by Josephine Bätz
Image: Jeannine Bätz
The first time she dies, it is a practice run. Clinical, under lab conditions. It takes her a long time to come round again, and it hurts like hell. The assessment afterwards is curt and with all the unnecessary pleasantries removed, the body declared stable and ready for work. They send her down with a duffle bag and a pamphlet full of instructions. It hurts when she moves too fast; at this stage, the healing process still takes a while. They tell her it gets better with time. How long that takes will depend on her. Head office warns her that taking the wings out will be difficult at first; probably won’t work at all until she has rearranged some bone structures in the shoulder blades. She should hold off attempting until after the first few months, when the body is stable enough. Continue Reading
by Callan Latham
Image: Friederike Jäger
My dad cuts up a watermelon in the kitchen,
the first of the season. It is seedless, smiling
with no teeth. The heart is always the sweetest,
he says. The hummingbird outside begs
for more sugar water, manmade nectar. Continue Reading
by Wendy BooydeGraaff
Image: Kaitlin Ruether
We all know the story of Peter Rabbit, that naughty boy who went to the garden after his mother expressly said not to, and he paid for it with a cold and having to drink chamomile tea in bed while his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, got to have bread, milk, and blackberries at the table. But while we were moralizing about disobeying direct orders, Flopsy over there, her furry little eyelids closed with the ecstasy of berries bursting in her mouth, reminisced about her own little adventure. One that no one else knew about, which made it all the more delicious. Continue Reading
by Francis Bede
Image: Francis Bede
A poverty of toys enriches the imagination
Of a young child on Camden Street
Her Promethean eye that grows
Into stories, into character’s heartbeats;
by Evan James Sheldon
I was walking to the movie theater when a great golden bear approached me on the sidewalk. Come with me, he said.
Only if it’s quick, I said, still thinking about the movie.
I followed him off the busy sidewalk to a house that appeared to be caving in on itself in a beautiful, intentional way. The golden bear knocked, didn’t wait for a response, and went in. Continue Reading
by Ronny Rose
Image: Ronny Rose
i ate the holy parts
sacrament tastes better
out of turn
by Delaney S. Saul
Image: Hanna Webster
Ma was the first to ascend, and by then she was no longer herself.
It started with her sobbing in the middle of the night. I would huddle under my blankets and silently beg her to stop. She cried out for Pa. I knew Simon heard her because he came out of his room every morning looking withered.
“People grieve in different ways,” my therapist said, before I stopped seeing him. I assumed Ma’s strange behavior was grief over Pa’s death.
Then Ma revealed to me that she could not see herself in the mirror.
“It’s like I’ve been erased, Savannah” she said. Continue Reading
by Karen Breen
Image: Ambika Thompson
So, over the summer, I read that book by Descartes that you gave me.
He was wrong about a lot of things, I hope you know that.
Just like you trying to tell me that I couldn’t know you
and how it’s fucking easy. Continue Reading
by Kelly Craig
Image: Amanda Gibbs
Before they are friends Kyle asks her to go under the bleachers with him at the homecoming football game. She says no. Their team loses. She drives herself home with the windows down. It’s still hot. Las Vegas, late September. She wants to feel a chill but the windowsill where her arm rests has retained the heat of the day and she feels nothing but the stickiness of her thighs from sweating on the metal bleachers. She doesn’t talk to Kyle again until the next year, senior year, when their AP government teacher assigns them seats next to each other in the front row. She says hi to him, feeling her friends watching her in rows behind. She pretends she doesn’t recognize him as the guy who asked her to go under the bleachers. He tells her his name is Kyle and acts like this is the first time they’ve met even though they’ve been in school together for three years and she already knows his name. She doesn’t tell him her name and he doesn’t ask. She is never sure if he knows it. He never says it out loud. Continue Reading
by Simon Perchik
Image: Maya Bornstein
You read out loud the way this bed
listens for the makeshift seam
loosening each night down the middle Continue Reading