Scenes Of A Decidedly Longer Illness

by Tea Hadziristic

  1. One day soon, I will stare down one of my handsome doctors and their diplomas, and he will furrow his brows. He will have found a disease for me to have, taken off a back shelf and dusted off, made especially to fit me and my needs. It will be passed to me silently and I will take hold of its whole weight at once, balancing, surprising everybody with my quickness. The doctor will suddenly reach for me from behind his shining plastic organs, and kiss me, pressing the disease between us until it shatters. I will leave happier than I entered, trailing bits of sickness in my path, its memory in my blue lips.

  2. In the middle of my living room, each of us can now row to wherever we wish, out of this velvet-tongued life and into any sea.

  3. You’re going a little mad, sweet pea, but at least you stop your monologue long enough to remind me that I survive myself one hundred percent of the time. Which isn’t a bad statistic, come to think of it.

  4. Hell gets its corners cut off each time it’s recalled. Lately, all that I can see is that loathsome floor, and then rows of pale faces shivering in silent pain. Sometimes, out of that comes that black mess on the face of that woman, alone and fighting the guards and then her gangrenous screams.

  5. Today, standing in a white basement and pressing myself in a cold plate (painted like a bull’s eye), I became a star. I raised my arms, then pressed them to my hips in a delicately arranged movement, following my instructions perfectly. She nodded approvingly while taking the photographs—my sternum had never looked better.

  6. Each time I survive myself, I forget past suffering. It happened, I think, but not to me.

alt text

My Dad Said I Should Keep In Touch With People

by Stephen Thomas

My dad said I should keep in touch with people.

“Keep in touch with people,” he said, as his life raft sprouted water from its hole.

“Okay,” I said, my hands gripping the slick brass railing on the deck of the ship, which was a young ship, storm-stricken, and freighted many people who danced.

“Keep in touch with the good people,” my dad said, seeing me look back to the others, as he scrunched his feet together to balance on the bow of his life raft, which was already eighteen inches underwater and sinking fast, leaving him up to his knees in cold ocean water. “That’s why I keep in touch with Eli and Tom Bigelow the way I do. I wish I had kept in touch with more people, actually.”

“I will take that to heart,” I said, checking for holes in the foredeck and finding none, the dance party a little ways down unaffected by the cutting rain, shifting organically to accommodate servers with trays, moving as one.

“It’s important,” my dad said, his hair clinging to his temples, the waves lapping at the underside of his chin.

“I know, Dad,” I said, waving.

“Okay,” he said through his teeth, his head tilted way back, the movements of his hands lost under the tumult of the sea.

Stay up to date. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent straight to your inbox:

* indicates required