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By Brenna Cheyney

But what if the water in which I soak my cloth menstrual underwear infects the tiny cuts on my cracked hands fissured by endless washing to make sure that gone are all the footprints of bad bacteria and virus particles born from the human urge to kill and eat animals, something which I stopped doing five years ago because of the ecosystem collapsing carbon dioxide and methane emissions, which is why I choose reusable menstrual underwear to begin with, to make my powerful act of bleeding as earth friendly as possible, but what if I’m using too much water, more water than what is used to make tampons, more clean water than millions have access to in a day, water that could have been used to grow food, not that I currently have an edible garden, though I aspire to, and how will I have time to with all this rinsing and washing and reusing and cleaning…the thing they don’t tell you about a low waste lifestyle is the time consumption that a capitalist society doesn’t always allow for, the time and energy it takes to constantly be washing and cleaning your reusable wares and cooking from scratch while working full time and raising a family like a lot of folx do, but what if they didn’t have to work so many hours to make enough money to purchase their survival, wouldn’t that be great, a 30 hour work week, no a 20 hour work week, yeah that would be great, and if reusable wares were more accessible and affordable, I know that all of these factors combined would drastically decrease the amount of waste produced from eating and washing and bleeding, and speaking of bleeding, I hope I’m not bleeding through to my sweatpants made of cotton "fabric scraps found on cutting room floors and [cotton] grown without chemical pesticides or insecticides," and of course I have to pee again with all the healthy beverages I’ve been drinking, and of course I will have to wash my hands yet again, reinforcing the tiny cuts on my cracked hands, and in go the spent menstrual underwear into the soak tub, but what if the water in which I soak my bloody underwear infects the tiny cuts on my cracked hands fissured by endless washing to rid my hands of bad bacteria and virus particles and excrement particles and menstrual blood and slaughtered animal blood and the human notion of species superiority…what if?

Writer, performer, artist, activist, naturalist, non-binary, neurodivergent, sweet, witty, queer, empathic, ecocentric, sardonic, thoughtful, vulnerable, vocalist, impressionist, caretaker, dancer, lucid dreamer, not afraid to cry, but would much rather laugh: Brenna Cheyney.

by Christina Spiegel

Christina Spiegel is an ever so slightly disappointed, middle-aged, cartoonist who is worried that she may like you more than you like her.

By Carlos Contreras

—smoldering sunlight still hammers down like mallets on wooden marimba blocks but less beautiful, less beautiful than it once was because our world burns and the technicolor walls of Antigua, Guatemala now peel, revealing the city’s stained underbelly as tourism blooms and cars flood streets but they don’t share our air and we have no more room to breathe with ash in our streets and blood in our lungs, but it wasn’t always like this; I was six once—learning Spanish and red-cheeked when I couldn’t rrrroll my rs—and I remember stepping out into chilly mornings in July, before cuetes or carne asada, still fascinated with Star Wars and things boys loved, smiling for family pictures, but as the camera flash stained my retinas, I couldn’t imagine my family keeping that snapshot forever

in their minds, circulating an idea of Carlos until it became a definition that couldn’t be waived by the endless death march of time nor the simple changing of seasons, by fall I grew a bit taller, but photographs only capture the past and I am now different than was then, more beautiful, but now I am myself and my grandmother can’t imagine me being anybody other than Carlos, but I am not my name and I am not a lifeless photograph, I breathe and grow and change but when seasons shift and summer returns with a vengeance, it’ll be the same as it ever was, and that shimmering—

Carlos Contreras (they/them) is non-binary, Guatemalan, and working on a way to make it out of Texas.

Photo by Angello Pro.

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