you see what you want in the surface of trees at false spring i looked & a face was looking back at me
trees talk & if you listen closely to their limbs swaying & their roots reaching you’ll see they’re
connected like us &
speaking like us &
mourning like us &
maybe you’ll believe me when i tell you i have faith in the astrological compatibility of trees
& instead of running late, we arrive, but i’ve long since learned that life’s story never ends as we imagine
so i invent another world where i look & it’s you
looking back at me
Milo Gorgevska lives in the dreary suburbs outside of Toronto, Ontario. Nonbinary and queer, they identify as a menace to society’s traditions. As a jack-of-all-trades, they are an author, director, poet & screenwriter. Previously, their writing under the pen name ‘Kara Petrovic’ has been published in Philadelphia Stories, Train: A Poetry Journal & others. Their self-published poetry collections are available for purchase at most major sellers. Their debut short film, SHARDS, placed in 8 festivals worldwide and was awarded Best Cinematography.
by Leah Mueller The absurdity of being so round, with such an eager mouth. The hippo looks like it’s about to bite into something, but it’s also smiling, like it’s goddamned delighted to be the most ridiculous animal in the room.Relentlessly positive New Agers see these beasts as noble creatures. Their essays claim that hipposContinue reading “Seven Ways of Looking at a Hippopotamus”
Patio Furniture in a Mid-April Cold Snap by Kelly Burdick sit in the outdoor seating areaof the only fast-food restaurantin a single traffic signal townafter hours in the darkalways the neon lights alwaysthe sound of water alwaysthe trees the road the cars the windhere no one knows you herethere are night birds hereis a littleContinue reading “Patio Furniture in a Mid-April Cold Snap”
Meshwork by Soramimi Hanarejima In the cozy diner, breakfast with you is its customary languid affair of savory omelets and occasional quiet conversation—until coffee has coaxed me into greater wakefulness. Then I notice a lavender filament extending from you towards the tech district—a direction none of your strands has ever gone in. I know theContinue reading “Meshwork”
The absurdity of being so round, with such an eager mouth. The hippo looks like it’s about to bite into something, but it’s also smiling, like it’s goddamned delighted to be the most ridiculous animal in the room.
Relentlessly positive New Agers see these beasts as noble creatures. Their essays claim that hippos mean confident problem-solving. The hippopotamus can even be your spirit animal, and it would be thrilled. It’s watching you with bulging eyes from just above the waterline, hoping you’ll say yes.
You can’t rhyme anything with hippopotamus. Don’t even try. You can barely spell the word.
You’re barreling down the interstate. A plastic hippo rides in your car well. You keep meaning to glue the hippo’s feet to your dashboard, but that’s only a thought that comes and goes with no real intention. The hippo is too small to solve your problem, so it goes into hiding under your driver’s seat. Months later, it creeps out to see if the coast is clear. Nothing has changed. It tumbles into the back and lies on its side, lazy and smiling amongst the bits of paper and stale, abandoned crumbs.
The DOT screwed up and thinks you’re driving without insurance. They wrote you a nasty letter filled with unfounded accusations. You want to tell them you don’t need insurance because you have Hippo Energy. Sad fact is that you do have insurance, but you don’t have Hippo Energy, which is why you must prove to the DOT flunkies that they made a mistake. You might need a bigger hippopotamus.
It would be kinder to bring the plastic hippo inside. Once the hippopotamus is in your living room, it looks even smaller than it did in the car. Its tiny bulk threatens to melt into your walls. You place it on your table beside a candle made from prickly pear-scented wax and an old El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce can. The hippo looks happy, but that’s nothing unusual.
Dusk falls and you light the candle. The hippo flickers in the faint light. You’re glad you finally rescued it. You’re not yet ready for an actual pet, but you could form a decent bond with a plastic one. The hippo likes your table even better than the floor of your car. Its beady eyes glow with contentment. Neither of you have to say a word. You have already told each other everything you need to know.
Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her latest, “Land of Eternal Thirst” was released in 2021. Leah’s work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. It has also been featured in trees, shop windows in Scotland, poetry subscription boxes, and literary dispensers throughout the world. Visit her website at www.leahmueller.org.
The gates open and me and the other hounds are set free. But I don’t feel much like running, not in a race – which this is. Forward…or backward… I can’t remember which, but a race away from this point, this moment…from here.
Whenever I look at one of those maps in the park and it has one of those handy ‘You are here’ arrows I try to think of something clever and existential to say but I can’t because it’s just a map and I’m usually on my own or late to meet someone.
Besides it’s not always right. I’m only there when I’m there…but I guess even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day. Anyway.
I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about not being here, about the future and the past. About alternative universes, about not being in this time or in my body.
And about when I’m really not here…like dead dead (which is like being out out except you’re just really very dead). And at some point, during the nightmare that has been this…this…I made peace with being where I am – or rather accepted it…peace isn’t the right word. So now we’re here, I’d like to just sit here for a bit.
I’m not desperate to push away from everything that’s happened…is happening. And I don’t want to.
I also didn’t book a table in a pub three months ago, so I’ve got not choice anyway.
So I’ll just be here, wherever here is now.
Bridie Donaghy (she/her) is a London-based writer, producer and performer. You can find her on twitter @Bridie_Donaghy
Milo Gorgevska lives in the dreary suburbs outside of Toronto, Ontario. Nonbinary and queer, they identify as a menace to society’s traditions. As a jack-of-all-trades, they are an author, director, poet & screenwriter. Previously, their writing under the pen name ‘Kara Petrovic’ has been published in Philadelphia Stories, Train: A Poetry Journal & others. TheirContinue reading “Firmly Planted by Streams of Water”
by Zach Murphy Pete and Richard’s orange safety vests glowed a blinding light under the scorching sun, and their sweat dripped onto the pavement as they stood in the middle of the right lane on Highway 61, staring at an opossum lying stiffly on its side. Richard handed Pete a dirty shovel. “Scoop it up,”Continue reading “Opossum”
3 Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s Wife by Alex Stolis. Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s WifeAugust 1 – St. John, N.B. Canada I keep all your letters in a cigar box under our bednext to grandmother’s wedding dress. This is a cityof ghosts of bars of brown pastures. You send mepostcards from all the places I’ll neverContinue reading “3 Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s Wife”
Adrenaline was running high, like a kite without a string. His sisters laughed at his hammering, his vivid drawings of aliens but the batteries were humming, electricity sizzling and gas tanks shuddering as his creation cranked into gear and took shape beneath his slippery fingers and sweaty behind. Fumes bit the air anxiously, dogs on a leash while his ears rang with the roar of pent up fusion about to pop and bubble. He grabbed the ham sandwich and stuffed it into his mouth with greasy fingers. He didn’t know when he would have time to eat again, or who would be out there to feed him. He pulled his father’s helmet over his neck. It was a tight fit and stuck on his ears before he squeezed them flat and stuffed them inside. It smelt of hard plastic and his mother’s cleaning fluid. The visor fogged with his breath. He wiped it with a soggy cloth before slipping his hands into their protective casings. He flexed his muscles and backed his hips into the hard, plastic bucket. He took a final glance around his belongings, caught his eldest sister flickering across the window as she raced off to call the family together for lunch. He smiled. He’d show them how to make a barbecue. He coughed, dry and rasping. It echoed in the chamber like a fish gulping blindly as it searched for release. His gloved fists fumbled for ignition. He squinted out the window and into the trees, the brittle blue sky that would suddenly be looming before him, then disappearing behind as he reached orbit and showed the world what a superhero looked like. The gas bottles juggled, jerked to life, stuttered, choked and spluttered to an eerie silence. He pressed the button again, wheezing with fumes, whispering, begging it to fire into life. With a blood curdling flash, flames suddenly broke out under his seat, their reflection streaming across his visor, speckling his black wetsuit with a sheen of fiery promise. He sensed a plunger in his stomach, his limbs glue themselves to his body while his ribs jammed into his spine as g-forces wretched his muscles into painful spasms as the whole machine blew sky high. He caught a glimpse of their home in flames as he ran down the street. He watched the garage roof collapse like a flying saucer. It was all so simple on the internet. He’d followed the instructions to the letter, and knew as he dived into the river and felt it hissing and spluttering, that the burning house was nothing but fake news and he was still a rocket man with no need for a parachute.
E. F. S. Byrne (he/him) works in education and writes when his teenage kids allow it. He blogs a regular micro flash story. Links to this and over fifty published pieces can be found at efsbyrne.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @efsbyrne
Houseplants By Jan Ball The houseplants thanked mein their particular green way,for your unexpected aspirationson the climbing philodendronin the guest room where you sleptlast night and for your fragrant exhalationsof carbon dioxide on the spiderwortpotted in the living roomwhen we companionably watchedThe Kominsky Method with Alan Aldaand Michael Douglas, laughing togetherat Douglas’ frequent visits toContinue reading “Houseplants”
Written by Lucy Wallis Illustrated by Lucy McDonald I held your diary in my hand but I didn’t read it. I imagine stored there within tiny fragments of your days, a kaleidoscope of being. Daily weather reports, and bird sightings, jumbled up with the minutiae of thought that flickers along the inside of your eyesContinue reading “Unlatched”
by Bridie Donaghy The gun has been fired. The gates open and me and the other hounds are set free. But I don’t feel much like running, not in a race – which this is. Forward…or backward… I can’t remember which, but a race away from this point, this moment…from here. Whenever I look atContinue reading “You are HERE”
Rezia Wahid is an artist and weaver from London. She was awarded an MBE for Arts in London 2005, had a Solo Show in 2007 at Crafts Study Centre ‘Mosque in Rome’ collected by RISD 2009. New work collected by TateEdit 2019. Find her on Twitter @ReziaWahidWeave