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Sobek, the crocodile-headed God of the Nile,
does not take that form here.
Here he’s a ‘gator, a thicker snout
and less aggressive than his toothy cousin.

Our Sobek is mellow, jazz-drunk,
clawed toes slow-stirring thick, murky bayous.

We never held Second Line for the Quarter,
just packed what wasn’t moldy or soggy and left.

We fled north, but still the water,
mud-brown, brackish and slick with silt creeps up and up
from our drowned cities in the south,
where skyscraper foundations rot in floating meadows of
Giant Salvinia, water hyacinth and hydrilla.

Sobek, God of the Flood, followed
taking his rest on Cypress limbs
tangled with Spanish Moss.

Reluctant to leave the land named Home,
we stopped just short of the state line,
a place we never thought to visit and once snickered,
“They might as well be Texans.”

Welcomed into a city already bloated with evacuees,
the people were hospitable, friendly,
but we are the guests who overstayed
and this time the water will not recede.

When our hosts realized we could not go back,
their smiles stiffened and shrank.
Homes and shelters closed as stores ran low.

But in arms and ammunition,
we all are awash in bounty.

Sobek, circles the perimeter of our lives,
his only prey the land.
He floats into the shallows that run for miles now,
squelches onto the bank in the hot, sullen darkness
and waits.



Loretta Casteen is a writer and artist in Shreveport, LA. Her publishing credits include Woman’s World, Pregnancy Magazine, Angels On Earth, Twisted Boulevard, and Strange Horizons, among others. Her collection of short stories and poems, Children of Elder Time, is available for Kindle download.
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16 May 2022

we are whispered into this new land, this old land, whispered anew
i tuck myselves under coffin nails. and then i am the sun like a nairobi fly, burning spine and skin.
The last deer in heaven flees, and Sestu pursues.
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We would like stories that are joyous, horrific, hopeful, despondent, powerful and subtle. Write something that will take our breath away, make us yell and cry. Write unapologetically in your local patois and basilects in space; make references to local events and memes to your heart’s content. Write something that makes you laugh and cry. Indulge in all the hallmarks of your heritage that you find yourself yearning for in speculative literature, but know that we will not judge you based on your authenticity as a Southeast Asian. 
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