Here you’ll find merch, Issue #19 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 Paul Kellam
The wind whistles between collapsing buildings. It skates along the streets, overturning rocks and bones, and cuts itself on shattered windows. It tunnels through the rubble of churches and mosques that were once gold, that are now white with dust and memory. The smell of the ocean rides on its back.
A heartbeat. The wind searches the city for a heartbeat.
Instead, there is a single footstep.
At the gates of the city, Quim braces himself, feeling dust push up hot and gritty between his naked toes, before braving a second step. The dust swallows the sound — and yet, far in the distance, he hears his own footstep echo back to him. Pah. He takes another step. The call. A pause, and then its echo. Pah-pah. The response.
“Oi? Quem ta aí?” he calls. No one replies. So he walks.
If you don’t disclose, you can’t ask for accommodation…
We understand things are difficult, but these accommodations just aren’t reasonable…
We’re sorry, you’re just not the right fit for this company…
There are so many ways to say the same thing. So many ways to lie so very sweetly and tell me that of course the company doesn’t mind hiring a disabled autistic person, of course they encourage a diverse work environment, of course they’re accessible.
If I close my eyes, the rain slides cool caresses down my neck like streaks of ultramarine chill and kisses my nose with little fizzes of celestine blue. I want to let it cover me in cobalt and forget the list of potential employers on my phone’s Notes app. I want to pretend I’m not stuck in this hell-world of mundane misery and not even a shred of magic.
An echo is a time traveler fucking with the past, and a clone is an echo of a person, a mind fuck to everyone who’d known the original. That’s what I thought when they brought my sister back from the dead, and I had to look at that face, blank and new and familiar, aged to the point where she had died, yet free from the scars of our childhood. Two orphans who quarreled endlessly, who clung to each other with bitter love for want of any other. Too different from each other to be friends. Too needy to stay apart. The only thing we’d ever shared was song. We liked to sing.
The echo did not sing.
Greetings from a planet called Ulysses! I’m writing you from a beach, purple sand between my toes and three red suns spread out like ellipses in the sky. Even with light years separating us, I can imagine your scowling face, your furrowed brow, as you open this letter, half-relieved, mostly annoyed with me for taking so long to write back. Apologies, sister-dear, I just haven’t had the time.
Get it? No, well, here, I’ll explain. The joke is that by being way, way out in space, away from human constructs such as days, hours, minutes, and seconds, there’s both no excuse and every excuse for me to be late in our little correspondence. If I say, “Oh, Dutty, there’s just no time!”, you can say, without missing a beat, “There’s no such thing as time where you’re going.” Cue rimshot, cue raucous laughter, take a bow, and curtains down.
A stage made of cherry wood, illuminated by the skylight above it, open to invite the god to look inside. Hundreds of empty theater seats, folded up without the weight of a body. Birds in sherbet shades chirping in the rafters, too high up for the cleaners to shoo them away, in nests made of errant strands of children’s hair. They’re nourished by the music, ready to join in.
First violins, second violins, violas, cellos, a diminutive but mighty bass section. Two timpani, a triangle, a snare drum, three tambourines, the longest xylophone ever made, all without players until tomorrow night, when percussion joins strings.
Poem: Astral by Aliyah Curry
Poem: Home’s Threnody by Olaitan Humble
Essay: “What to the Black Man is Patriotism?: Patriotism and the MCUs Black Captain America,” by E. Chad Metz