A conversation by Riya Mirchandaney

Two brown dogs
bark to each other.
The first dog asks the second dog,
“Where did my life go?”
The second dog replies, “In heaven,
you will meet
all the ants you killed.”

A thought experiment:

Imagine a moon
waxing until it swallows you whole—
you are small and
it is milky white.
Try to befriend a tree in Orick, CA
and hope that she will save you.
Follow her lead. Try to
plant yourself in the earth, fingers
stretched as roots. Imagine
smiling at the children
who pass you by
with red
bows and nantucket blue hats. Imagine
taking a moment
to breathe.

Thinking about this,
the first dog says to the second dog,
“Have you ever woken up with the realization that you couldn’t be more different from the woman you’ve always hoped to be? I feel like I’ve become a shitty movie cliché and I can’t remember how it happened. Did I do it to myself. Did I make myself the person I am now. How did it get to be this way. Since when did I become a fucking golden retriever. Since when did I.”

The first dog starts to cry and the second dog is silent.

Illustration by Gisela Levy

Illustration by Gisela Levy

Riya Mirchandaney, CC ‘20, is a neuroscience major, part-time lab rat, and professional private tweeter. You can find her having a crisis—of identity, existence, or confidence—at least once a day. Find her on Instagram here.

Hearing Loss by Amy Gong Liu

Illustration by Iona Tan

Illustration by Iona Tan

The nice ladies at the daycare always asked me why my
right ear was swollen and I didn’t know how to tell them
in English about how sometimes my father worked late
and wouldn’t make it home in time to tell me the stories he
knew I always wanted to hear. When my mother found me
crying into my tear-stained mattress on the floor because
I missed him she would yank me up by my ear and scream in it:
if you miss him so much this will keep you awake and you
can stay here all night by the door until he walks in. After
a while I stopped being able to hear which meant that after
a while I stopped being able to listen to the stories he did
tell me when he finally came back even if I faced him with
my good side. After a while I realized I had no good side.
After a while I started falling asleep before he came home again
and after a while I completely forgot the sound of his voice.
The nice ladies at the daycare always asked me again and again
why my right ear was swollen and because I never answered
they thought I was deaf and because I never had any stories
to tell they thought I was mute and because I never had any
tears left to cry they thought I was empty too.

Amy Gong Liu is a senior in Columbia College majoring in human rights and ethnicity and race studies. She writes poetry and prose about the East Asian diaspora, cultural signs and signification, intergenerational melancholia, oceans, and more. Amy is currently working on a book of lyric prose about the gaps of Mandarin-English translation in intimate spaces. In her free time she plays water polo, reads, and daydreams about capturing the electric. Follow her on social media: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

this is no joke by Perry Levitch

Illustration by Cameron Lee

Illustration by Cameron Lee

seriously this is spooky it
worked for me if you
stop here your crush will
fall in love with someone
else and you will be cursed
to eat broth with a fork
it worked for me but
only mostly this is no
joke one time a girl was
walking homeward with
her friends and her name
got in a stranger's
mouth he insisted he was
the one meant to sink
a spork prong-deep in
her she said ok to that I guess
so he did so she turned
into a cutlery rack
for five months which was
a change of pace at least

if you don’t forward this
by midnight to a friend
then your reflection
will always lag
a minute behind
your body if you forward it
to a friend then you will get
on the jumbotron
next game don't
laugh at this if you send it
to five friends please add
your name to the bottom
and pick mostly b’s if you
send it to ten friends
then your kiss will
crush you or rather
your crush will kiss you
tomorrow

Winner of the 2018 Jericho Brown Poetry Prize

This piece was first published in Quarto’s 2018 Spring Print Edition.

Early Bloomer by Amber Lewis

This piece was first published in Quarto's 2018 Spring Print Edition

They called me an Early Bloomer,
cramming tits into
ill-fitting bras before middle school,
hips widening to
a tentative smile —

nappy hair wound tight
by Mama’s milk hands —

                        I do not look like my Mother, though
                        you’ll notice we share a             smile.

White Mothers hissed I wish I had your figure at
pool parties,
sipping Mike’s Hard by the water,
dripping condensation,
when I was Thirteen.

                       Would their husbands rather fuck
                       a Little                  Black                      Girl?

We learn young that our
bodies aren’t our own.

Illustration by Cameron Lee

Illustration by Cameron Lee

Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am by Sprout Conner

Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

"Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am" was first published in Quarto's Spring 2017 edition and has now been published in her collection, Motherbird.

My mom breaks through gooseflesh packaging
tears apart school&love&wind
before telling me that as an egg
I would've still cracked
and that girls are like icebergs but I cry
I never learned how to swim so she pours
the chocolates into her purse carefully
then all at once before we run
from the store and to the trees

her hands blistering in the cold
my skin burning through her jacket