a real fake

the rose sits still on the windowsill.


after a long day absorbing sun rays,

it’s still

open in full bloom,

with its picturesque, pristine red petals

that never wilt, never droop,

only wave back and forth

when the sun shines through the window –

but for now utterly still.


tranquil, the rose, the tacky rose,

that my mother thinks is silly,

and it is silly, but


the way it bobs side to side in the sunlight

the way it latches on to the littlest bit of light –

real light, fake rose

but a real fake rose all right


my mother thought an actual plant would be better decoration,

but who really wants a fault free flower?


no matter if they say they do,

in the end it’s still silly,


and at midnight it’s still




still patient and pleasant and that’s all it has to be

because nobody’s curious

what this beauty queen’s thinking


and it’s expectant, that precious plastic

solar-powered plant,

like its place on the windowsill

is a place atop a tower,

waiting for instruction, the fragile flower child,

full of brilliance, bountiful in thoughts but

only able to bobble,


feelings are infected by such artificial artistry.


the rose is a plastic princess, in place


who’s coming to save a rose

that looks like its life is perfect?

unable to do anything on its own,

the rose pretends that it loves to be alone

why would anyone think there’s more to know?

because when you look to the window,

the rose,

it’s still the star of the show.

algorithms of love

too many variables not factored in –

we’re on two different planes,

pretending, striving to be congruent,

as though arc lengths are enough to hold our attention.

now we’re


casting parabolas in the air,

supposing that integration should be simple,

as though calculations will make us care,

supposing that communication is but our proof,

derived from our initial attraction.


human beings caught up in algorithms,

as though all it takes is solving the equation of

heart beats caught in rhythms,

pretending we can measure love in a linear relationship

when relationships are anything but.


how to minimize the distance between us?

and optimize the opportunity to be together,

as though you and I are variables,

supposing someone wrote us in the same story problem.

we are a story problem, that’s as true as any theorem.


supposing our solution does not exist,

supposing we never converge,

supposing we’re on an exponential trajectory toward infinity,

would we let that divide us?


you have to know how I absolutely value you.


until then, keep looking to the sky.

look to the sky when everything on the ground

is catching in the wind and spiraling

into tornadoes that are just cyclones

of crinkled, burnt autumn leaves on the sidewalk.


look at where the sun sends its sunlight

and its shadows

and try to stop sneaking back into the shade.


until your skin feels the sun pressing through

and the heat is beyond what you’ve asked for.


until then you stare at the sky

and you demand that it’s bright.


i want to fill this page with
words and have you dreaming
a billion things you wish were
true. i want our hands to
touch and for you to
finally realize what’s been
right in front of you. maybe
your eyes will light up and
our flames inside will be
a match and maybe your
seas will swim full of dreams
that you can finally catch.
i’ve never pictured it quite
exactly the same so maybe i
just need you to take your
aim and hit me with your
words please just hit me
with your words. and maybe
if your words don’t hurt how i
fear they might then maybe we
could follow each other through
the stars and read each other’s minds

here to there


It’s a staple of the college experience, I suppose. To be standing on the sidewalk in a chilly cluster of college kids, collectively questioning your future while staring at Pierpont Commons, the place you go to drown your sorrows in sweet and sour sauce at Panda Express. Maybe you go there to comb through countless files of code, maybe you go there to buy chicken nuggets from U-Go’s, maybe you go there to simply kill time between classes, but eventually, you always leave and walk to the bus stop.

Most days, when I’m on North Campus, I take the ever-trustworthy Bursley-Baits bus back to Central Campus; it’s the bus that runs most frequently, and I’m impatient. Even though once I get off the bus, I still have to walk the rest of the way back to my apartment on South Campus, I don’t mind because at least I’m moving, and that feels productive.

But yesterday, the Bursley-Baits buses were nowhere to be seen.

After walking briskly across the street, feeling rejuvenated by the refreshing autumn air, I pleasantly observed the fact that there were less than ten people standing at the bus stop. It’s almost serene, to be standing at the bus stop silently, spaced out, admiring the architecture of the engineering buildings surrounded by trees, allowing my mind to decompress after class.

But the serenity was swiftly swept away as the time hit 2:30 and classes let out. The current of students burst through Pierpont’s front doors, a sudden rush of people all making their way towards me. The peace disrupted, I sighed while watching the space around me fill with people, huddling together at the corner. As we continued to wait, the cool air became icy, cutting against my cheeks and reminding me of how much I hate waiting at the bus stop.

Was the bus ever going to get here? Was I the only one who ever checked the MBus app? It’s a compulsive action; my hand instinctively reaches for my phone, swiping and selecting its way to the map, checking back every few seconds because what else am I supposed to do when I’m waiting at the bus stop, talk to people? There was no bus coming. Seeing the empty map, no green bus icons, it made me feel uneasy. Everyone inched closer to the curb, regardless of the fact that there weren’t any buses coming anytime soon. When one person shuffled forward, suddenly the entire amoeba shifted towards the road, everyone eyeing everyone else because we all knew there was no way we were all fitting on one bus.

As tensions built, I noticed a Commuter South pulling up to the other stop, where less people were waiting. I started weighing the pros and cons in my head- did I really want to dash across the street to make it in time? But then I realized I would end up missing it if I just stood there debating, so I seized the opportunity, speeding across the street to the stop, joining in an awkward shuffle-slash-run that other students around me were doing; I hurried onto the Commuter South, instead of risking being left behind off the non-existent Bursley-Baits bus, ensuring my departure from North Campus.

Finally on a bus, I managed to get a seat in the back, where I typically like to sit, and I wondered about why people choose the seats they choose- does anyone else put as much thought into something as simple as where they sit on the bus? This is what I was thinking about as we bounced along Fuller Road, blowing past a stop that no one had pulled the yellow cord for. But then a flash of movement caught my attention: there was a middle-aged man sprinting next to the bus as we sped past the stop, his few tufts of light brown hair bobbing and tangling in the wind as he struggled to keep up with the bus, the driver failing to notice him. Some passengers in the front did, however, and were able to get the driver’s attention as we slowed to a halt at a crosswalk, the man waving his hands frantically and desperately looking in the windows.

The doors opened with a wheeze and the man leapt onto the bus, panting and profusely thanking the driver. He hustled to the back of the bus and plopped down in a seat diagonally across from me, his eyes a mixture of relief and exhaustion. To finally sit on the bus is to let all of your worries escape for a minute, to take solace in the semi-comfortable carpeted seats, and to let all of the bumps and swerving turns become a journey that sweeps you along; you’re surfing the streets of Ann Arbor, you’re being chauffeured on a ship out at sea. The man slowly let his shoulders drop from their raised position, a calmness enveloping him and letting him find himself, no longer disheveled. He looked at me, intrigued by my intense scribbling in my notebook, and I wondered if he thought I was writing about him.

At the next stop, a lot of people exited, and suddenly, there was just a humming quietness inside the bus. The bus is such a staple in our college life, but no two rides are exactly the same. You step onto that blue bus, walk across the gray, sparkle-speckled floor, and sit down with a new set of experiences ahead of you each day.

I took a deep breath in; this day, the bus had a crisp smell, more crisp than it usually is. I don’t know what made me randomly notice this. I had been watching a guy walk down the sidewalk outside of Mott Children’s Hospital for the past thirty seconds or so, my attention drawn to his pink and green Hawaiian flower-print leggings and his dark, shoulder length hair. At the next stop, he entered the bus, making his way to the back and sitting down next to the man we’d almost left behind. Now the two subjects of my writing were sitting right in front of me, and I just carefully kept noting the way they carried themselves, almost identical in their relaxed stature, as though the bus was a place where they could reset and prepare for the rest of their day.

He was probably a college student; he held his backpack in his lap. His nails were long, with remnants of black polish tinting them the way leftover nail polish tends to. I had this overpowering feeling that he definitely knew I was writing about him.

We arrived at the Central Campus Transit Center, where both men exited the bus, and I felt an urge to say goodbye, but we hadn’t spoken a word. I still had a few minutes of riding ahead of me; however, my choice to take Commuter South was paying off because I could feel the frigid air rushing in as passengers switched out, and I was glad I wouldn’t have to walk the rest of the way home.

Before we started moving again, I pulled out my phone to check for messages I knew I didn’t have. Then I returned to my notes, watching as the people around me all pulled out their phones as if on cue. Do people notice that everyone else is looking down? When I’m so absorbed in my phone, I forget to look up. I step onto the bus and into another realm, a digital world where I spend twenty minutes perusing social media platforms, and when I do, for some reason, look up, I’m suddenly aware of how zoned out of reality everyone is.

As I continued attempting to be present in the moment, I soaked in the activity of the campus scene around me. I was drawn to the motion of people walking to and from class, alone or with a group, and I couldn’t help but take notice of the pace of their walks: the boy in sweatpants and a beanie, rapidly checking his phone, taking large strides; the three guys in darker khaki pants, holding seasonal coffees and conversing, casually strolling down the sidewalk without sense of urgency. I’ve never understood people who have no sense of urgency when they walk: isn’t there somewhere you want to be? Don’t you want to walk with a purpose? Maybe that’s just me, being impatient. Luckily for me, my patience didn’t have to hold out any longer. I was at my stop.





it seems my seams have come


all at once my emotions surfaced;

it was a flood.

i’ve always followed the path

that was set for me

I was content to be

what I decided to be

but suddenly – except not actually suddenly – it was only a sudden stream of desperate, debilitating doubt that came bursting from the chambers of my soul, that I only ever unlock and check on in my own thoughts, the weight of my shadows I could no longer hold


rushing out of my consciousness

like releasing a swarm of cicadas on an unsuspecting sky

I couldn’t hear anything else,

and I couldn’t get out of the car.

how could I get out of the car?

how could I get out of the car and walk down the sidewalk when I know oh so well how much I’m lying to myself.


I have to get out

of my mind

of this cycle

away from the panic pressed against

all the surface area under my skin –

I am crumbling from within


I want to hold the answers to the universe in my palms;

it’s the only way I’ll ever be calm

the only way

I’ll ever be able to get out of the car

is if I can get out of my faltering, flickering future


am I scrambling away from the first sign of danger?

am I stupid for always picking sadness over anger?


my dreams got locked in the sunken safe of my soul


and when I found the courage to crawl back inside of myself

I started to dream again;

hand touches pen;

foe turns to friend;

grasping at the reality of my descent;


I have to get out of the car.


Read, 12:19 am

attracted 2 the unattainable

always a txt away but left on read

this mndset is so unsustainable –

shld i just tlk 2 sum1 else instead?


the screen lights up & suddenly i need

2 swipe, 2 type, receive approval &

it doesnt matter that my fingers bleed

bcuz my phone will always hold my hand


& then, 1 day, im done. nvr again

will i submit 2 checking the timestamp

of each precisely punctuated, been

re-analyzed until my fingers cramp,


rephrased with just the right emoticon,

response that doesnt matter cuz ur gone.





do you ever stop what you’re doing

and try to understand the impossible endlessness of infinity?


i stand in the shower

and let the scalding water rain down on me

like scattered asteroids hitting home

and awakening a part of my brain that’s usually in the dark.


what else is out there- beyond the starlight, beyond the satellites,

beyond the neurons, beyond infinity?


because infinity is beyond forever


i glance up at the moon-

i can remember a time before you,

but i can’t remember a time before the moon.


will the moon remember the way I love its crescent glow?

long after i’m beyond infinity,

off in some existence i’ve yet to know?


starring, staring



make my soul burst out of me

you make my hands want to write

make my fingers need to glide

over the keys, music flying back to me

in a constellation, a staccato constellation

because the stars are sharp when they sparkle

and the words I write feel dull

but there’s a pulse behind them

accelerando, crescendo

again there’s a flame and a forte and

a way within my body that makes my vision swirl and


my soul is singing,


staring back at me with your eyes

hello, world!

hi everyone!

my name is shaelyn albrecht, and i am an aspiring author! i’m from Hartland, Michigan, and i’m currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan, where i’m studying computer science, creative writing, and applying to the School of Information. i am also a baton twirler in the Michigan Marching Band, and i spend my Saturdays twirling in the Big House! i have been twirling my whole life, competing nationally and internationally- catch up with me on instagram at @twirlergirl31!

i love expressing myself through creative outlets; writing has always been magical to me because there are endless possibilities of worlds to be created and stories to be told. i hope i can tell some stories here as i continue to work on my writing, and i would love to receive feedback and comments!  i plan to post at least once a week, and i’m looking forward to meeting more people in this community of writers 🙂