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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
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
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