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childhood

Illustration by Sergio Garcia Sanchez

Wrong Yoga

Of all the types of yoga practiced in the US today—Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga,Vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga—the one that I enjoy most happens to be the one that I invented. I like to call this type of yoga “wrong yoga.”

Art by Anna Schuleit Haber

Yams

Just then they were all eating yams, candied and still hot from the stove. Golden-brown pieces glistening with sauce that dripped from the serving spoon as it moved between the bowl and the plates. Heavy sweet pieces that clung to their forks, sank and settled on their tongues and then dissolved in a swirl of rich textures.

The girl’s uncle Todd pushed back his chair and reached for the bowl and a second helping. His broad hands pressed across the table, past his water glass and the ladle of gravy, the tea lights and decorative poinsettia, up and over the enormous ham. 

“Why can’t you just ask?” 

Illustration by Lauren Nassef

Fat Swim

Alice spots the fat women through the second-story kitchen window. It’s Wednesday, so Dad is out at his feelings meeting. She has just turned eight and has been dragging her drumsticks over different household surfaces to see what sounds they make. The sink has been working well—a satisfying ting, ting, ting. Also the panes of window glass—higher, though, and more muffled. The kitten meows on the ledge. Shush shush, Alice tells him, then bops him lightly on the head with a stick. 

Slack

When this story ended—or when it began, because who on June Plum Road could tell the difference?—the mermaids were floating at the top of Old Henry’s tank. The green hair of one and the pink hair of the other fanned out on the water’s surface, silky straight hair, and the sparkles in their tails caught the afternoon light. Old Henry laughed when he saw the dolls in his tank, a laugh he would later regret. Because when he looked beyond the mermaids, his eyes made out two forms, the little girls, beneath the water’s surface. 

And the mother would go mad when she heard, at least for a while, sitting on the steps in front of her house, legs wide, without panties. A shame a man passing by was the one to call out to let her know. Her people would send for her. News would travel back that she’s now cleaning for white people in New York. Many on June Plum Road wouldn’t know what to do with this information but to wonder if she remembers to wear panties. 

To Hygeia

Goddess, I have watched your motions gratify the world.
Votaries of all casts and ages, genders, voices
bow to you as they must, for nothing follows without you.

Introduction to Statistics

Suppose we surprised him coming off the path
into the patch of pines and saw palmettos,
two girls with our child-sized bikes. Suppose
he had a reason to chase us back to the path,
his pale face flushed with—what? Desire? Wrath? 

Illustration by Gosia Herba

Your Father Would Be Proud

His father’s apartment, with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Oriental rugs, and views of Central Park, filled Helen with longing. She had always imagined herself in New York. She had always wanted a claim to that city’s streets. 

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