Essai

The First Time I Died by Brittany Kerfoot

Brittany Kerfoot

The first time I died, I felt fireworks shoot down my legs and I could taste their colors: red like your heart before it stopped and turned gray, golden green like your eyes. My chest was heavy and my head was light; my eyes were swollen like a prize fighter’s.

I touched you and repeated I’m sorry, I love you, I’m sorry.

When you saw me, you raised …

/ Read ›

A Flash Essay by Traci Cox

Traci Cox

 

 

Smudge.

I hate that word.

            Smudge.

Do you say it in two syllables, or three?

[My Arkansas friend says it in three. Suh-muh-dge.]

So many consonants, all piled up; clutter. Rolling around. Alphabet soup.

Taste dirt. Taste sad. Taste. Taste—

            Smudge.

_____

 

“Pinched like a pear,” my mom would say. Mouth closed, a little pucker, sweet sour smooth. But not a kiss; not a real kiss. It was bad, …

/ Read ›

My Exploded Ovary, Myself: Why I Wouldn’t Get a Hysterectomy at 20

by D.L. Podlesni

I choose to live in pain. Let me tell you why.

Flannery O’Connor once said sickness was a place, as real and enlightening as a long trip to Europe. If sickness is a country, I am a wellness ex-pat. Sickness has rules, codes, mores. I know most of them. For instance, I know to really ham it up in the recovery room after surgery, …

/ Read ›

Milk Teeth

Molly Beale

We were as tall as the Hollyhocks were the year you had to leave me. When fairies could still be seen sleeping in the perfume of lilacs, and bumble bees loved the sweet flesh of snap dragons. We were frail like flowers too, giggling the seeds of our laughter up and away in the kite-flying wind. The whole world was spectacular and small.

/ Read ›

Baba Yaga in the Classroom

Psyche Z. Ready

When I was a girl, I came late and without my assignment to the classroom Joane Katsiff kept in woodsy Pennsylvania. Back then, I was scared to open my mouth in case sounds might come out. I couldn’t seem to say or do anything normal. Strange longings and excitements beat in my chest, and I stayed up all night walking in the dark, and putting my fingers into candle flames. I ate my lunch alone in a bathroom stall. I didn’t know what kind of disease I had, only that it was one of isolation.

/ Read ›