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By Brittney Uecker

You seem so much kinder than before when you say that you missed me, that you’ll message me, or you’ll try at least — you haven’t paid your phone bill in months — and before I walk away, you ask if I want a hug and I say I do, so you wrap me up in all six feet of you, and later, when you do message me, I go to the creek where we first made out and proceed to get drunk — bottle-of-wine, go-to-McDonalds, tweet-about-God-drunk — and I decide I need to see you, I will see you, so I call three times and you don’t answer, so I drive to your place anyway and don’t knock, just take a sharp boozy breath and open the door and thank God you are alone, sprawled out and sleepy on the couch just like I want you to be, and that’s where it starts to get hazy and I remember just flashes, like when we go outside to smoke and talk about TV and you tell me my hair looks weird when I try to flip it, so I remind you that you missed me and your laugh is nervous and not reassuring, but you ask me if I want to lay down and I follow you to your room where miraculously, you have an air mattress, next to the massive pile of all your possessions, and miraculously, you have condoms, and all I can think about is that you’ve fucked other girls since the last time, so I fuck you ravenously, like it’s slipping away, and your hair feels thicker in my hands when you tell me I’m too loud and I tell you to get behind me and afterward, we dress unceremoniously and go back out for another smoke, where the sun has set and the mosquitos are rabid, where I scratch angry, bleeding welts into my legs as you tell me your roommates will be home soon so I have to leave and I ask you for five more minutes so I can revel in the heat of your thigh against mine, revel in how impossible and destructive I can be, how when given an inch, I will violently take a mile, how I still think you’re kind and how I am so so sad.

Brittney Uecker is a librarian and writer living in rural Montana and collecting tattoos and not reducing her caffeine intake at all, nope, not one bit.

By Andi Myles

You ask me what you are worth—which I do not take to mean your value in terms of currency—though it is easy enough to calculate given your height and weight and the approximate percentage of elements that form the molecules that keep you alive and if forced to guess, I would say that your body, deconstructed, contains approximately $129 worth of oxygen, $384 of carbon, $7.20 of Nitrogen, and so on and so forth, finally supplying me with the number of $1,985.77; nor do I pretend to think that you mean your value as determined by the market, $18.70 per hour, but instead surmise that you wish to know your intrinsic worth as a person and, yet again, I am forced to make assumptions: that you do not want to know that your worth is nothing to the Prime Minister of Latvia, to the President of the United States it is only 1/169,000,000 (less since you don’t live in a swing state,) that you are worth only the dollar to the beggar in the street that you stopped to empty your pockets for, and, given your lack of newsworthy accomplishments, worth nothing to humanity as a whole (at this point I feel I should remind you that you are priceless to your mother) but I sense, however, that what you truly desire to know is your worth to me, specifically, and, I suppose, hope to hear how my life would end with yours, that I would never love again nor desire another bond and that I would, if forced, take you to every ancient place I visited, longing only to be with you again—which is, perhaps, how I should answer but we have always—if not always, at least since we sat up two gut wrenching nights in a row leaving each other again and again until we finally decided to stay, as we said, “for now”—valued honesty above all else, so I will admit that while I cannot know without a doubt, since worth is most quantifiable at the object’s moment of loss, time and absence are unkind to memory and though I would think of you occasionally—when I pass that Thai place I love and you hate or see a trailer for a movie I think you might like but not, however, on anniversaries since I am, as you know, notoriously forgetful with random dates like that—I predict, with the least amount of doubt I can muster, I would move on after your loss, in all likelihood rather quickly which, I know, is unsatisfactory because it does not answer the question—it only supplies in the negative, that is, what you are not worth to me—which is everything—and I am forced to answer that, while I cannot narrow the vocabulary between something and everything, I believe you already have the answer you sought.

Andi Myles is a Washington DC area science writer by day, poet in the in between times, and her work has appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Evocations Review, and Willows Wept Review, among others.

Art by Tami Hattis.

By DS Levy

Where the old Polk and Meisenheimer roads merge, winding down to the Sagatuchee River, a serpentining of copper-colored and swiftly-flowing water clotted with sticks and dead leaves, and the carcass of one swollen-bellied beaver, a boy no older than eleven, maybe twelve, steps into the ankle-high water with his bare feet, the water so cold it cuts like a knife, but he doesn’t care about that or the silt oozing between his wrinkled toes, or the tiny bluegill nipping at his ankles, or the pencil-thin snake gliding over the water, darting to the other side and slipping between stalks of dune grass before a golden eagle, atop a fir tree, alights, hangs in midair, and swoops down, grabbing the writhing snake in its talons, then soars back to its regal perch and watches as the sun glints off the dappled surface and the boy, swept into the middle of the no longer copper-colored but dark, opaque green water, disappears.

DS Levy lives in the Midwest; her fiction has appeared in many journals and has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best Microfiction, and was included in Wigleaf's Top 50 2021 and Longlist 2022.

Photo by DS Levy.

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