From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Free Coffin

The coffin lies at the curb, tilted aslant on the strip of grass next to the sidewalk. Old Mr. Byerly spies it on an evening walk through his suburban neighborhood. It’s been put out alongside a pile of other discards—an old-fashioned lawn mower, a chrome-legged kitchen table, a bookcase with only one shelf. The stuff is from a house that’s under renovation after sitting vacant for many months.



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The Mirror Test

“The mirror test . . . is a behavioral technique developed in 1970 by American psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. . . . In the classic test, an animal is anaesthetised and then marked (e.g., painted or a sticker attached) on an area of the body the animal cannot normally see. When the animal recovers from the anaesthetic, it is given access to a mirror. If the animal then touches or investigates the mark, it is taken as an indication that the animal perceives the reflected image as itself, rather than of another animal . . . Very few species have passed the test.” – Wikipedia

Markets: A Beginner’s Guide

In the folds of banyan trees, between the treeish world and ours, are markets. Real markets, not the pale human sort that happen every week, as if things that are worth buying happen every week. A banyan market occurs one day a year, which is as often as trees are willing to entertain on such a lavish scale. And once a year is just barely enough time to make the stuff that trees dream of. – Revathi Kumar, ‘Markets: A Beginner’s Guide’

Pest Control

There is a mermaid in your fields, fisherman. I saw the signs when I was coming in; its lower jaw was lying unattached, and I could see the deep groove its upper jaw had left as it dragged it along the dirt, ripping wheat out from the ground, no doubt. Here, I have its jaw for your examination. Look at it well. A fine specimen, is it not?

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Some worlds never touch except at this hour. / The sun has set and turned her back, weeping / for a cave where she could be safe once more.

Cherries, Sweet and Tart

On the first night of winter, I did dream / of snaking branches sprawled with waxy leaves / and bowed under the weight of fat red cherries.

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Editorial: January 2022

In this issue’s short fiction, we discover the secret life of Banyan trees, in Shalini Srinivasan’s “Markets: A Beginner’s Guide”, and “Free Coffin” by Corey Flintoff reminds us that there’s no such thing as “free”; in flash fiction, Moses Ose Utomi explores the existential with “The Mirror Test”, and Saswati Chatterjee’s “Pest Control” takes a different look at one of the most popular tropes; for poetry, we have “Ōmagatoki” by Betsy Aoki and “Cherries, Sweet and Tart” by Maria Dong. Plus an interview with Beast Made of Night, Riot Baby, War Girls, (S)kinfolk, and Goliath author Tochi Onyebuchi. Enjoy!

Interview: Tochi Onyebuchi

We still get dreams, and we still have our memories. We still have, somewhere nestled deep within us, the capacity to make a peace for ourselves or to try and climb the umbilical cord back to God or whatever Higher Power can grant us that peace we cannot make for ourselves. If we didn’t have that ability, we might not have gotten the Harlem Ballroom scene and vogueing.