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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.

By Jacob Ginsberg

It’s at 6:12PM on a Monday after my last student of the day has cancelled on me and in my head I ask her “what do you want to do for dinner?” but instead of cracking the door to her office and asking as the cat wakes and stretches in her lap, I stare at myself in the mirror, stare into my new fridge, wish I had bought more vegetables, wish I had taken the air fryer; it’s at 6:13PM (for real, one minute after I started writing this — I have the timestamp to prove it) when maybe in her head she asks me “do we still have asparagus?” and “will you make some?” but instead of radioing through the walkie talkies we bought to chat from different floors without yelling, she texts me about the NASA spacecraft that’s about to crash into an asteroid (on purpose); it’s when, in an hour or so, I’ll watch a collision 6 million miles away from earth over a bowl of leftover pasta while she watches 3 miles away from me over a meal of I won’t know what; it’s when I’ll want to ask but don't; it’s when an asteroid 6 million miles away gets knocked a little further from (or closer to) the other asteroid it orbits.

Jacob Ginsberg (he/him) is a writer, teacher, and bird guy from Philadelphia whose work can be found in HAD, jmww, and other cool journals.

Photo by Adam Ginsberg.

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