2-West

issue 4

winter 2021

Cover art: Spy Cats by Enso McNay

 
 

Wedding Portrait 

Adella Catanzaro

Poem about some dream

 

Sarah Senet

The air was cold but my heart was warm, good company.

We left the fire lonely, and joined the trees in a choir of leaves and wind;

Is this wrong? We

Kept walking. Kept walking past the bricks and the smells of life.

Through the glass I saw beauty, you saw pain.

“We have to do something”.

A wave of black suits broke in and the pain and the beauty exploded in a million pieces

Is this wrong? We

Kept fighting. Kept fighting to save the beauty and stop the pain. 

I cut off the pain’s head, we celebrated.

But in the cold, beauty was gone. Gone to dust;

Dust, dust, dust. 

Your tears and my disappointment, 

“We couldn’t get rid of pain without losing beauty”

You said. 

Lost cause.

But at least my heart felt warm.

Ode to Ramsey

 

Callum Watkin

 

Glados

Enso McNay

Our dog is yellow like mustard,

his eyes are like brown marbles,

his nose, wet like a black sponge.

Outside he sniffs the ground

for traces of squirrel.

When he sees the squirrel 

He watches and waits patiently.

Then his tail goes up,

And he takes off like a bullet.

Dashing around all of the trees 

on high speed chase with the Squirrel

When he gets back to the house

He has disappointment on his face,

he plodded in to the living room

And he went to a long sleep

And did not wake up until

 the day after the tragedy.

We could tell he felt like a disgrace. 

As he was sleeping he 

was making a lot of noises

I thought that he was trying 

to,  “recatch” the squirrel in his dreams.

Ode to Salmon

 

Ode to Cat Life

 

Ode to Sweet Pea

Katje Gibb-Buursma

 

Enso McNay

Cats, Humans’ owners.

You don't own the cat,

The cat owns you.

 

You never notice that you are being used,

But you are the cats’ servant.

Cats have learned how to outsmart us,

Like we are their prey.

 

You feed it,

You cuddle with it,

And you do what it wants.

Cats are the alpha creatures,

The alpha creatures of the world.

Sweet Pea runs across the room, 

chasing the orange and pink string, 

a black and brown blur slipping 

across the floor. You can just make out the white fur along her belly, white as snow Then she stops suddenly, 

and pounces on the string 

like a puma. All she thinks about 

is her prey and how to catch it.

Luka Toth-Cahn

Dearest Salmon, thank you so much 

For being a fish. You are

 So delicious with your yummy salty fishy taste. 

I love your smell that drifts into the mud room 

When I come home from soccer.

I smell the yumminess and my salivary glands 

Sit on their haunches and beg like dogs.

The sight of you steaming on the pan 

Frosted with salt and pepper 

My taste buds light up like Christmas lights 

When I bite into you and chew.

 

Loneliness 

Elisa Rivas

 

Malia Hanes

 
 

i'll never forget the time i watched your legs fall off as you, Eudora, sped past my window

allow the moon to soften  

your legs  

the ones that you stopped using long ago  

when you glance at the pounding trees  

the ones that have been brushing against your heart for years  

allow yourself to drift back to the times 

where you’d scream in the garden  

burning the last of our cherry tomatoes  

why do you always crumble deep under the surface?  

there are birds on your head  

and they tug at the edges of your hair, the pieces  

you once held on to so tightly  

when you look back in the mirror and all you can see is the portrait of who you once were  never fear, for if your eyes look down too quickly  

you’ll remember it all over again  

the times when the forest exploded as you told it the mysteries of the world  when the moon would crash on your ceiling  

demanding answers to your riddles 

destructive could not capture the incessant questioning that bounced within you when did you stop running?  

did the earth shatter too much for your liking?  

did their eyes grow gray when the flowers grew out of your mouth? there are moments where, in the silence,  

the chaos is excruciating 

it crawls up your walls  

demanding to be seen  

and yet, you’ll shut your eyes  

turn off your body  

because if you dare acknowledge  

that you’ve started falling 

you’ll only crash to the ground  

a place that has grown unfamiliar  

in your years 

Demeter

Eliana Finkel

loose ends 

Juliet Corwin

I have a lack of patience for lost things 

We have no time for dusty apologies

 

Sometimes breaking is the most relieving thing you can do

 

Slow dancing is a feeling

Street lamps used to be romantic

 

His gentle fingers drawing stitches over wounds that still ached  

I saw a pair of hands to thread through the torn parts of me. Your fingers belong in thimbles 

 

Even when doors close things inside them still shake

 

I don’t believe in a god but sometimes I find myself praying 

Fireflies

 

Will Draxler

Ode to Thieving Sparrows

Cosmina Gamsey Boudier

On this clear sunny day, 

I eat a dirtbomb

I take a bite of the sugar-coated muffin,

light and crunchy with brown sugar.

 

People toss bits of breakfast to the sparrows.

The sparrows know how it works:

they watch and wait and cock their heads,

then they’re rewarded with someone’s crumbs.

The sparrows dive to get the crumbs first.

They gobble the food up like piranhas in a frenzy.

 

I hold my dirtbomb close in my hand, 

so I don’t notice the sparrow eyeballing me,

I don’t notice her begging for my treat,

I don’t notice her get ready for take off,

until out of the blue she swoops 

down from the roof, 

straight for the dirtbomb in my hand, 

so close to my face that her wing

brushes my cheek, soft and quick,

as she steals a bite of my sugary treat,

and soars away into the sunny sky.

 

Ode to the Goblins

 

Lucas Tikkala-Cutler

The clouds sure are bright

 

This is a goblin and

That's a goblin

There are goblins everywhere

 

Under your feet

Ow, you scream

as the goblin snaps under your foot

 

Its swords outstretched

Its armor that glistens in the

Light

 

You hop around screaming 

about your pain, even though 

there is a dead goblin on the floor

 

I can not allow dead goblins on my bedroom floor

 

Some have bows and some swords

and all of them get smashed

They’re all very sharp and they

hurt in all respects a lot

Some are green and some yellow

Some are short…

Well they’re all short

Very short

 

When they are squashed---

which happens quite a lot---

they snap like a rusty hinge

Ella Lamee

The Harbor 

 

Taken by the Storm

 

Seamus Turner-Glennon

Oscar Schiff

    A calm quiet came over the sea, one the likes of which had not been seen in Saint Virgil for what felt like a year. The water sat, still, not so much serene as stagnant: not so much patient as anticipatory. Nearly no boats were out in the harbor tonight: the fishings men and harpooners stayed home, or they stayed on the pier or they stayed at a bar, drinking the night away, avoiding the inarticulately strange harbor, inexplicably put off by the lack of fog, the stillness, the almost disconcerting calm of it all.

The stillness made its way up from the harbor to the docks, from the docks to the city, winding its way through cobblestone streets, slipping, serpentine, under door jambs and down chimneys. It took its time on its way, lingering, savoring every inch of the city: every nail in every floorboard, every chewed-up wad of tobacco on the pier, every tree and bottle of gin and Enforcement Unit. The stillness was pervasive, it infected, contaminated every physical inch it touched, every bit of air, every poor soul foolish enough to breathe it in. It dripped and thickened the air around it, although no one noticed. It hung in the air like a cloud, although no one noticed. Saint Virgil was not a city where people noticed things like that. Saint Virgil was a city to notice the grand vine-covered manors left abandoned for years upon years and the now-populated skyline of the smokestacks from the factories right outside of the city limits. It was a place to notice the tenements, windowless, standing tall and imposing like the cigars of giants. It was a place to notice the cobblestone streets, half-gravel by this point, used by only a few autos and the Enforcement Units. Things like this -this stillness- went ignored in Saint Virgil. Virgilites had become good, over the years, at ignoring whatever might be wrong around them out of either desire or necessity or, in many cases, both. 

While there may have been none over the harbor that night, there was indeed fog in Saint Virgil that night. Upon looking out the window of his grand, ornate neoclassical manor onto his acres of ground below, Theo Upton could barely see even a single tree past the fog which enveloped his sizable estate. It churned across the grounds filling what Theo assumed must have been every single square mile of his property. He put down his pipe, stood up, lit a power-lamp, and began on his way to investigate. What was happening, Theo assumed, was that the wind was blowing differently tonight, blowing all the fog off the pier onto his property. But he was still naturally inquisitive enough that he felt a sort of compulsion to examine further. Theo walked down his large marble staircase with a mix of hesitant caution and boyish excitement. The fog had made him always feel that way, ever since his boyhood. 

There was a muffled thud like a bird against a pane of glass and a moaning, aching creak from below the bar, directly at Joe Holden’s feet. It resonated, shaking the glasses on the bar a little, startling Joe, who stood up suddenly. Joe looked out the window of the bar. The street was so quiet, so empty, so motionless dust began to collect on each of the cobblestones outside. The bar shook again, this time with an even louder thump, this time with a glass falling off and shattering on the wooden floor below. The lager in the glass spilled, seeping its way through the floor cracks, much like the stillness in the air outside. 

As the hotel metal burned his flesh, as he smelled himself cooking, Luc didn’t scream: not because he forced himself not to but simply because, to his own startlement as much as anyone else's, he found himself entirely devoid of any instinct or urge to scream from the pain. He hit the sidewalk hard: too fast to stop his own fall yet slowly enough to hear his own nose crunch as it turned to pulp on the pavement below him. He braced himself for the next blow, anticipating the worst, and he waited, yet to no avail: no further blow came. Soon, he was unconscious and soon after that, the street was empty. 

 

The stillness brought with it the violence, it ushered it into its fold, the violence entering faster than the stillness did yet just as quietly. The streets ran with sweet, treacly blood soon, and the people stayed home, and in their businesses, or in phone booths or train compartments. Fingers bloodied. Wood was shattered. Babies screamed the screams of men. And somewhere, deep below the city, in a room no god cared to remember, something laughed. 

Hundreds of lights lined the edge of the storm. I am in one of the nomadic clans. The storm lies only about two hundred feet from our tent, howling loudly. It would drive a normal person mad but for us, it has grown to be a fact of daily life. We have fast-moving carts, in case the storm spreads in the night. Every day we must get up early to work. Every night the steady sound of the storm hums us to sleep. Sometimes I sit on top of our family cart at night. I watch the red-tinted clouds, as the dark, silent shadows of the deamons loom and walk along the curtain of clouds at the edge of the storm. I see a dark shadowy figure looking at me, it was a child of the storm. I feel the storm touching the edge of my mind, whispering loudly, then I go to sleep. I dream most nights about strange deamons with long inky black, clawed fingers, lifting me from my bed. They bring me into the storm and into a circle of obelisks, shrouded with red mist. They set me down onto a stone slab in the middle, and then I wake up. Today I woke up to my uncle telling me "Giddup ya lazy boy! We have plentya work ta get done!"

 

I pulled on my trousers and shirt and went to the door. When I opened it, I was surprised by the lack of usual sunlight. The ground was covered in fog and the air was cold. I hated these days. I walked over to where my uncle was working on a garden, and he handed me a tool and said "Pull up the turnips and put 'em over in that basket." he pulled up a carrot, brushed it off, and took a big bite out of it. I clomped over in my big work boots and saw my seven-year-old cousin, running around with a stick. I sighed, pulled up a large turnip, and put it in the basket. A while later it was time for lunch. I went to the ration stand and got salted meat, a bruised apple, and fried carrots. The man at the stand's name is Gjud, and he has almost no teeth at all. He looks very strong and wears a stained apron. I sat down on a wooden bench. A woman sat across from me with an eye patch. She smelled like sulfur. A shaggy white dog ran by and I saw my cousin. I walked to him and asked, "Why aren't you eating anything?" My cousin brushed his thick, brown hair out of his eyes and said "I'm not hungry." My cousin was short for his age and very creative. He was always getting into some sort of trouble. I walked back to the garden to finish my work of pulling vegetables. When I finished all of the gardens it was late, and I went inside to go to sleep. That's what every day is like for me.

 

Today I woke up in complete silence. It was late, and my uncle hadn't woken me up yet. My cousin was also still asleep. I got dressed and walked outside. The first thing I noticed was that the storm was only about one hundred feet away. I did my morning chores and looked around for my uncle. I found him talking to a tall, old man wearing a top hat with a feather in it. They were examining a chart with the storm and lots of measurements and equations. My uncle saw me, and said "Good morn'n kid!" I looked at the storm and said "The storm moved during the night," My uncle looked at me, concerned, and told me "Yes, it moved during the night and if it moves again we may have to leave." I worked and relaxed for the rest of the day, and had a dream at night about the storm reaching the camp. In the morning the storm was only about fifty feet from the tents. My uncle woke me up very early and said that I should start packing, and we would leave early the next morning. I realized that everyone was packing to leave and I did too. Gjud kicked the side of his stand and wheels sprung out of the bottom. I worked for about an hour on scavenging wood from the sides of the gardens and picking a few last vegetables. I put some wood in the cart and ate some lunch. For the rest of the day, I didn't do much. Soon it was time to sleep.

 

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of thunder. The wind blew against the tent. I noticed that my cousin wasn't in bed, so I went outside. The howling wind blew against me, and I saw the storm, only about twenty feet away. Blue lightning split the red clouds and deamons roamed on the other side. I walked forward and saw my cousin just standing there, looking at the storm. He watched the deamons, and the deamons watched him. It was hard to see my cousin because the wind was blowing sand all around. The rain was falling so hard that it hurt, and I fought the wind, walking forward. I yelled, "What are you doing so close to the storm?" Sand flew into my mouth and I choked but still kept walking forward. The sand was beating against my face, and it was painful. My cousin reached into the storm, and a tall deamon with long horns came into view. It grasped him with its long black fingers and pulled him in. The storm started to spread quickly, and I ran back to the tent. My uncle met me at the cart and asked "Where's your cousin?" I closed my eyes and said, "He was taken by the storm." Tears filled my uncle's eyes and the storm hit. Tents and carts flew through the air and deamons walked by. We rode away until we knew we were safe.

 

Sometimes I see that same deamon that took my cousin, just watching me. Now, most of the time we stay away from the storm. I can tell that the deamon is just waiting for me to make the same mistake as my cousin did.

Giraffe in a Snowstorm

Will Draxler

 

Music

 

Leo Wurgaft

What I️ Know of Violence

Chanina Kosovske

violence is

Unnatural

A way of

showing 

You Mean Business

A last resort.

Pushed

to the limit

beyond 

The Brink

of uncertainty

Without knowing

Where and

What

will happen now 

that there is nowhere left

To Turn To

Where Do We Go When We Dream

Julien Toth-Cahn

Time's Daughter

Sometimes I wonder what the last song I’m going to hear will be

I can think of a couple, but I feel it’s better just to wait

I wonder if I’ll even know at all.

If I die in a car crash listening to headphones,

I will not.

But if I am lying on my deathbed

I wonder which song I will ask them to play

 

I probably won’t be able to pick

I already love so many songs

I’ll love ten more next week

How many more will I love by then?

Maybe I’ll simply ask them to shuffle my music library

And skip through until I find the right song;

There is a right song for everything on my music library

 

Or perhaps I’ll know the exact song

Precisely

Something that fits the mood, the aesthetic, the room

Something that all the people around me will enjoy

Something cinematic

I do know that if my life were movie

That captured each and every moment of my life

The song that would play over the end credits would be

Leozinho, by Caetano Veloso

Because it was the first song I ever heard

And perhaps it’ll make some people cry in the movie theater;

At least the ones that cry easily.

Maybe I would ask them to play that song

To keep the viewers happy

 

Maybe it’ll just come to me in the moment and I’ll say

“I know!” and they will play it.

It would still have to be an old song.

What makes a song stand the test of time, anyways?

Is it the quality of the music, the relevance of the lyrics,

Or simply the impact in someone's life?

I do not know




 

Or maybe I’ll sing it

I always have music stuck in my head

Maybe I’ll just be humming something stupid

Like a theme song, or a jingle

And it will echo through my head 

As my vision slowly turns to black

 

Or maybe I’ll write a song right there!

And the chords, the arrangement, the melody, the lyrics,

Will flood into me

And it will be the best song I ever wrote

And only I will get to hear it

 

Or perhaps the sounds around me will be music enough

A clock ticking, a smile, and an exhale

All in time

The words “I love you” will be sung with the most perfect of harmonies

 

Or perhaps there will be no music at all

And maybe by then I will have learned

That silence

Is just

Enough

 
 
 

Molly Keller

There is a tree that grows at the end and beginning of time. Its branches stretch up into endless milky skies, losing branches and leaves in the eternal everything and nothingness. Stars and galaxies twist between entwined branches, leaving scatterings of dust and lost dreams wherever they reach. The roots stretch on beneath the earth, connecting the north and south, the east and west, the sheltered curve of thick root giving shelter for a galaxy to grow and flourish. They say that if you clip a twig from the Tree, you will be granted eternal life, but only one mortal has ever been given such a gift from the Great Tree.

For there is an old woman who sits at the base of the tree, endlessly weaving a tapestry on a loom that will never be completed. She is the guardian of the tree, the guardian of time and souls. She is as old as the tree, with wrinkles as deep as canyons and eyes that gleam with the wisdom of decades past and to come. She sits and she weaves, sipping tea from a small clay pot.

Every once a century or two, wandering travelers lost and alone will come by her tree, and every time she sends them off with a kind word and a path to find their homes again. But one day, in the time between times where there is no time, a little girl stumbles up the lonesome path. She is different from the other travellers, so much younger and smaller. There are bruises on her cheeks, and she is crying the tears of someone who has never known a kind touch and doesn't understand why.

The old Woman watches her come up. “You must go home,” she tells the little black haired girl, pausing her weaving to point behind her. A path appears through the tangled wilderness; at the end of the path is a home filled with no warmth and a bleak future. The Woman's hand wavers, but she stays firm. “You cannot remain here.”

“I can’t go back,” the little girl sniffs, wiping her eyes.  

The old Woman hesitates, staring down at the little lost soul. She’s been lost for a long time, longer than she’s wandered down the trail of the lonesome. The old Woman smiles faintly, and flicks her hand. The path disappears.

“Come little one,” the Woman says. “Sit on my bench here, I’ll teach you how to weave the loom.”

The girl is hesitant, not trusting the Woman’s kindness. She comes from a place where kindness comes at a price. But the Woman’s eyes are kind, and her touch is gentle as she takes the girl’s hand. And the old Woman shares with her a gift, pressing her forehead against the little girl’s, she shares with her all the memories of the past and the future, of the has-been and the yet-to-be. The old Woman pulls away, and the little girl's eyes are alight with knowledge, shining with the brightness of a thousand stars.

“There,”  the Old Woman says, “You see I will not hurt you. Now come sit on my bench little one.”

The little girl does as she is bid with a smile, and as soon as she sits, she sees something in front of her on the loom. A little branch, a single green leaf growing from the delicate stem. She picks it up, and the old Woman ties the twig from the Tree in her thick black hair, weaving it through an intricate braid. The art of this braid has been lost to the mortals by now, an ancient art but the old Woman still remembers like it was yesterday.

And carefully, she leads the little girl’s hands through the workings of the loom, teaching her the art of the loom, of the tapestry of souls. The little one is a quick learner, her eyes bright and shining.  

And so the lost soul is a lost soul no longer, and the tapestry has never been more beautiful than the day Old Woman Time found her daughter.  

Suberia Theme Violin 1

Sam Robbins

Ode to Macaroons

Emil Chase

I love macaroons. 

I love their crisp shell and moist, chewy center.

I love the smell of the bakery, the complex yet warm scent

of cakes, bread, pastries, and macaroons,

of course, the macaroons. 

Oh, how I love macaroons!

 

I see them stacked in a perfect triangle,

with their beautiful colors 

of red, blue and purple. 

The colors are mesmerizing! 

Oh, how I love macaroons!

 

But it all comes together when the baker

puts the macaroons in a brown bag. 

I stare in awe and the little dots.

I lift one to my lips and it melts in my mouth. 

Oh, how I love macaroons!

Ode to Chicken Nuggets

Rachael Strycharz

I feel bad for my chickens, 

when I feed them chicken

But they fight over it,

so I don't feel too bad. 

Chicken nuggets are only 

the best food ever. 

 

They are golden brown and fried in grease, 

they have flecks of black pepper.

The crunch between my eager teeth.

 

I love chicken nuggets:

McDonald’s chicken nuggets, 

Wendy’s chicken nuggets,

Chicken nuggets from the store.

Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, 

Burger King chicken nuggets,

Even chicken nuggets made at home. 

These are all good places 

to get the best food ever.

 
 
 

Worry

 

Elizabeth Hoffman

The Ball

Luka Toth-Cahn

Worrying is like falling.

Falling down, down, down, screaming

for someone to hear you, to come to

you, but nobody does.

You feel the worry pulling, pushing, tugging, and

grabbing you, and it seems like you’re stuck there,

forever.

You feel like a small and helpless bug, waiting,

wondering in anticipation, whether or not the

weight of the worry will squash you flat.

It then lets go, and you're falling again.

Deeper, and deeper, and deeper, as if there is no

end, to this loneliness, this helplessness, this feeling

of grabbing, reaching out with all that you have,

trying to get ahold onto something, to sturdy

you. But you don't.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere,

it feels like your flying, floating!

Amid this worry, you then recognize, how scared,

terrified, and lonely you were. You see your worry,

and you slowly, slowly, take bites out of it.

It tasted like HELL. It burns your mouth like fire, and you

want to give up, but you don’t… you can’t.

So instead, you push through working, ironing out

all of the kinks, pulling yourself up, out

of this pit of troubling insanity.

It takes all of your effort, but you get

there.

Suddenly, you're in your room.

Safe.

Sound.

Knowing nothing will hurt you.

 

Changes

 

Eliana Finkel

Times Like These

 

Parasthesia

Tristan Alexander and Leo Wurgaft

Rebekah Hong

We run to Mother Nature’s open arms

in times like these

to fill our souls with nature

and not disease.

 

Her brisk air freshens our eyes,

to see verdant mountains span azure skies 

to see glassy lakes mirror the trees,

these serene evergreens glistening in the breeze

 

but we cannot forget some have depleted souls

that yearn for Human Nature,

and not its Mother.

 

Those who are sick want to fill their soul 

with a comforting stroke,

or perhaps a hair pull

a gentle kiss 

a soft embrace

really any human touch

is what they miss

 

but six feet apart is where we remain,

unable to satisfy sick souls

 

unscathed.

 

2-West is a bi-annual, student-run literary magazine that aims to connect Western Massachusetts high schoolers through poetry, prose, and visual art.

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