She remembered the feeling, like drinking cold water too fast. Unsure if it’ll come back up, but regretting the indulgence that led to this moment. Gut full of guilt. Why did she always overreact when it came to Liam? Why wasn’t she allowed to be happy? These are the questions ghosts will ask you when you’re down, when you’ve slept the night in your closet then schlepped to work still hungover, eyes weighty and puffed. The haunted body hurts, rumbling in the joints, ice pick in the stomach. Sylvia crossed the bridge and thought of Noah, nice Noah who had thought to invite her anywhere.
Because a gulf of time surrounds me, I sit at a coffee house across from the trains to await departure. Each engine roars into the station with a wash of passengers, comings and goings. Fresh surf. The wave rumbles. Then they’re gone. And I wait, and wait, my nose in latte foam. Jealous for their oceans, impatient for my own.
The header image is adapted from a photo by Flickr user RedBull Trinker.
Logs crackle as Hasha watches the needle in her mother’s hand pierce and reemerge from the embroidered hem of her father’s coat. Threads weave their family’s history into the garment’s borders: the victory with the defeat, the joy with the loss.
“Here is the day your grandparents married,” says Mother, pointing to two silver doves. “And here is the night fire claimed their barn.”
“What happens when the border’s complete?” Hasha asks, wondering if her life will count towards the colorful threads in her family’s coats.
“Then we’ll begin again,” Mother smiles, and clips the threads between her teeth.
We’d come to see the last of the Mermaids, called it a conservation trip but really we were just there to gawk. And point. Stand in the background of a CNN reporter’s camera and wave to our friends back home who had thought we were cruel to come so far just for a sideshow. Continue reading
My fingers move like needle points, spun between the poles of
Clavicle and calves. Invisible lines of magnetism,
Your freckles are my guides. By nights these constellations, traced,
Become my map and sky: Polaris, and the star charts — a universe laid bare.
Brad was an explorer born six centuries too late. He’d known this from childhood, staging naval battles in the bathtub. Trading pinecones and beads with his action figures. But at forty-six there were no new worlds to conquer, save the mysterious space where paper jammed in the office copier. So Brad set out in his dingy boat, looking for a land to call his own. Continue reading
Sylvia had all the next day to talk herself out of the party. As sun set, she sucked on menthols and paced the balcony shared with the other smokers on her side of the building. It had a view of a brick wall. Inspiring.
That earthy, peaty smell like so many earthworms’ private fantasies richened the air that morning. The world was keeping secrets, and Jørgen was set on discovery. He sharpened his tools, mended his bag, and looked up the hill. The sun was high by now. He groaned.
You’ve joined my collection of ghosts. Continue reading
“So you want him to worship you, but you want to be approachable?” asks my friend. He’s well-meaning but a little dense.
“I want him to see my innermost soul, which is divine.”
“And you want these things at the same time?”
“I’m capable of entertaining opposing factions.” Continue reading
We hunger, knead the dough we want to eat: Continue reading
Thirty steps to the river. Twenty-nine back to the scrub brush. I pull myself by the limbs, up into the canopy.
Eight weeks since the bombs fell and I ran. I ran. I ran. The water runs here, too. There’s safety in likeness, so I thought. Continue reading
“Sorry.” Her fingers grazed my back. I’d forgotten that feeling, like kittens climbing your spine and curling in your throat. Warm and matted and mewling. Disgusting, if you think about it. Who thinks about it at the time? Kittens in your throat. That’s gross. Continue reading
Where the wind blew pine needles across the roof. Scritch, scritch.
I didn’t know it would be this long.
I never would’ve let the dog out.
Never would’ve kissed you under the wolf moon. They say it’s cursed. Now we know.
Scritch. Continue reading
Francis squinted until it looked like his toes were walking across the mud brown river, instead of swinging midair from the academy windowsill. That way his kicks could carve waves, bashing the cherry-red ferry tours against each other like toys in the bathtub.
The dorm attendant dawdled past his open door. “They just rang. I’m sorry, Francis.”