Never Forget the Dark
Say we had stayed. The open blue sky always ready to devour us, our dreams. The lumpy couch you found on the side of 2nd Street in November during the riots. How it crinkled under us. Or your arms, failing to bring me any warmth. There were the stars, your crooked finger pointing out their beauty, their ugly stories. Even your smile, so dazzling, kept me entranced for only so long. Yet you always ask what if? Two words you sought to bring peace; words I used to imagine freedom, to believe there was better out there. For you, too.
by Janet Sasaki
My great-grandmother tells me that fruits and vegetables once grew from low-hanging clouds. Back then, “air tillers” would fly around the roots to circulate the nutrients. Then the Great Submerge happened which caused the roots to turn downward into the earth. She said everyone would’ve starved to death if the farmers hadn’t thought to tear off the wings of a few air tillers and scorch their eyes so that they’d bury themselves into the earth. She says this whenever the butterflies come out in the garden. She smiles, but it’s difficult to believe in the necessity of her cruelty.
Footprints of My Father
by Mike Kiggins
My portion of our father’s ashes arrived in a pewter urn. The pewter urn was small but heavy. Small but heavy like the kittens. The kittens are brothers. My older brother and I are no longer on speaking terms. The terms of our relationship have changed. Changed like the composition of my father’s body into cinders. Cinders I find scattered on my bedroom floor. The floor in the hallway tracked with paw prints. Prints the kittens, curled up on the couch, are licking clean. So I clean their newest mess, sweeping up what remains of my father and his urn.