Alissa Xhixhabesi

These pieces are part of a poetry collection I am working on, titled Growing Pains,  centered around the theme of finding your identity as a growing woman, and all of the insecurities and anguish that comes along with it. These poems represent how I have felt lost and disillusioned as I have grown in and out of my adolescence, which is a subject that can resonate with many young women. I incorporated several elements of nature in order to represent these feelings, as well as to show that the pain that comes with youth is natural and constantly evolving.

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I Remember the Trees 


my legs feel short 

hitting the pavement with a heavy heart beat 

and the trees make me minuscule 

their arms extended towards me 

but my fingertips are too small to reach theirs 

they can’t pick me up like they used to.


i remember being their height 

long limbs

curving and stretching far beyond their capacity

i remember making them sway with my movement 

far into the forest i became high like the trees 

and for the first time 

they were the ones admiring me.


it’s almost as though i lost my movement 

as the wind grew more fervent,

and as i induced myself to believe that i could with stand it,

but all that’s left of me is a heavy head 

and compact limbs. 

The Kissing Tree


we sat atop a hill with a grey cloud releasing its tears on us 

splayed on the hood of your car.

no care for the droplets sinking into the fibers of our clothing

on Morrow and Speer there stood a tree 

tall and thick, 

spread like welcoming arms 

inviting the glittering lights on the horizon

to greet our pupils

and as we fixed our vision on the twin trunks 

the left side grew a face 

then the right did the same.

we saw two lovers emerge in the trunk,

positioned immaculately,

only inches apart from intertwining lips

and we thought their love would be 


But now all that's left is two stumps

And their longevity reduced to circles. 



my vision gets blurry if i stare at the stars for too long 

they slow start to fade from their natural hue 

and dissipate into the black of the sky 

dissolving into my pupils 

and burning into a void that i can’t draw them out of. 

it feels as though my fixation on matter 

that’s unreachable 

has grounded me farther into the earth

until i’m buried in dirt,

lost in coarse ground 

as the particles fill my lungs.

yet i keep finding loopholes in my own conscience 

that levitate me to their altitude. 

am i too disillusioned to distinguish 

whether i am gravitating towards them,

or merely hallucinating?



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 Vittoria Rizzardi Penalosa




Claire Farmery

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Tillman James

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Ariana Asmoakk

These are from my photo shoot with a sustainable clothing business in Charleston, South Carolina called TintedSaga. This was my first time working all these girls and all the clothing is all naturally hand dyed. I honestly don't think it could have been more perfect of a day. It was very fun and liberating as a female photographer.