Here you’ll find merch, Issue #6 story excerpts, interviews, the issue’s Spotify playlist, & links to reviews. So take a look, and make sure you haven’t missed anything!
Artwork by Tajae Keith
Long ago – well before now, but not so distant as then – there was a crow called Broadfeather who worried she’d never find a name.
Back then, oh baby-love, all of the crows lived on an island so small it barely merited the name. That green upstart rock was split in two by a river that ran in both directions away from its source.
On one side of the river was Life and everything that breathes, bleeds, and breeds. On the other was Death and all Her treasures. Smack dab in the middle of both grew the moko forest where poison and pleasure grew leaf-to-petal close, and the mist was knit together from the last wishes of wistful ghosts. In the canopy of that forest First Crow, the very first of her kind, god and many times great-grandmother to Broadfeather, had made her home.
A mean yellow eye fixed on me from the other side of the window where the white gyrfalcon perched. He’d been tapping on the glass for hours. Big Ma had used the same nasty familiar to summon her line for as long as any of us remembered. I’d known it was a matter of time before she found out I was dying.
Follow the falcon, and we would have the confrontation I’d been dreading. Look at me, girl. She would cup my chin, leveling me with an eyeballing that could teach her bird a lesson. Her hair tied back in one of her bright handkerchiefs. Short, tight curls, long turned white with age, peeking from under the fabric.
Didn’t I teach you better? Magic ain’t for fools.
Dying trees littered the orchard. The symmetric pattern of their spindly, decaying trunks reminded Lydia of a cornrow style she used to braid into her hair as a teenager. She appraised the damage in frustration. This wasteland of foliage didn’t make any sense, not so early in spring, even if the heat was already setting records again.
“It came out of nowhere,” said Devaun. “I even tried one of my own mixtures, but the ingredients must be off.”
As soon as the words left Devaun’s mouth, Lydia knew they would be the tinder to ignite yet another argument with Rob Kenworth. Dr. Kenworth, as he liked to be known around the University. She twisted one of her pen spring curls. Devaun seemed to have no idea what he had just started.
Lazarus Caruthers eased his skiff out onto the lake and rowed to a safe distance from the mountain. At this early hour, the surface of the water was a mirror reflecting the pink of the waking sun. He threw out the fishing line far across the glimmering veneer, watched the bait and sinker submerge as the bobber bounced easily on the currents. Fishing was one of the few times he could sort out his thoughts, separating the past from the future so he could settle into the now. Otto Mountain, the jagged monolith of black stone, absorbed the confessions he whispered daily across the water, his offering in exchange for its secrets.
Poem: A Demon at my Window by Aigner Loren Wilson
Poem: in which my grandma departs this realm for three hours by Praise Osawaru
Cover Artist – Tajae Keith: Tajae Keith is the cover artist for FIYAH #18! We interviewed her about her style, her process, and the artwork she did for us.