Student Work

Opportunities abound for English majors to practice their craft. Undergraduate writers publish poetry and fiction in the student periodical, The Album, or the student literary journal, Cargoes.

In July 2005, Cargoes was awarded the Undergraduate Literary Prize for content by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).


The Beach

You keep reminding me
how close you live
to the ocean now.
How ancient white sand
gets in the folds
of your sheets, sprinkles
your black coffee
like stars.

How wind blows
bottlecaps, rugged shells,
ribbons of dead seaweed
onto your back porch
like a ghost leaving
you gifts.

How your dog
wanders every night
toward the tide,
no matter how many times
you patch up the holes
under the fence.

And you tell me, too,
how the sun turns dark
blue in your dreams now,
the dome of the sky
turning in on itself.

When you ask
if I can hear the ocean
when I cup the phone
to my ear, I tell you
yes; silence like this
can only come from
something that deep,
that alive.

Shelley Whitaker ’15
The Album, spring 2012


Trillium Drive

When you pricked your fingertips
across my open palms, I hung
to your prophecies, followed those
tracing fingers over the wrinkling roads
of my skin— always a mound of wax
giving way beneath your jagged blade.

Black roads writhe between us like severed
snakes and still you wake me, unraveling
the flesh I live within.

Amanda Dutton ’13
Cargoes 2012


Seeded

Like an apple from heaven is three cherry-dark teardrops of seed
— a poison, they say, if you grind them between your teeth —
so three sharp knocks on your windowpane must be love.

There is the culprit, those long brown locks hanging over
the ivory forehead high like reason; winter’s light
reflecting like headlights dimming on a snow bank.

You kiss and you push your bodies together and ever since January
you cannot keep your hands out of soft pockets of trouble.

I catch you while sleeping to measure your fingers; they tell me
the weight of your conscience, the depth of your trust.
The flawed tale is in your lifeline, but you cover it up —

the grind of palm against palm and all the chemistry of sweat and blood
are solvent, but you are not thinking of friction’s meaning.
The fairytale brought you the apple. You swallow the tears of fruition.

Michelle VanVliet ’13
The Album, spring 2012


Autumn

Rubber snake hung in the porch rafters
now the birds, roosting, won’t lay eggs.
Sleeping clothed in bed night and again
coins and bottle caps pool the sheets.
The cat continues to chew human hair,
a strange and gregarious display
of affection. It all comes to question
when someone who understood does not
understand you anymore. Come to mind
the thoughts that don’t make sense now
like they never did, will never do right
to remember feeling this way again.
Don’t let the wind howl if it hurts
to listen, that is no one person’s job.
Autumn Jupiter makes it all smaller,
how far and bright it is, how retrograde
its movement drew and confused those watching,
and give yourself to this turning, and so
give, turn, and for once be reasonable.

Jessica Franck ’12
Cargoes 2012


The Surrender-dream

Everywhere I went, it was raining. Inside, indoors—couldn’t escape it, couldn’t get dry. I tried to iron my dress that morning, didn’t want to be late, but although it steamed nicely, I couldn’t get ahead of the wet pouring down on me. Walking to the bus, I saw that others had brought their umbrellas, and I felt silly for having given up so easily. But on the bus, they had to get out their wallets, find their change, one-handed, like amputees. The aisle looked like a muffin-tin turned upside down after a rinse in the sink—umbrellas everywhere, all grey. “Do you think this will let up anytime soon?” I asked a girl with rubber gloves. I thought they were a nice touch, practical. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, does it?” she said. I shook my head politely, no, not really. “Probably good for the plants,” I said. “Yes,” she said. I actually thought they would probably drown like the rest of us, but I didn’t want to say that.

I went to the bathroom in the office, felt the water wash over me as I sat in the stall. Was this what mermaids felt like? A perpetual damp, so that you couldn’t tell which was your own wetness, under the arms, between the thighs, and which was part of a universal condition.

I wondered why I had ever wanted to be so mythical. But after I went home early, I slipped beneath my duvet, pretended it was sea foam.

Woke to birds sipping from my ears like cups.

Emily Campbell ’12
Cargoes 2012


My Father, Majed

He calls me blood of his blood,
says I’m flesh of his flesh,
claims my eyes, nose and chin, too.

He names me bone of his bone,
disregarding my mother’s marrow howling
in my joints, my caves.

Amera Ratliff ’12
The Album, spring 2012