Size / / /

Middle-aged and bifocaled, she waits at the stop sign for them to fly past,

windows open to welcome the hot air—better than watching through haze.

She grips the wheel, each new wrinkle on her hand another impossibility

between them.  Out of time.  Displaced person.  She is not supposed to be there,

her silence like a cancer—and everything vinegar on her tongue.

She is afraid to blink, to miss them, while the ice cream melts in her trunk.

Suddenly they ride with eyes ablaze, unfettered and invincible for fifteen minutes,

charging past cars, ignoring traffic lights.  There is freedom in each small rebellion.

 

The oldest with his curly hair and wild eyebrows seems to recognize her.

His mouth a full grin, his braces shining, he winks with a fleeting confidence that only comes

on two wheels in motion.  Fearless and beautiful in awkward angles,

he is like all the boys from books she adored when she was young; clever boys

with secrets—closet skeletons, noble hearts, and stepmothers' curses.

 

The bikes whir and flap, playing cards clipped to their spokes with clothespins,

and as the youngest passes, she sees the seven of clubs fastened to one wheel,

punctuating his ride with a clack-clack-clack that brings the bike one step closer

to the roar of a motorcycle.  She watches her brothers as they turn the corner

and rise up off the ground, trading wheels for wings, leaving this world behind—

endangered and unstoppable.  On the seat beside her, under needles and starwort,

are six shirts tear-stained, one still not finished, and behind her the siren draws near.



Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of The Silence of Trees and founding editor of Conclave: A Journal of Character. Her poetry and prose have been published in Gone Lawn, Jersey Devil Press, Mythic Delirium, Danse Macabre, Fickle Muses, Abyss & Apex, Pedestal Magazine, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, and other places. Since earning her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, goth cocktail waitress, and co-producer of an independent feature film. Her first comic book, Sticks & Bones, created with artist Madeline C. Matz, was successfully crowdfunded via kickstarter. They are now working on the next three issues to be published by First Comics. Her website is www.vdlupescu.com.
Current Issue
20 May 2024

The Lunar Colony AI Begins to Build a Monument to the Programmer’s Father 
You can see him / because you imagine reconciliation.
The Spindle of Necessity 
Andrew was convinced the writer had been trans. By this point his friends were tired of hearing about it, but he had no one else to tell besides the internet, and he was too smart for that. That would be asking for it.
SONNET FOR THE UNBELIEVER 
It’s your turn now. / the bombs have come in the same temper— / you in your granny’s frame
Monday: After World by Debbie Urbanski 
Wednesday: Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park 
Friday: The Hard Switch by Owen D. Pomery 
Issue 13 May 2024
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Load More