Size / / /

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
18 Sep 2023

Ama’s arm rested protectively around the girl’s shoulder as the giant bird glided above, its head angling right to left. Violet-black wings soared across a cloudless sky, blocking the sun’s midday rays and swathing sections of the village in deep shadow. Given its size, this argentavis was one of her first, but too far above for her to differentiate by name. Even across the distance, Ama could feel its heartbeat synced to hers, their lives intertwined until death.
She is leaving the world that is pink with desire, on her gray cardboard rocket ship.
Issue 11 Sep 2023
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