Naomi Mengel is in eleventh grade at Tall Oaks Classical School. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, running, photography, and playing volleyball. She lives in Newark, DE, with her parents, younger sister, and golden retriever.

Rutu Patel







Rutu Patel is a 17-year-old senior at Eastern High School. She hopes to graduate with honors. Rutu is very active with numerous extracurricular activities, but her favorite is art. she has always had a passion for art, and in her middle school, won the title of “best artist”. Her work has been published in the Voorhees Township calendar, and has appeared as the cover of her school’s yearbook. She won the cover of Teen magazine in 2015, and currently teaches art to elementary shool-aged students. She also enjoys music, dance, and spending time with her family. 

6:30 a.m.

6:30 am: Coffee is my lover. She protects me, wrapping me in her steaming arms. She swims in my stomach and widens my eyes, exciting me. She stirs my fears into her muddy hues and sends me on my way.

6:30 pm: Depression is my lover. As the sun creeps behind the horizon, his claws wrap around my spine, tying me to my mattress. He convinces me with frozen kisses to abandon books, worksheets, and white walls, if only for a day.

10:00 am: Coffee is my lover. She pulls me from the sheets when my limbs are still heavy with his weight. She bounces my knee, burns my lips and roils my mind.

10:00 pm: Depression is my lover. He quiets me, silencing the noise and shuts my eyes.

3:00 pm: Coffee is my lover. She has come for me, reprimanding me with her bitter twinge. I swallow her with my sins. She empowers me with sugar-laced lips.

3:00 am: Depression is my lover. He spends the night, making love to me with suicidal ideation. He plants fatal kisses on sullen skin, whispering his sweet poison.

6:30 am: Coffee is my lover. She is the antidote no matter her form. She brushes across my lips and saves me.

Amanda Trautmann is a senior at Lower Merion High School. She enjoys writing short fiction and poetry. At her school, Amanda founded and runs Second Stage, a program which offers a variety of workshops led by local artists, writers, directors and actors. She also takes part in the school’s literary magazine, yearbook and newspaper all while maintaining a part time job at Children’s Book World.

With Every Movement

We can see the discipline in her—it absorbs

Morphs into her legs, crawls up her thighs to her torso

Spreads across her brow and out to her temples

Coils itself tight on her head

With every sudden movement.


Her mind, her body is awoken by the music

Operates as one in proportional contortions.

The calm façade disguises hidden manic

A stable precision echoes through her bones

With every sudden movement.


We are enamoured of the crisp, the clean, the controlled,

Seeing things that are stark

While looking down on the chaos that daunts us.


She makes art with her emotions, painting her feelings

Across the floor and into the air.

The atmosphere saturated and heavy

With her innermost truths released.

Her movements are her language.


She uses her body to tell us her story.

With each careful glance of her eyes, we read a new page

We feel a climax as her movements sharpen

A warm reassurance as they soften.

Every movement changes us.


One thing is now quite clear—this is not just a dance.

It is a true expression of things she cannot say.


It is letting go of anger. It is accepting pain. It is feeling beautiful joy.


It is being consumed by love, sharing it with the world

Without feeling shame or judgement that she is not strong.


It is feeling vulnerable. It is honest passion. It is true sensitivity.


This is her outlet, where she can be a woman

Stripped down to her most exposed self

She shows us real beauty.

With every movement.



Olivia Hunt is in eleventh grade at Downingtown East High School. She is an avid writer and aspires to study screenwriting. Her dream is to write her own television sitcom, or to become a writer on Saturday Night Live. Olivia loves live music and concerts, going to the coffee shop down the street to write, and soaking up every beautiful moment of life.

The Beast

Cramped and crowded, hot and dirty.

Train doors slide open. Light.

I’m just a lonely Jew

Alone with no family.

Stepping off the train,

The first breath of fresh air

Coaxes my mouth open.

I try taking my first full breath in hours

Like a parched man finding an oasis.

My throat burns, hot and dry.

A strange smell attacks me.

It is not the same, sweet air from home.

Home smells familiar and kind.

Here, it is rotten, a vapor

Of horrific terror, unforgiving.


Smoke, a raging bull approaches

Horns facing me, threatening to puncture my lungs

Like a scared child I hold my breath.

Hoping fear and the beast cannot find me

But the beast is a skilled predator, a bloodhound.

Walking, shuffling, muttering prayers.

“Beast, stay away from me.” I whimper

The smoke, I come to realize,

Is not My Greatest Fear.

My Greatest Fear greets me

With open arms in an open flame.

My dreams catch fire first,

The dreams of family and school

The dreams of laughter and happiness

All reduced to smoke and ash

This pit is where the Beast laughs in triumph.

It sizzles with the fuel of flesh,

Giggles from the beast itself, happy.

Another nameless, faceless victim is I.

The beast consumes me

In a pit of screams and terror.


Madeline Hickey is a junior at Downingtown East High School. She has spent most of her free time this year writing for her creative writing class, reading her growing collection of books, and participating in her theatre department’s programs. She hopes to someday be a professional writer.

On the Seine

Nobody sits alone on the Seine,

A fact that’s unfortunately true

Of the twos and the threes and the fours and the tens,

And then me, who’s alone, but with you


You crouch beneath benches that I sit upon

You swim through the waters I paint

As I walk through the streets, you don’t stay for long

But by river, your form lies in wait


I remember, one time, when we came to the Seine,

I, nineteen, you, twenty and bold,

We looked like a painting that I bought that day

When the air didn’t feel quite so cold


But now I am here and your ghost is beside

The shoulder that still wears your coat,

If I look close enough, then I think I can find

The heart and initials we wrote


Yes, nobody sits alone on the Seine

I am watching the twos and the threes

Then I look to the river and whisper to you

“Bonjour, tu me manques, mon ami”

Emma Paolini is from Medford, New Jersey and attends Merion Mercy Academy. She enjoys reading, writing, and edits for her school’s literary magazine.


the man milling near the lamp post

feet shuffling slowly, phone in hand

lifts the cigarette to his lips


the cancerous thing

the smoke and the fire and the phone call

diagnosis: cancer


the gauges in his ears

drag him downward

to the dust


brown hair and scruffy beard

soon disappear under the smell of

hospital disinfectant


glasses and phone on bedside table

he sleeps, and who knows

what could happen soon, under

bitter taste of anaesthesia, the lung transplant


he will be dead, soon

inevitable, doctors say in whispers

imaginary family and friends cry for him

as they lift cigarettes to their lips

Srishti Ramesh is 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. She enjoys reading and writing, especially young adult literature. She also loves music, mostly hip-hop/rap and rock. She lives in Voorhees, New Jersey with her family and an unfortunate lack of pets.

Blue, by an Optimist

Blue is the color of the deep, salty ocean; cold, but warmed by the shimmering aquamarine rays that filter down through its rippling surface. Blue is the sky reflected in your eyes when you laugh.

Blue represents rhythm. It is the color of the calm, ceaseless meter of poetry; the cadence of the wind-swept waves creating a lattice across the surface of a forgotten pool; the pattern of the delicate carpet of bluebells decorating the meadow and forest floor.

Blue is found in the depth of the ocean, in the expanse of the sky. It is universal, eternal, unchangeable, the color of truth.

Blue is the color of my dreams when I wake up in the morning, and the ink in my pen when I write.

Blue is the color of Eternity.

Naomi Mengel is in eleventh grade at Tall Oaks Classical School. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, running, photography, and playing volleyball. She lives in Newark, DE, with her parents, younger sister, and golden retriever.

A Natural Departure

From you, I grow farther

Falling leaves, as autumn will pass

I’ll rest temporarily, on grass

Wind will remove me

Other places I’ll go

Until eventually I’ll disappear

Covered in snow

Carlo Lingesso is 18 years old and now studying Communications at Rowan College at Gloucester County. His passions include writing poetry and short stories. He writes to relay his thoughts, feelings, and life experiences on paper. In his opinion, the most satisfying reward from writing is hearing somebody’s passionate and genuine response to his work.