0 428

Lauren Cohen

Voices Editor

// This piece was inspired by the realization that I exist as a molecular melting pot. //

I started out as an observer: wide-eyed, curious.

My mom standing in the kitchen, frenetically chopping onions with one hand, sprinkling turmeric and saffron over a pot of noodle stew with the other, speaking rapid Farsi into the cell phone nestled between her shoulder and cheek. Bushy eyebrows staring at me from my bathroom mirror. Shouting cousins. Five pots of Ahmad Earl Grey tea a day. Aunts who can’t draw the line between love and harassment. Trips to “eh-school” and “Palm eh-Springs.” Stinky kabob, rice, and sumac in a Pyrex for school lunch, nothing like the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lunchables of my peers.

I then became a critic: pubescent, ashamed.  

“Mom don’t burn that weird incense throughout the house when my friends are over.” “I want to thread my eyebrows.” “Stop talking to me in Farsi; this is America.” My face blaring red each time the Ahmad tea bags were pulled out at restaurants. Scheduling lessons to teach my mother how to say the words “squirrel” and “skewer” (all futile, of course).  Wishing I too could bring the conventional cold sandwich and Trader Joe’s lunches. Wishing I too could be white, plain, simple.

I am now a student: proud, excited.

Begging my father to only speak Farsi with me so I can become more fluent. Ideas for a documentary on my parents’ escape to America as refugees. Photocopying recipes for ghormeh-sabzi and ashe-reshteh (“noodle stew”). Smooching my mother every time she mispronounces a word. Smiling back at my thick eyebrows. Listening to my grandparents share their favorite memories from Iran. Eagerly packing my favorite Persian lunches. Unearthing dusty photo albums which document a life I will never know, but will always covet.

0 326

Isabel Bina

Guest Writer

This piece was inspired by the individuals in my life who have made the last few months bearable. During the college process it is really easy to feel as though darkness is consuming you, due to the amount of pressure and expectations that we strive towards. Thanks to certain people and special moments, I have a better sense of who I am and who I want to be.

0 290

Lauren Mokhtarzadeh
Wildlife Editor

I’d like to formally thank the ACT, common app, and my regularly scheduled homework for causing me to be perpetually sleep deprived.

My pupils are burning
The bags under them are noticeable to say the least
And I’m running on less than 4 hours of sleep

But still I wake and do what I need to do
I sit and listen to the teacher standing in the front of the room

I try to focus, but I simply cannot
It all goes through one ear and out the other

I then start to dream about the ZZZs I want to catch
But I can’t do that

The sun has set, and all those who live in this house are fast asleep
But here I am, working till dawn
And not long after I finally get to lay in my bed and rest my head
A loud beeping sound begins

I sit in a noisy area, but all I hear are my thoughts of what I need to do
The long list is never-ending
It only continues to grow
I’m tired and only want to sleep

I hope that one day I will get to catch my ZZZs

0 380
Pictured above is my older sister, Leigh Jacobson.

Britt Jacobson


This piece is fictitious, though absolutely true of my experience going through the college process.

No one acknowledged her in her Paul Frank t-shirt and light-up Tinker Bell bag. Stephen S. Wise is over there… where are they taking me? The bus stopped; everyone got up and shuffled off, leaving the girl behind to drown in their Peet’s and Starbucks and Coffee Bean cups. The driver stared at her in the rearview mirror until she understood- she was supposed to shuffle off too. So she followed the tall zombie horde and arrived at a classroom- with lots of tall chairs and tall zombies and tall teachers. But there weren’t any crayons, or colored papers or teddies. Everyone had big-kid computers, like her mom’s. And there was one for her too. C-o-l-l-e-g-e. All the zombies were clicking and clacking. The teacher stared over her shoulder and she understood- she was supposed to type too. So she did. And she was the first five-year-old to get into college. Graduated magna cum laude and all.

0 281


Lauren Cohen
Voices Editor

A young girl sits on the subway.
Windows all around her,
behind each flies something new.
Faces, colors, and headlines.
This chaos flashes about her.
She looks out
her eyes darting, excited to find order.

She sees herself in the glass
And reaches out into the abyss of expressions and colors and words
But the train is moving far too fast–
A nearby pole slashes her arm.
She quickly pulls back
And begins to realize how much she’s hurting…

Years go by since she last made herself vulnerable
to the world beyond.
She runs her finger over her arm
Feeling the shriveled edges.

She spent her years within the subway
Convincing herself that she didn’t need anything
But it’s sticky seats and cold metal yet
Constantly observing the world passing by her,
Jotting notes as to how and when
she could reach out again.

On the day she filled the last page
Of her notebook, she slipped it into her backpack
And looked out the window excitedly again.
She saw herself standing amongst the crowd
So she reached out, once again, hoping
That after years of observation and contemplation
she’d be more successful this time.
But, yet again, she was struck.

The wound stung more sharply
this time, as the awareness of a humiliating pattern emerged.
The girl tried once more to reach out to the reflections
Beyond the windows until she realized
she would never find herself.

Her once eager, shining eyes turned to the floor.
The colors and enchanting images became a bland grey
With the occasional flattened piece
Of blue or green gum.

If a dream dared enter her mind
She immediately ran her index finger
over the ridges of her skin.

Some days, the images of
Laughter and hands and mouths came back
to her and nothing could dampen her hope.
So she looked around the subway for a guide
Someone to teach her how to get out
And move forward.
But after years of staring at the floor
She realized she was the only one on the train.

And so her head immediately dropped back down
Hanging between high shoulders
and loneliness.

Staring at the floor once again.
Though she saw not only the floor
But also her hands, resting on denim covered knees.
And realized that she’d been looking
on the wrong side of the glass all along.

0 326

Britt Jacobson


I was inspired to write this poem after considering this quote:

“The man may be the head of the household. But the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she pleases.” Nia Vardalos

The man is the head

And the woman is the neck.

The body needs the head to survive-

But our body got decapitated.

The head was severed. One




Chopped right off.

But our body still totally functions-

Albeit a little bloody.

The neck


The torso


The limbs


That’s not why people gape though.

They think something’s missing-

It’s not.

0 566

Britt Jacobson


I was inspired to write this piece on a real swing set that I grew up with, which was thrown out this past summer.

Out in the garden there’s a swing set. At a glance, it’s childhood. Red swing, yellow swing, and tire swing. All are enshrouded by rosemary. A slide expands on a seemingly honest wooden base, covered by an outrageously colorful tarp. Potted herbs, roses, palm trees and shrubs. The swing set invites play. As playtime approaches, it becomes evident that the swing set is decrepit. The red swing has split in half, never to be used again. The yellow swing functions on, though lonely and dusty. Occasionally its latch clicks and squeaks instability. The wood groans under the pressure of any weight, even the black bee that has been harassing it for years. The rainbow tarp is torn, leaving the swingset vulnerable to face the sweltering San Fernando sun. It’s all going to be sent to a landfill soon – out of sight though not out of mind, just like the childhood spent on it. However – it all smells wonderfully of rosemary.

0 474

Britt Jacobson


The Roar is very excited to announce our new Creative section!

This section will soon house the works of Milken’s Creative Writing students, as well as fiction and assorted content from guest writers.

Come back soon for new content!