Not Alone an original song by Angelo Ibasco

Verse 1

I used to be weak

Till the day you came to me

My eyes were down

Looking at the ground

But you made me see

You took my wings

That had given up on flying

You put them back together

Feather by feather

Whispered in my ear that I deserve better


Cos the world can be such a cruel place

But the sun will shine as long as I see your face

Your smile gives me hope

Your heart is my home

You make me feel like I'm not alone

Verse 2

Time After Time

You saved my life

You're my Crying Shoulder

The roof that is over

My head

You keep me safe

From my demons I cant keep away

You are my light

In the darkest of rooms

You are the one that I can't afford to lose


Cos the world can be such a cruel place

But the sun will shine as long as I see your face

Your smile gives me hope

Your heart is my home

You make me feel like I'm not alone


I want to share all that I am

And all that I'll ever be

With you here next to me

I'll make it come true you'll see


Cos the world can be such a cruel place

But the sun will shine as long as I see your face

Your smile gives me hope

Your heart is my home

You make me feel like I'm not alone

ME a poem by Janai Bryant

When times get though, I cry.

When life gets better, life gives you wings to fly.

It’s a black hole full of lies.

When I look in the mirror I see smiling and pain,

Who am I to be ashamed?

Young women with mixed motions

torn between love and hates,

Who am I even to even date?

Have a heart that no one can match

is like being in the dark cold and alone

with no one to hold. It seems to me,

that love could be labeled poison

and we’d still drink it.

It’s sad knowing that I love others

more then I love myself. I always try

to make other people happy because I know

how terrible it is to feel worthless & unwanted.

I think about all that I’ve done and

gone through that no one even knows about

and I get sad thinking that no one will ever know

about all these things that makes me, me,

because no one will ever understand Me but Me…..

Another Stereotype a poem by Glen Davis

Another stereotype is something I can't be,

nowadays school ain't interesting

so most of us dedicated to the streets,

tears running down yo face cause you found out

yo homie deceased, man ... that's how it is in them cold streets.

We should be in school everyday where they educate

but the district neglect us so most youngins out here

tryna get cake. Money first, school last

that's the mindset that we got

but at the end education is everything but a young black man got.

You think you flexing cause you trappin on the block

but a college man with a degree really be having that knot.

You at the top, you got it all keep yo circle tight

cause the ones you call "bro" be the ones that be waiting on you to fall.

Success is the key so don't give nobody a spare,

for this generation I am truly scared.

Today's Rap Music short essay by Zahia Ismail

Today's rap music is influencing people to do the wrong things…

The rap music being played today has a lot to do with drugs, sex, money, violence, and guns. People today, mostly black people/ teens should not be influenced by the things rappers are saying in their lyrics during the songs. It isn't fair to most black communities because some people are really afraid because people are influenced by the things that are being said in rap lyrics.

People may think it is okay to be like these rappers, they drop out of schools, get into drugs, and do a lot of dangerous things. N.W.A's album "Straight Outta Compton" was a creation of violence, but when it came out, Eazy- E was the only member in the group with a criminal record.

Rap music is one of the most controversial music genres in our culture and around the world, which is surprising because it is a fairly new genre, only about 25-years-old. There has been a lot of talk about regulating the lyrics in rap music because of the violent and explicit themes of the songs. A part of the controversy comes from the behavior of rap musicians outside of their music. Many rap artist have been accused of such things as assault, drug dealing, illegal weapon possession, money laundering, and murder.

In my opinion, rappers should really be cautious of what they are saying in rap lyrics because people really get affected and influenced by what their saying. It's very dangerous and can harm themselves and/ or other people. It's really impactful to most black communities!

Culture...Not a Costume a thought piece by Dynasty Moorer

Everybody wanna be a nigga, but don't nobody want to be a nigga. Black people have been sitting trends for centuries. People of different race have fallen in love with our features from our full lips, thighs and butts to our cornrows, dreadlocks and afros. Even our soul music and soul food have become very popular. People go to extremes to try and compare to our features and styles. From surgeries to injections and even putting brown makeup on their skin. People love everything about us except for when it's us.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. People love to mimic us in every way except for when it comes to oppression. We endure police brutality and discrimination daily. Whether it's a hairstyler or clothing there is a difference between honoring a culture and just stealing from it. Recently there has been a lot of controversy about the boxer braid hairstyle. For starters, the style is not called boxer braids the style is called cornrows, but they are the same style. Cornrows have been around since the time of slavery so it's not something new.

Clothing, music and hairstyles are one thing, but to blatantly put brown makeup on your face for a costume is just plain ignorance. Many white people have participated in the actions of black face. Black face is the makeup used by a non-black person playing a black role, but when people do black face they usually do it to be comedic. Black face is extremely oppressive and ignorant to black people. Black people are the most imitated, envied and admired people on the Earth, honestly we are winning as a race.

Remember Her a short story by Jeinise Castro

This story started as a writing assignment for my english class. After writing my short story, my teacher suggested that I should submit my story to Art of Me. I didn't really have much of an inspiration for my story, I just wanted my character to be strong and be able to workout her problems without feeling the need to do something negative. I also wanted her to have a safe place that isn't necessarily everyone's idea of safe.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.” I couldn't believe what was being said to me at that very moment.

“Is there someone we could call...a relative? Family friend?” I found it hard to speak. It was as if my throat was on fire and everything coming out was too painful to bear. I backed away until I hit the hospital wall and slid down onto the floor. Everything seemed like a blur. I don't remember how long I was sitting there for but my father came at some point to get me. He looked sad, but not as sad as me. He looked so different, now he wears a suit, the tie loose and he carries a briefcase his initials on the handle. He stares at me with such caution and guilt. I wonder if he thinks mom dying was his fault. I wonder if he regrets leaving us. I wonder what he will do with me and my brother. Will he treat us well? Or ill he just abdond us like before? My questions are still left unanswered, as the doctors begin to talk about organ donation.

“We’re going to be late Isabella, hurry up,” my father broke me out of my train of thought. I immediately realized I was late and I wasn’t ready yet. My first day of my senior year at a brand new school. I rushed, not even paying attention to what I put on. As I ran down the stairs and out the door I noticed my mom wasn't here to take me to my last year of school.

Classes have been okay, they're boring but not to a point where I want to burst out of class and leave. Three weeks have passed, nothing interesting has happened in school. My English teacher, Mr. Green, spits when he talks so I tend to sit in the back. I haven't really made any friends, there are nice kids that talk to me during class, but I don't think I can call them my friends yet. They have not established we are so I'll wait in order to not make a fool out of myself. But there's an English project coming up, so hopefully my partner is nice and well become friends.

I walked to the front of the class towards Mr. Green awaiting his response to see who was going to be my partner

“Ashton Smith.”

“Whos that?”

I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“That would be me, and your name ?” Wow, he is a fine looking specimen. Now, now Bella don't make a fool outta yourself.

“Hello, hi. It's Isa…bell, my names Bella,” Great job, couldn't even speak proper English. I quickly dashed out of the class, realizing that I didn't get any of the worksheets needed, I ran back. Only to come down to the floor when colliding with… you guessed it,- my english partner.

“You okay?” He asked reaching his hand down to help me up.

“Yeah I'm fine, thanks.”

“So when do you wanna start?” He asked with curiosity in his eyes.

“Start what?” Great, made a fool of yourself again. “Umm yeah, my place after school?”

“Yeah sure, meet you in the parking lot after 6th period.” The parking lot? He's got a car? Hmm, interesting. All my classes after English were pretty boring, I couldn't focus. My mind kept wandering to Ashton. He was coming to my house to work on our project, I couldn't help but think something was going to happen. I just couldn't sense if it was something good or bad.

Ashton and I were sitting up in my room discussing whether we should make a poster or a slideshow to represent the book we've been reading in class. I personally believe a poster is a better idea, it's easier and it can be more powerful, but when he argues he got this cute little crinkle in between his eyebrows. Drawing away my focus from my project to him. I'm forced out of my thoughts by my father yelling.

“Isabella Adriana Gonzalez why do you think it's appropriate to have a boy in my house.” I grabbed my father's arm and dragged him downstairs, trying to avoid making a scene. However he resisted and I’m forced to talk to him in front of Ashton.

“We’re just doing homework, relax.” I assured. He clearly wasn't happy.

“ On your bed? With the door closed?” He stares at me

“ It’s not what it looked like. I was just trying to keep Dan out. You know how he gets, I was just trying to focus.” I try to reassure him.

“ It was just homework”

“Yeah homework. I know what that means”

“What do you mean. Homework means homework.”

“No it means you’re sleeping with this kid right?”

“No, what, we’re literally doing nothing. Stop accusing me.” I said this while trying to contain my anger.

“I can tell you whatever I want, I'm your dad.”

“No. You can't, and you won't.” I was really getting heated.

“Just because your mom died doesn't mean you can throw your life away.”

“ Don’t bring mom into this.”

“ I am your father, I can do whatever I want”

“I wish mom was here, she loved me, she would underst-,” my father cut me off.

“But she's not, so just…”

It was my turn to cut him off. “I know she's not here, and there's no evidence that she was. Why, why is that? Huh? Mom was an incredible person unlike you, yet you have twenty million pictures of yourself around the house but none of her.” The words he uttered next sent me in a spiral of anger.

“It's not healthy to keep her around, you and Daniel won't ever be able to move on.”

“No, what's not healthy is forcing us to forget her, Daniel is only four and he barely knows what she looks like. He needs to know who his mother was, she cannot be forgotten. We need to keep her alive.” I ran up the stairs, leaving my father in shock. I grabbed the picture of me, mom, and Daniel at the beach and ran back down stairs, barely even noticing a very concerned looking Ashton sitting in my bed with his book out. I taped the picture on the wall and left to my room before he could say any more.

“Are you okay?” Ashton looked at me with an uneasy look when I came back in the room.

“You ask that a lot,” I said with a low chuckle.

“Yeah, I do. So are you actually okay?” He asked. I look up at him.

“You wanna get out of here?” Suddenly feeling a burst of confidence.

“ You didn’t answer the question”

“Can we just go ?”

We drove along the Coney Island shore, listening to mellow music. Crooked Smile by J.Cole came on shuffle and I wasn’t expecting him to start rapping along. I joined

we past Luna park. I thought he was taking me there at first.

“Luna Park is back that way.”

“Yeah I know, we’re going somewhere similar to it.” Ashton looked at me with a devilish grin. I wasn’t prepared for what would I happen that night.  

“We’re here.” Ash said as he pointed towards a big red rundown sign reading The Cool Zone

“Why, out of all places would you take me to an abandoned amusement park… Luna Park was perfectly fine.” I regretted my words as soon as they came out. I must of sounded so ungrateful, here I was with this awesome guy who just took me away from my terrible father and I’m complaining.

“I’m sorry, that was mean, it seems cool. No pun intended.” I laugh at my own joke, he chuckled a bit but I could tell he was a bit hurt from my previous statement. Ashton got out the car and hurried my side to open the door for me, he stuck his hand out and led me up to the big gate blocking the entrance. A yellow sign hung, proceed with caution. I tensed up a bit, I assumed Ashton noticed

“Don’t be scared,” he said has he tightened his grip on my hand

“I won’t leave you for dead, ” he joked, but I didn’t lighten up. But I still forced a little chuckle out anyways. He led me throw a hole in the fence, small but big enough to fit through. My worries went away for a bit. Well until I saw where he was really taking me. Ashton approached an old roller coaster.

“We are going up there.” Ash pointed at the ride. My mind instantly started walking to the car, but my legs didn’t move.

“You’re crazy if you think I’m going up there,” I said as I took a few steps back

“Come on, the sunset is beautiful from up there,” he said as he pulled me towards him,

“ I can see the sunset just fine from down here.”

He walked towards the ride, throwing a rock at it. It mad a rattle noise.

“See it’s nice and sturdy.” Even though I shouldn’t have, I gave in and began walking up the maintenance stairs. The more I went the more nervous I got, every time I though Ash was gonna stop walking he continued. Finally we reach a point where you can see the whole city.

“Sit… you won’t fall, I promise.” He put his arm out so I could sit. Once I sat, struggling not to hyperventilate. Ashton grabbed my waist and pulled me closer, I tense up for a bit but instantly relaxed realizing it was to prevent me from falling.

“You can see everything, the city, the beach, it’s just wow!” I sat there amazed, I became so focused on the view. I completely forgot about how high we were, about my father and for the first time in a long time I was actually happy.

Headphones a short essay by Annette Smith

People should not wear loud headphones because they can be very dangerous. Loud headphones are dangerous because they can prevent you from knowing your surroundings. They are popular in the younger society; headphones like Beats, SkullCandy, iPhone and other loud headphones are worn by young teens. Headphones can cause death at a young age.

The loud music can prevent you from hearing car horns and people shouting while crossing the street. A young teen can be shot and killed from walking through war zone neighborhoods. A child can be kidnapped while walking home from school by having both headphones on sky high.

The reason why people love headphones so much because the music can change the mood. For example, a person could be listening to a happy song while walking through a dangerous neighborhood. The person is in a totally different world because of the music and are oblivious to their surroundings; then the next thing you know that person is shot, robbed or kidnapped and becomes a victim in a blink of an eye. In becoming a victim, the person goes through a range of emotions and questions about how and why this could have happened to them.

From my personal experience, I could've lost my life from having Beats headphones on. There was a shootout right in front of my school. I was sitting at the bus stop, enjoying my music not knowing what's going on. Then, a stranger tapped me on my shoulder and told me there was a shoot out and that I should run! Thank god for that man, or I may have became a victim. I still see people wearing both headphones in their cars and it bothers me. I am always concerned with if they are going to become victims to robbery, or worse. Though I still listen to my music through my headphones, I now leave one earbud out so that I can be aware of my surroundings.

Where I'm From a poem by Dairue Martin

I’m from a place where you have to come in

Before the night

A place where if you walking alone you have

To hold your pockets tight

A place you will only earn respect

If you know how to fight

Living check-to-check

Never having your dreams in sight

11-year-old boys asking you for a light


The might of the pen

Our words will never

Take flight

I’m from a place where the liquor store was better

Attendance than the schoolhouse

A place where snitching is shunned and you have

To watch your mouth

A place where no one cares about getting good grades

They only care about getting paid and girls

Wanting their hair slayed

SO(U)L a short story by Lexington Rivera

The title of this story was inspired by how one’s love can be so rooted into them but also tied heavily into others.

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of…..” I look around my church and see marriage. The topic of today's sermon is love, the power of God's love. The wooden bench imprinting swirls on my sweaty thighs with the air smelling like clean carpet and old books. I make eye contact with the pastor as he looks around the room.  I shift in my seat as more sweat eats up the back of my dress, the fall weather waiting outside the chapel. Marriage follows my breath like a shadow. The pastor talks of loving both God and your husband in the same way, and that husbands should treat their wives like they do the church. The couple in front of me has been married all my life. I see the way she looks at him, like there is only him and God. y eyes drift toward his hand and see the pale grip of his knuckles on her tiny hand, like a bug in the palm of the beast.

 “The mass has ended, may we go in peace; in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen,” finally.

My mother looks at me and nods toward the exit, she waits for my father's hand before she continues walking.

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.  Genesis 2:22-2

At school I see my friends waiting for me in front of English.

“ Hey you never stayed for group yesterday, what happened?” questions Sarah

“ Sorry, yeah I wasn't feeling good so my mom took us home,” I replied moving forward into the class. We sat at our freshly cleaned tables and took out our books. Sarah continued rambling about her crush from our group while I pretended to listen.

“I mean isn't he just dreamy?” she sighed

“ Yes he practically floated from the heavens,” I mimicked angel wings fluttering by my face. She laughed and turned to the front of the room. As the teacher began roll call I started to doodle in my notebook.

“ Lillian Won-Hernandez?”

“ Present,” I said dully.

“ Alex Carter?”

“ Dreadfully,” she replied

I turn to look at her. I’d seen her around a couple of times,not enough to talk to or anything, just a glance here or there. She looked different today than most days, excited perhaps.

“ Who does she think she is? Talking to an adult like that!” whispered Sarah next to me.

“ Yeah….,” I scoff, eyes not leaving her hunched over figure.

“Who is she anyways? Like what’s her deal?” Sarah asked.

“I’m not sure. She moved here right when school started.he doesn’t go to our church”

      “I’d doubt she goes to any church”

Hearing this, I look Alex for the first time.. She’s wearing black jeans and a plain white t-shirt; her auburn hair falling wildly along her shoulders. She stops her movement and looks up directly at us and I pretend that I’m grabbing something from my bag.

As the bell rings and I pack upto leave she stops me, tugging at my wrist.

“ Next time you decide to talk about me, at least let me in on it” she snaps

“ Oh we weren't….” I trail off as her gaze grows stronger. And then she smiles at me, crooked and small.

“ Yeah I know. ee you around?” She laughs

“ Sure” I reply.

I’d never noticed how bright her eyes were before, she always has it covered in hair or a hoodie. But now I can’t seem to forget what they felt like, watching me, studying me. It’s like she knew I would lie, and she laughed. Why would she laugh? Whatever, I’m getting to caught up about this, just let it go.

As I lay down staring at the moon I’m transfixed on the way the curtain is moved by the wind. Why? God, if you’re listening, why do I feel so lost? I’ve come to you for guidance but I’m not sure I can anymore. It’s like I’m floating and nothing is real, nothing matters. And today with Alex I couldn’t get her out of my head. Please God send me a sign that I’m not alone, that something is coming. I watched as the curtains halted for one, two, three seconds, before they continued flowing.

“Today we are starting something new. You will be writing poetry, but you need to work with a partner. You cannot choose your friend. The assignment can be about any topic you choose ,so be creative and try to really demonstrate complexity,” Mrs. Angel said. Without speaking I gathered my things and walked over to Alex’s desk, plopping down on the seat in front of hers.

“I know you don’t know me and we have only talked but I want to be your partner for this,” I say placing my hands on her desk. I want her to know I’m serious, so I watch her and wait. She looks at me in shock at first before crossing her arms and leaning back dropping her pen.

“And what makes you think I want to work with you?” She questions. As I open my mouth to speak she smiles at me. It starts in her eyes, crinkling down to her cheeks before she was full on grinning.

“ Why do you do that!” I huff out.

It’s funny to watch your face…. sorry. Anyways since you like to be all big and bad what should our poem be about?”

“ Love?” I ask

“Lame” She responds

“ Sadness?”

“Ehhh” She replies, as she shrugs.

I tilt my head and blink at her. Don’t be so stubborn. Why did I choose  to work with you, again?

“ I don’t know,” I reply

“God?” She writes at the top of her paper in blue ink. I roll my eyes, before looking away. When I asked for a sign I didn’t mean like this.

“I mean we could just write about the teen angst that stinks up the halls like everyone else? And besides I happen to know that you are quite the church pet,” she says

“And I happen to know that you aren’t, what’s your point?”

“Nothing really but I kind of like the idea of stepping out into new things. I’ve had my fair share with religion and the Holy Spirit.”

“You? And God?” I stare blankly at her.

“ Woah, Woah not the big man himself but you get it….” she said returning her eyes to her paper.

“ God it is then, I’m free to meet up in the park by school every day except Thursday and Sunday.”

“Great, let’s get started”

I see her walking toward me with a small bag in her hand. I can see the bounce in her step as she finally reaches me and holds it out. The sun shining in between her hair looks like stars hung from a string.

“ What’s this?” I ask, as I slowly reach out to grab it.

“ I know its been like 3 weeks since we finished our projet but I really liked talking to you, and I don't know, but I got you something.” She replied dropping her hand back at her side. I held the bag in my hand and watch her fidget in front of me. It felt heavy in my palm as I undid the drawstrings.

A small water Lily pendant slipped into my hand.

“Thank you so much you didn't have to do this! I feel bad that I didn't get you anything,” I reply.

“Consider it a late birthday present, okay?” She leans in to hug me. I put the charm around my neck as she clipped it. Her fingers danced over my neck and suddenly I couldn't breathe. There was fire climbing up my neck and shooting blades into my chest. My throat is consumed with thick, boiling blood as I stood completely rigid. Someone please help me, God help me! The tears poured down my face as I run into the bathroom. Hunching over the toilet the smell of copper took my nose and my breaths became ragged. Something is wrong, what is this! My head bobbed up and down as my neck muscles strained against themselves.

Lilly! Lilly? Are you ok?” Alex asked.

I couldn't answer as I gagged over the sharp object, letting it fall from my throat with a sludged pop. There in the water lay a rosebud, covered in blood. Coating the petals the blood weighed them down toward the water. What the fuck just happened to me?

“ Lily, did you just throw up? Are you ok?” she panicked.

“ I’m fine Alex, I'm sorry I ran. Just….. Please go” I whispered.

“Oh, Ok.” She said. My body dropped onto the floor as I flushed the rose away.

God? Are you listening? I’m sorry for whatever I’ve done to deserve this. Please make it stop. I don't know what to do, please. I clasped my hands so tightly around themselves that it began to ache. Is this because I've been with her? Avoiding you? Questioning? Is it faith you need?

When I’ve wiped the last of blood from my mouth and I can stand I take myself home. My mother leans over a pot as I take my shoes off. The smell of soup fills my nose and i'm nauseated. The heat of the kitchen breathes on my neck as I walk over to my mom.

“Mom, can we talk?” I ask as I sit by the window. The window fogging up all the colors as I trace a rose in the steam.

“Sure. What’s up? Girl problems?” She replies, putting her rag down. Ha! I wish.

Something happened at school today, well I knew it was coming you know like one of those early stomach bugs where you feel it all over before it finally happens ,but when it does well man it’s just boom like right there…..” By the time I’m done I’m out of breath and she looks even more confused. Yeah I should probably tell her.

I was in the bathroom and I threw up a…… flower?” I said picking at my nails in the dim light.

She doesn’t say anything for a while and I begin to worry, why isn’t she saying anything. See you knew she would think you’re crazy. You should’ve just thrown up the flowers in peace. Good going Lillian.

Oh honey I’m so sorry. I should’ve told you about this. When I was a little girl, no younger than you I was very sick so they took me to the hospital. There were ferns and flowers covering my lungs and stomach. I was more flora than girl by then. Anyways, in the weeks before my sickness I was falling madly in love with boy next-door. As my love for him grew, so did the flowers. It’s a disease called Hanahaki,  for unrequited love. The doctors told me I could get them removed but that it would take away my love for him to, my parents signed the papers and within three days they were gone,but it left me empty and broken. I felt like I’d lost a part of my soul. When I had you I was hoping we wouldn’t go through this.” She sighed. This is insane, is she crazy! To normalize this, my suffering, her suffering. WHY DO I HAVE FLOWERS GROWING FROM MY LUNGS MOM?!

“ So you’re telling me that this is just SOMETHING TO DEAL WITH? LIKE A BAD PERIOD? AND YOU NEVER THOUGHT ONCE TO TELL ME?!” I seethed. The boiling air in the kitchen took my breath as I stood up. And now that I’ve met Alex and she’s so amazing and I’m supposed to just get rid of it? Like it didn’t matter? LIKE SHE DOESNT MATTER? I pant as I rush up to my room choking back the ocean behind my eyes.

The next morning I’m startled awake by a knock on my door. Sitting up I scratch the crumbly blood at the corner of my mouth and nose.

“Lillian I know you’re no sleeping in on this beautiful day!” sings Alex from outside my door.

“I hope you’re ready to fight me for waking me up this early, and it’s freezing out,” I say, stripping out of my clothes and throwing them in the hamper hastily.

“Yeah yeah hurry up I’m taking us out,” she says banging on the door. Finally, as I open up the door she falls forward into me. Catching a whiff of her conditioner makes my head spin. I throw her off and straighten myself up.

“Tough night?” she laughs pointing to my puffy face.

“ Couldn’t sleep.ou?” I asked while slipping on my shoes. You’re talking and I’m definitely not listening wow, I’m so sorry.

Anyways I’m taking you somewhere so just relax and enjoy where we end up ok?” She pulls out the puppy dog eyes and I nearly melt on the spot. Just nod your head and act like there isn’t an old Japanese disease producing ferngully in your lungs. We walk in time with each other never missing a beat. Ever since we met it’s like something inside just fits. We around at a beach near the edge of town. Practically empty and sandy as ever. Exciting.

“ Exciting right?” She deadpans. Her hair being tousled by the ocean breeze as she stares out.

She sat me on the beach, the sand getting  under my skirt and making me shift back and forth.

     “Are you crazy it’s the middle of winter and you’re barely wearing a coat!” I said

    “ Looks at the ocean what do you see?” She faced out word letting her hands drop. I stared at her for a second before I saw the crashing of an oncoming wave.

“The ocean” I replied after a while.

“ Is it calm or rough?” What’s with the philosophy?

“ Both I suppose. It’s calm out there” pointing to the horizon.

“ But rough as it gets closer right?” She finishes. We just sit there for a while and I look at her. I watch her watch the world. How did this happen? We were strangers three weeks ago and now.

"I found the one my heart loves." Song of Solomon 3:4.

       “Do you think ‘God’ or whoever you know; Do you think they know that the ocean would move or did they just put it here, like a swimming pool?” she smiled.

“ What? Of course he meant for it to move,” I say nudging her shoulder. The wind was dancing with the sand as it hummed in my ears. What a sad song. I felt the thorns scratch up my throat clawing at my chest pulling into blood. I swallowed them and grab the sand. I watched as the white grains fall onto one another

“Does God think we are more like the ocean or the sand?” I asked her. It was my turn.

“ That’s more like it, I think he made us to be parts of both. We fall apart again and again like the sand but the water is fluidity and grace and power. It’s like there are people who are made for their counterpart of sand,” she answers. It’s like she waits for these things to happen so she can just speak about it. Is this that keeps her up at night?

“That reminds me of a quote,” I say. She rolls her eyes but then closes them and lays across my lap.

“ Go ahead, I love it when you talk biblical to me” She wiggles her eyebrows.

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Song of Solomon 8:6,” I site.

“Wow, now that’s what I call a poem, take that Mrs.Angel. I was forced to read the Bible when I was younger there wasn’t anything about love. They talked mostly about sin,” she said

“Yeah they don’t tend to talk about love or it’s pain, but trust me it’s in there.” And in me. I have to tell her. I’ll die if I don’t- well actually I’ll probably die if I do. Lord give me strength.

“ I just want you to be the first person I tell this to, okay?” I say, poking the side of her cheek. Don’t lie, don’t lie, don’t lie. She nods her head and waits for me to continue speaking.

“ I’m…… in love with you” I whisper. And just as quickly as the courage came it left as my throat begins to constrict . The heavy heaving of my chest shakes her head and I watch as her eyes grow big. So beautiful. My hand comes over my heart as I breathe through the pain. It’s spreading. Every breath pulls foliage in and back out of my lungs, leaves coil around my ribcage and I feel them through my shirt. The coughing begins and I push her off of me. Crawling on my knees I move away from her.

“Lilian? LILIAN BREATHE! JUST BREATHE! What’s wrong?! Tell me what’s wrong!” she questions. She starts rubbing my back,I can no longer hear her. Her voice blending with the ocean into a hollow hum in my ears. Oh my God, I’m going to die like this. Finally I cough up a small mucus covered Lily and it falls at her feet. Before I can stop myself, I runome and up the stairs tomy room. I love you. As soon as the door slams I fall to my knees in pain, clutching my rosary around my fingers. The animalistic cry from my throat rips the silence into shreds. Here we go. My head spins as I feel something sneaking up my throat, the drag feels deadly. I wish I was dead. Finally I grow impatient and reach my hand into my mouth. I grab at the stem and pull, hard. I can’t hear anything over my howling and even that is hazy. Oh God please I can’t do this. I drag harder as the thorns rip into my esophagus, the blood pouring into my stomach and gurgling up my nose. I gag as the stem is pulled all the way out, dropping onto my lap. This time it’s a water lily, how beautiful…. Shutting my eyes and steadying my breath. I lay there on the floor watching the sun glaze over my window pane. The flower bleeds into my shirt as I rest it on my chest plate, for safekeeping.