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Issue 10

Fall 2017


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I write this letter on the final day of 2017, and I don’t think I’m the only person who is happy to say goodbye to the year. Here’s hoping that 2018 is much brighter. Despite the grumblings, we at Atlas + Alice are pretty excited about our fall collection. These pieces of prose and poetry show an incredible variety of talent, from the headiness of Jon Alston’s story, “Hypotheses,” to the heartbreaking beauty of Zann Carter’s “Alzheimer’s Purse.” This issue features a great amount of nature, too: giant pumpkins, flower crowns, and insects infiltrate the page. As this is an anthology of the last work we published in 2017, it is also a time of change behind the scenes here at A+A. Donald Quist, one of our longtime fiction editors, has stepped down from his position. Donald was a rock for us, and he will be sorely missed. However, we’re pleased to announce two new additions to the family. Joining us as a fiction editor is the amazing Cathy Ulrich, and Breana Steele is our wonderful new assistant editor. They’re both already doing fantastic work behind the scenes for Issue 11! OK, friends. As always, thank you for reading our magazine. We love you. Happy New Year, BW

Editorial Board

Founder: Brendan Todt • Editor in Chief: Benjamin Woodard Poetry Editors: Liz Ann Young & Summar West Fiction Editors: Donald Quist & Whitney Groves Creative Nonfiction Editor: Emily Arnason Casey


TABLE OF CONTENTS Emily Dezurick-Badran ƒ

Lateness

6

Kerry Graham ƒ

Dare

7

A.R. Robins †

On Birds and Bees

8

Mackenzie Cole †

Dear Dick,

10

Kathryn Megan Starks ƒ

Harvest Hulls

12

Zann Carter †

Alzheimer’s Purse

19

Jon Alston ƒ

Hypotheses

20

Beaton Galafa †

On the rock, with love

28

Paige Lalain ≈

Malady, Melody

29

Darren C. Demaree †

ODE TO THE CORNER OF THE DRUG HOUSE DOWN THE GRAVEL ROAD OFF THE TWO-LANE HIGHWAY #14

36

Geological time

37

Instructions for my sister

38

The sick day

39

Alicia Cole †

The Rehousing

42

Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay †

a revolution

44

Lynn Schmeidler †

Six Ways I See You Trapped In History

45

Ashia Ajani †

Why Did You Kiss Me Before I Put On My

A. Anupama †

Cocoa Butter

47

Angelica Corrado †

Elegy for My Flower Crown

48

Amy Leigh Wicks †

Tirza

50

Kierstin Bridger †

Scrim

52


Call for Submissions

54

Contributor Notes

55

Fiction – ƒ

CNF – ≈

Poetry – †

Atlas and Alice Literary Magazine Sioux City, Iowa www.atlasandalice.com atlasandalice@gmail.com

© Atlas and Alice, All Rights Reserved


EMILY DEZURICK-BADRAN

Lateness It isn’t as people think—that we, the chronically late, have no comprehension of time. In fact the opposite is true. We understand time best because we know it as manifold. Rushing through London towards an appointment with the trauma specialist we know we’ll arrive on time only so long as the traffic light is green, so long as the train runs on time, so long as we are not stopped by distressed tourists from Seville who want to borrow our mobile to call their host, Angelina— and even before we step outside our flat we’re propelled into many future Londons where the traffic light occupies all states: green, yellow, and red; where the traffic light is useless because the pedestrian crossing has been closed due to accident; where that accident is simultaneously harmless and fatal, persons living or dead standing or sitting or lying on stretchers, the stretchers lifted with feet hanging loosely off the end, the way they would down the end of a Saturday morning bed; and to avoid the traffic accident we may veer sharply right or sharply left, down a familiar street or a street unknown, a strange narrow street on which stands an office block bearing a plaque that says the building was erected over the site of William Blake’s childhood house—a house we know nothing of or perhaps have read about after all, a house from whose window young William Blake gazed, and instead of seeing the heap of plague-poxed corpses beyond, saw the face of God; and as we pass the windows of the concrete monolith we see nothing, or perhaps we see the face of William Blake, and are lifted as on wings, up and up— only to alight back at our present time, where we are late, and the traffic light is turning—

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KERRY GRAHAM

Dare You dared me: climb in your window. I thought, after childhood, dares died. But later, remembering how I straddled your windowsill, I wondered—was this to prove to you I would, could, do it? Or. Was this proof to me? About how badly I want to be where you are.

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A.R. ROBINS

On Birds and Bees The beak, russet lance, awkward enters the yawning throat releases the worm. No love, just old instinct that dictates two bodies. The stinger, thin dart, heedless pushes the sunburned epidermis injects the venom. No sense of duty, no real war. Nothing to count or add together. A moment between the before and after, followed by the over and done. No reason to sing with the sunrise, beak wet with nectar or hum by the open petals, haunches sticky and gold. Just a tired answer to an ancient question. A tenacious itch, a graceless scratch.

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MACKENZIE COLE

Dear Dick, After m. l. smoker’s “Dear Dick” My day is a woman who will leave me. Let me tell you about some places that grew me up. This fence line is where my hands became uniform. We used to run to this tree with our arms swung out and try to lift off the ground. Today is far off from here. At the Union Club people like to talk about the little time they spent with you and be warmed. They say that since the drinking killed you it must have been bad. But how else do we live this long? With all those days behind us? I would put up a good twenty dollars to find out. Dick, my mouth is bitter as two day old coffee and my stomach won’t keep. People told me near the end you would drive them down to Pburgh and get them drunk because you couldn’t. And we all like to look at you up on the wall in the English building, and bet on the drink in your hand. You taught us the day is a woman who loves you. Dick, tomorrow is an old man who has gone flaccid, who can be generous

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mostly to himself. Dick, there is a runaway horse near the offramp, frantic and miles from people.

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KATHRYN MEGAN STARKS

Harvest Hulls Peter Peter pumpkin eater, Had a wife but couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell, And there he kept her very well. Getting into the thing was harder than she would have imagined. It wasn’t the first time she’d asked herself, how does one climb into a pumpkin shell? Beside her, their makeshift canoe rocked from side to side like a cradle in the water, like some delicate thing not built for two. The hollowed out rind now floated like driftwood despite its bulk and weight. Was floating because they’d wished it to. Because they’d made it so they could ride it together. Jayne, the pumpkin eater’s wife, wriggled numbing toes in the reedy mud of the bank, watched the waxing glimpse of them, pale as the underbelly of a fish. She turned to Peter. “Hold the oars,” by which she meant, hold my oar, because he was already holding the other. (They’d thought to rig a rudder but that hadn’t turned out so well so they were going to have to steer with the paddles.) Then, nimbly, she gathered her skirts and eased into the round pumpkin boat. The inside was cushiony and sherbetsoft, a bit soggy where her knees pressed into the pulpy floor, but it held against her weight. Further out, other contestants of the annual Halloween river regatta bobbed on tiny waves like scattered apples in a water barrel waiting to be plucked, waiting to begin. Giant, 500-pound pumpkins teetered and toddled in all varieties of color and design—zebra striped pumpkins, polka dotted pumpkins, Burberry pumpkins, the eery

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half-submerged sneers of jack-o-lantern faces. There were some with numbers slopped on the side, bright red racecar pumpkins. There were round, apple bottomed, and lopsided pumpkins, the latter of which had trouble floating upright. There were rotten pumpkins which had never made it into the water and already sunken pumpkins—several contestants had toppled pre-race, disqualifying, their pumpkins upturned and disappeared. And within the pumpkin boats, the array of mariners wore elaborate or tacky costumes, all the usual: Frankenstein’s monster and naughty nurses, a group of Mario Kart racers, some broomless witches. A skeleton with bone white, incandescent sculls. In one crouched a wooly gorilla, his black, nubby fingers gripping the carved lip of his craft. And then there was them: a princess and a pumpkin eater, one of the few pairs. Behind her, Peter looked on nervously. He spoke low, more to himself as if in self-confirmation. “This is what we wanted.” “We don’t have time to hesitate,” she said, turning. “They’re going to signal soon.” “I’m not the one who had to stop for Belgian waffles at 4 a.m.” He picked up his knees as he waded, sloshing up to the boat with an unhappiness. His eggshell knee socks yellowed in whole splotches from the cold water. “I thought it would be fun to get breakfast in costume. It was fun wasn’t it? Hey, no shoes in the boat; I told you.” Peter pried his shoes from his feet, tucking the pair of loafers under one arm to prevent the heels from etching up the soft inside of the rind. They’d pulled off the interstate and into the near abandoned parking lot of a mom and pop diner with a burnt out sign that read ‘Mel’s, cinnamon raisin buns no smoking 10 to 2 a.m.’ In the bathroom, after ordering, she peeled into the black and gray shorty wetsuit and then layered it with her Cinderella dress, long white gloves and a set of pearls which had belonged to her mother. The blond, updo styled wig was a more difficult maneuver, and by the time she’d returned to the table his eggs had grown cold. They wobbled, big yolks threatening to spill over where he’d prodded at them with his fork for the rest of the meal. Peter held his arm out to his wife for a hoist, but she took the oars instead, prying them into jutting angles in the riverbank to steady their position. They nearly both spilled out as he scrambled and settled in. The fit was tight, snug, she thought, side pressed to his. Her dress crinkled when they moved, the fabric stiff and reminiscent of crinoline. She used the oars to shove off, the two of them shakily gliding out toward the center of the starting line as marked by orange and white buoys. They waited.

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“Tell me you’re having fun,” she sighed, weary and dreamy and shivering. “You know I’m doing this for you.” The start gun fired, and she looked away. A spindly old man, the previous four years’ winner, shot forward into the lead, weaving with the water. He was a true pumpkin regatta artist, sculpting with his double-sided blade. Unlike most everyone else, he wore only an old-timey, full-bodied, striped swimsuit and a navy life jacket, all business. White, flaccid skin twitched against the October air. Maybe the swimsuit was his costume, but Peter’s wife imagined he’d pulled it out of a box in the corner of the attic amidst musky army uniforms and the forgotten years of his life—primary school report cards, a brunette lock of hair, the crumbled green plaster cast of a child’s first hand print. She’d seen pictures of him wearing his four golden medals in the local newspaper, grinning, close-lipped so as to hide his teeth. Right then and there she’d wanted to take the old coot down. Unfortunately, the seasoned winner had a couple key things going for him: 1. He wasn’t a natural, but he didn’t have to be. He had his technique down. You could see it in the way his arms bunched like there was actually some muscle under all those wrinkles, the way his oar seemed only to skim the surface. Effortless. They weren’t powerful strokes, but they were efficient, and the water loved him. 2. He probably weighed less than 90 pounds. 3. He had a reputation to uphold, a title to defend, and it was obvious he was going to fight tooth and nail to knock down anyone who got in his path. A man with a small child perched on his shoulder had told the news crews earlier that morning, “We just want to finish the race.” But the pumpkin eater’s wife wanted more. Her oar dipped down into the blue water, a clean sweep. She was ready to fly.

They used to have fun together. For six weeks they shared this little one bedroom, oneand-a-half-bath flat up in Waterville, Maine. They’d both just finished college a few years before and were working low-status, going-nowhere administrative jobs. It wasn’t that they weren’t career oriented. They just didn’t want to move away. The place was cozy. It was their spot. They used to eat spaghetti in bed together. It was the only decent meal Jayne could cook back then, before she became his wife, and so they ate three, sometimes four, nights a week, fingers slick with the meaty red sauce. The second week they were together, Jayne bought a set of plastic wine glasses from the local home goods store—the glasses were huge, goblets more like, with little

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marigolds on them, and they used to drink them brimming with three-dollar red wine. It seemed romantic to her at the time, magical. Then some nights Peter would suckle Jayne’s fingers, meticulously cleaning each one, and she would try to smear sauce or a noodle somewhere along his body first. A nipple, a rib, the inside of his left wrist. Once a dab to the bottom of his earlobe. It was a silly naked game that often led to silly naked sex, which wasn’t all that great on an overly full stomach but was fun anyway. Peter had a thing with food and she just liked the pretend spontaneity of it all, the recklessness. Sometimes (and that was the best part) they ended up in the plates of greasy noodles, an elbow or a knee, knocked one of the glasses. They didn’t care that the sheets were stained. Then they grew tired of spaghetti. They grew tired of the place and wanted something bigger. They wanted a washing machine, a dryer. A backyard with large oak trees. Then they switched plastic out for crystal, flannel for white linen as maturing couples did (so she’d thought). But they still wanted.

A woman with 80s spiked hair in a bowed watermelon was coming up on their rear to the right. She was spitting shiny black seeds at nearby contestants, and worse, passing them. “Stop her,” Jayne hissed, rowing furiously, twisting wood against water. “How?” “Throw a shoe at her.” “You mean bean her or are we trying to lighten the ship?” Peter’s humor was lost on her in the heat of the moment. Jayne threw the shoe for him, but the watermelon craft was already past. They watched as the black penny loafer sank to the dark depths. “I had a hard time finding those,” Peter said. “Just concentrate on pulling your weight. Please.” Peter nodded, powder from his colonial wig sprinkling the brown leather of his vested shoulders. “We can win this.” He set his jaw, eyes locked on the finish line or maybe just the bobbing horizon with its hazy morning half sun. “I’m sure we can.” His first real strokes were overpowering and nearly sent them into a skittering spin. His determination was too quick and raw and held too much gusto, held all of himself; she couldn’t keep up with his pace. They needed to find a rhythm, floundering in place. So he started to indicate, “Row. Row. We can go, go.” --§--

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During their second year together in the new place, Jayne had painted the spare room alternating stripes of Robin’s Egg blue, Chocolate, and Topiary Tint, a gentle shade of green, because she’d had a series of dreams in which she’d borne twins (though they were always impossibly tiny, ruddy, mewling things). Surely, that must be a good sign, she’d thought. It had been so many years now, and she was ready for that next step. She spent long hours poring through internet baby name origin sites, learned the importance of considering syllabic harmony between first and middle names. She decided if the baby was a girl she’d name her Sweet Pea and if it turned out to be a boy, well, then he’d just have to name himself. Then they bought a German engineered minivan. They rode around it in to do ‘together’ things while she waited for the good news to come. Then a couple more years passed.

Jayne heard about the Potomac pumpkin regatta through a newspaper clipping in her elderly neighbor’s grandchildren’s holiday scrapbook. Then all she’d had to do was buy Howard Dill’s patented Atlantic Giant seeds—they would plant them in the backyard— and register their number. There was a non-refundable entry fee, so they would have to make sure their pumpkin bloomed to full girth on the first go. There would be no time for second chances. It was going to be their last hurrah and perfect. They planted in late May and watched their seedlings grow.

By this point it was clear they were taking on water. Her knees were numbing where the short-legged wetsuit failed to insulate them. Soon her shins would feel like knives beneath her skin. “Peter, it’s cold,” she said. He said, “Row. Row. Row,” and kept his gaze straight ahead. With each clipped command Peter cut the river with the head of the oar, his voice the regular tick of a metronome. They would finish this race or drown trying. But she was tired of trying. They were going nowhere. She was tired of the lack of romance and the same old, same old of familiarity. She didn’t understand how others seemed to propel forward effortlessly, gliding through the water as if riding the backs of giant swans while they, themselves, only managed to bob from side to side, the pulpy, pale orange rim of their boat dipping beneath the dark surface of the river a millimeter more at a time. Her costume was soggy and sticking between her legs, the periwinkle ball gown surely ruined. On one row, she let her paddle slip from gloved fingers. There was

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something she hadn’t told him before, something she could never tell him now. It was during a time when she’d sneaked out alone—those nights she liked to ease barefoot through the pumpkin patch while he was dreaming, drape herself across the giant gourde and stroke its rotund girth like a pregnant belly. But that night she’d noticed an ugly blemish in the rind, one which hadn’t been there before. A porcupine had gnawed along the underside, leaving a nasty flesh wound. She’d been quick to fix it, desperate to hide it away, the next day suggesting they not wait to decorate the thing, and they spent hours debating potential paint jobs. She was keen to paint it to look like a pumpkin, all they needed was a prettier, deeper orange like Circus Peanut or Mandarin Mousse, she explained, but he was under the impression they needed some sort of pattern or number on the side lest they look like amateurs. “This isn’t a god damned box car,” she’d said. “It’s a chariot.” In the end the patch had simply been slathered over, unnoticed and forgotten. It was evident her handiwork had failed—there was nothing holding them together now. “Abandon ship,” she yelped, spilling over the brim. Under the water her dress became a tangled weight and she ended up kicking against more fabric than river. The summer wetsuit beneath that did little to warm her. How Peter had managed not to also capsize was beyond her, but he was still there stroking from side to side when she came up, teeth chattering. Staring at the broad line of his shoulders, she realized he was slowly moving away from her. Without her weight he was finally making progress, falling into a rhythm. Leaving her behind. She thought about how she’d always imagined he’d propose to her under the weight of so much water, on a scuba diving trip in the Caribbean. That amidst the coral reefs and the schools of striped damselfish, he’d dig around a corner of the ocean floor (their corner) searching for some long forgotten treasure beneath sand and shells. Then, of course, he’d motion her over with excitement, and digging now herself, she’d unearth the tiny box hidden within his hand. Opening it she’d express her jubilation with an excess of air bubbles, miming her acceptance through the universal thumbs-up sign, much to his relief. Then they could be happy forever. Would have been, if it had happened that way. With the thumbs-up and the digging and maybe even an awkward underwater hug. But now the river was calling for her alone, dragging her down by her heels and pressing her down by her shoulders. And the air bubbles, which scattered up to the surface looked glassy and sad. Like loosed balloons, regrettable. When she swam for the shore, snaking out of the heavy dress to let it sink to the depths, each intake of breath felt like the rising sun, a slow burning in her lungs, the morning’s waffles a painful stitch in her ribs. In the distance, her pumpkin eater rowed

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onward in their sinking ship, paddle scooping rhythmically against the river, face outstretched toward the finish line, determined to make it work until the end.

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ZANN CARTER

Alzheimer’s Purse Mama holds it like a baby, a weapon, a secret. She hides it, then forgets where. She fills it with talcum powder and dollar bills. She tries to sleep with it under her pillow, wedges it between mattress and box springs, pushes it behind the toaster. The search for her purse is unending. It is black, lined in red, the mouth of a dragon. It burns her hand. Mice nest in it and bite her head as she sleeps. The wound never heals. She demands to see doctors long dead. Her purse tells her fortune and it is bad. It spits out the Death card and the Tower Struck By Lightning. It opens like a flower. Her hand is caught in it and stung by bees. The purse mutters. It accuses her of infidelity then sings her a lullaby. Mama’s purse loves her the way a bully loves his victims. And she loves it the way addicts hate their addictions. Today these things are in her purse: an empty typewriter ribbon tin a kitchen timer a map of Peru diaper pins a thimble one glove a letter from 1945 In dreams, the purse is a portal to her father’s flower farm and purple fields of iris. In nightmares, it lines her up and shoots her down. Sometimes it’s a stranger’s purse and the contents terrify. It makes her cry more than I do. She searches it for her medium beige Max Factor pancake makeup, convinced it was stolen. She begs me to buy her more. They sell it as “vintage” on ebay for $119.00. Mama’s purse is her shield and her curse. Her world fits in it and in it her world ends.

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JON ALSTON

Hypotheses It wasn’t even the Absolute degree of infinity Georg needed to know. A simple explanation of the transfinite degrees apparent in the structure of his alephs. The current diagram no longer suited his needs:

Circles inherently carried no mathematical properties, he concluded, but denoted only the principal of all mathematics, of all known, the uncountable infinities. A symbology that distracted from his goal. He knew transcendental numbers well, related on a hyperconscious level the Kabbalahists never reached in their studies of the ten Sefirot or the Ein Sof; beyond the reach of the Pythagoreans and their worship of the tetractys (following the line of 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, the primary dimensional elements to construct 10). Georg knew himself close to God, and His omnipotence.

It was already clear the relation between the infinites. The impossibility to change degrees of infinity, no matter the application of other infinites. He knew no arithmetic processes could raise an aleph zero to any higher level, except the power of that already established infinite set. Wrapped in Leopold Kronecker’s mockery, and the subtle rejections other mathematicians published hidden in their benign proofs only affirming 20


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the unwritten, yet accepted, axioms of number theory, the alephs and highest level of infinity eluded him. Georg wanted more, knew more. He claimed to see the face of God in his alephs, His Chaluk blinding and glorious. But his proofs remained incomplete. Georg slaved over the infinite sets, and power sets, and power of power sets, yet the continuum remained incomplete and unsolved, causing his first neurological breakdown that would lead to his death decades later. After a brief stint in the Halle Nervenklinik, he refocused his efforts on a long forgotten postulation in English literary history, to ease his stresses: the Bacon-Shakespeare Conspiracy. No evidence existed to support the notion that Francis Bacon in fact wrote the Shakespearean plays, rather than William Shakespeare (a man believed never to exist, according to some theories). Georg wrote on the first page of each notebook he kept for his findings: “Shakespeare is no immortal; on the contrary, it is Bacon who is immortal.” Those mathematicians who still considered Georg a colleague, a man of numbers and proofs and facts, wrote enquiring to his health. In each response he spoke only of Bacon and Shakespeare, of his knowing the fraudulent pedagogy circulating misnomers to perpetuate recycled tyranny; he would “expose to the world the true Shakespeare” he responded.

After two months, Georg had acquired what he imaged to be every text written by both men: 59 essays, 16 books, and two letters attributed to Francis Bacon; and all 37 plays allegedly written by the hand of William Shakespeare. He ignored the 154 sonnets and four lengthy poems—poetry was no means by which Bacon would ever debase himself to write, Georg concluded. All the numbers he could not explain, but felt held a strong power fusing the two men. Before even numbers were accounted for, Georg attempted assimilation of grammars and syntaxes and dictions. Every comma, semicolon, colon, period; the various punctuations of which he was unfamiliar, he dissected. Books of columns comparing the two minds, all 114 works unified in one seemingly endless document. Digits scattered across the tables paired with indecipherable equations and proofs. The authors’ syntax and diction were compared much in the same. But these proved even more elusive than the grammars, most often—aside from common pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions—the two bodies of work shared very little in common as to language. Shakespeare’s work consisted of hundreds of made up words, while Bacon relied heavily and Latin and Greek to assess his postulations. When the texts, at first, did not show signs of syntactical similarity, Georg slipped into his previous continuum depression. Although not a full nervous breakdown, avoiding a trip to Halle, Georg could not coincide the differences; differences he knew represented his inability to extrapolate their unity. On the one

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hand, the inevitability that these two authors were in fact one and the same Georg knew, without reason; on the other, his perfect and undeniable logic resisted the notion based on their texts’ inconsistencies. He scoured the figures, recounted, recalculated. A dozen times over he rewrote and reanalyzed his findings. But, to no cognitive advancement. Rather than right-out debunk Shakespeare and crown Bacon with the linguistic glory Georg knew the man deserved, he stumbled onto something new. A discovery that Georg believed altered the very essence of, and possibilities for, language. He designated his finding “The Imaginary Beat Anomaly”, which he states as follows: In any given textual sequence, there exists S number of syllables (or Real Beats), that can be quantified through the summing of written pronounceable syllables with the use of scansion—stressed any unstressed given equal values. However, in the same spoken sentence, there can also exist any number of unwritten syllables outside the present number S. These “indefinite” syllables (or Imaginary Beats), are represented by the Greek letter Ψ, and only exist in the spoken word. If Ψ’s are to exist, every sentence must contain the same number of beats, written and spoken, when the real and imaginary beats are summed, in order for communication to be feasible. The Universe Syntax Coefficient (u), where u is the set value of any given sequence of Real Beats in single integer order: a set of 10 elements or less being one, a set of 11 to 20 elements being two, etc. ad infinitum, where each element in a set is a Real Beat. In order for u to function in its proper intent, 10 must precede, making it possible to calculate the number of Ψ for any rendered sequence, or sentence. Georg explicated this theory in a 35 page proof, concluding with the set of one u equaling 10, as it pertained to the number of God, a number Georg believed to not only circumnavigate his alephs, but the universe in general, especially communication, a number that intrinsically man inherited from his Creator. The proof designates a base 10 series to explain sentences of varied and compound/complex syntax. Georg graphed several examples—log10S, 10S, 10S, S10—all to what he thought possible outcomes in order to solve for Ψ in text. Punctuation, incidentally, he did not consider as part of the IBA theory, disregarding his previous Bacon-Shakespeare work altogether, concluding that punctuation was the absence of beat, where the speaker/reader paused to breathe between phrases—much like the empty set present in all sets finite and infinite. Georg used the IBA to reconnect Bacon and Shakespeare. He wandered around his study reading Shakespeare with an IBA syntax he knew with which Francis spoke. Never actually hearing Bacon annunciate a single syllable, Georg knew with exact

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precision, tonality, pace, and inflection how the scientist spoke. Gathered from letters, conversations, journal entries, and a large assortment of mathematical assumptions based on Bacon’s writings, Georg surmised, without doubt, he had recreated the great man’s voice.

For a brief moment he thought he saw them while reading Hamlet: the alephs. Their cardinality subscripted between Elizabethan English. He ran figures and proofs, dozens of pages of thin scratched pencil marks in some notation that even Georg found difficult to read near his death. But the numbers did not coincide. His efforts, however, were not in vain. By extrapolating the versification of Hamlet, Georg discovered that it was possible for the number of imaginary beats to extend beyond the Universe Syntax Constant, negating the IBA equation, it becoming Ψ ≥ 10u – S. He reasoned, however, that no Ψ could be infinite, for if it were possible for Ψ to be infinite, contained within a finite syntactical arrangement, it would prove impossible to ever complete a spoken sentence. This led Georg to wonder if it were possible to write an infinite sentence, and if, by rule of the Imaginary Beat Anomaly, that the imaginary beats in the sentence would in fact also be infinite, since an infinite sentence could never be vocalized. By doing so, and through a serious of complex operations, Georg discovered the following equation: S + Ψ = a1 where the beat limits of S and Ψ are infinite This was an outcome he did not expect; or one he intended. But the shear possibility of it seized him. Then he wrote the following postulation: Sa + Ψa = a2 No proof to go along with the assumption, but he felt no need to provide one. Simple logic was enough for Cantor.

He was wrong.

Months later he disproved himself—again without proof—concluding that an infinite sentence’s beats raised to infinite sets completed the possibility for the infinite; it became all the cardinals, or Georg’s c. The equation is as follows:

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Sa + Ψa = c where c represents all possible cardinals for the Alephs, and the high level of the infinite He wrote his good friend, and publisher, Richard Dedekind the following letter: Richard, I have herein enclosed copies of my latest work. Several of these proofs no longer hold, since subsequent findings disprove my discoveries, yet the processes, I find, integral in collectively upholding my argument. The alephs, transfinite numbers, and their cardinals still remain elusive; however, it was through them that I have made this greatest discovery. The BaconShakespeare Conspiracy, you will recall, has populated my mind for years. The proofs that follow in this letter will make all clear to you, and the world. Unfortunately, the letter was inconclusive, as were his proofs, to what he referred would be made clear from his work. Only fragments aligned for Dedekind, of which he wrote: “This Imaginary Beat Anomaly proves troublesome and unexpected, even for Georg Cantor. I sense he grows ever closer to Halle. The alephs will be the death of him.� Dedekind tried writing to his friend and colleague, but Georg interpreted the response as ridicule and severed all ties with Dedekind and the rest of the mathematic community. He ceased teaching. Abandoned all pursuits and remained cloistered in his study with the Imaginary Beat Anomaly, and Shakespeare and Bacon. Perhaps it was not Bacon at all, Georg tried to reason, but some other man of science. He expanded his reach, considering even further that a coalition of mathematicians and scientists constructed the Shakespearean library. Galileo Galilei, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Rene Descartes, William Gilbert, Johannes Kepler, Simon Marius, and Marc Welser, each a master in their own right, and Georg needed to see some similarity between each man. If for nothing else, to prove his IBA theory beyond what Dedekind disbelieved. Walls papered with diagrams and statistics, but like his initial work with comparing Shakespeare and Bacon, only now his study resembled the space of a lunatic. He reduce himself to grasp at occult numerology, sequencing each name letter by letter, one through 26 assigned to each alphabetic symbol from A to Z respectively. Once sequenced, Georg applied reduced summation to each name until he had simplified them to single integers from one to nine representing each man. The same steps were repeated to process their birth and death dates, and the location names of each. All the findings were plotted, each man in a different color on four separate graphs. His results were less than satisfactory, each

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graph functioning better as business revenue examination than elucidating the Shakespeare-Bacon Conspiracy. Or his alephs. Or anything. The idea died soon after its conception.

Desperation seized Georg. Nearly a year wasted in the Bacon-Shakespeare hypothesis, with no more evidence that his continuum existed. The alephs, stagnant and undefined, and Shakespeare still the man of words the world believed him to be. Panicked, he sought to construct various mathematical models based on the Ptolemy universe, hoping that perhaps the geocentric model was not in fact a gross oversight of the astronomer, but a distraction, a code of some kind later used by Galileo, or Bacon, or one of his other scientist/mathematicians. Perhaps, like his initiation into the alephs—inscribed in a series of circles—Ptolemy had hidden the earth at the solar system’s, even the universe’s, center as a misnomer to deviate any unworthy pursuant from finding Truth. About what, Georg assumed the infinite, applied to his alephs and IBA theory. All Georg needed was the cipher. A cipher that, up until Georg’s work, had yet to be considered, or discovered. Though he never found Ptolemy’s cipher, Georg invented several of his own, all of which relied heavily on Euclidean geometry, the Golden Ration, and variable time continuums.

But the model, in its crudeness and lack of measurable detail, drove Georg further back to Pythagoras and his mathematical and geometric relations. More disappointment, and further disillusionment. Two months spiraled around the Fibonacci sequence, which produced dozens of maps corroborating imaginary and real beats among Shakespeare and the now handful of mathematicians and scientists Georg used to disproved the Englishman. Still Bacon dominated the varicose research verging on cancerous that now bloated his study, hundreds of pages stacked on his desk, covered in ink, but empty. Shakespeare and Bacon, and the others, severed the anxiety Georg’s alephs fostered, allowing him to rejoin the transfinite and cardinals once more, which resulted in the last year of his life extinguishing at the Halle Nervenklinik. Georg died January 6th, 1918. Though control of his mental faculties all but faded into oblivion in the months preceding his death, the genius of his work could not be denied. All the work pertaining to the alephs, the infinites, transcendentals, his precious cardinals; every scrap he scribbled on was prized by the University of Berlin, a gift be bestowed on the college days before he succumbed to the flesh. And it was in their cataloguing of Georg’s work, that the answer he searched for—not the cardinals, the true order of the infinite—still evaded those familiar with his deterioration.

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Weeks proceeding his burial, and after the reading of his Last Will and Testament, his study, which remained vacant over that year since his departure, was opened. Written in what looked to be dried blood across all the walls, layered and crusted and mostly illegible, was the phrase repeated without end: I am William Shakespeare.

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BEATON GALAFA

On the rock, with love Come little darling. I will tear my heart and Throw it beyond the bright cotton skies. To drop on a seabed far from home, Behind the mountains. To carve hollowness ravened by night. Let joys of your life sink and Course along tears of the river that With its hisses wound around my heart-This I will say when you are near here-In My sorrows I walked past life To explore the beauty of loneliness in a grave The day I found you floating.

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PAIGE LALAIN

Malady, Melody I live in the basement where the ceiling dips down at the foot of the stairs, and I dip down quick into a wade pool of musk, the splashing of my feet like the tiny drip of the drain that echoes, grows, the kind of drip that drives a dreamy night to delirium. The floor below my body is fibrous carpet that breathes with the breath of the walls, and the ceiling above my head is centipedes and spiders that swing from the rafters. They perform for me and I kill them. My bed, a modest twin mattress, sits directly on the floor against the white wall, and the low center of gravity threatens, quite loudly and with the ferocity of one of the monsters that I speak with on the telephone that lacks service from the cellar, to swallow me whole and at once into the dirt. When the witching hour oozes over, the springs begin to wobble in a wicked building tremor. I cling to the sides of the bed so firmly that sometimes, under the stress, the skin on the soft side of my arms sees no choice but to split, spilling the sweetest squeezed strawberries, which stream downward, feeding the maligning mouth who chomps at the inner elbow’s crease. “It’s no wonder you’re feeling off,” Barb explains, seeking the eyes that I’m not giving her from the psychoanalyst’s chaise. “You don’t even have a real room.”

My mother moves the mattress. It nests beneath the basement nook with the painted, plastered roof. She buries my books in a blue bedside bureau. She lays my posy of pitch-dark polyester roses atop a small nightstand, next to my three most favorite candles. When studied from above, each burns as a simmering, reddish ring. The wicks bubble black, but I can still force a flame to them. The innards produce a perfumed ash.[1] It smells like rain and islands.

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When night inhales the wooden house, I slip silently beneath the covers. My body flattens the fluffed ruffles. My eyelids blacken the stuffed storage. And as soon as I see stars, the bed begins to quake. The speckled sky commits to pull together. Each sparkle swells into one, five-pointed pentacle, which pricks its needlepoints in the circle of my iris. I resolve by morning to spend more time with my mother.

I join her in the living room. We decide which movie we want to watch. I have never, in all my years of horror hoarding, seen the original, head-spinning Exorcist, the priest standing, hat on head in a shadow of light, demanding the demon release the girl from its grips. We push play. I slice my throat on the sharp breath of recognition—her bed, too, goes bump in the night. And, in this world, as in my own, they cannot strike the source. “Mrs. MacNeil,” Dr. Klein shakes his head, a cigarette in his left hand. “The problem with your daughter is not her bed, it’s her brain.” I focus firmly on the screen. The film continues, “You’re going to die up there” and comes to a close, “Do you know what she did, your cunting daughter?” I begin my latest nightly preparations.

Remove the rear cushions from the camel couch. Cast out my comforter like a shivering spirit across its length. Wrap myself in tight, subdue my arms and legs. Look to the love seat two inches from my left toes, where my mom watches. She says staring will ward off the monsters. If she can just watch me, she can see them when they come. If she can just watch me, they’ll be too afraid of getting caught, to make me move. We exchange goodnights, and I don’t tell her that I can hear them. I want to tell her that she shouldn’t look.

I vomit in the bathroom in the dark, so no one will find me. It’s easier to do it with the lights out. I slip back into bed. The noise nudges her conscious. I have a thigh a third out of the blanket. I smear my skull onto my pillow. At some point, between infantile fontanelle, between two months to twenty years, the dura mater tried to push the soft spots out. But now my bones are brass and my soft spots sunk, and the doctors call those depressed. She sighs and goes back to sleep, thinking I never left. I’m not…sure if it…makes me…happy. My panicky pants stir her supraliminal. She stands, heads to the bathroom in the light, so that I can find her. When she toddles back, I ask her to be my weighted blanket. She lies across my body, catches my blue breath in her hands and stuffs it past her lips, trying to whir it round her heart and return it to me, red. She lies

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across my body, and I hug her, and we almost fall asleep. I’m not sure if it makes me happy.

I read Lolita in a bar, busy, sitting by my fifteen-year-old brother in one of those high top chairs where my legs dangle and I feel helpless. In the swelling, heaped together echoes of 100 conversations, H.H., freed from his last two stays at the sanitarium, finds Lo’s limbs on his lap. And my brother, in tune to the sway of his humdrum mumblings in these close quarters, finds his left knee grazing my right. “Insane in the membrane, insane, got no brain!” He sputters as I shift to the left. He’s got the dyslexia ADD combo that makes everything haywire. Helter-skelter and sounds and short circuits. “Insane in the membrane, insane, got no brain!” Words burst and buzz and I find myself, again, disappeared. Around the roots of the hairs on my head, up one nostril, out the other. “O my Carmen, my little Carmen,” H.H. chirps, as his shuffling gets more suspicious. “Something, something, those something nights, and the stars, and the cars, and the bars, and the barmen.” Blow the ear. Erupt the eye.

I knew from the first flash. Across the sea of separation, my newest neighbors installed a single green light, which introduced itself to me one night in a blinding burst, with the chemical intensity of a damaged, dripping glow stick. I knew I needed to let the light lick my fingertips, watch luster dribble to my open palms. I just knew.

A new girl came today. She whispered “Daisy” when Susanna, one of the therapists, asked for her name. While the other patients returned to their sanitarium stirrings, her hushed humming simmered in my senses, rising to a rolling boil. /Dāzē/, the tongue touching the top of the mouth behind the teeth, which swing slightly open, zinging the final syllable in a frenzied flurry of air. Her hair was white like bloodless limbs, severed near the roots in some places, near the tops of the ears in others. She wore a crew neck sweatshirt and drawstring sweatpants, both in the same shadowy shade of gray and the same billowy size, with a wristwatch wrapped in rosy rhinestones. Was the watch particularly bulky or was the arm it weighed down unusually slight? She was delicate and delightful. She moved slow, like everything hurt, and her smile, more of a wince, made way for thirty-two shattered, translucent teeth, stained mud brown.

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I knew that I loved her—the sunken cavern of her cheeks, the seasick skin like the slimy guts of a shelled, split oyster, the way her life dangled by only the daintiest string, attached to a glass ceiling she and I could see straight through, but never thought we’d break apart with our bodies. She was my pearl, eras of penetrating parasites after all producing enough nacre to be harvested: Her appeal to me was not the lustrous reminder of a battle hard-fought, but the promise of a permanently empty shell. I’d seen her once before, in that bed where the monitors kept beeping. Five fingers clutching my chest. Five fingers hugging my hand, tugging me toward her. The beep, beep, beep. The way a cement truck says it’s ready to reverse. The way I wished they would let it bulldoze me.

Orange drink in a clear plastic cup, with tick marks up the side. All salt and no citrus, and “just plug your nose and drink.” All of it, all “drink all of it, please.” All “it looks lovely but it tastes terrible” and looks can be deceiving. Liquids lapped at my barren body and food forced its way into my bones. White body in a white tunnel, with clear tubes up the arm. “Lift your arms up over your head, please” and please, I don’t want to lift my arms up over my head—it moves the needle in my vein deeper.

She kept hidden, screaming in my ears. Until today, when she looked long into my eyes, and I saw again our familiar future dancing on the jagged peaks and valleys of the electric beat of my heart, until, finally, we can rest. Lying on the flat line into infinity.

The green light glows from across the street, and I’m sure it knows how boldly it shouts, “go.” But, for as long as I linger, focused on the phosphorescent forest that flourishes from its source, convincing myself of its presence is often problematic because, by morning, it is no more than a bulb within a lamppost. And it bends the mind to imagine it possible that, at dusk, it blossoms again into a shining sour apple; one I’d most like to pick.

I step out of my sable sedan and whisk my feet over spat out rain. I do little to deflect the drizzle. Dart down rows of bumper stickers. I pass, at the very front of the lot, a

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decrepit, dusty silver junker with a darkened woman’s form haunting the front seat. I jump. Replay the woman in my mind. Mushroom skinned, fungus gray. A mop of matted hair dripping against a cloth headrest. Eyes open. Head lolled. Forehead pressed against the window. I reel backward—a fish hooked, again, by the needle of my own delusion. No one there. No one there and how long until she sees me staring?

“So, what did you guys think of the readings for this week?” my professor asks, surveying mixed reactions from the 30-something 20-somethings stuffed behind their desks. “Grace, what did you think?” she says, seeking the girl’s undecided eyes from the back left corner by the wall. “They were fine,” Grace responds, tucking her chopped, chestnut hair behind her ear, furrowing her brows in thought. “I liked some more than others I guess.” “Which did you like the least?” “Uh, probably ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’”[2] “Let’s start with that then,” my professor decides. She rolls up her sleeves. Reveals her sweeping, inner forearm tattoo of an EKG reading. “Do you guys trust the narrator? Or do you think she’s just crazy?” Her tattoo leaps off of her skin and into my chest. “I don’t know how you can trust her,” Chad from the back chimes, lifting the lid of his brown baseball cap. “She’s like, licking the walls and shit.” My professor shares a rolling laugh with her students. I study the bricks on either side of me. “Yeah, she’s also seeing, like, women in the wallpaper, who aren’t there.” A girl gives her pleasant perspective. “I think I trust her husband more. He’s a doctor or whatever and he was so scared of her he literally passed out, so, I mean…” Another lick of laughter. I try to tally the bricks, but soon realize it’s impossible—they have neither rhyme nor reason, they start with no end. “Paige, what do you think?” The brick blocks coat a little less than a third of the front wall, a weighted, white strip, which swirls into a solid, painted blue. And then, on the right wall, returns to heavy, heavy, bleached cement. Or is it blue? Light blue. Maybe. Periwinkle. Perhaps. And then back to paint. “Okay, what about ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?’”[3] Professor pumps. “What did you guys think about him? Do you trust him?” “I think he’s cool,” another guy answers, automatically. “He seems like a good time. I’d definitely hang out with him.”

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“Yeah, I trust him,” a girl coils her curls around her finger. “His wife is, like, annoying; it makes sense that he’s constantly daydreaming.” Paint, paint, paint, brick, brick, brick. Blue. White. And red in the face. “And then the narrator in the other story, when she peels off the wallpaper and she’s running around pressing her shoulder into the wall, do you think she’s free? Or do you think she’s just gone?” “Well, I think she’s gone,” someone says. I’m right here! I stretch my fractured fingernails before me and swing my shoulders sideways, cracking my spine. Everything swirls like the barrel of a cement truck waiting to pour. End Notes: [1] “Ring around the rosie, / a pocket full of posies, / Ashes! / Ashes! / We all fall down.” [2] “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do? . . .” [3] “‘Not so fast! You’re driving too fast!’ said Mrs. Mitty. ‘What are you driving so fast for?’ ‘Hmm?’ said Walter Mitty. He looked at his wife, in the seat beside him, with shocked astonishment … ‘You’re tensed up again,’ said Mrs. Mitty. ‘It’s one of your days. I wish you’d let Dr. Renshaw look you over.’”

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DARREN C. DEMAREE

ODE TO THE CORNER OF THE DRUG HOUSE DOWN THE GRAVEL ROAD OFF THE TWO-LANE HIGHWAY #14 I smell mint. I smell mint. Have I been eating mints for meals this week? How shallow the non-rattle of my pockets.

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A. ANUPAMA

Geologic time I said, All boredom ends when you are dead. Go ahead, worry the stones off the sill, walk the ridge and push pillars down with a long stick. A century of rain can wear away the words at the bottom of each monument. You noticed, yes, you did, that the punch-lines are missing. But you might get taller than the monuments commemorating miles, words. Are you bored yet? Dig the old fortresses out, excavate carefully around the walls and broken pottery for the spear-points and coins in your mind. You ask, and I could say it was the rain that buried it. But the oaks have dropped more acorns here than I could ever collect, measure, and estimate across time. Pocket an acorn cap, and we could ascertain its volume, the level of boredom increasing to a quantifiable level, which we could decant into casks called memory. Don’t worry, it sweetens into whiskey before you die. You make your face at it now: both whiskey and death, bitter thoughts. But I mean the feeling, not the taste. And why do I even tell you, when I could ask is your work done well? Well, it is never done while you live, my son.

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Instructions for my sister Our ship is rowing upon the surface of the moon lying in the waters, and that which catches our oars must be the laurel growing in the moon. —from The Tosa Diary by Ki no Tsurayuki, transl. Earl Miner

Calmly put your oars on the table. Walk to the right side of the stage. [why dear] Steps live in memory forever especially the beloved’s steps across the stage. Arguments with time must end in time. Even the black dog chasing dawn says so. Walk back to the dressing rooms with me? We’d hear the roof laughing at rain again. [why tears] She does not speak across the monsoon mud. Early in the morning, it’s only goats running to the market. Phonemes show no reflective faces.

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The sick day 1 Crystallized ginger next to the slow cooker next to the kitchen scale next to the wall where she opened a page of those yellow submarine post-its and placed one square on her chest: this is the where the sun should wrap an extra-long ace bandage, she wrote then put the crayon back. Spoons, keyrings, paperclips, and medicine thimbles shivered when she slammed the drawer shut and that rainbow skittered across her back as she turned away broken crystal beaming like oyster shells on the sill 2 Putting the ice pack back to chill again in the freezer door is the chore for the eight-year-old while her teen brother experiments with the griddle temperature against a stack of grilled cheese. The floor gets slippery near the dog’s water bowl, but luckily we know these habits. We love them. 3 Yes, it is a moon even in the sky while you walk to school up the big hill. Someone is saying a morning affirmation in the white house with mansard roof while fog burns dawn a little bit louder. 39


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4 She’s drawn an Abbey Road for herself to cross with her friends: Dream, Stubbornness, and Milk. After she tears it out of her notebook and pins it on the corkboard, she notices her earring next to her foot, next to the rough yellow curb she’d pressed on with crayon in spite of her second thoughts. 5 Claymation skills preferred they wrote on the Au Pair advertisement, and then laughed like Suite Judy Blue Eyes. One took the sour gummies and the tub of sugary ginger up to her. She may have noticed, even as lost in the sound rebound, the laughter ricochet, the carom of the sum of love.

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ALICIA COLE

The Rehousing Our cages are similar. Mine are the green and sea foam of two different shelter stays: aqua aquarium of Mission; welcoming warm sea of my parent’s retiree home. Warm when the diagnosis came through clear. Clear as the morning/night medicine cups cleanly labeled. Clear as the TV signals in both hospital wards. I learned to make modern art by tearing the pages of advertisements; beckled brain, rips formed by tongue. Of course my tongue. You can’t likely cut out another tongue and use it. But you can cut out your own. Put it on paper as you learn a new art in the psych ward. I still keep the medicinally safe schedule. Look for nursing staff amid my belongings. Make art. Look for pictures of my skinned and clawed and furred and haired children housed in Alabama, in Louisiana. Make art. Our cages are similar, theirs plastic and glass. Others clean them. Others clean me. Such art. I wish I had died. I wish I had been led from cradle to now 42


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with one healthy mind, not this one: always crumbling, straightening, reforming, making a mask of its previous self, which I, often reluctantly, have to keep trying on. One day I will open a door and they will all be returned to me. One day I will open a door and I will be returned to myself.

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LAGNAJITA MUKHOPADHYAY

a revolution a villanelle when you ask, things come, a revolution. Copernicus punished for his ideas of orbit; the Earth revolves around the Sun. binary breaking, mad is the sane one like Socrates and hemlock killed at the pulpit; when you ask, things come, a revolution. Galileo sins against king’s religion, but difference and question equates heretic; the Earth revolves around the Sun. the story of Jesus, a divine evolution: cycles, rebirth, an ongoing circuit; when you ask, things come, a revolution. persecution is not holy Absolution, but Joan of Arc or Archimedes never quit; the Earth revolves around the Sun. and you, you may be mid-sermon resolution, not a misfit, a Book of Change still permits: when you ask, things come, a revolution. the Earth revolves around the Sun.

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LYNN SCHMEIDLER

Six Ways I See You Trapped in History 1. You know a few things about time, like how it stretches under covers and how it hides in clumps of grass. 2. Winter won’t let you go. You think like a goldfinch. Your hands do not agree with your arms. 3. There’s a lot you could say about sailing the Panama Canal with your mother, but you won’t bother. 4. You’re thirteen when Isadora Duncan dies of a long silk scarf and an open-air drive. 5. Hope hangs around you 45


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like a too-big pair of pants and your friends call to you in their sleep. 6. We love you as we used to love dandelions– their pinwheels and then their ghosts.

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ASHIA AJANI

Why Did You Kiss Me Before I Put On My Cocoa Butter Do not pick at the pieces of honey trapped in my baby hairs from a facemask done the night before. Leave it. I have consumed so much lipstick from mug after mug of yerba mate. My insides are purple. There is a joke about my gums, dark, dark girl gums, in there somewhere. Can you taste it? The sorrow. I could call it melted beeswax, cayenne pepper or incense ashes. But it just is. I finally tell a man with pretty skin about my trauma and the only words of comfort he can offer are “damn”. “Damn” indeed. We eat mangoes in the twilight. I mean, we eat each other in the twilight. Different forms of greed bending into each other. I do not want another body in my house. I am back where I should be. One sock off.

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ANGELICA CORRADO

Elegy for My Flower Crown I want to string together daisies and dandelions my makeshift golden crown as I dance barefoot on the forest floor while dirt cakes my callused soles Pine tree castle walls to protect me the forest queen with honeycomb golden hair that drips down to thighs But when I was five I stepped on a bee and scrubbed the earth from my sole before mom tweezed the stinger Maybe it was the apitoxin that made me cut my hair to stop tree sap sticking follicles together and pluck petals off the daisies and stomp dandelions with the heel of my boot

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AMY LEIGH WICKS

Tirza I am not a green cup on the end of a stem. I am asking who will sanctuary you, or let you feast? What we make might survive winter. You are a handful of dust but so alive— lichen-like holding onto the small smoothnesses of a day. How could I leave after you wilded the forest for my smallness— Or why did you stay When birds gathered silent as stars on branches—

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How did you know I would move?

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KIERSTIN BRIDGER

Scrim For Robby On this paper sky morning my eyes burn as I watch an unkindness pull entrails from something brindled and dead. It’s not always clear at what angle the land is stitched, all the ways we tally rebirth or how images of you arrive without warning. Sometimes it’s the river seam; snowmelt alive under sugar-thin frost, April surging through black water. In photographs shot from overhead it appears abstract: heart-breaking patterns scrolled by false starts, soft melt and hard rime. Near the center it looks like cardiac arrest, further on an open wound but here, around this bend, the sweet hand of spring, needles of silver cold thread with cross current. Alone on this quiet bank I try to conjure you the fisherman, the cowboy, my Colorado kin.

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It’s as if I can hear a stage whisper: jagged is the path smoothed on occasion to deliver the distinction. This river, my sage. If we had slung even a shoddy bridge I’d ask— are any of your days smooth? Is there a line, a difference between highs and nods or are your days all rapids and patches after puncture? I know the tug, I do, the dark seduction of escape. If you could only come back, stand here, I’d say, reach in, awaken yourself while you still can, taste the iron tang of fresh water, the scent of scales, the wet granite— watch as the raven retreats, shifts into white.

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ______________________________________________ We’re always looking for writing that spans genres, that demands to be read, that might be considered the black sheep of a family. Art and science thrill us, but so does the simple image of a man standing at a crossroads. Surprise us. Thrill us. Make us laugh and cry and cringe. Tell us your thoughts. We can’t wait to hear from you! For submission guidelines, please visit http://atlasandalice.com/submit/

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CONTRIBUTOR NOTES ______________________________________________ Ashia Ajani is a rising junior Environmental Studies major at Yale University. She is the copresident of WORD: Spoken Word at Yale. She is a Minor Disturbance Denver Youth Poetry alumni and took 4th place at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. She was awarded honorable mention in the National Young Arts Foundation’s poetry section in 2015. She has been published in Rigorous Magazine and The Hopper Magazine. She released her first chapbook, We Bleed Like Mango, in October. Jon Alston has an MA in Creative Writing. Good for him. He even got accepted in Lancaster University’s PhD program. Hot dog. He writes things from time to time, and sometimes people publish them. Good for him. On occasion, he photographs things (or people), and maybe writes about them; sometimes there is money exchanged for his services. Good for him. He is married with two children of both genders. Way to reproduce. He is the Executive Editor and founder of From Sac, a literary journal for Northern California. How about that? He recently returned to warm California after teaching English at Brigham Young University, Idaho among the frozen potato fields and Mormons. Good for you, Jon. Good for you. A. Anupama is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator whose work has appeared in Drunken Boat, Waxwing, Fourteen Hills, CutBank, Numéro Cinq, and elsewhere. She is an adjunct professor at Ramapo College, director of River River Writers Circle (RiverRiver.org), and creative writing instructor for kids and teens at Writopia Lab. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and Northwestern University, her recent honors include a Pushcart Prize nomination and a fellowship at the Center for Book Arts in NYC. Anupama lives with her family in Nyack, New York. More about her work at Seranam.com. Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer and author of Demimonde (Lithic Press 2016) and All Ember (Urban Farmhouse Press). Winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio award, an Anne LaBastille Poetry residency and short-listed for the Manchester Poetry Competition in the UK, Bridger is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems and Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series. Find her current and upcoming work in Prairie Schooner, December, Contrary, Hawaii Review and Painted Bride Quarterly. She earned her MFA at Pacific University. Kierstinbridger.com Zann Carter plays with words and fiber in Terre Haute, IN, where she hosts a monthly open mic now in its 9th year. Her work has been published in Sagewoman, Dirty Chai, Misfit Magazine,

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Witches & Pagans and Dream website: www.zanncarter.com

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#6.

Her

Alicia Cole is a writer and visual artist in Huntsville, AL. Her work is forthcoming in Anima, Star*Line, and Breath & Shadow. She edits at Priestess & Hierophant Press, www.priestessandhierophant.com, where she self-published her first collection: Darkly Told, an audio chapbook. She’s been nominated for Best of the Net and the Dwarf Star Awards, and won Honorable Mention in Hermeneutic Chaos’ Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging Writers. Mackenzie Cole’s work has appeared in Beecher’s, Camas, Ghost Town, Pacifica, and is forthcoming in Passages North. They are the founder and janitor of Milltowne Press, and they live in Missoula, Montana, where they received an MFA from the University of Montana. Keep up with them at deadfallsandsnares.com. Angelica Corrado is a senior Psychology student at the University of Akron minoring in English. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and a proud feminist, topics that influence her poetry. Corrado is the Vice President and Co-Founder of her university’s Coalition Against Sexual Assault and serves as the Survivor and Ally Resource Captain for the It’s On Us Campaign. Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. Emily Dezurick-Badran is a librarian and roller derby player living in California. Her short fiction has previously appeared in Fractured West, the Tin House Open Bar, and The Stockholm Review. Beaton Galafa is a Malawian writer of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. In 2014, he participated in the Commonwealth Creative Nonfiction Writers Workshop in Uganda. In 2016, he won the Free Expression-Malawi Essay Writing Competition. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the Writivism Literary Project’s Mentorship Program. Some of his poetry has appeared in local print and online magazines as well as international online literary magazines such as The Maynardand The Voices Project. Kerry Graham lives, teaches, writes, runs, and photographs in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has appeared in The Blue Hour, The Three Quarter Review, Spry, A Quiet Courage and Vine Leaves Literary Journal, among others. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter: @mskerrygraham.

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Atlas & Alice | Issue 10, Fall 2017

Paige Lalain is a senior at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where she’ll be graduating with a B.A. in creative writing in 2018. She writes nonfiction and poetry, and leads workshops in both genres with people in mental health and substance abuse treatment. Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay was one of the five finalists for America’s National Youth Poet Laureate. She was also named as Southeast Regional Youth Poet Laureate in 2016. In her role as the Nashville’s First Youth Poet Laureate in 2015, Mukhopadhyay read original work at the City Council, Mayor Karl Dean’s State of Metro address, Nashville Public Library StudioNPL opening, MyCity Academy Graduation, TEDxNashville CREO Salon, and Mayor Megan Barry’s inauguration. In addition to publishing her book (published by The Penmanship Books, New York, USA), this is our war, Lagnajita was also published in Nashville Arts Magazine, The Tennessean, Chapter 16, and on the Poetry Society of America website and is forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal and Shanghai Literary Review. She is currently a freshman at Belmont University. A.R. Robins lives with her husband in Missouri while she works on her MA at Southeast Missouri State University. Her fiction and poetry is published or forthcoming in Foliate Oak, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Swamp, Edify Fiction, The Cape Rock, and Gyroscope Review. Her work has also been featured on the podcast Second Hand Stories. Lynn Schmeidler’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous literary magazines including The Awl, Barrow Street, Boston Review, Cider Press Review, Comstock Review, Fence, The Los Angeles Review, New Delta Review, Night Train, Opium, The Pedestal Magazine, Posit, Room, Saw Palm, SLAB, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and White Stag, as well as various anthologies including Transition: Poems in the Aftermath (Indolent Books), Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books (Minor Arcana Press), Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press), Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed (Parlor Press), Bared (Les Femmes Folles Books), Forgotten Women (Grayson Books) and Nasty Women’s Poetry Anthology: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press). Her chapbook, Wrack Lines, is available from Grayson Books http://graysonbooks.com/wracklines.html. Her most recent poetry manuscript, History of Gone, from which this poem is taken, was a finalist for the 2016 Eyewear Publishing Sexton Prize and is forthcoming from Veliz Books https://squareup.com/store/veliz-books/item/history-of-gone-by-lynn-schmeidler. Kathryn Megan Starks is a video game writer with a knack for creating memorable villains. She lives in California with her husband and their kitty-cat, Sushi, and enjoys swimming, snowboarding, all things cute, and sunshine. Her book, House of Ash and Brimstone, is a 2017 Pitch Wars finalist. Megan has an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

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Atlas & Alice | Issue 10, Fall 2017

Her short fiction has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, The Battered Suitcase, Glossolalia, and Eight Cuts, among others. Amy Leigh Wicks is a doctoral research scholar in poetry at Victoria University of Wellington’s IIML in New Zealand. She holds her MFA from The New School in New York and recent work can be found in drDOCTOR, Turbine/Kapohau, and SPORT 45. She likes motorcycles, outdoor feasts with chandeliers, and stories without endings.

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Atlas & Alice | Issue 10, Fall 2017

Image Credits: Cover photo: Benjamin Woodard. Page 9: Hamish Secrett, via Unsplash. Page 27Jez Timms, via Unsplash. Page 35: PDPix, via Pixabay. Page 41: Aline Ponce, via Unsplash. Page 49: Madison Grooms, via Unsplash. Visit atlasandalice.com for links

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Atlas & Alice | Issue 10, Fall 2017

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Atlas and Alice - Issue 10  
Atlas and Alice - Issue 10  
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