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Fiction

I was a girl once but I slipped

Every day Kalu Bala’s wife cries beside the river that must not be crossed. We are told, she is waiting. Waiting for Kalu Bala to swim up to the bank, his hands overflowing with fish that he must have caught in the waters. A deep fog settles over the river, an unnatural milky white substance […]

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Lipopire

It’s my lunch break and I’m standing outside Victoria’s Secret, looking at the models in the posters, looking at the mannequins, when it finds me for the first time. It comes up behind me. Sneaks up. Whispers right into my ear. It whispers, you don’t look like them. It whispers, you can’t wear those things. […]

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Welcome, Karate

Jock and the real estate agent crunched toward each other across the gravel lot. A gust of hot desert wind flattened Jock’s fleece sweater against her torso. The sweater was the most presentable item of clothing she’d shoved in her duffel two days ago and twenty degrees below this here and now. She waved, sleeve […]

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The Urn

I dusted the window panes and rolled up the curtains because Akwaugo was visiting. I first met her at the Lagos book festival. Someone in the crowd had stood up and asked a question on race in Africa, especially in black Africa. Did it exist? If we were all cleped ‘dark skinned’, was racism existent […]

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The 21 Bus Line

I was headed down Hennepin that morning after the production meeting for The Gay Mob when a dart of movement in a grate below the sidewalk caught my eye. Two pairs of berry-bright black eyes regarded me for just one second, and then the baby raccoons slipped out of sight. I waited a little bit […]

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Water Child

The barbing and hairdressing salons, which usually stayed open until past midnight, were closed. Most of the drinking parlours were shut, though the cracks underneath their doors still showed strips of light, suggesting that they had not run out of cold beers. Bugaty Club where the lights flickered like small flashes of lightening and music […]

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Of Claw and Bone

Your mother begins collecting the tiny skulls as soon as the flutter of your limbs causes her heart to skip. She curates each specimen, ensuring it originates from a disparate source: A mouse carcass picked from a ravine trail; a desiccated red squirrel shipped from her sister out East; a marmot, snared in a field […]

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Crooked House

I always said I got to get out of here, but that was just talk. Now I for sure mean it. Anyway, I’m almost sixteen, so I have to go. Ma and Pa say sixteen is the limit for boys staying in the house. My two older brothers took off when they hit sixteen, one […]

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Hello

Most people—if not all ran from the creature Hello, or ignored it altogether whenever it visited their village, city, country. Except one approached it with curiosity: the Child with the Blurred Face. Hello. Its tongue whipped back and forth from a large cavernous mouth. Lips puckered from protruding boils that were pearl-like in their veined […]

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Worm Blood

Gunnora kept her arms covered. Bare, they looked too much like farmland—or what farmland had come to look like. Burnt, pockmarked patches in corn, the dark smudges black as the circles under her eyes. The worms might burn themselves out for air, but the fields needed beating for all that, to keep the flames from […]

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