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they come with their whole selves blown open,
staggering from the sea on new-cut legs, skin

like a peeled grape, raw and weeping. hands
already outstretched, itching to touch: trash

cans and beach chairs, tire treads, the skillet
heat of black asphalt. everything wild,

everything new, miracle of air and yawning
horizon. in my ugliest heart i hate them,

their kelp hair and sharp little teeth, their love
for this sand and its every jumping flea.

poor frail fish-girls, in need of some kind stranger
to wrap towels around their nakedness, feed them

on fruit and freshwater and slice the webbing
between their fingers. it won’t be me. i learned

alone, coughed up on the shore to teach my own
self about rent and shoes and loading a bus pass,

about sales tax and gasoline, about keeping
my head down and guarding my smiles. like a child

i chose this world, its cities and their bird-shit
sidewalks, its concrete highways with unchanging

views. at night i dangle my feet from the fire escape
to watch streetlights flash against the jewels

of my toenails, my ten great victories,
hard fought, dearly won. i do not think about

the ocean. overhead the moon hangs in a thick
dark void, hauling a tide i can no longer feel.

Maria Zoccola is a queer Southern writer with deep roots in the Mississippi Delta. Read her in Fantasy Magazine, DreamForge, The Massachusetts Review, Colorado Review, Spillway, Fence, and elsewhere.
Current Issue
3 Oct 2022

Lying in bed last night I felt fingers reach in, grabbing. I opened in spite of myself as you clawed me with your fingernails, flattened, panicked. Split throat, iron tongue, white masks ranged overhead, the rings on their fingers scraping me as they reached in to take you.
from my tower we climb, shroud as my veil. We leap on his fae steed
I tell smug Cyclops that I’m as gay as the next mutant, and that all mutants find themselves within battles
Get ready to feel hungry, because the theme for this quarterly roundup is food.
Wednesday: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo 
Wednesday: Where You Linger & Other Stories by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam 
Issue 26 Sep 2022
Issue 21 Sep 2022
Issue 12 Sep 2022
Issue 5 Sep 2022
Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
Issue 15 Aug 2022
Issue 8 Aug 2022
Issue 1 Aug 2022
Issue 18 Jul 2022
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