A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art

Etymology + If I Were a Compass, I Would Point East + Object Writing





Let this word settle on your tongue

Roll it around in your mouth
feel its weight
its burden

Detect its flavor—

Feel it change shape
from liquid
to solid
to liquid again

Spit it out
Roll it in your hand
Notice its appearance
small, like a lighted match
burning your fingers

Put it back in your mouth
Swallow it
Digest it

Notice how it catches in your throat
Burns in your stomach
Then look at me.


Wrap your tongue around this word & hold it there

Feel the frigid surface
slowly cooling your mouth
an unmelting block of ice

Let it slip off your tongue
Hear it slap your hand
With the force
of a falling tree

How hard it is
Like a stone

Let it slide down your throat
feel it freeze your heart
cool you at your core
Until you are numb
and lifeless
and cold
Then look at me.


Take this word & lather
each syllable
with your tongue

Then spit it out
and use it like a bar of soap
to wash your hands and your feet

If it doesn’t clean at first,
do it again
Rinse & repeat
and repeat
and repeat
and repeat

until the dirt is gone
Then look at me
Watch me do the same
Knees to the earth,

If I Were A Compass, I Would Point East

People expect me to be  a real person—
that’s impossible.
Whose idea was it anyway,
to put magnets in my arms,
submerge me in water?

I wish those around me
would study physics.
Or biology.
Or any other science,
for that matter,
like psychology.
Then they would see my dilemma,
our blatant disregard for what
we can’t see.

I know only one person
who can defy nature’s edicts—
and seeing as my feet have already
broken the surface tension,
I have a sneaking suspicion
the rest of my
limbs will follow suit.

The Doctors,
also known as my family,
enter my room
at night—
What do you want to be when you wake up?
they ask me
I want to be ethereal,
I say.

Object Writing
(for Ciara Knisely)

The plant is small
only four inches
from root to bud
-This is not an estimation
but is measured with
the exactness of my mind
A ruler with inches
as big or as small
as I perceive them to be-
Shallow roots
Thick leaves
Waxy in texture
like a grape
nestled within ceramic
the color of the fire
that hardened it
-but more subtle-
as though viewed
from within a shadow
When struck
it sings
a hollow
to appease
its abuser

The soil-
The plant itself malnourished
shriveled leaves
fallen leaves
One delicate finger
-nail painted black-
Strokes a leaf
It falls
hits the starving dirt
we laugh
-the plant is not ours-
Two delicate fingers
reach in
part the soil
-a strange
inapplicable analogy
can be applied
and grasp
a plump leaf
squeeze it
test it
“We should dissect
it” she says
A thought
“I’ll keep it
for a bit first”
A smile

The soil crumbles
in my fingers
She sees
and grabs her
water bottle
-a mischievous smile-
and gives the soil
a drink
which it soaks
still thirsty
but grateful

I pick up her souvenir
“lick it”
I glance
at her
then touch my tongue
to its waxy
-It tastes
very green-
we laugh
she from her
own humor
but I from
her beauty
the way she
-a melancholy undertone-
and how she laughs
and how
when she writes
those curls of gold
fall around her head
and silhouette her face
-full of concentration
and creativity-
her pencil poised
in her hand
ready for whatever
genius she has
to offer

I am the soil
She is the leaves

About the Author

Nathan Kiphart lives in Warsaw, Indiana, where he divides his time between school, working, sleeping, and reading. He recently graduated from Warsaw Community High School. He writes poetry because doing so helps him to more clearly see and express what is going on inside of himself. It is his outlet, his way of being naked before the world, and, more importantly, being naked before himself.

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