Issue Twenty-Four

Choosing Wisely

Most death choice is absence of forethought, or a not knowing, passive, not a choice at all. Living is an active choice we make every day. Get up. Eat food. The gray zone is vast and fuzzy between death choice and life choice. Drinking wine is a death choice some...

Death Threats from a Child

Animal hoarder Aunt Cleo’s house is a blast, now that she’s dead. Sandra and I lace our fingers together and stroll from room to room. Free zoo! Nobody hassles us to move along, to leave the premises for picking up the orange snake, to pay a dollar to feed the ducks....

Four Pregnancies

Why is this happening again?             Words escape us. They rise in my chest, fluttering, flailing, and they falter. Leaving only the thick silence of what we cannot name....

The Mating Habits of Foxes

     The man and the woman sitting on the rocks are at odds with one another, I can sense it in their body language. Perched on the jagged embankment overlooking the lake, the small space between them is as big as the forest. Her back is hunched...

What Matters

Your mother dies at 4am on a Wednesday. Does it matter that you have not talked to her in years?  That when you walked into her room yesterday, confusion confiscated her face. “Who is that?” she said, her lips pulled down into a well of deep disappointment. Your...

Screen Time

Sophie is 6 years old, and she’s running out of ideas. But she knows how to concentrate. She raises her eyebrows, lowers the corners of her mouth, and holds. It is uncomfortable, but necessary. “Sophie,” her mother laughs, looking up. “What’s with the face?” “It’s my...

Elizabeth Wants Her Pillow Back

Elizabeth is stretched out on a zebra crossing, deaf to the orchestra of honks.          If Helmut could see her now, would he be worried?          First time Elizabeth’s knees buckled she...

Open Mic

Rain staggers down the café windows like soot-stained tears over a cheek. I hiss air through milk. Lament the croissants suffocating under glass, the buck seventy-five in my tip jar. You take the stage. Belly-button ring glinting, a target for magpies and the boys in...

The Last Time

This time, the father parks his truck in the shade.             “I’ll just be a few minutes,” he tells the girl. “When I’m done, we’ll go to the park.” He squeezes her shoulder and hands her a box of Junior Mints....

You Ask For Much (EndSARS)

It is October in Nigeria and you think of grief as a secret, sealed letter in the hands of a youth: "Give it to the Army, they'll know what to do with it." An invitation to death. You don't wail out here. This is ours, not yours. Like not yours but ours when ours is...

Antonyms for Fame; I am a Vender of Vintage Clothes

Antonyms for “Fame” 1. My name is a two-piece, my middle initial, a diamond belly ring. 2. In the evening, when the swimsuits escape their coconut- scented bodies, I sit cross- legged on the portable dance floor to think things over. 3. My name is the dance that...

To Do: Put Brain Together

I don’t know what to write so day after day, month after month, I make to-do lists. Errands for my wife, soups I’d like to eat, credit card companies to call.      With a small X checking off accomplished tasks, my lists remain upbeat and optimistic.  ...

Translations of Nostalgia

I had a weekend, pictures. I went aroundsightseeing all the old haunts. (Those still standing.)A photo of an old blue house cracked and faded,paint still on the surface.(A wish for wood glue and happiness.) The front door hingesstill held with crooked nails, a...

Family tree

My daughter decided to make a family tree the other night and asked me to fill in the names. She just turned nine, the same age my grandfather was when his mother and father and four sisters were killed as part of a plan to rid the land of us. I could have told her...

Forensic

Every time I turned around, someone told me my footing was off.  That my feet, firmly planted or otherwise, were in question.  It began as a joke that I began playing with myself, to identify people by the crinkle of skin around their hyper focused eyes.  I was...

Solitary

The fireflies dance magnificently in the shadow of the Big House. Electric disco lights reflected joyfully in the razor wire; pulsating music I can feel but not hear.  It’s been eleven days. I can tell them apart. They’re unique; I’ve named them. Oddly, I can’t...

Butterfly Cage, The Light

Butterfly Cage when I was pregnant, all of my dreamswere about snakes. as much as I triedto dream only about baby kittens, baby puppieshuman babies, my nights would be filledwith twisting pythons gathered in knotsinside me, their slick skin undulatingin the dark,...

30-Day Notice to Vacate

Date: May 25, 2021 Tenant: Lucy Wilde Address: Non-permanent mobile Vessel currently located at Tsawwassen B.C., Canada Vessel identifying features: Female Height: 5’ 7” (and diminishing. Tenant claims it is due to excessive servitude and a condition known as...

SEAWALL

It’s called edge collapse:Roots have nothing to hold onto.Ghost trees enclose the livingon a ridge, outside, moving in,on islands all over the Gulf,one thousand abandoned oil rigs. The city tip-toeshere and there. Our childrenlearn from books, cartoonsand...

1997

In the summer we were given the gift of living far north. This meant more light. As a kid, I was very aware of the daily weather. Each morning I would call the weather hotline. It rained a lot where we lived, so the weather determined the course of our days. A full 60...

If You Ask

It's just a small cloth bag with a zipper that no longer zips. Teal, gray-blue, blue-green—even cranberry—small chevrons in white. A navy rhombus holds a smaller red rhombus, clean lines, sharp angles in space. You know it’s Guatemalan because you checked the tag, a...

My Son Was Taught

In the evening, I take the bedsheet off at the corners because that’s how most sheets and stories are told. I take off the pleated and elastic corners where they are meant to be stretched in the evening like after dinner drinks and the news.  When he first came...

Better Living Through Chemistry

Anabel is a writer, a book person, a lover of history, and though this chemistry class—even the word “chemistry” intimidates— is for non-science majors, she is forced to sit in this huge auditorium and listen to lectures without a Bunsen burner or beaker in sight. She...

Detective Story

So, a priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar. They drink alcohol in moderation and share a platter of antipasto and crostini. One of the three friends (it doesn't matter who) eats two pickled eggs. One of the three friends (it doesn’t matter who; however, it...

Trees

“… and the Tree was happy.” Nadine snapped the book shut. “The Tree was also dead as shit. What a fucking crock.” Pauline clapped her hands over her mouth and giggled. Juliet tried to suppress a smile. “You’re not supposed to use those words around us.” Gudrun...

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