Posts Tagged: Feature

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Fiction Feature: “The Stray Curse” by Karen Heuler

This is the kind of thing that happens all the time, though not to everyone and not everywhere.

Gina had long brown hair and brown eyes and smooth skin and a mother she didn’t see every day; she was grown and had her own world and that was the way it should be; Gina’s mother had left her mother, who had left her mother, a long string of mothers being left and knowing they had done it in turn, and turn again.

But all of a sudden Gina felt a strange tug at her back. It began with an itch, then a bruise, then a feeling like there was a hook in her spine. She turned around to see what it was, and as soon as she turned the pain went away. But when she shrugged and turned again, it came back fierce and strong. She couldn’t move forward; it hurt her back; she turned around and took a step then a hurried step. She was sure it was her mother pulling her home.

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Poetry Feature: “The White-Haired Girl,” by Sally Wen Mao

1945

I will return your spurn with a curtsy
whipped in boiling water.
Cut the red ribbon from my hair,
what’s left of my youth. Lotus seeds slide
down your throat—does it taste chaste?
The fugue of winter casts shadows
on the furnace—how it glowers
like the limpets buried in my hair,
handfuls of which you pull
towards shore, toward stagnation.
My destination is not this village,
where boars shear off bad skin
in the river, dung and alderflies
thirsting for flesh. Am I maid
or mendicant? The unwrinkled bed
is not what sky aches for. I am no swooning
debt. Next I say escape and small gullies
bloom before me—dendriform paradise:
mountain, grotto, kindling. The lightning
in my temple wards off wolves. I bow
only to pick the ticks off my shoes,
brand them clean across your cheekbones.

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