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By Adrienne Crezo

It is December and we must be brave.

— Natalie Diaz, "Manhattan is a Lenape Word"

Every year we're here, just you and me—each winter seven stars make a man, arms outstretched, the same shoulders over the same belt over the same sword sheathed and hanging to your knees, the same galaxy in plain sight in the same wavering line, every year right on time for dark by five, each winter rising over the horizon just barely survived, every year a little sharper, each winter crueler with this disease, but every year you find me here on the roof, shatterproof under your arc, waiting for you—the giant, the hunter—outrunning the scorpion I still won't spot in the dark come July, each winter a reminder that I outran an arachnid, too, and just barely arrived, but lived to complain, learned to regroup, every year a few miles farther from what hoped to wound me, each winter tuned to the key of stark, deprived of light, never enough vitamin D, another birthday here with you in the darkest trees, every year together November through Ides, ride-or-die outside, our dynamic duo a labor of love by degrees, just you and me waiting for the shove, hoping for a break, hand in my owned gloved hand, fingers crossed on the tightrope for a place to land, hopeful almost that I won't fall too far, too hard—under the stars we are both made of.

Adrienne Crezo is an editor and Pushcart-nominated writer of Comanche descent; she lives in Ohio.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado living in Oregon, by way of New Mexico; he records music as Tom Foe.

By Amy Barnes

it was dramatic and initially fun to watch like the day I saw real nuns zipline drunk at our company picnic, and I prayed on the factory floor for the first time in a long time, like I imagine those more gentle nuns might pray after they sobered up, with my clasped hands and folded knees an anchor in the factory storm of glass, but it wasn’t a prayer for forgiveness, instead I yelled Save Me God! as the bottles flew and the machines jammed and the metal caps flew out of the presses like tiny metal frisbees, like God’s frisbees during a tornado, circular weapons flying across the plant until one took out Mark from accounting’s eye, which was particularly ironic because he was only on the floor for a minute to count things; and when someone finally pulled the shutdown switch, there were paper bits of smiling wimpled women and headless body nun label scraps and glittering glass littering the factory aisles and I gawked at it all with all the other workers (but no real nuns) untilI I felt something wet on my left leg and with a wince, looked down expecting to see brown beer liquid but instead there was a pool of communion-colored blood, tamped down by a Blue Nun label, blood seeping and creeping out from the edges like consecrated wine a priest forgot to drink, a crown of glass fragments around the nun’s head like a Renaissance painting in need of restoration.

Amy Cipolla Barnes lives in the South with dogs and kids and words and at @amygcb on Twitter

Art by Viktor Talashuk.

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