I Do by Meggie Royer

She slices the fins off sideways, removes them with pointer finger and pinky, its belly edged in salt. The clouds run low across the plains, their fullness scattering the tumbleweeds like feral deer, panes rattling in the windows. She works quickly against the storm plunges her palm in like a pulse, up to the hilt in its draining pink. The ring buries itself deep, a pearl in the mouth of the dead; the stitches go through & through until the silver wound is sewn shut like a... Read More

Crackers by Jenny Danes

My grandmother is very thin, so when we hug we fold into each other like leaning paper towers. She is soft like cardigans. At Christmas we tried to pull our crackers in a chain. Lizzie and I crossed our arms naturally, clutched in readiness – but with both grandparents nearing ninety there was terrible confusion. Wrong hand, wrong direction, broken links, abandoned crackers still on the table, knocked glasses, patience. After the snap, the swapping cardboard cones, the rummage... Read More

Pretzels by James B. Nicola

Before the angels rose I rushed the gate. Would I make it? Couldn’t tell. Security was running late. Then wheeling round, I saw—D-8. Aha, I was on time. Just then a smell   of pretzels slowed me down, combined with wurst. What good those Huns had given us, I thought, with a shudder at their worst. I had to make my flight though, first, and raced on, only to wait: The flight was   delayed! So I went back and watched a spell— the rolling, twisting, done by hand, the... Read More

Twinning by Meggie Royer

The boy twists the earring from his lobe in anger, its small brilliance a dinosaur’s egg sunk in softness. It departs sharply, the way it arrived, leaving behind a bloody crust. The long shadows of his shark paintings cross the wall. Boy as hammer, dressed like a necklace. Swimming in a glass of water the earring dives like a tooth, his father waiting outside the room with polish remover and cotton balls for the pink still edging his nails.  Read More

Sail by Meggie Royer

Years before I learned to open myself, I spent two weeks in a whaling yard. Ships lined up in tandem, their dark hulls buried in sinks of salt. They say the harpoon doesn’t hurt, that it’s only a tug. The bloodstream fights off the intruder with the grace of a maestro until a clot forms. Pulsing ruby, it grows. Flattens. Spreads. With my back against the wall, everything of his that shouldn’t have been was inside me.  Read More