by Oluwarimike Abiodun-Oni

Millions is a story about the difficult question of what the people we love the most may leave us when they go.

Emily had her grandparents die. They left her a silo in Texas, a coastal house on rocky pastures in Massachusetts Bay. Blue lace china they got on their European honeymoon. A dowry. A college education. One hundred thousand dollars in stocks and bonds. 

This is her inheritance. 

My grandmother, sitting across from me now, has just made a rather cruel comment about my weight. She doesn’t understand why this time last year I could not will myself out of bed. She doesn’t understand what the sunlight has to do with my mood. She doesn’t understand why I shrink when she comes near me, why I do not take her gently offered hand. She doesn’t understand why I don’t believe that anything she has is gently offered (I know it was not acquired that way, she has been through more than I will ever be). 

She shakes her head at my stomach when I walk into a room, sitting across from me now, she proclaims rather loudly that she thought I had stopped all that eating. Though she says it in broken English, maybe that should blunt the blow. The next instant, she will look at me with century-old concern and ask if school isn’t treating me too harshly. She will put a hand to my forehead if I so much as shiver, sitting across from me now, worry lines older than I am drawn on her forehead. She will clap with unmitigated glee when my mother tells her I am graduating, although she has no concept of International Relations. She will hold my chin in her hands and pray for me, sitting across from me now, and that is as close to feeling God as I will ever be. She will love me, with a love so potent she has no choice but to ask when I got so big and fat and afraid. 

She’s talked to God about me, you see. 

Every night, like a soldier, she gets on her knees, humble, and she talks to God about me. 

When my grandmother dies all I will be left is the truth that if you lick enough salt, the pepper you have rubbed into your eye will lose its sting. That if you rub earwax on a boil, it will vanish. That there are special creams (maybe only she has them) for when your thighs start to rub together at thirteen. I will be left with four different ways to fry plantain, and the right way to eat pounded yam so the mound is not desecrated there, on the plate. I will be left with the right way to wash a pot, the long way to boil white rice. 

I will be given her skirts (they won’t fit), her favorite stories (they won’t fit), her endless need to pray (it won’t fit). 

I will be bequeathed parables, I will remember them in someone else’s language.

From Grandma, I will inherit an inability to eat without guilt. 

I will inherit parcels and bundles of pain, different kinds of passed down and carried over shame. 

No hundreds or thousands of dollars. 

In stocks or bonds. 

I will inherit guilt, the weight of motherhood, and a responsibility to all the branches of this wizened family tree. 

She leaves me embarrassed, ashamed, aware of everything that lives in the unholy 

dark. She leaves me with restoration that can only happen once there is a reckoning.

When Emily asks me how much she left to me, 

I will miss her ruthlessness, my grandmother. 

I will miss her cruelty (this is what they called her, this is what they meant to say, 

this is why I could not love her, this is why I loved her), my grandmother. 

I will miss the soft underbelly of her fleshy arms.

Then I will ask Emily if anyone ever begged a God on bended knee for her 

sake. and I will answer, 


For this is my inheritance. 

Millions is about the things we inherit from our families. Being a child of the diaspora with a large portion of my family based in Nigeria, I often feel the disconnect between us. We are oceans apart, in more ways than one. Inheritance is not as clear cut in our cultures as it is in Western ones, how often do our grandparents leave behind a black-and-white will? Inheritance, in a complex, generational, and African context, is much more than money. It’s something else entirely. Millions attempts to wade through that depth and emerge with an answer to the difficult question of what the people we love in a most fierce and painful way, may leave us when they go.

About Oluwarimike Abiodun-Oni

Oluwarimike Abiodun-Oni is a Nigerian-Canadian writer with a vested interest in the lives and experiences of young black girls, being one herself. Currently working towards a degree in International Relations to begin her career, and is drawn to writing for the freedom of expression it offers. Irish by birth, Nigerian by blood, Canadian by citizenship, and American by experience, she has lived in many countries and even more cities. She spent a large part of her formative years in Peoria, and was heavily involved in student life at Dunlap high school during her time there. Since graduating she has resided in British Columbia, where she hopes to finish her undergraduate degree and work her way into writing for a living.

No Explanation 

by Karma Henderson

I gave you my heart body mind and soul 

In exchange I asked for honesty, 

Understanding, affection and wisdom and happiness 

Yet in return I get happiness

Heartbreak lies and conflict 

I thought I made you happy 

Your words say I do 

Yet some of your actions show otherwise 

Am I wrong for finally putting up 

Boundaries that I failed to set in the beginning?

Am I wrong for trying to unteach lessons 

I chose to accept?

I was so love struck that I chose

To ignore all the red sequences of flashing lights 

I’m sorry for loving you unconditionally the way you are 

Without teaching you the right way to love me 

I’m sorry the physical and mental

Distance between us was to rigid and infeasible for you 

For I thought our spiritual and unconditional 

Love for one another was enough to keep us bound 

But I have terribly mistaken our connection

It was not strong enough to withstand 

The trials and tribulations of Change

Explanation is all I ask yet it’s not given

Am I not deserving of such?

I can’t even blame you for the way you treat me 

Because I treat myself this way 

As well by allowing you to treat me this way  

Showing you it’s okay 

Maybe if I had more self-love and admiration 

For myself we could have work maybe 

If I was more strong willed and bold 

We woulda lasted, so no 

I’on hate you nor blame you 

I blame myself so please don’t think 

You’re in the wrong, it’s fa’sho my fault 

I guess this starts a new chapter to my life and yours

With mines I gotta learn to love me 

And be happy alone because 

If ion love myself nobody will love me 

So in a way you helped me, so thank you 

You have showed me what I need 

To improve and what I need to throw away 

I guess you were right

No explanation helps me in a way.

Karma Henderson

Karma Henderson is 16 years old. She hopes one day to be a radiologist. Her interests are photography and helping others.

Step Out There

by Eliana Santesteban

Applying for college has already begun in most schools and is right around the corner for others. If you are someone at this stage in your life, I know this can be a stressful time—always wondering where you will end up. I grew up in a small town, Fresno, California, and made a huge move out to Chicago to attend Loyola University. At the start of doing college applications, I thought I wanted to stay near my family; I did not want to miss out on anything. That was until I made the visit out to Chicago. I immediately knew it was the place for me. As I walked through the city and on campus, I could picture myself living there. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified— terrified to move to this huge, fast-paced environment. Coming from a small town where everyone knows each other, this big city was my chance to get to know people I would have never known existed. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and go far from home, and I have met some of the most amazing people that I now get to call my friends. 

Specifically, my roommate, Liz Setti, is one of a kind. She has become my closest friend—the person I know I can go to for anything. She and her family have been kind enough to take me in as their own on school breaks and I know I am always welcome in their home. By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you too could find your 

Setti Family. 

The experiences I have had from being in a new place, with all new people, have taught me the greatest life lessons—the lessons of being adaptable, responsible, and independent. Being able to provide for yourself and controlling what your schedule is like day to day, brings you into the real world. Being able to make connections, on a clean slate, helps people get to know you for who you truly are. I have also realized that my family will always be there for me. With today’s technology, we are so lucky to be able to stay with our families—to call and FaceTime them. Still, that feeling of going back home for the first time makes you realize you cannot take it for granted. It only pushed me more to keep my relationships with people close to me and always strive for maintaining those connections.

I know that it can be scary and hard to think of being so far away, but I genuinely would not change this experience for anything. There is so much out in this world that you could be missing out on. This could be your chance to explore a new place and grow as an individual. For those of you stressing about where you should go to college: Push yourself out there and follow your heart, because there could be an experience waiting for you just 

like mine. 

About Eliana Santesteban

Eliana is a freshman at Loyola University Chicago in the Business Pre Law program. She is from Fresno, California and is excited to be a new resident of the midwest. In her free time Eliana works in an after care program for Chicago Public Schools. Eliana also enjoys reading and spending time with her friends in the new environment she is experiencing.


by Rabiah Na’Allah

Imagine if there were clouds

Imagine if the sun came out to keep us warm

Let’s pretend this place is something to dream about.

Imagine the trees kept their green all year long

And their oxygen rejuvenated us

We would never leave.

About Rabiah Na’Allah

Rabiah Na’Allah and is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Graphic Design and Cinema. She is from Peoria, Illinois, and the self-proclaimed middle child of three sisters. Rabiah is heavily involved in the University of Iowa Honors Program and serves as an Honors Outreach Ambassador and leader on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council. She is involved in various organizations on campus including the Muslim Student Association, African Student Association and Student Advocates of Planned Parenthood. When she’s not working at school, you can find her doing photography, volunteering at a number of student productions through the Theater program, analyzing her favorite movies, or binge-watching Criminal Minds.

Spring Trees are Blooming

by Ayannah Garcia

“Spring flowers are nature’s most fragrant charms” 

-Angie Weiland-Crosby

Six more weeks of winter because the groundhog saw its shadow

But that doesn’t mean leaves won’t grow

What things are there to do while there is still snow?

Nothing, but Spring peeks its head around the corner and says “Hello”

Lush green blades of grass sprout from the ground

Birds chirp at 5 am and you can’t believe that sound

No snow and the roads are clear

Sun sets late in the evening giving us no fear

Summer is coming and it seems like a great year

Maybe this Spring I’ll cry fewer tears

Vibes during weekends are surreal  

Wind and dirt in my hair as I roll down the steep hill

Flowers blooming with the rich smell

Colors so pretty like the dress of a belle 

Running to the sunset as we yell

Captivated by all the beach shells

I hope Spring is nice

And feels like paradise.

About Ayannah Garcia

Ayannah Garcia is a freshman attending Richwoods High School, where she takes part in the Pre-IB program, the Royalettes dance team, and the drama club. Outside of school, she loves to dance, read, journal, travel with family, and play with her dog. In addition to these activities, she is currently a member of the Finale Group of the Greater Peoria Illinois Chapter of Jack and Jill, an organization for young African American individuals who want to serve the community, and a member of her church’s youth group.

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Ary Westfall is a junior Interactive Media major and Theatre Arts minor attending Bradley University. She is the social media manager for DAT, creates webcomics in her free time, and enjoys all forms of sequential art. Ary hopes to break into the comic world or find work in pre-production art for television.