selected by Damyanti Biswas

Overwinter, Ohio 2021

It is possible to be unhappy anywhere, and I feel it here too. Except, here, woolly bear caterpillars unfreeze with the snowmelt and trundle about on the tarma...

Old Man Gogol

My brother has a new plan: hurl piss at Old Man Gogol’s face. Today. First my brother will piss into an empty Gatorade bottle, then he will ring Gogol’s doorbe...

“…for a Black girl”

1. No-lye Perm Relaxer (decades worth. enough for permanent damage) The two-hour-long process will burn your scalp, singe your ears, and cause your hair to fal...

Wrapping Around the World Twice

“If you ran your veins end to end, they’d wrap around the world twice,” Mr. Rogers declared with relish, while girls planted chewing gum in Beth’s hair. Her...

Voyeur

I come to your place because there is nothing else to do on a Tuesday that might as well be a Thursday, leftovers furring in the fridge, the haunchy cat demand...

Medicine for My Brother

Ipecac. A word that pops and clicks on my tongue, a word from the deep jungle where men shoot poisoned darts like in the movies; ipecac is deadly but ipecac is...

To Be A Goddamned Mayfly

God scratches His head. “You’ll be a mayfly,” He says. He’s had a long day. Clearly. His robe is open so you can see His chest hair and He smells a little of b...

Matthew’s Ninth Birthday

There’s a whale near shore, the size of a Greyhound bus. She releases a breath, mist rising in the air. I ask a guy near me, who’s leaning on a metal det...

And Even Still the Conch

1 Still there, on the lip of the bathtub, quiet.   2 They said we shouldn’t eat fish—none of us, anymore, as a species, because it was so full of pla...

Kettle Pond

The bubbles surfaced before the bus arrived every morning. Marissa stood by the kettle pond, peering into the leaf-choked water. A pitch pine had snapped halfwa...