By Lee Anderson

The garden lights itself on fire and the first thing I smell through the kitchen window is burnt tomatoes, zucchini, basil, like a dinner party for inviting no one but ex-lovers to, and I am stuck gripping the ceramic edge of the counter while my husband rushes out, stamping on blades of fire, billowing his shirt like he can produce a big enough gust of air to simply blow it away, wondering why we don’t have a garden hose or anything at the ready for emergencies like this—like what if it were planned and this implosive bonfire were something where we could throw the past or present or just anything we felt we could no longer hold close into the flame—and the white paint on the scalloped cabinetry overhead begins to crinkle and sizzle, melting, dripping on my forehead like Ash Wednesday; I know it’s over, it’s all over, peppers and squash consumed by something we can’t predict or even stop, when he looks at me through the smoky window, eyes pleading, and I can't even look back at him when my ring slips off my left hand and into the sink basin, circling and circling and circling the drain.



Lee Anderson is a trans writer with roots in the Pacific North-, Mid-, and Southwest, landing in Chicago with an MFA from Northern Arizona University; their writing can be found in Salt Hill Journal, The Rumpus, and Gertrude, among others.


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

By Briana Feinberg

You are unfathomably infinitesimal—our entire planet is a mere tenth of a pixel seen from the edge of our solar system, four billion miles away; so minuscule that all 7.7 billion earthlings could fit inside our sun a million times, and that same sun could fit inside UY Scuti, our galaxy's largest star, another 1700 times, that star being so large that a single revolution around it would take 10,000 years, that is to say this December would mark the end of an orbit that began long before the oldest ancestors on our family tree lived, before Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart and George Washington and Shakespeare and Joan of Arc and Jesus and Aristotle and Hatshepsut and even Gilgamesh, an orbit that began before history was recorded, when the woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers were drawing their last breaths back in January of this very, very long year on our very, very little planet full of the tiniest living beings, of which humans make up only .01%; and that enormous star is one of several hundred billion in our galaxy, which is itself only one of a hundred billion galaxies in the universe—and yet you, my dear son, are made up of seven octillion atoms that came into being 13 billion years ago and have seen the interiors of stars, traveled through galaxies, erupted in ancient volcanoes, crashed onto ocean shores, passed through dinosaurs, and maybe even Beethoven or Einstein before forming the unique and unfathomable you.



Briana Feinberg is a museum educator, stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, and Buy Nothing aficionado, who delights in experiencing cosmic vertigo.


Photo by Cindy Dean Jones.

By Joey Hedger

You can bite off your finger as easily as you could bite through a carrot, someone told me once, a parent or an aunt or an uncle or a cousin—I do not remember—except that your brain will refuse to let you, they said; psychologically, you literally could not bite down hard enough to do it, because your subconsciousness has this little safety switch that knows you better than you do, that understands your brain and urges and guards you from it; but that must be wrong, because I now really really want to do it, to bite off my fingers, and I can feel this urge gnawing at me, causing me often to stare down, lick my lips, imagine they are carrots, imagine my whole arm is a carrot, and my chest and torso and legs, too, and it all goes orange, and there I am, devouring my own body, one bite at a time like Saturn devouring his son, his carrot—orange teeth, orange stains across my chin, peels scattered around me: If only my brain could stop me from this.



Joey Hedger is author of Deliver Thy Pigs (Malarkey Books, forthcoming) and In the Line of a Hurricane, We Wait (Red Bird Chapbooks); you can find him at joeyhedger.com.