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letter from the editors Future Histories Presents: Issue 4.
Since stumbling upon two loquacious juniors at our first club fair in 2017, we have been floored by the opportunity to create and collaborate within the publication they inaugurated. Gone are the days of crowding around coffee-stained common room ottomans, poring over hastily stapled packets fresh off the printer. Every issue has allowed us the invaluable opportunity to improve the ways we attempt to do justice to the Tufts communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immense talent. Issue 4 in particular has solidified the ways we seek out talent and perspectives within this milieu where art grows and thrives. Since its inception, our publication has remained committed to providing space to voices and auteurs from groups that have been historically underrepresented in the western literary canon and sharing these efforts by bringing together contributors, artists, and readers. This semester, we convened to showcase creation at an open mic and gathered to brainstorm new avenues to continue pursuing our mission. The decision to delay the print release of Future Histories to the start of the spring semester was a difficult one, but will ultimately allow the inspiring, genre-defying art we showcase to reach more members of the Tufts community. The graduation of many seniors who had been part of the magazine since Issue 0 couldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been disastrous, but the brilliant and passionate people who stepped up to fill their positions made this transition smoother than we could have ever imagined. We are indebted to the Tufts community for trusting us with its subjective originalities and vulnerabilities. We hope that in sharing this collection we can continue to provide a space for collaborative, insightful forms of expression not just once a semester through our print publication, but also on our website, futurehistoriesmag.com. Though we, as individuals, will be leaving next semester, we go with the confidence that our fantastic team will fill in where we left off, and we are excited to witness how members of our community reformulate and iterate the spring edition. Our wish is that you, reader, appreciate the efforts our contributors and team have made this semester and, if you are so moved, feel free to join the mag as a reader, contributor, or as part of our team! Yours forever, Isa and Zack Co-Chairs fh 2
Cover Art - Rachel Prull, Doodles By Jamie Brewton
writer liaison Juli Lin
Isa Fernandez Zack Mintz
copy editor Nuha Shaikh
arts editor Megan Wei
design team Dana Flynn Charlie Metcalfe
online editor Peter Lam
diversity chair Minna Trinh
design editor Jamie Brewton
Table of Contents 6 i am not the flower | Max Migdail 7
9.23.68 | Aidan Anthony
8 Rochester, NY | Ella Brady 9 Veined Grids | Nasrin Lin 10 Twenty-Six | May Hong 11 After the semicolon 12 middleground | May Hong 13 If I were to ever write one, | Ethan Resek 14 Exodus | Nuha Shaikh 16 cyclops i | Max Migdail 18 Rotten Tuesdays | Ariel Derby 19 Gnocchi | Madison Reid
Photo by Yas Salon
for Uyghuristan | Nuha Shaikh
Waltzing Practice | Moumina Khan
How To Be A Fool | Joseph Harmon
Dirty Water | May Hong
Learning to Love an Accident of a Hometown | Juliette Wu Glaciers | Josh Stone
A SYMPTOM OF MODERN ROMANCE | Myrth Tan
Lavender | Nina Benites
Kung Pao Deception | Alex Eliasen
Roots | Priyanka Sinha
Waiters | Matthew McGovern
Saccharine | Nina Benites
i am not the flower flowers are beautiful things but we know only half i wonder what bees see as they go bud to bud and petal to petal all the bees seem to seek only flowers previously visited one comes one leaves and not one minute later but a second visitor has come to spread good tidings and now a third and fourth all while the door next by remains un disturbed burke says we seek to control that which is beautiful but never have i asked anything of a flower not even love do i not find flowers pleasureful five six seven visitors step away and the ground breathes i get the sense there is a spectrum i do not see a co-evolved runway made just for our special little friends who carry us from one to another itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a ritual known only to them in which i cannot not participate for i shall grow more beautiful and vast than hell itself
Max Migdail Photo by Yas Salon fh 6
Photo by Yas Salon
No man is an island but a woman is a landslide, and her shoulders shake and crash and break Like waves on piping plovers I eat clover because I saw bees do the same thing and now my teeth are stained green And Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m saying thank you to the gardeners who helped me learn to speak the truth To take the runoff from that mountain and learn to make good soup From leeks and yams and heaps of peas that peep up in the spring And remind me that no one cares if I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to sing
Aidan Anthony fh 7
anyone can anyone?
yes, anyone can draw her arms sprawled across a dirty carpet, three floors up, crooked house, belly full, kitten crawling over unlocked knees, loose hands petting with blind love
anyone can draw, if you just let go dipping cheap cracked brushes into muted multitone water, sweeping unicorn tears over crystalline canvas
you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be an artist as I scrawled yesterdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notes and a grocery list and a reminder on when to wake up in the back of my notebook accidently dripping rain water in the margins and it spilled, smoothing out black ink, swirling rigid scribbles, drawing free
Photo by Yas Salon
Veined Grids Nasrin Lin plastic city room for two / stay for the fireworks up to you / take the downtown express I go and lie, shoelaces untied across the fresh flowers / eucalyptus young from the plaza tucked a letter, cursive exaggerate / someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name / I toss and think a non-thought / eucalyptus aromatherapy, antiseptics or air freshener for this room on Avenue of the Americas / released from the beautiful and the terrible, I wait still / meet me at mine / your chardonnay white face, I smell / manicured royal blue, soirĂŠe self-preservation I know / people like you fully furnished / devastating I am a placeholder, psychotropic medication something other than / loving too, you must know I should keep the vase / and I will shave my head and bring it to the matinee.
the croissants were shaped like the Venus Willendorf / tasted like you.
spiteful palate, sweet Seroquel and chocolate-rich make my fingernails hurt / I dig into the cheesecake off-white from the corner bodega / go home to my poster Hopper, pointed chins to pointed drinks.
Twenty-Six May Hong
Anthurium, those beloved red-wax ears listened in on the conversations in that hospital room-home. Washed-out smiles, diluted days, and well-meaning fruit baskets left halfeaten. Machine beeps kept time as you fought against all those turned cells. Gold coin on each eye, to help you stay under when you eventually fell into indelible sleep, and an extra in the mouth just in case there was a toll across the way. Dad and I knelt and prayed for forty-nine days, almost enough for each letter to go in twice, but my alphabet is no good, to you they were nothing more than trinkets strung into odd little fences. Peonies now, embroidered on the quilt so that they might outlast us all. Rust-crusted thread scissors, an un-rocked chair, and trembling leaf shadows, all boxed up in sun-dried afternoon. I swallow my twenty-six in your bedroom like muscle memory, in light of undusted shelves, dashes of vertical calligraphy, and a wilted calendar from 2009 with red, X-ed out daysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;while you, a framed still life, sit zoned out by the window.
Photo by Lucas Barravecchia Prudente fh 10
A field of stars
Letmestay by Sophie Pollock
middleground May Hong
omaha, just three hours shy of the dead geographical center of contiguous u.s. come march, everything is encrusted in a coarse sepia, all vague and far away. we passed a splayed out elk on our search for the best nowhere, and i made you turn for a second look at my first “actual roadkill.” “you sicko.” later, from the middle of a field so dry that our shoe prints left in it fine powder, we watched as the aged sky quietly tore itself to pieces in a single chilled outbreath.
Yolk in the Grass by Myrth Tan
If I were to ever write one, A love poem would only be a page blank Of everything but the commas: a snowstorm And the shit dog owners were too lazy to pick Up. A piano has fifty-two white keys and Thirty-six black keys for playing love songs until I take a hammer and smash the instrument to pieces. Chopin and Schumann can eat my ass.
Ethan Resek fh 13
Exodus Nuha Shaikh History will write about you in gold not silver, Feed filigree, self-spun, into the nib of a pen and Begin. Frontline an Exodus, Open the doors, and light candles for Those lost along the way. We’ve made it. “Free at last”. On unfamiliar soil with a foreign tongue. A bridge tells me to go back home. A happenstance welcoming party; No fault of its own. I fall silent as the night slinks in. I almost wish this quiet misery Was ricocheting in my ribcage. I know how to deal with Bombs and degradation and Split foundations, cracked cement. I don’t remember the last time I felt safe. There’s shouting in the street. Just like home. Both voices carry an undercurrent of fear. And anger. Always anger. Jump out of the window, carrying nothing but your family’s stories, No matter the number of stories and fh 14
Photo by Irina Mengqi Wang
Run for your life. You have no choice. Not here, not anywhere. Icy breath, the ghost of the person you once were. Each one leaving you like all the rest. Or did you leave them? Let memory steal this escape with the others. Become a thief of security And learn that your skin and clothes are seen as sins. Is it your fault you will never see your children grow up? Make the hard decision to leave it all behind. You cannot help but be relieved that you are caught-Hysteria and heart torn. Do it all over again. Never again will I see my childhood in vivid, verdant colors. Home is just a pile of desert dust and dereliction. Neglect coats every alveoli in my lungs. The worst kind of cigarette to inhale is the last one you reach for, The one marked “before” as the cancer starts and spreads. The last one you press to your lips is the goodbye We never got.
Inspired by PBS’s Frontline series, episode by the same name (Exodus), discussing the Refugee Crisis
to expand on beyond Max Migdail or retreat internal unseen requires borders to have meaning has such a thing been true for wildly long and where do you go once the borders are gone it becomes impossible to travel in a place were all was one after all is the atmosphere not simply another border passable in our quest to find ourselves we lose ourselves and risk the cycle of harm science and measurement used as a tool of leverage to extract the optimal result with the kilogram balanced on the French ego infringed by a brutish boorish bungering language redefining the undefined rooted in the objective universal experience measured through the poorly defined we find that a second has been added to our lives a theft of death through donation of time what is it extended life lived or loved or once before livid who knows the moon unnamed mother does she need no greater recognition an egg cast away he waits to be recalled watchful eye or rejected anus cohabitating monkeys shouldn’t be this hard when the crux of the high is not seeing god but rather hearing them whisper the secrets of the world how much of the truth is external and how much is internal repetition of the experience recognized did jane goodall see the warmth in mike collins’s eyes as he beat his booming chest over the other monkeys by leaps and bounds the lost ideal has gone searching for truth all expenses are purposeful and for purpose is it innate if exnate is a sacrifice required to be the person destined enduring freedom shouldn’t be harder than falling into the deep cool wandering sky soaring [cat fight audio ] a candle extinguished can be relit a hope not yet found or eternally known somewhere resides turning winding curious and lost expanding and encompassing with great power comes great canyons that build and birth the new age what significance can up and down be given when the sun now longer hangs over she cannot help what she is but can anyone truly or is the entire idea that of course he might not be here anymore but we will always be somewhere because can anyone ever truly be missing doesn’t mean not yet found but rather found elsewhere or found elswhen or found elsewhy fh 19 fh 16
Ode to an Orbit Abigail Raymond
Meditation | Kiara Reagan
fh 20 fh 17
Art by Sophie Pollock
Rotten Tuesdays Damn those rotten Tuesdays With their smug unnoticed grins Damn their thrifty motives And their undetected sins Damn the way each rotten Tuesday Starts with piles of bricks And damn the way each cruddy night Ends with a thousand pricks Damn the morning coffee Always burnt yet not enough And damn the way nobody ever says “You’ve got it rough” Damn the empty lunches Always stuffed inside a sack And damn the way I’m always Picking up somebody’s slack. Damn those rotten Tuesdays Sure, they’re just a part of life But damn the way those Tuesdays Slash my heart out with a knife. Damn those rotten Tuesdays And concede to my grand pitch Instead of smiling fake old smiles Let’s agree: life’s a bitch.
Ariel Ariel Derby Derby fh 18
Gnocchi We are sitting in an Italian restaurant, sunlight tickling the table between us Should I get a tattoo, I ask, I think I want a bird, maybe on my sore hip bone You tell me I’m being cliché And that maybe you’ll ink a raisin on your heel or something
Madison Reid Reid Madison
If we are all family and this is my home as much as it is yours and you are meant to protect us all then why am I not allowed to speak to my God and why am I not allowed to see my children and why am I not allowed to leave this cage of a district why are there eyes on every door and more why is there no good reason but suspicion to trap me in an agreement where I could not choose anything but nod mutely cry politely my language is not allowed lists and lists of crossed off characters are enough to remind me of the hidden history no one tells you that it's lonesome being surrounded by people outsiders with power they claimed to be just like you there is a good reason, isn't there? there is a reason, isn't there?
why can I not love my country and love my state why can I not believe in the leadership and in a God why can I not speak the common tongue and my homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heirlooms and heirlooms of memories are passed on through our living killing us imprisoning us we're a disappearing "us" you've wrenched from our minds the hope of freedom wrung out the tapestry of this country attempting to clean yourselves of our blood and tears and breath is it enough to be a ghost-town? is it enough to be? terrorism is a pretense from a vestige of old power no longer a threat when we are fighting to stay alive maybe even safe one day Drawing: Silent Voice by Myrth Tan
oppression is enough to make us into dogs that heel when told to that stay where commanded to that lie dead when played with and aren't family in any sense maybe when past becomes present and history becomes current an old silk road of discovery and connection will lead to continued secrecy letting white people in and out for money but never us for free I can cry as much as I want but there is no use they tell me in mourning the loss of family I have never known â&#x20AC;&#x153;they are guiltyâ&#x20AC;? I thought I had found home in a place of mixed stories and livelihoods where I could pass for any other person on the street but I have not spoken with the ground long enough to even call it by its first name I have not sung to the sky long enough to even know the colors that it wears but I do know that there was where I thought home was and not knowing better I laid my roots down still fresh and tender without looking around to meet the buried eyes of misplaced disgraced family done wrong by their home
A majestic palace, a darkened stage, a cloudless sky, a blank page A clock in the background. (Tick) (And a five! Six! Seven! Eight!) Words dance and leap and twirl Spinning through sentences and pirouetting around punctuations With carefree smiles, gliding effortlessly through invisible lines Their adorning adjectives glistening: Splendid diamonds dangling off the swells of letters Verbs, their beckoning smiles gently grabbing eyes and tugging them along the pages, To dance the night away, lost among the whirling colors of ethereal nouns bedecked in finery Euphoria Magic Spun from ink and paper Tone and cadence reaching a cresceNDO Then thundering down, arms outstretched as if to Fly A perfect landing, balanced on poised toes. A smile, a final bow, and the curtain falls. (Tock) A pile of ruin, a creaky stage, a sunÂblocking cloud, a passing age A pen, hovering over a page Poised between blue lines Ink pooling behind a ballpoint tip Quivering, tremoring, Eager To replicate the words dancing through the mind, Until they spill off the paper and smudge onto the desk and coat the fingers in the ebony residue of their performance. (Tick) And a five Six
(Tock) A tremble, a want fh 22
Ink escaping the crevices between the balled point Dripping through the air, ready to dance and twirl onto the blank page that arrives closer and closer--oh, already it is straightening its form to fall into a perfect shape-- hand outstretched, landing in a
A blemish An ugly, misshapen smear A ruined page, a procession of mismatched words tripping over their feet Tumbling and crashing into each other Landing in a misshapen heap Piling up in crossed out sentences and becoming dark sludge until they press up against darkened bodies, their weight crushing chests and pressuring thoughts and slowly stealing breath from lungs as they force themselves down throats and snatch strangled gasps and squeeze out hot tears that drip onto and blur those invisible lines until you can’t breathe and you’re drowning and you’re closing your eyes and...
And a five. Six. Seven. Eight.
(Tick) (Tock) A ring of ashes, a darkened stage, a discolored sky, a tarnished page. Fingers curled around a poised pen. Quivering. A diamond adjective, an alluring verb, A midsummer’s ball, twinkling just out of sight in the corners of thoughts Beckoning Hand just out st r e t c h ed A lit match, a brewing storm, a shushing audience, a focusing form. A pen touches the page An intake of breath, the piercing first note of a waltz The words dance again.
Photo by Yas Salon fh 23
How To Be A Fool
Dmitry was already on stage, and the initial shock had worn off. Now he was numb, and his face kept the anxiety airtight. When asked for a location, the crowd shouted over themselves to provide it. They were excited tonight, so Dmitry bounced in place to match their energy. He leaped into the scene. Airport! Therapist’s office! Submarine! The audience chose therapy. Anders became the therapist, making himself wise. Dmitri was the patient, laying down on stage as if on a couch, then realizing that he must look like a corpse. Right away, Anders declared a breakthrough. “Are you sure?” Dmitry asked, looking to the crowd for confirmation. “I’m positive!” said Anders. “Congratulations! And would you look at that, we’re just out of time.” The point was to transform impulse into action, laughter if possible. To look into the crowd and feel the thrill of something unexpected. After handing Anders his imaginary check, he met Roxana. The audience called for love, so she wilted into a calculated shyness. “Now, what are you in for?” he inquired, his voice turning baritone and suave. “Oh, I shot my husband,” she admitted, embarrassed. “Why?” “I can’t remember. Hopefully, Doctor...” “Smith...ers,” he offered. “Hopefully, Doctor Smithers can remind me,” she finished. They tumbled out to center stage, escalating the romantic comedy as they went. Anders skirted around them and reemerged when the crowd called “robber.” The themes had already been decided. Anders lunged for them, invisible gun outstretched. But he was a coward, afraid of his own power, and he shook with it to great effect. “G-gimme all your money!” he stuttered. Dmitry dropped the machismo and raised his hands, but not Roxana. She was the expert, and she took charge. She dashed to Anders and somehow redirected the gun at his head. She gritted her teeth, lovely and deranged on purpose. “I’ve killed before and I’ll do it again!” she yelled in a stage whisper. Her tone was just right. “She will,” Dmitry said. “Watch out, I’m warning you.” The audience demanded a twist. “Oh, who am I kidding?” Roxana said, shaking Anders in her grip. “I’ll admit it. I hired him.” “You what?” Dmitry said. “He’s my next door neighbor,” she said, indicating Anders. “But why?” Dmitry asked. “After I got rid of my husband, I got so bored,” Roxana said. “I wanted some excitement, an, uh, enemy to defeat. Come on, we’ve all been there.” She shrugged and Dmitry witnessed the shuddery rise and fall of her shoulder blades under her tank top. He wondered if it was the show’s fault, these strangers siphoning away her energy
Photo by Yas Salon
Joseph Harmon each Saturday night, or else if the improv was her remedy. “Missus Jones, can I go home now?” Anders asked, squeaky and adolescent. “My mom is expecting me for dinner.” “Yes, Joey,” Roxana sighed. She released him, and he scampered offstage. “I forgot to ask,” she said, turning back to Dmitry. “What did Dr. Smithers tell you today?” Dmitry thought for a moment. “He told me that I need to stop seeing dangerous women,” he said. His deadpan was enough to seal off the experience, and they called scene. A light cascade of applause rained down on them. Dmitry stood there, serious in the glare, and then slipped backstage. The American impulse to smile still seemed foreign; in his mind, they had to be earned. “Nice work,” said Roxana backstage. Now she was wearing a men’s suit jacket with boxy shoulders, her hair loose around her neck. “Thank you.” “I’ve been watching gangster movies from the fifties,” she told him. “That’s why I went violent.” “I watch so many movies,” he said. It was true. In the spare moments between his work, he would fixate on any film that he could find, finding character when he felt he had none left. Roxana appeared to be thinking. Her eyes were more alive than most, Dmitry had noticed. They darted around as she spoke as if examining all the ways things might be. She looked most comfortable on stage. Elsewhere, she played an unconvincing version of herself. She spoke with an irony that was almost an accent, making it impossible to tell what she believed. If her words landed wrong, she did not have to own them. “There’s something about you,” Roxana said. “What?” “If I knew, I’d tell you,” she said. She took a swig from her water bottle. After a long pause, she said, “I know. You remind me of a train.” “A train?” “The sound of a train. The horn, maybe? Even right up next to you, it sounds far away.” “Ah,” he said without understanding. “Where are you from, again?” “Michigan,” he said. “East Lansing.” He conjured up the pictures he had seen, the demographics, the weather, in case he had to field any questions. “That explains it,” Roxana said doubtfully. Some laughter swept through the curtains, and through them too. “I’ll see you around,” she told him. “See you around,” he echoed, but it was already time to enter the next sketch. The curtain rippled in her wake and he followed, ready to reveal himself as someone new. ***
continued online at futurehistoriesmag.org
Dirty Water May Hong
I saw through the café window someone carving through puddles on a skateboard, the bottom-half of his khakis darkened like shin guards. Post-rain is not song-worthy where I’m from. In fact, if you dare drink it’d taste like pink cough syrup, sweet
till bitter. The mayor dove into the Pearl River once, to prove a point. At least three sets of arms pulled him out within 30 seconds at most, and hustled him into the back of a white minivan, syringes at the ready.
My brother is the last to leave, or perhaps the first to stay. For his birthday I mailed him anti-pollution masks by a company called Respro®, because everything is made better here right? I was told that the Charles River isn’t exactly safe either, but at least it freezes, if you dare walk. It would cut my commute in half. I always wonder which crackling step will cost me, like a game of reverse whack-a-mole. Not exactly miraculous, is it, we still have plenty left to fear. The parted puddle has resettled into a steady mid-rhythm rain, though I can’t see the drops, only their ripples.
Learning to Love an Accident of a Hometown April 16, 2019
Modern Shenzhen, modern in a post-Deng, Post-technological boom sense, is only a Few years my elder. Growing up, I watched The evisceration of a “fishing village” and its Infantile self-sufficiency a Transcendentalist Would think bucolic or picturesque, you know, Despite the detritus of wars and wrongs and all that And I watched not a snake shed its skin but A caterpillar deliquesce in its rancid cocoon (Death as a prerequisite for rebirth.) Perhaps the butterfly that emerged was iridescent But these are violent foreign colors, haphazardly Treated with the corporate-cosmopolitan odors And that globalist aesthetic of a concessioned Canton. But the self-assured westernized snob in me objects, Why eulogize? What does it matter? You misguided Faux-nationalist, you’ve reaped your benefits, spoken The kind of accentless (allow me to be anti-descriptivist) Lingua franca English of the international pastiche, When otherwise you’d have been a myopic rustic girl Taxidermied, stuck performing for the ogling orientalist… Now subsume this grotesque tableau—this Adidas bike Propped against steamed bun stall, this large glowing Transnational fast food sign, this local toddler nudging Mother asking about that gweilo and the ensuing offense Of the man who overhears, this Asian-faced customer base For this Western shopping mall, these great dilapidated Mongrel throngs of part-Cantonese | part-American Part-Hakka | Part-British | part-Communist | All Chinese City of a fumbling postmodern accident.
Photo by Irina Mengqi Wang
Photo by Yas Salon
Glaciers Josh Stone
In jagged wood, rivers run tentacle arms down meadows made in times past remnants of Ice Giants creeping into virgin valleys, carving canyons and cliffs and all of this done in the silent eyes of the animals who for generations roam mellow meadows, grazing on tip-toe tulips by streams singing their pitter-patter songs in rainbow spray. Rise and fall, thrive and decay, born again under Immortal Ice Eyes, wise, Glaciers watch frigid, fragile as our meager existence passes in the blink of their Ice Beast Eye. While their Cold Feet may tread upon the firmly rooted trees with ease, the Glaciers cry with silent power, their blue tears well up into flash floods as we eat away at them The glaciers speak slowly To listen takes a lifetime To understand takes a history Maybe we will stop the undoing that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done Or perhaps they will die as they were born In silent blue. fh 28
this summer, the tide ate the sand it swallowed up the beds of the magic rocks that survived lake water waves and cast the spells of childhood that made cuts both deeper and heal faster we used to float on wayward Styrofoam that was lost somewhere in between Chicago and Michigan when the sun came down the industrial packaging materialâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; boat palaceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; was dragged onto shore only to be launched again at sunrise this summer, pollutants scrape against stone walls missing the liminal beach saturating once-clear water blueberries, however, blueberries stay the same blueberries and CafĂŠ Gulistan and heat exhaustion and August anxieties exist when the sand does not, this summer, blueberries stay ripe, and sun-kissed, and mid-day, at the right time, they swell with the same fleeting magic of the rocks that lost their homes
Photo by Yas Salon
A SYMPTOM OF MODERN ROMANCE you held a bird by the wing. thumb and index finger forceps pinning wildness with clinical precision. it struggled and beat against your stone grip a flurry of pink, blue, green. an oil spill rippling across a lake in the wake of something beneath the surface. in perfect panic it is learned dancers in glittery costume. a feather falls to the ground in the excitement. look what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done! it is less of itself now, without its coverings.
Lavender meteorologists couldn’t explain why the air that day felt like saguaro spikes sharp grass bounced once more in the instant, honey-soaked electricity between us two weeks later we sprawled on that same green, cautiously you asked, “should I have waited?” while I traced opal hieroglyphs into your side the night before, the delicious whisper of embarrassment dusted my cheeks, those balls of dough you used to poke fun at and my nakedness then felt banal compared to the vulnerability of sunlight at 2pm. two weeks was plenty, I guessed and what physicist could have outlined our projectile when there were more possibilities of phylogenetic trees than protons in the universe and biologists still didn’t know which one was right? with that, we gratefully lifted our faces to the sun and let ourselves explore: tickle of sweet and the taste of lightyears coated our tongues, gentle pleasure taken in eyes crinkled, salty backs, and the pink flesh of sliced watermelon to geologists, it felt like lava looks -impenetrable, starving for more. I, too, hungered for more nights to poke and prod and revel in the unreliable knowledge that we are finite.
Kung Pao Deception
Salt begins to form Soy sauce half full, spilt over Sediments of dusk Holes in each pocket Quarters remain for parking The lights off each month I dreamt of neon Glowing water, pointed home Chili powdered hope Cast iron ages Dragons will burn their tails too Red seeps through the glass The bellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stillness grows With circadian cleaning Stickiness remains
Art by Jasmin Arculli
Roots The first Mauritian papaya of the summer Waits for me on the tree. Around it, Thin, wispy leaves dance in the breeze, Beckoning me over before the breakfast of morning birds. As my feet carry me across the grass, it seems to whisper sweet soft melodies Telling stories of a home I had never known. My roaming fingers brush across its taut, leathery skin, Pulled tight over orange flesh and dark, earthy seeds. The first Mauritian papaya of the summer is bruised, But it is also young, ripe, and alive, My touch leaving a depression on its side. And it is when my nails slice a slit in its flesh, It is when golden juices flow freely over my wrists, seeping into my warm skin, That I become the crown jewel of my island. I am bold, as I am flirtatious, mingling between my self and my roots. I am a golden speck On a horizon of emerald waves and blue sky. Here I am, A part of the only earth My family has ever known.
fh 7 fh 34
I’ve passed many iterations of that same man waiting and watching at the café seated at that table for two on the terrassevv looking out over the street.
He watches the ants march one by one waiting to smoke a second cigarette while still fuming his first. Next to him is monsieur eyes cast down nearly into his drink dark green liquor, in one long glass almost glaring he waits for it to drain itself. The drum of train on track it rattles, we’re trained to wait started waiting when walking always saving, saving and waiting. While a doe does the same saving in case of precipitous flight nibbling lintels in our line of sight a bowstring drawn back prone to shoot we wait, the string stays taut and fingers don’t quite fall from the filament holding steady, biding time like the bow we’re bent bent on waiting, now spent. Tired, tired of waiting like the chaps at the café tired too of what’s to come.
Matthew McGovern fh 8
Photo by Yas Salon fh 35
Saccharine Spiraling citrus skin Opens up tart flesh. A corn snake shedding One home for another. He expertly wields His black-ribbed knife Coiling and coiling-Oh, shit! Now, blood-orange Juice drips down tense hands. Knife rattles on that mahogany; Sharp pain lounges in heavy air. So many nights, that sweet Tooth satiated by spiraling Citrus skin, so many Meticulously handled fruits we Could have peeled By hand. Suffice to say We must have craved more Than fleshy tang, but That corn snake was set to strike, Too.
Nina Benites fh 36
Drawing by Megan Wei fh 37
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