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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


Letter by The Editor in Chief

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.

Cover Art

Art by Stephanie Ross.



I think I am finally breathing, for many days, the earth was spinning.

Full Throttle

Slow down. They tell the clown but he can’t hear you. He’s almost out of gas

and he’s already past the point of no return.

Mentally Ill: Society's Kill

“Mental Health needs a great deal of attention.

It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.”

-Adam Ant

Poems of mental health issues with use of imagery and rythm


Why should I bother--

the words, lying on

a blanket of still snow

like tree branches?

Our Community Garden

We tend our community garden for our seedlings to sprout.

Proud, high sunflowers, nurturing fruit trees.


A person realizes the reason to why their relationship failed.


No Feelings

Feelings can change just how seasons can change.

Where is he now?

My poem is about a a coup;e who split. The girl moved on faster than he did. Now he is feeling remorse.

Sweet Summer Boy

From the moment that Columbus reached the Americas, brown people have been subject to oppression through systematic racism, microagressions and outright hostility. The rich history of the pre-Columbian peoples of this continent was almost completely eradicated by the European invaders. Brown skin came to be synonymous to poverty, filth, and unattractiveness. This is an ode to my people. A reminder that our existence is an act of resilience, that we are beautifully brown, beloved by the Sun.

These Children

The audience sits in their seats


My therapist tells me to stop thinking in black and white.

But I can’t help only seeing

right or wrong

De Mi Mama

I come from hard earth and clay walls.

I come from early Sunday mornings-

the smell of myrrh and frankincense clouding my eyes.

I come from the mango trees that did not belong to me,

But still scaled up high to escape a life that was not mine.

The Rose and The Poppy

I am not a rose.

I am not a ravishing ruby red,

or even a semblance of purity white.

Under the Dim Night Sky

Under the Dim Night Sky

Scorpion Grasses


Blooming like no other,


My tongue is dry.


And so, she walks like the awakening of light.

Creative Non-Fiction

Black Water

A story of a dream turned into a nightmare.


It concerns my relationship to animals and how that has tied into my childhood relationships.

Define My Eyes

A collection of three seperate pieces, led by the creative non-fiction piece "Define My Eyes". The following pieces, "The Difference Between a Bastard and an Orphan" and "Psy-co-existence" are fiction works. The three pieces are their own stories and are not dependent on one another.

A Split Second

Is graduation really the beginning? Kelvin discusses his attitude towards the seemingly brief experience that is high school and college commencement.

Miles Away

The experience of a young child who is about to leave his home found miles away to another country, where the culture and traditions are much different.


Snipped Love

A short story about the troubles of finding a soulmate.


A short tale of a lover who has learned of self-love through the grief of her broken relationship.

Visual Art

Lonely Bird

"Free yet so far away from home"

photo taken by Uriel E. Angelino.

The Sun (XIX)

Block printing on a vintage music sheet. This piece depicts the artist's rendition of the tarot card, "The Sun", in the medium of a block print. This piece emphasizes femininity and self.

BBQ Remains

On a sunny Sunday, only one thing can be done and that is a BBQ! A moment shared with the family and without much thought, you bond through careless laughs and good food. After the feast is over, the space filled with sizzles and giggles is now empty noise. But there in a box lies a reminder of that sunny Sunday.

Single Crystal Diffraction Distraction

There is a possibility this illustrates electron diffraction through the (1 1 2) diagonal direction in of the tetragonal crystal structure of Bismoclite.  I also think it looks neat.

Curious Cow

A curious cow observed us as we studied the place it calls home. All of its friends ran in fear of the intruders, but this cow wasn’t afraid.