Letter from the Co-Chairs: Dear Readers, Welcome to the spring 2021 issue! Covid has stretched out longer than any of us would have ever thought this time last year. In the haste of having to pack everything in a week and participate in the Great College Migration of March 2020, we were unable to finish our spring 2020 issue and are excited to share our first spring issue since 2019. In these goddamn trying times, we’ve done what people everywhere have done for centuries-- looked to the artists and writers for support and inspiration. Taking solace in the feeling that we’re not alone in our difficulties, we have been given a pause in our fast-paced lives to rediscover what is important to us when everything else feels uncertain. For many in the Tufts community, whether on campus or at home, creative endeavors have been a way to make sense of the chaos around us. Through two LONG full semesters during Covid, Future Histories has given us something to work towards, and we looked forward to creating something meaningful as a keepsake for our trials and tribulations. We are so proud to continue to showcase the talents and hard work of all of the Tufts community. We offer a space for folks to bring what they’re passionate about to a table that extends an invitation to all, especially those who have been excluded from the Western literary canon. We can’t wait to hear about what y’all want to show us in the future! With love, Dana and Nuha FH Co-Chairs
Future Histories Team
Dana Flynn Co-Chair
Juli Lin Writer Liason
Nuha Shaikh Co-Chair
Alex Eliasen Head of Design Head of Publicity
Moumina Khan Copy Editor Tiffany Xie Treasurer
Emma Stout Arts Editor
Matthew McGovern Online Editor Copy Editor
Design Team: Melanie Litwin Madison Red Lauren Fischer
Content Review Team: Sarah Goldstein Meghan Davis Ivy Aukin Sarah Hakimjee Abigail Stern Margot Durfee
Mercury’s Emperor by James Himberger Stardust Soul by Meghan Davis The Garden Your Grew For Me by Jonathon Ramirez I Imagine Carrying a Child by Ivy Lockhart Lemons by Jordan Rosenberg To the government (or whoever masterbates to my mail) by Anonymous i am by Sarrah Hakimjee don’t say ocean, say unending blue by Alice Hickson Dear Vera by Matthew McGovern Postoutbreak Confession, Janruary 2020 by Blane Zhu Night Light by Casey Weaver Manifesto Destiny by Ivy Lockhart skinny hurts (sometimes) by Anonymous
06 08 09 10
Ruins Outside Hamburg by Alex Eliasen 两半的我 by Alex Eliasen
12 13 心腹事 15 16
by Nuha Shaikh
Breaching by Emma Stout
17 18 20 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 32 34 36 38 39 40 41 43
Mei Lin by Margot Durfee Communion of a Coconut by Emma Stout Devonian by Kyle Burton How to Deprogram a Person by Emma Stout weaver’s nightmare by Megan Amero Lying Crooked on the Bed by Jess Kamin thoughts of a cockroach by Jess Kamin Gizmo by Matthew McGovern
dead fish by AJ Auston
Featured Artists: Isabel Fernandez Juli Lin Dana Flynn Kyle Burton Angela Wei Deena Bhanarai Irina Mengqi Wang Davis Kurepa-Peers
Before him a desert Crowned in glass Scratching its life From the dim beams Of the Pleiades. Of what little comes Much is made of it. The precipice beckons. New modes and disorders He contemplates. A stone’s throw Will break the feet of clay And fell the colossus Constructed against itself. Behind the portico Statesmen sigh, perplexed. Sprawled on the arms of clocks. When all veils are lifted There is little that can be done. Amid the shattering glass, He smiles at the forms and shapes That dance upon the hurtling shards, Like a sunset fragmented Across the horizon. For a moment, Arches, spires, columns Arrange themselves At speeds unholy By arts unknown. Kingdoms of the elsewhere, Unimagined republics, Crackling with strife, Living and dying all at once.
by James Himberger
But within this swirling basin, No great chain reanimates Of bodies corporate, Glinting with incarnate crowns. Their pastures do not throng into Heaven. Nor do their phantasms stream into stone. No, the vaults of those solemn architects Do not mingle with the stars. And yet, a far off country can be seen In hazy outlines of possibility. Memories of a future lost, Their fragments recovered only In cracks and hisses Between transmissions: “I will come. But not yet.”
Instead, powers undreamt of fill the air. Managers of the sovereign void, Mark divisions over the globe Dripping circuits of gleaming slime. Pulsating, but not breathing, They restrain vast winds and waters, With grim institutes, Bringing forth a new desert Its vitreous diadem restored. All that was before, And all that comes after Are useless to him. His life is spent In those moments of collapse. Each one a private Valhalla Every shard enshrined. And the hoary gods lead him Up avenues, through gardens, In the dying light, To take his place Among the statuary In the final alcove.
photo | Isabel Fernandez
art |Dana Flynn
Ruin Outside of Hamburg by Alex Eliasen
Starlit open sky Moss mounts brick, producing dust Bones brittle and damp Cycles of the wind Holes remain, worms soldier on Once lofted wood hangs Structurally sound Moonlight peers onto the soil, All that has endured
by Meghan Davis
Hovering nearer time and again Iced planets spiraling around each other rotating about separate axes Steady gazes remaining tethered peripheral to the parallel trajectory carved out beside them An alluring, inconceivable glimpse spurs ceremonious slowing of elliptic orbits Reversing direction, beginning to align Timidly drawing warmer Until gravity overwhelms hesitation and celestial bodies collide in an earth-shattering explosion Sending shockwaves across silent plains Melded afterglow burning up remnants of endured solitude Piercing once empty darkness with freckled light
art |Dana Flynn
两半的我 by Alex Eliasen
我的脑子是酸辣汤 白天造成了住在嘴里的粉糖 我一嚼二嚼还吞不下 试吐出无吃的甜食 Two Halves of Me (English Translation) 我不禁一愣 怎么回事 My brain is hot and sour soup 睡甜美觉 Daytime creates pink sweetness
That lives in my mouth I gnaw and gnaw, but cannot swallow 眯着眼睛 When I try to spit out the unchewable candy I can’t help but freeze 头里战争的开幕式 What can I do? 引起大火和闪光灯 Fall into a slumber
地越来热，脚烧伤 Close my eyes 在肚子里玩儿的辣椒 让我肚皮成了煮锅 The war in my head’s opening ceremony 我以为我会去世 Creates fire and flashing lights The floor ignites, feet begin burning 不过我心已烧死了 我慢慢地愈合 但我嘴还嚼 脚还烧 就灰没心
Chilis play inside my stomach They force my skin to boil I think I’ll die But my heart has already burned to death I slowly heal But still chew My feet still burn No heart, just dust
art | Angela Wei
art | Imaya Jeffries
the garden you grew for me by Jonathan Ramirez
photo | Angela Wei
i swore we would never fall out of love. saturdays, when we wrapped ourselves in conversations about our future, were only a reminder of how lucky we were to have found each other. we became what we needed, until we didn’t. summer skies found their way into your house, and we were left with rain, texas heat, and many regrets. nothing turned out the way we wanted it to. we imagined different blue skies…
but i remember during lunch hour, when we danced to the rumours and blamed others for our actions, the garden you grew for me, roses blooming all year long. we watched it flourish, unaware of the clouds roaring across the sky, watering our roots, feeding our growth, leading us to separate directions… but i promise, i will always hold my hands out for the roses you throw at me. to catch the petals. to forget the bitter. for the mistakes that were made in the name of rage, and the tender moments we let fade away. all that we needed was each other, until we didn’t. and now we stand on our own, in different corners of the world ready to explore conversations we couldn’t afford.
心腹事 by Nuha Shaikh 啊我暝目的好鸟 我送给你明宝玉以前黄金 而发白以前心爱的银 这语言是你不会知道的事儿 我一定认识你这样， 但想给你任何东西 补救我 陌生的字 退出来口里 啊学像我心 如果你敢于，把我遗弃在后面 又看又欲你的羽
Secret Heart (English Translation)
o my dark-eyed bird i give you once shiny treasures of faded gold and tarnished, twice loved silver 珍珠跟我一起，夜间是短语
旁边是你星罗棋布 我的名字暗暗地 让你总是回来 啊你的忧郁的心灵 我的永远的同伴 栖息等到粼粼光
this act is a language you won’t understand and i know this, but i would give you anything to make up for the unfamiliar words pushing their way out of your mouth o mimic mind leave me behind if you must i will watch your wings, longing the night is short with the company of a pearl next to your scattered stars in the sky my name in secret for you to always find your way back to o your melancholy spirit my eternal companion settle with me in the shimmering light
photo |Isabel Fernandez
art |Imay a Jeffries
v by I
And in my imagination I’m very slim except for my stomach bloated with a wee parasite kicking and stretching somebody new softer my spine will have curled the fat that perks my cheeks will drop sag and crease.
I remember once a softish-nipply blobbish person caring for me with big-salty-fat juicy-yummy tears rumbling to my open baiting tongue liiiiike mmmhmm delicious swaddled in a big-black blanket secure-unconditional ease limbs tied down and I liiiiiiiiike it I am nothing and teeny-tiny and itty-bitty and pretty my imaginary feet are in my imaginary mouth they are mmmmmmm ooooOOOoo delicious!
You tell me (with some small triumph) I’ll be sort of ugly then Since I won’t have moisturized (like you tell me to) I refuse to eat my vegetables too, the greens and roots you like I refuse to take my vitamins, I refuse to maintain my figure. I won’t hydrate I’ll take up cigarettes.
I IMAGINE ING Y R CAR A CHILD
Cup your ears to listen to the blackish blue – the in, out the echoing crack of knuckles
Breaching by Emma Stout
Do three whole rotations beneath the surface, under the wavering white because you can’t seem to grasp Her cord because the sun circles as you spin in tandem with this Earth It’s nearly time, but you don’t know that, so you ask to the blackish blue: If the only walls to this womb are continents, does that make me an orphan? before Her cord detaches before the last breathe ascends into the gyrating white You allow yourself one more rotation The amniotic currents of this Earth can’t mother two The choice is not yours to make For sinking will not feed the sediment and the womb you’ve convinced yourself you belong in you made as a home Is not yours to heal. And as you’ve been spinning in the unrelenting blackish blue, She has sighed and returned to her morning paper. And as you’ve been spinning, She has blown craters into the foam of her coffee. And, in doing so, has pushed you to the bottom and drowned you in Her undulating oceans. art | Dana Flynn
by Jordan Rosenberg
I like the way he cuts lemons. He does it the long way, vertically, delicately, cradling the fruit in his fingertips as he places his weapon. I watch him do it, an arm dangled over the back of my chair. His knife, my knife (as we are in my kitchen) struggles for a moment at the lemon’s thick peel. Bracing himself, he thrusts inward, piercing the skin and then he’s gliding through. The pulp and flesh splatter and the lemon concedes, falling open in two on the countertop. It’s clever, I think, that he cuts it like that. Vertically, to make wedges, so it’s easier to squeeze, he says. Easier to bleed the citrus into tonight’s cocktails or pasta this way. epilogue: he squeezes lemons into my mouth i am laying on the ground, hands bound, and he squeezes lemons into my mouth the juices splash and i catch droplets on my tongue they burn and warm my body as he drops fire inside me
an excerpt from:
by Margot Durfee
Mei-Lin has lived in Beijing her whole life. she has walked past the same buildings and people everyday after school since she was little. and yet, when she passes by the children chasing one another, the elderly women peeling vegetables on their doorsteps, the men smoking and drinking tea and playing chess, when she smiles at them, all she receives are blank stares. she feels isolated, invisible, as if she is on one side of a tinted window and the rest of the world is on the other. she has been alive long enough, and experienced enough, to know that she doesn’t fit in, especially in a country as racially homogenous as China, where her biracial-ass sticks out starkly her chestnut hair and hazel eyes a constant reminder that she isn’t “one of them,” even though she has similar features: a rounded, flatter nose; almond-shaped eyes; straight, thick hair.
photo | Juli Lin
she identifies as a (mixed) Chinese person. she celebrates the Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn festival with her family, she is near fluent in Mandarin, but still Chinese students in her classes mock her pronunciation, even converse in front of her as if she cannot understand restaurant waiters automatically hand her a fork, give her an English menu recommend westernized dishes, one day, after a birthday party her friends decided to do an “Asian-only” photo and they asked her to take the photo off she goes again chasing a receding current so close yet forever out of reach she is confused when her very culture and city she calls home do not seem to want her as if she is pretending to be something she is not as if there is another life she should live, that she belongs in except there isn’t she feels stranded like she’s jumped on a boat and only too late has she realized everyone around her is on another find the full piece at futurehistoriesmag.org
TO THE GOVERNMENT (or whoever else masturbates to my mail) by Anonymous
Words are omnipresent, they are dictators of a population. The Mandate of Heaven, Constitution, Communist Manifesto, Magna Carta have provided a historical lineage of political leaders owning the spirit of the masses. Doomsday preachers on Houston, children in the rural villages of Yunnan, even the great grandchildren of John F Kennedy all recite the prayers of such statuesque and now nameless leaders (do you know who drafted the Treaty of Westphalia?). I, for one, admit I have remained trapped in this genealogy. In fact, a portrait of George Washington officiated my marriage, he watched me sign off on the government’s possession of our every thought. Now I insist on enacting my revenge. Here are my demands: 1. Fuck me Fuck me every singe day, even when I’m crying Especially when I’m crying. Use my tears as lube and fuck me until I start crying again 2. Chant my name, the name of my hermit crab, street name, grandfather, middle school science teacher whose toad like eyes remain repressed in my vision Chant like you believe that Franco existed outside of the Iberian Chant until the words you shriek are a generation’s doctrine Chant until each little red book is worshipped in chapels, mosques, schoolyards Chant until declarations outlive the image, until Mao is not just an Andy Warhol portrait But a secular god Chant until Mount Rushmore is Olympus Chant until your esophagus fractures, collapses Chant until it’s just sounds, a yodel through your teeth Chant until even Roosevelt gets hard
art | Imaya Jeffries
3. I want my face to smash into all open doors, shins bruised battered, A/C units Plummeting from your open windows Keep them open Wide enough to free each syllable Sentences mean nothing Unless they’re open Open high enough Open low enough To where my blood and the words commingle Form an unmovable mass that keeps the doors open 4. Clean your hands before you touch me Please God Not with Mississippi tap, No holy water No mountain, snow, valley, river, glacier, sleet, rain, acid Cleanse your hands with the creek water By our house
And If the water runs dry Wade in the dirt Wait until the creek flows Sit in the stars Expect the creek to flow it always does Rub your hands until they’re raw Only then can you touch my skin, hair, toes I want you to steal my words with your pristine hands Translate your touch into writing Into a notarized pledge Feel my theories Letting only creek water drop on my brow Letting only the flow of each sediment build upon my mantras 5. Read my thoughts Repeat biased opinions back at me Back to back Create a dictionary of my images Speak my transgressions Regardless of my apologies Wait for the moment Wait for the anxiety before our first kiss Wait for me to blackout, unfettered and filled with a Stalinist rage Wait until I’m so emotionally exhausted from carrying the limp body of my desire that I can hardly rise Then pounce on my words Vomit these phrases back onto my shoulder, pour units of language down my tank top Fill my boxers Briefly With the constitutional doctrine of my love for you
6. Marry my tongue, feel the saliva Drip down your throat Think of it when you’re showering When your fingers Have touched what I own Rather What my words own And When you start cumming in the shower Think of your vow The transcendent paper certificate Your commitment to my legalistic possession of you What is our love without a judicial signature Without a vocal claim, our relationship is merely a transition phase A waiting game Where this social contract Is purely carnal So when the cum starts dripping down your leg in our shower Don’t think of my face, not the minute details of my hip bones Revive the promises Wordy affirmations of power Remember the documentation trapped in the fourth floor of city hall The verbal agreement I’ve shoved down your throat each night since Retain that spit for it is no longer mine 7. Kill me when it’s time Publish my diaries for I want to live forever
Is this not how you expected me to build a nation? A family only exists with demands Words piling on each other Fulfilling the primal urge to exist infinitely When you meet my demands I no longer exist Just words But my words are what’s always been Where would Russia have been without Lenin Yet There was no Lenin Simply words Sufficient to rally a population Peace, land, and the orgasmic desire to remain submissive The toe-curling, eye-rolling, leg-shaking gratification for oppressive language Terror and words are codependent If no-one died this wouldn’t exist And so I demand you to follow them But do you really have a choice?
C o m m u n i o n
by Emma Stout You think that knowing the velocity of the earth will stop it from spinning.
C T o h c e o n u t
photo | Isabel Fernandez
And so, you write the formula in your head While hacking at the edges While watching their heads lift back a little too far You hack and you hack until the knife is slippery with juice Until even Orion notices you’re not hacking To find the center To release the pressure They stop laughing when the spritz erupts In a stunned silence, they ignore the carnage The bloodied skin. They lift their arms in unison Welcoming the mortal mess of earth into their slow embrace The bloodied skin Communion of the Coconut fh 24
by Sarrah Hakimjee
Moonlight on a stormy night/ My mother’s hushed prayers at the brink of dawn/ shoulders colored with hope/ eyes drowned in oceans of tears/ my sister’s alter ego/ A home to mother-tongues, the ones that began in India and found themselves in East Africa/ Blossoming frangipanis/ the essence of curiosity/ A novelty to the idea of feeling/ oceans apart from my lover/ a heart mender/ an ambassador for faith/ my father’s dreams incarnate/ the liquid that drips out of the fractured moon/ amber hues in autumn/ sunflowers smiling at the sun/ a blooming forest fire/ fire. I am a beating heart. My name is سارة
photo | Irina Mengqi Wang
Begin the deep dig: I knew you In the dark. I knew you hard. I knew you wingless and submerged, Devonian, In the great sea.
Devonian The Sting Ray by Kyle Burton
You knew me willful and callous till We dulled our teeth on each other, We kneaded each other soft. You knew me Always with my eyes up, Looking past your face. The sun through the surface Looked warm and felt cold. It was all I had known. I marched you to The horizon, the coast, and I Made the trade for you. A new world, bright and dry, for you. You stayed behind.
art | Deena Bhanarai
Have I been eons looking in? You Have wings now, a spine. You fly Up to the surface, take the sun But never pass through. I’m dry but I’m numb. And the shale comes down. I’m sun hardened clay That won’t mold. I’m bloody, Blunting my feet back to fins. And I’ve been eons looking in.
donst’ayoceans,ayunendingblue byAliceHickson puddles break into streams forging their path down the driveway and absence bores through me we lie in mid morning twilight snowflakes jump from the windowsill to the rooftop and I beg you don’t say absence say abyss it’s not a hole it’s a valley for empty words to echo off and my fingers are blistered from carrying these memories and running across the faded fissures of a map measuring the distance between us what we say and what we mean don’t say it gets easier say you will participate in the slow and painful process of forgetting that maybe letting go is not dissimilar to pulling splinters from skin
photo | Isabel Fernandez
Sometimes I want to have three kids but then I remember that Global Warming is a thing. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to do cocaine but then I remember that my nose has faced enough from 19 years of seasonal allergies. Sometimes I peel almost, just almost, the entire orange in one strip. Sometimes I consider buying a ticket to Coachella but then I realize that I don’t have an outfit. Sometimes I still think about that night in the stairwell.
Up here is fine. No,up here. Sometimes I try to elaborate on the quesadilla. The quesadilla. Sometimes I try to come up with a cool name for a company. Sometimes something like “Gelzor” or “Malitite” but all I can think of is the word “Pastrami”. Sometimes I try so hard to describe what’s in front of me but then I just end up writing a list of what is in my pocket. Sometimes I wonder how it took people so long to invent the wheel. Sometimes I can hear the door closing.
I said no, thank you. Sometimes, but not all the time,
I drink cow milk when no one is watching. Sometimes I think I’m going to vomit if I see the word “Minimalism” one more time. Sometimes, in bed, I close my eyes and clench my teeth together because it takes me back to falling asleep with my braces on. Sometimes I remember the voices in the hallway.
Sometimes I question if my parents really did know that I would like brussel sprouts when I grew up. Sometimes I worry that I’m the type of girl whose favorite color is mustard yellow. Sometimes I still picture the railing.
Juli art |
Dig through the water.
Sometimes I tilt my head, trying to find the exact point where the horizon meets the windowsill. Sometimes I know I was in the wrong.
It’s okay, I forgive you. I forgive you.
How to Deprogram A Person by Emma Stout
by Matthew McGovern Dear Vera, How long it took I do not know, but over the hills and through the woods my letter found its way. I’ll write to you until we’ve chopped down all the trees and left none for paper. Until each and every last wellspring – of ink, oil and inclination – has dried. Until the USPS goes bankrupt and carrier pigeons have gone extinct. Until carpal tunnel wrenches my wrists and there are no more ways for my words to get through. Having said that, I’ll neither email nor instant message – direct, indirect or otherwise – I’m categorically opposed. You see, despite my zeal, I’m afraid you will read me right off the bat, and leave me as such, merely ‘read’, crossed off a to-do list or, worse yet, lost in the ether. Web worldwide and images moving, I want to be more than a figment or pixel. Digitized words are a distraction like a fruit fly or gnat, batted away, a bright screen piquing from which you turn. Instead, please stop for a moment, hold the envelope scuffed and traveled, before opening with a penknife or peel and tear in. I hope you can acquaint yourself with my odd lettering that weaves and bobs and abbreviates, thoughts which wind across the page and escape their given partitions. I aim to be legible in the full sense of the word, but what’s the harm if you have to squint and decipher, hold up the letter to your eyes? I invite you close! May there be no gulf between these words and what reaches you. Two stamps and a kiss, I send my words. Be in good health and high spirits, we’ll see each other again and I require no reply, foremost I want to be read true. Namely, by you. Yours, Earnest
art | Kyle Burton
i heard you on the phone the other night, whispering words i used to dream of, held close to my chest like the promise of spring, your voice cutting through the static slicing my nebulous mind into ribbons with the cold steel of certainty. i want you. imagination made load-bearing, substance inspires far more terror than the airy wisps of thought i spin into a tapestry of my own design. life’s patterns do not mirror my own mental loom, and i’ve discovered i don’t much like to relinquish my hold on arachne’s talents. i am terrified that i might one day consent to have my heart scooped out, to be held all in one hand, to have my blood read for filth. or, worse yet— that i might turn myself bare, and that you might find the calligraphy of my veins to be utterly incomprehensible.
art | Dana Flynn
weaven rs’g i htmare
“Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?” As I write this, entire cities in China are in lockdown. People are trapped and unable to reunite with their parents. Schools close. Markets close. Trains stop. Airplanes stored away. Only things that are open: Hospitals. The constant flow of information between face masks. My mouth. Mother’s words Strike me like a gong: “Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?”
I don’t know why. I don’t know how she managed to send this email, Or why she needed to feel A connection that couldn’t Last for longer than a “Are you ok” Or “I’m just fine”. I could just show her my face, Or I could hide Until tomorrow, When she stops thinking about me. “Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?” I read the news again. Spreads to North America. Thailand. Britain. Australia. Death toll confirmed. Authorities will “try their hardest” to respond. Death toll rises. First death confirmed in Beijing. My home city. “Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?”
Post-outbreak confessional, January 27th, 2020 fh 32
by Blane Zhu I don’t know What my parents are up to, Where my relatives have traveled. I don’t know if they made Jiaozi. (They usually stuff a coin in one of them for good luck.) I can’t see what they are seeing On their screens, In front of their eyes. I am just an icon, a little red dot. Meanwhile I turn to my calendar, Refill my deadlines & due dates, And hope that from now until February 15th I won’t receive another message that says: “Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?” I’m afraid I cannot answer. I don’t know the answer. But I should apologize. I know I should. The average time of my weekly video calls Stands at about 30 minutes. More than enough time to say hello, To say I feel warm because of you, To say I care about you, To say anything... “Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family?”
But I didn’t. I didn’t call last weekend. Didn’t know what I was up to Besides being who I thought I should be. Didn’t feel. Didn’t read the news. I tucked myself into a cloud Until the arrow Breaking in from the other side Bearing the news Shot me down in list format:
1. What are you up to in your college pro cess? Why don’t you tell us? Are we not supposed to care about your future? 2. It is SPRING FESTIVAL. Why are you not reaching out to relatives? 3. The coronavirus outbreak here is affect ing everyone, yet we have not heard a single word of concern from you to your relatives. Do they have a place in your heart?
Do You Have a Home? Do You Feel Warmth? Do You Know How To Care For Your Family? photo | Isabel Fernandez
art | Davis Kurepa-Peers
Lying Crooked on the Bed by Jess Kamin fh 34
Bitterly, lying crooked on the bed I could kill a man by taking his sweet face in my hands and snapping his neck upwards, I could kill a man while he’s on top of me, out of fear and insecurity, Or watch him kiss my neck, wonder when the right time is for me to reach my hand down, fumble with the zipper Now, or maybe now, or maybe… Lonely on a Saturday, lying still on the floor Exhausting every weekend plan until they’re all faded and bubbling, ripping pathetically from the center outwards. Dream so intensely there is no escape; in fact, never have a dream again, Only sleep and its continuation, so murky pink, so unable to make split second decisions, So worried about the dictionary and all of its contents… Now. Definitely now. Thinking in systems: the flu shot enters my bloodstream and spoils me rotten; the trash piles up for days and days until all there is left to do is throw it away; lose your earphones, release your earthly possessions, find them in the bed, rinse, repeat; communicate through noise and distraction, distract yourself with rambling thoughts of continuity and fried rice. Now, I tape these fleeting things to the wall, first slowly then all at once. This is all of it.
an exerpt from:
Nightlight by Casey Weaver
OLIVIA: 18, she/they, Chinese-American, founder of GSA at their middle school, total flirt, has flouncy hair barely contained by little clips at the crown of her head INEZ: 18, she/her, second generation Venezuelan-American, goofy, nerdy, often overthinking, oldest sibling in busy house with cousins and grandparents
Setting: a cool Saturday night in July at an intimate concert venue. At rise, Olivia and Inez are on their second date. OLIVIA: It sounds like a lullaby.
Inez hums along lightly.
OLIVIA (cont.): It’s just like something my mom used to sing. Did your parents ever sing to you? Inez thinks for a minute. INEZ: Not too much. We read a lot of books at night. Old stuff from when my dad was a kid that bored me to sleep. But I always woke up the second he left my room. The stairs would creak. Beat. INEZ (cont.): I guess it was sort of like singing, hearing him read. What songs did your mom sing? OLIVIA: Everything, it seemed. It always felt the same, though.
Olivia takes a moment, lost in memory.
OLIVIA (cont.): She would sit at the edge of my bed and sing as I fell asleep, and then she’d sing in the doorway, and then she’d keep singing as she walked down the hall just to make sure I didn’t wake up. I never really wanted to go to sleep, though. I could’ve listened to her singing forever. Olivia and Inez each close their eyes. OLIVIA: It’s like I’m six years old again. INEZ: I can hear the stairs creak. The music slows. Inez and Olivia take a few beats to close the gap between them. Upper arms pressed together, they find each other. Softly, silently, they hold hands.
find the full piece at futurehistoriesmag.org
art | Deena Bhanarai
thoughts of a cockroach by Megan Amero
how easily i seem to let myself harden in the mold of an alien existence, not a drop seeping through the cracks in the fight to forget this wasn’t always normal. i was often told, in between memories of childhood ease and clarity, that if the world managed to end, one might still find cockroaches crawling among a landscape of twisted iron and rusted skeletons and stagnant pools of toxic water. though i have the utmost faith in their thick little shells, i wonder if we are selling our hard heads short. after all, each day i pour myself out, carbon copies in the cast again and again— steadfastly ignoring the million little ways the world has already ended.
photo | Isabel Fernandez fh 38
by Ivy Aukin
Who can save america? Wiley peyote cowboy of my fevers and my sugar highs! Sexy and brooding, Conquering, cattle herding to the reaches of the sunny land Wanderlust! Wander less. Rootless! Never finding that roadside diner and diet soda and pretty waitress and farmers daughter and chieftains daughter and brothel mother. Lonesome! Oh so very lonesome! Lone wolves on such pure and virginal land Evolve with us! Rats of the fake philosophizing, bourgeoisifying, mystical herd. Don’t get left behind. Oh cowboy! Save us from ourselves! Save us from sin and bank tellers, the drink and the darkness of night. Gold rush, maidens’ cheeks flush with you! Power rush! Oh trusty steed! Oh reliable tale! Bareback tissue treads thin. I love you america! america you cowboy! You wonderful thing! You bucking and brazen, you fucking and razed, You owning and wielding. I love you, america, I love you! Your flask, your rifle—you playing the hero! It’s all for you? Every last scrap of corn? and hair? and sugar? Every last scrap!
Gizmo by Matthew McGovern
hooks and lures, too. He’s got a fat swagging walk which is asking how ‘bout you?
I in my reclaimed canoe watch the man prepare to fish. I’d be remiss not to mention he looks and fidgets like Elmer Fudd Wearing a ruddy red sweat, bumbling beside his Toyota Tundra, brimming with every which implement foremost among which is his mechanical winch He lowers the two-oared rowboat saves himself excessive strain, and he cannot contain a wry smile aimed at me seated low on a lichened stump He returns to his trunk to extract a tacklebox of plexiglass, opaque so I can see it’s complete with line and flies and pliers, weighted irons
photo | Isabel Fernandez
Loading it all smartly in his personal craft rounded like his belly the worry and chagrin of his Mrs., who tells him go and row it off up at Worden’s pond as if it could be rubbed away with ease like with sandpaper and some elbow grease Then, at long last, the dinghy is packed when he goes to make one last pass in the Tundra’s cab, he emerges, and in his grasp a neat little motor with which he putters off, out onto the pond
Maybe we have already passed the epoch of the body as an attribute, and maybe I’m just wasting time to lament the passing of time, but —
#8. I get scared by massive figures in the gym. They may be able to swallow me whole and make a shadow of my existence.
#1. My arms only fill up one half of the sleeves on my T-shirt. I yearn for three quarters.
#9. When I choose to be a nocturnal animal, my skin deflates like a balloon in the morning. All my T-shirts run big.
#2. I wish to use the fat on my legs to dress my shoulders.
#10. The mirror reminds me to check my shoulders before stepping into the shower. I do push-ups before leaving the room.
#3. Imagine football padding on a skeleton. Comic and unattractive. My upper body. #4. There is such a thing as a thin person’s blessing: unlimited food intake. Or at least people seem to think so. Nothing I intake is taken by my body. I want food to grow from under the skin. #5. I like baggy clothing. They make balloons out of my features. #6. Mom said avoid black because the color “swallows” me. I wear it regardless. I wear black baggy clothing like a beast in the night, except I am smaller. #7. Sometimes I fill the mirror with junk. The mirror knows & smiles ruefully. The mirror is particularly good at storing my emotions.
#11. There is no such a thing as a thin person’s curse. Or at least I seem to think so, when I repeat the mantra in my head. #12. I wouldn’t stand a chance in football. #13. Sometimes people tell me that I should work out. They say, laughing, “you are tall enough, but not strong enough!” I laugh too, saying, “yes, I’m comic and unattractive.” #14. Sometimes I feel like nothing I feel is felt by anyone. #15. Sometimes maybe only half of what I feel is worth being written about. I yearn for three quarters.
skinny hurts (sometimes) fh 41
dead fish by AJ Auston
this river, like all rivers, has at last run dry she no longer asks if I thirst, if I wander as she goes to fetch water
この川は あらゆる川と 同じくもう 涸れてしまった 水を汲む彼女 these questions that, so long ago, my ears once heard もはや尋ねぬ these crumbling words, flow— sink and are swallowed perhaps become fish
渇いたか さ迷えてるか 飢えてるか 昔聞かれた 言葉が流れ 魚となる