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Illustration by Sergio Garcia Sanchez

Mary When You Follow Her

In the autumn of Maria’s eighteenth year, the year that her beloved father—amateur coin collector, retired autoworker, lapsed Catholic—died silently of liver cancer three weeks after his diagnosis, and the autumn her favorite dog killed her favorite cat on the brown, crisped grass of their front lawn, and the cold came so early that the apples on the trees froze and fell like stones dropped from heaven, and the fifth local Dominican teenager in as many months disappeared while walking home from her minimum-wage, dead-end job, leaving behind a kid sister and an unfinished journal and a bedroom in her mother’s house she’d never made enough to leave—

Illustration by Anders Nilsen

She Cannot Work

She cannot work when the man is in the house. She is working on a project that she has been working on for a long time, and ever since she began living with the man the project has been moving slowly and she is no longer sure that she will finish it. In the evenings, after they watch the TV show they both like, she and the man lie on the couch together reading or looking at their computers, and sometimes she will try, secretly, to work on her project, but, after a few minutes, the man will hear her hesitant typing and look up from his book to ask her what she is doing. She can’t tell him about the project because once, when she felt tired of his questions about it, she told him she had stopped working on it. Too many things had changed since she began all those years ago, she said, so it no longer made sense to continue, and instead she would spend her spare time on her studies. But the truth is that she has continued.

Illustration by Amy Friend

Lord of the WASPs

My grandmother bought her first island in 1952. It was eight acres in the shape of a meaty drumstick, a hunk of sunbaked granite off the eastern shore of the Georgian Bay, in southern Ontario.

Factory


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