The theme of May is "Dreams".

"When You Wake Up" by Maddie Canty

When there’s white snow on the ground

And the clock says two but the sky says nine

Or when lightning rips through the clouds

And the thunder pounds against your chest

It does not matter if it’s real

It never does with dreams

They aren’t real

Just like the sky lies about time

Dreams are just lifesavers

The rejected thoughts that you push away

Anxious to tell the story you want to hear

Like when the snow cannot touch the ground

Or the rattle of thunder after a flash of light

Dreams are the images you wish were real

Life is an ocean

And everyone is hanging on

To keep their dreams afloat

"Bleed" by Megan Packard

Night after night a picture is painted
I see a movie of my own creation
And the colors bleed together, making me, me

Bright blue, dark gray, lush green
are all hues I dash on the canvas
and the colors bleed together,
making me

The strange thing is, that within minutes,
the colors of the night fade away in the day
So I paint over the old, making colors bleed
and that’s what makes me, me

Despite the deterioration, there are a few
that shine bright like neon lights
I paint around these, until the colors bleed,
and celebrate that I am me

If I try to show others, my mind portrait,
they laugh or shy away, for they can’t see what I see.
The way the colors bleed together
and how they make me, me

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized,
the dreams of the night weren’t the only ones.
I added new colors to my palette
and added on to my self portrait.

So all my dreams and aspirations and hopes
and fears
hang on a hook in the back of my mind
for only my subconscious eye to see

And the colors of the wet paint bleed
and that’s what makes me,

"Impact" by Joshua Passerotti

            wwWHHOM-- He woke from his nightmare, and breathing heavily, rose from his bed to stare at his floor. He thought about the cicada from it, its deep, ocean black eyes thunking fast into his vision like walls of a port castle falling into place all at once –as if the castle had been set atop a floating hill, hovering just above the shore’s promontory, its cliffs, before the grassy tablecloth had been swept away all at once, and the lame, locke, seared bricks were prepared just as much as the wrought iron to stop him in his tracks. Its eyes reflecting nothing. Screaming the nothing as if it wasn’t a pyramid of ancient hieroglyphs to him.

  His name was Harold Calder Wimles. He was a somewhat simple man, besides his hobby for collecting all of the leaves off of trees- one tree at a time, during his walks and hiking ventures. He spent most of his time working at an animal shelter and a café. In his free time he usually researched in old documents, looking at criminal studies, open cases, looking for situations similar to his mother-in-laws’, and fulfilling other curiosities.

   He usually made it back to his expensive condo late, after buying groceries. Or early enough for not having the need to collect groceries, in order to have time to cook his dinner, if he needed to, or prepare for sleep, if he needed to.  He usually had time for everything he needed to do unless something unexpected came up, and living by the day, or sometimes by the week, was actually very fulfilling and entertaining to him, and he was prone to smirking and chuckling quite easily compared to others. Except for the last month. He’d begun to just sit there, after the first four nightmares passed, and just not lay in bed. Then he began to not get in bed. Then he didn’t eat dinner. Then he didn’t even prepare for bed. By the end of the second week, he was on the verge of not going home at all. He dreaded the nightmares’ returns, each one as confusing as the last, and seemingly as detailed and complex as real life.

  It took him forever to get to sleep, and he started to laugh less often. His odd hobby began to become more progressive; he pruned the trees of their leaves more quickly with time, and his face was blank while doing so. He even began to burn all of the leaves in his backyard, even though it wasn’t Autumn yet, and he had no reason to host a bonfire every night.

 Harold went to bed that night after having started a bonfire in the dark, after a rain, the green, still-breathing leaves hissing in spite. His neighbor’s young teenage son had snuck out and watched him as he stared at the white blaze, as he stood right next to it despite the heat making him sweat. The boy looked into his eyes, and Harold only looked at him to see who he was, out of the corner of his eye. The boy had started shivering, his eyes wide with fear. Harold had no expression, he just stared at the white taking over his retina. The boy stammered, and asked him why he had the scars, which were on his chest and neck. And why he had the black ones under his cheeks. He didn’t answer. After the fire went out, he left it, to sleep, because he knew that he would soon collapse if he did not.

 wwWHHOM- He woke again. In his dreams, he had to clear trees for their leaves. The cicada was there again.  But this time, he had to stop working on emptying the trees of their emerald, chartreuse, and olive treasures. There was some sort of disturbance. There was a fire in the distance. But he wasn’t to approach. Someone told him that he was to run. The last thing he remembered was a dead beam of light suddenly filling the cotton-free sky, like a row of small, ancient black-light suns jumped over the horizon to hover in the air, to hold on to that time of day, their eyes only purple for the quartz flames.

  Harold winced in pain. This time he had lurched forward so fast upon waking that he’d scooted forward in his bed and scrunched up his stomach and midsection innards for a second between his thighbones and ribs. He quickly got out of bed and tried to get away from the nightmare, get into his shoes and clothes and get into his easy, busy life. He had no reason to make his bed or wear his nightslippers, or his pajamas even, not anymore. He resolved to throw them away. No, he’d pick them off of the hangers of his closet and burn them later, when he was home andhad picked all of the leaves he could.

  That day he went to work as usual. The only odd thing was that as he came home, one of the neighbors and their uncle came up to him and asked him why he wouldn’t stop taking the leaves off of the trees in the forest outside of town. He hadn’t realized until yesterday that he had steadily taken off all of the leaves from the center of the forest, to its very edges, and it was noticeable from that distance. He didn’t reply. In fact, he went over to the tree in their front yard and started picking leaves off of it. They stood there for a while expressionless, then the uncle’s brows furrowed, and the young lady turned away, sadness beginning to seep in through the forming creases of the lower sides of her face. They stood there as he calmly picked all of the leaves off. Some that fell to the ground at the end, he carefully picked up, folding them in his arms, his pockets stuffed. Those that were left very slowly faded into brown, then black, then gray. He stared at them meaninglessly, and walked to his home to release the leaves.

  He didn’t realize why people had to suddenly start paying attention to him. Harold thought that they all simply would ignore him, because they had no reason to stop him.

  He didn’t go back for those leaves, but picked the ones closest to his house, a couple extra miles from his back yard, and he picked many, faster than usual. His leaf pile was one sixth larger than usual, as well. He lit the black coalstones that he always had to keep the fire going in spite of the leaves’ hissing, and threw them into the middle as he always did. He waited. He adored. Then he went to bed.

 They hoarded themselves two yards above the hacked and hacked soil, no more need for spotlights. They were here to root out the rebuilders: the holy workers. They did all that they could to buzz and chitter in ears. They fled for their lives. Harold escaped from them in his dream, trying to hold back his growls of anger so that they couldn’t track him further than they had. He found the emergency shell shelter, crowding in with several others. It ended with him burying himself in the clingy, scratchy corpses.

  wwWHHOM- The next day he woke up and found himself launchedjust over the edge of his bed, landing in a sitting position, before resting his head at the foot of it by leaning his neck back. Horrified and sweating, he sat there panting until he calmed down, and shook away the fear. He waited until he could breathe steadily before he got up and went to work. That day he kept being distracted by his thoughts. He kept glimpsing his dreams, able to distinguish shapes and determine names for different objects, but he couldn’t tell if time was passing, what events were happening in them. He didn’t want to, but the wisps and shrieks kept returning anyway. His employees were concerned, and his boss at the café asked him curtly if he was alright. He said that he was sick, and he left home early. He forgot his items from work at first, then didn’t bother to go back for them.

  His urge to pick the leaves off of the trees had grown. Instead of going to the almost empty forest, he picked the leaves off of trees in the neighborhood yards. He realized that the one family that had encountered him before had picked leaves off of the rest of the trees he hadn’t yet touched, as well as their neighbor who had begun to do so, and simply moved out. He didn’t care. He kept at it until the whole neighborhood was emptied. It was frustrating; for all of the leaves, the trees weren’t very numerous, nor close together like in the forest, and he was glad that he had done it, because it was inefficient to have wasted all of that time not picking leaves.

  By the end of it, he hadn’t been completely satisfied after clearing the neighborhood, and started on the forest of the next one over. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to work efficiently again. When he drove his pickup truck home and dumped the rest of the leaves in his large backyard, the humongous mound was twice as large as yesterdays. He went inside quickly after parking the truck, and lit the coals, and the leaves, even though it wasn’t even completely dark yet. Still, he wasn’t satisfied, his desperation still waning, and despite his instinct, he collected his stepladder from the truck bed and slowly picked all of the leaves off of the trees in his back yard, gazing joyously at each one in turn, watching it fade to a fog of itself before he moved to the next. Then he piled those onto the still-gigantic pile, too. He realized that in his business to prepare for work he had put the pajamas out to dry on the clothesline, and he picked them off of it, and threw those on the heap of crackling and simmering tales.

  He didn’t eat dinner, he didn’t even think about cooking s’mores over the pure glow of the flames anymore. He just sat there, sweating and slightly burning his face, as the soothing light was imprinted on his retina. He didn’t even put on his pajamas after it died out, he just collapsed in bed, too tired to change, or even take off his moccasins.

    Surrounded in some sort of thickly structured scaffolding, of all of the keratin of the enemy armor ghosts, his breathe was so fast upon arriving in the dream. He stumbled forward, the towering cathedral built around him shrinking, falling away, and crumbling as he crunched pieces of the gleaming gold disguise. Luckily, he was actually late. The others that had sheltered with him had already left, and outside the window he could see that they simply went back to work plucking endlessly at the trees. None of the black cloud was there anymore. Just the sketch of the graphite earth, and the firmly pressed spines to the air and disgusting day cosmos. He knew what that meant. That meant that spies on the inside had stalled the attac-

  Wait. No. Suddenly, they came from the higher leaves of the thickest trees, and little furrows in the ground. The spies had only succeeded to bring false hope. His lungs squeezed as his heart squelched lower in his abdomen.  The charcoal legs gleamed of rust. They were upon him in seconds, as well as all of the others. He screamed, began to cry. He did all he knew to do. He ran to the nearest tree and hurriedly picked off the leaves, feeling, as he had to strain his eyes shut. He stopped screaming and used one hand to cover his nose and mouth. He tightened his phalange bones against his face so that he could keep the small spaces between them small, so that no more of the cicadas could get in than he wanted. He could only eat so many. With one hand he felt along the tree and picked the leaves as lightning.

  He eventually had to climb the tree, and did so with his one free arm. He was glad that they were all prepared with layers of tight-fitting clothes, so that the intrusion and bites were ceased in most of the surface area of their bodies. But by the time he neared the top, reaching for one of the last of the dozen branches still fruitful, he had lost too much blood. Around him, his companions started to fall –with a sickening anger in the pit of his stomach, he thought it- like bees in smoke. He was getting way too dizzy, and couldn’t move along his branch. Then he couldn’t move his head without swaying. Then his legs gave way. Hs dream was so detailed, so horrifying… There were so many bites, so many legs, eyes, wings-

  And his legs started to give way. He locked his knees. He only realized that it was a bad decision after he had made it. He leaned like a newly born piece of timber from the thin branch. And he couldn’t keep his hand over his face anymore. He leaned, but there was nothing to stop him from continuing to turn in the air. His lurching stomach and the screaming chill down his bike caused by the slow, pendulum shift of the liquid in his semicircular canals told him that he could not keep his eyes shut tight any longer. He fell headfirst from the top of the tree. The leaves below could not save him because of it, no matter how thick the cushion was. At the last second, he stopped in mid-air. Upside-down, he looked in front of him at the tree branch. There was a cicada on it. There was a single, gray leaf he had missed in his haste. He could only move his forearm. The cicada stared at him. All of him, at once. He made his choice.

 No more soothing afternoons. No more enjoying the falling of kingdoms. He picked the leaf off of the branch.

 Harold fell again. And just after he hit his head on the ground-

WHOM!- He flung forward from his bed, waking in sheer horror, and he fell all the way through his room, through a doorway to the next, and crushed his head on the bricks of his fireplace, falling so hard and fast from his last chance at grace that he shattered into a million pieces.

"Dreams" by Cole Stacey

I dreamt of the sky blue
I dreamt of the world anew
I dreamt of a new start
I dreamt of a world apart
I dreamt of my life great
I dreamt of a different state
I dreamt of a world anew
I only dreamt of you