by A. Hernandez, 8th
Long live the people who got
Through separation and rough paths
Long live the people who are brave.
Homes, friends, family, and pets were lost far away.
And though it’s not my loss,
It’s reflecting through my life’s mirrors.
Long live my parents
Who are breaking walls by growing flowers.
Long live me
Although I try to break my walls,
I’m still trying to plant my seeds.
by J.Hernandez, 10th
When I pedaled my bike into the redwoods, getting pushed forward by the wind their bodies caught, it felt like their captivating height and never ending leaves were welcoming us with branches that became open arms. They hovered above and gave the sky a new face. All around, the redwoods gave life to any empty space. They told a story
The redwoods slowly seemed to become the sky and were now the creators of the rainfall. Their tree trunks glistened despite there no longer being sunlight.
Every branch and every piece of the redwoods home became a landing point. Making every rain drop seem to fall a little slower. Like it was their way of telling us to appreciate them for a little longer and just a bit harder. Every time a drop landed a new ocean was created with the sound of sharp waves. Splashing, each time louder than the last.
The rain drops decorated
what already was.
despite being colorless
and provided with chances
for new songs.
When the skies were dry once again, mixing green and blue with a little bit of light, rays of sunshine shot through any opening of leaves covering the sky. They came as stripes filled with warmth. Not everything was touched, shadows still lurked on pieces of the land but every place that was, was splashed with a new shade of unnamed color. The rays of sun gave light to different parts of the trees. Their previously inconspicuous growth marks became the spotlight for many. Layers of brown formed like the stripes on a tiger and patches of different textures were created. The trees growth marks are the leftover stains of threatening fires but also the reminder of the trees constant resilience to just
We are not the only ones with beautiful stretch marks.
These redwoods carry a lot on their shoulders and hold many stories all over. The stories grow each time a new one rises. The community strengthens each time a new one climbs through the earth’s soil. The roots spread farther and form more intersections. The roots don’t go deeper than 10 ft but go as far as they need to. Redwoods grow on connection.
until they become
by EC3, 7th
I am not an only child. I have two brothers, both tall but that’s where the similarity ends. My one sister, whom I love maybe a little bit more than the others, also happens to be the oldest. Their ages are 17, 25, and 27, and I’m the youngest. While I have no problem with my other siblings, Christina is the best one. My siblings are forever filling me with knowledge and information, but only one of them stands out. My sister, she is my closest sibling and I admire her. She is the one person I want to be like. We share one thing, our facility with knowledge. From classmates, I’ve been told that I would never make it to college. I’m pretty sure she went through the same thing. So when she walked the stage and received her Master’s degree something inside me sparked.
It was crowded with people coming to see their loved ones walk the stage. We sat close to the front craning our necks every minute looking for her. People started walking in, but none of them were her. Then I saw her my sister, she was fully dressed in her black cap and gown with the gold tassel at the top, she got honors and I was so proud we had given her lots of lays with candy and money. “Christina Francis” called the man at the end of the stage she looked great walking the stage proud, confident, calm. She walked across the stage, received her master’s degree, and sat down. I was about to cheer and then the scene changed. Suddenly It was me walking in, wearing the gold tassel with the lays on my neck, I walked across the stage and received my degree. I sat in the same spot she did looking just as proud or maybe even more. Maybe it was out of shock but I couldn’t help feeling proud to see myself on stage. I know that that day was about her but I couldn't help but feel it was about me too.
I felt tingly inside. Like someone got a bucket of butterflies and poured it in my stomach. Was I in a new world I thought, did I finally get the power of teleportation? Why did it have to be a graduation? Then I see what I think is a bright light, wait am I in heaven? No, it was just my brother’s hand waving me back into existence. Apparently, I was daydreaming. “ Wait did I miss the graduation.” I ask worriedly. “No, you just missed the most boring 10 minutes of my life,” he replies back. Now everything looks so bright. I close my eyes and open them to trying to adjust to the lighting again. “Why do graduations take so long” I wonder out loud. “ Because they do,” my brother almost immediately replies. We sat there for what felt like 5 years (or maybe it was just me exaggerating). I love going to graduations but they are just so long. My back was even starting to hurt. Then finally the closing speech.
When the graduation was over we all took our pictures and made our moments. “Where do you want to go eat?” my mother asked Christina. “It doesn’t matter” she replied. “I’m just hungry”. “Ok then how’s Texas Roadhouse”. My mother asked her “Actually not there, it’s too dirty.” “Well, then what about the Sizzler”. “That's good”. When we got to the Sizzler me and my brother found a table while my mother ordered with the rest of the family. We ate until we were full and then I asked: “Christina what does graduation mean to you?” She replied “The end of childhood and the beginning of life”. Graduation is a meaningful word. Graduation - a ceremony at which degrees are conferred. That's the definition of the word Graduation. But this word means more than a ceremony for me. It means changes in life, to reach a higher stage of life, the time to become a new person, a time to grow up, and a time to follow dreams and separate responsibilities from fun. When I graduate I hope for this definition to still be involved. Being grown up doesn’t seem as fun as the idea of growing up.
As a young adult, all I can think of is growing up and getting to do grownup things. I’ve spent my whole childhood thinking of what I could do when I finally grew up. I’ve painted this pretty little picture in my head of what it’ll be like when I eventually do grow up. When it finally comes time for the picture to be taken off the wall and put into action, I don’t think it would be nearly as fun as creating the painting. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up seems optional. Even though you're growing up, you should never stop having fun. Because eventually you will be old and you will look back and say “I wish I was a child again” to go back and do all the things that you didn’t, to start your life over again.
Since I’m a young adult there are endless opportunities of where your life could take you. Although watching adults it seems they have one opportunity and they have one choice to take it or be a failure in life. As a young adult I can be fearless, not caring what other people think. I don’t have any responsibilities; I get to watch all the good TV shows; I can fail or mess up but it’ll be fine because we can try again. When you graduate from anything, college, a master’s program, medical school, or even law school your life then begins. You start fending for yourself in the real world. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Although if you get the most out of life as a child that won’t be the case for you as an adult, unless of course, it is. All I’m saying is when you're a kid be a kid because when you're an adult you won’t be able too.
by Dani, 11th
“The sun had gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky.” My legs picked up, with my eyes glued to the remains. My heart continued to yearn for his warmness and ability to elute my worries. Flashes of smiles enter my mind and memories of somber days are left in the trail behind. Still stuck on the traces, I only catch small glimpses of what surrounds me. A large body of water that calmly paces its waves back and forth, but then gets frustrated by the peace. I can lightly feel the effects on my ankle. It’s cold, but I don’t respond in shock, I keep my eyes on him. The trees wave so soundly, their gentle presence almost distracts me. I hear the branches of leaves speaking in bundled whispers, their arguments flow into my ears. They cry out the betrayal and his no return. As if almost persuaded, I am stopped by the clasp of the sand beneath me. The grains bury into my skin, unable to break through, but break out a grimace from within me. Hopelessness covers me like a blanket, my sorrow and loss make up two new layers. My neck faces the tidal waves, while my hair moves steadily with the current of wind. My body unresponsive and muscles sighing fatigue, I wonder whether the luminous moon can replace the emotions he gives me. It contrasts against the dark sky, but blends with the burning stars, giving me a sense of tranquility. He speaks to me with ease and understanding. It was almost easy to embrace him and settle with the new environment. I was almost consumed by his grace, until a medium of rays paint the sky subtly and my body revives. His remains reappear in the distance and my legs pick up once again. My pace increases and my eyes stay glued to the skies until I reach him beyond the horizon.
by Andie Stone, 12th
I got a Brain Disorder
My Dark Side trying to cross the Border
I need to get my life in order
I would put it in Check
But, Ships might wreck
All Hands on Deck
The Police still charge through a Door
Faster than a Cord to my Phone
The Government gets Rich
Citizens are Starting to become Poor
ICE still splitting Families apart
Because of Oscar Grant and Nia Wilson I’m scared of the BART
I might look slow but my brain works quick
Just send me home
7th Street is where I was Born
24th street is my life but not where I’m from
I’m Mental and Smart but not Dumb
My Life was a Symphony I Realize I’m half Phantom of the Opera
My Dark side is Airborne while my brain gets torn
I’m an Anthem with Trauma
by Nalli, 12th
What is your favorite color? Yellow. Why? I’m not sure. [Yellow was the color in my grandmother’s apron that she wore almost every day. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still feel her hand holding onto mine.] You are afraid of heights, right? No, I’m not a child. [Yes, when we went into the most beautiful glass elevator I couldn’t breathe the entire time I was on it. I don’t know why high places represent the fall but they do and I don’t know how to change that.] You talk about your mom a lot so you must live with her, what about your father? There isn’t much to tell. [Almost entirely true. I think I might hate him more than I love him and that makes me feel guilty. He’s the reason behind much of my trauma but he is still my father. I wish that didn’t matter.] You enjoy being degraded. Whether it’s by your own hand or another’s, correct? I don’t know how to answer that. [If I gave them permission to hurt me then I’m not allowed to feel pity for myself.] When was the first time you fell in love? I have never fallen in love. [I wish I wasn’t lying.] You’ve cut your hair more times than you can count this year, why? I felt like it, I guess. Change is good. [When I don't like who i’m becoming I chop off my hair because it's the only thing on my body that I can get rid of without raising questions.] Why do you eat so little? I have a very small appetite. [My appetite is bigger than my entire being. I feel like I don't deserve to eat and I don’t want anybody looking at me and thinking the same thing.] What do you consider home? The house I currently live in? I don’t understand this question. [I don’t know if a human is supposed to feel like home but he does and I can't avoid that.] Why are you so quiet? I’m shy. I’ve been like this my entire life. [When his claws dug into me he taught me how to be invisible. I’m 17 and I still can’t speak up for myself and it hurts to say no. I don’t want to be noticed if it comes with a price. I want to be background noise. The color beige. I don’t ever want to be a rainbow.] Who do you love the most in this world? Myself. [ Trying to work on it.] How many people do you see here? Five. [five] two. [two] zero. [zero]
Why do you want to die? [I don't]
I feel so alone it swallows me whole sometimes. [ I want to live. I swear, I do.]
by E.M.Miles, 7th
You fell in love with those days. Those long, endless summer days when the air was hot and heavy and smelled like honey and flowers and fat bees bumbled everywhere and the creeks giggled and the rivers laughed and the lakes sat as still as time and as smooth as glass, not a ripple in sight. Those days that were full of swimming in the cool rivers and icy glasses of lemonade and reading comic books and old romance novels that were scattered on the porch and swinging in the creaky wooden swing in the late afternoon while you waited for dinner, which always came with much gaiety and laughter outside on the picnic table.
And who could forget those summer evenings where you caught fireflies in jars (but always let them go), and ran around doing cart wheels on the grass while the adults watched and spoke about things as quietly as they could because they didn't want you to hear, but it didn't matter because you weren't listening because who cared about grown-up problems when it was summer and you felt like you owned the world. And you loved that feeling of sinking down on to your soft bed after a long, full day, with the sweet and precious pleasure of knowing that you didn’t have to wake up to a blaring alarm clock at 6 tomorrow, that you could sleep as late as you wanted. You loved that feeling just as much as you loved falling asleep wondering if the sun really did go down at night, because it was there when you woke up and there when you went to sleep.
Yes, summer was your season, without a doubt. You always seemed to glow the brightest in summer. Your brown hair was suddenly streaked with blonde. Your skin darkened, and you loved to press your bare arm to your pale, flat belly and exclaim, “look how tan I am!” New freckles bloomed across your cheeks like the flowers in the meadow. (Your freckles were never orange, by the way. They were always a soft, sweet brown, only a shade lighter than your eyes.) In fact, your whole demeanor was flower-like. It was as if, during all the other seasons, you were waiting, arranging your petals, getting ready. Then, in the summer, you uncurled, you spread your petals in a burst of new colors and light and beauty.
In other words, you bloomed. And everyone thought you were so pretty, so full of light and happiness.
Everyone loved you.
Everyone but me.
by Wren Ruby, 6th
I was sitting, heaving my teal helmet over my head. My heart shattered out of my chest, and my body felt light, as if I had no bones in me. The sticky air clung to my skin like hot lemonade with the scent of redwood trees wavering.
I couldn’t. The freefall stared back at me, daring me to jump.
I opened my mouth to ask for it. But I couldn’t.
When voices broke out, pulling me out from my unconsciousness, I had to. I heard carabiners open and anxiety ringing in my ears.
When a long rope hung from my waist, I knew I couldn’t back out. Then I pulled myself forward with momentum, and felt my body flying through thin air. I was defenseless against the wind. My blood dropped to my ankles. I began to feel lightheaded, as my legs and arms went numb, like big, heavy, cement mittens. I felt my vision become foggy just as the zipline slowed to a sight of trees and a wood platform. A man stared at me. “First zipline?” he chuckled, pulling off my rope. My hands shook as I wrapped my shaking fingers around the steps of the ladder, and I climbed down.
The voice of a girl rang out, and I felt her skinny arms wrap around me. “Are you okay?”
by B.Bolt, 10th
A noble warrior, stricken with grief, goes to meet his lady love in the gardens after nightfall. He has just learned she has been having an affair in the days leading up to their wedding, and he seeks to confront her.
Lady: What is thy reason for pursuing me mere? My heart is glad yet my mind warns me of thy demeanor. Have you some grievance I can assuade?
Warrior: Yea, a grievance plagues my thoughts of late. Tell me, dear heart, if a friend more dear to me than mine own cousin were to betray me, cast mine heart and mine pride into the dust, how wouldst thou have me repay them?
Lady: Why, my love, a great distress hath taken thy heart indeed to turn such a gentle soul as you to anger. From whence did this news fly, and wherefore didst thou come to me?
Warrior: The deed was betrayed by its own secrecy, unguarded from prying eyes and listening ears. Tell me, my love, my betrothed, tell me what mine response shall be!
Lady: If thou hath been wronged so as to abandon thy nature in favor of fury, shouldst thou not turn it toward the very man who wronged you? Challenge him, and learn of his motives. Yea, under the shadow of your mighty sword shall the truth be revealed.
Warrior: Yet I am trapped! Scorned would I be to draw my sword on such a maiden as you! Reveal to me the man who shared your bed last eve! Who shall I challenge if not you, the very soul who hath wronged me thus! Nay, I shall not draw my sword. Yet, why for this deed should I not kill you where you sit? Our marriage is advised by all, yet how can I profess my love for thou before them whilst thou did not see fit to save the same for me? Grief I feel, not anger. For the the love I have impressed unto you in word and deed was not false. Yet now I learn that thoust was a lie! Thy do not deny it, nay your lips remain sealed. Shall I take your silence, for penance, for remorse, or dost thy refrain from speaking for fear of exposing thy own guilt? Thus thy rip my heart from my very chest and crush the life from it with thy cold fist. With my grief confirmed I may as well die, for worth there is in living no more without thy love. Thou hath used me as a puppet is used by the jester, and my happiness is ripped away by slender strings. Thus I curse you, temptress, as I go to my death! Curse you, curse you and a thousand times curse you! Let it be known that my blood drips from your hands!
by Hazel Grace, 6th
You know that feeling when your stomach drops when you’re going down a roller coaster? That’s how I felt when I didn’t see my mom after I sat up....
December 28, 2014
“Alright, everyone get in the truck!” My grandpa told us to get loaded in the vehicle, as he was strapping in the two 4 wheelers. We began our short drive to the mountain.
“Did you remember the hot cocoa?” I asked.
“Yes,” my mom told me.
“And all the snacks?”
“Yes,” she said again.
When we got to the trailhead, we started to unload all our gear. While my grandpa prepared the 4 wheelers, my mom, Heather, my sister, Lydia, and I took out the helmets, food and everything else we needed for fun afternoon ride in the beautiful forest. Helmets on, we settled ourselves on the 4 wheelers. I rode on the back of the seat of my mom’s 4 wheeler, and Lydia went with my grandpa. I was nervous, and excited, but mostly nervous.
We started riding up the mountain. I could smell a rich, woodsy scent and see the colorful trees. Before long, we were out of the dense woods, moving up a steep curvy hill on a gravelly road, with a huge drop on the side. I tried not to look down. Once up the mountain, we were in the trees again. My knees were shaking and my teeth were chattering.
“Can we stop for snack now?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Lydia agreed.
“We can stop after we get down this trail,” my grandpa assured us.
“Okay,” I said.
The trail was long and bumpy. There were a lot of rocks and roots and it was steep down hill. Each bump was a little worse than the last. When we finally reached the bottom and came to a flat part, we stopped and got off the vehicles. My knees were still shaking. We opened the snack container and poured hot chocolate into little travel mugs.
“Ahhh.” A long sigh of relief escaped my mouth as I slowly sipped the hot chocolate. The sweetness soothed my nerves and helped me enjoy the outdoors. We laughed and took in the lush forested surroundings. After we finished our snack, we got back on the trail. I felt a little more relaxed, but still wrapped my arms around my mom as tightly as I could.
Later that day…
“We have a decision to make,” my grandpa declared.
“We can either go to see the bridges that go over the creek, which means we’ll have to go a little farther, or we can turn back now.”
I was cold, but I was intrigued. “What do you want to do, Lydia?” I usually deferred to my older sister when I was ambivalent.
“I’m good either way,” said Lydia.
“Me too,” I agreed.
“Why not? Let’s keep going,” my mom joyfully exclaimed.
“Alright then, let’s get going, we are running out of daylight,” my grandpa warned.
After a while we came to a big, steep, and muddy hill. I could feel my heart start beating faster. I could see that my grandpa and Lydia were struggling to get up the hill. Then it was our turn. I could feel the 4 wheeler slipping, the tires losing traction. We were halfway up the hill and....
“Get off, Elliot!” my mom screamed. I could barely hear her but I could hear the urgency in her voice. “We are going over!”
As I rolled off the 4 wheeler, I could see the world spinning around me. Everything happened in a blur. The swirl of trees, gray sky, and then, THUMP! I hit the muddy ground.
You know that feeling when your stomach drops when you’re going down a roller coaster? That’s how I felt when I didn’t see my mom after I sat up....
I looked around and all I saw was the 4 wheeler and the forest. I felt the tears roll down my cheeks as I heard big footsteps coming down the hill. I looked up at my grandpa as he trudged down the mountain. Then I saw her. My mom was trapped under the 4 wheeler. He walked up the hill again. I heard him speaking to Lydia.
“What happened?” Lydia asked.
“Well, your sister fell off and your mom broke her leg.” My grandpa replied calmly.
Lydia and my grandpa hiked down, I was still sitting there in the mud, tears streaming down my face. I stood up and walked down after them.
I felt even more wetness on my face. It had started to rain. Drizzling at first and then the clouds began to steadily release bigger wet drops of rain. It was getting colder, and the rain began falling faster. My grandpa couldn’t lift the 700 pound machine off my mom by himself, so he had to ride the 4 wheeler off of my mom. My mom was screaming like she was dying, crushed by not only the weight of the machine, but the movement of it being ridden off of her. Lydia and I went off to the side of the trail while my grandpa tried helping her onto the 4 wheeler. My mom was howling in pain, telling my grandpa to take us to safety and leave her behind. He of course would never leave my mom. There was only one thing to do.
All four of us piled on to the larger of the two 4 wheelers; me in the front on top of the gas tank, my grandpa behind me, my mom behind him, and my sister Lydia barely sitting on the edge of the seat behind my mom. We slowly rode over bumps, and rocky terrain for about half an hour, my mom moaning and crying over every single jostle. Broken bones rubbing against each other was more tortuous than the break. Finally, we were able to get a cell signal, as before, there was no service to even call for help. My grandpa called 9-1-1 and my grandma, and gave the location we would be arriving at to meet the ambulance. Nearly 30 minutes later, we arrived at the trailhead, and the ambulance was waiting for us.
The paramedics helped my mom into the ambulance and my grandpa went with her. My grandma was there to pick us up and took us back to her house. Later, we went to the hospital to see my mom. The doctor said that she had broken her leg, in two places above her ankle. The tibia and fibula were broken clean through, but fortunately, not through the skin. My mom had to stay in the hospital for a week before she could come back to California, so my dad flew to Oregon to come pick us up.
When my mom came home, we had to change a lot of things so she could get better. She was on crutches for two months and couldn’t drive or go to work. My dad made a lot of dinners and took us to school every day. It was hard to see my mom unable to get up and play with us, but eventually she got better, and now she is healed, and it’s almost like the accident never happened. That is, except for the titanium metal rod and pins that will always be inside of her leg.
Recently, my mom went back to the spot on trail where the accident took place and and reflected on what happened more than 4 years ago. My grandpa has created more than 50 trails that connect in the mountains, and there are names for every trail. Most have handmade signs designating the trailhead. He named the trail where we fell on that beautiful and terrible day.
The sign reads Heather’s Bones.