Jun 28

To the Aliens Employing Their Best Cryptologists


My sister and I decided to plant a time capsule for the aliens. We were too old to indulge in our fantasies then but were careening smack dab through a conspiracy phase that began with what was - only just probably - a lightning bug way up in the sky. It chafed against everything Father Don had been teaching us about the universe since we were old enough to pick our noses. On second thought, maybe that was what we liked best. 

A Saturday night was relinquished to the task, though when it came to choosing the artifacts we were lost. Our pens stood poised over notebook paper so long the tips drooled black holes you could see three pages behind. Every relic required a specific purpose, needed to reveal something profound about the world as we saw it. 

The Pros of the first proposed object, a hairdryer, were:
   - The American cult of beauty is fucked and that's some anthropological wisdom worth passing on right there!
Jun 25

Canines

You're almost out of high school and still saying 'daddy.' All I can think about is you fucking your father. Or, "Damn, Rachael, I only got a new pair of Uggs for my eighteenth." We were cruising Pearl Ave., top down and radio on, wind whipping so hard there were rats packing up to move in next to my bobby pins. The satin ribbon stuck to the hood of the car flapped for a while longer and detached itself, lost to the underside of someone else's tire. Rachael shrugged. "Have you started your Shakespeare paper yet?" My voice was all breeze and virginity. At a stoplight I watched a homeless man rattling a plastic coffee cup. He aimed an assortment of teeth at a woman on the sidewalk, hoping to claim her attention for a spare dime. The woman smiled back, naively maybe. She stuck her hand in her pocket, fumbled around, and pulled out a cellphone. Her co-star cursed and stumbled for her in retaliation to the fraud, faced at 3pm and cheated of a fistful of change.
Jun 25

Flower, Power

Maya and I are down by the creek chanting, "I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME SPLASH." We lift our knees to our stomachs with measured purpose, gather our energy, and drive them down again into the muck.

Grit
moxie
recalcitrance
rub off into the shallow water through the tips of our toes. We are here. The ground shakes beneath us. I pluck a daisy off the embankment and twist it up into my braid. Even now, I am as soft and bare to the world as a kitten's yielded stomach.
Jun 13

Life's Real...

Jun 07

Spring Photo Contest

After receiving many beautiful submissions and a particularly difficult decision, we're ready to announce our three winners of the Spring Photo Contest!

nean_bean's "Dock" (first photo of album)
- semacdonald's "A Delicate Thing"
- NGB777's "Barn Swallow"


These students will receive some tasty Young Writers Project chocolate bars and guaranteed publication in the upcoming weeks. But have no doubt - we fell in love with a lot of these photographs, and are excited to find uses or avenues of publication for many of them.

Stay busy, friends! You're always welcome to send us photographs, no matter the time of year. A sincere thank you from YWP headquarters for your participation and enthusiasm.
Jun 05

Acetonal

Acetonal 

I'm find myself scraping off the dust-pink shellac warping my fingernails. A half-life has come to pass; I'm not sure whose. 

By the end of last week I'd sanded straight through a three-pack of emery boards from an old December stocking and am now left with the dull edge of dollar store clippers. The ruddy scabs on my finger-creases still come from a nervous eczema itch when I choose to look closer. I do not.

Instead I let the chips fall where they may. Without sight I sense my DNA settle into the flannel of my bedsheets. Keratin and rose polish snowflakes - a melancholy glitter. There is no sparkle to catch the lamplight. I realize now that I do not know the backs of my hands any better than I know the calluses on the bottom of my own feet. 

At least on my toes, I remind myself, I can still picture the grass stains of summer. The nail beds there bleed too, but not as much.

I am violent, but I am vindicated.
Mar 06

Growing Corn

“To grow your own corn you must make sacrifices,” they tell me, but I sneak into my neighbor’s yard with a trowel anyway.

I loosen the edges of a round plot like a spatula to a pancake, roll it up, and drag it over the picket fence to my barrenness (they won’t even know it’s missing). 

When the Almanac dictates my time to plant I take the seeds from my apron pocket and rub my bruised lips against them. One by one I release them into their holes, exhaling.
 
To the wind I ask, Is that enough? 

Each sunrise I leap out of bed to inspect the dirt with a magnifying glass, on the lookout for sprouts even before I piss. In the soft dawn light I water them, read to them, running my fingers through the peach fuzz grass. 

But they were right all along. In the end I grow impatient; I submit.