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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: Justin Gonzalez, "Untitled"
The Vernal Pool is an undergraduate literary journal showcasing the work of UC Merced students.


Cover art

Photo by Justin Gonzalez.

Editors' biographies

The biographies of The Vernal Pool editorial board.

Creative Non-Fiction

Summer Lovin'

This is the story of how I lost myself to love.

The Things Rain Brings

October of last year, there was a lot of rain.


Shuffles In February

Sometime in the early morning, Sebastian wakes up a little disoriented.

Farside Amphibian

Upon reflection, I think I finally noticed it when I bit my tongue about three months ago.

Dove Blood

Last night, Mama told me she’ll bring me to a nice place.

A Final Cry for Johnny

He stepped over branch after branch on his way down the road, wincing at the light that stung his eyes.

His House

“It’s so nice to meet you finally!” The words muddled out of my mouth, while I stood at the foot of his white gates.

Burns vs Simpson


Springfield, Oregon

Judge Roy Snyder Presiding

Demons in His Mind

It’s the fourth time around.

Trinity's Embrace

Dawn rose from beneath a stagnant horizon.



Have I lost my muse...

Missing you

Up at night flooded with worry and nausea,

thinking something dreadful is about to happen—

There is No Word

There is no word to describe the loneliness of a child...


i remember a book from my childhood

where a boy compared

love to lemons...

Not so Super Mario Bros

I am back to where I began

With no control over my game plan.


I never met Peter, so I don’t know too much about him.

Quarters of a Year

20mg – I’ve been told that when taking lurasidone, the recommended dose range is 20mg to 120mg per day.

A Ballad of Týr

I loved a darling puppy once,

He’d always tag along.

Under the Same Sky

Never shall I forget

the deep sorrows of those inside my house.

Black Girl

Black Girl Black Girl

Why do you look so sad...

Dear Twenty Something Year Old Guy at The Grocery Store

Did you know

that you’re a millennial whose phone

is sticking out of your back pocket?


When I realized that I could not trust you...

Don't Put Your Labels On Me

I am not a California peach--

So please, don't put your labels on me!

Kiwi Contemplations

Looks don't matter in the

scheme of things...

Naturalis Parodiam (Natural Parody)

Bark-like and towering—but no tree,

a grotesque metal parody of


Slices of Heaven

Melodious Mandarin...

There's No Such Thing as Unicorns

The American Dream is a unicorn,

shimmering and shining

and just as make-believe.

The Shadow of My Childhood

My father— he was a redwood.

He was closer to the sun.


Much like my hair, there has been damage in my life.


She was a girl with a broad white smile.

Sine Spiritus

Death by blue, and insanity will bloom...

Visual Art


The cherry blossom is symbolic for growth and the beauty of life. People admire the beauty of these flowers because they only bloom during a certain period. For myself, this piece represents a period of growth in my life. I also think it's a reminder to appreciate the little things in life.


Picture of bees and flowers

Woodstock 1969

Man playing the guitar.

G Portrait

Close up portrait with left source natural lighting.

Acapulco Baby

Self Portrait inspired by a picture from an Acapulco Mexico vacation with my family.

Woodstock 1969: Experience

One piece of a three piece, inspired by Santanas performance at the 1969 Woodstock music festival. Also inspired  by a scence from the movie: The Breakfast Club.