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My Sister’s Omen

My sister is the one who bleeds first. “Stigmata” our mother calls it, but there are other languages, other tongues ancient and cold as the stars, that would call it something else. She wraps my sister in cotton and lace and places thin slivers of ice on her tongue and coos in a voice I […]


He Dies Where I Die

Dion spun back to the oval of daylight and said a prayer. He didn’t pray to Jesus or Qamata. He prayed to his father, ten years lost and dead in the mines. Watch over me. Lead me to gold and back to the light. He sniffed his last lungful of fresh air, jasmine and pending […]


Harvest Song, Gathering Song

Our first night out on the ice, we traded war stories. Reyes, Viader, Kellet, Martinez, Ramone, McMann, and me. We were all career military, all career grunts, none of us with aspirations for command. Captain Adams hand-picked us, brought us to the top of the world—a blue place all ice and snow and screaming wind—with […]


Molting Season

There he is in the tub. Note the pores on his nose. Note the scarred cheek, the breakout here and there, angry ripe things red with a dot of white all ready to burst. Note the long hair, which I tried to wash last night; I’d put his head under the faucet, let the cold […]

Listen Read

The Fledglings of Time

You have to be careful, especially of the little ones. They’re clumsy but they’re faster than they look. Half-grown ones like to throw rocks at things. Also watch out for the ones who drink too much. The crazy ones. The angry ones. Sometimes they go crazy-angry together, from bad teeth I guess. Teeth are a […]


Her Brother and His Sister

“What do we do now?” her brother asked. His sister turned away from the oven and began opening drawers in the tiny house, filling her pockets. When she didn’t answer right away, he added, “It smells so good in here.” His sister served him a look as she put a silver spoon in her pocket. […]


Smoke, Ash, and Whatever Comes After

There’s nothing special about the bureau. It’s waist-high, has four drawers with round knobs for handles, and is painted a cheery yellow. Peter painted the bureau three years ago, smothering the earlier blue coat with a color of his daughter Tracy’s choosing. Ursula used stencils to add flowers, each composed of blade-like leaves and a […]


In Her Bones

The first time Wekesa Mwani came to Ayanda’s home, he brought with him his famous panga. The cleaver hung from his leather belt and slapped against his calf as he walked, unchallenged, through the gates and gardens into the Sekibo house. After all, it was Wekesa’s father Yana Mwani who paid for the guards on […]


Lump in Your Throat

And there he was eating a sandwich, and it was just an ordinary sandwich with no particular lumps in it, she thought it was ham and tomato, it doesn’t matter what, but the sandwich was smooth—and he was telling her a funny story from work, and it wasn’t that funny really, but he was laughing […]


When the Night Blooms, an Artist Transmutes: A Three-Act Play

ACT ONE The half-crumbled watchtower still stands as it has stood for many a year in this unholy space that abuts the present and the past. Moss, lichen and vines my unscientific mind cannot name flourishes on its damp, aged stone. It is an old building constructed from crude blocks of stone, joined to a […]