when she was a little girl. She had lost her freckles, her hair had darkened, and her cheekbones were much more prominent now that she was older. She had adapted, and as much as she wanted to go, she was in love, and she knew that Timothy was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. So, she said goodbye to her parents and brother, and continued her education.


She had made friends who loved her company, Jerod her best friend, his girlfriend Michelle, and her boyfriend, Tim. With himself, Tim brought his other friends to their group. His childhood friends, Pat Nelligan, who ended up being their daughters godfather, Pat Crotty, KT, Nick, and Sarah. Mirjam graduated from college with flying colors, and a masters and bachelors degree. 


When she went back to school for her Doctorate, she switched is up and moved to Lafayette, Indiana after she received a full ride scholarship to Purdue university, where she studied psychology, a different path than her previous english major at Marquette. There she met one of her best friends, Michele Collins. 


By the time she turned 24, she married Timothy Quinn, and became Mirjam Quinn. They lived a happy life, and in 2005, she got pregnant with her first daughter. She was born on a freezing cold day in December. However, Mirjam was still studying at Purdue, and was a new mother. She could have taken the easy way out, and dropped college and become a stay at home mom. But she adapted, and continued her education, all while caring for Lucia, who never really cared to sleep. 


When her daughter was 18 months old, Mirjam finished her education. She had proven to the world that she could adapt, even form the craziest situation the world had placed her in. She was a fighter. From there she grew her family in Chicago, where she started her own private practice, which is well-known in Chicago. 


My mother fought and adapted to every single damn card life dealt her, unfair and fair. She built a life for herself in unfamiliar and different situations. She adapted. And I’m proud to call her mama.

thank you for reading issue one <3