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Digital Bonus Content

The following submissions were also accepted by our editorial jury. We didn't have the space to put them all into the print journal, so here they are online for your enjoyment. 


“Corridors” is a choose-your-own-adventure game where you find yourself lost in the halls of an endless building. Wander around aimlessly in a desperate search for a way out.

Click on the screenshot below to begin: 

"Corridors" Text-Based choose your own adventure


Artwork: City

© 2023 by Ella Kakatsch

A Bus Ride Through Seattle

In the double bus when
We take a corner
The people in the front are
Already around the corner
While I’m in the back waiting
My turn
“it’s my turn to speak!”
I cry,
he can’t hear me
4 times
4 stops?
How long has he been in the front
Of the bus? I thought we were
Riding together
We got on together
I think I like being
Back here
With the man who sprays himself
80, 85, 90 times with
Britney Spears perfume
And the woman who is knitting hats
And sells me one for $5
At least they’re honest about who they are
We make another turn and
I can see him through the window
Already ahead of me
On the next street
I pull the cord
It’s my stop anyways

© 2023 by Carli Reinecke


“Keeping the fire going all night had a price
8th grade was brutal for you for a little bit
The smell of smoke was hard to get out of your school clothes
We couldn’t have had more similar upbringings
I remember so many phony people coming to hang out
Remember when they followed my blood-trail back to your house?
I could still see Lita’s taillights as we ran
Wanna hear the fastest rapper in the world?
You changed once you felt like you were cool
I get it now though
The desire to escape your caste
To change your stars
I wish you knew that you were trying to impress the wrong people
I’m sure you know that now
I spent a good portion of my life doing the same thing
“Coach” is a small town drunk, stuck up for no good reason
They hooked up at the party we had in honor of you
I hate em both for that
She never left the “Net”
Are guys like us meant to last?
I feel like a relic from an age that has come and gone
No one cares about anything anymore
I wonder how you would have dealt with these times
Did you and Tyler follow me to boot camp?
“Grandma” said you two were with me in the warehouse that day
Did you really go to Chris’s house, looking for your hoodie?
Your Mom never recovered
Did you reincarnate yet?
Or are you still serving time?

© 2023 by Mike Fugate

It's All a Bit Too Much

Artwork: It's All a Bit Too Much

© 2023 by Noah Purzycki

In the Amber Glow of Gaslight

[Editors' note: Trigger warning for toxic relationship with veiled and overt threats of violence.]

Pretty little pink-parted narc puppet on the shelf —you’re mine. I don’t share. That (points to you, puppet girl) is mine. Hands holding your face. Mine. Hand on your back. Mine. Hand over the triangle of your lap. Mine. I bought you a flashlight for your car. Hey, I’m going to visit my son tomorrow in Illinois. Yes, just for the day. I’ll be back on Friday. My phone was broken so I couldn’t contact you. Sorry. I’m back a day early—he wanted to go on a field trip to a farm— yes; in January. The details add up just fine. We didn’t swim at the hotel. A kid cracked his head open in the pool. I bought you a seatbelt cutter. Here’s some trail mix— my boy picked it out for you. I stretched the truth. I wanted to surprise you. Our text history and pictures are gone and your name is spelled wrong in my phone because my son was playing with it. You and your goddamned questions. Pick. Pick. Pick. I feel bad for you having deadbolts on your doors. Is that supposed to slow someone down? I love you. Do you know how I know that you trust me, baby? Because my hands fit around your neck, but you’re not nervous with them on it at all. Promise me we are forever. Why would I do anything to mess this up? You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’re wearing my ring. I’m going to a guy’s retreat in two weeks—I won’t have cell service again. Baby, would you like this screwdriver set? It was on sale. If your stray cats climb on my truck, I will kill them and throw them in the grinder at work. You make me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Here I got you some apple pie scented lotion— yes, I know you don’t like the smell of it. I do. It’s better than the shit you gave me. Yes, you got me what I asked for, still, you should know that this is better. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Hey, I’m going to be gone for the day. I got you something today—Old Trapper Medallion Beef jerky. I’m a one-woman man. I’ve never been this man until I found you. My grandma said the gap between a woman’s thighs should be a few inches, so yours should be wider, but if it’s too big, then you’d be a thunder cat dirty girl, and you’re a good girl aren’t you babe? My work friends ask how I trust you so much. I tell them it took forever to get in your pants, so no one else is going to. Can you get pregnant? Should we have a baby? My grandpa was a preacher. On his deathbed he said people who believe in God are weak. Do you think you’re weak, baby? I am so, so, so in love with you. Can you fill up my truck with diesel? Honey, I need a propane tank for my camper and my new check card isn’t here yet. Babe what have you done to me? I am so full of joy. I have seen the light. Yes; I refer to you as “my girlfriend” when I’m talking to family on the phone. Each time. Every time. You don’t need a name. Baby. Honey. Babe. I’m leaving for the weekend. My phone will be off. Your questions will ruin it for me. I’m back. You ruined it for me. I didn’t talk to the guys. They could tell I was down. There was an accident. I’m at a laundromat. There was blood. A cracked skull. Yes, another one. Always asking questions. You have trust issues. You made this a conflict. Throw out my clothes. You don’t stop. I am done. You just don’t stop. You’re crazy. You pushed me away.

© 2023 by Roshelle Amundson


Artwork: Flashbacks

© 2023 by Katy Clifton

Untitled: Nelson

Northern Lights

© 2023 by Kenny Nelson

Can You Even Hear Me?

[Inspired by "Image Showing a Gun on a Podium with a Sea of Children at the Base" by Juan P. Ruiz.]

Red spills across the floor
I wonder if they ever yearn to be more
More than martyrs
More than just conversation starters
Haphazardly strewn
Parents left in ruin
Yet in the sea of red, a pillar of white
Something signifying purity and light
On a soft red pillow, placed with care
A symbol of violence rests gently there
The wood polished, the metal clean
Deceiving of all the horrors it’s committed or seen
Yet one lone survivor crushed by his peers
Will be the one who shouts where is the justice here
He’ll yell and yell and never be heard
The world will care and then pretend it never occurred

© 2023 by Karen Bergen


Oh, let me be poetry in your life,
If only for a moment.
Let me show you what it is like to have a muse,
As you have shown me.
Let yourself look at me in the ways I have looked at you,
In ways only you can.
Let me bask in the admiration only a true devotee could feel,
As I have felt for you.

© 2023 by Rebecca Stewart

Purple Rose

Artwork: Purple Rose

© 2023 by Emma Kolar


i could search through tangled bronze
jewelry that turned my skin green
for the cause of my disappearance
and only find dissatisfaction with
being physically known
but have my soul remain kissless

the first thing you did when we met among
the soft moss and brassy pines
was press your warm lips to my sternum
in an act of solidarity, a bright smile,
and i was yours.

it was the thrumming in my heart
gentle kisses pressed into my neck,
your tender eyes, a candle aflame,
and endless conversation that allowed you
to weave into me seamlessly
without a knotted thread to trip over.

even when you found me bare and curdled
after my months long hibernation,
full of aching for someone
to discover buried treasure
scattered across a healing chest.

you dove right in,
a mountain stream

© 2023 by Alyssa Hannam

Untitled: Rose

Birds and sunset

© 2023 by Keith Rose

Untitled: Wanek

Northern Lights

© 2023 by Mark Wanek


the clocks turn back
and I am awake
with the ghosts of November

and I am so tired
my body heavy
I let them catch me

I ran that night
pushed out in the darkness
and I've been running
ever since

and I don't know how to stop
the instinct for flight

when nothing feels safe
but the open sky
and the sound of my own wings

tell me it's safe to land again
and I will stay 

© 2023 by Gretchen Vanderwall

Little John Broom Man

Artwork: Little John Broom Man

© 2023 by Leovardo Aguilar

Personal Amplexus

 Artwork: Personal Amplexus

© 2023 by Leovardo Aguilar

Stolen Smile

I throw my smile at you.
Hoping to get it back.
Instead, you stick it in your pocket for later.
Treating it like a gift I gave you.
Something you can use whenever you want.

It's a weird feeling.
You know.
When something you can’t give away is no longer yours.

© 2023 by Kathryn Schuchardt

Ghostly Bridge

Artwork: Ghostly Bridge

                                                                         —© 2023 by Jasmine Puls

Trippy Tunnel

Artwork: Trippy Tunnel

© 2023 by Jasmine Puls

All of What I Am

I am a stygian owl,
the watchful eyes of demons,
The lone courier to their putrid calls
I still lie here in debt to their crepuscular vivisection,
I am not a good person; I am void of stars.

I am the dark marauder of all that is good,
A ruthless heart that will never settle its score,
All these feathers of mine will just choke your mouth,
I am not forgiving; I am the lawless rule of twilight

I stand in the fine line between heartbreak and desolation,
The wilds weep at this silent thaw,
So my talons set the pyre to this forest fire,
I am not redeemable; I am the worst of all envies

I am the warning that strikes fear in your heart,
I am the song of a traitorous kind,
So why do you still stand so close to me?
I am not kind; I am the ides of March,

Of all the things you do not know, you refuse to leave,
You have seen the brokenness of all of what I am,
But still you reach your hand out for what is all of me,
I am not whole; I am the shards of stained-glass mural

I am desolation, I am unredeemable, I am a forest fire,
I am the courier to of all that is wrong,
I am the bite that has lost its bark,
I am not worthy of being loved; I am the product of all that is lost

But you have a patience that I can’t perceive,
A heart that is forgiving and not full of regret,
You choose to stay with me as I lay my demons to rest,
I am not perfect; I am learning to let go and be loved

© 2023 by Vanessa Stalvey

Untitled 1: Laning

Artwork by Laning

© 2023 by Eddy Laning

Untitled 2: Laning

Artwork by Laning

© 2023 by Eddy Laning

Untitled: Warner

Bird in a tree

© 2023 by Joseph David Warner

Untitled 1: Marquardt

Artwork by Marquardt

© 2023 by Abigail Marquardt

Untitled 2: Marquardt

Artwork by Marquardt

© 2023 by Abigail Marquardt

Untitled 1: Wieskamp
Artwork by Wieskamp

© 2023 by Rebecca Wieskamp

Untitled 2: Wieskamp

Artwork by Wieskamp

© 2023 by Rebecca Wieskamp

Boethius Journal


I have a habit of getting into discussions and arguments in my head when the moon is highest, when my brain refuses to stir. When no one is home and I am completely by myself, I enjoy getting out of bed and pacing while having these nonexistent talks aloud. When people are home and the other side of the bed is cozily occupied by my partner, I instead stare at either the ceiling or out the window. During one such time, while staring out at the faint glow of neighbors’ lights and the faint glow of light pollution gradienting the cloud, I manifest Perfection to meet me and converse.

Outside the second-story window stands the meters-high androgynous form of Perfection. Draped in a long robe, decorated by humans phasing out of their lowly beginnings and into the stars, they stand and watch quietly. Feeling as though I am being asked why I have summoned them, I ask the question burning in my mind.

“Is it possible to reach perfection in anything, as mistake-riddled humans?”

“You know my name?”

“Yes. Your name is what so many of us strive for.”

“Intriguing. I have seen little of this attempt. You must have me confused for another. I will take my leave.”

“Wait! Please don’t!” I plead with them, but they have already turned halfway to the side and taken one step. With this, they pause and turn back to me.

“You know my name, but it is not my true form you humans seek.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, in my saying this, that humans do not seek me as I am. They seek me as they think I am, but their thinking is flawed at best and they do not understand that the endeavor they should be pursuing is not the one that they are already trying to pursue. Truth will be your guide, for I cannot help you see until you’ve spoken to her. I will take my leave, but know that you can summon me to return once you have changed your understanding of my true state of being.”

“I will do as you ask, but I don’t expect you will be gone long before I must see you again.” I replied, seeming to elicit an annoyed glance from Perfection. They were done with me as I am for now.

“If that is to be, then we will see. Farewell.” Then they left upon saying this and left me to myself once again. I decide to meditate on my own to try to understand what Perfection means in saying that humans fail to understand them properly as they are, but arrive at no solid conclusion. The unnatural glow of light pollution fades in the face of the sun rising as I give up temporarily and fall asleep finally. I will ask Truth for guidance tomorrow night.


As the next night approaches and the moon makes its scattered way across the sky, I manifest Truth’s presence and request a conversation and advice. She graciously arrives and sits patiently in my empty chair. Her eyes are visibly blind and her attire is only able to be explained as fluid, as if flowing from one state to the next and occasionally existing in a nonsensical dimension. Truth speaks first.

“I have been summoned to advise you on the matter of Perfection’s state of being, but first you must understand me to understand them. Does this make sense to you?”
Her voice was reaching my mind, though her lips did not move.

“I will admit, I’m not sure why I must understand you to understand Perfection. I was
under the impression that I already understood you, if I am honest.” She cocked her head contemplatively, or was it sympathetically?

“Alas, I am also gravely misunderstood. People have fought in the name of the pieces of me that they hold, and many have assumed they hold all of me while doing so. I have been misunderstood on a few fronts, which is what you must first grasp. You don’t understand me yet, so I will ask this: what do you believe you already know of me? What meaning does ‘truth’ hold in your mind when I say this word to you?”

“Truth is the one constant in the world, and the primary guiding force that allows for
humans to try to reach Perfection. It is unshakeable, unchangeable, and unbiased.”

“This is your first misunderstanding of me.”

“How so?” I ask, unsure of where I went wrong.

“You assume that I am constant and that there is only one way to perceive me, the correct way. Is this a correct evaluation?”

“Yes.” I answer.

“Then tell me, what happens to a young man once he is old? He has said he is young and it has been the truth, but now that he is old that truth is no longer true. Everything changes, does it not?”

“It does indeed.”

“How do you suppose one reaches the conclusion of each truth one comes across?”

“It is seen, for those who have eyes, and understood through other senses for those who cannot.” I answer.

“So the state of individual things changes no matter what, even if by only a hair, and truth can only be found through humans’ senses. Do you agree?”


“If this is so, then how can truth be unshakeable, unchanging, and unbiased? It is shaken and changed by the passage of time, and it is biased because each human can only hold the truths that they themselves discover through their own experiences.”

“But truth can also be known through other human’s experiences that are passed on.” I point out.

“This is so, but tell me: how steadfast do those truths hold by the time they reach you?”

“It depends. Books are fonts of knowledge, but are written by winners at the expense of knowledge of the losers’ experiences. By the time I read them, I have lost half the truth of their subject matter. If I hear about an incident that has occurred by someone else, then the truth of that incident is steadfast in its truth as it has already happened and cannot be changed.”

“But how do you know that their memory is steadfast? Human bodies are so frail, and
 frequently change their memories unintentionally each time they recall them. The thing humans don’t quite understand about me is that I am only the best that one can remember me, and I fade into a new memory by the passage of time and use. I have a question for you. Would you consider me to exist outside of human minds?”

“Well, you have to. You bind the world to the state that it is and you keep the cycles of nature proper.” I answer, and she pauses before continuing.

“Do you consider the world to exist outside of human minds?”

“Of course, yes.” I reply.

“If the world is also subject to frail memories and senses, then how can you be sure
 another hasn’t simply planted these memories in you?”

“I guess I can’t quite be sure.”

“Right, so everything is subjected to the limits of human minds. Things could exist as you think they do, but if you can only prove so through your own senses then it can’t be fully trusted. All things such as myself are bound to the limits of humans. Does this make sense?”

“I can’t quite argue with it, despite my wanting to.”

“Now that you understand this, then tell me again what you believe Perfection is.”

“It is impossible. Humans are frail and cannot reach Perfection.”

“Incorrect. Humans cannot reach what they think Perfection is. Perfection is bound to
 human limits as well, though. We are human constructs, so we must be. If Perfection is inherently bound to your limits, then do you still think it is impossible to reach them?”

“I suppose not, not anymore at least. Are you saying that humans reach Perfection all the time without realizing it then?”

“I am. Humans misunderstand Perfection’s nature, so they fail to understand when they do actually reach Perfection. You understand now, though, don’t you?” She gives me a proud smile as she asks this.

“I think I do, yes. Should I summon them then, now that I do?” As I ask this, she nods
and disperses into thin air. I meditate on my newfound understanding and decide to summon Perfection again tomorrow night.


The very next night I do not hesitate and manifest Perfection to me. They appear once again, this time the same height as an average human inside of my room. Silently, they stand and give a quick glance to their body—as if to acknowledge the change. After a few minutes of silence, Perfections speaks up.

“I see. Does this mean that you finally understand the state of my existence?”

“I believe I do, yes.” I nod excitedly.

“Enlighten me. Do you remember how you first perceived me?”

“I do. You were as tall as the house and I thought we humans could never reach you. I
know better now, though.”

“Do you? Do you still wish to ask the same question as before?”

“No, I instead would like to talk for a while and then see if you agree.”

“Very well.”

“Truth has taught me that concepts such as her and yourself are bound by the limits of human minds and their senses. Do you agree with this lesson I’ve been taught?”

“I do.” They smile.

“So if you are bound to us so, then surely we can reach you and do reach you more than we realize with our misconceptions. Do you agree?”


“Then with this all being said and having had you agree with it, I believe that the way to reach you is through the extent of our limits. We cannot reach what we originally think is you, but we can do our very best and reach your actual state. Bound to our limits, the only thing we must do is our best. Do you agree? Am I correct?”

“Yes, finally. I am reached every time that one does the most they can. Every single time that a human could give up but instead gives their all, even when their current all is not seemingly great, I am reached. Every time that a human sees the easy choice and instead makes the hard one that leads with best intentions to the best outcome they can find, they have reached me. As you see, I am very possible and easy to reach, given that one simply tries their best. I am glad to have another rare soul understand me better, in the effort you have put forth you have achieved what you most desire in this aspect. However, I ask you now: once reached once, have I been attained for good?” They study my face as they ask, as if looking for me to betray some misunderstanding through it.

“No, I don’t believe so. I don’t believe there is any way to eternally reach Perfection for good. Now I am under the impression that Perfection is only something to be reached on an incident to incident basis. It is a collection of times it has been reached, but I don’t think there is a way to inherently be done reaching it.”

“Very good. You understand. I will leave you with this newfound knowledge and look forward to seeing you more often, now that you know how to reach me. Take care, friend.” With that, Perfection leaves me once again to myself. Once again, I meditate on what I have learned and watch the moon and stars move across the dimly lit sky. It won’t be long before I see Perfection again, and I hope to see them more often from now on.

© 2023 by Andrew Becker

The Traveling Salesman

[Editor's note: This story contains violent content around children.] 

The sun was broiling as Faith drove into the shadow of the wall, where the air cooled a few blessed degrees. Her window hummed down as she stopped at the tollbooth. Inside, a large woman was gazing at a small screen, from which a news segment was blaring. Faith couldn’t make out the words, but the host was skinny, blonde, and looking with cultivated somberness at the camera.

Faith waited to be noticed by the attendant, but when it became clear that this was not imminent, she reached out and tapped the glass with her nail. The woman inside jerked in surprise and slid the window open.

“I didn’t see ya, hun,” she said by way of introduction.

“No problem,” Faith replied, gesturing to her express-toll tag on the windshield.

The woman squinted, punched its number onto a keypad, and nodded. “I still gotta run a security check, hun, even if you don’t have to pay the toll.”

Faith nodded. She knew the routine.

“Both hands on the wheel, hun, if ya don’t mind,” the woman said, exiting the booth with a long pole that terminated in a round mirror. A handgun bulged from her hip. With her hands at ten and two, Faith waited while the woman used the mirror to scan the undercarriage of her car, and she popped the trunk when the woman rapped her knuckles on it. The car jostled as the woman lifted and rearranged the trunk’s contents. Finally, she slammed the trunk, nodded, swiped a sleeve across her forehead to fight back the sweat, and came back around to Faith’s window.

“Delivering possum packs, huh?” When Faith nodded, she continued, “You’re good to go, then, hun,” delivering two quick slaps to the roof of the car.

“Thanks,” Faith replied, shifting into gear and pulling away.

Once beyond the booth, Faith had to wind the quick switchbacks on the edges of the campus, slowly climbing speed bump after speed bump. After a while—just long enough for the air conditioning in her car to beat back the heat that had crept through the open window—she pulled up into the lot and parked under a large white sign marked VISITOR.

Faith wrestled the delivery out of the trunk. She slung the long case over one shoulder and grunted as she picked up the large black box. Sweating and panting, she was buzzed into the building and led down a long, linoleum hallway by a man in a blue uniform whose hand rested on a holstered gun while he walked. At the end of the hall, he wordlessly let Faith through a door on her left, the reinforced glass panel in which was stenciled, simply, with the letter K. She stepped through sideways, huffing as she maneuvered the box onto a short table just inside.

The children were pensively examining dictionaries—each immense in their tiny hands—as their teacher intoned, “Now that you know the order of letters, it becomes very easy to—” she stopped when she noticed Faith, and her kind face spread into a grin. Looking back at the children, she sing-songed, “Our guest is here for our very special lesson!”

The children’s eyes shifted to Faith, and they moved toward her in a swarm, chittering and laughing, their dictionaries forgotten on their desks.

“Miss, you’re here for us, aren’t you, miss?”

“Did you bring us the packs, miss?”

“Miss, can we try them on now?”

Faith held up her hands in a gesture of surrender and smiled. “Yes, of course, but one at a time!”

One by one, Faith fitted black vests onto the vibrating, excited bodies of the kindergarteners. Their teacher dutifully checked all the connections before the children put their overshirts back on, bulkier now with the shapes of the vests beneath them. When they were all back in their seats, wide-eyed with anticipation, and the big black box was empty, Faith unsnapped the long case. As she assembled the high-powered rifle inside, the teacher gave the pertinent instructions.

“Remember, children: once you trigger your vests, it is important that you stay absolutely still, until the police or I let you know it’s safe to move. You should try to fall with your face away from the doorway in case you can’t stop blinking, so the shooter doesn’t realize you’re faking.” The teacher smiled broadly and checked her students’ faces to ensure they understood. They all nodded seriously, unsuccessfully hiding their excitement.

“Alright,” Faith said, “we’ll run a drill so you all can get familiar with how the vests feel when they’re activated. I’ll step outside,” she said to the teacher, “and when you hear shots, start the drill.” The teacher smiled.

With the door closed behind her, Faith waited, then fired at the ceiling, the blank rounds echoing thunderously off the walls. The school intercom crackled to life:

“Active shooter on campus. Proceed to lockdown.”

The lights flicked off inside the classroom, and Faith heard the telltale pop pop pop of the vests activating. As she opened the door, she could make out the shapes of small bodies sprawled across desks and chairs. She watched them carefully and could see the rise and fall of a few of their chests; most of them were doing fine.

The lights flashed on, fluorescents humming as they brightened. The students, having cast themselves in disarray about the room, rose blinking to their feet.

“That went well,” Faith told them as they gathered around her, clothes sporting explosions of crimson that were, in some places, still dripping. “Some soda water will get out the stains, and I’ll show you how to replace all the squibs before I leave, so you’re ready for the real thing.”

As Faith passed the checkpoint on her way out, the woman in the booth waved to her. Faith waved back, but didn’t slow. She had five more schools on her itinerary for the day, and it was too hot to stop.

© 2023 by Avalon Manly

Meet the Team

With years of experience as an editor-in-chief for The Green American, a magazine focused on environmental and social justice issues, Professor Tracy Fernandez Rysavy is our advisor for the Northern Lights Journal. You can also get in touch with our current editorial staff.

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