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 Jan 2015 Sarah
Afrah Ali
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Afrah Ali
don't stare at me
with those ensnaring eyes
hidden mirth beneath that twisted grey

try listening, for once
listen to the sound of your soul

you're too cold to melt
 Jan 2015 Sarah
 Jan 2015 Sarah
To new generation

Where kids and teenager are sad

And always use fake smiles
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
I'm in love with someone's daughter
living in the shards of a broken home
Cutting herself on two year-old letters
These are moments she can't fake;
reasons to feel alone
So used to abuse, her tears start to shake
I hold her close as her head starts to ache
"I love you too much,
so I can't let your heart break."
She said, "I know you love me,
but you've made a mistake."

I never meant for anyone to be my pulse.
I promise not to step on your feet
if you teach me how to waltz.
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
She smells like marmalade
and Christmas trees.
She cuts her heart
where she places her knees.
She smokes in the park,
under the skating skies.
She makes me upset
and sometimes I make her cry.

Over in the dark,
she plays in the snow.
And if she feels cold,
I touch her chest
but I don't know.

Bask in the bark:
our names on a tree.
Carved with the knife
that she swung at me.

She says she's drowning in my ocean,
but I feel no emotion.

Her words suggest our bond
is as strong as a noose.
But she only loved me
when I was something to lose.
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
Dear reader,

Reno doesn't smoke and it's a relief because I'd rather my smile stop her heart than a Malboro. I told her that and she considered never talking to me again because of how corny I was being. If anything, I'm glad she doesn't smoke because her teeth are as white as the snow suffocating the landscape. She asked me if I ever smoked a cigarette and I said no, because my hands would start to tremble at the idea of picking up another of one my father's habits.

We walked in the snow and, three steps and two breaths in, she asked me to stop. Reno bleeds other's blood, and it showed when she dug her hands into the snow to reveal a dog's frozen carcass.

"I saw the tip of his tail sticking out of the snow." She studied the dog's body and brushed some snow off of it's side. There was a wound, the size of a child's fist. Frozen blood stained matted fur, as the front and back legs seemed miles part. "He must have been so cold."

"Someone shot him," I looked at her, as a strand of blond hair cut her face in half when she turned to me.

"He doesn't have a collar...  I know what it's like to not have a home, too," she whispered to him.

I watched her, with her knees in the snow, cry. The tears slid down her cheek when she asked me if I thought that the dog's owner killed him.

"I don't know, Reno. I hope not."

She took off her left glove and wiped her face with a pinkish hand.  She turned to me,"Do you think my dad would **** me, if he could?"

The tree branches hung over the blanketed path, as clumps would fall off and plop frostbitten kisses on the bright, eggshell ground. Eventually we reached the grave of Hilary.

Hilary Natasha Drake
Born October 12, 2001
Died December 8, 2007
May God grant you access into his kingdom
as easily as he granted you access into our hearts.

"She was beautiful," Reno smiled, before she looked away. "My mother would always say, 'Hilary, don't you know how pretty you'll be?' ...She had these lily green eyes that lit up a room-I could have swore that she stole them from the garden of Eden. She was sweet, too. Too sweet. Too kind-hearted."

I felt my hand tighten, as I looked down to see Reno's fingers wrapped around me. Her eyes were holding hostage a flood, as her lip quivered as much as her voice.

"In nine minutes, it will be the anniversary of when we lost her. It was just too much for her and I understand, Hilary. I do.

"It ate her body and wouldn't stop. Every day she seemed thinner and thinner. I remember when she lost her hair. Hilary didn't want to wear a bandana or a cap. I asked her why and she said, 'There's nothing wrong with not having hair, pappy does it all the time.'

"She was so strong, Josh. Stronger than me. Stronger than my dad. When she died, the hospital bills and funeral expenses were too much. We lost everything. My dad lost himself.

"Then, my mother left when his drinking got bad... It was the night before Valentine's day. I remember because I was given so many flowers. I didn't understand why because flowers die, too.

"My mother didn't even say goodbye. She left the photo albums. I never got to say goodbye to her or Hilary and it's not fair because I love them so much. I love them more than anything."

Reno couldn't erupt into tears like they could in the movies. This was the scene where she was supposed to cry uncontrollably or have an epiphany that could alleviate the loss, but neither occurred.

"There's one thing I want you to know, Josh: You can't save me. Don't try, okay? Please, do not try to fix the broken pieces because you'll only cut yourself.

"But there's also another thing I want you to know: You can be there, as I fix myself. I want you to be there."

I looked at her and told her I wanted to be there too.

I think I understand why Reno doesn't smoke, now. The idea of possibly giving herself cancer, when it already has taken away everyone she loves, would take something away from Hilary's fight and only add to Reno's loss.

"I can cry over a dog, but not my sister," she whispered. Reno wiped her nose, looked at me and said, "Am I too much yet?"

"Of course not."


Joshua Haines
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
"I don't feel anymore."
"I really envy that."

I turned on my side, the sun was peering through the window and laying ribbons of its light across her bare body. "You shouldn't envy that, Reno."

"Why shouldn't I?"
"Okay. Well, why do you?"

Her hand waved a lock of blond from obstructing her icy-blue sight. I could see the shadows of birds dance across her torso and past her face. "I'm afraid," her words spiraling from her mouth, "and I don't want to be."

"Afaid of what?"
"Everything. The world. Hunger. Bleach stains. Failure. ****** knuckles and the look of the person as they clench their nose, teary eyes and all. This. My father finding me. Dying before I get to do everything I want to do. Validation. I'm afraid of everything and I'm too young to be afraid of everything. I need two to four more years, tops."

Ten, twenty, and fifty seconds rained down the window. It felt like the wall of an aquarium, and us the aqua-blue evolution.

Rolling to her side, her hand blossomed around the curvature of my face, as I didn't know what to say. "Josh," her breath evaporating into syllables, "I'm too young for the world, so help me forget, okay?" My eyes followed her soft fingertips capped by lily fingernails, as her index and ******* walked from my stomach to between my legs.

After we made love, the water lowered on top of our heads and bodies as the steam rose. My hair was flattened against my skull, and her's gripping her back. Soap slid across her *******; lathering her abdomen, I asked her if I could see the soap. Reno scrubbed my chest and leaned into kiss me before placing it into my hand.

"When you're famous, who do you think you'll sleep with," she asked while stirring her coffee. Placing the muddy spoon on the table, she looked and added, "Who's your celebrity crush?"

"I'm not sure," I sipped my coffee before placing it next to my bagel,"I don't know."

"It's okay, buck. I know you'll forget about me when you become big, so just say."

I couldn't believe it.

"Okay, well, what's your wish, Reno?"

"What do you mean?"

"What do you want me to say?"

"Say who you'd sleep with."

"Well, after I carelessly throw you to the side, I'll probably sleep with Parker Posey. Then, I'll go on a date with Emma Watson and hope that goes well," I regretted the way I spoke. "Like, I can understand the question, but what's up with the second part about me leaving you?"

Reno flicked the side of her coffee cup, and then drummed. "I don't know."

"I can't do the whole you feeling like you're not good enough for me. You are. You just are. I don't want it to happen because I really like you, but I won't allow myself to go farther if you insist on the... I mean, what's wrong?"

"I don't know," she she flicked her coffee cup harder, "I don't know."

"You know, Reno. You can tell me."

Tears sat at her eyes and they disappeared in the glare, as she looked out the cafe window. "It's not easy, you know."

"What isn't?"

"Loving you," she began to rip at the skin around her thumbnail,"it's not easy because I'm afraid. I'm afraid because it might be real."

Her eyes shifted towards me, the way her hair broke the echo of sunlight. Cancer cells.

"I'm dying, Josh. Whether you love me too or not, for one year to ten to never, you'll be with other girls because I'm dying. And that's that."
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
"I really wish I could love you."
"Don't cry. I'll be okay."

Her cold hands blanketed my cheeks, as warm tears repelled from finger to finger.

I looked at her, as her eyes changed from blue to green to blue again. "I don't want you to die, Reno."

"Dying can't **** me, Josh. I thought you knew better." Her eyes were green again, as her iris exploded into a wave of grey. She blinked and they were blue again, changing the room to an eggshell white. We sat on a naked mattress, in the middle of an empty room, my face resting on her soft shoulder. Only orange, dancing pill bottles kept us company. They'd tip their caps, like a hat, at the end of each song.

We swam in a teal sea, inside of four brick walls. Our mouths didn't move, but our voices travelled through air bubbles.

Doing an underwater backflip, the bubbles broke, "When did you first fall in love?"

Kicking off the floor, towards her, "I was twenty."

"How'd you know?"

"She gave me a cupcake and was trying to light the candle, but couldn't. She kept trying and trying. At that moment, I knew I loved her."

She swam towards me, her legs like ribbons waving at the surface.

"His name was Lee," she cooed as she started to drown, "I was seventeen and he open hand slapped me. I thought that was love. Then, eventually, he started to close his hand and then I knew that it wasn't. It didn't stop me from loving him with everything I had, though."

I reached for her as her legs were being pulled up to the surface. She opened her mouth, "You'll be okay. I promise."

My pillow was soaked by sweat as I sat up and rubbed my eyes. The other side of the bed was empty.  I turned my head to see the bathroom light peeking behind an indecisive door. Getting up, I walked around the foot of the bed and over the blanket dying on the floor. As I grew closer to the bathroom, the sound of retching clawed at my eardrums.

My hand pushed the door until the bronze **** kissed the wall. An alabaster body was on the floor. Reno's face appeared as she wiped her mouth. She flushed the toilet. I walked towards her, kneeled beside her, and hugged her as the sound of suction and spinning water drowned the air.

I whispered in her ear. She picked up head, out of my arms, and smiled, blue eyes and all.
 Jan 2015 Sarah
Joshua Haines
She likes fashion and interviews. I like getting lost.
Sometimes she grabs my bulge,
as she drinks from an aluminum flask.
She told me to rhyme something with 'flask'.
I said, "Fine. In your life, you've been wearing a mask.
But I can see. And you can see. They can't see.
That you are a detached, blond doll
and your back is against the wall,
as I kiss your neck until you're dead."
She said to rhyme something with 'dead'.
I said, "Fine. You ******* in my head.
And it's quarrelsome
that they don't see that you're numb.
I'd pull on your lip, with my teeth.
Dig my hand between your legs.
Just to make you feel. Just to make you feel.
And I study your hairbrush
to see that there are too much
strands of memories from melodies
that lay dormant in ballrooms
and scented kisses
that drip of the misses
in your life and mine."
She said **** me with your words.
I refused because I'd rather watch her bloom
in my dreams than the seams of
a fiber noose that rings loose
the bell in your neck
that sounds until birds fly
and we die-
You look at me,
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