Monthly Archives: February 2014

Paintings by Chris Engel

Paintings by Chris Engel, Director of Programs 

Our Copper Philosopher

A short story by English Department Teaching Associate Jonathan Ramsey

Originally published by the Canadian Science Fiction Review 

They named him Hermes and kept him in the basement, where he scuttled about on copper claws among the clumps of stale cotton candy. Bea didn’t feel guilty about this. Harrison, on the other hand, periodically suffered bursts of shame. On these occasions he’d weep, punch a wall, groan, and run towards the basement door screaming “I’ll save you, Hermes! I’ll save you! What have we done?” Bea, lighter and faster and generally more controlled, would beat him to the door and bar it from him. Harrison would beg for the key. He would get on his knees, clasp his hands, kiss her boots, and whisper “What have we done, Beatrice? What have we done to him?” A soft scratching could then be heard from the other side of the door. They both ran from this.

Bea spent most of her time upstairs in her room, drawing in sketchbooks. Harrison prowled the woods behind the house shooting things. These were the activities they enjoyed the most, and so this was how they spent most hours of most days. Bea never showed Harrison what she drew. Harrison never told Bea what he shot. Both had stopped asking.

Tuesdays were different. Tuesdays were for fortune gathering. Harrison would wake at dawn, shower, brush his teeth, and get dressed. His chain mail suit clicked and clacked; his steel boots hammered as he descended the stairs. Bea would meet him at the basement door with a cup of coffee and encouraging words. He’d listen, sip from the mug, smile with effort, and lower the plexiglass visor of his helmet.

“Flick it,” he’d sigh. And Bea would oblige. With the snap of a lever the basement filled with cotton candy, seeping from vents and tubes. Bea unlocked the door with the key around her neck, patted Harrison on the back and shoved him in. She locked the door after him and sat in the kitchen staring at a wall, waiting. Across the table, the rest of Harrison’s coffee began to cool.

illustration by Indrapramit Das

Harrison thrashed about wildly in the great mass of pink, yelping between mouthfuls of sugar, shoving his way through the thicket of candy cloud. Using his flamethrower he cleared a path along the wall. The radar detector on his wrist began to beep rapidly. Molten candy dripped over his visor. Continue reading


A poem by Maria Popova, part of a Class of ’14 Senior Project

A balmy garden in its bloom,

Which scent was meant to soothe and cure,

Becalmed under secret gloom,

Fertile, sumptuous and pure,

The ocean blue – the origin of life

It gave us birth and set us free,

To love, to dance, to share, to Be on

Earth, where virtues were rife

But yet, so fragile in its gist,

Just as a lacy snowflake on a palm

The harmony was fanned within the mist,

And the world never again seemed to be calm.

Profusion gave birth to vices.

As every man desired to possess

All earthly goods at the cost of any prices,

Continue reading