future histories literary magazine issue 3
prose poetry non-fiction art photography
letter from the editors Future Histories Presents: Issue 3.
At the end of every semester, we are inevitably staggered by just how much this publication has grown since she was born, under the sign of Sagittarius, on a stapled sheet of 8”x11” printer paper at the end of the Fall 2017 semester. How stunning that with each new issue, the unplumbed depths of talent of Tufts’ creators turned out to be even more gargantuan than we knew. We’ve grown, too—both Future Histories we, and Sarah and Hunter, we. This is the final semester we’ll be spending with FH and, as our despotic reign of terror comes to its conclusion, we can’t help but wax poetic. It has been an honor to watch the progress of all of our contributors, from the writers and artists who submit to all our team members that have made sure this thing happens day by day. Every person who has had a hand in the magazine has transformed its character in their way. The result is a beautiful exquisite corpse, a body of work that is at once fundamentally collaborative and communal as well as a showcase for individual talent and perspective. Truly! An honor! This semester FH came together as a community to support the Tufts Dining Workers and picket with them. We hope that, whatever the direction of FH years to come, it will always aim to build an inclusive and loving space, not only as a collective of creatives, but as a part of the larger Tufts community. We hope you, reader, enjoy sharing this space with us and will help shape & improve Future Histories long after we’re gone. With the utmost gratitude and the utmost excitement to see where this thing goes, Sarah & Hunter Founders & Co-Chairs
PS: Check out exclusive online-only content – learn more about the community and our anonymous selection process – read our mission statement or constitution – all at futurehistoriesmag.org!
Cover Art: Crossroads | Yoon Sung
co-chairs hunter silvestri sarah walsh
writer liasons grace littell zachary mintz
treasurer daniel eslami
design editor siddhant talwar
copy editor isabel fernandez
arts editor jeremy caldwell
design team alex gutierrez arely mancia emma whalen yas x
online editor nicole cohen
diversity chair may hong
publicity chair denzel oduro
events coordinator sara bass
publicity team rachel isralowitz mariam shaikh
Table of Contents 5
Poem | Ethan Resek
6 Manifesto | Joseph Harmon 9 Linda Whiskey | Gloria Revanche 11 Harbor Beach, 10:20 PM | Lily Oliver 12 A Rainstorm at Home | Ella Brady 13 thoughts weeding together | Max Migdail 15 Too Small Now | S.J. Swoap 18 march of the penguins | Liam Knox 19 Ode to an Orbit | Abigail Raymond 21 First Glimpse of You at Stansted | Madison Reid 22 Feel Good | Paulina MacNeil 23 Want Too Much Too | Nye Canham
Luminous Beings are We | Miranda Feinberg
Quiet Sugars | Jeremiah Sears
i remember the birds most | Alice Hickson
Mahal Kita? | Isabella Urdahl
carp in the bathtub | May Hong
A Rhythm | Hunter Silvestri
तुम, सिगरेट और झुमका | Arti Mehrotra
After Mother Road Died | Sarah Walsh
i think birds are real | Jared Rosen
Fish With No Fins or Gills | Isabel Fernandez
Poem Ethan Resek
Tiger Dress Up | Amy Chu
My mother brought me. That is to say, I enjoyed my time at the museum. As I walked along the opposite path, a pigeon flew across my right shoulder, separating me from the museum. It was brown, and it looked into my eyes. Its eyes were red and had dark pupils. The bird flew away, over the museum that my phone told me had recently been bombed. It was on our right, across the street, the museum that had been bombed recently. I was told that the museum had many valuable things. Turning to the right, across the street, we walked up the steps. The museum advertises itself as “the museum that the newspapers stated was the cause of much pain to the world, and the museum that would like to apologize profusely to those who don’t believe in ideas.” Since it was bombed, there are no tickets anymore for this museum. There are no locations to go to in this museum — no “American Art before 1900,” no “Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art,” no nothing — so forget about traveling the world. What is left inside the museum, after it was bombed, is a short row of white tiles that have words on them. They are boring and serious as, I’ve been told, art tends to be. My mother sits down near a window that looks somewhere. I look at a white tile punctured with the question “color of the want?” Not wanting that decision in my life, I ask “which?” My mother looks out the window, and the bird comes back. It is a male cardinal now, creating a red dance in the sun. The sun is shining through the window. Now the sign in the museum that was recently bombed says “which.” The cardinal sings a pretty song for my mother to listen to that sounds like “buh-reep whicha whicha whicha whicha buh-reep buh-reep.” I walk to my mom’s side, and she puts her arm around me — sing “buh-reep whicha whicha whicha whicha whicha buh-reep whicha whicha buh-reep buh-reep buh-reep.”
When Irene got stuck between the cookbooks and the New Age section, it was Gregory’s job to fish her out. Phil wasn’t the type to intervene. All he did was nod his head towards the doorway and say, “There’s a situation in there for ya.” Gregory could handle the situation. He was unshakeable, and everyone at Quiet Pines knew it. He found her sitting in the empty corner, spine to the wall and legs pretzeled. “Hello, Irene,” he said, meeting her eyes. He respected her even when she lost her way. She had been a professor once, and she was so sharp that all the newspapers printed her letters to the editor. “Thank you for stopping by,” she told him. “I just remembered my mother’s recipe for Swedish meatballs. The secret ingredient was rose quartz. It opens the heart.” “Rose quartz is a crystal, isn’t it?” Gregory asked. “I imagine that would be hard to chew.” “Of course. You’re right,” Irene told him, standing up to reach his level. She didn’t sound embarrassed. “But you liked them, didn’t you? When you came over for dinner. You had a smart new suit, but you looked so young.” “I wasn’t there,” Gregory told her, then had the sense to add, “I wish I had been.” “That’s right,” Irene said, moving to the window. Her gait had been rickety ever since the hip replacement, but she took great pains to hide it. The workers were taking down the elm outside. They said it was diseased, but the tree looked fine. “Irene, you’re stuck between shelves,” Gregory told her. The last time she had gotten stuck, she had begged him to be direct. She did a little brisk nod. “Do you remember how to help me?” she asked. “Yes. You take sixty-seven steps to the center of the shelves. Then you look up,” Gregory said. He felt a bit embarrassed giving these abstract directions, and spooked by the fact that she might be carrying them out in her head. “There’s so much dust around me,” said Irene, looking nowhere in particular. “What about the dust?” She hadn’t mentioned the dust before, so he winged it. “Ignore the dust,” he said like he knew
what he was talking about. “Ignore it and look up.” “I’m looking up,” she told him, and she was. Her head was thrown back, arms loose at her sides, and all of the weight seemed to have left her body. She looked to invite some kind of divine rapture, but not completely. Irene, always the skeptic. She really was brilliant. Her bookshelves were just there to keep everything straight. “What do you see?” He asked out of curiosity this time. “It’s blank,” she said. “I didn’t make a ceiling.” “Is it light?” he asked. He pictured sunlight streaming through slats. “No,” she told him. “It’s just empty.” She blinked several times, which made him nervous at first, but when she turned to him, he knew that she was back. She examined the room in that imperious way of hers, and he began to smile just at the sight of her. She took a few steps forward, and already she seemed more definite. “Thank you for the help,” she told him with dignified gratitude. “Any time,” Gregory said. “And if you didn’t know, it’s almost supper.” “Oh, I’m not hungry,” she said, but she took his arm anyway. They walked to the common room together as if nobody had ever done such a thing. * * * “Stuck between shelves?” Naomi asked them. She worked at Quiet Pines, God knew why. She was a sweet girl, but so damn young that she hurt to look at. She couldn’t comprehend all that was ahead of her. Gregory had a better sense of how it would all end, because he was closer to an ending. Really, he was jealous. She had the luxury of leaving. At least when she was here, she was all here. She could coax any of them into conversation, and she listened even when they spoke in loops, rehashing the glory and the sorrow until they had lost their point. “She got out quick,” Gregory said. “No fuss, all business.” Something about Naomi reminded him of Trish, but of course everything did. It was a sweet kind of pain to discover your love in unexpected places.
The bamboo outside had only been planted last year, but it was already encroaching on their window space. Gregory wondered if that was the point. A fortress around them. He wanted to go up to one of the head honchos behind the front desk and say, hey, what’s the big idea? What are you trying to hide? Phil was watching one of those TV judge shows that he liked. His way of paying attention was very close to not paying attention at all. Gregory glanced at the screen and saw three judges deliberating under some red curtains. The fabric looked as cheap as a kid’s Halloween costume. “Yesterday, they gave five thousand dollars to unnecessary suffering,” Phil told him. His eyes were bright blue, a burst blood vessel forking through one like a lightning bolt. Gregory thought that sounded fair. There really was all this suffering. The news said so. Suffering everywhere on this earth, and it was too late to help. If Trish were here, she would order him to stop being bitter. He was choosing to stay set in his ways. True fools were the ones who wouldn’t budge. Somehow, she would also make him laugh. She was like that. Here was a thought: balance out all the suffering with all the money. Then barricade everyone with bamboo so you could never have to see another soul, and nothing would feel better or worse. It would be a solution that would make the TV judges nod soberly around their conference table. They would crank up those stupid violins so you knew the situation had turned out for the better. “Phil, why do you like that show?” Naomi asked. There was only curiosity in her voice. Gregory admired this most about her. She asked questions from a place of confidence that there was always something worth discovering. “Sweetheart, it’s entertainment,” Phil said. He turned up the volume. For her night job, Naomi worked the coat check at a music venue. Gregory had a vivid image of her sitting on a stool in a dimly lit room, reading a paperback while the band played. He couldn’t remember if she had told him or if he had imagined it. She could hear even when she wasn’t paying attention. She really stood up to listen when they played the one song that captured it all. He remembered her saying that. The summary of all the singer had hoped to express,
powerful and raw, clicking all in the right places. She had a sense for it. “The bamboo’s getting taller,” Gregory said to Irene. This was less of a direct observation and more of a Trojan horse of implications, slipping under the skin. We’re losing touch. We are being forgotten, replaced. Gregory tried to fight himself like Trish would want. Perhaps that isn’t so terrible. It is growth after all, fresh and novel, rocketing into the sky. You watch it from a distance and try to decide how to feel. If soldiers marched through the streets, it could be a terrorist occupation or a victory parade. But why did the bamboo have to block the goddamn view? Irene knew. She looked at him and deconstructed every thought, chasing down all of his tangents until they hit brick walls. But Gregory might just want her to understand. Somebody with the intelligence to build a theory—no, that wasn’t right—a map—something to tie it all together. No, not tie it all together. Slice it to its core. True understanding must be like surgery. Everybody in Quiet Pines had at least one operation, so no wonder nobody understood anything. They didn’t wear the scrubs. Gregory chuckled to himself but shut it down before Naomi could think he was senile. Naomi was talking about her date. She didn’t volunteer personal information unless one of them pressed her. Phil had, flirting with her in his toothless way. “He asked the waiter to make his food spicy,” Naomi said. “No training wheels. He lived in Mumbai for weeks, plural.” “Sounds arrogant,” Irene said. “When it arrived, he took one bite,” Naomi paused for emphasis, “and turned more red than I’ve ever seen. Eyes watering, wiping his tongue on his napkin and everything.” “What a chump,” Phil said. “Chump,” Irene repeated. “I haven’t heard that word in a while.” “You callin’ me a chump?” Phil asked. Not serious, just looking for some friction. “I’ll call you a chump,” Gregory said. Irene turned back to Naomi. They couldn’t stall out like this, she understood. “Well, did you sleep with him?” she asked. She seemed to already know the answer.
“Yes,” said Naomi. She didn’t seem embarrassed. “He was better humble.” “Women,” said Phil, and Gregory wondered if his punch lines really gave him closure. Naomi said nothing, and the look on her face was difficult to read. She didn’t even truly seem to be listening, and maybe that was why. Why should she? She was so young and so beautiful, and as Gregory looked at her, he couldn’t help but feel resentful. All this time ahead of her. She was wasting chances just by sitting still. Trish would tell him not to think that either. Fine, he wasn’t all resentful. And Trish wasn’t some nagging presence, she kept him level. She had given him hope that the days ahead weren’t withered, weren’t wasted. She still did; her memory was powerful enough. He wanted nothing more than to see Naomi leave these walls and dazzle everyone with her potential. That is, if he lived to see it. His health was fine at the moment, but you never knew. “Naomi, why are you wasting your time here?” he asked her. It seemed like a blunt thing to ask. In another place, far away from Quiet Pines, he likely wouldn’t have said it. He had flashes then. The deck he had built himself, sanded diligently until Trish got sick. The bougainvillea that he had tamed, which was probably colonizing the house now. Bathroom with the nice tiles, running into Alexander there at midnight. Like father, like son, they always got up to pee at the same time. Home was overpowering. He would kill for it. Well, that was a strong statement. He wouldn’t resort to violence, wasn’t that kind of man. Easy sayings had infected his thinking. They were like life vests. He clung to them when he felt stranded, some burning thing to say and no way to say it. What he needed was a manifesto. Where was it? Manifesto must be the right word. He wanted to deliver a fiery exposition on all that he had experienced. His speech would tear through all the useless pennies, all the petty, small, limiting bullshit, radiating all that was true and beautiful and right. No, stop, he did not need to sit down. Something must need illumination. Naomi looked at him, and she rested her hand on his. He saw affirmation in her eyes without pity, which was the only look he wanted these days. She said to him something like “I like it here,” or “this fh 8
brings me purpose,” only some failing of his ears or his mind or the connection between them fuzzed out. Perhaps because he did not want to hear her. He was noticing more and more of Trish in her face. Somehow, he thought of the time his long term receptionist had quit, leaving him with a great big gaping void in his professional life that leached into his normal life. Everyone would leave him eventually. But then Trish had come home from work and locked eyes with him. She had known. Naomi knew something too. He missed knowing. Phil said, “What’s the problem, fella?” and Irene asked whether he was lost in his own shelves. No, his were all so messy, and lasted only in flashes. In the garden they had an old bathtub that filled up with rainwater and froze in the winter. Trish said it added character. Who knew character better than Trish? Chemo couldn’t take that crackle out of her eyes. He should have done more. There was that old refrain. As if there was anything more he could have done. Well, there must have been. But there wasn’t. Anyway, it was all over and done with, and now he was in this dump. What was it—Quiet Pines. The kids were still out there, Stella and Alexander. Stella must still be traveling abroad, picture her among ancient castles and then look at this place. Wow, what a contrast. No, Stella had settled down with that lawyer. Never could keep his name straight. Their daughter was a real sweetheart. Kindest thing you ever saw. His eyes slid to Naomi, and for a moment, he made the connection. Of course. He was always mistaking her for an employee, but she knew him. A cute kid once. But then it was gone, all this in his head. He couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all futile. Everyone keeps on digging for answers, but they’re just digging through upturned earth. There’s nothing left to find. Yes, that must be right. No, that can’t be right. Oh, but look at Naomi with her face watching the sky, she’s on the right side of the bamboo, and the judges award her all there is to offer. She sits in a dim room while the band plays. She can sense the manifesto. Something clicks, and so she stands.
Linda Whiskey Gloria Revanche Mama, what if you never came back I never learned to make the legume from scratch We would never work alongside You cut the meat while I chopped the garlic You’d never rip my hair follicles With my head between your knees When I yell at Brianna, I sound like you The way you screamed me into submission I remember tiptoeing around the house Quick! Don’t let her hear you stealing the meat The way I quivered the first time I drank, the liquid burning and sweet I could never be you, Linda Whiskey My home will never lose that Haitian grease smell The way it lingers through the wall, clings to the ceiling When I scramble eggs for my family, it’s because of your love I will always see you in my yellow undertones, that guileless smile
Gaze | Denzel Oduro
Harbor Beach, 10:20 PM
alabaster, bone marrow, smooth pearl of flank glinting through ocean fog, Trajectory of busy hands. Crash upon the sternum.
if I’m here I can’t be afraid.
so if I’m here it’s another night where you drown yourself for selfish reasons. The bowl of my stomach & a hundred other places that were never really yours.
Formation | Hannah Yin
Hurting me in Illinois is-Too many two lane highway stops, Pulling over to gasp for flatland breath Empty storefront and we joke about drug front-Making me feel meaningless and midwestern Sleeping on my own disaster-Waking up to a lighting storm in my parentâ€™s house And absorbing the surrounding shock All of my grief is captured by The way rain slides down a car window And it is just me and the steering wheelNever quite making it to the border
A Rainstorm at Home Ella Brady
Morning Mist at Hisa Franko | Bella Maharaj
thoughts weeding together
Pine Valley | Kiara Reagan
Max Migdail A thin, plastic film sections my brain; Trapping the high council of my consciousness’s meeting In a circular room As I rudely flood them with a chemical wave. The buzz of my hair growing out of my scalp makes focusing impossible— With no end in sight I realize this must be my life From now on. The gaping mouth of my abyss defines me, swallows All in my path; the light at the end of the tunnel guides my way; The closer I come, the more I live, the less I know. I jump off the highest cliff in all the world A place I arrived at through boredom, Driven by a nihilistic desire to keep on going, I nearly reach the surface as I fly: Maxie’s gonna get there. But I won’t, instead I’ll spring right back to the cliff, and lay content On warm, cushy stone. The voices stop. They must hate me. The world is huge and there’s nowhere to run. But eventually the mountain hugs me and lets me know it’s okay.
Louloutteâ€™s Pictoral Guide | Amy Chu
To o Small Now
It’s a dark and rainy night, and the smog is so thick that even God Almighty won’t see through to Gotham’s wretchedness below. I know that somewhere in the city below this fire escape there’s a girl in a Catholic school uniform walking down a street, and all the streetlights that should be clothing her in warm light are shot out, cause some men in this city prefer to do their kind of work in the dark. There’s an apartment, with an old woman passed out in a chair by the door. She falls asleep there every night waiting for her grandson to come home from work. The old woman nurses a bottle of wine in one hand and in the other holds a wrinkled picture of her daughter cradling a baby. In the alley outside that apartment there’s a man who stinks of fish and salt. I, Tòmas Garcia, stand on the fire escape, keeping watch over the city. And I’m freaking Batman. My jet-black cape billows majestic-like in the wind. Rain courses down my Batsuit. And underneath that I’ve got on a blackish T-shirt, you know, the hand-me-down from my older brother Pedro, and Batman PJs, the ones Mom gave me three years ago for Christmas before it all. My eyes gaze out from under my black hood to take in the city below. I puff out my chest like I’m not afraid of nothing, cause Batman’s not afraid of nothing since he faced his fear of bats. And nobody would make fun of Batman for being short and chubby or hit Batman for getting a mustard stain on his nice white shirt, cause mustard don’t come out and now what else are you going to wear to Mass. The construction workers for the new apartment building on 3rd & North wouldn’t say things to Batman’s sister on her way to school at St. Mary’s at 7:25 in the morning that make her walk as fast as she can, and Batman’s father wouldn’t go to the store to buy some cigarettes and not come back. And so then Batman’s older brother, Pedro, wouldn’t have to drop out of SUNY Brooklyn to fh 15
work on a fishing boat, making abuela take care of Batman and his siblings even though she’s getting too old. And Batman would’ve been able to save his mom from the bullets in that alley three years ago instead of lying on the ground praying to a God that doesn’t care. I look again at the fisherman in the alley below me. His shoulders are bent. Abuela prays for him every night, and I pretend to also, but, you know, I haven’t prayed since the alley. A Bible verse is inked on his right forearm: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Two men emerge from the shadows behind him. One of those two men has a baseball bat that hasn’t hit any pitches in a while, and he chops the air with it. The other one pounces, and he punches the fisherman hard. I can’t call the police—Batman can’t trust the Gotham PD. Batman alone bears the cross of Gotham’s sins. And the fisherman goes down, so he begs God for help, but the smog’s too thick— God’s not picking up His phone. So, I straighten the cape, adjust the mask, and Batman answers the call. I fly down the 30 feet from the fire escape to the ground. SWOOSH! (A normal person couldn’t have made the jump, but I’m frickin’ Batman). The first guy rushes at me, but I know judo. POW! I punch him. Right in the gut. The second one lowers the bat and swings at me like it’s bottom-of-the-ninth bases loaded, and I’m a 90 mile-an-hour fastball. I go all kung fu on him. KATHUD! I throw him into a puddle. SPLASH! CLICK! The world goes quiet as the first one levels a gun at me. I freeze. The second one is still lying there, and but the fisherman is bleeding fierce, praying in a still small voice the Lord’s Prayer our father taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven / Hallowed be thy name Hi God, you up there? Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done / On earth as it is in heaven This is Your Plan? Pedro getting mugged in an alley? Give us this day our daily bread Abuela cooks all our food. Forgive us our trespasses / As we forgive those who trespass against us SMASH! I disarm the man with the gun and throw the gun away because Batman don’t use guns; Batman gets all up-close-and-personal-like with his mad krav maga skills. CRASH! I 360° roundhouse kick him. Right to the head. Lead us not into temptation / But deliver us from evil I’ll deliver some evil. THUD! I grab him by the throat with a single hand and lift him from the ground (Batman’s super strong, like Darth Vader-type strong). He squeals like a girl. I throw him fh 16
into the wall. He falls to the ground next to the other one. They hobble away from my totally menacing shadow, the shadow of Batman. Pedro crawls to our apartment building, bloody and beaten. I squeeze through the window between the fire escape and my room, I hop into bed, under the covers, undercover, lights off. With my super hearing, I hear Pedro walk through the door to our apartment, past abuela, who fell asleep waiting up for him. The sink turns on. He washes his face clean. He heads to my room the way he does every night to check if I’m asleep. I’m always awake, pretending to be asleep. I’m so good at pretending that nobody knows I’m really Batman. He opens the door and steps into my room, faking like he’s fine, but he’s not. “Tòmas, I need your help to carry abuela to bed,” he says. He’s never needed my help before. “Okay.” I rise from bed, still wearing my Batman pajamas that my mom got me. They’re too small now, but I wear them anyway. We walk over to abuela’s chair. “One. Two. Three,” says Pedro. We lift her chair and her together. We carry her chair to her bedroom. She wakes up part of the way through, and when she sees Pedro’s beaten face she gasps. “Dios mio! Not again.” “I’m alright, abuela. After all, ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,’” Pedro says, quoting scripture as always. We leave her room. “Thanks for your help,” Pedro says. I shrug. “I made you this today on the boat.” He offers me a small whittled wooden crucifix strung with cord. He winces as he outstretches his arms: he’s hurt from the fight. He pretends like it’s nothing, but I know that he’s suffering, that Batman didn’t save him, that I didn’t save him, cause Batman’s not real. But the cross I hold in my hands is. “We should get you some new PJ’s. Batman’s looking a little small for you,” he says. I put the crucifix on underneath my shirt. The warm wood of the cross rests on my chest, pulsing in time with the beat of my heart. I go back to my bed and lie on my back. I look up, through the ceiling, through the apartment above, through the roof, through even the foul smog blanketing this city, to the stars in heaven: tiny pinpricks of light on a jet-black canvas. I pray. fh 17
Photo | Saahil Sanaganeria
How To Stay Alive | Yoon Sung
march of the penguins
we were billowing, laughing in the godawful wind many-eyed giants towering above us hald-running through the cold tiny waves around us inching toward the fossils of abandoned bridges skeletal silhouettes, none of our concern. it was almost hard to breathe head-on in the bluster like that but we cackled in disbelief and at every shivering crosswalk your eyes peeking out from your bright blue hood met mine and sparkled in the glow of a Panera Bread, the streets near-abandoned, marching like penguins above the pulsing harbor.
later, your hand like an anchor on my shoulder, your nose in my ear, smiling about something we both felt. you said this feeling of being in our own world reminding you of that feeling when you fall alseep on the couch at a party surrounded and comforted by distant voices. I said me too. I heard soft rock music in my head and kissed you in the red light of what I thought was the Citgo sign. where are we marching on this arctic trek? somewhere warm, I guess but you slipped your hand in my pocket as we neared the station, and I, for one, started sweating. fh 18
And she gave me moonlit mornings In the dark of the noon, Champagne like the sun Through whispering elm Cool as the shadows of stars. I couldn’t match Her for Cups of tea in an oft-dreamt of Summer, pictured in a sunset that Lasted a lifetime as we Ran our fingers through sand. I couldn’t touch Her there, Not where he first held me, Not where the still waters reflected My memories and I waited endlessly For a bus to somewhere.
The moon rose while I Got drunk off honey-citrus wine Under laundry-line tapestry Until I saw You clearly. But by then the hour was changing The night was leaving The flowers were closing and soon She’d be a sunrise on Easter and I’d Be remembering that I once Believed in God.
Ode to an Orbit Abigail Raymond
I could only feel the pain in my Chest hunched over words that lost meaning. I could only taste the salt of a seaside memory Far beyond clarity’s gleaning. I could only fall prey to the circles of My thoughts, forever backwards-leaning Dragging me back And back And back As I sat crouched over a future Of unrequited questioning.
But I just lay before Her paralyzed By the paper mache of failure. I begin to decay, organically returning To the shade of a summer I can grasp only in lilac highways, Cathedral pines and piano keys. And so I ask her, What do you want from me? But the answer disperses Through deep-wooded forests And whiskey-warmed evenings. I become lost among orange peels, Tangled in Time’s heels, Captured by a new cologne. Soon I forget how the hours fall, Walking alone, Time keeping pace. I look at my face on the cars that pass and I forget Hers.
And she asks me, What do you want? Golden-rimmed from sunrise She stands before me while Midnight skips past, The room falling gray again. What do you want?
And years from now I’ll rise At a elm-wood table raising A glass of champagne Whispering of days wrinkled by Time, Staring at Her face And seeing it As mine. Meditation | Kiara Reagan
leave fh 21
traces. On my shoulders. On my temples. I clutch your chin in one hand; eel for my earrings.
Art | Emma Wallen
First Glimpse Of You At Stansted
I was raised to mop men’s messes; yours are made of mine. Sandals smack steps stop right at your nose – sun streaks hazel, milks it for affection. Shapes stay steady. Shadows slip to sway, to wail, to wait. I let your collar stay crooked. Gleaming, all of it, low-lit and honeyed-pure – you
A Selection of Comments Collected from ASMR Videos Paulina MacNeil MrEllsworthington: Do you think pets get asmr~? being pet must feel so nice! IhsanAgaz: everyone here commented about duration and every single comment are very funny, make me laugh at the same time im relax Cam Table4: Your nails are stronger than my will to live Meg2Ohhhh: I feel like smelling the book now Keegan Beyer2: Your videos are the best. The best part is not hearing you breathe. Too many asmr videos are ruined by peoples breathing sounds. Red_Dog18802: I demand more swoosh swoosh! Emma Talvalantti7: You have the best whisper and mouth sounds :) been here since the beginning Sofieâ€™s Stories: Hi! Im a random person! Londa Wilson: the sound of your exhale adds so much! Defias Ringleader: I canâ€™t wait until we have real AIs so computers can learn to reject me like real women Matkie: do suicide roleplay asmr pls Simon Haley: that pause before the technical made me cum
Want Too Much Too
Felix came to my apartment on the morning of the hurricane. He was wilting with sweat. It was late summer, and for a week a storm had worked its way up the Atlantic, missing Cuba and Florida before lashing Hatteras. It took aim at New England from a distance, like a boxer aiming a fatal right cross. “I have to go down to my parents place,” he told me when I opened my door. “Don’t they live up north, like near Worcester?” I asked, “also, long time no see.” “Yeah, it’s been a while, but I have to go to the old house.” There was a harsh silence and I decided to let him in. He was wearing a white shirt and light pants, and his chest heaved. I motioned for him to come in and gave him a glass of water. “What’s with the panting?” “I was down at the high school filling sandbags this morning.” “It’s only ten,” I said. “I got there at six,” he said, “couldn’t sleep, that ever happen to you?” “All the time,” I said, and paused, unsure what to say, “not so much since I moved back.” “How was Texas?” “There’s a reason I’m back in the north,” I said. I hadn’t left San Antonio so much as fled, chased out by heat, rent and failure. “Fair. There’s a reason I haven’t left Rhode Island.” “I’m sure it’s a good one,” I said, “I’m going to finish getting dressed, are you expecting me to drive down to the beach?” “Yes,” he said. I shrugged. I preferred to drive, it meant I didn’t have to hold up my end of the conversation. In truth, I was ashamed to be back, and I didn’t want to tell anyone I’d used to know about it. I dressed simply, linen pants, plain shirt, windbreaker for when the rain started. We drove down past the brick library, the white church, the glassy office buildings and the old gothic city hall. “Why are we going down to your parents’ house?” “I want to get some clothes and pictures I left there,” he said. “How long has it been?” “Don’t give me shit Katherine, I know it’s just a bike ride away, in some ways that makes it harder to reach.” “And books?” I asked, recalling the way his parents had lined the walls with old volumes, like they were trying to make up for the house’s relative lack of insulation. “They took most of those to Worcester.” One Day I’ll Be At Peace | Yoon Sung
“I wouldn’t know,” I said, “it’s been eight years and I still haven’t seen the new house.” “Four, four since I saw you,” he said, “there were the summers, when you weren’t in New York, when we were both here.” He looked like he was smiling, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it. “Not all of us had the luxury of working in local government for our internships,” I said. “Anyways,” Felix said, “I left my old camera and all those film canisters, my dad’s vinyl stuff, and a bunch of stuff I used to wear in college, and like some of my books and papers there.” “My car is not big,” I said. Out to sea I could see the first squalls coming. Low grey streaks left the marshes and the woods striped black with shade in places while the August sun painted them gold-green elsewhere. We reached the road that led down to one of the barrier islands west of town. Felix had lived there until we left town after high school. There was a state sign, saying the area was restricted, hung on one of those little wood barriers across the road. Felix got out and moved it aside, and I pulled past and then he set it back. We were good citizens. His house was down about a mile, across a stretch where the road was up on a little sandy embankment where high tide brought water to within a few steps of the asphalt. The marshes were already full up with the tide. As we neared the sea, the waves in the open stretches got higher. The house was large for a beach house, with blue-grey walls and a screened in porch in front and another upstairs, with a deck in back. I parked, got out, and wondered at the looseness of its construction. It on a tiny rise of land just above the marsh, with some piles underneath that kept the floors at freezing in the winter. “How’d you live here in like January?” “Wool socks, carpets, sweaters,” he said, “mostly I just got used to pain.” We went inside. The first front of clouds was passed overhead; I knew we wouldn’t see the sun for days. Most of the books were gone and there wasn’t any perishable food, but everything else was the same as it had been years ago, the chairs were light wicker with red cushions, the curtains white and blue. There were depth charts and maps of Sassanid Iran on the walls. In the kitchen, a stovetop coffee maker stood between the burners, with a shelf heavy with rice, sugar, coffee and salt high above it. I made coffee. Sweat soaked through my shirt, and the humidity made my breathing ragged. The heat besieged us.
continued online at futurehistoriesmag.org fh 24
Luminous Beings are We Miranda Feinberg
Photo | Saahil Sanaganeria
A blend of action and potential, of things done and never started, what weâ€™re working towards, devolving from. Stars are eternal, effulgent, effervescent, elegiac. They cut the sky, which bleeds in silver and dies in picturesque silence. Like tears, slicing, wounds delicately inlaid in the velvet sky; jewels, shining gently, menacingly. How can one be infinite and lethal, How can something be destroyed and at once built upon-life is death, life is light, and, unremitting we blend the two, the incessant and the mortal, cycling ever on.
The baking tree has tongues for sweeter ground, how sap is dried upon the bark in knots, I see the quiet sugars all around.
I see the quiet sugars all around, they peek like blooming flowers from dry pots, this blazing summer day is sunlight crowned.
These plum-pop purple grapes whose jam resounds cavort through rings of smoke like bulbous thoughts, our sugars sing in tandem all around. Guitar-plucked strings know how the world is round, and each delight of tanned and sweaty spots, our red cigar-smoke skin is summer crowned. The sticks are singing all among themselves, the air is thronged with combs of smell and taste and all is sweet for me; A crown of ivy weaves my curling hair. fh 26
Art | Dani Coates
A deeper voice and Dylan drive a sound to tell the heavy heart of wind is caught, our ashy summer sky is blue-breeze crowned.
i remember the birds most Alice Hickson
maybe you’re wondering if I remember the bluejays we’d watch from your window, the babies especially, their paper wings fluttering in the soft July breeze. if I remember the clouds of light blurring our bare toes in the soft mud, that lavender light, how we combed our own kingdom in the backwoods – the hum of car engines roared their ratchety chorus outside, plates smashed in the distance, but we heard only cicadas, singing to us prickling our eardrums. we threaded dandelions through our hair and stained our fingers with their jasmine residue. those nights we slept under the stars, when my shoulders burned from climbing trees and not my heart from the absence of the person I used to climb them with; of course a few blades of grass poked through our pajamas, the constellations felt so close then, blinking lights somehow gentle in their closeness, like falling asleep inside the city skyline at night. and yes, I remember the music – there was always music – you taught me to sing melodies, they brimmed broken from our mouths and I remember the way your father laughed at our songs and what I’m trying to say is I’m sorry, I remember; listen: I press my ear to the floorboards sometimes and ache for the music of our past, cries and laughter of lost times tangled into the most beautiful symphonies; the sound makes my heart fall open. the house where I live now is close to train tracks (it’s yellow, you’d like it) and sometimes at night passing trains shake my bed while I’m trying to sleep and so I lie there not sleeping and while I lie there I remember all of this – the bluejays, the light, your laughter, you. fh 27
Backyard | Yoon Sung
Translation: I love you-
grandmother forgives the pronunciation that lodges like chicken bone stuck in my throat. wishbone splinters scratch the sounds my esophagus attempts to make until they come out excoriated. caballo(horse), bondat(so stuffed you look like you have a food baby), sabog sabog(blast blast), init(cold), tubig(water), yoon(there), kumusta ka(how are you), gunda(beautiful), and mahal kita(I love you) are the only sounds my vocal cords can coarsely approximate. how does one say I love you when they do not have the words? how does one speak if they never learned the language? through greasy napkins from chicken adobo, capers stuck to teeth? embraces made awkward by bending a half-European height to a petite South Asian frame? through desperate attempts to say I love you when one cannot even spell I love you mahalkita? maholketa? mahalketa? maholkita? mahal kita? mohal keta? oily vinegar drips down the sides of my mouth as I look up from the meal’s steaming warmth. I catch her eye as she sits across the table, watching me and smiling like
and it’s really good grandma are enough to make her beam like the sun, eat eat! don’t let me distract you. yoon. she points with her lips until I come back to my plate. I savor the succulent meat and rice, the balm of love she cooked into it soothes my abraded throat, its flavor the one that leaves the strongest taste in my mouth. fh 28
Serenity | Megan Wei
this is the happiest she can be. oh do you like it honey? her tagalong accent rasps with the texture of old age. a simple nod, smile,
carp in the bathtub May Hong
my ayi goes to the qiao yi yuan wet market every day, humming. all the vendors have long-standing nicknames: a-mak, tooth-gap, checkers. the sound of her collapsible shopping cart jingling back home—god knows about those worn wheels. growing up i never wanted to go. in english school, i learned shopping was done in white shiny aisles, plastic sheens and plastic smiles with no eye contact. cold enough for a sweater even though it’s 35°c outside. i did not learn the slick floors, blood, trackeddirt and dialects. i did not know how to haggle for the best muddy bundle, or dried dong quai i did not like the sweat and smell of bodies, whole— never halved, drawn, or quartered or Saran’d—bodies brought home, breathing. fh 29
remembering her veiny and practiced hands placing choy sum, leeks, (no eggplants today) in the sink, letting the water run brown; letting the carp slip into the bathtub, where it would stay till a half hour prior to dinner, and no sooner. later my chopsticks would prick through soft flesh, and taste without consideration.
it is so cold here in boston.
at 6:30, on the dot, the carp is ready i lift the lid, and my eyes fill with steam.
Sleeves Dance | Irina Mengqi Wang
i had to leave home, in order to come home, didnâ€™t i, now i count the december kilometers home, all 12,712 of them, home
Clara Emilia took photographs because the world was ending. In this moment, that meant looking through her shitty broken phone screen at the Narragansett Bay and making a rhythm with its artificial shutter noise. Click – waves pound at the seawall, determined to eventually collapse it and with it this shitty tourist-trap restaurant and then this town. Click – the waves, displaced by the wall, instead rapidly erode the popular East Sheeport Beach. Click – changing seafloor topography forms larger waves, which overwhelm the sea wall. Click – Clara Emilia imagines she will live in a floating porta-potty and spends her days trying to keep her phone dry. It drove her a little crazy how ending it was, the world, and she couldn’t turn off the feeling so she tried to document it and compartmentalize it and make it into some sort of cool “”artistic vision”” rather than just accept that she’d trained her brain to look at the wrong shit. There was nothing quite quote-unquote “apocalyptic” going around, except maybe seagulls. How disappointed she’d been by the bible’s take on things. Armageddon happened much quicker there than it ought to, it had a start point and later an end point, and like, how different from life, you know? Here she was, Clara Emilia Elena Santos, a twenty year old girl, creating micro-fractures in her bones every time she jumped. Sometimes she would smile, or do that signature Clara Emilia eyebrow raise, and she could feel how badly her skin wanted to fold into that formation forever. Already she’d lost most of her tolerance for liquor – two years of sparse nights out and her body was already permanently incapable of recovering smoothly from a hangover. The world doesn’t end all at once, but it sure never takes a rest from it. There was this picture that Clara Emilia had taken back in Utah, more or less the first good picture she ever took, of a mountain. It was your standard Utah fair, a mingling of red rock and white rock and crumbling and scrappy plants. She had titled it “Titanic” and turned it in for a grade in high school. Mrs. Gilbert or whatever her name had been had praised the photo, saying that Clara Emilia’s use of perspective and dramatic shadow highlighted the ‘titanic’ size of the mountain and made the viewer feel small. Mrs. Gilbert, of course, was totally wrong. The piece was called titanic because you could see the layers of sediment that composed the rock face, and they were all tilted forty-five degrees like a sinking ship. The mountain, the biggest thing in a hundred miles, was stood like a dying thing on the flats. The mountain was some long-ago sea floor, Clara Emilia figured, but time had gutted all the fishes and paraded the carcass of the briny deep like an effigy. “Titanic” made her feel sick to her stomach. The whole American West did, really, with its rivers sawing canyons and its forest fires and its Vast Frontier where you could sit and watch the mountains buckle upwards, watch at night the galaxies fly by as we spin, spin toward no bottom. Here in Rhode Island, at least, the geology had the decency to hide under the vegetation and the Milky Way shyly nestled behind the light of Providence. Things would be over soon, and until then she could photograph these rocks crashing under the waves and hear her own shutter shudder and feel there was a rhythm under all this chaos that even still she could count on. It was a rhythm she created and a rhythm she hated but it was a rhythm, a rhythm, a rhythm, and Click – fh 31
तुम, सिगरेट और झुमका
आज बाज़ार का दिन था, सब यूहीं अपने घरों से बास्केट लेकर आये थे मै भी वहीं था, एक झुम्के पर मेरी नज़र अड़ गयी थी, और वो उसने पहन रखा था, वो जहाँ जहाँ जाये, मै तितली बनकर उसके पीछे पीछे उड़ता रहा, वो एक कोने मे जाकर रुकी, पॉकेट से सिगरेट का डब्बा निकाला, माचिस के लिए वो पल्टी, “ है क्या ? “ उसने मुझ्से पूछा, मैं आगे बढ़ा और उसके झुम्के को निहारते हुए माचिस आगे करी, सिगरेट फूकते हुए ऐसा लग रहा था की वो कोई बात है जिसे जला रही है, कोई किस्सा है जिसे राख समझ गिरा रही है, वो एक सिगरेट खत्म हो गया, मुझे लगा हमारा पल बस यही तक था वो साथ बस यही तक था मैनें दुसरा सिगरेट आगे बढ़ा दिया, लेकिन उस्ने माचिस लौटा दी, मैनें भी सिगरेट को वापिस पॉकेट मे रख लिया, हम दोनो ने कुछ चंद एक दुसरे को ताका, मै इस बार उसके आखों से बहते काजल को देखा, कोई तो अधूरी कहानी थी इस बाज़ार की, जो उसके झुम्के गा रहे थे, मै अपनी सोच की गहरायी से निकला और देखा की वो जा चुकी थी, सामने रखी टेबल पर, कॉफ़ी के साथ अपना एक झुम्क छोड़ गयी, साथ एक नोट भी था, “ हर झुम्के की अपनी कहानी है, एक कहानी तुम रखो, और एक मै “
Straw Baby | Kiara Reagan
into a ghost town. I sorted through hundreds and hundreds of photos of what Mother Road used to be, the Mother Road you picture, with charming motel neon and the worldâ€™s largest hot dog stands and diners on rollerblades, souvenir shops and the Blue Whale of Catoosa, when she was still dripping wet, before her diving boards led to nowhere. Mother Road was already born when America was born, and so America thought she would always be there. In the attic there is a box and it is brimming with old photos of Mother Road. They are taken in a hotel and she is wearing lingerie. There is a whole roll of these. I looked through them all. She was so pretty so pretty I wanted to look like that. I didnâ€™t know what to do with them. I could not keep them think of what that would look like! I could not give them to America. I could have snuck them in one of the boxes I made for Father Road fh 33
After Mother Road Died
Mother Road reared me, was a part of me, taught me to point the sucked thumb in my mouth West. After Mother Road died, I had to clean our house
who had almost certainly taken them in the first place then paved her and I could have acted like I didn’t know they were there. It would’ve been simple except Mother Road had written on the VCR tape of their wedding day “the worst day of my life!” and I realized there were some secrets that needed to be kept from the family. You can still retrace Mother Road even though in many ways she is gone. For eight states it is a ghost town, but feels like a beating pulse. I retrace Mother Road all the time, with varied success. I wear lingerie in motels and diners and the world’s largest hot dog stands. I wear lingerie and eat hot dogs at the Blue Whale of Catoosa, who is very, very dry and I jump off a diving board and end up nowhere at all, buried in dust. I hope I am being a woman correctly. Mother Road taught me how, by example, and in those photos I just feel like I am looking at a part
from something like this? How do you keep her alive in you? How do you stay alive with so much of what you are gone? America doesn’t know any better than I do. My voice is crumbling and floating up to her bottom. She says I should keep the pictures, hide them away somewhere. You could have a wedding day, she suggests. So I marry America and we both cry over Mother Road the whole ceremony. We eat the world’s largest hot dogs and wedding cake. I take America back to a hotel and dress her in lingerie and snap photos. Somebody might want these when you die, I tell her. This is the worst day of my life! she says. I say, me too. fh 34
Fireworks | Hannah Yin
of myself I have lost. America, I whisper through my moonroof, dipping my car into the milk of the curve of her cliff, America, how do we move on
i think birds are real
I remember when I was three years old and I was walking home from a friend’s house and I saw a bird in the road and I saw that bird get runover by a car. It made a huge popping noise. It echoed for a while. You can sorta feel that kind of pop. It’s a raindrop in a bucket a coin falling on a marble floor in an empty room. That’s the pop a bird makes. I think birds are real because I felt free after that.
i think birds are real Jared Rosen
I think birds are real I remember when I was three years old and I was walking home from a friend’s house and I saw a bird in the road and I saw that bird get runover by a car. It made a huge popping noise. It echoed for a while. You can sorta feel that kind of pop. It’s a raindrop in a bucket a coin falling on a marble floor in an empty room. That’s the pop a bird makes. I think birds are real because I felt free after that. Turtles | Kiara Reagan
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