After 2,000 Years, Hades Finally Decides to Let Sisyphus Go by Hagan Maurer

What does this job mean to me? Well…I mean everything. It taught me so much. This rock is my life, my everything. I push it up, down; the shit we go through together man.

Oh definitely! I even named him!

Heh, well, Roundy. I know, I know, it’s stupid, but it’s really what stuck. Humor is a big thing for me, ya know? Keeps me going. I don’t have much, but Roundy and I, we keep each other going. Day in, day out…

Ha! Oh man, a-bunch-a crazy shit! Most people think my days were the same and yeah, I definitely had a routine, but I mean… This one time I was halfway up and this bird just comes out of nowhere. Really gunning for me. It sucked! By that point, I’m in my groove, ya know? Roundy and I are on the same page and then boom! A bird fucks it up; starts pecking at my arms, fucking annoying as hell. Heh. Get it? Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah, I tried fighting it off, but I could barely keep Roundy up. I had to make a decision, Roundy or the bird. I’d never let Roundy go before the peak before. I always tried to keep one hand on Roundy, no matter what. It seemed important to me…

I mean, I guess. But it seemed significant, ya know? I’d never let him go like that before. I just didn’t understand that there’s always another day, ya know? I looked at Roundy and I said, “I’m gonna have to let you go; we’ll get ‘em next time.” And I watched him slide down the mountain all the way to the bottom. Bird still pecking me and shit. It was heart-breaking more than anything. It was the first time I had to let him go…

The bird? Oh well, we actually talked for a while. He was kind of homesick. Had been down here for like 5 years? Cute little thing really. Part of the Prom Squad. Like Prometheus. But yeah, no one ever thinks about the birds. They have to peck and peck and suffer the screaming day after day. Awful stuff, really. He said they don’t even get to swallow. Anytime they tear flesh they have to open their beaks and let it fall out of their mouths. They get a lunch break instead! I know right? A lunch break, with a job like that. Guess I should consider myself lucky.

My first day was definitely the worst. I’d just gotten here; all hell-lagged and shit. I mean, I’d just died. I couldn’t really remember much, but they said, push that boulder up the mountain. I mean they were fucking scary demons like really hellish. I said, why? They said, you’ll see. I started pushing and pushing and fuck, I was out of shape back then. It took me two days, but I got it up there. I remember the pride. Oh damn, I was so fucking proud of myself. They came up and said, push it down. I said, I spent two days on this shit! Eventually, I got it. That was the best day. I said, oh, that’s it! I named my rock Roundy and ever since, yeah, that’s been how it is—But yeah, it’s over now…

I asked them that! Begged them really. They said, you should leave. Can you believe that? I want to stay and they said, you should leave. I just don’t know what will happen to Roundy, ya know? We had a connection. I mean he means everything to me.

I don’t know. I’ve really no idea. I’ve been here for 2,000 years! But what can you do? This is Hades after all; you do what they say. They said, you should leave. But I can’t!

I’m gonna talk to them tomorrow…

Hagan Maurer is an undergraduate at Drake University studying Creative Writing and Philosophy. He currently lives, works and studies in Des Moines, Iowa. His work has been published in the Drake University on-campus journal, Periphery. Hagan enjoys writing flash-fiction, micro-fiction, short stories, poetry and plays. His works often contain elements of satire heavily influenced by the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and writings of Samuel Beckett.

Stone Cold by Jonathan Freymark

Heroes should stay dead, they leave no room for the living. Achilles, hero, heroic, champion of the Trojan war. His legacy lives on in statue form, glistening marble, seen by children on their 8th-grade field trips, most of whom laughing, making jokes amongst abashed unamused teachers about how the sculptor forgot to sculpt a pair of pants on the mighty man.

“Statuesque”, the word used to describe the hero of legend. A towering pillar of strength. Passed down from generation to generation, from a father’s father to a father’s son. Each new time met with beaming faces, burning eyes, a desperate longing to become a hero, an unyielding titan, a man.

Manhood, personified in heroic statue. Unassuming stone carefully crafted into a representation of everything that it means, meant, to be manly. An ideal, a notion, an expectation, living on within the chiselled abs and bulging biceps. A corpse of a concept living well beyond its lifespan preserved like a tinned fruit within the confines of a marble mausoleum. An antiquarian attempt at articulating all the aspects of Achilles.

“Heel”, an instruction, a command, given to dogs who misbehave. To “heel”, to withdraw, to “hold back”. The same command given to young boys who start crying on the bathroom floor during their 8th-grade field trip because Tony made fun of their makeup. Hidden amongst the bodies of Achilles, Ajax, and Agamemnon, a failed attempt at replicating what it means to be a hero, agony.

Emotion, not something considered when sculpting a hero. To be a hero is to be a man, to be a man is to be indifferent, immovable, stoic, statuesque, repressed. To coat one’s mind and body with the same iron woven into the veins of the ancient heroes. But these are not qualities of a “man”, they are qualities of a rock. A pallid, dead, unfeeling, unthinking, rock. To be Achilles is to be a rock, mind trapped within the marble, much as how many feel trapped in the body of who they are not, confined by the artist’s desires.

Who is the artist to Achilles anyway? Who are they to decide that emotion isn’t exactly what should be considered when creating the hero? Who was ever given the right to decide that makeup cannot be what makes up the man, or that a man inside a skirt is not still a man? Achilles wore a skirt did he not? Who was it that decided that Achilles should be deemed a man for his capacity of violence and not his capacity of love for Patroclus, his fellow man? Maybe marble is not the only material that can represent heroes, represent young boys, represent men. Maybe some men are better shown in silk, tender, gentle, but still strong in it’s own right, possessing the strength to wave freely, to not “heel”.

“Heal”, an action, an ideal, to repair one’s self and others, to move forward. “Healing” the process needing to be taken up by many men. The same action being undertaken by young boys, young men, drying their eyes and standing up anew, confident in their identity, their expression. No longer hiding, rather revolting against marble mausoleums and masochistic masculinities, forging an odyssey of their own, creating the strength needed to eclipse even Zeus himself.

“Kintsugi”, an act of healing, to repair one’s cracks with gold, as it is the cracks that create the heroes. What was previously defined as a failing, a weakness, now a testament of strength, of the men living on inside of the marble, in spite of the marble.

Achille’s heel, a fault, a flaw, a failure, a fundamental part of the hero absent in the artist’s marble. If Achille’s is a hero then to be a hero is to be flawed. Heroes leave no room for men. Flawed men, imperfect men, cracked, broken men. Men who used to cry on bathroom floors, tiny tears welling up like priceless jewels on cold linoleum now standing up in protest because maybe they liked the way they looked that day, maybe they were proud of it, confident of it, in themselves. Isn’t that what the statues were meant to represent? The hero’s glory, his courage, not his Promethean physique or Phrygian power. We must crack the marble of old. We must create the space for these new men, the new heroes, to exist in. We must learn from the failings of Achilles.

Jon Freymark, born in Harare Zimbabwe, is a Neuroscience and Writing double major at Drake University preparing for medical school. With an eclectic background like that it’s no wonder he can’t decide what to write, and you can find pieces from him on anything from medical records to Brazilian Ji-Jitsu. His favourite cosy writing spot is a Perkins at 2am and his proudest life achievement is remembering where he last left his glasses. He swears he’s funnier in person.

Winn-Dixie Man by Melody DeRogatis

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and my wife doesn’t like it much. I never really understand why. I got Katie and Brad through community college. I get her roses every birthday, valentine’s day, and sometimes “just because”. Sure, it’s not glamorous, but we’re not glamorous people.

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and there’s certain things I’ve gotten really good at.

I can re-stock the Coca-Colas, warm ones in the back, in 10 minutes flat. I don’t even need to take the cold ones out of the cooler.

I can lift 125 pounds across the slippery linoleum floors, without falling down once. (And that’s an accomplishment, because I am a clumsy guy.)

I can even get through a check-out line with up to 15 people in it in the five minutes I have before I go on break.

They may not be the most practical skills, but they serve me well in what I do.

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and the thing I’ve gotten best at is telling which of the girls has eating disorders.

Nah, it’s not what you think… it’s not the way they’re made up or anything like that. They can be anything. Short, tall, fat, skinny, black, white, whatever. Some of them wear the tiny jean shorts that just cover their butts, with the skimpy little tank tops… Some of them wear baggy, ugly sweaters that you can’t even tell they’re a girl.

But they do all look the same, in a way, at least. They don’t stand right. They sway back-and-forth, or they slouch all weird. They never smile. But really, the weirdest thing, I think, is the way their eyes are all glazed-over like. They never make eye contact with anything. Not the cheeses, not the pop, and definitely not me.

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and I always see these girls the same place. Well, not the same place, exactly. Of course, it’s always at the Winn-Dixie… but sometimes it’s at the deli counter, or by the bags of chips, or even swaying by the check-out counter staring at the gum.

“Can I help you find something, miss?” I always have to ask. Winn-Dixie rule #1: always provide the most excellent customer service of which you’re capable.

“No, thanks.”

“I’m good, thanks.”

“Oh… uhh… what? No. Thanks.”

I always catch them off guard… but they always say “thank you”. They’re in their own little world… staring at the food. I know that they don’t really need anything. The customers, the ones who need something, they usually have a confused look in their eyes… not a dead one.

But I figure, if I can distract these girls from the monsters in their mind for a minute… how many calories in frozen garlic bread, how much sugar in a Reese’s cup will put them over their amount for the day, or whatever, I’ve done my duty as a customer service representative.

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and I’ve never once told anyone that I understand these girls.

My pap saw me cry once when I dropped the little bit left of my ice cream cone on the hot, Sarasota ground when I was a boy. He hit me.

“Why are you crying, boy?” he bellowed at me.

Men don’t cry.

Men don’t care if they’re fat. Or ugly. If their wives don’t want to fuck them.

My wife certainly wouldn’t understand. My kids definitely wouldn’t.

Men with guns don’t have eating disorders.

I’ve worked at the Winn-Dixie going on four decades now, and I’ve always wanted to tell these girls that it’s going to be okay… but I can’t bring myself to tell them that I understand.

Why would a 60-something, overall-wearing, trucker-burping man understand what these girls are going through?

But I know what it’s like to stare longingly at the pints of Chunky Monkey.

I know what it’s like to get the “look” when I help myself to an extra couple dinner rolls… not from my ma, but from my wife.

I know the feeling of wanting to slice my neck open to see if all the fat will drip out.

But I’ve worked at the Winn-Fixie going on four decades now, so what do I know?

Dear Larry, by Kiley Roach

Dear Larry,

The day I learned your name was the day

I execrated the female body. Her palms acclimated to

being bound up with contorted knuckles and tape, only softened

by springboards and white chalk. How long is a doctor’s

appointment supposed to last? An hour, a life

sentence? The length of a drone strike? Your eyes keyed

into her ribcage, her mouthcage, her thighcage, her soul.

“Dismount” is to leave an apparatus

at the end of a routine; usually done with a difficult twist

or salto; to take a mechanism to pieces. It was you

who stained her first maxi pad, drew the copper

blood of a girl who still believed that a gold medal could pay

for what you stole. You kinked her tightly wound coiffure into

elflock, you offered no comb, you never fixed

what you broke. Dead is the pity

poised in the judge’s eyes, a landing

unstuck. One hundred and seventy-five

years will never unburn the soles of her feet.

Goliath was a woman, a force unchallenged by

sword or stone until God (a man) sent David (a man)

to throw rocks (a phallus) at her mighty stature – a spectacle

for kings (all men) to revel. You found a chink

in her armor, you reminded me that no woman can ever be

too careful, too covered, too poised or too pure.

Dear Larry, you taught me how to lust after

vengeance rather than justice. You taught me that

Some sentences never deserve the peace

of being finished

Kiley Roach is a Drake University undergraduate Honors student studying Political Science and English Theory and Criticism. She has been studying the art of reading and writing poetry under the direction of Kyle McCord, 5-times published author and Co-Executive Editor of Gold Wake Press, for two consecutive semesters. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in higher education administration but enjoys writing about women, sexuality, and politics in her spare time. This is her first time having her work publicized.

Apologies by Abbey Murphy

You don’t owe me an apology
for the restless school nights
the tossing and turning
while little arms wrapped around my neck
and suffocated me.
They crawled and crowded into my bed
drifted to sleep. It was another night
spent waiting for you.

Don’t feel like you need to explain
rationalize, justify
every bottle against the crumbling plaster,
and the hairline fractures crawling up the walls.
The glass was beautiful as it rained down,
glittering and coarse against soft skin.
Your words were cinder blocks on my head,
So I begged for broken glass instead.

I could never be resentful,
of the loads and loads and loads
of laundry I washed.
Folded myself into towels and socks
and drowned in Great Value Detergent.
Hours spent at the scoured kitchen table,
Monitoring grades and report cards
Doing everyone’s homework but my own
with only Hamburger Helper to assist me.

(Some days, it was too much-
I wished they would disappear
just slip away
as silently and easily as you did.
I guess on those days we both wanted the same thing.)

I loved them, and hated you,
and despised myself
for every moment I tried to fill.
I bet you never realized how
the responsibilities of being a parent
could wash out everything else about you.
I’m as drained as the dirty dishwater
from cleaning their dishes again.

Please, don’t apologize

all the nights you staggered into bed
at four a.m.
and I staggered out
to hold your head over frigid porcelain
and brush the hair off your sweaty forehead.
It was easier to strip you,
scrub away the cloying smell of sin
and gin on your skin.
Good thing I was so good at handling dirty laundry.

You never remembered enough to regret.
An empty house, full of empty pantries
empty bellies
empty hands.
Those kids were starving,
but I was inadequate to fill the space.
But you don’t owe me an apology.

Abbey Elizabeth Murphy is an English and Sociology double-major at Drake University, is the Treasurer of the campus English fraternity Sigma Tau Delta, and is the incoming president of the Grant Writing Corps. Published in three other literature magazines, she realized that submitting her most recent work to AGORA would be a new and exciting opportunity. She enjoys writing poetry and short stories and reading science fiction novels and comics in her free time. After having spent a semester abroad, she realized her love of traveling and studying new languages, and much of her recent work focuses on the experiences she had with other cultures.

Dear Heroes by Abbey Murphy

I feel safest behind the cold stone;
There is comfort in thick doors and empty halls.
Please don’t rescue me,
I’ve only been locked away
from hungry gazes
and glinting mirrors.

The Queen can leave me here,
Free from rotting atop her throne.
I’ve had enough of the steel at my back
Scraping down each vertebra bone
Spine shivering, jaw clenched,
as I anticipate the blow.

In this cage, my body isn’t withering.
Here I can linger in all the rooms,
and dig my toes into the carpeted floors.
The whispers of slithering
Down the winding corridors
Aren’t as daunting as those
Of golden heels on marble
Stalking towards my bedroom door.

Tails don’t lash out unexpectedly,
Pinning me to walls, trapping me.
The dragon doesn’t force me
To lick the venom from an unhinged jaw
Gather it in the back of my throat
Burning until I’m forced to spit it back out.

How do you never spot
The fangs stretching her smile?
They always give her a slight lisp;
Her eyes aren’t yellow from the firelight.
Your too busy looking for the monster,
That I’ve already found.

Abbey Elizabeth Murphy is an English and Sociology double-major at Drake University, is the Treasurer of the campus English fraternity Sigma Tau Delta, and is the incoming president of the Grant Writing Corps. Published in three other literature magazines, she realized that submitting her most recent work to AGORA would be a new and exciting opportunity. She enjoys writing poetry and short stories and reading science fiction novels and comics in her free time. After having spent a semester abroad, she realized her love of traveling and studying new languages, and much of her recent work focuses on the experiences she had with other cultures.

Boyish Behavior by Liz Bregenzer

Every single moment of your life is a nail biter. You have no idea why; it’s just been that way for as long as you remember. You picked it up from your father, the way he would absentmindedly send fingers to his mouth, using the action as an outlet for stress. He probably didn’t think much of it then, and maybe he didn’t even realize he was doing it so often. What he didn’t understand was that he was performing for an audience of one – a little girl with an impressionable mind and strong teeth.


It’s a boyish behavior, you know. Your mom has only told you a thousand times: “Get your hands out of your mouth.” Her voice fills your head when you suddenly hear the crunch of a loose fingernail, having no idea when you put your fingers there in the first place. You wish you had the nerve to tell her that all you’ve ever wanted is to burn the bridge between your mouth and your fingertips. What you would give to take a lighter to it all, to feel your life slowly catch flame until someone new rises from the ashes – someone with long, feminine nails.


You gnawed your way through braces, even after the orthodontist’s many warnings. “Most people can’t even bite their nails with braces on,” he said, peering into your mouth as he adjusted some of the brackets. “It’s how lots of kids kick the habit.” Kick the habit? Oh, you would show him. When your mom wasn’t looking, you snuck in nail bites like other kids with braces snuck in popcorn, proving to even the ortho veterans that old habits die hard.


For your senior prom, you asked for French tips at the nail salon. The lady doing your manicure looked down and disapprovingly stated, “You bite?” Brows furrowed, she reluctantly sealed the plastic extensions onto your stubs.

That night, you felt beautiful. Like Cinderella, almost, because here you were at a grand party where no one would question the look of your hands. No one would turn to you and ask, “Why are your fingertips so red?” No one would give you judgmental looks as you pull at loose skin with your teeth. You had the confidence – and the barrier – to stop, even if for a moment. With your billowy pink dress and French manicure to match, you had done what you thought was impossible: stepped into the role of normal teenage girl.


You’ve asked every boy you’ve ever dated if he bites his nails. You do this to see if he’s like you – if he can relate. It evolved into a ritual where you’d pull his hand on top of yours and run the pads of your fingers across his nails, back and forth until you concluded you had him all figured out. You’re not sure why this matters so much, but smooth, clean edges with untouched white bands that form even semicircles perpetuate a nervousness within you. The looks on other girls’ faces have drilled it in your brain: It’s embarrassing when your boyfriend has better nails than you.

You’ve found yourself fooled many times; it may look like he’s a chronic nail biter, but that’s just how a man’s nails are: short, stumpy, and indistinguishable. Boyish behavior. You know. Maybe this is why you’ve always felt more comfortable around men, because you picked it all up from your dad – firm handshakes, the art of the golf swing, and, of course, the nail biting.


You broke 13 brackets in the two years you had braces. Standard procedure was to begin charging patients after the third break, but they didn’t act until the last one, a month before your braces were scheduled to come off. Your mom made a point to scold you about the costs you could have incurred, but that was the only repercussion you suffered. Plus, your teeth were beautiful, so who could really complain? Back then you thought you were lucky. Now you wonder if the dental assistants pitied you.


A week after prom, you couldn’t help put pick at your manicure, first resting the tips on your bottom teeth, then softly biting down. They quickly became shredded and cracked, becoming so jagged you were forced to rip them off yourself. It was the very thing the nail salon told you not to do, but hot shame crept into your face when you imagined what they would say about the chewed-up plastic.

You spent two excruciating hours trying to soften the glue and peel off the tips. What remained underneath was horrifying – a set of ten soft, malleable, real nails. You could press down on the nail with your finger and watch it become a concave structure. The act sent a shiver down your spine until the keratin built up again and your nails were back to the perfect texture for biting.


You were forced to quit golfing after your dad found you unteachable. Your handshake startles a majority of the women you meet. And, when you catch glimpses of your friends’ nails, perfectly shaped and polished, you feel defeated. The contest was womanhood, and you’re beginning to see just how painfully you lost.

Maybe spending more time with your mom wouldn’t have been such a bad thing.


How many nails have you chewed and swallowed over the years? You imagine the little white shards collecting in your stomach, stabbing organs, slicing through skin, pilling up so high that one day you’d throw up tiny knives and get taken to the hospital. What would they even do? You’d probably die, you conclude. And everyone would show up at your funeral saying, “There was only so much we could do to get her to stop.”



You are home from college on a break and watching TV in your living room when your dad walks in. He looks over at you and notices a few things: how your legs are splayed across the couch, how your ratty sweatshirt has a chocolate stain across the torso, how you’re biting away at one of your nails. He asks, “Why do you have your hands in your mouth?” A grimace falls onto his face, the same disappointed look your mom has given you for years.

In that moment, you feel genuinely horrible about the habit. You know he means well – everyone just wants you to grow out of it already – but the plea coming from the mouth of the man you picked it up from stings almost as badly as the exposed skin under the nail you were just biting. To make amends, you walk over to the kitchen and put a band-aid on your finger. When you return to the living room, you keep your hands in your lap and sit straight up on the couch.

Betrayal in its finest form.

You’re Never Too Small to Dream Big(For those that are little or young at heart) by Sean Cullen

Whether it’s the rains in July muddying the grass, or snow-capped houses in December,

Time always brings change.

As you lay down, staring up at everything that seems so far away:

the moon drifting across a star speckled sky,

the faraway glimmering of galaxies noone has named yet,

never forget dear child,

you’re never too small to dream big.

As you too drift along in life,

at school,

at home,

from chore to chore, trudging forward through the little miracle that is life,

I invite you to stop.

I invite you to feel the world around you.

Let the mother Earth envelope you in a blanket, a breath of wind that whispers a thousand soft melodies,

a reminder that everyday is made up of moments that implore us to stop and smile.

You’re never too small to dream big.

But if, for a moment,

when you stare up at cascading shades of grey and white that greet you with no sunshine,

or a skyline of night as black as coal, the wind chilling your hair to stand on end.

If you find yourself frightened by a horizon so wide it compels you to spin your head like an owl.

If it makes you feel small.

O sweet child,

you’re never too small to dream big.

No matter where you are in life, you have your whole life ahead of you.

It’s true when a thousand colors you can’t name paint the world so perfectly you wish time would stop,

it’s true when it seems like there was never any color to begin with.

It’s true when you’re born,

and it’ll be true when shades of grey pepper your hair.

So, if you feel a knot in your stomach tying you down,

or hear a voice telling you something is impossible,

Breathe, O sweet child.

and I insist you remember:

You’re never too small to dream big.

Sean Cullen is an aspiring Asian-American writer from Racine, Wisconsin. He has a background in history which he attempts to incorporate into his writing along with his racial identity, but he doesn’t quite have a handle on either of those things so for the time being he’s writing children’s poems and humorous fictional pieces.

A Lesson On Fire by Morgan Noll

A brief history lesson:

In the 1920s, the National Fire Protection Association found that many people were misinterpreting the word “inflammable.” Many did not know the word meant the same thing as the more recent adaptation, “flammable” which means “capable of being easily ignited.” The NFPA advocated for the use of “flammable” on all labels, in hopes that this version would be more widely understood and could reduce the risk of injury.

An oral history:

The first time I told him I took scissors to my skin,

He got angry

And at first I thought it was out of love

I wrote a story about colors as emotions

About how confusing it is that love and hate are the same shade

There weren’t just red flags

There were fire alarms

Telling me to get the hell out

But like my father I have selective hearing

I could always hear the ringing,

But I blocked out the sound

The first time

He came in my mouth without asking

I couldn’t tell if it tasted like desire or disgust

Actually, it tasted fucking disgusting

But his face showed desire

So I wondered who was reading the situation wrong

As I spit in the sink I was worried

About making him feel

Undesirable and maybe,


The first time—

He was my first time

So I learned it all from him

Or so he likes to think

That he lit the fire between my legs

But I knew I was learning it wrong

I learned in church that it wasn’t as good after the first time

And wouldn’t I want to give my husband that first time feeling?

I learned that every time I let a man take me,

I was letting him take away from me

I learned that I would become

Undesirable and certainly,


The first time I finally got him to admit

That he cheated on me

I felt both victory and defeat


Because I knew the whole time


Because I now knew it was over


The USDA Forest Service defines controlled burning as, “any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives, such as to reduce flammable fuels, restore ecosystem health, recycle nutrients, or prepare an area for new trees or vegetation.”

I still keep my heart coated in gasoline

But this time,

I’m holding the match.

The Cost of Living by Haley Hodges

Side effects may include depression, heart break, anxiety, love, hatred, friendship, disappointment, relief, nausea, bleeding, bruising, laughing, falling, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, exhaustion, exhilaration, losing friends, burned pancakes, an angry cat, claw marks on your neck, disagreement, the impulse to climb a mountain, a stolen stop sign in the back of your friend’s car, Gilmore girls on repeat, arguments with your mom, pulling out your eyebrows, picking at the walls, an unhappiness with the color of your hair, frustration, chocolate cravings, cramps, burning when you pee, not fitting in, stubbing your toe, crumbs all over the goddamn carpet, overeating mac and cheese, food anxiety, hysteria, screaming, yelling, stress, people who don’t care, forgetting to turn in assignments, trying too hard, encountering people who are better than you, not remembering the difference between affect and effect, the love of dogs, burned tongues, hang nails, low sex drive, friends who lie, food poisoning, vomiting, mocking, soggy tacos, dirty laundry, bad memories, trouble falling asleep, nightmares, pleasant dreams, indecipherable dreams about Seinfeld, dry skin, sore throat, sneezing up blood, chills, knee pains, people moving away, fucking up, fucking up a lot, cats licking your nose, congestion, fixation, dissatisfaction, aggressive coughing, and, in not so rare of cases, death.

Haley Hodges is a graduate of Drake University’s class of 2019 with degrees in writing and news. She writes in most genres and forms but aspires to be a novelist. Currently, Haley writes in the journalistic realm with work published in different outlets including Drake Political Review, The Times-Delphic, The Left Hand Valley Courier, and Urban Plains.