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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.
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.

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

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.
Current Issue
4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
He came from a salt mine that used to be solid all the way through
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