Ode to Blockbuster Video It’s been hard to let you go. I grasp tightly to the memories of your wide aisles and rows of opportunity.88 I don’t ever want to lose that feeling of joy, of flipping over a movie and finding a copy, still there, ready to take home. You took over our nights. You gave us all a place to be, a place to lose ourselves. I can still feel the yellow and blue, the dim lights, the customers gathered together, perusing and musing, all hoping for the comfort of a film to get lost in. I can still taste the microwave popcorn, the candy I could never have. You wanted to show us different worlds, show us the right way to live: be kind, rewind. Now, everyone will net their flicks and chill, without ever leaving their home. Yet, I can’t help but wonder where I would be without you. Growing up, my father and I could not speak in words we both knew. Our tongues on different paths. Yet, you brought us together.
8 Anhvu Buchanan
Every Friday night, we’d join you and come as one. We’d pick up a movie and find home on the couch. Together, we sat and spoke. We spoke in the language of action and explosions, of plots dancing to the movement of good versus evil. Afterwards, we’d laugh and say it was a good movie (even if it wasn’t) and my father, like you, would always remind me: don’t forget to rewind. You are gone now but I can still hear your words whispering in my ear: “Be kind, rewind. You can always rewind. You can always begin again.”
Untitled by Hattie Clark
Untitled by Hattie Clark
LANI KAI, FORT MYERS BEACH, FL That day we dropped anchor off Fort Myers beach & swam to shore & the sunscreen bled and burned our eyes & we sucked every drop of booze off the cherry stems of our pina coladas & crisped our small-muscled shoulders in the eternal Florida sun & buried our spent Marlboros in the sand & flirted with the girls in the bright colored tops & it was spring break or it wasn’t & not a spouse or job between us & we talked about someday being established & secure & stories of success & I must step out now into the warm receding Gulf, a smaller man remembering how our lives turned & in what unfortunate ways.
Freeway Lights CW: alcohol, cemetery imagery
Rockabilly drought in the suburbs hit the hardest. Now it’s all ping-pong, Lions Club ice cream socials, spray painted train cars that used to roar down our dying hills. All as the backdrop of
trying to live out the Springsteen songs busting out
our shitty car speakers, trying to be loved, trying to be a part of the joy, just trying to contort our souls rhythm of the road at night gets me hypnotized like Mogwli looking in the eyes of Kaa & when I came out of the graveyard fugue,
almost choked when I realized I was in the arms of the sunrise & somehow
the haze of our words and too many beers had kept us up until the low, quiet hours were miles behind us.
we were left to find warmth up on this cold, slanted roof of a friend of a friend’s house, with warm, comfortable silence finally taking over screeching distortion and release of loud, beautiful music, spending too many hours too terrified to tell one another how we really felt- all because all our lives we heard it was gross it was a sin it was wrong and still we basked in the still of the poplar trees and the moon and the glow of our awkward smiles. I
from every Vincent Price movie and I saw a sea of
butts down in the wet, empty gutters and I smiled at the lone mementos of our night.
12 Clem Flowers
Your hair is puffed up like a Johnny Bravo soap star Despite heroin chic extremities. Just the way I like you: Portal-pupiled, palms surfing the air for a sweet breeze, Ears tuned to satellites spitting number station secrecy. Drunk off pool water and the sunset haze, I make you sway to mock mantras, Technophonies written by displaced DJs. We skinny dip, smirks-optional. “I only listen to dead reverends and defunct ravers,” You say, like they’re one in the same. We splash despite the nearing lightning, The tall antenna wedged between An uncovered outlet and Abandoned lounger. The mournful woo-woo of a crane backdrops our blowout As we pop more bottles that threaten to sink as land mines, Serrated minnows bludgeoning the safety of boredom.
14 Paige Johnson
“I can hold my breath for two minutes, Three if you count the come-up,” I brag, Eyeing my smiley face beach bag. “That’s nothing. I can sleep underwater, Levitate over the waves. Just give me a reason. A pocketful of shells.” Your room’s just off the side of the Jacuzzi, The bright aquamarine sneaking through blind-slats To encase you in a dreamy, tide-dyed tank. The moldy towel smell overpowers its organization, Strangely comforting once the stars come out. I hope to rest, nestled into your pit like a starfish, When the wine wears off and streetlamps flicker on. I hope your bed is softer than the dives I’ve been plunging. “I can turn the dial if you think It’ll drown out the downpour.” Your radio is sun-rusted, warped By uncensored signals and time. You eye the sky like you hope It drops the deadweight Of ever-nosy neighbors And static channels Signaling home. A couple cloud-drops freckle your nose, Sky-streaks contrasting your wide-shoulder Silhouette against the man-made waves and limestone, And I think I’ve been struck—if not by something electroMagnetic, than a gold undercurrent, a forking of Neptune’s Good fortune—to be wading in the crests of your current.
CW: blood and wound imagry I’m angry at Facebook I’m angry that I can’t update my status and tell the world how excited I am about an innocuous sitcom spinoff I run my sharp fingernail along my left arm in frustration Immediately realizing my mistake I try to stop the bleeding I run to the sink and wash the affected area The damage is already done Four days later I’m set to try on wedding dresses To find the dress The dress to end all dresses The mark is still present I’ve tried running my arm under hot, practically boiling water Trying to get the inflammation to go down Creams and hopes and prayers It’s there Red, vibrant, persistent A lingering scream painted across my skin We get to the bridal shop The ritual commences In passing, the stylist apologizes thinking she’s the cause for the self inflicted blemish that has plagued me all week
16 Samantha Silverstein
Soon enough, as lace and silk and various fabrics flying across my body and back and forth between hangers and dress bags the scratch is all but forgotten It’s almost invisible as the ultimate dress is selected Pictures are taken Bells are rung Signs are held and the on looking throng of fellow shoppers cheer and exclaim how beautiful I look At the end of the day Once the hoopla dies down As you pick me up and we make our way home All I can think of Is not the scratch Not the marks on my skin The leftover reminders of mosquito bites Not the scars I’ve caused But you You’ve seen my light My power My voice My talent You express concern and care but have never condemned me for anything self inflicted Which is why I’ve chosen you For all the scratches and cuts and bruises and welts I take you to guide me on the rest of my journey I choose not to wallow and dwell on the hurt of the past I choose to move forward in love
he skated up to the counter with hair as red as her cherry
lipstick. A metal tag reading “Star” was stuck to her striped
uniform. Behind her followed a boy with slick backed hair. A
toothpick sat wedged between the gap in his front teeth. Star placed both palms on the surface of the unvarnished wood to steady herself while the boy placed his practiced hands on her hips. “What can I get you both?” the concession’s girl, Tabitha, asked. “One large Coke and popcorn,” the guy answered without taking his eyes off the girl he held. Tabitha gave a slight nod before heading to the soda fountain. She watched as the boy rested his chin on top of Star’s head, and his arms wrapped around her waist. Star stood stone still with her palms supporting her weight. The only thing that moved were her hips, rocking up and down. The boy leaned into her and swayed with her though he couldn’t keep time with her gentle frame. A cold, wet sensation leaked down her arm, and Tabitha snapped her attention back to the soda fountain. The styrofoam cup overflowed with Coke. She pulled the cup away from the nozzle before slapping a plastic lid on it. She grabbed a napkin on her way back to the counter and wiped her arm. “Daydreaming on the job?” Star teased. “Uh, no,” Tabitha replied as she grabbed a large popcorn bag, and focused all her attention on not getting burned. Though for a second her eyes did linger back to the counter where Star’s emerald eyes peered back at her. Tabitha topped off the rest of the bag before
18 James Parker
bringing it to the counter. She rung up the order and told the couple, “One fifty.” Star craned her neck to look at the boy behind her. He looked back at her quizzically. “What?” he asked. “I left my wallet in the car. Can you go get it?” The boy huffed yet let go of her waist. He walked out of the yellow glow of the concession lights into the looming darkness of the car park. Once his figure could no longer be seen, Star turned around and pulled out a small, red coin purse from her pocket. “Boys,” she breathed, digging out two cumpled dollar bills. “What ya gonna do about them?” She set the money down on the counter as she slipped the coin purse back in her pocket. Tabitha picked up the bills, opened the register, and fished out two smudged quarters to hand back to Star, yet the other girl held up her hand. “Keep the change,” she said. “Us working girls have to stick together, yeah?” “I’m not supposed to keep change-” Tabitha tried to explain, but Star cut her off. “Just return the favor then. I work at Shazam’s Diner just off the highway. You should come see me sometime.” Star folded Tabitha’s fingers over the coins, and the girls locked eyes. Emerald burning into hazel.
long weekend and here we go again, another weekend, another decade, another bout of teenage nostalgia. it’s only her word against mine, her lips against mine, and her fingers tangled through my heartstrings. here we go again! (did that surprise you?) fingers flying along the strings, pounding on the keys, an elegy to the might-have-beens. she matches me in speed, angst, and love of the D major scales, and i think, sometimes, that this is a unique sort of torture: her fingers on my shoulder, her voice ringing in my ears, over and over and over again. we only live seconds at a time, snatched moments, long weekends, phone calls. a girl takes what she can get. her hand in mine and here we go again.
20 Freedom Strange
Material: Mixed media on wood, 11cm in diameter
Theresa Kohlbeck Jakobsen
What Happens in the Garden Stays in the Garden
really wasn’t looking for an epiphany. All I wanted was a snack. “Let’s grab some grub, Evie,” Dana said, wisely, “so we won’t
be drinking on an empty stomach.” So we strolled toward the
little shop. Like all of the stores along the pedestrian street leading to the beach bars, it sold food, beer, flip-flops, and souvenirs. And of course, condoms. Apex. For unlawful carnal knowledge. Dana stepped inside the store, but I stopped at the sidewalk, where a black-haired woman was sorting fresh produce into wicker bins. The fruit glowed in the golden light of the setting sun. Oranges, bananas, starfruit, and, to my surprise, apples. The apples seemed ridiculously round, sinfully shiny, impossibly red. Why did they look so irresistible? Was I pining for Milwaukee, here, in the middle of the Caribbean? “What kind of apples are these? Gala?” I asked the lady. “Cosmic Crisp. Washington State,” she replied, with an accent I couldn’t place. She glanced at my short dress and smiled. “Heading to the clubs? Try one of these. They will give you lots of energy.” The sleeve of her black T-shirt slid up, revealing the coiled snake tattooed on her bicep, as she held out the largest, juiciest-looking apple of the bunch. The price seemed high, but what the heck, I was on vacation. They were imported, after all. I paid her, palmed the gorgeous fruit,
22 Jen Mierisch
and took a bite. The sweet juice was so delicious as it ran across my tongue that I uttered a moan of pleasure, which I immediately regretted as I caught the eye of a blond, twenty-something guy. He winked at me, then turned to the dark-haired woman and said, “I want what she’s having.” Dana rescued me by emerging from the store at that moment, holding a sandwich. “So, you wanna try that Garden of Eden dance club?” she asked, grinning. “Surfer boy Brad is going to be there, right?” I teased her. “How could we resist?” Inside the nightclub, the bass beats thumped, and the dance floor was packed. Dana wandered off to find her beach beau. I pushed through the sweaty bodies toward the outdoor patio just in time to catch the tropical sunset between the palm trees. That’s when I started to feel good. Really good. Better than I could remember feeling in my whole life. I looked around at the people on the patio, some dancing, others kissing. How beautiful, I thought. So much love! I was overjoyed for all of them. Then I spotted the blond guy from the store. “Hey!” I said, tapping him on the shoulder. “Did you get that apple?” “Yes!” He grinned at me. “Isn’t this place great?” “Amazing! Let’s dance!” We spun around, laughing and singing to the music. How had I never noticed how wonderful the whole world was? Dana whirled by. “Want a drink, Evie?” “Nope! I’m great!” I enthused. Was I too loud? Blondie was feeling it, too. “Love!” he gushed. “It’s everything! It’s the meaning of life!” “Totally!” I agreed. “I LOVE EVERYONE!” We grabbed random people to bring them into our dance and share our newfound knowledge. Joyfully, I hugged a tall, skinny man. “Get off me, you nutter,” he said.
“Okay, Mr. and Mrs. High as a Kite,” said a voice. “Out. And don’t bring that shit back in here.” I got a glimpse of huge muscles and a bulldog T-shirt, and then Blondie and I were dancing down the sidewalk beneath the starry sky. A few hours later, I squinted at the sunlight as my eyelids creaked open. I was back in my hotel room. Dana was asleep on the fold-out couch. Blondie was stretched out on the bed next to me. I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw that we were both fully clothed, though I seemed to recall that he was the best kisser on Earth. His head turned and he gave me a wry smile. “Hi,” he said. I smiled back. “Hi. Soooo… what in the hell happened last night?” He sighed. “Not sure. But I suspect methylenedioxymethamphetamine.” I sat up. “Ecstasy?!” He stared. I raised an eyebrow back at him. “I’m a chemical engineering major! Don’t look so surprised,” I told him. “But… I didn’t take any pills last night!” “Neither did I.” We looked at each other with sudden understanding. “Holy shit. The apples.” “I knew that thing tasted funny!” On my flight home, I pulled the business card out of my jeans pocket. Junior Account Executive, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, it read. He had suggested we keep in touch. Adam Smith, I thought. The name had a nice ring to it.
Tropical Depression At 17 I saw the ocean woke up to salt air nauseous in the backseat of my parents’ minivan today I cried the salt tequila-stung my face the first time I smoked I told Austin I loved him and threw up in the yard my friends made out on couches the boys played video games first person shooter the violence too real
26 Alex McIntosh
Tethered CW: reference to self-harm “What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself.” —Anton Chekhov
My dirty ponytail is uncurling over the arm of the sofa and a pool of water is forming under my daiquiri cup. My milk-hot laptop balances dolefully on my crooked knees. The blinds are yanked up carelessly, left end left lopsided and I watch fist-sized bees making a home on the balcony. Inside, snapped snapdragons hang languid from a red vase, a postcard of a gas station is a mint green blur on our bookshelf, the plastic wrap from my pain au chocolats blows along the carpet. My arms splay across my forehead grasping for unmade summer Outside, the clouds jellyfish between the swooning trees. The sound of leafblowers has become the soundtrack of my life but there are still leaves covering my yellowing car and the tree beside my bedroom window didn’t bloom to pink this year.
Rain on Route 60 I didn’t realize how much I’d missed the heavy thunderstorm clouds until I returned to Arizona, driving through the barren red-dirt desert and watching the clouds collapse against each other, like the storm was alive. The birds passed overhead, heading the opposite way from me – they knew the rainfall was coming long before I did. But I kept driving, even as I saw cars beginning to take the nearest exits, taking shelter under the singular gas station for the next two-hundred miles. I kept driving, right into that storm. I didn’t know how much I’d missed it, the smell of the dirt right before the moisture hits it, that dryness in the air getting ready to let up. My windows down, the sky closing in front of me, and then the rain.
28 Constance von Igel
Love Like The scent of a cool citrus breeze A dollop of SPF 100 sunscreen Spilled pop- Verdelli Mixed with some saltish waterFrom the Tyrrhenian sea
Poem Written on the Train Poem Written on the Train You are a breath of fresh air and You are in love with someone else and It makes me want to put on a very long dress and run somewhere like I had something to run to It makes me want to scrub my bruises with toothpaste until they glisten and shine You occupy a space in my mind I don’t understand, the long term space Forever is a long time, I say Never is a long time, I say and suddenly it all made sense The people in sitcoms who make pacts to marry each other in forty years always end up together anyway Unrequited love poems make me feel like a foolish child Unrequited love also makes me want to run across some vast expanse, rocky and barren, until the seams of my dress tear violently and the hem is caked in mud Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy!
30 Sarah Groustra
but you are no Heathcliff You’re not even good at tying your shoes And this is what we are taught, year after year To be a fascinating woman in a very long dress Mysterious, irreproachable, Draping ourselves elegantly across chaise lounges and armchairs and arms You could be six different fictional lovers, Better and worse than all of them simultaneously I have spent too many years living like a glass ornament I want to be cobblestone, weather-worn and solid and you say I just want someone to love me Is that so bad? I complete the thought, I will love you When I get off the train, the street smells like butter and I wonder if there’s a parallel universe where we get married
dandelion yellow There is an old house downtown It survived the fire and the flood and the years The broken windows no longer open to the past, the walls are Covered in vine. I used to wonder how it looked like when it was new. For many years I have put time and energy into finding out how the house Looked in the inside. I visited it in my vacations and wrote my attempts in an old notebook. I’ve kept the scrapped pages inside a drawer. Day 01. I climbed the walls until I could see through the windows, I measured every step over the detailed architecture. I was six and I couldn’t see anything. The windows didn’t open, I guessed it was closed with wood in the other side. Day 742. A part of the wall fell, I walked into the backyard. I saw flowers, grass and an abandoned stable falling apart. I picked a dandelion and made a wish, dreaming of the approaching summer. I was eight and I could see the house standing in front of me, closer than I had ever been. I sat in the ground and admired the architecture, and it was all. I didn’t work up the courage to get in. The house was too beautiful and too powerful.
32 Sofia de Castro Daniel
Day 1,200 I heard the house was going to be demolished, That the children and grandchildren of the person who used to own it had spent years arguing over it. Eventually they gave up and decided to bring the house down and sell the land, divide the money and forget the memories. Put an end to the ruins that ruined their peace for too long. Day 1,201 I was nine and I sneaked into the backyard to say goodbye. I stopped in front of the huge wooden door and I pushed it. In front me there was a room, spider nets and pieces of the ceiling over the floor. It was over. The stairs were broken and covered on dust. I picked an old picture from the floor and a clock from the walls, An image of smiling people in front of a big house. 1920 was written on the back. The clock wasn’t ticking – a lie. Time didn’t stop or have mercy. I left the house. I never fixed the clock. I thought it was better to leave it Unchanged. Day 1,319 I climbed the walls and took a look inside the backyard There were machines and people and they brought the house down And I watched broken bricks and clapboards Being transformed into dust, into nothing. Later I walked over the empty space and stared at the foundations I stepped on dandelions And I never came back again.
Little Brother We don’t say I love you but when I turned twenty cartwheels in a row on the edge of the Pacific you held the camera for me and counted and laughed along as I came up with my world spinning We don’t say I love you but when I gave you my last two quarters so you could use the big tourist telescope on the side of the beach you moved over to let me look too We don’t say I love you but we hold each other’s cameras We share coins and views You drove with me from Seaside to Bend and didn’t complain when I pulled over to watch the sunset above the trees We don’t say I love you but somehow I think we have plenty of love already
34 Erica Larsen
Wildflowers “Where do people go when they die?” We’re alone in the living room, Winnie sitting cross legged on the coffee table, chin resting on a palm, reading a sympathy card she’s plucked from a peace lily. Maybe I should have seen her question coming, it’s only natural. Still, I flounder for an answer, glancing toward the kitchen, as if hoping my sister will appear. This is a question for Maggie, not me, the childless aunt. Do I tell her something about heaven? I’m not even sure I believe in heaven, but that’s what you’re supposed to tell a kid when her mom dies, right? She’s in heaven. My ten-year-old niece watches me from her perch on the coffee table. I can’t lie to her. “I don’t know, Win.” My answer is flat, disappointing even to me. Winnie doesn’t like it either. She shakes her head. “I think we become flowers,” she says. “Flowers?” I tilt my head, “how do you figure?” We’re surrounded by flowers. In vases, in baskets, in obnoxious planters that will surely end up at Goodwill. They started showing up the morning after the accident. That’s what my brother-in-law told me when I arrived at the house two days after my sister was killed on a slick highway by a drunk driver. I hate these flowers, their cloying sweetness, the unceasing cheerfulness. That Winnie thinks we become these when we die makes me sad. She must see my confusion, because she wrinkles her nose and says, “Aunt Tara, not like these flowers. I think we become like the ones you find on the side of the road. That come back every year.” “You think we become wildflowers?” She nods eagerly. “Yeah, that kind. Mom says…said,” she catches herself. “Mom said those were the best kind, because they come Julia Nusbaum
back year after year and nobody plants them. They’re just…there.” I stare at my niece. Tomorrow we will lay her mother to rest in the catholic cemetery. I know it’s not what Maggie would want. And I think her daughter must know it too. * The spring Maggie turned seventeen, our parents left us home alone for a week while they took a trip to see our aunt in Indianapolis. I don’t know why they thought a fourteen and seventeen year old were capable of staying home alone, but they trusted us not to burn the house down. Their only rule was we go to church. Maggie promised we would, but when Sunday morning came, she woke me up at dawn and told me to get dressed, throwing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt on my bed. I knew we weren’t going to church and I wasn’t about to argue. I never liked church. The idea of some dude in the sky watching my every move made me uncomfortable. The ultimate peeping Tom. I got dressed and met Maggie in the car. “Where are we going?” I asked, buckling my seatbelt. She looked at me as though I’d asked if we were driving to the moon. “Where do you think we’re going?” She backed the car down the drive. “To church.” Ten minutes later the church building came into view. But Maggie didn’t turn into the parking lot. She just kept driving, ignoring my protests. An hour outside of town she turned off the main highway onto a narrow gravel lane. We drove until the lane became nothing, until the car bumped and swayed over ruts and uneven ground. The sky overhead was bright blue, so clear if I squinted, I wondered If I could see heaven. Or space. Or whatever it was up there. The car hit a bump and my head knocked against the window. I glared at my sister. Where was she taking me? Finally, Maggie stopped, cutting the engine. We were in the middle of a field just starting to come alive with spring growth. The tender shoots of new grass bright against the winter brush. My sister
unfastened her seatbelt. I followed, puzzled. “I thought…I thought we were going to church.” “We are.” She turned to me, opening her arms and raising her head to the sky. “Welcome to church.” Maggie spread a blanket on the grass and we lay on our backs, feeling the sun warm our skin. We didn’t speak. There wasn’t anything to say. Around us the first birds of spring called to one another, took flight overhead. After a while, the chill of the still frozen earth began to seep through our blanket, but we didn’t move. We just lay there. Silent. Listening. It was the closest I’d ever felt to God and even at fourteen, I knew the feeling was fleeting. Maggie found lots of reasons to beg off church after that. Often making up excuses about work or school. Needing to cover a shift or a research paper that was giving her trouble. I don’t know if our parent’s believed her, but they let her go. Maybe they really didn’t care or maybe they simply realized Maggie would be an adult soon and their power over her was waning. She never took me with her again, though if I’d asked, I know she would have. Instead, I chased God in other ways, always searching for that feeling I had laying under the spring sky with my sister and never quite finding it. * Maggie never liked boxes. Thinking of her in one now feels wrong. She liked beautiful things. She liked the earth. Wide open spaces and freedom. Maybe Winnie is right. Maybe her mom would like to come back as a flower. The doorbell rings and Winnie jumps up from her coffee table post. Through the window I see the white delivery van with the florist’s logo. I hear Winnie murmur her thanks to the man at the door and then she comes back into the room carrying a small packet. “What is that?” I ask. I’d expected another peace lily. Winnie meets my eyes, her lips slightly parted, a smile tugging them upward. “It’s mom,” she whispers. She hands me the packet so I can read the contents. I gasp. Native wildflowers.
Trees For Jillee
ong ago, in the days of time immemorial, there was a place where no human foot had ever touched the ground. Not a toe had ever skimmed the rich soil of this place. It was named the land of flowers, and this was and still is so, but long before that, it was the land of the trees. On the ground lived the alligators, in a sea of ferns and palms. They were of massive size and their bellows shook the jungle. With time, alligator and human had grown apart. But they could still speak. Things had not yet been made complicated in these days; distinctions between human and beast were not so important. They Taylor Melia Elyse Mahone 39
had been one, long ago. This is the story that was told of how this place was made, and it always begins with a question: what does the alligator dream of? Inherited memories of water and shards of sunlight? Rippling the water in lust? Are their dreams warm and wet? Perhaps they dream of all the places they cannot reach or maybe piles of fattened fish. Do they dream of the dark skies? The dark skies, and the alligators that swam there. First there was desire so rain and trees and flowers and fruit could grow. The ridges in the alligator’s backs carved the ground when they flipped in passion and the rain fell in. Lagoons and springs and lakes formed. The trees shaded these places of clear water. It was at the junction of lust and frenzy that these trees bloomed. Huge, fertile, fragrant, the water and the fruit brought other creatures. Then the alligators descended upon their creation. Their world, so they could do as they liked. The alligators ate what they pleased, for food was plentiful. They rolled with their catches. That precious, perfect movement carved out the land. Deepened the swamps and sculpted the frays of the banks. A place born of pleasure and ancient determination. What does a human dream of? Is it so different? Often, their dreams are of places of familiarity. But what if they are strange, but not unfamiliar? A place made from memory and in sleep is close enough to touch. Impulses, drives, and instincts not yet awakened. But it is in the dark that dreams are made. Though maybe there was once total unity, do not fall into the black glitter of the alligator’s eye. Know that their bodies shaped this place, and it is upon their back this world is carried. And their eyes, as big as boulders, hold the truth. But look for the truth and you might fall 40
all the way in. The people who lived in this place remained in the trees. In the land that shook with the rumbles of alligators. It was between the branches, and it was the words of the trees they spoke. This language is not lost, it is abundant, but hushed. Even then, this place was untamed and old. And these people knew of the worlds within the branches of the trees, worlds that are endless. Worlds from one turn of the head to another, shift entirely and become another. The branches softened the skin of their feet and hands and the branches of the trees were softened by their feet and hands. This did not go by unnoticed. The patterns of the trees and the lines of their bodies, crossed, merged, and they were all one. They harvested the branches and constructed smooth-floored treehouses, perched in tops of the trees, and hidden by thick, dark leaves. They ate from flowers, weighed down by yellow, bell-shaped fruit. The bends of the fruit resembled the curves cut into the sky by the branches. They drank from springs as still and as clear as glass. Hot, equatorial wind darkened the colors of the sky, and above it was pink and the clouds were orange. The shadows from the trees painted their bodies and remained. They lived in accordance with their wants, and they lacked nothing. For pleasure and freedom was abundant and sweet, and this was the way it had always been. Her name was Z, and X was in love. He did not know when it began, for it felt like forever. But he remembers when he knew. Some hazy afternoon on their backs on the floor of a house in the trees. The smell of the floor, the smell of fruit baking in the sun, the smell of her. She was beside him and they looked up together at the woven roof of leaves. Lost in the patterns and drunk on sweet 41
nectar. He turned his head to the side and saw the shadows caught on her. Her shoulder, her neck, her brow. And with the taste of sugar on his tongue he sat up and then the sun came streaming in and that got caught on her too. Then he knew. He felt like he had a fever. The language of the trees proved incomplete to convey the depths of his passion. He saw everything in her, but he knew not how to tell her. He tried, but he never felt it was sufficient. He was haunted by a dull pain somewhere between his stomach and heart. He told others of this, and they laughed and said it was love. He loved her so that he wanted to be ridden of her. His desire was so great he thought he would die. But he did not die. His mind played her again and again and he did not sleep at night, but finally in the early morning his exhausted mind would give in, and he dreamed of all the places he wanted to show her, all the places he wanted to touch her, of all the things he wanted to tell her. Sometimes he thought she must reside in his belly, leaping at each thought or mention of her name. He wanted to give her things, wanted to lay at her feet, at the apex of her legs. He saw her everywhere. The chill in the air before the moon appeared. The rain caught on his palm raised to the sky. The smell of bell-fruit on the wind and the glint of light on the water’s surface. She was the sky that dripped down the branches and trunks and against the leaves in big spills. He wanted to live inside her. Each day he asked her a series of questions and the layers he uncovered ensured he would never reach her bottom, which he no longer believed existed. He learned that she and this world would last forever. He did not have the words. There was nothing he could do. He would follow her anywhere. She asked him to follow her to the moons. 42
Hand-in-hand they walked. They understood the trees to the root. The roots that touched all the way to the fiery core; they knew this too. And the heat radiated up through their feet and into their own middles. Now, past the other houses in the trees. Unless one knows how to spot them, these houses crowning the trees are hidden well. It is a trick of sunlight and a constant breeze that moves the leaves, so the shapes of things are always changing. Becoming something new. No place is ever the same place. Now through the thatch of trees where the leaves grow darkest and thickest. He parted them for her and then he followed her deeper. Balancing one foot in front of the other across a branch. It was slow, so it was savored. To pass the journey they told stories of the days when the big alligators swam in the sky’s seas. Concealed by waxy leaves, they were invisible, as they imagined these starry seas. How long they went on for. If their bottom could ever be touched. The sun was as bright and round as a gong. Their constant companion in the rosy sky. They paused their trek to pay respect. They crawled like animals to a pair of branches that grew long and strong over a crystal spring. The water was ensconced by tendrilled green plants. Swimming snakes and baby alligators danced together under the jeweled surface so blue it seemed a dream. They leaned over and cupped handfuls of cold water and drank from each other’s palm. Slinking like the whisper of the palms they now passed through. “Closer now,” she said softly, hushed like the palms. The palms twisted and this was how they guided the way. They are the way. The fall of the fronds dragged 43
down her hair. He mimicked their touch. He split orange segments for her and licked its juice from her wrist. Their hands were hot and sticky, but they could not keep them apart. X thought by now he should be exhausted by his love for her. He thought he should be weighed down so heavily he would not be able to bear the journey. But he had lightened. Everywhere was jade and gold and brilliant with fruit. Gators thrashed and snapped below in their hot swamps. He saw the first of the rain as it slid down her spine. He dragged his finger along the rain’s path. The cool, sweet trail. He envied the rain’s first taste of her. He understood how the rain felt because then rain began to fall in bowlfuls. It sheathed the trees in a silver sheet. Branches turned in another and then disappeared. It became much like a circle. The distance between the trees only grew. Some trees that had to leap to reach. Some trees they passed were stripped of leaves. Thunder exploded and lightening illuminated the world, briefly, and they recognized nothing. Trees fell and snapped under the thunder’s blows. The rain changed the shape of everything. They knelt together and made shelter by their bodies. Through the veil of rain, they could see no flowers. They were gifted always in flowers. How many they saw and know. Always blooming; huge purple ones that opened only in twilight and sheets of vine dotted by white flowers and all the fruit that fed them. Fruit, they cut and enjoyed with great ceremony. They did not wash these gifts from the trees because nothing could be lost. Soothed by visions of their flowered home, they slept.
Steam rose from the ground and hung between the branches like cotton. A vague, purple sky emerged from 44
the storm, streaked with thin tangerine clouds. There was a voice. At first, he thought it was Z and tried to fall deeper into sleep, searching for her. There was rustle below. At this, they stirred. A snap of a twig. Z and X looked to the ground. There was an alligator at the base of the tree. It emerged from the mist. In the distance was their dark, green home; across this flat, swampy land. There were no other trees. The alligator knocked the tree with its spade-shaped snout. “My children,” called the alligator, “hello, my children! I know you are up there. I can smell you both. My children are trapped in their tree.” They did not look down at her. At a higher branch, they snatched glimpses of the alligator. How dark she was! Her thick, black body seemed to be a river, cutting through the land. She had deepened the soft soil beneath her, and rain had fallen in all around. A river she made. They did not speak to her. But she spoke to them: “Children, come down and join your mother alligator. Have you forgotten that I am your true mother?” she called up. Her voice was sweet and sharp, like the air, like the place in between the fire and the melt of a sunset. Finally, Z said: “we do not want to speak to you.” “I am your mother. Look down at me, children. See me. See me and see yourself, my children.” Sliding sounds, as she shifted her great body. Neither could help it; they looked to each other and peered down. Through a twist of vine, between the leaves, there were her eyes. She saw them. She parted her jaws, great, heavy jaws. How soft her mouth looked! How strange; in between those rows and rows and rows and rows of teeth, was the pink pillow of her tongue. She opened her mouth wider, as if to catch them. 45
“There is no difference between us, my children. No other will love you like your mother. And I am your true mother. I am your mother alligator. Come down to me.” It was tempting. He was hungry and sore from his troubled sleep. “How will you get home, my children? I see no fruit on this tree. I see little shade. You cannot make a home of this tree. All your other trees have fallen down in my great storm. My trees and my storms. I will wait for you, my children, forever. I have been here forever. I will be here forever.” “Please do not hurt us,” he asked of her. “My children. I would not ever hurt my children. I created you. Everything is you see is born of me. Your mother. Come down to me. See yourself in me,” the alligator’s teeth clanked together. She growled, just a little. “You created our world, you are the mother of this world, but we are not the same. You will eat us. You will crush us between your big teeth. You will swallow us. We are not like you. You want to eat us,” Z said. “There is no difference. My children. Tell me your dreams, children. What troubles you so? You will see we are not so different. Your story is my story. Come down to me, your mother alligator. Come down and see.” The branch creaked beneath them. The breeze rustled the few leaves and they fell away and scattered across mother alligator’s back. The leaves fell between the scales, the many ridges that formed her. Those scales stretched on, reaching all the way to the mouth of their dark green home, which lay at the end of her winding tail. But it was easy to imagine her lines went beyond that. That the lines of her were also part of her language, which was their language, which was everything. He turned to her, looking into dark sunlight. When she touched his leg, he felt the lines of her palm, where 46
they furled and met and split. He felt it all the way inside. “We must do something,” she said. “I’m afraid,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. In his ear she whispered: “Do you know the sleep story?” He lived in a year in that whisper. “No,” he could barely get out. “I will teach you. Then she will sleep. But you will find…you know this story” And she cupped her palm against his face and through the screen of his lashes everything went fuzzy in this strange place. In the curve of sun, shaped by twilight shadow, he heard the story. He told her that he would not remember. He could not will his mind to think of anything besides she. Below, mother alligator tapped again at the trunk of their fragile tree. The tree sighed in response. They wobbled; everything tilted. The story bounced between his temples. “My dear children! How late it grows! Will you be able to see when darkness comes? Come down to me, my children. So I may see you. So I may take you into my embrace. What do you whisper? Do you know I hear all? Do you know my eyes glow in the dark?” Mother alligator nudged the tree again with her claw. Z & X held onto the trunk. He could not remember the story. But he knew it. Z began and he joined her, somehow. His words came from her, he no more than a vessel for whatever she needed him to carry. “From the roots comes the heat/From above and below/That joins everything/Balance, breeze, the sun/ All that you see,” Z was waiting for him, her eyes aglow. “All that you see is everything,” he said, and he knew it to be true and he knew it was her. “We are everything, together. All of everything.” “No. A lie, my children. Will I have to punish you children for lying to your mother alligator?” 47
“We are all of the everything,” they said to mother alligator, but really to themselves. “It is all of me. It is the heat from my body which warms you. Which gave you life and…,” mother alligator was drifting. “We are all of the everything,” Z and X said. “Children,” the alligator said lazily, her tongue slipping between her teeth. “I am your mother alligator and I tell…listen to what I sayyyyyyyyyyyy…,” she snored. “My teeth are strong… big teeth. I will chomp this tree down. Myyyyyyyy children. We are not different,” mother alligator said and then she quieted. They sang on. Darkness fell. The alligator’s snores rattled, and the tree swayed to and fro. Sometimes the alligator grumbled in her sleep, hissed. They almost tumbled out with the intake of her breath which did move the world. But still, it took him some time to become convinced of her slumber. Z was the first to grip the trunk and descend. He watched her. He was frightened but he trusted her. They balanced along a low branch coated with hairy moss. It was slippery still from the rain, but she promised they would not fall and it was so. Another below and they landed in tandem. “No difference,” she said. They hovered above the alligator and gripped the trunk as she rolled in her sleep. A little version of her most powerful gift. Their most powerful gift, as it had given them this world. “We have to walk across her back,” Z said. “That is how we will get home.” She pointed to their home, barely visible, but thick and leafed and dark with the twilight slipping into night. It lay at the end of the alligator’s tail. Years long. He did not know if they would ever reach. Could they not make home here? But he saw her dangling above mother alligator’s head. The alligator’s teeth glint48
ed. He could not believe what he was seeing. But she planted a foot on the alligator’s snout. Then she let go of the branch and stood atop mother alligator. The alligator sighed in her sleep, a pitiful sound, really. And Z balanced between her eyes, which were closed, though little beams of light escaped. “Come,” she reached for him and with the brush of her fingers he could. He was not surprised to find that the texture of the alligator’s skin was not so different from the texture of the trees. And that texture was the texture of the fruit which nourished them. All of the everything. Mother alligator had not lied to them; she really was the world. Her head was the length of them together, tripled. The story on the alligator’s back was what he already knew: his story, Z’s story. The story of the trees, the story of the sky, it was here too. X told Z that he loved her. Again. High above them: the moon appeared from her robe of shadow and there, in the swamp they thought so empty before, emerged her twin, her sister, her mirror from beneath the surface. The moons: silver and bright and real. “We can touch it,” she said and he thought she spoke of the moons. He said yes, I believe that is so. Mother alligator moaned in her sleep: “my children,” and X believed her. Now they were at her tail. Their home of trees before them. He chose the branch he would grip, the one he would lift himself with and vanish into the dark leaves and twisted branches. He could smell the fruit, and the trees whispered and beckoned him. He followed her down the curved tail. Here, mother alligator was not so wide, and they had to tiptoe. X watched Z in silvery beams casting and rising from the moons. He followed the cascade of moonglow over the side of her face and then her eyes glittered when she glanced back at him. She reached the very edge of their trees. She knelt, holding her arms out 49
for balance and stroked the tip of mother alligator’s tail. “Thank you,” she said to the alligator. And he watched as she gripped the branch and lifted herself into the trees. But before she had, she let her toes touch the ground. So brief, he barely caught it. But she had. Touched the ground. And nothing happened. The sky did not fall; she did not crumble; the wind did not pick up; the ground, right there, the ground that she touched, did not part and swallow them. A pair of alligators shook the world in their lust for one another. It was not so different from what he felt. There was a dip in the soil from her toe and it collected the moonlight. He wanted to press his thumb into it. He looked at the sky, wide open, unobstructed by the canopy of trees. He was taken by the sky’s brightness. His feet were firmly planted on the alligator’s tail, and he was not worried about toppling off. The alligator was so strong. He looked back up at the sky and extended his arm to touch it. He did not worry about falling. He knew the alligator would hold him. She always had. In the sky, between the stars, the surface of night swirled and broke, with movement. He imagined he saw a flick of massive tail, the delicate thrash of a saurian body unsettling and then smoothing the sparkle of stars. There it was, the something beyond him, that wove through the cosmic current of the dark vastness beyond them. There were the alligators: above and below, with he and she between. The world and the trees trembled with the calls of the alligators. When he looked back, she was gone, already in the trees. The leaves whispered as they fell back into place. He followed her, as he always would, into the moon-dusted trees. 50
Muddy Mississippi River Graves
hen Allison felt a jolt in her car leaving Memphis and heading into Arkansas across the I-40 bridge, the Hernando de Soto Bridge, or M bridge as it was
commonly called, she thought two things: first, she wondered if one of the retreads had blown, but the Focus had kept rolling and second, she thought something in the engine might have fallen, but the check engine light was not on. Little Al had asked her from his car seat in the back, “Mom, what was that noise? Did you see the butterfly people?” Allison glanced in her rear-view mirror, saw it, said, “Oh, my God” and pulled to the shoulder. Part of the bridge had collapsed, and she must have been one of the last cars to make it across. She knew then that was the jolt she’d felt and began to cry. Normally, she kept her emotions in check, but she was overwhelmed. She didn’t like driving to Memphis across the bridge, but she had become used to it after the year of treatments at St. Jude’s until Little Al was completely clear of cancer. She noticed two semi-trailers in the muddy Mississippi below, neither with signs of life, and chaos on the section of the bridge that was left, people running back toward Memphis and their car doors left open. By the time, she got to Jonesboro, national newscasters shared that ISIS had claimed responsibility, but there had been no reports of a bridge explosion, and a panel of talking heads shook their heads Niles Reddick 51
and claimed infrastructure collapse due to lack of investment from Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden and cautioned investigations would reveal the truth. In the meantime, four were missing, and a tarot card reader and psychic off Beale Street in Memphis claimed she reported it to 9-1-1 the day before. For the time being, the forty thousand vehicles, including thirteen thousand trucks that traveled across the bridge daily in both directions, would be rerouted across a two lane and even older bridge, causing hours of delays and losses of revenue calculated to be in the millions. Allison was thankful she and Little Al made it home, was appreciative he didn’t have to go back for follow ups unless their primary care doctor made a referral, and she said prayers with him when she tucked him in for the night. After, she asked him about the butterfly people he’d mentioned. He told her, “I saw these giant light people with wings like butterflies going down to the trucks in the river.” Allison smiled, told him to get some rest, and she climbed into her bed and said prayers for the families whose loved ones had been swallowed up by the mighty Mississippi. It certainly hadn’t been the first time the Mississippi claimed life and wouldn’t be the last. The next morning, it was reported hundreds of barges were backed up the river until the U.S. Coast Guard could give an all clear, and Biden squinted into the camera in the Rose Garden, read the teleprompter that there was no evidence ISIS had done anything at all, and shared he had signed another executive order, forcing states to conduct immediate inspections of all bridges in the country. Media crews showed images of the cantilevered cable-stayed steel through arches that are lit at night, but after the collapse, the arches resembled an upside down “U” instead of a “M”. Biden continued to promise more funding for infrastructure despite soaring debt, if he could get the Trumpsters to cooperate. After the broadcast, Republican McConnell countered that they had requested millions for infrastructure when Trump was president, but Democrats had refused to compromise. Allison was exasperated with the rhetoric, finger pointing, and blame game. She felt like a simple fish trying to swim upstream with
an hourly wage job, a child to take care of, a dead-beat husband who wasn’t involved and didn’t pay child support, rent and mounting bills to pay, and she wondered how long she could keep going. One thing her common sense told her was that neither side of the government was for the people. Allison learned it could be months before the bridge reopened, and previous drone footage from the past two inspections had illustrated there had been a rupture in the one of the bridge’s nine hundred feet horizontal steel beams that seriously compromised the integrity of the bridge. Allison felt overwhelmingly grateful the bridge had not collapsed in her repeated trips to St. Jude’s, but she felt angry toward those who had not acted on the drone footage for over a year. She believed technology was supposed to be used to help people, not send them to their deaths in a muddy grave and cripple an already troubled economy. Allison finished her coffee and turned off the news. She wondered if Little Al had hallucinated as an effect of all of the chemo medication he had taken over the last year and if he would have some sort of permanent damage from the chemo, or if he had really seen some sort of supernatural angelic beings who were sent to rescue the souls of the bridge collapse. She hoped for the latter.
54 Catherine Sinow
Moss and Mermaids
lay stretched out on my pink blanket, sketching in my old journal the reddish mushrooms growing out of the carcass of a felled tree. Rich green moss thickly blankets both the wood and forest ground.
Sunbeams trickle through the leaves above, reflecting on the surface of the small lake just ahead. I can hear the tiny waterfall trickling down the slick rocks, cascading to the water below. It was a pleasantly warm summer day, accompanied by a cool breeze. Distracted by a pair of ravens landing in the pine tree above, their deep calls traveling through the air, I almost missed the sound of a heavy splash. It is not often someone comes up here. This nature trail is higher up the mountain than most were willing to go. Feeling curious, I stand up, wiping the pine needles off my knees, and stroll towards the small lake, taking my sketchbook with me. I live very close to the trail, and it is my favorite place to visit. I feel that I know every rock, tree, and flower like the back of my hand. I know the types of birds and deer that inhabit this sacred place, every rabbit and chipmunk, weasel, pine marten, skunk, and squirrel. So I feel absolutely off guard by what I see. I drop my sketchbook as I watch a large purple-red tail slapping the surface of the sun-speckled water, a long dark figure streamlining under the surface. “Wait, what? Mermaids? Nooooo?” I fumble for my cellphone and try to hit record. The mermaid breaks the surface, gasping for air. She disappears back under again before I get my phone to record. Sneaking closer and closer, I squatted down, trying to record as the surface rippled with the mermaid as
56 Krista Bergren-Walsh
she sped under the water. She turned suddenly, heading in my direction. I scrambled away as she broke the surface gasping in air. She looked up at me and blinked in confusion before smiling and waving at me. I waved back slowly, still recording. “Hi! Sorry, this isn’t private property, is it? Am I trespassing where I shouldn’t be?” “Noo?” I then see the go-pro she is holding and flush a deep red. Of course, she isn’t a real mermaid—she probably is an influencer or professional mermaid making a promo video. “Sorry! I, uh, I thought you were a real mermaid and kind of freaked out for a moment there.” She swims closer until she can sit on a rock near where I am, and laughs. Her laugh is loud and warm. Her hair is a wet dark pink. It’s shoulder length and I feel my heart beating a little bit faster. Her tail, which I can very much tell is man-made now, is pink, red, blue, and purple-hued. She is curvy and chubby, her stomach looking soft and huggable. I refuse to look at her bubbling cleavage and am trying to find out the color of her eyes instead. “Well, that means that I am convincing then!” She grins and I try to tell myself not to fall in love. “I am training to be a professional mermaid. I love this little spot and thought it would be a safe and shallow enough place to start. I didn’t want to deal with chlorine eyes.” “This is a pretty spot,” I agree, glancing around, taking in the surrounding nature. “My name is Lavender, what’s yours?” “Juliette!” She flops her hair over a dark shoulder. “I’m new in town. Wanna go for a beer and lunch? I’ll be done here soon.” I feel butterflies in my stomach. I can’t remember if I even showered this morning, let alone when the last time I had washed my hair or shaved my legs. “S-sure!” I blush. Oh, I hope she’s gay. I scan her stuff piled on a nearby rock and spot the bi flag pinned to a floral backpack. I look down to remember I am wearing my tank top designed as the lesbian flag. “Great!” She flops back into the water after making some adjustments to her camera. “I’m excited!” “Me too! I’m just gonna go grab my stuff, I’ll be right back.” I watch her swim for another 45 minutes and as we talk back and forth, I find my sketch journal is starting to have mermaids in it.
RIPTIDES AS FADING ICE-CREAM [OR SEA-FOAM] Love is the thing formed in cocoons and bursts into pods which you bite and let fizz in your mouth. It morphs from sparks of divine stardust and I let it linger in memories of Ray-Ban glasses and soaking Oreo ice cream on beachsides. The waves toss our limbs and we spiral in riptide waves and I want to swim towards you through the storm. Absorb electric energy in this caved space. I want to bite you like an apple — fresh from the spring market. I imagine you by my side, wearing shorts revealing sunkissed skin but all I see is the silhouette of sea shadows and the water has turned to ice; I will try to lick it like a faithful lover but the sharp currents of my heart means I lose you out to sea —
58 Indigo Carter
Aries (March 21 – April 19) Prioritize self love over the next few weeks and get in touch with your feelings! Go for a drive or have a cozy night in! April 22nd is the beginning of a reset, be patient with yourself and validate your own desires! Do: Beach Naps, Bubble Baths, Band Tees, French Fries. Don’t: Power trips, Hot Goss, Texting Your Ex Taurus (April 20 – May 20) April 22nd marks an era of spontaneity! Big changes are coming your way! Remember it is okay to brag about yourself every once in a while, embrace your excitement! Use this time to be patient with yourself and explore new opportunities! Do: Spring Flings, Selfies, One Way Ticket, Sleeping In Dont: Second Guessing, Spray Tan, Sunglasses Indoors
Gemini (May 21 – June 20) Big things are in store for you! Prioritize balance. Go after what you want and dance the night away. Remember that even social butterflies need their beauty rest! Do: Mani Pedi, Disco Ball, Fluffy Pillows, File Cabinet Dont: All Nighter, Race for the Prize, Read Receipts Cancer (June 21 – July 22) Focus on fostering relationships over the next few weeks! Call up that friend you haven’t heard from in a while, tell your crush how you feel! This is your month to reconnect. If it doesn’t bring you happiness, leave it behind! Do: FaceTime, Saltwater Taffy, Love Letters, Matching Tattoos Don’t: Ghosting, Fake Smile, Getaway Car
Leo (July 23 – August 22) Step out of your comfort zone this month! A shift can be both scary and positive, go with the flow! Do: Deep Breath, Leaning in, Sour Candy, Road trip Don’t: Spilled tea, Stage Fright, Cutting corners Virgo (August 23 – September 22) The world is your oyster this month! Now, find your pearl and make a necklace. Take charge and explore your options. If at first you don’t succeed, take a slushy break and dive back in! Do: Gentle Reminder, DIY, Polaroid, Cherry on Top Dont: Swimming Laps, Ex’s Sweatshirt, Secrets Libra (September 23 – October 22) Things are getting hot and heavy for you,
Libra! Confess your feelings, apply for that promotion, embrace adventure!! Be bold. Do: Thirst Trap, Flaming Hot Cheetos, Lip Gloss, Meet Cute Dont: Snooze Button, Khaki Pants, Riding Solo Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) Focus on manifestation this month and find the eye of the storm! Trust your intuition, there’s no need to stress over what you can’t control. Do: Dancing in the Rain, Chaotic Good, Truth or Dare, Dear Diary Dont: Claws out, Office Hours, On the Rebound Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) The end of April is the beginning of a transformative period for you. Pluto is in retrograde on April 29th, keep it light but don’t be afraid to seek
out adventure during this time! The general theme of the next few weeks is to be kind to yourself and take risks! Do: Growing Pains, Skydiving, Root Beer Float, Swipe Right Dont: Broken Shells, Laser Pointer, Bare Minimum Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) It may be tempting to try and make everyone happy this month and the pressure is on. Use this as an opportunity to get in touch with yourself! Approach your relationships calmly and gratefully. Be honest about your feelings and don’t spread yourself too thin! Do: Tread Lightly, Yoga, Flip Flops, Soft Serve Dont: People Pleasing, Riptide, Brain Freeze Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) You deserve a breather this month! Kick
back and relax! You may be recovering from an emotionally challenging period, now is the time to focus on yourself! Prioritize your own needs and passions! Do: Netflix, Work from Home, Takeout, Spa Day Dont: Reality Shows, Caffeine Crash, Throwing Hands Pisces (February 19 – March 20) April 22nd marks a period of sincerity! You are feeling tender and honest this month, it’s okay to be vulnerable! Speak your mind, Pisces! Do: Confessional Poetry, Roses, Bubble Gum, Soft Smiles Don’t: Blind Dates, Half Truths, Fake Friends