A Green Sweater

by Taylor Rogers '24
Portfolio Co-Editor


Christmas


a green sweater
photo creds: pexels

I pull my knit sweater over my head, 

The soft green fabric kissing my skin,

Simultaneously tugging at my curls,

Peering over my shoulders curiously as I debate: jeans or leggings?

My sweater embraces me, 

Gently reminding me of rainy days,

Days Dad and I would sit indoors, 

Eyes eagerly scanning a puzzle as we tried to pick up the pieces,

Putting together our incomplete picture, 

One we can’t resolve no matter how hard we try.

The vivid green is equivalent to my mother’s eyes,

Eyes that always held love for me despite a tongue that failed to do the same,

Invoking matches that were burnt against cigarettes,

Igniting flames that often caused more damage when they were put out.

Tainted tear drops still stain the sweater’s inseam, 

Ensuring the memory of her is never eased,

As my first heartbreak forced me to turn to my item of comfort,

Questions and confusion being whispered into the sleeve’s arm,

As I wondered why I wasn’t good enough for love.

Perfume that fails to go away after fifty washes still makes me shiver,

As simple times with shining sunrises run through my brain, 

The beach’s natural scent a consistency,

No matter the distance I travel from her sands,

Her lands of golden seashells and mysterious pearls. 

My alarm snaps me back to reality,

So I slide on my jeans and Vans,

Which fail to offer the love of my sweater.

Yet I still wear them,

Allowing them to embrace my skin,

As I go out and make a new memory in this attire.

Curiosity and The Family Cat

by Fiona Clarke '23
Portfolio Staff


Poetry


a black cat
photo creds: pixabay

At home you and I make the coffee without caffeine,

For the heart murmurers who gather in another room,

While jostling predispositions in hallways wait their turns to be heard.

We save the coffee grounds and the broken eggshells

For the soil of the vines and bleeding-hearts and thyme

That make clear our hearts and lungs and fill our eyes

With loss-impossible oxygen.

And so, surreal and serious, I smoke no more, and speak much less,

And yet these days, I take comfort

When I hear the rain fall like knuckles cracking,

And I look up to a sky that has grit its teeth,

Prepared to rain its blows upon me,

But cracks a love-worn smile.

And all dear and delirious, we dare to lay it bare:

“O brother, where art thou bleeding from?”

“A horizontal smile and a vertical touch—”

“Son, my children are gathering precious stones and metals,

And getting blood and dirt on their hands—”

“Daughter, I am fool’s proof and wise man’s wonderings—”

Say that the house is half empty—your son has died.

Say that the house is half full—

Christ is going up to heaven.

To Friends of the Past

by Mariela Flores '23
Portfolio Staff


Poetry


two children hugging
photo creds: pixabay

You were so special. Like a beam of something good sitting next to me in every classroom, every space, every inch of the world as if we owned the air that we breathed in. 

You were so good to me. With words that wrapped me up warmly, just like a hug. With belly laughter that only you knew the sound of. With talking about futures neither of us knew how we would get a hold of––I sit here somewhere that feels too much like the past, waiting to know if you are close to your future. I hope you are well. 

I hate mourning you while you are still alive, living a life I thought I’d be a part of. I hate watching you grow from afar––I try to reach into the pixels and write something good, something clever, algo bonito. It doesn’t matter anymore. I know that. 

I’m not angry, I’m not even sad, you’ve let time fill that wound with new laughs, new people, new warmth, new futures, new stories. Still, I miss you. 

I wish you would have let me know it was the end of us. The end of catch ups in between brand new classes, brand new people, brand new lives. 

But you will fade into my memory, like a dream you wake up from after a deep sleep. You will fade like the friends before you and the ones who’ve come after. 

I think of you now and then, you’re like an echo in the air, you’re only with me briefly. 

I just hope you are well. I miss you, and I just hope you are well. 

Augustus

by Caitlin Bartley '24
Portfolio Staff


Poetry


two greek gods
photo creds: pixabay

I worship you on a golden altar of daylight,
knees sinking into sand where I sit in supplication,
flaunting you unabashedly with my flushed cheeks
and freckled chest, wearing you like a cross.
You spoil me seductively,
appeasing my appetites with your alms
of apricots and aperol,
arousing my desire with the amorous caress
of your balmy evening air,
awakening my spirit in your seas
of salt and sin.
I would sacrifice the seasons to slave away
under your sun, yet you abandon me unapologetically
once the summer month is done.

Labels

by Taylor Rogers '24
Portfolio Co-Editor


Poetry


a picture of  a clothing label
photo creds: pixabay

An obnoxious yellow tag stands out on my black bathing suit,
The neon color disgusting me when I discover it;
My nails dig into the dirty label,
Trying but failing to rip it off,
As it stubbornly sticks to the dark suit.

Finally, I shed this label,
Yet I still feel the judging stares of others.
My bathing suit is clear of tags,
But not free from scrutiny,
As looks of disgust are continuously thrown my way.

Despite changing out of the sticky swimsuit,
Eyes still dig through my back,
Rendering my baby blue coverup pointless,
As their stares leave me naked,
Exposed to humanity’s harsh gaze.

Glancing in my mirror,
I try to find the answers to their stares.
Why do people keep staring at me?
I wonder, not noticing the bright label on my forehead,
Begging people to keep showering me with attention.

Hungry Pantoum  

by trogers5


Poetry


skeleton
photo creds: pixabay

Mariela Flores ’23  

 ***TRIGGER WARNING: EATING DISORDER***

I empty myself out.  

While the world concaves around me I center myself. 

Scrapping what is left of me until I feel nothing–– 

moving inside of me.  

 

I center myself in the feeling,  

of sharp bones that rip through my skin.  

Nothing moves inside of me, 

only the echoes of a rumble I cannot hold.  

 

Sharp bones rip through my dull skin,  

I wear them like trophies proving I was good. 

I want to muffle the echoing rumbles,  

but my hands tire from digging deep inside myself.  

 

I want them to see that I was good.  

Their praise is enough for me to stay–– 

My hands are tired from digging inside myself again.  

My skin is cracking from the force of myself again.  

 

Their praise enough for me to stay this way.  

Even with nothing moving inside of me.  

Even with cracked skin itching red from my choices.  

I empty myself out again, and again.  

 

I empty myself out.  

While the world concaves around me I center myself. 

Scrapping what is left of me until I feel nothing–– 

moving inside of me.  

 

I center myself in the feeling,  

of sharp bones that rip through my skin.  

Nothing moves inside of me, 

only the echoes of a rumble I cannot hold.  

 

Sharp bones rip through my dull skin,  

I wear them like trophies proving I was good. 

I want to muffle the echoing rumbles,  

but my hands tire from digging deep inside myself.  

 

I want them to see that I was good.  

Their praise is enough for me to stay–– 

My hands are tired from digging inside myself again.  

My skin is cracking from the force of myself again.  

 

Their praise is enough for me to stay this way.  

Even with nothing moving inside of me.  

Even with cracked skin itching red by my choices.  

I empty myself out again, and again. 

Performative Activism Sucks Ass

by trogers5


Poetry


woman holding a sign in protest
photo creds: pixabay

Taylor Rogers ’24

 

Performativity’s persuasive lies pour out of your pale mouth, 

Claims that are far from true stretching out your already thin lips.

The more you speak, the more my stomach resembles a worn-out washing machine, 

Churning your chilling words and soiling already clean clothes. 

 

Each second feels like days as you speak,

Continuing to weave your white web filled with white lies,

Encouraging wrongful interpretations of a movement you know nothing about. 

Despite never wearing my hole-filled Converse,

You preach that your journey and mine have been the same, 

Spreading your hateful light that constantly dims my own. 

 

You turn a movement that was meant to be colorful into one that highlights a sinister white, 

Speaking to an experience you have never actually lived. 

While your aim is to teach, what you do is far from effective, 

As you erase the stories that need to be told with your made-up fantasies of being a savior.

Short and Sweet Valentine’s Day Stories

by The Cowl Editor


Features


pastel orange heart

Even if you don’t have a Valentine today,

You’ll have half-priced candy tomorrow.

Sarah McLaughlin ’23

 

Are you a bank loan?

Because you have my interest.

Kate Ward ’23

 

Forever thanks to my very best friend for all of our memories!
Without you, I wouldn’t know the very best of me.

Marelle Hipolito ’22

 

I remember our first kiss like this: it was in your car, the feeling of youth clung to our hearts as we snuck out of our homes just to see each other.

I remember every kiss since then like this: sometimes in your car, in your home, or in mine—our hearts still beating to the rhythm of youth years later.

Mariela Flores ’23

 

I was in love once.

His name was naptime.

Aidan Lerner ’22

 

Once love was a sinner, and I the loser,

But now this beggar has become a chooser.

Fiona Clarke ’23

How to Write a Love Poem

by trogers5


Poetry


candles in a line
photo creds: pexels

AJ Worsley ’22 

 

Light a candle, admit your flaws, set the tone. 

Don’t let the process turn your heart to stone. 

 

Find warmth in lost love, but always try to keep it in your sight. 

The best love poems are written after the love has gone to light. 

 

Compare your lover to a flower, delicate and beautiful.

Nature’s divinity couldn’t compare to what we have. 

 

Sing a proper country song in a thick Western accent,

Skip around the town, each step its own cloud. 

 

Think in terms of pink and red, anatomically incorrect hearts, 

Cupid’s bow never turns arrows to darts. 

 

The most important step to writing a love poem is this:

Know that love exists beyond everything. 

 

Love exists for the memory foam pillow you rest your head on after a long day of tiring work. 

 

Love exists for the trees you pass on your daily commute, each vein designed to satisfy such rich fruit. 

 

Love exists for the people who make life a bit easier,

A lighthouse in the distance, they bring your mind back to its body. 

 

Love heals and often feels like rehabilitation, 

Like a dove set free from its cage, love is liberation. 

 

A Moment by the Sun. / The Arrival of the Moon

by The Cowl Editor


Portfolio


a sun and a moon
photo creds- pexels

Max Gilman ’25

 

When presented with an idea, 

One is intrigued to oppose, 

If they have knowledge 

In a field so similar

To that of which is being argued, 

Because

One yearns an ear, 

To lean to with words 

That accumulate

And become known as

The seeking of validation.

So, 

When presented with a new idea, 

Accept it, 

At first, 

And try

Understanding,

Instead of

Seeking

Such validation. 

 

There she woke up, 

Upon a bed of orange sand, 

To become the observer of an endless sunset, 

Confronted with an infinite horizon. 

 

Around her lay remains, 

Which a scholar could barely interpret.

The rumble grounded itself, 

With the sand below its structure.

 

In the moment she sat there, 

In the shifting sand, 

She felt as if time had given her a break, 

For at least the moment, 

To witness such a miraculous sunset,  

A beauty to withhold from no man.

She felt a breeze come from below her.

The breeze threw small rocks

 

Toward the sitting girl, 

Implanting themselves along her hair.

She left the rocks, though, 

A conscious decision, 

And began standing up.

She knew not why she was here, 

In this desert-like place, 

Surrounded by the empty infrastructures, 

Obtruding about the moving ground, 

Or why the sun was departing from the sky so hesitantly, 

But she admired it there.

As the heat had begun to withdraw

From the barren landing, 

Another breeze lifted the girl’s hair, 

And she thought of its comfort.

Curiosity intrigued the girl,  

Yet she remained

By the spot where she had awaken, 

To witness a splendid picture, 

Emanating art

For art’s sake.

 

***

 

Precious sleep… 

Perusing… 

 

Shocking cold grasp. 

Like the feeling of ice water exposed, 

To warm skin. 

Uncomfortably frigid sand, 

Shifting with her moving arm.

Her mind, 

Ablaze with thought, 

 

A frightening light 

Above, 

 

A spotlight? 

No. 

 

The moon

Has arrived. 

Like an entity of vast, colossal size, 

The moon tore through the air, 

Perching above the world below, 

Looking down in a grim attitude, 

Shedding little light

Around the barren sand

And protruding buildings.

One could say the moon took on a sinister tone

That night, 

As it collected all of itself

Into one cohesive, spherical, godly planet, 

Towering above all those residing

On the puny land

The moon so grimly overlooked.

 

Then night… 

 

Begins to overtake the girl, 

As she begins to confront her confusion.

 

Sand. 

 

Desert, 

I am in the desert,  

I watched the sun set, 

I must have fallen 

 

Asleep. 

 

Then

She reaches to her left arm

To now confront the stagnant grip there.

 

Who could 

It be 

Holding my arm  

Who  

Came here 

Now? 

 

The girl kicks the blind spot behind her, 

Shifting the sand quickly.

As her body twists

To face the unknown peruser, 

Her heart

Beats

Fast,

Beating

Faster, 

Beating 

Until

 

No one. 

 

An empty painting

 

Of a desert at night,

 

In a museum.

 

The girl shrieks, 

Holding her head tight

Between two hands, 

Pushing

The wrinkles on her face

Too close 

Together.

 

Hair

And sand

Don’t mix well, 

But the girl has already begun

Pulling her hair out, 

Spastically dispersing it around her, 

Blankly

Staring at you, 

The viewer, 

Emotionless.

 

She keeps pulling, 

It keeps coming out.

 

It comes out like string, 

Loose string, 

As her eyes stare deep and long

Into your eyes, 

The viewers eyes, 

Her eyes,

A midnight black, 

Your eyes.

She knows you watch her with them, 

She knows she is just a character, 

Just a character, 

For your amusement,

You, 

The viewer.

She knows she is here, 

In this piece,  

Stagnant and without purpose, 

But to tell the story, 

Laid out before her.

 

She knows you watch her, 

She knows she is just a character

 

In a poem, 

In a desert, 

In a painting, 

In a museum, 

 

In a cage, 

In a cage. 

 

But  

She’s happy, 

Right? 

In a cage.

 

Did you not read the beginning of this piece? 

She seemed happy, 

In a cage.

I thought she seemed happy, 

In a cage.

 

Join her, 

By leaving your eyes in their rightful sockets, 

Or dare to relinquish this poem’s entertainment, 

Leaving it

Solely to tear your eyes out.