Size / / /

    for Miou

We will have to rebuild you from scratch,

when this is over, he says,

then smooths down his brown beard

speckled with grey. His beeper sounds

and he scuttles away

with a homey spring in his steps.

His white coat always has a wrinkle

or two in strategic locations;

you can almost see the way

he throws it across a car seat

in his white van like yeshiva boys

driving a mitzvah mobile

would toss their spare shirts

on a back seat, leaving them to fester.

You construct a scene around an illusion;

the coats are hospital property,

never to be removed from the building.

He speaks of hashgacha pratis,

the unceasing divine providence

that micromanages the life of each soul.

His large kipah slips to the side

and he pulls at it with practiced fingers

that might cut the flesh in the same

swift, darting way—

no, he is a neurologist, not a neurosurgeon.

He looks away—outside the window

spring is gathering force.

You are well behind the front lines.

He says this is inevitable,

but we can go into it prepared.

Beads of sweat on his temples.

He's never driven an armored vehicle

and he has never lived through

the searing pain of the divine influx,

he does not know what it's like to do battle

and call the angels, like comrades, by name;

but he knows the words,

all the heimishe Ashkenazic terms

of a more placid childhood.

You find his bare existence reassuring.

This is your tradition,

not the Goetic names for all the demons

or the convoluted Enochian cyphers

occupying and freeing up the mind.

He is the first one you come across

who speaks with the same words

you heard in your midrasha as a girl.

Yet he's not a Chabadnik, he studied at YU,

swore by the newfangled philosophy of

Torah and secular learning.

You can see through him, literally,

and you expect him to flinch

in instinctive revulsion and dread

like the other doctors draw away from

the divine warriors of your kind.

His motions remain steady.

You can see through the world

and soon you will fall, burning,

like the serafim constantly destroyed

by the closeness of the sacred

and reconstructed in every second

simply so they can persist.

He will be there to rebuild you,

with his gentle smile informed by

merciful words of Torah uttered at

a hundred thousand Shabbes tables.

Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person and a resident alien in the US. E writes both fiction and poetry, and eir work has been published in a variety of venues like Strange Horizons, Clarkesworldand Apex, among others. E reviews diverse fiction, poetry, and nonfiction at Bogi Reads the World. You can follow em on Twitter at @bogiperson. Bogi also has a webserial, Iwunen Interstellar Investigations.
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
Load More
%d bloggers like this: