The Time Capsule

by Elizabeth McGinn on March 18, 2021


hand holding a piece of paper
Graphic design by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

It came too soon. Every year, it came too soon. It caused a sense of anxiety in the hallways. It lingered in every conversation. It was hard to avoid, but also a necessity we all knew we needed to keep. A tradition to help our future. Our children.

“Don’t look so worried, Lozzie,” Jack said and kissed my forehead. He smiled, as always, keeping that upbeat attitude alive during this weary time. “It’s our last year. What are the odds it could be one of us? Or anyone we know for that matter?”

The chances were one in five hundred, actually, but I wasn’t going to remind him of that, so I nodded instead. I slipped my hand into his and we began our walk down the school hall. “I just don’t know what I would ever do if they called your name.”

“You don’t ever have to fear that. It’s me and you versus the world. God knows I couldn’t do this life thing without you.” He winked at me, and for a second I was able to let the worries slip away.

The school was decorated for the big event. Glitter covered the floors, gold and silver balloons floated at the ceiling, and white streamers ran above our lockers. The school did its best to make the event seem livelier. A day for celebration, but it was hard to view it as that each year.

Our friends were most likely already waiting for us in the auditorium. Penny and Liam were never worried. They saw it as just another day for them, but an unfortunate day for one poor soul. I tried to ask Penny how she really felt about it. It always seemed like Liam forced her to see it as a minuscule thing. He reassured her, just as Jack did with me, but Liam acted as if it was ridiculous for anyone to see it as a real threat. Penny wasn’t like that, though. Before they started dating, she worried about it each year, too. We would make pacts about what would happen if either of us were chosen. But I hadn’t heard her mention our pacts in over two years now. It was good that this was our last year, then.

“Happy Capsule Day!” One kid shouted behind us. A bunch of boys joined in with cheers. I noticed Jack crack a smile

The pit in my stomach grew.

“Lighten up,” Jack said. We turned the corridor into the auditorium, and suddenly I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. “Lozzie, seriously.” Jack stopped walking. Around us, kids murmured curses, annoyed we stopped in the middle of the entrance. People were anxious to get into the room, anxious to get the day over with.

“Take a deep breath,” Jack instructed and held on to my other hand as well. Together, we took a few deep breaths staring at one another. For the moment, my heartrate calmed again, and the shaking stopped. I knew he was right that our chances of being chosen were low, but they weren’t nonexistent. There was still that tiny chance—that point two percent chance.

“Ready?” Jack asked. I nodded and he smiled. “Good. Penny and Liam already saved us seats up front.” He pecked my cheek and guided us down the aisle. The room was almost full; nervous chit chat filled the air.

“Look who finally decided to show up!” Liam shouted as we joined them in the aisle. We were in the third row, too close to the stage for my liking. Liam and Jack high fived one another, and I offered Penny a smile.

“Exciting day, huh?” Penny chuckled, but I could see past the laugh. She was tense. We all were.

“I’m just happy it’s our last year,” I said.

Static noise interrupted the chatter. Our attention turned to the stage where Mrs. Gallagher stood at the podium. She smiled, and my skin crawled. “Happy Capsule Day, everyone!” Her voice echoed in the silent room. Next to me, Jack cleared his throat.

“Each year, we are honored that you join us in giving the future a better insight into what life is like today.” Mrs. Gallagher paused and let her words sink in. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It wasn’t like we had much of a choice in participating. Everyone who attended Grove High knew about the tradition. The community thought it was all too important for our future generations to have the best artifacts to learn from.

“The yearbook has already been placed into the capsule, along with the wonderful journal entries you each wrote to reflect on a normal day here in Grove.”

Liam snickered, “I submitted a blank page.” Jack cracked a smile too, but I only shook my head. It wasn’t funny what he was doing. He was ruining the very system that our school and community thrived off of.

“And so, without further ado, we select a name for the lucky participant that will be buried with the capsule tonight.” Mrs. Gallagher walked to the computer on the side of the stage. Behind her, a projector lowered. I sucked in my breath. I pitied whoever’s name appeared on that screen.

Jack grabbed my hand, and I began to breathe again. He was always able to bring me back from my anxieties. I knew he had a point. It was very unlikely any of us four would be chosen, but I still worried each year. At least after this, we wouldn’t have to worry for a while, not until our children were in high school.

“Good luck to you all,” Mrs. Gallagher shouted from the computer and then she pressed a button on the computer to generate a name. My stomach knotted and I held on tighter to Jack. Penny released a deep breath next to him. The seconds ticked on, and the name appeared.

Lozzie Cornwell.

Jack dropped my hand immediately, and before I could process another thing, security surrounded me.


Urban Legends

by The Cowl Editor on October 29, 2020


A Real Deal

By Ellie Forster ’24

“It’ll save you a fortune,” the man with different colored eyes said as he snapped his gum. She looked skeptically at the small green capsule in her palm.

“Why haven’t I heard of it before?” she asked.

“I’m glad you asked darlin’! The big oil companies don’t want you to know about these bad boys on account of how they’re gonna steal all of their business. Who would wanna pay for gas when this little pill’ll make it with nothin’ but water?”

She gave a forced smile, handed him the fifty cents, pocketed the pill, and left quickly.

When she ate dinner with her husband that night she told him about the man and his magic pill. Her husband was enthused.

“We gotta try it! You shoulda found out if we coulda invested.”

“I dunno,” she said pushing her food around her plate. “I just wanted to shut him up, it’s definitely a scam.”

“Well, let’s find out,” he said, holding out his palm.

She placed the little thing reluctantly in his hand and he dropped it in his glass. The pill fizzled and the water turned green. A sort of vapor started to come off of it and the pair slumped forward into their potatoes and chicken.

Their house was robbed that night. Every room stripped bare, their cold bodies on the floor of the dining room. Nothing concrete was caught on the cameras, just a pair of mismatched eyes under a ski-mask, winking before the footage cut out.


The Voice of the Eaton Street Bike Lane from the Great Beyond

By Sarah Heavren ’21

Traces remain
Of my short life.
Streaks of yellow
To the right. 

Few remember
And fewer care
About the bike lane
No longer there. 

Like a sad ghost
I haunt the street
Of things gone by
Not to repeat. 


The Black Angel

By Sarah Kirchner ’21

“Are we really going in?” Claire squeaked. The three of us stared at the cemetery entrance.

“It’s Halloween! We have to!” Ryan declared. Before any of us could object, he walked through the gate. I grabbed Claire’s hand and took a deep breath. There was no turning back. 

As we stepped over the threshold, chills ran down my spine. Ryan wandered ahead while Claire and I lingered at the front. Up ahead, the Black Angel loomed. The wings stretched out, threatening to consume us. Had something moved in its shadow? No. It had to be Ryan.

“Stop messing around, Ryan. You’re going to accidentally hit the angel, and it’s almost midnight.” 

“You actually believe those rumors?”

Claire and I exchanged a look. Of course we did. 

“You also believe that if I kiss her, I’ll die instantly?” I chewed on my lip. I didn’t know what to believe, but I wasn’t going to test my luck. We all knew the stories. Ryan laughed and jumped onto the base of the statue. Claire and I screamed in unison. Ryan continued to laugh and grabbed onto the angel’s waist. Before Claire and I could interject, he pressed his lips to hers. A blood-curdling scream sounded, seemingly from nowhere and everywhere at once. Ryan jumped at the cry. His balance faltered and before I could reach out, he hit the ground with a loud thump. Above him, the Black Angel darkened. There was no question what had just happened. The Black Angel had claimed another victim.

Small and Simple

By Marelle Hipolito ’22

A boy, a small, simple province boy, sold bread for his family. Up and down the highway traffic, the small, simple province boy tapped on car windows and sold bread for his family. Most times the boy received coins in exchange, other times he received remarks of dismissal. One time this boy, the small and simple province boy, received a horse. A small, simple wooden horse, stuck in gallop, bought with old bread. The boy, small and simple, hid the simple horse in his small pocket and galloped from the highway to home. In his excitement, the boy did not see the large and complex car, flying towards him, making the small and simple boy weak and weary. In his last breaths, the boy gripped the horse, wishing that he had a chance to not be so small and simple. There was a whinny and a whine. At this time, people talk about the big and polished wooden boy, who galloped out of the small and simple province. 





by The Cowl Editor on September 3, 2020


Lake surrounded by trees
Photo Courtesy of

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

There was once the promise of forever—
A passionate forever of warmth.
Warmth that made everything feel right,
Yet nothing felt right anymore.

You kept me afloat in the lakes of your eyes,
Those green lakes of peace and happiness.
Yet the calming lull churned as I sank deeper
And deeper into the depths. 

The sandy shore drew me from the fall.
And when the fall ended, I finally saw the sun.
Finally, I was blanketed by real warmth,
And everything felt right within myself.

Holiday Haikus

by The Cowl Editor on December 7, 2019


Girl staring up at Santa riding in the wintery night sky on his sleigh
Photo courtesy of


Snow twirls and dances
Lights twinkle in the night sky
Santa’s beard glows white

by Gabriela Baron ’20


Christmas: the smells of
pine trees, nativities, old
issue paper. Home.

by Clara Howard ’20


A cosmic feeling
Not gifted, but loved by all
The sense of wonder 

by Connor Zimmerman ’20


The footsteps are low
I hear him gulp down the milk
His crunching is loud!

by Sam Pellman ’20


Cozy, cuddle, warm,
Lovers snug with fire, with more
Snow and laugh harder.

by Jay Willett ’20


The elves hard at work.
Stay jolly, merry, and bright.
The toys must get done. 

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

Ghost Poems

by The Cowl Editor on November 1, 2019


Ghostly figure
Photo courtesy of

Does Fear Disappear?
By Sean Tobin ’20

Does fear disappear
If Stephen King writes it down
And Hitchcock films it?

Or does fear instead
Creep, crawl, and hide deeper down
Where you cannot reach?


The Wind
Sarah Heavren ’21

The wind whips and wails
Shaking the walls
Rattling the trees
Making leaves fall.

It groans and stings
With such distress
Like a poor soul
That’s not at rest.


Darkness Surrounds
by Grace O’Connor 22

I opened my eyes to see darkness surrounding me
I slowly stood up as my head throbbed
The room smelled musty and the darkness weighed down on me
The floor creaked below me as I cautiously took a step forward
I stopped quickly to calm my racing heart
I heard steps but could not tell from which direction
I paused, panicked and paranoid
In that moment I couldn’t breathe
It all happened in a second
Standing over me, it was the last thing I ever saw
As the true darkness swept over me


by Connor Zimmerman ’20, Elizabeth McGinn ’21, and Sarah Kirchner ’21

I looked around the corner;
Phantom eyes staring back at me.
A haunting chill went down my spine:
Frosty breath, sweaty palms, fight or flight kicking in.
Reaching out to touch the specter,
As my hand went through, my body went cold.
My hand darted back; bumps began to envelop my skin.
Vapors dissipating from where it once stood.
Fear swallows me. Suddenly, I stand alone.

Fast Fiction: What Scares You the Most?

by The Cowl Editor on November 1, 2019


A spider obscured by shadows
Photo courtesy of

In 14 words or less “What Scares You the Most?” Go!

An email comes from the Bursar’s Office: tuition due by the first.
by Daniel Carrero ’23

The shower upstairs turns on, but I thought I was home alone…
by Sam Pellman ’20

Spider—crawls away, out of sight…lurks still in mind.
by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

To die alone and unloved.
by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

At night, you’re home alone. The power goes out. You hear a voice.
by Sarah Kirchner ’21

Neither graveyards, nor goblins, not even ghouls. Just my midterm grades from this school.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20

What Could Have Been

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019


by Sarah Kirchner ’21

Looking at the stars, we thought to ourselves:
The two of us could have lived different lives
If only we had told each other the truth
But, we were scared and we were liars.

Man and woman looking at the setting sun longly
Photo courtesy of

The two of us could have lived different lives
together. But we played those childish games
and kept being scared and lying kids.
Being something more seemed crazy then.

Together we played those childish lying games
and laughed at that old movie we watched
because being something more seemed crazy,
but truly they made sense as a couple.

We laughed at that old movie
especially when they kissed,
but they truly were meant to be a couple.
I saw that they were made for each other.

When we kissed,
the movie came back to me in flashes.
We weren’t made for each other like they were
and you weren’t my prince like he was.

Flashes of the movie came to me.
If I only told you the truth
you could have been my prince like him.
But now I look at the stars, and think to myself.

The Circus

by The Cowl Editor on September 19, 2019


Photo courtesy of

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

The smell of popcorn filled the tent. The entire tent smelt of sweets and peanuts. All sorts of smells spread through the high top, and I stood at the entrance taking it all in. Everything seemed so small underneath the tent, as the walls went up for what seemed like forever.

My mother never let me go to the circus. She said it was for low-lifes who had nothing better to do. It was fake entertainment, she always told me. But I never believed that. It always had a pull on me. Every Friday when the curtains were drawn I wished I was walking through them, but I never could. Until tonight.

“Come on quickly, before the show starts!” Lila tugged at my hand, and I was suddenly thrown through the crowd. I was so engulfed in the magic of it all that I had completely forgotten about Lila. She was the only reason I was able to be here tonight, but the whimsies of it all had me mesmerized.

“Jack. Focus.” Lila called back to me and continued to pull at me. As she pulled, my body bumped into everyone and everything around me. I could see why Lila needed me to pay a little more attention. One man gave me an especially dirty look, and I sucked in my breath. I couldn’t have too many people see my face, or else my parents were bound to find out. But in my small town there was never anything to do, and with the circus here all summer I had to go at least one night. It was worth my parents’ wrath. But still, I was hoping to avoid that.

Lila led the way up the bleachers and down a middle row. She sat down dead center and stared at the open tent.

“Amazing, right?”

“Amazing,” I agreed. I wasn’t even able to describe the joy I felt. The sandy arena in front of me with the crowd filling in around made me gasp. There were so many people, so many different people, all gathering in this one place. I could hear the chatter of people, the talk of everyone’s favorite acts and the costumes they were expecting to see. It was all giving me the jitters.

“I can’t wait to see the acrobats,” Lila squealed next to me. “They’re my favorite. What are you excited to see?” She smiled at me, enthusiasm radiating off of her. I was so happy she agreed to sneak me out tonight.

I had to tell my parents that I wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early. Lila waited outside my window with the tickets and I shimmied down the tree to meet her. My mom was bound to check on me at some point in the night, but it was worth the risk to be here tonight. The circus ended just after eleven, so if Lila and I ran back right at the end I could be back without anyone noticing. But to be completely honest, it wasn’t my biggest concern to get back. I needed to witness the magic that I heard went on in this tent. I needed to see it all for myself.

“So? Which one?” Lila nudged me.

I looked at her and gave a small smile. 

“All of it.” The animals. The performers. The costumes.

“It is pretty amazing. I remember when my parents took me here for the first time. We sat front row and my mom bought me cotton candy.”

“I wish my parents took me,” I said, but I didn’t know if I meant that. Neither of them would have had fun, and they would have complained the whole time about every detail of the event. They were too pretentious for this.

“They would ruin the experience. They’re anti-fun, let’s be real,” she joked.

“That’s for sure,” I laughed with her. Lila squeezed my hand while the rows filled in around us. “I’m gonna grab popcorn.” I tried my best to tell her, but the tent was filled with noises and our voices couldn’t really be distinguished.

I think Lila heard me. She only nodded so I quickly scooted down the row towards the aisle. It was nearly nine, and I knew the show was starting soon. I was not certain, but there was something about the feeling in the air. The voices and the cheers and the dancing lights released the feeling of greatness about to happen, and I was ready to finally see it all.

As I ran back to the front of the tent to buy a snack, I lost my footing and hit into someone’s shoulder. I mumbled a curse to myself and turned back to apologize.

“Sorry about –“ I stopped myself mid-sentence. “Nate?” I stared at my brother, shocked to see him. We weren’t allowed at the circus, and my brother seemed to have always understood that rule. He was older than me, so I didn’t think the desire would have been as strong for him to go.

Nate didn’t say anything. He gave me a nod, which said it all. He understood. He wouldn’t tell Mom or Dad. I nodded back. I wouldn’t tell them either.

“Enjoy,” he finally said after we stared for long enough. He gave a crooked smile and turned back, to be swallowed by the crowd. I turned away too, back on my mission for popcorn. I smiled to myself, though. Nate understood. We both felt the magic, and we had to come for ourselves. And suddenly, I was relieved.

The Typical Town

by The Cowl Editor on May 2, 2019


by Sarah Kirchner ’21

The night sky looked typical tonight,
With those stars that appear to always be falling down.
The stars that represented the thousands of lights in a town,
The town that I constantly tried to ignore.

They say that this is normal
And that “normal” was the life I was meant to live.
So I wait, and live, until somebody notices me.
Those lights may be bright, but they don’t shine for me.

The typical lights were not so typical to me.
The lights drown me out, and none of the people even see.
Those people whisper comments that don’t make sense,
So, I just sit, in the way back, and watch
The town with too many people, waste their time on too many things.

A starry night with a well lit skyline
Photos courtesy of and graphic design by Julia Zygiel ’21

Dear Best Friend

by The Cowl Editor on April 11, 2019


by Sarah Kirchner ’21

I write to you to tell
you that I’m always here.
Whether I’m not physically there,
or if I’m right by your side….

The silence
is too loud for me to pretend.
It hurts to know
that I cause the pain
and the distance.

But loud and clear,
I want to show you now.
That there’s a feeling of regret
and lots of sorrow.
But the happiness is too much
to just forget about it all.
Because I need a best friend
and that best friend can only be you.
The endless laughs.
The jokes of utter nonsense.
The tears of a good time.
It’s the perfect package.
Because that is simply us.