Les amours imaginaires


By Simona Ivanova

bag and bra and belt have been abandoned

on the floor, the scattered remnants of a Bacchic night

the silky dress still clinging

to the edge of the bed, almost

touching her


she sleeps now

at last

and her soft breaths make the room hold its own

while I wake and look upon her

eyes closed, mouth blow-a-kiss open

and think

I may very well die here and now


this is beauty


how she turns her back to me

still deep in slumber

while I rise from my own bed

and wash and dress and eat

and go outside to celebrate the tenderness

within me


the dance of the imagined lovers is only

for one


In Seasons

By Matheus Eleuterio Miranda Dias

I. Winter Born

It was winter when we met.

My first winter in a long time — a real winter, a winter which you cannot help but take note of and dress accordingly to. Most winters I’ve experienced have been Brazilian, and Brazilian winters are at best non-committal.

On a December day, I dressed according to the cold and the occasion: him.

I found myself in a dimly lit room: the fluorescent light in the middle of the ceiling was turned off, the Christmas lights hanging around the room were turned on. On the wall I saw letters, photographs, postcards. On the ceiling I saw a sort of tapestry and a rainbow flag. On the bed, he sat beside me: tank-top, glasses, light complexion, and the bluest of eyes.

His back rested against the wall as we talked. I said something which I can’t remember and in a Freudian slip of sorts, he asked:


I smiled as I realized what had happened, and said:


I leaned in — one arm placed on his right side, another on his left side, both supporting my weight — and placed a soft kiss on his lips.

On them, I could almost taste the sweet fruit of what would become. And I wonder: if we could taste the unripe, would we dare take another bite? No matter what my tastebuds weathered in the road to ripeness, I always believed in the sweetness — I watched the bitten apple in my hand turn from green to scarlet-red.

The following days saw countless kisses, seeming much too few when I unwillingly flew to the harshness of a Brazilian summer. But the sun could never have burnt me more intensely than the passion that burned for him within me.


 II. Dindi

It was our first Valentine’s Day together, and I packed to spend the weekend with him and his family in Pennsylvania. It was cold, and when I asked if he had any snow boots there I could borrow — our feet are the same size — he said he did.

We made our way to Penn Station and as we watched the TVs that displayed destinations and track numbers, he told me that we weren’t going to Pennsylvania, but instead to Boston.

I’ve always wanted nothing more than to spend time with him away from all else, and the weekend was exactly that. What made every moment better was the realization he had planned for this to happen, and that perhaps he also wanted nothing more than to spend time with me away from all else.

I had no boots and he had brought no extras, so by the end of the day I could barely feel my toes. But our bathroom had a bathtub, and we filled it to its brim with hot water. He laid inside first, and I fit myself in between his spread legs, resting my head on his chest. I sang a line from my favorite Bossa Nova song:

“Ah, Dindi, like a river that can’t find the sea, that would be me without you, my Dindi.”


 III. Midsummer Tears

He was upset, and had been drinking heavily. I struggled to keep him from falling over as we walked back to his apartment — luckily, the walk wasn’t long. He cried, fumbling around his words, and I did my best to try to understand.

I had him drink water before putting him into bed, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.  

“Do you think you’re going to throw up?” I asked.

He nodded.

I quickly made my way to the kitchen but found no plastic bags, and instead grabbed a thick paper bag, hoping it would be impermeable enough. I knelt down beside the bed and held the bag open as his body expelled little other than a clear liquid: a mixture of vodka and water. When he was done, he rolled his body over and fell into a deep sleep. I took the bag — which thankfully didn’t leak — to the trash chute.

As I walked, I couldn’t imagine seeing anyone other than him in that state, only to feel nothing but love. And I realized it could not have been truer.


IV. Home

Brick and mortar built walls upon walls between us, and though I could almost feel his beating heart, there was no warmth.

Walls upon walls served as protection from those who had hurt him in the past. He did not see I wanted to tear them down and build something to replace the prison he had built for himself.

But I was in no position to be an architect, and I took far too long to see this.


 V. Oxygen

Our flame had lit up quickly. Yet just as quickly, we began to fade.

In an attempt to save us I unwittingly suffocated the flame, stepping closer and closer. But with no oxygen there is no flame, and my close breathing threatened to bring darkness.

So with shallow breath, I stepped away.


VI. Winter Reborn 

I had much to do: the end of the semester brought papers that needed to be written.

My morning routine has always begun with a cup of coffee, and that Monday was no different. But the coffee I had most recently bought tasted too bitter, and I had gone to coffee shops for the past few days — even though the dollars in my bank account would soon reach the double digits.

The nearest Starbucks sat on Spring Street, only a few blocks away from my apartment. Though it was December the true cold had not yet come, and I wore what I had left out from the day before: dark green pants, black t-shirt, black shoes, dark brown overcoat, black fingerless gloves.

I walk in, I wait in line, I order, I wait some more, I grab my order. I turn around towards the exit and make note of the area to my right where several chairs are set up. And there he is, sitting on one of them. 

He, who I thought was in another country, he who had only been an abstraction in my mind for the past months, he who from the moment I sat down made it clear to me that any and all others had been only lessons at the very best, he who barely spoke a single word before I knew I wanted to be his once more, he who I hoped would want to be mine once more.

On the Friday of that same week, precisely two years after I first kissed him in his dimly lit room, he kissed me under the dim lights of mine. Although I wanted him to sleep beside me, he left. It snowed that night, and in the morning I could see nothing more than blurs of white outside my window — Fall was long gone. I struggled to walk in the snow when I made my way to see him one last time before we spent a month apart.

It was winter when we met.

hello red feb

by J.N. Lawrence

H got back with the girl that broke his heart two weeks ago. I’m not sure what to think. I hope he protects his heart. I wear earplugs to sleep in case I hear creaking from the other room.

I wish my phone would talk to me. The way it shakes itself against the surface of the wooden table making itself known. I wish I could say things like I miss you, I love you, I want you, I am here for you. I wish I could whisper into the speakerphone, buy flowers not just for Siri but for me as well. How gifts would come in the form of wabi-sabi porcelain and pottery, in books and tiny letters, in indie theaters and 88.3FM jazz, in lilies and succulents, in body warmth and in labor, in quiet silence and understanding. The phone that buzzes at the next table over is a crude reminder.

Your olfactory senses are the strongest out of all five, A explains to me. Your memory of smell brings back the strongest of memories.

I look at A, but not really looking at him; instead he is a backdrop to the flipping of my memories that are tied to smell. But I can’t see the smell; in fact most I can’t even recreate. The only memories I can see in my head are the places and people I associated those smells with at their respective moments.

I ask A again, still not ready to believe. But how can something like memories of smell, so many of them that you can’t recreate – whereas touch, seeing, hearing can be repeated – how can smell be the strongest sense?

A pauses. Okay, I want you to think of two people, he begins. The first person I want you to think about is the last friend you were with, someone who you don’t recall haven’t a distinct scent. And for the second, think of someone’s scent you do remember, who you can with no doubt say that it was theirs if a whiff of them ever passed by you.

So, I think of S this last week. I think back to how we were at Sunshine Cinema to catch a movie. I remember we shared popcorn together, I remember having a good laugh somewhere in between about something I can’t recall, I remember leaving together, hugging goodbye, and then walking the few blocks home.

And then, I think of M. The same M who I thought of this morning for a second on my bed when I was playing a song she probably played a hundred times over. It wasn’t on purpose, but I recalled that sonic memory that had brought along a picture of her leaning over her bar table with her music blasting on full volume from her laptop. But scent goes deeper than that. When I close my eyes I remember – it is a perfume, I’m sure of it, but one she used so frequently that it could’ve easily been her body scent as well. It was a deep vanilla tone, one that wasn’t overbearing and sweet like cotton candy but more sophisticated and subtle like 92% dark chocolate. I remember the shape of the bottle her scent came from, the liquid color of her.

This scent, this one that is undeniably hers even if a passing stranger might have it on and we so happened to brush shoulders, would still be M’s. I can remember my cheek against her chest and each breath I drew in was that unmistakable smell. When our faces touched, when her arms would wrap from behind, when it got on my clothes and how I would be reminded of her throughout the day without realizing it, I can remember that deep vanilla tone. Now, though, that has slowly faded and as the scent can’t be recreated the way pictures help recall memory, I am left with mental stills; the ones where we are close together, where my sweat mixes with the vanilla, where I stop in front of a store noticing the same bottle of perfume standing inside.

I turn back to A and tell him that maybe he’s right.

He gives a nod. Yeah, it’s like in Ratatouille when the critic walks in and has his childhood dish – but he’s not recalling that dish he had when he was a kid, he’s recalling the warmth of his home, his mother, his childhood.

I smile at A.

So then, Is it worst that there are some scents that you can never recreate, or is it that there are some scents you can never disassociate from someone?

A gives it a thought, his eyes moving towards the corners. He gives someone a thought. I know he hasn’t forgotten their scent, that unmistakable love.

Theme III: Classwork; Introduction

We’ve all been assigned creative writing in classes. Most recently, I had to write a “Where I’m From” poem, for one of my classes on war literature. I mean, I love writing poetry, but writing a poem about where I’m from seemed rudimentary & also extremely personal as a first assignment.

We all have to write shit we don’t want to write, but sometimes it works in our favor. Maybe we write a really killer line, or maybe (& most likely), we write like shit because we don’t give a shit.

Either way, it’s worth a share.


T, Editor-in-Cheif

Theme III: Classwork; “What is Love”

By Jennifer Levine

What is love?

A teenager’s angsty ode to young love 

Is love the ability to ignore the wishes of your family

Take the risk only to be banished,

Plunging the dagger in your chest cavity.


Is love the snake with blond hair

Who offers you bliss from reality

All wrapped in a cozy needle.


Will love hoist you in the rain, embrace you with a loving kiss

And stay around until the amnesia kicks in,

Until you take your final breath.


Once you have given everything to love

Will love’s talons gorge your eyes

Leaving you blind to the truth that love doesn’t exist.