The Blue Bag

The Blue Bag
By: Jillian Hart Ocampo

Once, I saw someone in the park

A girl that was tall and dark

She had a huge blue bag over her shoulder

That serves as a cover

I approached her and asked, “What is that for?”

And pointed at her bag that looks like a cover

She smiled and replied

It’s for my dog who just died

There I realized how sad she is and cried a bit

Then she continued and said, I always carry this bag because she loved it

The Space Between The Lines Of Life And Death

The Space Between The Lines Of Life And Death
By: Austin Taylor

Mission Log, Day 524, 9:44 A.M

I’ve been thinking about my situation, and how unrealistic it all sounds. A guy, stranded on an intergalactic space station by his friends, left to die, and on day 524. It’s impossible, but it aligned so horrifically. My food supply ran out a week ago, but I’ve been living on the water and other beverages on this craft. It’s been so long that I don’t even know where I am anymore. Everything’s blurring together. I don’t even remember the last time I had a full meal. This was supposed to be an easy mission, a year long mission to retrieve samples from Jupiter. I was supposed to stay back on the ship and report back to the command center if anything went arai. I did exactly that. But ever since that chunk of rock destroyed the personal satellite, the command center’s lost all communication with me. My crew hasn’t returned. They never will. I’ve easily accepted my fate. Dying alone in space, how cool.

I don’t consider my other crewmates friends anymore. They left me to die here. I’ve ran through every possible explanation in my head, and it’s lead to this. They wanted me gone ever since I joined The Academy. This was a ploy to get me dead. As much as I would like to ignore it, I feel alone without them. They were good friends and we had some good times. Nathaniel was especially nice to me. He made sure I got my food portions, I got a good rest, and I was ready for the next day. Nathaniel had black, combed over hair. He was the nerd of the group, but he was also the moral support. He never had the brightest childhood, and it helped him to help others.

The only thing that surrounds me is darkness. Stars glimmer ever so faintly in the atmosphere. No planets are around for me to call out to. No friends are here to save me. No one can hear my screams out in Space. I should’ve known what I was getting into. But how could I’ve guessed something like this would happen? Who knows. 

Occasionally, I see shooting stars fly by. I always make the same wish, and it always answers. At this point, I just want to live. The stars give me those wishes for a reason, they’re here to help me. They’re the only things I’ve got out here. I’m a mess, aren’t I? Thinking the stars are friends, bologna. I lost my mind ages ago, I’m clinically insane at this point. My age is all but a blur. My hair has grown longer than it should. My beard is so long that I have to tie it in a tiny knot. It’s all over the place, just like my mind. It’s running at a million miles an hour. I can never think properly. I may never be the same.

Mission Log, Day 525, 3:36 A.M

A year and a half, the computer says. October 12th, 2206. It’s already been a year and a half and I’m not dead yet. It’s been only a year and a half since the group left, but it’s been 2 since we started. I’ll be dead in a few weeks, though. Then, I could finally rest. If anyone saves me, I’ll already be a decaying mess of flesh and bone. The computer helps me when I’m going mad. It helps me remember the time and date. With the communication satellite down, I’m surprised it’s even working. Sometimes, I would try to punch holes into it. Only once have I gotten through. I still have some scars from it. One near my right index finger, my right pointer finger, and a bigger one right across my palm.

I try to think back to when I was with my family. Hanging out with my daughter, spending boy time with my sons, and enjoying my wife’s company. She always helped me through times of desperation. She was the light at the end of my tunnel. But without her, I’m clueless. I’m only half the man without her delicateness. My daughter, oh my god my daughter. She’s just started college. I missed graduation… How could I have done that?

Mission Log, Day 525, 11:49 A.M

I thought about not writing in this thing for a day or two, but I guess a couple of hours work. Nothing’s changed. Some of the stars have changed, that’s new. That’s going to be the only new thing for a long time, I presume. I’m being tortured against my will out here. No escape, no release, nothing.

Suddenly, a light shines outside. I look to see another ship, similar to this one. At first, I don’t believe it. Could it be my friends? Could they have come to save me? All these thoughts cloud me as the light gets brighter and brighter. It’s giving me a nasty headache. It circles around my ship, and then it connects to the escape pod hatch. Their lights turn off, and I get a good look inside their ship. It’s a little smaller than mine, but it has the same escape hatch connection.

Their doors opens, and then they open mine. I step back a little, seeing a person for the first time in this ship scares me. As the goosebumps develop along my arm, the person takes off their mask. Their long, dark red hair poofed out, and their green eyes glimmered against the stars. It was one of the members of my crew, Poppy. She ran up to hug me and we embraced.

More and more people came off the ship, more people from my crew. Rex, Calliope, and Nathaniel. 

“ Long time no see, pal.” I say, holding out my arms for a hug. 

“ It’s really you, huh Ari?” Nathaniel asks, hesitantly. 

“ In the flesh.” I say, brushing some loose hair to the side.

Nathaniel takes a good look at me, seeing how I’ve visually changed. I have more of a beard now, and I have much longer hair. So long that it’s in a small man bun. He then slowly walks closer, and we hug each other. It’s a nice hug. As I wipe away some tears, I look at all of them in one space. It’s shocking. Seeing them again is giving me flashbacks to a time when I had friends. But now, they’re back.

 ( Darkness )

“ What is this? What’s going on?” I ask. I hear no response.

( Back in the ship )

I wake up on the fold out bed, sweating. I look around to see the rest of my crew, but nothing’s changed. Calliope still has no forehead scar, Nathaniel still has his old crappy glasses, and Poppy doesn’t have as long of hair.

“ Ari, are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Calliope asked, walking closer to me.

“ I’m fine, I think I was just having a bad dream.”

“ Or it could’ve been the future.” Nathaniel replies, obviously playing with me.

“ Quiet back there, Nathan. I’m trying to focus.” Poppy angrily says.

“ I’m fine, really. “

As I look around again, I can finally focus. In just a few seconds, my entire dream became all but a foggy road. I see parts of it, but I don’t see others. All I remember is the date, and the- the date.

“ What’s today’s date?” I ask, a bit frantically. 

“ It’s May 6th, 2205.” Poppy replies, looking back in her chair.

That’s the exact day they left. Right down to the hour. Crap.

I Walk Between a Line

I Walk Between a Line
By: CiCi Schmidt

I walk between two lines

Boy and girl

Straight and gay

Normal and freak

I walk between two lines and people tell me

Pick one.

Between the lines of boy and girl

I use they/them pronouns

I sometimes drift toward the boy

But never go fully there.

Yet everyone thinks I’m

On the girl side.

I’m not.

I walk between the lines.

Between the lines of straight and gay

I carve out my own path.

People say I am 


For feeling the way I do.

I have my own form of love and

Those who receive it know it.

I carve my own path

Between the lines of straight and gay.

I walk between many lines.

Yet I draw my own.

With All Due Respect

With All Due Respect
By: Anonymous

White, dark, fat, thin,

we all have human skin.

Bones, blood, limbs, hearts,

we all have human parts.

But enough with this vague chatter;

we must discuss a more serious matter.

“Charity,” you say. Then why

did you leave a transgender girl to die?

“Health for all,” you say. But then,

why refuse to take blood from a queer friend?

You spill our blood for expressing ourselves,

say we’re “unhealthy” and “going to Hell.”

You say that you can “fix” our “choice;”

No! Don’t! Just give us a voice!

Just give us a smile, show us to your kids,

teach them that our feelings aren’t a sin.

You do none of these things, and expect the best, but no, I hate you, “with all due respect.”


By: Anonymous

The wheels start to turn, the engine starts to roar, and I’m on my way to school. The bus isn’t the best way to get to school. But I have no other way to get there. My house is too far away, my parents both work jobs, and I don’t have many friends to speak with. Very few people notice me. I’m just another face in a sea of High Schoolers, floating adrift until someone would stumble upon me. Even then, they don’t notice me.

As I walk off the bus, I see everyone else. They’re all so different yet so common nonetheless. They all have a style but that style’s shared between multiple people. No one’s ever really special. They’re all just trying to get on with their day. How they want and when they want. Everyone’s the same, everyone’s trying, everyone has their story. 

I’ve had panic attacks before, nothing like this. I sit in the bathroom stall, holding my hands against my head. My hair moves back and moves with my hands. In order to be quiet, I have to breathe less. That’s hard for me to do. I stop thinking about what happened before hand. The bus ride, the bully, first and second block. My memory is getting foggier and foggier every time I think back. Then, a realization. I look around, expecting something different. Nothing, absolutely nothing. It’s just me in this dirty, dingy bathroom stall. Curled up in a ball on the floor expecting something different. 

I start to cry, something I’m most familiar with.  I try to hold it in, but as I think of sadder thoughts, my glasses start to get cloudy. I violently take them off and set them down beside me, next to my phone. Notifications go off left and right. Those notifications want to be answered, but I’m a statue. Movement isn’t an option for me.

Then, I see a text from my boyfriend. He knows this is going on. He’s in Math, taking a test. He can’t skip this. I don’t want him to skip this. But I want him here with me, holding me, helping me, making me feel whole. Instead I’m left to pick up the pieces on my own.

I’m a broken shell of who I used to be.

I’m nothing without my boyfriend.

I’m a failure to all who knew me, past and present.

I’m silent. I’m still. I’m static.


By: James Seaborn

you’re a faded photograph,

tucked in the wallet

of a war veteran

just home from deployment

searching the airport crowd. 

you’re a well-loved paperback,

clutched in the hands

of a fourteen-year-old girl

on her way to her first day of high school.


you’re two teenagers,

looking up at the milky way

on a warm june night,

hands clasped together,

confident that they’ll never let go.


you’re perfect,

but only in the little ways,

that one can only realize

after years of use and wear.

in other words,