In our fourth annual photography section, we’re pleased to include the work of seven student photographers.


Balloon and pin

Issue 10 Editor’s Prize for Photography


El Crystal

El Crystal

Shamrock Boots

Silent Strength: Street Portraits of Women’s Labor

Silent Strength: Street Portraits of Women’s Labor

Are we the problem?

Welcome to the Dream

The issue is human error



Lin and Willow

Cleaning Up



From the Editor’s Desk

Welcome to Issue 10 of Mistake House Magazine. This year, we journeyed as a group to the Association of Writers and Writer’s Programs (AWP) conference in Kansas City. At AWP, we hosted a booth in the bookfair, both exploring the world of writing beyond college and promoting our magazine. We collectively went to the keynote …

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Current Staff

Tobin Blair, Editor-in-Chief Ashley Kamau, Fiction Editor DeWitt John Makengo, Photography Editor Nate Zipp, Poetry Editor Sophia Green, Soap Bubble Set Editor Megan Harley Olivia Skinner   Faculty Advisor: Dinah Ryan Cornelius Ayer and Muriel Prindle Wood Professor of the Humanities

Hector and the Sea

Issue 10 Editor’s Choice for Fiction Hector was a man who looked like he owned a pit bull. A fiercely loyal animal, who padded by his side, and snapped and snarled at anyone he was asked to. Hector did not own a pit bull. He had wanted one, but Jenny wanted a big, fluffy dog …

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What Goes Around Comes Around

The salmon-coloured sky stretches overhead, catching the last remnants of daylight. Tara’s hands grip the steering wheel as she zig-zags through the traffic lights and a maze of glowing cones marking the edges of an abandoned construction zone. It’s been a tough day at work with multiple ER cases, but relief washes over her with …

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The Day He Killed Her

It was dawn when a young man, unsure of his actions, faced an all too familiar woman in a rather tall looking glass. His fingertips traced the curve of a chest that did not belong to him. The woman’s eyes, though full of sadness, were glaring back at him through the reflection. Tears slipped down …

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The Engine

Wrapped in polyester spandex, Rebekah’s skin broils from the drowning humidity of August. She wipes away the beaded perspiration on her brow with the back of her hand, then shakes the dampness against her plum-colored skirt. It should have been black but having only four days to find something to fit her expanding six-month pregnant …

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Child of This World

Autumn has come to this vast green field where the Turkish Hazel have dropped their nuts. Leaves make a yellow shadow at the base of the trunk. The kavka play and chatter in smokers’ voices. Today the sky is as rich as a robin’s egg and the clouds in the distance are like color blocked …

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For Al

Issue 10 Editor’s Choice for Poetry (after Whitman) I want to retire to the woods with a dog. Both are so simple & so self-assured. I stand looking at them silent for so long, realizing trees don’t complain about circumstance. Don’t lie awake in dark rooms cursing with deep regret of a fourth-grade sin. They …

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His Hands Betrayed Him

(after Denis Johnson) Would you believe me if I said that he, and I won’t sugarcoat it, is an asshole,         but         a         gentle asshole—someone whose Left Hand doesn’t know what his Right is doing.   It betrays him.   Signals this goodness he hides—and I wonder if I’m …

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Something in Me That Cannot Close Up

titled after a line by David Foster Wallace I admit, there’s the temptation to stay.  We could put the books back on the shelves,                  remove our passed-down-crystal from newspaper                and never empty the ashtray on the porch.  Let’s draw the …

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Are All of Your Nightmares the Same?

For six months I pretended not to hearthe dead. My father roamed through hallways,he even sat down next to me, but I wouldn’t lethim speak— so, haunted we stayed. The song says, you make me want to cry,but my son sings you make me want to try.I’m not sure how to block out the dead.The …

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Newport, by the ocean

the sand melts                       into the pavement  and I want  to turn around                      go back              to the water where we can twist and float and            …

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on the days we lose the battle

after Gia Bloomstrand I want to stop and pick it all up:   the shame that has fallen in pieces  from my hands, scattered like powdered   glass around my bare feet. I tried   desperately to hold on to it, to hold on   to my composure. but it was too much   for me to carry. and now …

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Gathering Stories

Give me a story that climbs rusted iron rungs.  Give me a story I can spread on my toast and coat with marmalade.  Give me a story that drifts on butterfly wings and settles for only one moment.   Give me a story in noises that rattle in my head and fall out of my ears.  …

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One day, our children will be able toview fields of flowers through the coldpixels of portable tablets and in thefaded pictures on brochures–today’schartreuse fields coated in apricot andlilac petals and floral aromas that settleon clothes will be yesterday’s, as theyimmerse themselves in the virtualrealities of their digital landscapes. But I only see paysage fleuri–themulticolored quilt …

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The Immigrant

He arrives at JFK, luggage and passport in hand. This is a new world, a river spiraling with millions of people, flowing into the ocean.   He sinks to the bottom of the Manhattan streets, dizzy from the blinding lights and deafening sounds. He’s looking for a job but doesn’t know where to find it.  He …

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1. She places the ragged scraps of fabric on the table, and carefully picks up her needle.  The pointed tip punctures the cloth, and she sews in a silent rage.   She imagines herself piercing Pinochet and his army,   her needle, a powerful weapon against the military guns.   Her fingers firmly grasp the fabric, determined to …

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October has grazed  The daisies, among other things,  But the stems and buds appear black, stale, and sickly,   Yet unwilling to cease entirely to autumn    The once-yellow petals   With blonde pistols and leafy and lively stems   Are corpses  and I don’t understand how, when this happened    Their heads hang low under the street …

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Pennsylvania Driftwood

Lime cotton balls                 Fastened to branches   Or in the river.  Muddy banks                The Dogwoods We throw sticks  Into the water and call it               Driftwood.  No real current,  So you stay for a while  …

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When I Don’t Know What I Need

I want to wake up at five in the morning.  I want two slices of my sister’s sourdough bread.  I want the bread to be toasted evenly on both sides.  I want one packet of butter for each of the slices.  I want the toaster to take the chill off my skin.  I want coffee …

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Loud and Clear

On February 26th, 2024, Aaron Bushnell self-immolated on the steps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. The 25-year-old active-duty member of the Air Force committed this extreme form of protest in response to the ongoing genocide of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. While engulfed in flames, he stated that he “will no longer be complicit …

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Fragments from the renewal

i. How in the world do we survive  these daily heartbreaks:  a slender tall tree so heavy with apples  it looks like an umbrella    ii. I only just learned the delightful burst of lemon across the tongue / when biting down on a bundle of wood sorrel / so as I walk down the …

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I usually wore something  my mother found.  A cowboy hat  and boots.  A white coat  and surgical mask.  Money never flowed easily,  especially for frivolities  like Halloween.  Still, I made the rounds,  with my friend Mark   and his little brother,  plus whoever happened by.  Only eat wrapped candy,  my mother warned,  sounding like the wicked …


The Hands That Held You

              When did you          become something   so salted so                withered such that I may              mill your                                brittle petals …

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Tackle Box

Pick off plaster                             under painted finger          nails                                pluck each hair to the                         …

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Route 119

No amount of root          mass could                steal       my hand from the                wheel, nopromises of                         lush                    …

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Blue Glass Bottle Trees

there was a spark  or a heart, with lightning.  i could see it with my eyes closed,  hands touching with holiness  in fingertips, and warmth. let me show you how  to twirl on tips of  angels’ hair, cirrus strands  swirling. we   can fly, darling.  i kept eyes closed,   my spirit awake,  my hands in His  …

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why am i always on the precipice?   smoke billows from cigarettes dangling off poolside recliners, wafting through the stagnant air,  invoking ghosts of antique women in vintage Givenchy. he bakes underneath the Crema sunshine.  until the rays seem to seep deep into his skin. enough.  he rolls over himself, becoming a water-drop into an aqua …

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happiness became a waylaid comet

               chipped teeth      led me to wonder why everyone didn’t smile like      me as a childbaring my lopsided joy at the world      like if it turned out its muddy pockets      i’d find only glitteryou will no doubt hear sighing from the …

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Emilie Gossiaux

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

FLYING      We arrived in the windy city thirty minutes ago, two hours delayed. No apologies. Many passengers are missing their connections, but I opted in for a sevem-hour layover to enjoy the midwestern feel, after all.   Never seen a substitute plane in the US until today, a generic plane, with no United Airlines …

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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

I have always loved writing poetry and short stories. Even as a child, I wrote poetry about everything from inspiration to my father’s admiration. Poetry comes to me naturally because I think in imagery and metaphors, in symbols, and juxtaposed realities. To me, everything can inspire a good poem. I can take a small thing …

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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Mistake House Magazine: Let’s begin by talking about a poem in your book When the Wanderers Come Home (University of Nebraska Press 2017), “What Took Us to War.” This poem, like so much of your poetry, contemplates the trauma of Liberia’s civil war, which you and your young family fled during the first cease fire …

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Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley immigrated to the United States with her family during the 14-year Liberian civil war, a war that has shaped her writing as an African Diaspora woman writer in the United States. For more than two decades, Wesley’s poetry has given voice to the voiceless, the hundreds of thousands of Liberian war …

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Emilie Gossiaux

In my practice as a multidisciplinary artist who is also blind, the work that has fulfilled me the most has been translating my inner worlds into the physical realm through drawings, ceramics, and sculptural installations. Creating works based on my dreams, visual memories, and my sense of touch, my tactile drawings become meditations of these …

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Emilie Gossiaux

Mistake House Magazine: As we write, your exhibition Other-Worlding is open at the Queens Museum, where you have been an artist-in-residence for the past year. In several perceptive reviews the installation and drawings have been characterized as buoyant and celebratory. Central to the exhibition is White Cane Maypole Dance, an installation in which three human-sized …

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Emilie Gossiaux

Born in New Orleans, LA in 1989, Emilie Louise Gossiaux is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. Gossiaux earned her BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2014, and her MFA in Sculpture from Yale School of Art in 2019.   Her solo shows include “Other-Worlding” at the Queens Museum (2023); “Significant …

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