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The train moved through my senses,

a smear of spilled India ink,

and underneath the weight of my tongue,

I tasted oranges.

I told you this, three times,

that I always start my stories the same,

with these words:

Once there was a girl, and her death.

Her death lived with her all her days.

I wanted to be Shahryar,

and you could bring me a thousand wonders.

The last one you keep for yourself

and it could have lit up the bright spaces,

me sitting cross-legged, a ragged lotus,

my nails scratching snakes into your feet.

You could have loved me, so impossible,

and I could have wistfully let you go.

Somehow that sounds more heroic,

falling onto my shield, my ribs splayed,

and hyacinths could have grown from my lungs,

saying always, This here was a beautiful thing.

Nancy Sheng was born in northern China and raised in a ragtag fashion across Canada and the U.S. She is currently a graduate student in library sciences. Her work has been previously published in Goblin Fruit and Stone Telling.
Current Issue
13 May 2024

This variation on the elixir of life pairs the flavour of roasted roc with the medicinal potency of the philosopher’s stone. But buyer beware: this dish isn’t for everyone.
mourn and lament while mixing, then cut down a tree
At the end of every tunnel, there was an epithelium of silence that deluged the larynx.
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