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Happy Place, or The New Jersey Beach That I Went to One Time

Lay down, 

close your eyes, 

breathe deeply, 

I want you to 

think of a happy place. 

It can be any place 

that makes you feel 

calm and peaceful, 

no worries in the world

The rippled surface golden and flecked, hot and shining

under the bright sky, that teletubby sunshine,

the sand and the sun battling each other 

and both winning at making me squint, 

spots flashing across my vision.

I wander to this place in my dreamscape,

When I’m chased by the cold nothingness,

That slick sharp self-sabotage.

I construct precocious castles of hope

With a plastic bucket and tiny shovel.

That woman I was sent to (she had a notebook and coping skills) way back when, 

she made me lay in the temperature controlled boxed-in room on a scratchy couch 

and breathe a lot. 

Pick a happy place,

Or a calm place,

Or where you feel safe.

Blue waves crashing, 

cold and fresh in the summer heat, 

a quick sprint in 

and then back to baking on a towel.

Pre-made sandwiches on smushed bread 

and melting ice in the red cooler bag

that I dragged to our spot.

A teeny tiny human with pink cheeks 

and a pinker hat wobbles over to wave, 

followed by an apologetic older lookalike 

and I can’t help but smile.

Drift into a nap that isn't tired 

with the murmur of laughs and splashing 

guiding me in and out.




Return to the beach any time,

it’s always available in my brain,

but I was only there once, 

nearly eight years ago.

This beach isn’t indestructible,

it shouldn’t be the happiest place, 

where’s the personal touch, the 

significance? My mind is flooded by 

rising ocean levels and pollution,

garbage cuts my feet in the sand,

and I throw coping out 

like I’m skipping rocks.



is a senior at University at Buffalo majoring in English with a minor in Global Film Studies. She enjoys crocheting, watching scary movies, and naming houseplants after elderly women.


Man of My Dreams 


My brain is wired incorrectly and I latch onto inconvenient whims 

and his smile twinkles.

Butterfly wings flutter and tangle inside my gut just from 

the thought of his name 

and I’m not actually sure if I know how to pronounce it.


When I’m drifting into a moonlit fantasy, 

he’s there in front of me 

with a voice I’ve decided would fit him, 

deep and gentle.

He likes sad girl music and collects old cameras and 

now when I listen to Moon Song

I only think about him, 

I wish I didn’t know his favorite song.


He discusses music and cameras and politics pretentiously,

the answers to questions I've been asking my whole life

reside in his skull and

he’s tall and seems like he would lose in most fights.

I ignore condescension to swim in warm desire 

for a stranger who is mostly composed of who I want him to be.

I long for his fingers in my hair, 

I imagine his skin is delicately calloused, 

but I’ll never know.

He’ll keep living in blissful ignorance 

while his phantom sits in my mind

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