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Literary

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Heartwood

When we boiled sap in the sugarhouse, I couldn’t breathe. I stood next to my father while heat billowed from the stainless steel evaporator, sap moving through the flues. It frothed with leaves and slowly became syrup. The maple smell, intoxicating and sweet, reminded me of Violet. I shoved logs in the firebox, then pulled […]

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The Magician’s Assistant

The magician comes home, but his assistant has disappeared. He checks in his hat. He checks up both sleeves. He checks beneath the Table of Death and the Goldin box where he used to saw her in half and once, after too much wine, let her saw him because, she said, one of him wasn’t […]

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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 […]

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Shelter

My hands ache, ache, and when I look at them, I don’t remember them looking like this. Maybe it’s the skin, paper-dry and thin, like an old person’s. Do my hands look like this? I puddle cream in my palm and work it in, wringing my hands. Polishing them. Scales. I should be doing scales, […]

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America, America

I The night before I leave Onitsha for Lagos, I tell Mama that I now live with a man. Full-time. As a married couple, as man-and-man. We sit on the faded red and black chequered cushion, in the spacious parlour that is home to chirping crickets at night, and geckoes and spiders by daytime. With […]

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Live Forever

The Monday after Jackie died, they organized a memorial service down at St. Martin’s, and we got the whole morning off school. I didn’t want to go to the memorial but Mam said I had to, and she made me put one of Dad’s old suits on. We hadn’t really spoken much about what happened, […]

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Vaquera

The summer Tabby is nineteen and tired of being the girl whose college instructors forget her name, she spots an ad for mascot tryouts in the community college newspaper and finds herself at the audition doing cartwheels and strutting like Yosemite Sam in front of a scowling cheerleading coach and her squad. She gets the job, […]

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1968: A True Confession

Part 1: The Siege of Khe Sanh Vietnam wasn’t much in my life that spring. Marching in the anti-war demonstrations, I wore a Vietcong hat made out of construction paper, but I wasn’t thinking about war. My thoughts were all on love, the pure hippie girl yearning for me and the dreams we wove in […]

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When the Selkie Comes

My name is not Elisabeth. My eyes are not full of tears. My life has not just changed forever. My best friend is not dead. Mum screeches my full name like a fishwife, carrying over the howling winds of the bay, and the magic is broken. Every evening I sit looking over the sharp rocks […]

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The Kiss

HARLAN LEANS OVER TO PLANT A KISS ON MY CHEEK. His fingers wriggle beneath mine so that our palms rest together, our fingers interlocking. It would be so easy to kiss him. Too easy. I lean back in my seat and pretend to be focused on the movie, letting the bright light of the fictional […]

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