Play Hoops

By: Colby Martin Hogan


Finally I am at the hoop. I dare myself to make a basket without looking. I turn backward somewhere around the foul line and close my eyes. My veins are tingling and I have butterflies in my stomach. I can’t stop thinking how cool it will be to make that impossible shot without looking. I even find myself betting five dollars with my brother that I will make it. I try to relax by taking a deep breath. I close my eyes and picture the perfect shot in my head.
I’m standing to the side at a distance and can see the hoop and me in profile. The blue ball leaves my hands in slow motion and rotates as it rolls off my fingertips. The ball goes up and up against the blue sky in a perfect arc, passing in front of clouds and then comes down through the hoop. “Swish.” The sound is perfect, light and smooth like a wave crashing onto the beach. 
I exhale.
Now I believe in myself, so I go and take the shot. It’s smooth and fast leaving my hands and I can see houses and trees and the backboard, and the ball is spinning. It dives through the net like the kids diving at the rec center pool.  I throw one fist in the air and whisper, “Yes.” I turn to my brother, who isn’t really there, and hold out my hand for the five bucks.

Snack Shack Fries

By: Michael Feely


Eating my salty fries at Crescent Beach’s Snack Shack, my friend and I see a patrol of seagulls on the shack’s roof. One is looking to the left, one is looking to the right, and five are looking to the front—for food left out or forgotten.
I smell my fries and so do the seagulls. One seagull says, “Hey, come over here. This kid’s got fries!”
Now the one from the left glides over to the front, making six on the front, which is scarier. Their white feathers gleam in the blue sky. I can feel the greasy fries and I know that the seagulls soon will too. 
I go inside to help my friend find the trash, but then I hear all the seagulls yelping to get my fries! I sprint over to my fries and I yelp too. My ketchup is spilled all over my fries, so I know I have to get messy.
As I finish up my fries, I hear an astonishing scream. A seagull zooms by this guy’s head, targeting his junk food trash.
“Whoa! Did you just see that seagull?” I thought about how scared I would be if I were that guy. 
I figure that before that seagull’s flight, its captain of patrol said, “Hey Sergeant! I need you to go risk your life to go past that guy’s head and try to snatch his tasty looking trash. That’s an order. Fly for the fries!” 
Well, I guess that the captain’s order didn’t work.
While we walk back to our picnic blanket on the beach, we see a sorrowful one-legged seagull next to the lifeguard stand. We know that he is not part of the patrol. Or is he?

Sweetie Soup

By: Amy Tran


The soup is sweet and spicy 
and bright orange and red. 
We call the soup “Sweetie.”
The soup is like nothing I have eaten before. 
It tastes like it has a lot of garlic in it. 
I am at home eating with my mom, dad and brother. 
Mom is wearing a blue tee shirt and blue jeans, 
Dad is wearing navy blue shorts and a green t-shirt. 
My brother is wearing blue jeans and a blue tee. 
We all look out the window next to our glass circular table
and we watch the sunset. It is orange and red, 
the sky above it is blue, purple, orange and red. 
Suddenly the room is quiet. 
Everybody is shocked by the prettiness of the sunset, 
sitting perfectly still, like statues. 
My mother has her spoon halfway to her mouth 
and her lips are apart but she doesn’t move. 
The yellow wall behind us turns the color of the sky. 
The soup and my family’s faces have a similar orange glow. 
We watch the sun sink and suddenly I remember 
a story my grandmother told me about eating pho 
by the ocean, 
watching the end of a day. 
My family was in Ho Chi Min city in Vietnam 
listening to the noises of the cars and motor scooters 
whizzing past. 
Their soup was sweet and salty and very spicy 
and they all slurped the noodles making their lips tingle. 
When the sunset is over we go back to the soup. 
The soup is so creamy. 
The flavor explodes in my mouth. 
I keep hearing the spoons clinking on the bowl 
and the slurping of my mom, dad, and brother 
eating the soup. 

Kayaking in the Shallows

By: Mayele Alognon


The water around my kayak was green and I could see little fish swimming around, minding their own business and paying no attention to my anxiety or me. I was alone in the middle of the lake. I could see land but it was a long way away.  
My hearing was not at its best: all the noises around me were ten times as loud as they were the minute before. I could almost hear the flapping of the wings of the birds above. I could hear a speedboat in the distance and fellow campers screaming from amusement. I imagined a large wave coming my way; my arms were exhausted. “Stay calm, stay calm!” I  whispered to myself. 
I closed my eyes. I needed to calm down. My tranquility was interrupted by the sound of another kayak crashing into mine, making me fall into the shallow water. I stood up quickly. It was my friend, Ellia. “Where’d ya go?” she asked.
“Uh, nowhere. I got lost!” I stared at her, wondering where the rest of the kayakers were and how they did not realize that we  weren’t with them.
“Yeah, I know. Now we’re lost...together.” We pulled our kayaks onto the shore with the setting sky behind us reflecting almost all the colors of the rainbow mixing into one big mess. We sat on the sand, eyeing the melting sky, waiting for the other kayakers to miss us. 


By: Agustin Nyapir


Aseeda looks white because of the flour it is made with, and it is as pale as the sky, the color of the first day of snow. It tastes like freshly baked bread. It feels soft enough to sleep in while you dream. 
I remember my first time trying to cook for my family. We used to live in Juba, a small city in Southern Sudan, and when I was eight years old, my parents left me home alone. My father was at work and my mother went out somewhere. I didn’t know where. My little brother and sister were at my cousin’s house. Her house was five miles away from where we lived. I didn’t want to go to my cousin’s house because she was always yelling, and I hated that. She didn’t ask me nicely to do things for her; instead, she would yell at me to do it, even though I wanted to help her. 
I stayed home for a while by myself and none of my family came back. I got hungry, but there was no food already made in  the house and no place to go to get something to eat. I checked the pantry where my mom kept the food ingredients. I found some flour and beans, and so, because I was very hungry, I decided to try cooking aseeda for everyone even though I didn’t 28 know how to do it. I thought my family would be proud of me for cooking for them, but instead I made the worst meal ever.
My mom always made the best foods for our family. When she cooked she added so much stuff that I couldn’t keep track  of it all. But when she was making aseeda, it looked easy. But it’s not. 
I got the flour and some water. I started a fire outside the house with wood that I put in our outdoor oven. I used a match,  we call it kibrit, to start the fire. Then, I boiled the water. The pot was so full that it started to boil over and spill. I didn’t  know what to do, and because I was so hungry and wanted to finish everything fast I just kept adding more flour. I got out  the lafraga, and I started mixing and mixing the flour and water with it, waiting for the dough to get harder and harder. I think it took me an hour and a half. It is supposed to be hard, but when I touched the dough it felt soft, so I added more and more flour. 
When I took it off the fire there was so much flour in the pot that I couldn’t even mix it anymore. I was trying as hard as I  could to mix it, but it stuck to the pan. I tried harder, but I didn’t want to touch the pan because it was hot, and I took off my shirt and used that to grab the pan. I kept mixing, and the stick I was mixing with broke off because the dough was so hard. Then I thought to myself: how does my mom do this? 
I decided to pour it on the plate as it was, and I added some salt. It looked inedible; it was all mixed with the flour, and hard. I just decided to eat it like that. That aseeda was the nastiest food I had ever eaten. But I was so hungry that I kept on eating it. There was so much dry flour in it that hadn’t been mixed into the dough that, with every bite I took, a small bubble of flour popped in my mouth. I only ate about a quarter of it before I decided I just couldn’t eat any more.
When my mom came home and found me with the horrible aseeda, I thought she was going to kill me for breaking her lafraga, but instead she started laughing. She said, “What are you trying to do, cook?” And she kept laughing as she made a fresh batch just for me to eat. Since that time, I haven’t wanted to try cooking again. 

Wolf Is My Nickname

By: Chris Kaklegian


I’m from Bridgton, but I haven’t lived there since I was five. We lived right on Main Street, and right behind the house was a river. My brother and I used to throw our toys down into the river and make my mom go get them.

It’s quiet in Bridgton—everyone knows you. It’s a small town. I have family and family friends that still live there. I know all the back streets. My brother once lived on a street there that was really hard to find, but I could find it no problem.

I don’t like Portland—it’s too big a city. I’m more of a country person. I like going to Highland Lake—there’s a dam there where all the fish get trapped, bass, trout, catfish, and I’m a fisherman.

Sit outside in the woods and you’ll see animals after a while. Moose, woodpeckers. When I was younger, I was in a field and a doe came right near me, maybe five feet away.

Wolf is my nickname. I gave it to myself.

I’ve always wanted to have art in my life. I met my grandfather when I was eight, and I started to get into art. He was an artist —he painted pictures of people. Once he looked at my mom and painted her picture and it looked exactly like her. He drew the logo for the Celtics and used to work in Scarborough for a sign store, but he died in 2001.

A couple of years ago, I started drawing crosses and hearts with wings. I used to draw skulls, but then I had a feeling that something bad would happen. I don’t know why I draw crosses and hearts with wings; they just come out of my head that way.

I’d like to go back to Bridgton and meet my dad. He’s got a rude thing coming the day I meet him. When I was a baby, he stole some money my mom had set aside for me and abandoned me. My mom came home and found me alone. He took his friends out and got them drunk. I know where he lives and that he hangs out at Sandy Dog’s or Bridgton’s Best Pizza with his friends.

I like to stop up at an old farm in Bridgton and feed the horses. I used to ride a horse there named Daisy—my mom never told me the horse’s name, I just remember it. If I ever move back up to Bridgton, I could focus on my life and not worry about anyone else’s. I’d track down my father’s side of the family. I’m told I look like them.

Up the Hill

By: Dianne Yattaw


Dead silence
Fills my empty street now
But then
Then it was alive
Then it was a whole other world
Where your imagination could take you everywhere
The original child-like games were the Olympics
We owned it
And it was a part of us
From every end of our dead end street
That was anything but dead
That world was the real world
No limits, and no one could stop us
They couldn’t if they tried
But now stuck in this bland moment of so-called reality
All we do is pray for our blissful imagination
To be unlocked again and our street to be reborn

The Market

By: Carlos Rodriguez


My father’s name is Carlos Guarinex Rodriguez Estevez. My mother’s name is Sonia Maria Rodriguez Martinez. My parents got divorced when I was four years old and my brother, Starlyn, and I lived with my father in Santiago Rodriguez, Dominican Republic. My Dad sold salami at the market on Saturday mornings.The night before the market, he would come home with the back of his red truck full of salami. It was my favorite day. I didn’t like salami that much, I was just really happy to see my father. 
Everyone says that I look just like my father. We both have dark brown eyes and the same big smile. We also have the same name. My Dad loves to laugh. He is always friendly and never shy. 
I started helping my Dad at the market when I was eight years old. The market was on a big street with blue tarps hung over it to try and keep the people cool. It would be cold in the morning, but by 12 o’clock the sun was so hot that people rolled up their sleeves, and sometimes men took off their shirts. 
Vendors would arrive at 5 or 6 in the morning to start setting up their stand. There were plantains, yucca, rice, beans, avocado, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, onion, eggplant, jeans, dresses, shoes and socks, meats, soda, juice, water, and beer. A friend of my father’s sold candies at the market, too. They were my favorite. They were soft and made with milk and coconut. They smelled sweet. My Dad would buy me five candies every Saturday when I worked with him.
Our table was always piled high with salamis – maybe 150 of them. There were many thieves in the market in Santiago Rodriguez and my job was to protect our salamis. I sat on a big bag of rice with my arms crossed because that made me look strong. No one ever stole a salami from my family with me protecting them.


By: Irina - Dyer Elementary


There was a 19-year-old man named Mack who looked like a zombie. He had red eyes, black hair, and eight fingers. Everyone was very scared of Mack. He lived all alone in a striped lighthouse. 
Mack wasn’t a scary person at all. He loved all the things that everybody else loved. He would sing and dance to his  favorite music. He would draw. So he put on an art show and everyone came. 
They saw his art and learned he was not scary at all. Mack was very glad that everyone was his friend. He wondered what the next picture he would draw should be.