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Jason S. Ridler, professional author and historian

Charlatans and Magi

Fast as greased weasels, two decks of cards flew from Knox’s scarred fingers and blurred before the crowd into a fifty-two page flipbook. Knox smiled, the breeze from the furious cards waving his Mohawk. “Lads and Ladies,” Knox said, “any dime-store magus can stretch a balloon into a giraffe, but how many can make a […]



The Sparrows fly today, but this time it’s different; I’m not in the audience. This time I’m standing with my brother’s troupe at the edge of Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium, as the world watches and waits. But I can’t jump. I can’t even move. One by one, I watch as the others approach the edge […]


Now Watch as Belinda Unmakes the World

She begins with the grass that runs along the border near the bottom. She’s careful, as the tea-stained linen cloth is beginning to fray from the hundreds of times she’s pulled it in and out of the canvas shopping bag where she keeps her sewing. She pulls each stitch carefully, her movements a kind of […]


Nothing Less Rare, Nor Precious

The sparrows left my chest the day I brought you home from the hospital. At first, I thought it was the crying–you were a loud, red-faced little thing–but they didn’t come back even after you quieted down. I began to miss the brush of wings against my ribs, the soft prick of little beaks and […]


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The Ancestors

Every Chinese family celebrates Ching Ming a little differently.  Not everyone burns paper money at the cemetery like they teach us at Multicultural Day at school. My family has a barbeque at the beach where we sail paper ships out to sea.  The Pacific Ocean reaches from California to the coast of Canton, so our […]



I wear armor under my skin It grew there, over my squishy snail self Rose-bloom bruises, a whole bouquet A callus on a callus on a callus Fractals spreading like chain mail, hard and yellow Indelible, impossible as Your indifference that glances right off Shailaja sings, you know. They claim she is a bird trapped […]



Most of the others have not adapted as well as I have.  Oh, we’re all equal now, rooted and still — what is there to fight about? — but the boy next to me is in pain, he keeps craning his neck up to see the sky, and I want to say to him: be […]


All Souls Proceed

The unfamiliar townscape rolls past, a glare of light and bleached-bone stone under weedy mesquite. I don’t know where I am. The whole town is low-slung and the same, framed by raw mountains on every side, and the sun is always hard. I roll down a big road. At the side of the road stands […]


Love Letters on the Nightmare Sea

I thought the tendriled horrors were angels when we woke at sea that disastrous night and saw them falling on the waters. Now, Suneeti, on this abandoned island, they are radiant in the setting sun, their translucence licked gold by dusk. The first one crashed onto the deck of our little boat. Its body was […]


Sister Margo’s Heart

A sister’s heart is a cube, quartz clear, the size of a fist, suspended in the hollow interior of her porcelain chest. When Sister Margo’s heart began to beat again, she was immediately afraid that the other sisters would hear it and somehow stop it. It was the baker’s boy’s fault that it began to […]


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