VoiceCatcher Journal Header Image

Winter 2013: Young Voices


The girl on the bench was the first voice of doubt in my kindergarten mind. One drizzly recess we sat, shivering in sweatshirts and sneakers and pink socks. I didn't really know her. She was one of those kids who walks up to every girl in the grade and asks, "Do you want to be best friends?" and then ignores you after a day. She had accosted me with this very question that morning, and I had been cold and lonely and didn't want to play monkey bars or king-of-the-slide with my other classmates, so I agreed. Hence, my position on the wet metal bench beside her.

I was watching the monkey bar acrobats and tasting the drizzle when she asked.

"Your little brother. What's wrong with him?"

The words dripped harder and colder than rain.

My head spun as I tried to puzzle out what she might mean. And it was a puzzle, like the ABC jigsaw that I had proudly finished that morning. What could be wrong with Aaron? I silently wondered. I didn't think he was sick or hurt. I grew worried. What could this girl possibly mean? I twirled my chilly fingers, damp and red, wished for sunshine and answers. And then oh! A thought ... Was she talking about how Aaron sometimes hit or threw things or even pulled my hair when he was angry? Had she noticed that he was three-years-old but couldn't speak a sentence? Had she seen that he wore glasses that didn't quite hide his unfocused looks sometimes?

As far as I could tell, none of my friends’ younger brothers did these things. But did that mean Aaron was wrong? I had always accepted my brother's actions as unavoidable characteristics, normal as his brown eyes and sandy hair and joyful laugh. It had never occurred to me to think of my brother as anything but different.

Unready to answer to the cold rain and my colder maybe-friend, I asked a question of my own.

"When have you met my brother?"

"He came with your mom to drop you off at school last week," she confessed. "He seems kind of ..." she glanced furtively around us, "weird."

"He's not weird. He's different." It was a statement, not a defense.

That afternoon, my mouth full of apple snack and chatter about school games and music class and the picture I had drawn that day, I asked my mom the question from recess.

"What is wrong with Aaron?"

And that's when I learned the meaning of the word autism.

Previous Button   Next Button

Poetry Thumbnail Art   Prose Thumbnail Art   Artwork Thumbnail Art   Young Voices Thumbnail Art   Contributors Thumbnail Art

Enjoy the richness: thirteen poets, nineteen poems, and a diversity of style and craft.


Three memoirists share their emotional truths in these slices-of-life.


Our featured artist, as well as painters and photographers, provide colorful visions that will leave you seeing the world in new ways.

Young Voices

Three emerging writers share talent and creativity far beyond their years.


Learn more about the contributors who make us proud of our Winter 2013 edition.

Table of Contents Button


        A Convention of Ordinary Astophysicists Attends by Jodie Marion

        A Father's Love by Darlene Pagán

        Before Going to Murder by the Book, We Stop at Zell's by Carol Frischmann

        Decomposition by Pat Phillips West

        Dream by Jodie Marion

        Fishtail by Margaret Chula

        From the 7th Floor of Doernbecher Children's Hospital by Larina Warnock

        Inside the Basilica del Voto Nacional, Quito, Ecuador by Stella Jeng Guillory

        Interview with My Mother by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

        Mail Call by Darlene Pagán

        Midnight Choices by Kathryn Ridall

        My First Butcher by Barbara Drake

        On the Banks of the Indian River by Jodie Marion

        Placental Abruption by Larina Warnock

        Playboys by Andrea Hollander

        Saturday Visitation by Kelly Running

        The Blizzard of '78 by Darlene Pagán

        The Hundred Names of Love by Annie Lighthart

        The Old Life by Andrea Hollander


        Bennett's Outing by Julia Clark Salmon

        Whale by Lyssa Tall Anolik

        Wisdom Tree by Julie Rogers


        Man with Chicken by Anne John

        Ancient Abstract by Anne John

        Blowing Bubbles by Betty Joe Armstrong

        Stormscape by Jean Harkin

        Nick's Jays by Huon Quach

        Diptych by Huon Quach


        Different by Emily Boring

        Old Clock by Erin Blackburn

        Drink by Julien Signorini