RSportfolioPOETRY5 Women
Tahseen Khaleel
Runestone, Volume 1

Five Women

How Rabbits Taste – Ammijaan (My Grandmother)

Whenever you come visit us,
You sit by the bay window, watching the rabbits,
Your little hands folded neatly over your sari.
It makes you look bigger than you are:
A white cloud gathered and folded over
Shrunken bones and hanging skin
Encircled with rings and bangles of gold.
I wonder what you think about.

One day I try to ask as I plop down next to you,
Enjoying the smell of your Vicks and jasmine oil,
My head against your bony shoulder and you say:
“I wonder what those kharghosht taste like,
I used to hunt them back in India.”

For one sparkling moment, your wit reminds me
Of a story Mama told me about you
When you were young and strong.
You had shocked everyone and jumped into the fishing hole in your village
Your sari billowing around you as you swam,
Silken black hair streaming.
She said you caught fish for everyone that day.

…          READ THE FULL POEM

Tahseen Khaleel

Loyola University Chicago

Tahseen Khaleel is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in biology and minoring in biostatistics and English. She enjoys reading and writing about the intersectionality between religion and nationality, as well as the experiences of immigrants in the South Asian diaspora in various forms of media.


RSportfolioPOETRYBirthday Parties and Nazis
by Stephanie Liang

Runestone, Volume 1 

Birthday Parties and Nazis 

I would not call myself a Nazi sympathizer—
What does that word even mean, sympathizer?
But ever since that time in the 4th grade
When my arch nemesis Maureen
Invited me to her birthday party,
I realized I needed to give more people a chance.
You’re probably thinking, well she’s not a Nazi.

Let me explain. In senior year of high school,
We learned a term in psychology called
The Fundamental Attribution Error.
Which was pretty much a fancy way of saying,
When some asshole on the highway cuts you off,
Your first reaction is to blare your horn and scream
Something along the lines of:
You fucking asshole! You stupid fucking asshole!
Meaning, you think he cut you off because he is
Fundamentally a stupid asshole and not because
His child might be dying in the hospital.

…          READ THE FULL POEM

Stephanie Liang

University of Pittsburgh

Stephanie Liang is a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying English literature and economics. She has loved poetry from a young age and is just starting to share her work with the world. She is excited to see her first two works published in Runestone Journal and another one of her pieces will be appearing in Rainy Day Magazine in the upcoming year.


RSportfolioPOETRYEvolving
by Mary Cornelius
Runestone, Volume 1  

Evolving 

Even daytime in the ocean
is lit like sunset, like six o’clock
stopped in time. Light slants strangely
below the waves, bows and bends
like anemone on sea-drunk spines.
Rumored blue, too often, the ocean
is dark. So the fish has begun to dream
of wide-open spaces. Of lungs, of
wind-chapped lips, of whales.
Some nights he wakes with fins
itching, gills aching, mouth tight
with the memory of air.

Mary Cornelius

Augsburg College

Mary Cornelius is a poet, runner, and amateur baker with big dreams. Her work has been published in Murphy Square, The Minetta Review, and The Riveter Magazine. She is a junior at Augsburg College majoring in English literature and creative writing.


RSportfolioPOETRYglass cages
by Rebekah Durig
Runestone, Volume 1  

glass cages 

On long summer afternoons when I was a child,
I would pop open the mirrored doors of the medicine cabinets,
and angle them enough to let light bounce between
them. Forty-five degrees at first, just enough to see
the back of my head reflected once or twice,
then closer until my heads filled the grid to infinity,
then closer still, too narrow to fit between the glass panes.
Peering into the crack, one eye closed, all reflected noses,
I would wonder,
                                         If I could press myself thin enough,
could I slip through that greenish-grey hallway
and walk until I found a forest of heads?
Could I step out of the mirror into another house to find the face
that also spent afternoons kneeling on slick bathroom counters?
If I could walk through these mirrored hallways,
would I ever meet another ring of noses, or wander, lost,
only find the restless ones who came in here to hide
from their sins, still followed by ant trails of their past,
never to escape?
What’s the lonelier prison: a Midwestern town
of paint-peeling churches and tattered American flags,
or infinite hallways, where light hangs like damp blankets?

Rebekah Durig

Southern Illinois University

Rebekah Durig is a poet, playwright and mathematician, and a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University. Her full-length play, Lewis and the House of Cards, was performed this spring there. She will be pursuing her master’s in the fall, and is spending the summer as a theater intern in the Berkshires. rebekehdurigwrites.com


RSportfolioPOETRY

Gray
by Cameron Price
Runestone, Volume 1 

Gray 

when brother came back
from the country of our dead father,
gray fog leaked from his ears

it wreathed his face, tightened his collar, blinded his eyes
I watched him, afraid of his darkness.

at night when he opens his mouth, a blanket of dead stars
roll out like clocks, each frozen at the witching hour

he had been the bright one :
a splinter of light in a dense cloud but
sleeping in our father’s grave had turned his life to stone

now he pulls cords of fog around him,
mute like the purple depths of the sea
his marrow frozen into ancient amber,
his sharp eyes grating the iron sky into toxic dust,
the heavens falling into pieces like a decrepit house

what but stones can bear the petrifaction of the living dead :
where is the sermon of hope to wake us from
the dust, when only fossilized bones
emerge from the fog?

Cameron Price

Goddard College

Cameron Price is a poet living in Ann Arbor, MI. His work has appeared in Humble Pie, Six Fold, and is forthcoming in Mount Island Magazine. His experimental video poetry has been featured in Small Po[r]tions, and was recently screened at the 6th Video Festival in Cairo, Egypt. He is the visual art / design editor for Duende, an online literary journal dedicated to publishing underrepresented voices in the literary ecosystem.


RSportfolioPOETRYMahalo
by Lucy Zhao
Runestone, Volume 1 

Mahalo 

5,000 orchids fall from a helicopter onto Hilo, Hawaii
on May 4th. Paid for by Disney to celebrate their new cruise line.

I am still rubbing dandelions under my chin,
when no one is looking, to see if I’ve fallen in love.

Yellow is the color of desire. The crushed pollen
under the heat of my skin. The yellow wallpaper
of your living room as we stare at the TV,
pinkie fingers dangling dangerously close

together. A boy told me once,
we are meant for each other. You are scorpio
and I am cancer, both shelled creatures
that claw at sand. You on land
and I in water.

Floating, I peer at the fish below,
breathing through my mouth a hollow sound.
All I feel is the scrape on my knee
from rubbing cells with coral.
I’m afraid the coral will die now.

The word for white people here is haole,
pronounced like a laugh then oh! and lei.
It means no breath. When we greet a close friend,
we put our foreheads together and open our mouths.
We breathe each other’s air, the sound of waves.

Lucy Zhao

University of Michigan

Lucy Zhao’s work has appeared in Xylem, Outrageous Fortune, Fortnight, and The Michigan Daily. She is a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in business and English.


RSportfolioPOETRYTeddy Bear
by Zachary Weber
Runestone, Volume 1 

Teddy Bear

In a bronze-framed photograph
on top of the coffee table,
the infant me is fast asleep,
cradling an 1898 Paul Blanchard

violin instead of a teddy bear—
the same violin that sleeps
on the splintered surface of my desk
next to an avalanche of sheet music

in a room where I spent hours
arguing daily with a jet-black
spray-painted music stand
in between fits of pacing

from the bedside, to the kitchen,
to the Gateway computer and back—
while massaging the static out
of the tendons in my forearm—

the type of gesture a child
can only inherit from his father.

Zachary Weber

University of Houston

Zachary Weber has just received a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Houston. He has served as the reviews editor for Glass Mountain, and his work has appeared in The Aletheia, Silver Birch Press, Glass Mountain, and The Blue Route. 


RSportfolioPOETRYThe Raspberry Festival
by Mary Cornelius
Runestone, Volume 1

The Raspberry Festival 
Hopkins, Minnesota

Its woods are studded with
stoplights now, its thickets
partitioned with trim asphalt
cages and sold in neat, square
half-acre lots. The berry bushes
have been seeded over with
Lawn Restore and Miracle-Gro
by the balding, sag-eyed fathers
greedy for greener grass. And
yet, Main Street still closes
each summer for the parade,
they sail floats decked with flags
down the road like a river while
the high school marching band
plays Yankee Doodle and a new
upbeat arrangement of taps. The dads
laugh beery laughs, clinking glasses
of Summit—all praise Hopkins,
THE RASPBERRY CAPITAL!—
eating pie their wives bought
the day before from the grocery,
shipped in from outstate
on the overnight train.

Mary Cornelius

Augsburg College

Mary Cornelius is a poet, runner, and amateur baker with big dreams. Her work has been published in Murphy Square, The Minetta Review, and The Riveter Magazine. She is a junior at Augsburg College majoring in English literature and creative writing.


RSportfolioPOETRYThrough the Viewmaster
by Melinda Ruth
Runestone, Volume 1 

Through the Viewmaster

What they don’t tell you is that memories
only fade around the edges, leaving
behind vivid images, crisp recollections

tinged with the smell of bleach permeating
white walls, plastic tube shining
as it curves, punctured

puffy flesh, EKG beeping continuous.
The tan foundation hides the paleness,
She looks like she’s sleeping. Piercing

the pit of your stomach, you. Watch
the strongest man you’ve ever known fall

apart, bloody knuckles, vomit in grass.
The electronic voice on the phone,
The number you are trying to reach has been

disconnected. Yet you keep the voicemail locked
in your cell. A baby blue lazy boy no longer offers
comfort, hyacinths on marble. The empty seat

at your graduation, the short fat Douglas
fir, pine needles draped in ornaments
and tinsel, reflective. Song stuck

on repeat in your head: I’ll have a blue
Christmas without you.

Melinda Ruth

Salisbury University

Melinda Ruth is a senior creative writing major at Salisbury University and is the fiction editor for the schools literary magazine The Sacarab. Her work has appeared in, Summerset Review, is forthcoming in Red Earth Review and Broadkill Review.


RSportfolioPOETRYYardwork
by Stephanie Liang
Runestone, Volume 1 

Yardwork

The overgrown weeds
and wilting wisteria
Defy the winter
by daring not to die—
Their seedlings spread,
spring, into a mess.
Our nosy neighbors,
noticing the eyesore,
Go back to minding their manicured
lawns of majestic,
Year-round, golf-course
grandiose greens.
Our scorched land of
sighing sprouts:
A burden to the serenity
of the budding backyards
Of houses filled
with families and fathers
With lawnmowers, a love
for lawn care
That I never learned.
Leaving the languishing
Grass to weather
the wintry winds
(A worry that weighs
on my weary shoulders).
As I shut the window
to shelter secondhand
Thoughts of trimming
the tree branches,
Tidying the belligerent
bushes to beautification,
And your cold hands,
half-holding mine,
As the machine slows,
simmers to a stop.
The grass germinates,
but as a different green
To prove perhaps,
without your presence
We’ll never be
bothered by the weeds.

Stephanie Liang

University of Pittsburgh

Stephanie Liang is a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying English literature and economics. She has loved poetry from a young age and is just starting to share her work with the world. She is excited to see her first two works published in Runestone Journal and another one of her pieces will be appearing in Rainy Day Magazine in the upcoming year.


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