Alma Clark

Room of Darkness

By MONA KAREEM
Translated by SARA ELKAMEL

Image of a balcony

 

Farwaniya, Kuwait

“Darkness alone is in my voice.” — Jean Sénac

 

I am of darkness.
My nation is an aging butterfly,
the desert my prayer.

I wash in rain’s saliva.
In my supplications, the sun dances
on the tips of her toes.

Room of Darkness
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The Desire Tree

By MEERA NAIR

By the time the car stops at the end of the dirt road, we’ve been jolting along for an hour. Before us is the banyan tree we have come to see—its giant trunk surrounded by hanging roots, its distant crown shutting out the sky.

It is summer in Kerala, and the world is liquid and shimmery with heat. The roads and fields are parched, waiting, suspended in a burning delirium for the moment the monsoon will break. My aunt Sudha and I have just driven through miles of sun-blasted paddy fields, but the abrupt immensity of the tree makes the light feel shadowed, as if dusk has fallen at noon. A hushed feeling comes over me as the dark, looming presence asserts itself.

The Desire Tree
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Dream Catcher

By LOGAN LANE

 

FROM: Tracy Burks <[email protected]>
TO: Office of Coordination <[email protected]>
SUBJECT: How the Cookie Crumbles
DATE: August 3, 2043

FROM THE DESK OF TRACY BURKS

Dear Interns,

I will make this short but not sweet, unlike the chocolate delicacy at the center of this blunder:

Whoever is eating cookies in The Loomery, cease. Did you not see the signs in the hall outside? Did you not read the pamphlets on initiation day? Surely not, because you would’ve noticed they read in large Impact font: DO NOT EAT INSIDE THE LOOMERY.

Dream Catcher
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Jerome Sons

By TERRI WITEK

 

I ask my sons what they want from St. Hieronymos, too old to befriend. Red hat, my dead son says. Fat book, my live son requests. No one mentions a lion, meandered in.

The lion asks for an edit= do these sons mark jars filled with body parts? Baboon son, jackal son? They flatten to black-rimmed eyes. No.

I climb through mountain sons. They are finding how far blue takes them. They are learning the ropy muscles of a man (higher animus/ they r anonymous) becalmed in a cave mouth. His red hat and book, the little fire.

Jerome Sons
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Maiden’s Tower

By TARA SKURTU

 

We pass a lighthouse and you tell me the legend—
a seer, an emperor, his daughter, the snakebite;
the tower he built to keep her at the edge of the sea—
when an old woman passes us on the ferry,
sniffs us twice, You are in love, I smelled it!
and last night on the island, over fresh fish
and a pitcher of ice-cloudy raki, I asked how
many words for love in your language:

Maiden’s Tower
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Geist

By KATHLEEN HEIL

At an artists’ collective near the Polish border about an hour from Berlin, I’d been taking a break from translating texts into English, a task I once enjoyed but was beginning to resent, as I was beginning to feel invisible—or was it burnt out?—in any case, I was glad to get away for a few days: it was my first vacation since I-don’t-know-when, and I’d begun to feel my soul was spent. Over lunch on my last day there, a woman from Seoul who went by the nickname Hae—a transliteration of the word “sun” in Korean, she said—asked what the word in German was for “soul.” Actually, the woman sitting next to her asked, but the woman sitting next to Hae came from Spain and was shy about her English, so when she directed the question at me I heard the word as “sol”—we’d spent the week speaking both Spanish and English—and said, in reply, “Sonne.”

Geist
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