Sestina by Kian Baker

A sestina is a poem with six stanzas that are six lines each, and a triplet at the end. The first six stanzas have the same six words at the end of each line and are arranged in six different sequences that follow a pattern. In the triplet, all six words appear as well. In addition to this complicated mess, the end word of each stanza is the end word of the first line of the next. I wrote a sestina titled Lifelong Friend, which is based partially on my relationship with friends but mostly on my relationship with various family members. Enjoy!

Lifelong Friend


We walk together, one foot in front of the other.

It seems like forever, but I wait until she leaves.

I want to end these dreadful lies,

But I need to keep what’s here.

The feeling keeps hitting like a wave,

Staining my face with every drop.


I lay in bed and let my head drop

Thinking about every other.

From all the times they’ve given me a wave,

To the day we sat in the cold leaves.

We were so close back then, but now we’re here

Telling secrets and spreading the same lies.


I pull my body under where my comforter lies,

Letting my eyes water and every tear drop.

I wish I could stay here,

Where we are separated from each other,

Where nobody ever leaves,

And I don’t have to plead for a single wave.


She pulls me out of bed to go see the wave.

It cheers me up, seeing the water crash where the sand lies.

On the cold shore of the beach where the trees have no leaves,

And winter is announced with each crystal drop.

The sand stays cold, on this side and the other.

The peninsula wraps around the cove, it’s beautiful here.


She knows something is wrong here,

When I don’t return a stranger’s wave.

I’m usually the happier one, unlike the other.

She asks about my day, but I don’t spew lies.

She holds my hand and lets my head drop

Onto her shoulder, slower than the autumn leaves.


Tomorrow is the day she leaves

I want her to stay, to be with me here.

I told her my truth, and she didn’t let me drop.

Our friendship feels deeper than the ocean’s wave

That crashed last night when I corrected my lies

And she stayed with me, completing my missing half with the other.


Maybe when she leaves and we return a wave,

I’ll be happier here and stop the lies,

Maybe let my truth drop, and they’ll be kind to me like each other.

Pepper by Lizzy Huang

Every dog owner loves their dog(s) all the time. It’s always rainbows and butterflies, leprechauns with pots of gold. There is not a single moment in time when a dog owner feels completely annoyed, flabbergasted, frustrated, angry, annoyed…


That’s what we thought when we first got our dog, Pepper, after hearing so many stories about the beauties of dogs.

Don’t get me wrong, dogs ARE wonderful creatures.

But sometimes…my dog can be just plain annoying. Here’s a list:

  1. First of all, it annoys me when she barks incessantly––poised up with her front paws on the ledge so that she can see better, looking like a strongman with her lips furled and her tail high––at the lone butterfly flittering across the street on the other side of the train tracks. WHAT IS SHE PROTECTING US AGAINST?
  2. It’s annoying when she argues with me because I won’t give her the chicken in my hand, and then huffs angrily and goes to find one of my socks to steal just out of pure spite.
  3. It’s really sad when she’s just lying there on the ground, then I go to pet her, and she literally gets up from her spot and hides under the couch because she doesn’t want me to bother her.
  4. It’s really annoying when she needs to stuff her nose in literally EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, that we have. Amazon packages, backpacks – I mean she literally has to know EVERYBODY’S business at ALL times.
  5. It’s annoying when she’s set her eyes on some dog walking on the street and won’t listen to me when I desperately ask her to continue walking on.

Only, even though these things are painfully true, sometimes, SOMETIMES – she can be adorable.

  1. It’s adorable when she finally masters a trick or chore that we teach her––like giving something to us “on hand” that she’s not supposed to have, or high-fiving us for the two thousandth time, acquiescing no matter how many times we ask for it.
  2. It’s adorable when she lies all cute with her paws in front of her on her dog bed or the floor, eyes closed and tongue out.
  3. It’s adorable when she greets us, because she gets all excited every time like she’s never seen us in her life.
  4. So adorable when she lies on our laps, asking us to hold the chew she has for her so that she doesn’t have to do all the work herself.
  5. And, of course, her adorable and irresistible PUPPY EYES, that sometimes even the most resilient owners could not reject (yes, we are guilty of feeding her chicken sometimes – can you really blame us though?).

From owning a dog, I have learned so many things about myself, my dog, and yes, what my future parenting might actually look like (you couldn’t believe just how grateful I am to have hopefully many years before I do become a parent––there is much self-reflecting and self-introspecting and improvements to be done). But one thing, and perhaps the most important thing, is that having a dog means letting go. Sometimes, there are just some things that just aren’t in your control, and it’s not something that you should get hung up about. Everything in life is about letting go, allowing yourself to take over what you CAN control, and letting your dog annoy you whenever she wants to because that’s something that only she can control. Though I still have much to think about because I am just now learning what this means to me and how it relates to my life, having a dog is surprisingly speeding up this process––and always, of course, when someone asks me what having a dog is like, my answer will always be, “it’s rainbows and butterflies ALL. THE. TIME!!”