“Cetacea” by Erin Calabria

When a riptide comes, mother says to swim crosswise against it. But I am already thinking of the whales. Of all the heavy millennia before they went back to the sea—a dwindle of limb, a lengthening of spine and fingerbone steering them out, deeper and deeper, into such softness and hush, it would carry their …

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“Palimpsest” by Sutton Strother

After I built my time machine, I collected lovers across millennia – women with mechanical arms and regenerating cells, thick-bearded men perfumed with cave damp. One by one I carried them home with me. We threw parties, traded knowledge, made love in unthinkable configurations. A Sumerian prostitute soon fell pregnant with the child of a …

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“Cupola” by Jiksun Cheung

The sea breeze whips at my bathrobe and whistles beneath the floorboards of the front porch. Something seems off again, but I can’t put my finger on it. Millie says the isolation will do that to you. Behind me, the glass dome of Hak Island Lighthouse glints in the autumn haze. The dome is called …

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“Tomorrow at Café La Nuit” by Sara Hills

1 You’ll meet your Uncle Dubois for dinner. He’ll order for you in excess, he always does, peering through perched spectacles at le menu while stroking the salted tail of his lamp black beard. He’ll want to discuss finances. Your future. The muscles in your legs will tense until you remember he’s no Auntie Jeanne; …

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“Ghost world” by Lorette C. Luzajic

for Svetlana The artist’s house is an electric still life: a jumble of jetsam, flickering with clues to other worlds and time. She rearranges her collection like assemblage, bringing objects together for a brief encounter while she furiously paints the spirit of their ensemble. You have lost track of what she is telling you because …

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“From The Laurel Flower” by Jonathan Cardew

After several visits to the tennis courts, I fall in love with the new girl from Greece. I don’t think it’s love at first; I don’t immediately want to kiss her or anything. It’s just the slow way she goes about things. It’s her dark hair and eyes, and her accent—a fusion of Greek and …

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“The Hand That Wields The Priest” By Emily Devane

That evening, the fish left a strange taste in my mouth. We’d gone together, Dad in his waxed jacket and waders, me in my parka and wellies. Flies hovered above the river, orange-tinged in the afternoon sun. He fastened together his rod and opened his box: flies lined up like soldiers on parade. ‘We’ll try …

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“Altered Persona” by Thaddeus Rutkowski

Each night, I put on my costume—a long cloth neck, two stubby horns, a patchwork quilt, and stilts—and went out to forage for leaves. I needed a long neck to reach the topmost morsels. But my neck wasn’t going to get any longer from stretching it. No, I understood Darwinian theory. Creatures with long necks …

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“Monsters In The Closet” by Paul Thompson

We spend our days playing in the closet. In our imagination it is a spaceship, a doorway to other worlds, a portal that can travel through time. In the darkness we act out our fantasies, constructing the characters of our narrative. We play with the treasures that surround us – costumes in boxes, paperwork on …

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‘The Man Behind the Mask’ by Mary Thompson

I heave the enormous metal globe up over my shoulders and squeeze my head through the aperture. I wish I could descend into the deep blue sea, but instead I position myself alongside my wife, who’s sitting ever so elegantly on the brocade divan in the studio. ‘Try to relax, dear,’ I whisper. ‘I will …

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“Giants” by Steven John

For you, the best part of our honeymoon was the Giant Tortoises. You’d collect lettuce leaves off the hotel’s buffet table in your handbag, then go to the tropical gardens that surrounded our bedroom veranda. You’d feed the tortoise’s neanderthal faces and stroke the warm mahogany houses on their backs, as if they could feel …

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“The Secret Life Of Spoons” By Phebe Jewell

With my round, smooth-bottomed hull, my wide-ribbed belly, I was made for love. We take turns, you and I, filling and being filled. You open a jar, lift a lid, and slip me in your mouth. Your palate favors strong flavors: garlic, lime, pepper, vinegar. Humming, you unscrew jars of cardamom and curry, peel plump …

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