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By Michaella Thornton

I am just one woman hacking through a lush floral arrangement mid-morning with a borrowed steak knife amid the office’s copy machine and coffee maker, tears streaming down my face as the smell of eucalyptus washes over me; on this seventh wedding anniversary, where my marriage is not a marriage but also not yet over because the gears of dissolution grind slowly, my girlfriend sends me hydrangeas the color of a tributary in my wrist—though the blueness of my body is an illusion of light; all blood is red when spilled, I assure you.

Michaella A. Thornton's writing has appeared in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, New South, among others, and she will gladly take the cannoli.

Photo by JV Genova, a nonfiction MFA student at Colorado State who takes photographs when she isn't writing.

By Sarah Minor

I had a friend who ate her brother and a friend with a pool in her basement and a friend who held me crying on a bathroom floor and kissed the boy I cried about the same day and I met a friend beneath a hand dryer and another buying pregnancy tests and I knew a friend who owned a dog who saved her mother from a blizzard by pointing the way home and I had a friend who loosened my nipple ring with pliers before the mammogram and a friend whose shirt I still sleep in and a friend who wore bubble wrap as a top and a friend who worked for months on a boat far from land where, at night in her bunk, she dreamed of the fishing net sailing into the hold and strangling her and I had a friend who kissed me and a friend who’d seen Jesus and a friend who threw a real dart at a map, moved 1000 miles, and stayed and I had a friend who died in a current and friend who loved my mother and a friend I double-crossed two times and one who gave me a tattoo and a friend with seven engorged ticks that I plucked off with my fingers and a friend who stood in my windowless bathroom staring at one spot on the ceiling until a large white feather floated down into her palm and I had a friend with a blackened aura and a friend who didn’t speak for a year and a friend who let her boyfriend touch me when I said I didn’t want it and I had a friend tell me that I’d lived many times and another who described me as “much shorter than she seems” and a friend whose mother sat on the couch after work every day chewing wintergreen candies and drinking Dr. Pepper and by 40 she had dentures and my friend had learned to drive the five hours home on unmarked back roads she’d memorized by following the gravel in both directions until two familiar paths crossed.

Sarah Minor is in love with her friends and is the author of Bright Archive (Rescue Press 2020).

Collage by Sarah Minor.

By Thomas Cook

Awake, rising, and sensing the cold absence, he would later covet that final moment of foggy confusion at the familiar sound of his father’s hunting rifle echoing from the garage below.

Thomas Cook lives in Indianapolis, which in 2014 was voted the top convention city in the country by USA Today.

Art by Zach Schwartz; more visuals @regalmurk on Instagram.

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