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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Vernal Pool

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As the leading creative writing journal for UC Merced undergraduate students, The Vernal Pool provides an edited expressive space for the student body to publish original work and an open, accessible venue for audiences to read, appreciate, celebrate and respond. Current issues can now be found at:

The Vernal Pool

Issue cover
Cover Caption:Phillip Garcia, "Tranquility"
The Vernal Pool is a literary journal that provides undergraduate students from the University of California, Merced the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the power of literature and art.


Letter from the Editor

A word from the Editor, Daniel Rodriguez.

Creative Non-Fiction

A Letter to Myself

A fun short letter to myself on my writing capabilities


Loss, life, and contemplation.


Short story about personal experiance within loss and foster care.


A creative non-fiction piece about mental health, psychiatry, and the habits of highly effective depressed people. TW: Descriptions of Drug Use, abuse, and depressive episodes

A Culture of Two Worlds

A piece about the identity that I, as well as other students from my home, formed being first generation immigrants. Along with this, an analysis into why that may be, and how to combat the feelings of confusion that come with existing between two different cultures.


A Ghost Story

This a letter written by the dearly departed letting their other half, and those close to them know they are okay and that they will be passing on.

La Caperusita Roja

A twist on my grandmother's gruesome re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood.

"Where Am I"

A lone traveler has only their mother's writings and stories to keep them company.

If The Shoe Don't Fit, It Ain't for Wearing

A psychoanalysis of a deeply deranged Cinderalla from an alternative universe.

Michael Elkins and The Great Slumber

Explanations for the origins of the universe are not set in stone. The big bang theory remains for the most part a theory that can be debunked at any moment if sufficient evidence is uncovered. Religious explanations for the universe's origins are also highly dependent on a person's faith, which makes their views subjective. However, an objective truth to the universe's origins may have finally been discovered. Our creator, Michael Elkins is in reality a toddler who has dreamt up the world we live in. The myth presented is a memoir snatched from Michael Elkins when he was not looking. While the person who snatched it may have suffered great harm to his being and is most likely to be no longer living, he did manage to get the memoir out to the greater public. It is time this memoir gets published and for all to be informed on how the universe really came to be.


We Are More Than Who He Took Away

All these poems have a hint of longing for an unrequited love, with the exception of the last one. Transitions is about a love blooming from two old but not too close souls. The Difference Between Them is about the switching of the unrequited love and how the two are stuck in the cycle of never wanting one another at the same moment. The Betrayal is about the way a longing can become addictive even when one knows that the person they're longing for is no good for them. Tortured Soul is about finally getting over that person you so desperately wanted. We Are More Than Who He Took Away is a creative poem derived from the poem We Are Seven, by Wordsworth where it is my own families personal experienced on the death of another family member.

The Logic of the Criminal Scientist

The Logic of the Criminal Scientist


A poem by Andrew Perez


These poems came to me so quick, that I had 48 Post-Its floating around on my desk. I decided to put it on an actual document and rejoice in it's completion and white space.

Hidden Love

By Randy Posada

Visual Art

The Blue Room




I recently moved into my apartment and my roommate had some family over that day and while they were nice I felt unusual interacting with them. So, I decided to hide out in my room with my girlfriend. My girlfriend had plans so eventually she left, leaving me alone in my room with my roommates dog. I started to feel this great sense of lonliness as the sun started to set turning my room a darkening shade of blue. It was a familiar feeling, the feeling having to be alone in such an unfamiliar place like it was my first year again.


I felt the need to submit this because I would often limit myself to only submitting peices that were amazing in a techincal sense. Part of me felt even felt like my art was never good enough to submit. That mindset, though, is very limiting.

I hope that more people will be encouraged to show thier artwork even the ones they feel are not as amazing.

A Day in Fall

This photograph features a bird sitting on a tree on the UC Merced campus during the fall 2016 semester.



Rome, Italy

July, 2016


Let the light leak in.

evening unfold

The stress is gone. The memories are imminent. Let the evening unfold.


And as I looked up, Jesus Christ and his twelve Apostles were standing before me.

Stuck in Time

Eternally caught in the beauty of a moment.

To Taste (1)

To taste the delicacies from around the world. Oh what a dream it may be. A dream from which I have not risen. I pray I never.


As beauty enters the eyes, anger leaves the mind. Tranquility. Tranquility at last.

worlds collide

Beauty seeping through the cracks as two worlds collide.