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I never met the person
I wanted to be.

They say I’m here somewhere
that I should just go look and I’ll find him
but my head holds me back.

Instead, I sip lemonade
on the front porch. It tastes
like ash going down. One of my doubles
throws a red rubber ball around for the Grim.

In the first place, which we were
so quick to leave, I dreamed
Of metamorphosis. I shed
my thick caterpillar skin
and became something new.

Something that is white light,
the hottest star, a
lit candle saved
for when the power goes out.

The version of me I don't recognize,
that circus mirror copy,
throws the ball too far
over the head of the Grim
into the treeline. The Grim
barks, it sounds like fireworks.
Runs off and emerges later to drop
Spit-drenched ball at the feet of myself.

We both grimace darkly at the wetness.
This is the similarity between us.

Maybe our teeth
are covered in dust and fog.
Maybe the truth of ourselves
is not destined for an exact black,
or white, or colorful bright.

I consider the ramifications of this.
Take the new skin
this place has offered me and try it on.
To test what this feels like to live
stuck between this and that.

My twin throws the sloppy ball.

I sip my lemonade.

Cam Kelley is a poet, fiction writer, aspiring teacher, and undergraduate student from Southern Maryland. She likes to craft language that feels warm and reassuring. Her work can be found published in The Best Teen Writing of 2016 and Left of the Lake Magazine.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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