By Mim Murrells

Tired of my worrying, my younger brother showed me a photo of an actual infected tattoo so

I would know what that kind of thing actually looks like, and I couldn’t tell if it was a

kindness or a cruelty; stagnant, the summer makes sharks out of flies.

Mim Murrells is currently eighteen years old and a Creative Writing student at UEA in Norwich, England.

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

By Neema Bipin Avashia

My first grade teacher deemed me cognitively disabled because I could not tie my shoes, hold a pencil, cut with scissors, complete puzzles, could not make my Brown skin white, and for 24 years after being in her class, I avoided all fine-motor tasks, so I typed instead of writing by hand, wore slip-ons instead of sneakers, refused to join the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle because my inability to grasp how the sharp and curving blanks and tabs fit together, felt somehow an indictment of my intellect, a failing I was unable to fix, until I met Laura, who gave me a photo puzzle for my birthday but ended up completing it all by herself while I battled strep throat, who then created a second photo puzzle for our surprise wedding ten years later where each guest got a piece and had to work with others to solve the mystery of why we were all gathered, who taught me the rules of puzzling—find all of the edge pieces and build out the frame, then sort and join the remaining pieces by color or pattern, and then, when doing the most complex parts of the puzzle, choose one piece at a time and hunt the board for the blank space that matches each tab shape—rules I didn’t learn growing up in an immigrant home where no one had time for puzzles, and no one knew the rules, either; thus I seek out puzzles now, let my mind go blank as I work on a color or pattern or corner, savor the tiny buzz of satisfaction that comes when I snap a tab into a blank, when I own the rules.

Neema Avashia is a teacher and writer whose book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, will be published by WVU Press in 2022.

Photo by Neema Avashia.

By Liz Enochs

I want to wear corduroy overalls and tops with spaghetti straps, hear dial tones from phones with finger holes, eat gummies that gush in my mouth, drink from glasses of bonneted geese, watch 1990s VHS recordings just for the commercials, play kickball at the church playground where a girl told everyone I was queer, sneak into the sanctuary and watch myself in the Christmas play, eavesdrop on my conversations with the only Black girl in children’s church, see the poster I hid under my bed so the Hansons wouldn’t become a “graven image” on my wall, visit my hometown before the trailer park became a shopping center, before my first boss became my sexual harasser, before my grandparents were buried — I want to hold the dog my dad shot in the woods because we couldn’t afford the vet, run from boys who made me laugh before they became men who made me cry, buy orange ice cream from a truck and stroll dirt roads with girls who became people I don’t talk to anymore, walk out of rooms where adults told me how not to get raped — but more than all of that, I want to know how and why and when nostalgia becomes grief.

Liz Enochs is a writer from southeast Missouri — more often than not, you’ll find her in the woods.

Art by Ellie Ladyman, an acrylic and watercolor painter who finds inspiration in being outdoors and spending time with family.