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1. Take a walnut glazed
with the honey of their name.
Crush it with a mortar and pestle.

2. Gather the dried lavender of their voice,
and scent your hands with it.

3. Hold the gifted knife firmly,
and stab yourself where
memory resides in you.
Beware!
It is a tricky, slithery, too fast thing.
Be quick and sure.

4. Watch for the echoes of their scent
in the caverns within you, bioluminescent wonders.
Drown them in silence.

5. The swans will clamor
wings flapping, beaks snapping, asking
to deliver messages.
Resist.

6. Let the pythons wrap themselves
around you, constricting your lungs
till you learn again to breathe
underwater.

7. Soak in the shower
of an unseasonal rain,
or the silver ache of a snowstorm.

8. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.



Vijayalakshmi Harish is the author of Strangely Familiar Tales, a self-published collection of speculative fiction. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various journals and anthologies, including Kaleidotrope, Borderless Journal, and others. A voracious reader and enthusiastic gardener, she is always curious about all things mythological and magical.
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20 May 2024

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.
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It’s your turn now. / the bombs have come in the same temper— / you in your granny’s frame
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