Once, a good morning or a how-are-you rose from me like a wave. I smiled that little jack-o-lantern grin, as my sister Nan called it. And once I cruised the streets in my Subaru, just feeling empty streets at dusk, while streetlamps came on, feeling the smooth motion of turning wheels, the rise of oldies and classical from radio, Elvis or Tchaikovsky accompanying me home.Continue reading “Good Morning by Yash Seyedbagheri “
The train horn rises through my window. It starts as a hum, but rises to a wail, insistent and bursting, fragments of noise burying themselves in my ears, in my body.
I cover my ears again, sitting on my bed. Mother tells me to think of anything else, moving closer and closer. She plops beside me, a defeated little plop.
“Close your eyes, Nicky,” she says, her lips quivering. “Take your mind elsewhere.”Continue reading “Crack by Yash Seyedbagheri “
My older sister Nan and I climb up our makeshift tree house armed with our latest swiped goodies. Vienna sausages. Saltines. Sardines. Plastic Merlot bottles. The Sutter Home brand, not anything fancy, but durable. Plus, it’s enough to give you a good buzz, but not enough to get truly, raging drunk. Not like Mom.Continue reading “Cold by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Spring breaks through my empty walls and drawn curtains, an impenetrable fortress. It spills onto cell phones where sisterly jokes about my old-school wardrobe and loving and laughing face emojis no longer wait. Sunlight taunts the charcoal-colored shadows that keep me company on empty couches that smell of musk, armpits, Malbecs, and sativas.Continue reading “Renaissance by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Streaming services kill our multiplex. The multiplex my sister and I went to Friday nights, as regular as anything. They don’t say it outright, but I know Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays even, people are hiding behind the glow of screens, including some of my own friends. They sink into names like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, contrivances with big letters and feigned cleverness.Continue reading “Rewind by Yash Seyedbagheri”
At the coffee shop, all the tables are full, both the rectangular tables and the smaller square ones. People fill each side, hunched over computers and stacks of notes. There are boyfriends and girlfriends in turd-colored hoodies and skimpy white tank-tops, parents and children dissecting fractions and Abraham Lincoln, laughter, hugs, shoving, F-bombs deployed with cheer, fusillades of life fired into my ears.Continue reading “Empty Histories by Yash Seyedbagheri”
My older sister Nan makes promises. Promises to visit, promises to talk soon. Drops “luv yas” in, hasty afterthoughts. Texts that she’s proud of me too, even if they’re in sentence fragments.
But the promises keep rising and rising. Talk tomorrow, visit next month, two months. Promises are splayed across my consciousness.Continue reading “Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri”
The waitress who has taken my order wears a sepia-coloured dress, checkers faded and hem ruffled. She excuses herself as she leans in and wipes the table with a damp cloth. On her sleeve is a single red, round button. It gleams. She asks me something. My car is parked between two cargo trucks. I’m not usually the type of person who visits roadside diners. The red, round button reflects the light from the fluorescent lamp, its four holes laced with loose black thread.Continue reading “Ladybird by Joy Florentine”
Nick takes pictures of smiles, in coffee shops, at the store.
He especially likes crooked smiles, like his older sister Nan’s. When she smiled. When she was a being and not a shadow in the past tense. He’s tried to store her smiles like contraband. A smile on the way to bed, the two of them exchanging a glance. A smile pronouncing his nickname. Nicky. Or a smile while watching The Big Lebowski, a smile transforming into real, crackled laughter, especially when The Dude lit a joint without care.
But time makes it impossible to store things.Continue reading “The Shadow of Your Smile by Yash Seyedbagheri”
I slink across January ice. The sun shimmers over clear, cold icy sheen.
I look ahead, but still slip.
I flail, feeling the world tumbling. The sky leers, pale blue, puffed-up clouds surveying me. Frame houses line the street, staring with cheerful yellows and greens. Oak trees stare with naked arms.
I right myself, arms flailing. It’s a miracle, but relief evaporates, replaced by shadows of shame.Continue reading “Iceberg Theory by Yash Seyedbagheri”