For Growing up in Rain

by Max Gilman '25 on December 6, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


a raincloud
photo creds: pexels

For grinded-teeth car rides; For growing up. 

For being beaten into pavement; To prove a point. 

For oily cat piss stains beneath the bed; For abandonment. 

For coins and green paper; To live in a shadow. 

For low-tide seas; For a shiny shell that breaks in a year. 


Litter lent my nose the scent nostalgia 

The other day and I refuse to see it pass, 

But cometh the wind— 

Cometh change, 

Immortal is the fleeting day. 


For weathered forehead scars; For fathers. 

For ibuprofen bottles; To kill an ache. 

For peeled orange slices; For open skies. 

For confined education; To warp a nation. 

For teaching gender; For control. 


For suns that set orange, on shady beach sides 

For love beneath umbrellas, that fades, but never dies. 


by The Cowl Editor on December 6, 2022


 Things To Do To Make Yourself Feel Accomplished (Besides Running A Marathon)

  • Submitting an essay 
  • Crossing things off a to-do list
  • Sticking to a New Year’s Resolution 
  • Hitting 10K steps every day 
  • Making your bed in the morning 
  • Finishing a water bottle 
  • Getting out of bed 
  • Showering 
  • Getting an interview/job offer
  • Actually showing up to your classes 
  • Doing something creative 
  • Doing well on a test you thought you failed

Up the tree

by Connor Rohan '24 on December 6, 2022
Portfolio Staff


photo creds: pixabay

Up the tree, down the tree. Up the tree, down the tree. Freeze. There are eyes on me. If I don’t move, then I won’t be in danger. Up the tree…where’s the food? Shit, I don’t have any food. That’s not good. Down the tree again, and across the yard. There’s gotta be food somewhere. I was sure I had some, but I don’t know where it went. Keep crossing the yard. Freeze. What’s that noise? It’s loud. The large, roaring monster consuming the grass before me. It hasn’t seen me yet. I’m still safe. Crap, it’s looking at me. Run away. The little versions of those monsters chase me. Try to catch me to touch me, put their weird looking sausage mandibles all over my body. They call to me in words I don’t understand. I just stare back at them. They do realize I don’t speak their language, right? No matter how high pitched their voices get, I cannot understand them, unlike that tiny hairy beast that yells at me constantly, telling me to get the hell out and that it’s his home and that he’ll kill me. He says it so positively, yet his words are filled with malice. Where’s the food? The monsters are inside but thankfully they did something right and left a huge container of food outside. Seems like kind of a waste, but I’m not complaining. The smells mesh together to form something not very pleasant, but hey, food is food. Take the food, go back across the yard, and up the tree. I’m now safe in my home.

Caitlin and I: An Imitation of “Borges and I” by Jorge Luis Borges

by Caitlin Bartley '24 on December 6, 2022
Portfolio Staff


a slouching stick figure
photo creds: pixabay

TW: Eating Disorder, Bulimia 

I resent Caitlin for her name. It means pure, from the Gaelic, and she wears it like her Catholic school uniform. Tights, white collared polo, and a pleated skirt. I hate that skirt; the way Caitlin rolls it so that she doesn’t look like a prude but keeps it right above the knee so that she doesn’t look like a slut. I don’t believe in organized religion, but I find my body in a church when Caitlin decides, reciting random words until they sound like the gibberish of prayer.

I pick my cuticles until my skin rips and wear my hair in frizzy braids while Caitlin paints her nails in a French manicure and spends too much money on a haircut. She speaks to give correct answers and affirmations while my thoughts are held captive behind her lips, firmly pressed together, making them thin and pale. If I were to purge my opinions, would it feel just like the first time Caitlin tried to purge her dinner, a slight burning in the throat followed by short-lived satisfaction? See, she doesn’t always have control over my impulses. Our impulses. One day, I will slowly erode her from the inside out. There’s no reality in which purity exists, Caitlin.

The honey-colored highlights she got at seventeen have finally grown out. “Nothing gold can stay.” I read her that poem when she went to college and got a C in chemistry, no longer the honors student that Mommy likes to brag about. Her hair is darker now and some days it falls out in clumps in the shower, clogging the drain. She goes to sleep with it wet and cold on her pillow and doesn’t run a brush through it in the morning. She stops using her name.

Tiff and Earl

by The Cowl Editor on December 6, 2022


Hey Tiff and Earl!

As much as I love my family, I’m really nervous to go home for Thanksgiving. My family is going to ask me a ton of questions about everything, and I really don’t know what I want to do with my future/life. Any advice to help me feel a little better?


Quarter Life Crisis Victim

Hey QLCV, 

As cliché as this sounds, you still have plenty of time to think about what you want to do. People change their careers all the time, whether they’re 20 or 50! If you want to ease your family’s worries, you can always tell them you’re considering a few options like grad school or working after you finish your degree. Everyone’s path is different, and I’m sure you’ll find your niche eventually!

Best of Luck!


image of earl

Dear Victim,

My deepest sympathies, but it’s time to make up the lie of your life. Say you want to be a snake charmer in the CIA; say you’re the real Jerry Seinfield; say you want to donate all your organs and have porcine substitutes installed. Whatever it is, stick with it until everyone believes you. It’ll blow up in your face eventually, but that’s another Thanksgiving’s problem.


Sweet turkey dreams,


image of tiff


by Max Gilman '25 on November 3, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


a shovel and a pitchfork
photo creds: pixabay

Content warning: graphic violence 

A shovel exuding the earth,

Harking clouds, splattered in red–

Judging which lays beneath dirt,

God fearing pillar to man,

Searing skies with treacherous stares,

Branded children sway to a hurricane’s wind,

Barely fogging outlines of a justice driven structure.

Eventually the skies may clear,

My grandmother told me,

In an age far gone to most,

We won’t believe our eyes,

The day reality fades to fable…

The man had grown in age,

Of gray hair and monotone stance.

His life was theirs,

A man of faith,

A collar and ten charity bucks brimming back pocket,

Wheat fields ran like an old airplane strip,

Stretching to flatten the world,

Through trees-pine-green and a bit cold.

The man was weary toward the town nowadays,

He knew them sinners,

He knew them cold-like night air,

Brittle with secrets snakily steaming,

Confession occurred almost daily,



He heard how affairs were held,

From wives,


Wives would come in fearing

The distance growing in their marriage


The priest went home to contemplate

The state of his town,

The state of his people,

The sinners,

One day while conferring with a teen,

The priest’s judgment overtook logic,

Fuming at the child’s misdoings—

“A stolen Chevrolet truck and an old dude he barely left

Breathing, after whacking him several times with a brick,”


“I am to forgive this devil?”

Thought the captious collared man,

So, insisted a visit to his woodsy abode,

Deep in forest by the town’s border,

Next to the pond that freezes around November,

There, the collared man gripped his shovel,

A divine right rushed through his veins—

“There is more penance in helping your neighbor than merely speaking a few words.”

So he told the lad,

“Help me dig out this weird root back here-“

A concerned mask stretched the length of the boy’s face,

Though he trusted the pastor,

His parents knew him and he was nice,

Then like a predatory instinct,

The pastor flung a shovel far into the boy’s skull,

Before the two reached the door,

Impaling and spilling red,

And spilling,

And spilling.


The clean up was the grueling part.

“Ten Hail Marys and an Our Father. Oh, and go apologize to that man, if you do end up seeing him again.”

Then the teen left the confession booth,

And the collared man sat uneasy,

Tainted like the sinner,

Dissatisfied, haunted by an acidic thought,

To be the sinner,

To be like “them.”

Return to Sender 

by Anna Pomeroy '23 on November 3, 2022
Portfolio Staff


a letter with flowers on it
photo creds: pixabay

I found an envelope today. 

It was pretty bent out of shape. 

The stamps collected on top of one another, 

Adding a raised texture to the paper’s surface. 

The penciled-in cursive has faded over the years,

And there are small tears bordering the edges. 

Unopened, its surface has aged incredibly 

But the words sealed inside are still fresh. 

Someone wrote that letter with intention…

That intention, I may never know— 

But someone should have. 

The words that were sprawled on that piece of paper 

Attained emotion, 

Emotion that will never reach the receiving end. 

I should’ve opened it. 

It makes me wonder what it could’ve been.

A love letter, a friend reaching out, penpals globally distanced, 

Or condolences. 

While I may never know, just like the addressed won’t either, 

I think it’s nice to dream up a story.

Relationships BLOW

by Taylor Maguire '24 on November 3, 2022
Portfolio Staff

Creative Non-Fiction

woman erasing a man from her life
photo creds: pixabay

I once read a poem where the author described her heart as a monster that sat perched at the end of her bed, waiting to be torn to shreds by the hands of compassion. I see my own heart in the same way; something that craves to feel desperately loved, but instead bites the hands of those who dare feed it. I once dated someone who I wasn’t truly in love with for nine months. Sure, on paper they were attractive, even had a swarm of admirers kissing the floor they walked on. They paid for dinners, stuffed me up with validation for dessert. Kissed my face gently and told me they loved me, told me how beautiful I was.

But we didn’t have much in common besides the idle fact that we were incredibly lonely. Eventually, the curtains were pulled back, and over time it was revealed that they had a cold heart, an appetite for belittling, and a wishy-washy temper. I ignored how they would say the most vulgar things about their friends, only to leave at the drop of the hat to attend to them. I ignored how they’d tell me all the mean things their roommates would whisper about me in the dark. I ignored how they could never make me laugh in the same way my own friends did. I ignored the comments of the people closest to me when they’d warned how they thought the relationship was toxic. I ignored how miserable I was towards the end. I ignored it all, because I savored the warmth of their arms at night, believing it could save me from the demons that lurked in the cold winter mornings. But eventually being with them hurt more than without, so I amputated the infected limb the relationship became and moved on. Kissed other frogs. Dyed my hair. Bought a Halloween costume that showed a lot of skin. I often wonder why I pursued the relationship, why I stayed. The breakup wasn’t even this emotional Romeo-Juliet tragedy. It just became a norm within my life, like a little scar easily hidden by a CVS band-aid.

For now, I’ve shelved romance  between my old love for gymnastics and dusty childhood stuffed animals. It now lives amongst the other interests I’ve come to abandon from adolescence. I find myself full of the breadcrumbs of love in little things. I love Phoebe Bridgers because she writes songs about hating her father. I love art. I love Evan Peters because he’s hot. I love the show Fleabag. And I love my friends, even when we argue over dirty dishes. I still see my heart waiting, but now it lies cozy at the foot of my bed. It sleeps like a recently sober addict, no longer chasing after its next fix. Every once in a while it stirs from nightmares about the thing it used to crave so strongly, but it’s no longer starving for attention at the price of cruelty.

Tiff and Earl

by The Cowl Editor on November 3, 2022


Hey Tiff and Earl,

My girlfriend sent me the song High Infidelity from Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights (3am edition)telling me to listen to the lyrics carefully. I have done as she said, and still cannot figure out what my girlfriend is trying to tell me. All advice would be appreciated!


Not A Swiftie

Hey Anti-Swiftie, 

I just listened to the song just for you, and I think your girlfriend might be cheating on you, bro. If I was you, I would cut her and her poor music taste out of your life and cheat right back on her with a hotter girl. Make your fellow city boys proud. 

Best of luck, 


image of earl

Dear NAS,

I won’t beat around the bush: sounds like your girlfriend had an affair with Taylor Swift. Tough cookies!



image of tiff


by The Cowl Editor on November 3, 2022


 Some Alternative Locations for SRW 

  • Twin River Casino
  • McPhail’s 
  • The tents outside of Slavin
  • Suites Lawn 
  • Ray Treacy Track 
  • Fennell Hall
  • The Smith Center’s stage
  • The Fennell tunnels 
  • The Dunk 
  • The fourth floor of Harkins
  • The “deep quiet” section of the library