International Voices

A Publication of Lehigh University

2020 Issue

Foreword by Dr. Amardeep Singh, Professor of English, Lehigh University

As I write, the world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has infected millions around the world, led to closed borders and shut down much of everyday life, from India to Moscow, to New York City. Here in the U.S., as of this writing, more than half a million people have been infected by the virus, and more than 20,000 have died. Universities like ours have closed for the year, and some wonder if college life will ever be the same…

The Magical Jar

There it was, silently sitting beside her lazily unveiled by the dim light of the fire. One would swear it could hear our thoughts, the way it just stood still and stared back at us. We had seen a lot of strange and mystical things claim mum’s basket throne, but this one seemed to be the most mysterious heir of them all. “What could it be this time?” our little heads pondered. “What could this carefully wrapped treasure contain?” The suspense was sucking the life out of everybody…

Air Mata Langit-langit (Ceiling Tears)

Gerimis putih, mengelus

kalbu, meresap dalam celah


White drizzle, caressing my

heart, seeping into the cracks in

my soul.


I am From Poem

I am from the sound of people in the street.

From the honking of cars and midnight board games.

I am from the crowded cities, the communities that share laughter and despair.

I am from the river, the most famous one there is, admired by many,

represents life in the desert.

I am from the green leaves of Molokhya and the late football (Soccer) matches.


When you are sick and you are ten thousand miles from your mom, that is when you start feeling her love and devotion.

When I was a little kid, I did not know much. I was playing in the rain, and then I caught a cold. My mom yelled at me, which made me mad because I did nothing wrong. I was trying to have fun.

Despite her anger, she still took care of me with all her heart. She got me the medicine and brought it to my bed. She cooked for me a large bowl of her infamous potatoe soup. She stayed up all night to make sure I slept peacefully…



he sits on TV spewing hate.

he talks about my culture as if knows anything about it.

he mocks my people as if we aren’t the ones doing the work no one else wants. he tells us to go back to our country.



I Am From

I am from silk, soft and smoothing,

From porcelain, exquisite and elegant,

From the mellow smell of the tea leaf, gladdening my heart and refreshing my mind.

I am from the “living fossil” giant pandas and white-flag dolphins are living,

From Mountain Tai rises up to kiss the heaven,

the Yangtze river surges forward with great momentum.

Let It Be

The barren grey land stretched on for miles. It used to be a sight to see- Mother Nature’s pride and joy.
But then the men came.
With their large guns, their metal contraptions and their unfriendly balloons, they convulsed Her, destroying Her floral gifts with their poisonous air.

For years the anger went on, men fighting left and right of Her lush land now a monstrosity of barbed wires and debris.
On Her land they now named the land of no man…


The most amusing word of my era! Not only creates the shimmering pride for the owners holding it, but also nervousness for the naive contestants who gets deranged by the voice of it. I personally get elated to hear this word authenticity for two major reasons; first; it creates the innate sense to check on the credentials of what we are and what we want to do; second; it is nothing but the scrutiny of the percentage functionality of a credible resource. Technical definitions apart; when this term is attributed to the living beings such as humans, I am curiously in love with it!

Space Invaders

A foreign encounter,

an odd kind.

Odd, yet,


Setting foot upon this new territory.

What was I thinking?

Choosing to wander alone,

in such a place.


Sauntering Alone During a Pandemic

sounds of  the motors muffle along
as a masked-up widow reunited with her only
son siblings throwing maroon pigskin in the
air perhaps for the first time in a year
middle-aged fathers holding back a
tear wait. It wasn’t.
“men don’t cry,” they tell
themselves It was just fear.
dread. helplessness. death.
but not tears
a cacophony of clothes circling the
streets fridges, tv screens, microwaves
entering the backdoors of motorized
beasts peculiar families piqued
as 24/7 news machines generate
terror on a never-ending-cycle of
mass hysteria…

I Am From Poem

I am from the smell of the freshly brewed coffee in the morning,

dog barking in the patio of my house,

river in the city, endless traffic jams,

and ruins dating centuries back.

My Subaru Forester Gave Me My Greatest Friendship

“Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.” The cheesy slogan bounces around my head long after the com- mercial ends. A jingle that I find myself reciting along with the voice from the screen yet never put thought into what it actually means. I have a Subaru. Like any other car it is made to transport, to get me where I need to be, but what does “love” have anything to do with these cars? Never did I fully understand this jingle until it related so greatly to my own life. I believe my Subaru did more than just get me to where I needed to be…

I Am From Poem

I am from an island From the palm trees and the fresh

air I am from a tempo of about 140 beats per minute

I am from the Canarian Spanish and the Arawak language

I am from the sweat and tears

From hard work and prosper

I am from the saying Paz y Libertad



In the 21st century, the digital world became another reality for every one of us. It is especially true for youth who were born when the phone is as much of a necessity to have as food. Digital media carries a massive amount of information and with wide access to it, it is easier than ever to spread the information. The transmitted information should be true, especially one spread by the media. Most of the time this is not the case, and media fails to act to its ideals. Many believe that the information that is spread by different means is filtered somehow…

Land Bridge

Blue haze, earthly spike that rips the sky,

greeting the legions of bark soldiers waiting for the call.

The silence, their general,

leading them against those who oppose the tranquil, the balance.

The citizens of the city burrow,

crawl, climb and leap toward their daily tasks,

reassured by the soldiers who grant

them shelter under their presence…

The Alliteration of Motherhood

The Amazonian Empress of oxymoron

whose embrace is terrifying tender care

formed by warmth of love-filled anger,

whose bosom a reminder:

Serene Seas and Crushing Typhoons,

Bi-PoLar WeAtHer ColLiSions;

these gentle hands have caressed me to slumber

the same weapon of endless crying nights

I hold an envelope, a key, a ticket

As other seniors shouting about their Ivies

Here I am: strangled, bludgeoned, crucified

If that seal is for my fate or failure

“Congratulations for your successful application…”

I live to worry another day

Changing Seasons


The air is hot and humid but it’s the place we call home

Yet something is changing, and today, at last, come the words we must say

We wish and we wander, we rage and we roam,

for the past is still present on this thirty-fifth day of May


I am from warm shelters

From woods and warm  blankets

I am from the cold winter

Small ice, cold body, that can melt with your hug

I am from Rose and Jasmine

A beautiful shape and smell


The galaxy is indeed an amazing spectacle.

Swirls of brilliant red, blue and gold, and clouds of dust and debris, dreamily float across the black realm. Somewhere, an electric motor whirrs, causing a spectrum of hummed vibrations, and a glass cylinder lift begins to decelerate. The top screen of the elevator lights up and Level 13.798 billion is produced in formal, corporate type. Suddenly the screen glitches and the characters vanish, as if the lift is confused and unsure. A light-moment later the lift continues its journey, now aware of its assigned destination…

From Mark A. Ouellette

Both the uncertainty over the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting need for social distancing have caused more than a bit of stress these days. In such emotionally trying times, it is tempting to react in harmful and unproductive ways—ways that are based solely on our individual differences rather than on our shared humanity. While we all share in the responsibility to distance ourselves socially for the sake of our own health as well as the health of others, to blame, to stereotype, to discriminate against, to attack, or even merely to silence others only establishes a greater gulf between us, and prevents us from coordinating our efforts to heal as a community…

From International Voices E-Board

We thank the many artists who have shared their works with International Voices!

Without the many individuals who chose to send in their work our magazine would not be possible. It is our honor to read all of the work that is submitted and choose the best pieces to showcase the talent of our university. Of the numerous pieces submitted, we hope that you will agree that those appearing here are exemplary and show the diversity of life and experiences coinciding on our campus…

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