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Each night I bid good evening to the great mass in my closet. Turn off the lights, turn on the fan, crawl into bed. It's getting harder now, to fall asleep, knowing what is coming, but 3 milligrams of melatonin does its job neat and tidy. I fall asleep on my back, hands splayed wide. I dream but do not remember.

The next night, I lie outside my closet doors for hours. Aching in the moonlight, I find it hard to breathe. I cannot sleep so I read The Metamorphosis, eyes wide and unfocused, words blurring like cars speeding down the street. I long to change instead of haunt. I dream of breaking the lineage.

I can feel it coming. Tonight I watch through the window carefully, butcher knife in hand. I know my focus should lie elsewhere. Tears keep escaping from my eyes and I white-knuckle the knife as if somehow that will stop the blade from rusting. The curtains all around me are a burial shroud, my last savior from the inside world. I dream of flowers on my grave.

My record player is broken again. I can no longer listen to Moonlight Sonata. I try to trace the grooves myself, dirty fingernails up on pointe. The scratching doesn't block out the call though. I disconnected my phone and found it here, in my head. I dream of my hands bound, tied to everyone before and after me.

The thing in my closet is bringing me home. I guess I’ve put it off long enough. I taste the raw steak I had for dinner, my last refuge from humanity. I should be ready, I know, and at least I’m prepared; dressed all in white, I am something to behold. I cannot brush my hair before I go, I can’t make myself do it. Even my hands refuse to move for once. I do not dream.

(You need not be afraid, you were born for this)

Alexis LaMantia is a poet-and-punk born and raised in New Jersey. They have a penchant for the queer, the morbid, and the holy. Find them on Twitter: @amjlamantia.
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
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