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Somewhere patio lanterns swing softly through fog and the smell of salt. Somewhere your cat, ginger-haired, precise in the placement of its feet, sitting on the ledge created by the open double windows, watches through the screen the leaves of the red maple drip rain on one another. Somewhere particles, to the north and to the south, spiral around a geomagnetic field line.

Somewhere the lingering juice of strawberries brings your tongue to your lips. Trapped between two mirror points, I already hear them yielding, the rasp of your teeth over those tiny seeds, as the others reach for your fingertips from the bowl. Red stains feather across your wet fingers, a pattern like the veins of leaves. Somewhere an ion or electron slows as it enters a stronger magnetic field, and is turned back. Somewhere your hand tightens on a waist and your fingers pinch almost to pain.

The overhead fan turns lazily, barely stirring the air, which is not only still but still warm, and steam from the shower fills the room as your fingers loosen with heat. Somewhere the stronger field makes the spiral flatten and unwind in the opposite direction. I can feel your skin even miles away, a tactile memory real as salt, as soap, as ashes.

And somewhere a vocal line opens on a fluttering note -- fragile as shale, frenetic as plovers -- and suddenly the magnetosphere becomes you. Everything is made of sunlight and wings, cyclotron motion, iridescent feathers, helical trajectories, jewel tones, and we glance off them like a stone off a pond.

 

Copyright © 2002 Joanne Merriam

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Joanne Merriam is a Canadian poet and novelist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has recently appeared in The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead, and Orbis Quarterly International. She is currently working on a novel. For more about her, visit her Web site.



Joanne Merriam is the publisher at Upper Rubber Boot Books. She is a new American living in Nashville, having immigrated from Nova Scotia. She most recently edited Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good, and her own poetry has appeared in dozens of places including Asimov's, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and previously in Strange Horizons.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
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Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
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Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
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Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
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Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
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Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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