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Listen for announcements.
Emergency instructions say the only things you need to worry about are
(1) Fire (2) Medical Emergency, and
The Police are dancing under the red lights
without their heads

Evacuate the car, onto the steel track
the air tastes like pennies down here and if you
   hold my hand tight enough maybe we can
      avoid the third rail
         the crackle of electricity, the swiveling light of a stranger’s flashlight

Just a bit further,
Survival is always a pinprick of light just out of reach, isn’t it?
   With our knees in the mud and sewage,
      we could pray,
      ask for a better second chance
         Assassinate our former selves

The tunnel’s just dark enough for a confession
don’t be shy
   Begging is a form of worship
      Worship, too, is a form of begging
         They never tell you that
            there is always more to lose

See the cameras? The scintillating eyes of a million strangers
waiting for you to fall
Hands up where they can see
like you’re reaching for the stars
   like you’d let them
      turn you to ash for a glimpse of god.

Angela Liu is a Nebula-nominated writer/poet from NYC. She formerly researched mixed reality storytelling at Keio University in Japan. Her stories and poetry are published in ClarkesworldThe DarkLightspeedkhōréō, and Uncanny Magazine, among others. Her debut short story collection, Beautiful Ways We Break Each Other Open, will be released in September 2024 with Dark Matter INK. Check out more of her work at or find her on Twitter/Instagram @liu_angela.
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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