Scintilla

A figure is in fetal position, floating in space while stars and pinpricks of light dot the purple background.

Skin purpled and lips cracked, she trudges onward, little white feet scraping against winter snow. She trudges until she is out of breath and huddles in the crevice between two homes.

She strikes a match. She wants the warmth to swallow her. To crawl inside the place where the fire’s fuzzy feeling drowns out the tongues and hunger that haunt her. She remembers peering through the homes she passed. She remembers the children dressed in red, praying and dancing, their laughter the sound of angels singing. She does not remember the purple-green imprints all over her body.

A shooting star blazes, and she remembers Grandma’s shining face. How Grandma was perfection to her. How Grandma would sing her to sleep at night the way her father never did. She wants to hold Grandma tight in her fist. Her eyes fixated on the glow, she watches the fire burn into wood. She cannot feel the flame grow closer to her hands, heat bursting against her fingertips. She strikes another, and another, but the dead slip through her fingers.

Dear Reader, I want you to believe that in this version of the story, the little girl does not die. That she never gets beaten by her father. That she is smiling again. I want you to remember a little girl, barefoot and shivering, nestled between the warmth of two homes and a dancing fire, shining forever.

This is when you find her. In the cold, you touch her icy hands, and she passes you the matchbox, along with the last match. You take them from her, your fingers trembling. You strike the match; the world flares to life.

—The Editors, Spring 2019


Table of Contents

Poetry

Cynthia Chang: a fairytale love story
Helina Li: Farewell
Ria Chaudhary: grey
Cynthia Li: I Fought Emptiness and I Won
Flora Huang: one minute and seventeen seconds
Pranav Mishra: The Anatomy of a Servant
Joyce Ker: Weightless

Prose

Sherry Huang: A Point in the Sky
Cynthia Chang: good knight
Christine Lee: Execution
Melissa Chen: Growing Old
Renee Ge: hey, hey, i know you
Caitlin Leong: Lingering Souls
Lauren Ho: Luminosity
Michelle Zhu: Morning Glory
Justin Chu: Operation
Sahana Ilenchezhian: Prey
Coby Chuang: Smackball
Grace Huang: Star
Sophie Guan: Playground
Kaylia Mai: The Most Slippery Path
Suphala Nibhanupudi: While You Were Sleeping
Yiu-On Li: Why Don’t We Live in a Yesterday of Our Own
Lillian Fu: You are nothing.