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CrEation 

Sophie Fyfe

IS

ACTIVISM

 

 Thank You For A
Wonderful Night!

i want to be loved like a sick dog
Emma Lucana
(First Prize: Xanadu Poetry Contest) 
 

euthanized dogs

know something

i don't.

 

i, too, wish

to be handled with delicacy

in such overwhelming pain.

 

surrounded by tears

and words of affirmation—

they're fed delicious cheeseburgers

and poisonous chocolate.

 

smothered in kisses,

soothed by whispers of comfort,

softly caressed down their fur.

 

i yearn to be held

like it’s the last time, 

yet remain oblivious 

to my fate.

 

most of all,

i am jealous 

of a dog's easy way out.

 

painlessly 

released from their suffering—

let go 

as an act of love.

 

when a dog is sprawled out

on a white-tableclothed counter—

i am envious they do not know 

it is their final

goodbye.

bloom
Emma Lucana

(NYSPTA Finalist: Award of Merit Winner 2024)

 

my mom plants a garden

in my heart.

she tends to the yellow tulips

and the purple hydrangeas.

 

me, a flower—

i can do very little for her.

i provide no physical sustenance.

i take from her—

i need her effort to sprout.

 

but her hand caresses me

and my stem perks up,

leaning towards her touch.

 

when winter comes

i begin to shrivel— i wilt.

my petals fall off.

 

she picks them up.

how can something dead

look so beautiful in her hands?

 

my mom plants a garden in me

because she wants me to live

to see tomorrow.

 

so when my mom 

wakes me up with her voice,

warm as sunshine,

nurturing as soil—

i know i have a second chance

to bloom.

Katie Mondry

If I Were Born on the Other Side
Rijaa Zaidi

 

If I were born on the other side of the world

in a place so filled with bloodshed and violence

where the days and nights are never silent,

would you care about me still?

If I had never been to birthdays and graduations—

your celebrations of life,

laughed and baked lemon cookies that I know you like,

would my death be a statistic or a tragedy?

Would you remember my hobbies? My name? My family?

Or would I be another in a sea of many?

A victim of something I could never control,

yet still somehow brought upon myself?

Please don't answer.

I'm scared to know whether or not

I'd still be human in your eyes,

if my pain would still be real,

if there would still be value to my life

if all you'd ever known

is that I'm not from here.

Demi Botta

Photo by Demi Botta

I’m Made of Skin, and Your Love is a Knife Judy Reilly

I’m made of skin, and your love is a knife;

strong, cutting deep, drawing blood. Peeling

back layers until it’s inside the most vulnerable

part of me. Past the wave-like wrinkles

that show just how hard I worked for those

three, stupid words. Through sensitive tunnels and pathways,

see the flowing blood I pump for you. Into the beating drum

of my heart, know it only beats for you, I live for

you. But I’m still made of skin, and your love is a knife;

powerful and destructive, cracking my most fragile parts.

 

Art by Katie Mondry

Cactus

Chelsea Murphy 

 

Very few can survive in a place where there is nothing. 

In nothing, I thrive. 

Empty space, dry cracked rock under my feet,

surrounded by sunlight and 

trapped by flat horizons. 

 

I bloom though I am thirsty. 

In nothing, I wait. 

Until the air gets cool, and the stone 

keeping me company starts to shiver. 

 

Under attack, I am a fortress. 

In nothing, I defend. 

My rough skin is unreachable

to bare hands. 

 

The same spines that protect me

kill any flower I grow. 

The few that survive know to surrender

to self sabotage.  

A Postmortem Guide

-for my eulogist, in advance

           
                       -after Stephen Dunn

 

Lillian O’Phelan

 

Tell them I was human. 

That I lived a life I loved.

And despite my selfish complaints,

I never truly wished to die.

 

Tell them I knew bliss.

That although my eyes grew tired,

I still looked to the light.

Squinting, glassy-eyed, but

One eye always open, watching the hopeful glow.

 

Know it was not easy,

As our lives rarely are.

That each morning I was sluggish,

Each night I watched the stars.

 

Do not praise me for my academics,

For there was stupidity in my silence.

Despite the worldly knowledge I had,

I was not all-knowing.

A big dumb smile plastered on my face,

Each time my pessimism was betrayed.

 

Sister, though I’m gone now,

Know I loved you to the end.

Please, do not scorn the mirror.

Do not weep when water lays still.

 

Rest assured that I was loved

Throughout all of my time alive.

Remember the joys and turmoil,

I always hated when you cried.

 

All my life, I battled satisfaction.

Striving for more, for better, for enough.

Tell them that in the end, I learned to live.

In my last moments, the hunger did subside.

Lilah Black

 Art  by Lilah Black

A Postmortem Guide

-for my eulogist, in advance

​                         -after Stephen Dunn

Kate O’Phelan

 

Do not praise me for my exceptional patience,

It has cost me too much energy.

You should know I respect myself too little,

Allowing myself to be dragged around without complaint.

 

Go down to the old cemetery; you’ll see a hundred broken souls

Who thought that they had love.

But what I crave is not a touch,

Fleeting love dies with my body.

 

And please, resist the temptation of speaking about the dark days;

No matter the time spent in tears,

What’s important is the smile lines

And the countless deep laughs.

 

And since you know my hardships,

Understand they’re but splotches of ink on

The paper of my life.

Despite the pain,

My character will remain.

 

Tell them I had wit.

That I didn’t hold back smiles,

That I played in the rain and the mud

But also the sunny grasses.

 

Tell them that at the end I had no need for regret 

The timeline doesn’t turn back for petty thoughts.

 

I learned to live without needless shame, 

To treasure all my feelings, fleeting or sustained.

What makes me human is what makes me emotional,

And I have no need to apologize for that.

 

You who are one of them, say that I loved

My acquaintances more than they knew.

To all the hellos I wish to have said,

I forgive you for being shy. It’s okay,

And to all those I did not spend enough time with,

I pray for our souls to reunite one day, I love you.

Something yet Nothing 

Makayla Lewis


The feeling of a gunshot wound, shaped sharp

like a thorn on a bush. Dirty drain clogged with

hair, broken disc on replay, rubber tires constantly 

moving, meaningless. 

 

Lost not wanting to be found, silence becoming 

loud. Empty roads, mind crowded, looking for 

a reason. The sound of silence like a 

graveyard. Something there like the shade, yet

nothing but sand surrounding the area.

 

Turf sulking in your shoe, a trash can getting 

garbage thrown into, dark lonely nights. Undiscovered

bodies of water, structured as a question mark. Definition 

but no meaning, end of the tunnel, street light beaming

on the road, darkness hugging around it. 


Suffocating in thoughts, pondering beneath the

covers, a mug of straight coffee. Late night walks,

air brushing across your ear, paranoid. Apathetic 

soul.

Silenced Voices 

Ava Tsolis 

 

Pointe shoes — layers of paper, plastic, and fabric 

stitched together. 

Each step makes a strong, powerful clunk. 

 

Tchaikovsky echoes to the dressing rooms. 

Handmade headpieces saturated with criss-crossed bobby pins. 

Hairspray, fueling some with confidence, inducing coughing fits in others. 

Cameras click, behind which are either professionals or parents, 

unaware their finger missed the record button. 

 

Classes, rehearsals, photoshoots, performances. 

And the shoes are dead. 

Layers now broken down, only capable of letting out a 

weak, muted thud upon hitting the marley. 

 

A resounding voice now silenced, 

overwhelmed by life’s trials and pressures. 

An irreversible state — glue 

may provide temporary relief. 

Mother
Makayla Castillo

 

In the coming of December’s cold,

When I search for refuge in you

And wonder where you’ve gone,
I will instead look to the sun —

The heat you built in my heart,

And follow you there.

Separated
Porter Chetty

 

Illusions of all is well surround me.

I’ve built up these mirages that help me forget

that we are broken—

that we aren’t whole.

Numb. A crumbling wall of numbness.

I’ve spent so much time building it up,

but I will let it fall,

and learn to feel.

Red, blue, yellow, and pink.    
Genevieve Esposito 

 

You sat on the scratchy old carpet in the messy living room,

Waiting for mom and dad to sit down and play with you.

 

You had the board set up, with your designated character,

Just hoping they wouldn't notice.

 

You stole it—

 

Throughout the night you traveled the rainbow road, 

The only road you knew how to cross.

 

Red, blue, yellow, and pink.

 

To the peppermint forest, the lollipop woods, and to lord licorice. 

 

From the hidden gingerbread men, and gumdrops galore.

You absolutely adored it. 

 

But when you took the wrong card, you were back again to mrs.gingerbread tree,

The old woman who started the game.

 

You cried.

 

Mom and dad let you win.

Red, blue, yellow, and pink.

To the candy castle and king candy. 

Ariana Arambaru

 Photograph by Ariana Arambaru

Cookie Jar

Katie Mondry

 

Precious porcelain.

Thrown and pulled.

Bisqued and then painted—

pretty 

cobalt blue.

Fired by careful,

but unsteady hands

wielding tongs;

offering earnest supplication 

for its safety.

 

The vitrified glaze,

sleek and smooth, 

but bubbled roughly 

'round the edges

from the kiln.

But better bubbled

than shattered— 

splintered then shot.

 

Yet, 

reverence wears as 

cobalt pales.

Stored in the kitchen— 

rather than on the mantle.

 

Now cookies nest.

Crumbs invade each crack

and crevice.

Interlopers—

eaten greedily.

Grubby hands and

lids slammed in disappointment;

vacancy staring back from within.

Growing Up
Elise Abbate

 

You start as a seed.

Just a dot in the ground.

Then you poke your head out.

Out of the dirt and familiar warmth.

And before you know it,

you’re a weeping willow in a park,

on the side of a busy road.

Growing up, everyone tells you “time flies,”

or to enjoy something “while it lasts.”

But you can never actually see that time 

whizzing past.

 

From a seed you become a sprout

searching for sustenance,

you dig into the earth and plant your roots where you’ve landed.

You become accustomed to the scent of grandma’s house on warm summer days, 

and the dull sound of mom starting dinner on a cold winter night.

Still close to the ground, 

you’re comfortable.

 

Then from a sprout you turn into a sapling,

roots digging deeper into the ground.

Friendly flowers and smiling spruce’s make up the growing forest surrounding you.

Now you dance through the living room with Amber,

where the high ceilings and big windows make it feel like a stage.

Friends and friends of friends 

slowly become like family. 

 

But now, you’re not a seed, or a sprout, or a sapling.

Now you’re a tree.

With deep set roots and flowing leaves.

Branching toward the sky, you bend 

uncomfortably and dance and cry with the wind and rain, 

sun and stars. 

Now, warm summer days are filled with beachy ocean air,

cold winter nights are spent in loud studios.

Those high ceilings, the living-room stage is transformed into a study spot,

where your silly old dog lays. 

The terrain around you has changed, and will continue to change.

Because the willow tree in the park

was not always and will never be

the same. 

Maryam Malik

Photo by Maryam Malik

Shattered Peace
Katie Mondry

 

Broken glass

scattered across hardwood floors.

Shooting every which way,

disrupting my dormant dust bunnies.

Each fragment embedding itself into the grain.

Waiting patiently to dig deep into the soft sole of my foot.

Choking on my own anticipation,

the stale air thickens

suffocating my frail

withered lungs.

Adrenaline frantically pumping 

the rush of blood

thumping in my ears.

The sudden crash still reverberating

through the recesses of my brain.

Jaw clenched and waiting.

The silence is heavy, humid.

Damp with my paranoia.

Cailin Claus

Photograph by Cailin Claus

Katie Mondry

Katie Mondry

Criss-cross-applesauce 
Janiana Thai


on the discolored wood floors of Daddy’s office.

Cramped between the looming file cabinet and the cluttered wire rack

who cover craters and cobwebs on the log walls—

hidden from sunlight.

The single battery-powered light hangs 

over Hai’s hunched head.

Hai clamps the three sunrise strings of Mommy’s choice. 

Unwrapped from the Taco Bell box cut-out,

onto the scribbled-over clipboard—

a knot and then criss-crossing all the way down. 

Chin perched on her warm shoulder, 

I get to watch. 

 

The floorboards creak under Daddy’s sandpaper feet.

Shuffling past the scratches on his office desk,

only discovered when pounds and pounds of paper

with left-justified words that I can barely sound out

find their place in the shredder.

Hands folded behind his back, observing.

Dirtied hands, hole-infested and paint-covered T-shirt—

eyes squinted. With dents 

on the sides of his oily nose from his bug-eyed glasses.

 

Between darting eyes and self conscious awakening,

breathing becomes manual.

A forced in. and out.

 

He turns around 

his dry feet drag across the floor, out the door. 

Everything unchanged.

Blade’s edge dull or sharp

Embrace aggression or peace.

God's love, infinite.

Anthony Maraboli

 

With purpose, what can man not do? What pain can they not bring? Faith's limitless boundaries, at times, ignite unimaginable horrors; The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Partition of India. The annals of history bear witness to the paradox between suffering and solace. The same aggressive love inspires humility, selflessness, and unity. Virtues of compassion in Buddhism, charity in Christianity, justice in Islam. A motive for our indomitable human spirit against the cruel indifference of the universe.

Eye Spy
Sophia Hassman

 

Sitting, an eager desire to reign champion—

the letter I sending shivers down the spine of all life.

 

Time sweeps, anticipation springs.

The three letter word that erupts competition. 

 

The irony of the “little eye” 

as the peepers persist determination,

stubborn wide will. 

 

Something difficult perhaps. Something red. 

 

A car. A stop sign. A ladybug. All declared by rivalry.

 

Guesses remained futile, full of failure.

Eye win again.

Ode to a Razorblade
William Iemma

 

A weapon of sculpting, indispensable 

in a war of thoughtless, bloody scars

and scarred, bloodied thoughts.

 

A tool of creation, gracefully cleaving

through cardboard and cardstock

and mending misplaced paints.

 

A utensil of nurturing, a protective flame

born from its shredding of fibers and twigs

or a wound treated by the hastily severed bandage.

 

I thank you for your precise, vicious separation— 

the necessary restructuring responsible for creating

 

a blossoming, beautiful being. 

Featured Artists

   Our Dear Cool Father. 

Walt Whitman_edited.jpg

Congratulations to the Xanadu community!!

We are 2022/23 Crown Award Recipients. This is an honor presented to our digital publication by the Columbia University  Scholastic Press Association. 

 

This award honors the top online student galleries chosen from those of its members.

Xanadu was one out of two online magazines nationwide to receive such prestigious recognition.

Xanadu is the  only gallery in New York selected.

Much thanks to the many hands and hearts who contribute to the magazine.  

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