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Art Lulu feature

No amount of bargaining or denial will change that simple bead of truth.

Letter from the Editor

When I was learning to read, my mom would curl up with me every night to recite a book. As my tired eyes scanned each line, I attached words on the page to sounds spoken, enraptured with it all.

cathartes aura

It wasn’t taking my fifth “Am I Gay?” quiz. It wasn’t being disappointed when I would get “You Are Straight!” as a result. It wasn’t my constantly looking up “lesbian love stories.” It was a Reddit thread, and the compulsory heterosexuality master doc I found there, that made me say “oh shit.”

a red/purple brain emits blue and yellow blurs

*This piece talks about mental health, and some aspects of this piece may be triggering for someone recovering.

orange, yellow, brown, and tan swirls of hair behind a woman

When my mom was a kid, a white boy had a crush on her. So, the KKK set a cross on fire in her aunt’s front yard. A white boy couldn’t like a brown girl. And although this piece is more about me and my experiences, my mom sets everything up. I am her carbon copy.

two eyes with tears below them and people playing flutes and holding branches, looking like Ancient Greeks

Act One


You love riding 

with the windows down.

I hated it.

But then I rode 

with them down 

without you,

and I understood.

Coming back from a place you once had said 

was the “scenic route.”

Now it’s really more my route than yours: 

hourglasses laid over top one another

I have a confession to make: lately, I’ve been struggling to keep myself together. I miss deadlines, forget to text people back. Turn things in exactly at 11:59pm. Call it the mid-semester reckoning, or midterm season, or simply being burnt out, but I (and I’m sure many of you) do not know how to manage it lately.

dim blue and purple lighting over a row of diner booths

This is the origin of June and how she became a villain no one could stop.

a dark hallway with orange accents

This film employs the act of doing laundry, in its habitual, cyclical mundaneness, to reflect a deep longing for a cultural heritage under the strain of constant, quiet erasure.

young woman surrounded by olives and blue-pink color strokes

This special edition of Iris is dedicated to the writers and artists who participated in the Women’s Center’s juried arts and writing competition, (re)present

close-up of open eye with colorful flowers surrounding it in background

Eyes draw me in and allow me to more fully understand others. At UVA, eyes have allowed me to make new friends, distance myself from bad influences, and comfort broken hearts. My gray-scale drawing, done with graphite pencils, allows everyone, regardless of race or gender, to relate.