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Fosters Freeze [private]

For a genealogy assignment I took a blood test. I found out I am O positive. My mom is A negative, which seems very fitting. My dad is B positive. This alone would normally frighten me. Needles should freeze in hell. I told my dad I was scared but wouldn’t cry when I got pricked. He laughed, pinched my arm. Oh, positive. After this, many things became apparent. 

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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. 


Two years after her mother’s death, Jane’s boyfriend asked her to marry him, and nine months later, they moved across the country to start their new life. Jane was twenty-nine, ready to step away from Phoenix after a hard few years. Ryan had taken a job at a recording studio in Tennessee, and he pointed out that the public schools there were as bad as the ones in Arizona, so she could easily fail teaching fourth graders in either place. Her father was a kind, if distant, ichthyologist, and he seemed to think the move was maybe not ideal, but maybe not a bad idea. Jane was excited to start over. She’d been adopted when she was six, and she thought of six as the beginning of her real childhood. As they drove out of town, she decided twenty-nine was the beginning of her real adult life.

Illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti

Seeing Rose

It’s about a half-hour train ride to Yonkers, much of it along the river. You come out of the city, off the island, and countryside appears—green strips of landscape, woody bluffs, brown water, telephone lines. 

Photo by Jeff Sharlet


For two years I’ve been walking into the tall grass to take snapshots of this field at the top of the “crooked mile,” a winding hill that leads into the shallow valley of swamp and stream in which my house stands, just past the sign that reads pavement ends. I use my phone. I want the rough eye. The note. The diary. The record. The document. This time, this moment, unplanned.

Illustration by Jon Krause

June 25

Then twelve months passed and once again: the company picnic. A day greeted with joy, with dread, with stoic indifference, depending on who you were. 


We stack wafers the length of our arms
in half-hour rotations, inspect the chocolate coats.
You’ve eaten a Kit Kat before-—at least
you’ve seen them on newsstands next to gum,
but this isn’t about the finished product.
This is about the factory, the chugging machines