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Fall/Winter 2022-2023 

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Madi Melville

Waking Up

by anonymous 

the darkness breaks 

the doves  will sing

the sunlight flakes

the morning stings


the doves will sing 

the warmth will cease

the morning stings

through the blanket’s crease


the warmth will cease

the rushing shock

through the blankets crease

the ticking clock


the calming sky

the sunlight flakes

wind blowing by

the darkness breaks

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by Bee Jacobs


I wanted to be your mirror

I wanted you to look down and see your 

Brown eyes

Long hair


And smile

like clay I fit your mold

With no ones hand pushing me but my own

I see now that this isn't a good copy

It's not even a dance

I will advance beside you

But no longer as a reflecting pool of water

With shimmering glimpses of your tree

Stretching up

Rather as a bending tossing weeping willow

Following oak and horse chestnut

In their path up to the sky


Together we have strong trunks

Strong limbs and

We grow together

But I swish

And they bloom

And she rounds

And such is the beauty

Of a circle of trees 

moving through the wind

Waving together 


always reaching

5 a.m

by anonymous


A thumbprint sun bruises the horizon

Bleeding out sharp echoes of its brightness

I try to grasp onto it

Fingers stretched wide and hungry

But I’m bound to this dry soul

Tethered to this leather bound body

The day is arriving along with my shadow

And it traces the concrete behind me with its dirty darkness

I’m crying because the future is here

And I’m crying because the present never really existed

I’m only a memory as the rain falls through me*

*inspired by Eduardo C. Corral’s Acquired Immune Defiency Syndrome

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Surface Tension
Fiona Huang

You Are Forever 

by anonymous


My family believes that people die three times

First when their body dies 

Twice when their body is buried into the ground 

And Third when nobody is left to remember them.

You died twice but you will never die a third time 

Because I believe you are the world and everything in it 

And generations and generations and generations 

Forever love and will love the world and in turn love you.


You are the great trees that surround me, warmly hugging me

You are the leaves that fall from the trees

And the gust of wind that blows them into the air and onto me 

You are the yarn I knit with 

The blanket that keeps me warm 

The moonlight that scatters across my room putting me to sleep

And the tears that roll down my cheek when I miss you.

You are the owl I hear at night  

The blue birds that sing in the trees 

The Koi fish in your pond 

And the flamingo in the Pittsburgh Aviary that we named after you

You are alive in the world that surrounds me 

And I believe that you will only die when the world does.

Ode to My Father

by Z Kelly-Montgomery


There's a land that I see where the children are free…

to be you and me.

You’ll never get to meet me

as I am,

slimy teeth, growing pains, bright lights 

in my eyes.

I see you,

not as cracked rough hands,

rotting teeth, preventing you from sharing a smile.

But as the divot in your arm, where the muscle used to grow

It is faded, as you haven't picked yourself up in a while

You always wanted a land to a shining sea

Truth is,

I've always been afraid of the ocean


Every boy in this land grows to be his own man

In this land, every girl grows to be her own woman.

You'll never be your own man

or mine

and although I might once be a woman, 

I will not be my own

nor yours


You said you saw a land bright and clear.

I only saw the times comin’ near,

and the dusty broken microwave

as I trip down the stairs

I want to listen when you say take my hand,

when you say take my hand

and we’ll run


But legs of dust can’t run

Neither can legs that have been broken

and haphazardly glued back together

perhaps with stucco

or with spit.

Tobacco tainted, forcing itself out of your mouth.

How long until you are nothing but picture frames and birthday cards?

I wonder if you may be happier, in a land where the children are free.

Do you have late night talks with them? At the diner at the end of the street?

Do you tell them stories you never once believed in?

Do you sell their books and take their tooth fairy money?

I bet you do. 


Think of me when you see a shining sea

And remember how afraid I would be to jump in.

“Accepting the Evanescence of Life”

A note to Yamanoue no Okura

by Beatrice Stefan 


As wrinkles embed 

settling into skin

once pure as silk

One begins to reflect;

Does curiosity increase with time?

And does time shapeshift,

twisting itself into folds and shoving itself into crevices where it does not belong, 

forcing itself into the deepest cracks of conscience? 


Do not dwell;

allow your worries to flow downstream

following the steady, relentless current -  

the one you speak so anxiously of.

Allow it to wash your worries away, 

for we are the same. 



time will not wait;

nor can we expect it to,

nor can we keep up. 

Running alongside, 


are joy, sorrow, ecstasy, and despair -  

the same we all come to know. 


Unlike us, 

they will forever keep up, 

maintaining a thoughtful distance

until the very end. 



As time is fleeting,

embrace your incoming fate 

the same as those before you. 

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Fiona Huang


by anonymous


love, like a poplar tree, is ash-etched 

bejeweled by a vitality teetering on the edge 

and phantom when shrouded in early morning 


it's in my arms like icarus 

without half the self-assurance

and with all the flickering future memories of falling


you, in my arms like the sun 

with many times more the weight 

fawn to frozen melody, thawed and dying 


perennial night now leaving me fleshed out and away

your hands no longer holding me down to earth 

and I float too far off for my own comfort


love is the music, thawed and thriving 

of a birdsong leaving beak leaving tree leaving sweet

until you leaving leaves me loveless


real phantom ash now floats from my fingertips

half my soul gone with a bitter bark and birdcall to below 

and I chase the dust with desperation 


I loved you when you were in my fellow fingertips 

tracing a reflection of yourself into my collarbones

your touch, weight and daylight and yesterday


we danced to the bread and beer and chipping marriage bed

and I pack up that liveliness

and chase you down with desperation and a basket 


to be without is to not be

so I’ll trick those who tricked me 

into thinking our marriage bed would give out long before us 


and I trick those who tricked me

into thinking I would only live to love you in health 

with daylight song from a golden lyre with your name on it


and I will be again, with you again 

fond and warm and eating day old bread under canopy 

and I think of daylight to not look back 


poets envy you following me 

and I envy a spectator to our great tragedy 

they would find it easy to not look back


think to daylight and fingerprints pressing into dirt 

linens and cheeks to follow and take root

and trick myself into hearing your voice 

to not look back

compiled and edited by Tallulah Stallvik, Editor, and the rest of the Vault staff <3 

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