Singularity
Eleanor Peters '20

There was space

on the ceiling in your bedroom—stars,

peel-and-stick plastic luminance

in the half-light of suburban evening

without order, no constellations

just a dusting of the universe

like paint-splatter freckles across my nose

 

Our breath heavy

in the sticky humid air we lay there,

me staring up into the dark matter

of the shadowy plaster, seams and scrapes

the spaces between me, and you

curled away towards the wall,

a closed parenthesis in an oversized t-shirt

 

When the house

fell into almost-silence, only creaking floors

and humming fans, a whisper of shifting bodies in sheets

the curtains rippled, ghostly white

from the streetlamp outside,

a miniature sun but dim enough and so,

feet slipping and shuffling, we went

 

The window opened

and then we were out on the porch roof

metal cool under bare legs

goosebumps ridged our arms, and

sitting side-by-side, we muffled laughter with palms

flicked acorn hats down to the pavement below

and made wishes on the glow of passing headlights

 

In the morning

the stars were dark, blending with the ceiling

as I woke up, blinking, still tired

room stuffy with the closed window

mirror casting a moon-on-the water reflection

on the opposite wall, I watched dust float on sunbeams

waiting, as you slept until early afternoon.

Alejandro Rincón '21

Challenger
Aidan Cooper '22

         “Alarm looks good.

         Ullage pressures are up.

         Right engine helium tank is just a little bit low.”

         “It was yesterday, too.”

 

         Lest fire and flame forget our wings

         That soar into the heavens,

 

“Remember the red button when you make a roll call.”

“I won't do that, thanks a lot.”

“Fifteen up here.”

“Down here, too.”

 

Every ambition aloft in the stars

Will fall too fast behind.

 

         “Houston, Challenger roll program.”

         “Go you Mother.”

         “Looks like we've got a lotta wind here today.”

         “It's a little hard to see out my window here.”

 

Lest we break from somber’s hold

And fly forever upwards,

 

         “Throttle up.”

         “Roger.”

         “Roger, go at throttle up.”

         “Uh-oh.”

 

We’ll neglect the ones we left

Upon this sunken rock.

 

LOSS OF ALL DATA


 

*This poem quotes from the last recordings of the crew of the Challenger.

 
 
 

Julie Chung '21

Asterism
Isabel Ruppel '21
 

I knew a girl who spoke five languages. One of the languages was just a variant of English, yet tinged with such yearning and admiration and poetry that I am sure it was something else. She used it to talk about the stars.

"Moon," the first word her maladroit baby lips formed, a mispronunciation of mom, so her father said. Before long, her face had slimmed, she had learned to sprint with the best of them, and she was shouting "nebula" and kicking up dust on the playground. She named her bruises after interstellar clouds. She liked to poke her stubby fingers at them and rattle off the names to me. She named my injuries too. Her kindergarten teacher had named her a linguist; her fifth-grade teacher had called her pretentious.

She used to drag me out to the yard by the wrist at two am, three am, and guide our conjoined hands above her head and point out stars.

She would name them. I knew the names, too, yet I can't point them out now. I always watched our hands rather than the night sky.

I would trip a little as she walked us back down our street after she had shown me the ones she thought I would like. The blue dark, heavy with summer's heat, would solidify underfoot in just the right places to knock me off balance.

____________________________________________________________________________

She had maps and maps, some of which were hand-drawn with remarkable skill, some of which I still have tucked away somewhere in the recesses of my attic. They were just as dusty then, and she always got to coughing when she spread them open over the plush rug of her childhood bedroom. She sorted through them and rearranged them like puzzle pieces or sudoku tiles. We sat cross-legged for hours over her little masterpieces, and she babbled on and on in her foreign language until, like the calming sound of water lapping at docks or the soft murmuring of a stream, the sound lulled me to sleep.

I don't have any recollection of what I dreamt of then, and part of me wants to tell you I dreamt of the cosmos. Though, knowing myself, I probably didn't dream at all. She dreamt enough for the two of us, and would always be sure to tell me my dream in the morning.

____________________________________________________________________________

She always left before breakfast. I think she was afraid of taking up space at the table. The table at my house was much too small for a household of six, and my siblings glared the very few times she had stayed.

____________________________________________________________________________

I used to bring her coffee. Now that I think about it, I must have walked quite far during winter to deliver it. She always told me she liked my brew better than her parents'. My 'brew' cost 50 cents a packet. For a long while I thought she couldn't tell, that was until I started finding twin pairs of quarters in my jacket pockets.

____________________________________________________________________________

My siblings called her 'alien.' Because she was thin probably, or because she was always talking about going home or going to space. My siblings had made the brilliant association. To be fair, it was low hanging fruit for a gaggle of grade-school boys. I would shoo them out to the yard when they got too cruel.

I don’t believe she ever looked any of them in the eye.

____________________________________________________________________________

I remember the winter she started wearing hats distinctly. I must have teased her about it. She would regularly struggle with them trying to fit her hair—longer than it had been in middle school—within the strict confines of that knitted woolen prison. The night of that winter walk the crisp air stung my skin, and the wet snow seeped into my boots and soaked my socks.

She took my hand as she always had. Yes, it was cold out, but somehow her hands were always a little stiffer and more thoroughly cooled than mine. As I watched her raise our entwined fingers to the sky, I noticed how her pointer finger quivered.

I pulled that reaching hand away from the sky and shoved it into the pocket of my dark jacket. She didn't stop me.

"See, that was Orion. He was a hunter, the best hunter. Unfortunately for him, he knew how good he was. The gods hated his hubris. Scorpion sting is what got him in the end." She chuckled.

Something about her laugh rang false, but she had already moved onto the next constellation.

"Poor, poor Leda," she muttered, her breath forming little clouds.

"What happened to her?"

"So many unpleasant things." Another visible huff evaporated into the night air.

"Why?" I asked and squeezed her still icy hand.

“Because she was beautiful.”

____________________________________________________________________________

I was with her for hours on the last day. I noticed nothing, nothing at all. We laughed, we watched awful documentaries. She ate. I lit the fireplace while we were home alone, and we breathed in wood fire smell and said horrible things about the chain smokers that hung around the school's bathroom.

She even pulled out a map.

Her hand traced along dots and lines in patterns still not clear to me.

I remember so much from those few golden hours. Her chipped blue nail polish. Her unevenly done lipstick. The chip on her left incisor she won after a wrestling match with some boy in second grade. Her split ends. The little red indents on the soft skin of her wrists she sported after hours of wearing rubber bands. The little bits of chocolate stuck under her nails.

____________________________________________________________________________

She joined the stars that day; her heart gave out.

My first thought when I learned the news: I wish I had forced more sweets on her only a few hours ago.

They held a service for her; they offered food and refreshments after. I left, walked as far enough away as I knew I could return from, and screamed.

I couldn’t talk for three days after the funeral.

____________________________________________________________________________

Every time I see the moon I think of her mother and how none of the other moms can look her in the eye come Mother's Day. And every night I close my eyes so tight it hurts until I can gather my own stars behind my eyelids. I name them.

____________________________________________________________________________

I know she is all right, though. She was clever, always outdid me by three points on every exam. She'll navigate the stars just fine. She speaks their language well; it was her first.

One day I'll join her, and she'll teach me their names again.

 

Jenny Pan '22

 
Crossing the Border
Eva Evans '21

Sometimes.

 

                              Sometimes I feel the music in my soul

              And that’s when I know I need it most.

              That’s when a piece of it breaks off like glass and nestles deep inside me

 

                                                   Where it can grow,

                                 Into something much more than a note,

                                                   A sentence,

                                                                 Then a story,

                                                                                            Then before you know it,

 

I’ve got a book on the horizon when I’ve got echoes in my headphones,

 

                        So let me listen,

                                    For the things I hear will soon become more a part of me than you can fathom,

 

Ingrained in me like a seed,

 

               And oh,

                                 It will reach,

                                                        For the highest star,

                                                                     Through the highest limbs,

                                                                                       For the most sunlight,

 

               And when it wishes to join the sky it sees but cannot ever touch,

 

                                 I will feed it with the music,

                                                   And tell it,

 

                                                                     This is where you came from,

                                                   Even if you can never enter the world which I imagine,

                                 Hold the hand of the girl who fought the wolves so fiercely,

                                                   Touch the wings of the boy who flew among the planets,

 

                                                   You can almost.

                                                                     You can sort of.

                                                                                       You can,

                                                                                       You can

                                                                     You can.

                                                                                       For a moment,

                                 Feel as though

You are living in the world of dreams, of magic and waves,

               Of cotton clouds and crashing symbols,

               Empires at war and pages turned,

 

You can.

 

I give my friend my headphones, and I whisper,

                                                   Listen.

 

It sounds like… she says.

 

I finish her sentence with my thoughts and we both smile.

 

It sounds like belonging to everything.

               It sounds like home. 

 
Still
Alli Benthien '23

Emma Tishler '20

 

Tension divides every object, every fragment of light and sound

That surrounds us

Our hands are bound with slackened rope

That we claim is taut

A distant cry goes unheard

 

Each foot against the floor

Each arm that rests idly

Lies unmoving

Not by force

But by abstract restraints

 

We pretend that these walls are too thick to hear

Anything outside

We act as if there is nothing

That can be done

 

There is no ignorance

Only silence

 

Resentment invades from within

Though it is never expressed

Only implied

With a look that lingers

Or words hidden behind teeth

 

The hatred that cowers on our shoulders

Can only be felt

It moves too rapidly from one to another to be spotted

But we know it’s there

Spreading invisibly

 

Let us all sit and assume

Let us sit and be comfortable with no acknowledgement

Of conflict

Allow the voices that permeate these walls

The voices that ring in our ears

To remain foreign

 

Let us mask our apathy with empty thoughts and prayers

And call it compassion

Let us justify our distance by writing a check

Let us turn our backs without a second thought

And call our silence love

 

Ella Xue '23

 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Breaking the Galaxy
Kirsten Lees '23
The Void of Life
Stephanie Zhang '21 

In the beginning, only darkness existed.

 

Then all of a sudden

came a blinding light

in which life came by

and two lovers formed a union.

 

They danced and played

but also fought and strayed

which ignited dangerous and fiery passions.

 

But despite it all

his love for her was infinite.

 

He stayed by her side

through the trials of time

and promised to take care of her forever.

 

So when she asked him for the trees

and the light summer breeze

he gave them to her without hesitation.

 

When she asked him for the skies

and the secrets to how birds fly

he continued to give

and give

and give.

 

When she asked him for the world

like it was her oyster and she was its pearl

he decided she would have all that she wanted.

 

So when she asked him for space

he thought of the starry skies

and the endless night

and the darkness that held infinite possibilities above them.

 

He promised her she would have it.

 

When she angrily asked him again

he still couldn’t understand

so he pretended everything was fine

and refrained from asking questions.

 

But slowly

and slowly

and slowly,

 

he digested her request.

 

He understood.

 

He could no longer treat her like the queen that she was.

 

Because

no matter how much of himself he gave her

no matter how much of him she had

he could no longer offer anything that she wanted.

 

The chasm grew greater

the misunderstandings deeper

until the void of life made each unrecognizable to the other across it.

 

No more light.

Only darkness.

Being alone, the frightened soul

Enveloped in the darkness of his mind

No sound, no noise at all, except for the echoes of his own breathing

They filled him with words upon words, creating a film of confusion and concern

 

Listen… they declared

This Universe was created for you to come to, but… 

Beware! Beware!

There is danger out there 

A bitter aura in the air

An unborn plague just waiting to appear

 

After a while, this fellow woke up and he didn’t think anything of it

But the echoes never silenced 

They escaped the REM realm and hammered at his brain

Yet he continued to ignore their worries and warnings 

 

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear 

And be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable

Maybe… this was not the way it was supposed to be

If only this fellow could see

Hannah Adler '21

Bless the Spaces
Andy Cao '21

Pacing the written song

Stepping between each word

What makes a mumble wrong

What bans them being blurred

 

The common space makes the lightest push.

The comma makes a fun, playful jab.

The semicolon is strong; it’s a guttural ambush.

The colon parallels the worst: an esophagus stab.

 

Spaces as a separation

Punctuation ends every line.

Sound to silence’s starvation

Holds and pauses by its design

 

Bless the spaces and their ways,

Orthiswouldbeonelongphrase.

 
 
 
 

Alejandro Rincón '21

 
Liftoff
Julia Hoffman '20
Log Date: 8 01 04
Julie Chung '21

Brilliant sprinkles embellish the endless void. Each star sparkles with such zeal that I can’t help but stare at them for hours and hours. The immaculate beauty of space causes tears to spill from my eyes. I must push down this occasional swelling of emotion, for I do not have enough water to prevent the inevitable dehydration.

 

Here, nothing is in between anyone, not even any kind of medium to transmit sound or any gravity to pull each other apart. If you were here, it would be just you and me floating through empty space. I think that’s pretty romantic; after all, I was a decent poet back on Earth.

 

Although I have lost track of time, sitting alone in my spaceship, I hold onto my memories of the past by listening to the glitchy radio, which is the only human object establishing a tie between Earth and me. I repeat the same channel over and over again—a children’s show channel—and reminisce about the past.

 

It has been months, possibly even years, since I have felt any sort of human warmth or comfort. I am constantly drowned in terrible loneliness, but quite frankly speaking, it isn’t the worst-case scenario. At least through the windows of my ship, I can still bask in the wondrous scenery of the infinite beauty of the universe.

 

I just wish I could show this to you, I whisper to myself as I take snapshots of the nebulae with my eyes. I just wish you could be here with me. The radio crackles as I softly weep. 

T minus 20 minutes and counting.

         This is it. I’m off to see the stars. Years of wishing, months of preparation, all leading here. The shuttle windows make everything look so small. I can feel the restraints holding me to the acceleration couch, feel them even though the spacesuit should be thick enough to block sensation.

         I never truly said goodbye to anyone; I couldn’t find the words. I had so much to say that it all got stuck on the tip of my tongue and I never said a thing. I wish I had managed to tell everyone how much they meant to me. I’ve waited so long, and all I want to do is go back.

T minus nine minutes and holding.

         The radio buzzes to life. “Booster?”

         “We are go for launch.”

         “Retro?”

         “Go.”

         “Crew?”

         Part of me wants to say no, to run away. It would be so easy to just say the words. They’re so small, so simple. “No go,” and I go back home, back to my family. I could go back and say goodbye the right way.

         Outside the capsule, the first stars hang overhead, beckoning, set like jewels against a velvet twilight. Somewhere in my memory, my father stands with a little girl, finger outstretched to the sky.

         “Sirius,” he tells her.

         “Sirius,” she repeats.

         “Belatrix.”

         “Belatrix.”

         “Betelguese.”

         “Beetle-juice? Eww. That’s a gross name.”

         He laughs and scoops her up, swinging her in a wide circle before setting her back down on the dewy grass.

         “Someday,” he says. “Someday you’ll be the one finding stars, and then you can name them whatever you want.”

         I never got to say goodbye to him either. I stopped talking to him when I moved out, and I never got a chance to say all the things I meant to. And now he’s gone. I wonder what he would say if he knew I was here. What would he think of his daughter? I wish I had found the words to tell him goodbye, back when I still could. I wish I could have asked.

         “Crew?”

         Last chance. No turning back.

         “Go.”

T minus two minutes.

         Somehow the launchpad is smaller than it was at first. But the stars are brighter. My visor clicks down into place, extinguishing them, but I can still feel them calling.

T minus ten seconds and counting.

         I can almost feel the gravity disappearing. A dozen goodbyes spin in circles around my head, and I want to free them.

T minus five.

         Too late now. I can hear the engines start beneath me, shaking my thoughts to dust.

Four.

         Would dad be proud?

Three...

Two...

One...

Liftoff.

 
Starry
Krishnapriya Rajaram '21
 
You Gave Me the Sun
Grace Thompson '22

At first I loved space

It was silence 

It was calm

It was freedom

There was no anger or cruelty or darkness

Just space 

Just me and the universe.

 

I wasn’t sad or lonely

I didn’t try to suck anyone into my black hole

I was happy with just space

Because I finally had freedom

From subtle backstabbing

From cruel laughter

From that suffocating circle of faces

Now all I had was space

And that’s all I needed.

 

But then you came

All of you

And you gave me a window into something more

With you I saw glimpses of non-stop laughter 

And fierce loyalty 

And true smiles

You all reminded me of the sunlight good people can bring.

 

At first I tried to ignore it

To let that light float far in space and ignore its warm glow

Because I was scared that it would burn me like it had before

But the minute I was in the dark again

It became cold

And scary

And lonely.

 

I became lonely

So, for now I’m done with space

Because for now all I want is to sit in the sunlight

all of you bring into my life

So this is my official thank you

To all of you

For giving me back the sun.

Maggie Sanderson '22

Exotic lights wink and cry

Twinkling and shimmering

With mischief, hope, and delight

Bowing to the Queen of the sky

 

Each is a hasty, glowing gem

Stitched to the inky cloth

Its threads loosen and tear 

So it may easily fall off

 

Or be swallowed in the folds

Stolen from our greedy, grasping 

Hands that crave that alien gold

Or adventuring the unknown

 

The distance to fame: both expensive

And rare. But the gap, the space

Closes, and each day

We grow more aware

 

Metals of precious varieties

Untouched and undiscovered 

The riches of a place

Barely kissed by life, we uncover

 

A world, a universe

So immense

Brimming with mystery 

An ocean with deeper depths

Than ours

A space with grand beauty

And power

It is accentuated by those stars

 
 
The Space Above
Serena Kim '23

It is a mesmerizing moment when you tilt your head up to see the glistening stars moving in the night sky. The number of stars seems to be infinite; your head gets dizzy trying to capture all the stars and hold them in your memory. The day that has been seems a frantic blur of car beeps, alarms, and human interactions. Now you are swallowed by the serenity of the beautiful night sky. In this moment, I ask, “What is going on in space?”

 

Crazy things are happening at this moment. Stars are colliding, a planet has exploded, and a meteorite bigger than the sun just got sucked into a black hole the size of an orange. Compared to these intergalactic events, everything that happens to us humans seems minute and negligible.

 

But that isn’t the point. No matter what goes on up there, we still go on as if nothing has happened. Even if a star explodes above us, we still go to work or to school. Even if an asteroid destroys a whole galaxy, we still eat dinner as if nothing has changed.

 

I think it is important sometimes to keep our space from space and sink back into our own little lives. 

 

Janus Yuen '21

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