A Letter from The Editor

Dear Readers,

As you may notice, we are back online. Our intention here at The Indicator was always to keep up our online presence, but with the distractions of a print magazine, passwords were lost, attentions were fixed elsewhere, and certain people (meaning me) did not want to tackle the beast that is WordPress. But, recent changes in the Amherst College community (and the wider world) have made this website crucial. As many of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a series of preventative measures by governments around the globe, and Amherst College has not been immune to these changes. As of March 9, Amherst College students were instructed to return to their homes if they were able and to continue courses entirely online. Amherst being the first college to implement such measures, this announcement came as quite a shock. For myself, being a senior, I was stunned to realize that what precious few weeks I still had left on campus were now suddenly and irredeemably stolen from me. I had one week to pack up my whole life here, find a flight home, say goodbye to all of my friends and professors, and do everything I told myself I had to do before I graduated. Of course, these tasks were exhausting and emotionally charged. I know that for all students, leaving campus (or watching all of your friends leave campus while you have stayed) was a heavy and possibly heartbreaking experience. My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by these changes and the greater changes we face every day as the news of this virus develops. 

Consequently, the dispersal of our student body meant that The Indicator would not be able to publish a print issue this semester. As Editor-in-Chief, this realization was saddening. All of my preparation for timelines and content and outreach were essentially nullified; my last opportunity to hold in my hands a magazine full of brilliant and beautiful work that I helped to bring about was gone. Everyone on the Indicator staff knows that I grieve this opportunity for all of us, and I apologize for not being able to deliver on my promises of seeing your work in print this semester. 

Yet, these changes do not necessitate a complete halt to The Indicator’s production: we have our website! For this semester (and the summer, if possible), The Indicator will be entirely online. I would like to provide a platform for our now disparate staff members to continue to contribute their amazing work, since I know many students had plans for articles and art pieces that they would still like to share. Granted, some of these projects may now need to be modified–stay tuned for my own contribution to our online content–but that does not mean they will be lessened in caliber or creativity. In an effort to be attentive to and considerate of the varied circumstances in which our staff members now find themselves, there will not be a scheduled timeline for the release of content, nor will the usual constraints on word count or content type be imposed. In short, I want The Indicator to be available for whatever our staff–or any eager contributors!–would like to say, whenever they want to say it. I entreat you to follow us on this journey and perhaps to even partake in it yourself.

That being said, I would like to acknowledge that our content has a hitherto unspoken theme guiding its production. Before our campus’s closure, it was our intention that the theme of the Spring 2020 issue would be “Metamorphosis.” Strangely enough, this theme was decided way back in the fall, though it seems fitting now more than ever. This certainly is a time of intense change and growth for us all, regardless of where we are and how COVID-19 is impacting us. The new can so often be confused with the disconcerting, that many times metamorphoses are only appreciated once the transformation(s) are well behind us. I hope that, even when disoriented, frightened, worried, or struggling, we can acknowledge the metamorphoses of our present moment and–if not gain appreciation for them–to at least give a nod to the ways that they are contributing to our identities and our ways of being. While the staff is not required to speak to this theme in their content, they are nevertheless able to pursue this option. I wonder how what follows will fit into our theme, intentionally or otherwise. I am excited to see what we can make, and again I invite whoever wishes to join us to reach out to me at my email at hbrennan20@amherst.edu.

I will be thinking of all of you during the coming months, whether you are a member of my staff or a reader of our magazine. I send you all my best wishes for health and happiness, and I thank you for giving me the honor of being The Indicator’s Editor-in-Chief over these past two years. It has been my most sincere pleasure.

With love,

Heather Brennan

Dean Dean Gendron’s Party Tips by Jake May ’19

We here at the Indicator recognize that the rift between Amherst’s students and its administration is growing every single day. Given our reputation as the “Undisputed #1 Best Voice of Amherst College” (look it up), we, here at the Indicator understand that we have a responsibility to aid in the mending of this rift. That’s why this month, we, here, at the Indicator, asked Senior Associate Dean of Students, co-author of the infamous email, and potential lizard-person Dean Gendron to provide some tips on how to make Amherst parties “even more fun than they already are.” (His words, not ours.)

 

Hello. I am Dean Dean Gendron, but you can call me Dean Dean Gendron. You may know me if you went to the AAS Town Hall meeting about the Party Policy-I was the ghostly man who looked like he hadn’t been outside in 10-12 years. (I actually want to take a second to clear this up right now: I have been outside in the past 10-12 years; in fact, I go outside at least once a week. It’s just that I only go outside at night, okay? Not that hard to understand.)

Anyway, I have some tips on how to improve your parties here at Amherst College. These all come from personal experience.

1. Sit in a circle on the ground and get to know each other. Ask each other questions like “What’s your favorite color?“ or “Where were you on the night of the Summer Solstice?” Classic getting-to-know-each-other stuff.

2. While your in the circle anyway, go ahead and grasp the hands of the people sitting next to you. Look at the person to your left in the eyes (NOT the person to your right; be extra careful about this). Once you have made eye contact, look to the sky and, in unison, say “Great and powerful Uungatuu, we are ready.”

3. At this point, whoever has been designated as the Shaman should place the ceremonial Orb in the middle of the circle. The Shaman should then sing The Pitch. Join in and create the sacred harmony. The Orb will begin to glow-hopefully blue. If it is blue, the great Uungatuu has blessed us for another cyle. If it is red, you must accept your impending doom, for the great Uungatuu is our lord, our rock, our reedemer.

4. Instead of a drinking game, try playing a different type of game, like Charades or Mafia.

 

jmay19@amherst.edu

Misty by Lauren Weiss ’18

For my dog, upon her seventh birthday

 

She does not run as fast as she once did.

Still, her legs swing like furry pendulums,

Tiny chest seeming to graze the ground as

She sprints after a wayward tennis ball.

 

The sound of knocking at the door used to

Make her leap down from her favorite spot.

These days it takes more to coax her from this

Paradise, that sun-warmed patch on the bed

 

Where she snoozes through the day, waking when

Tantalizing smells from the backyard find

Their way up into the upstairs window.

She wrinkles her small damp nose and wonders.

A Brain Held Hostage of Expectation

 

You think you can do these things, but you just can’t, Nemo.” -Marlin

 

Follow your dreams off the edge of a cliff!

Coddle hopeless, nonsense notions.

Blind to what’s before us – even our noses;

Tears, like truths, are hard to swallow.

 

Block reality’s rays with rosy shades.

Duty and Zeal bind tightly: twin shackles.

New journeys lie beyond open doors, but

We ignore and reject perspective.

 

Sacrifice home for a fleeting fancy-

Like soldiers without a cause.

Martyr-like masochists; we’re bleeding out!

Sweat anointing furrowed brows.

 

Secure your success ‘til tenacity falters-

Dig hallowed holes for low grades.

Inflating bubbles with shallow breaths,

Destiny decrees: await your– POP!

 

Never stray from plans premade;

Share the worn-down paths they paved.

Lead us to sisters of fate or despair,

Known as Lawyer, Doctor, Engineer.

 

Dreams vanish in air; prisons BURST!

Prophecy is fulfilled.

Losers stall to hide their shame, but

Stripped bare we battle on still.

 

(Arrogance!) Leaves us blind and deaf;

No worldly being could pass that test.

Disarmed by bliss–oblivion’s kiss–

Will we then concede our ignorance?

 

mdiaz20@amherst.edu

Violence and Control by William Denzel Wood ’18

In the wake of the terrible shooting that took place in Florida a few weeks ago, I’d like to talk briefly about the difference between violence and control—there is no difference. Violence is control. Control is violence. Guns are violence, just as are hateful words. Telling someone they’re not good enough is violence, as is bombing innocent civilians on the other side of the planet through drone strikes. Unfortunately, the Left’s answer to this problem of control in the form of firearms is more control, and the Right’s answer is to bury their head in the sand while both cuddling and fondling the NRA lobby. Violence breeds violence. The attempt to control breeds further control. Does this mean that we shouldn’t expand gun legislation? I don’t think so. Ban guns. Ban all of them, sure, put on restrictions, make rules, take them away. I don’t need a gun—it’s not a hobby of mine, I don’t care (other Americans would care, which could cause its own sort of violence). Let’s be honest; people would find ways to access guns, but at least they’d be illegal. However, that still wouldn’t address the core issue of why The US of A has the worst gun violence per capita of any first world nation. I believe the roots to be that, as a culture, we are obsessed with power, control, and violence.

Why do most shootings take place in school? Is it because kids are inherently violent? Or, perhaps the issue stems from the systemic micro-aggressions these children experience daily at the hands of their teachers and peers? I’m not saying that these angry adolescent white males shouldn’t be blamed for the terrible things they’ve done in school shootings. Rather, they should receive counselling and individualized treatment to address their racist, sexist, violent tendencies. These people are conditioned to believe they have a disease, when in fact they themselves  are becoming ostracized—which better manifests their hatred. Ostracism is a form of control: it’s a way of excluding someone considered ‘off,’ which only makes them more off. School shooters are symptoms of a societal illness, and under these conditions guns only serve to facilitate more violence. We need to behavioral treatment for students, promote flexible classes, maintain better peer relations, and regulate youth gun ownership. We should treat the root and the symptom.

These white males that shoot up their schools clearly have some kind of evil manifesting in them, and it doesn’t come from nowhere. This evil derives from their peers, teachers, parents, strangers, and through the isolating culture of mass media. Of course, the choice of choosing to kill rather than reaching out for help requires mutual efforts, but our system of competition, politics, celebrity culture, movies, video games, and general society convinces young minds that power is a priority. And so, when you’re an outcast at school, an easy route to ultimate power is through a gun. Therefore, let’s treat the disease that infects people like Nikolas Cruz. We must reform the notion that guns are a means of empowerment for those in psychological pain, rather than try to approach these issues with polarizing be-all-end-alls. Because if we don’t do something to change our schools, using our power as voters, as political voices, then these tragedies will continue. I don’t want that on my conscience, and neither do you.

wwood18@amherst.edu

Flightless Bird by Ariella Goldberg ’19

It was about 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, February 21st, and 61-year-old Don McCevoy was following the perimeter of the New Science Building. He walked with a slight limp, which he’s had for years, the result of some long-forgotten injury. Don wore old jeans and a bright blue windbreaker. He swept a cane from left to right in front of his feet, inspecting the overturned snow in its wake. In his left hand he carried a gallon-sized bucket.

“We didn’t find as many today,” said Don. “But that’s unusual. Yesterday we found over sixteen.”

Don has been collecting bird carcasses for almost twenty-seven years, and he notes the increase in deaths since the construction of the New Science Building. “It’s those huge glass windows,” he observes. “Birds don’t understand those huge glass windows.”

Don is a widely acclaimed and significantly published researcher of the American Association of Ornithology. Some of his most referenced articles include: “Handling Avian Specimens: An Evaluation of Preservation Methods in the Modern Archive” (1994, Vol. 134a, ISSN 0005-3857); “21st Century Migration Patterns of the Black-Throated Blue Warbler” (2001, Vol. 210b, ISSN 0003-5489); and “A Survey of the Shorebirds of Massachusetts” (2012, Vol. 32, ISSN 0031-4958). Don has been tracking recent changes in the populations of common bird species in western Massachusetts, and has discovered a 2.1% decrease in northern waterthrush counts since the window panes were installed in the New Science Building. He finds this figure alarming, considering that the main structure is far from complete. “It’s safe to predict a massive incline in mortality rate as soon as they install the remaining windows. Specular reflection. I can imagine their little bodies pinging against the great wave of glass in multitudes. And lying on the ground, tiny bird organs remain warm and full of vital fluids even as the legs stiffen with rigor mortis. A gory spectacle for anyone inside,” Don muses. “The unsuspecting sparrow wouldn’t notice anything’s awry until it’s right up against the glass, gazing into its own reflection.”

Don has an entire room in his basement dedicated to his menagerie, which he organizes on shelves by year collected and species name. Don has installed special LED light fixtures with UV filtering to prevent potential harm to his collection. Some birds have been stuffed, with their wings outstretched and held in place by wire structures. Others are preserved skeletons in glass domes. Don’s wife, Siobhan, is a local realtor. She and Don have hardly spoken in eleven years, except when they compare guesses during their weekly viewing of The Price is Right. Siobhan often spends nights at her sister’s house in Nantucket.

Don works a quiet job unrelated to his passion. The construction of the New Science Building has been a highlight of Don’s recent fixations. He spends long periods of time in his basement, adjusting his latest array of specimens in their various states of decay. Sometimes, during Don’s daily routine, he considers the gravity of his task and the future ahead. We have to ask ourselves: Why would Amherst portray itself as an institution dedicated to conscious ecological behavior, and yet take actions that seem deliberately in opposition to this initiative? Even the installation of the windows on the western side of the building seems aimed at posing danger to its unsuspecting feathered victims. Studies by the North American Avian Society show that west-side facing windows contribute to 16% of bird deaths worldwide. The New Science Building is near the heart of the Bird Sanctuary. “I don’t understand the design team’s mission,” Don shakes his head. He takes photos of the large glass panes and shows them to Siobhan, who stands at the kitchen sink and gazes out the window expressionlessly. She glances at the photos briefly and turns away. “It’s beautiful,” whispers Siobhan. “I’d smash into those windows too, if only to be closer.” Siobhan carries a Taurus Millennium G2 Pistol in her handbag.

Projected completion time for the New Science Building is Fall 2018. Early birdsong accompanies unseasonably warm temperatures. Don fears the future ahead. He can’t help but wonder if the unfriendly design decision was intentional. He asks us to look deeper. “It’s no secret that several higher-ups in the Amherst College administration devalue bird welfare.” In fact, we were able to secure minutes of recent Committee of Six meetings, and find that certain members express deep resentment of birds. We will list a few of the most shocking sentiments here. “This dialectic has formed the central problem of my scholarship” -Adam Sitze. “I fucking hate birds” -Biddy Martin. Other administrators are similarly bitter. Suzanne Coffey fills birdfeeders outside her bedroom window with birdseed laced with rat poison. Some students also display alarming behavior toward birds. An anonymous sophomore, whose name rhymes with floss, admits to incorporating birds in his sexual stimulation techniques. In general, it seems that Amherst is an anti-bird campus.

As this monument of avian death is erected, consider the birds. Don lights a cigarette and peers into his bucket of wilted, damp bodies. With a few hours’ work, their wings will be pinned, outstretched in a parody of flight. “Siobhan,” Don sighs.

acgoldberg19@amherst.edu

#MeToo: What Now? by Lisa Zheutlin ’21

On January 20th, I took to the streets of New York City, protesting alongside 200,000 other feminists, demanding equality in the second annual Women’s March. With the recent onslaught of sexual assault accusations, beginning with Weinstein and permeating out of LA and into our daily lives, the March could not have come at a more pressing time. These accusations have taken shape and gained traction under the #MeToo movement, but where do we go from here? When does it move beyond the, albeit heteronormative, “he said, she said” and into the realm of this is a fucking serious fundamental flaw in society that needs be addressed at every angle in every level of every human being in order to eradicate the ingrained notion that women are inferior to men? Why not, say, now? It seems daunting and irreparable; the system is broken.  I’m not saying that my suggestions in this article are going to eradicate sexual assault, but they need to be verbalized, or at least immortalized in the Amherst Indicator, for my own sake (if not society’s).

Put simply, what we need is a complete upheaval of our gendered socialization of children.  Easy, right?  Why, before a fetus is even born, are we purchasing pink “It’s a Girl” balloons or blue “It’s a Boy!” balloons, and why did society gender blue as male and powerful while pink is female and delicate? Why do mothers and fathers interact differently with their children?  Why do mothers treat male and female babies differently?  And how does this all translate into our adult behaviors? I’m not a developmental psychologist or sociologist (yet?), but it is evident that our sexual encounters (as with most encounters in our lives) are inherently dictated by our gendered socialization and the fundamental biases accompanying that. It is hard to imagine an eradication of gendered socialization, but we do not even need to revolutionize child rearing in order to better our current sexual encounters. What we need is communication, accountability, and empowerment.

Our sexual encounters could legitimately be revolutionized with communication. Women are taught from a very young age to prioritize the needs of others over their own, fostering the “nurturing” and “motherly” stereotypes. This is so problematic, especially in terms of sexual encounters, because it sets women up to struggle to voice their opinions and get what they want out of an encounter. But it also just hampers the entire sexual interaction; both participants should be enjoying themselves and making sure that the other is comfortable, and it should never be one-sided. Teaching women to speak up is not the panacea; it actually does nothing if men are not simultaneously taught to listen. What is especially jarring about the #MeToo movement is how many women have had similar experiences. It was impossible to scroll through social media without seeing a friend, family member, classmate, random acquaintance, or idolized celebrity voicing that, they too, had experienced sexual harassment or assault. How did so many women have such horrible sexual experiences? Why did so many men subject women to these experiences?  We are not getting what we want out of sexual encounters because we are not being listened to, and it is hard to discern whether this is a blatant lack of respect from men or a genuine ignorance. Due to socialization, men are in positions of power, so they are not taught to constantly worry about what women are thinking or feeling, whereas women must be perpetually aware of what men are experiencing. We need to teach boys and men that empathy, which starts with listening, does not correlate to a fragile masculinity, and the entire premise of a fragile masculinity must be shattered. While women need to be more vocal and men need to be more receptive, it does go both ways: if someone does not speak up in a sexual encounter, the other person can check in and make sure they are enjoying themselves, as well. And, and this is such a big and, a woman saying “no” is not a flirty way of playing hard to get, it does not warrant further pressing, it should not be turned into a half-hearted “fine” or “sure”; it should be respected, validated.

But if we are encouraging women to speak up and voice discomfort, while teaching men to listen, we need to ensure accountability when this listening is violated. These men need to be held accountable for their actions, whether that means removal from positions of power, judicial sentencing, public awareness, education. We cannot let this continue. We cannot let these men continue to violate women and remain in positions of power, coddled by the patriarchy.

This accountability and enhanced communication will directly translate into women’s empowerment. If women know that they will be listened to when they voice discomfort, if they know that when violated, their assaulters will be held accountable, then they will gain agency. I think women gaining power often threatens men, and there has been a backlash against #MeToo: people blaming the victims, saying it wasn’t assault and just bad sex, saying no man is safe from “the reckoning.” But it is not the men who are unsafe because they are at risk of being accused; it is the women who are unsafe from the abuses of men in positions of power.  We shouldn’t be scared for our men if we raised them in ways to ensure they would never violate a woman’s bodily autonomy, if we raised them to listen, to have empathy, to be aware of another person’s discomfort, to ask questions. And men shouldn’t be threatened by women gaining power; adding voices to the conversation will help everyone.

While the majority of this diatribe has been centered on underlying societal flaws, we cannot forget how gendered socialization is at the root of this. And it becomes especially interesting to analyze how gendered vocabulary in our everyday lives contributes to these stereotypes. The cliché statement of “words matter” that we learned in elementary school is applicable to this movement, as words have so much power in the systemic oppression of women. This is not some liberal agenda of political correctness, it is just common courtesy to think about the words we use and how they affect our own actions and perceptions while also influencing those around us. In terms of our everyday vocabulary, we can analyze the use of “pussy.” We are all sadly aware of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape in which he said, “Grab ‘em by the pussy.  You can do anything.”  This blatant entitlement to assault sparked outrage in the nation (not enough outrage to stop millions of people from voting for him), but we’ve heard “pussy” used derogatorily in our everyday lives. Children and adults alike use the statement “don’t be a pussy” to mean “don’t be a wimp,” goading their friends into doing something brave, for example. Why does the word pussy have a connotation of weak, something we shame men, and even women, out of being?  Meanwhile, the word “cocky” has the connotation of being overconfident. It symbolizes power and boldness, bordering on arrogance. So, to be fair, cocky is not always used positively; it can be insulting, implying a lack of humbleness, but compared to the usage of “pussy,” it is inherently more powerful and less derogatory. Why can’t we change the way we use pussy and say, “Wow! John was such a pussy today…he jumped off the waterfall, it was so cool!” Reading this, and hearing it said out loud, might seem ridiculous, even satirical, but it then becomes important to analyze why we think using pussy with a powerful connotation is funny. This leads us to the realization that we have internalized the stereotypes; we are a part of the problem, as it seems outlandish to view pussies as powerful. When we internalize the connotations of pussy*, it translates into women being perceived as weak, which contributes an entirely new perspective to the issue of sexual assault.

This similar line of analysis can be helpful when thinking about statements like, “be a man,” or “manpower,” or “man up,” or “grow a pair.” If we really think about what we are implying it becomes alarming: only men can be brave and powerful. This gendering of words shifts out of our vernacular and into our political and vocational realms with titles like “chairman” and “policeman.” When we think about why we do not have a sufficient number of women in politics, we can simply look to the overt gendering of titles, which shows how the positions were not made for women, they were made without women even in mind.  And how can we expect accountability if women have paltry representation in our legislative and judicial systems? 

The #MeToo movement has been so powerful in illuminating the revolting prevalence of sexual assault in our society. Yet it also serves as yet another example of the impacts of gendered socialization on our society. When analyzing the #MeToo movement, it all seems to return to the patriarchy. But we are a part of the system: we have been raised to internalize these stereotypes, and we continue to raise our children to inherently value masculinity and its powerful connotations. From here, there is so much that needs to be done. We need to empower women through the promotion of communication in sexual encounters. We need to ensure that men are listening and are held accountable. In our everyday lives, we can watch our word choice. While changing the connotation of pussy and using it positively will in no way eradicate sexual assault in our world, it will at least empower women rather than send subliminal messages that their sexual organs are symbols of weakness. We can think about the words we use and how they impact those around us, how they can validate certain behaviors and alter others. We need to continue marching, fostering awareness, promoting change. And this is only the beginning.

*It’s important to point out that the use of pussy in this example is not meant to be trans-exclusionary; women without pussies deserve to be treated equally to women with pussies.

lzheutlin21@amherst.edu

A Letter to Power by Zoe Akoto ’21

To Power:

saw you in my memories the other day. They were of my father and the stories he told me as a child, oral histories and old tales shipped express from his life in Ghana. I remember the Ashanti queens, such strong and powerful leaders, and the warriors with bodies coated in gold. I remember the witches, the healers, skin so dark and feet so quick that they looked like shadows; you could never touch them, they could never be caught.

It’s funny, how it all turns to dust. And suddenly, my stories are all pale and blonde and you are the shadow teller, my new narrator tucking me in. The best way to write someone out of a story is to not tell them that you’re doing it. So, you raised me on Ariel, Belle, and Cinderella; taught me to look through a broken mirror and not notice the glass in my eyes; fed me sand and told me it was butter. And as I followed you, let you guide me, my hand in yours, I realized that the dark-ugly wasn’t me, but you, and the world you’d given me was a cold tower where you’d locked me away. The best way to write someone out of a story is to never include them in the first place.

I’m coming into my own agency. I am out beyond your tower and rinsing my eyes to see for the first time in years. I’m remembering my mother and her mother and summers spent in Georgia, down the street from a peach-packing factory. Endless Sundays in hot churches, sweaty dresses sticking to pews, enough fans flapping to lift you higher than revelations. I’m claiming the history of my mother’s family, of generations not spent in Cameroon, resilience in oppression, digging roots in your dirt. The broken hair brush and the hot comb (with the burn scars) and the two-step. I’m learning that history is alive and your story isn’t mine. Once upon a time, I wished for milk and honey, and now I dream of gold-coated skies, my grandmother’s hands and endless Sundays.

But I can still feel myself within your design. I’m building a home inside your castle, putting my words inside your pages. You want me to claim my ancestors’ bondage, to glimpse the reflection of myself in your image and carry the shards of your mirror. To remember my grandmother but not Old Lady, the face I’ve only touched once, who speaks a language unburied, not given by masters, lives on land cultivated without blood and chains. I’m beyond your tower but locked in a shining city on a hill, and you’re omnipresent but visible, whispering in my ear as I walk down the street. I feel you in my classrooms, in my home, in my bed, delicately placing your hand back in mine. Sometimes, I still crave the sand; still flinch and shudder at my Black skin against white walls; see your shadow in the ghosts that go bump in my mind. Once upon a time, you haunted me  and now, you still do.

I wonder if you even know yourself. Do you see yourself? Do you know I see you?

You’re my high school required reading: thirty-five dead white men and Chinua Achebe; the twenty-eight girls in my elementary school class and the zero who looked like me. You’re the head turns the moment the teacher mentions race. You’re the bathroom tile, throat burning, head spinning, tears I cried without understanding why. You’re the institution. You’re the seat at the table. I wonder if your throat burns too, from all the voices you’ve swallowed. You talk with words you don’t understand and tell stories that don’t belong to you, spilling them recklessly out of your mouth until it’s truth. But truth is not a singular object you can stitch together from torn histories. You do not own it; it belongs to many.

So, I’ll speak on what I know and tell it like it is. I remember my father’s stories and I remember when I decided they were lies. I remember my mother’s weary, knowing sigh every time she found me crying, rubbing my back like her mother had done, and all the generations before her. I remember I used to stutter when I spoke, until I realized I had something worth saying. Old Lady taught me that some stories don’t need to be spoken to be heard, but some need to be translated to be understood. My grandmother gave me endless Sundays and showed me it takes many hands to make revelations. The best way to write a new story is to start with a memory. Once upon a time, you gave me sand, and I built a garden.

– Zoe

zakoto21@amherst.edu