While the Rain Walked by Imogen Cassidy — When the colonists first came to Sydney they brought everything they thought they would need. They brought labour — in the form of the convicts — they brought their sheep and their cattle and their guns and their ideas. They brought death and destruction to the Kooris and called it education. They also brought their spirits.
Up On the Roof by K.M. Herkes — Every Friday, the girl on the roof planted snowmen. I watched her in silence every time she crept out the fire door and did her little ritual, and every Friday it bugged me more. Patrons aren’t allowed on the roof. The hulking HVAC units, the crunchy gravel, the slanted, begrimed skylights, and above all the wide parapets that made such perfect roosts—all those things belong to me and my sister and brothers.
Ancient Hunger, Silent Wings by David Bowles — Nicolasa Sandoval Murillo had not quite reached her thirteenth saint’s day when the hunger came upon her, sudden and sharp like talons round her gut, in the middle of the night. She crept wincing but quiet to the kitchen, where her grandmother’s clay olla of beans cooled slowly upon dying embers in the wood stove.
Balloon Rides by Thomas Wells — Clarissa needed a hot air balloon ride. The balloons filled the skies above the city with explosions of color, each one pure and unblemished, color in platonic form; red, a perfect pool of blood that dappled the sky until it floated away and was nothing but a pin-drop; blue, the ocean in a fairy tale; yellow, daisies growing in her imagination.
The Ghost of the Flower Market by Dorian Maffei — There is a ghost that lives in the San Francisco Flower Market at the corner of Brannan and 6th Street. The ghost, like the flower market, is nocturnal, and so he sleeps high in the rafters during the day, a shipping box that reads Fresh Flowers Keep Cool as his makeshift bed.
Blue Braid by Andrea Judy — The swamp smells of pennies as I step out of my car and stare at my fiancée’s house on the end of the dirt driveway. My phone and my GPS struggle to get any kind of service out here.
How Lily and Ivan the Terrible’s Son Saved the World from Shakespeare by M.K. Sauer — “He’s staring at you again,” Rurik said as he palmed through another rack of vintage clothing in the dim-lit shop. He passed by a chartreuse shirt with a highly pointed collar, a pair of purple plaid shorts, and a vest with six pockets stitched to look like music notes.
The Redemption of Lin Bai by Laura Duerr — As the sun set over the shattered Port Sel skyline, I stepped off the boat onto a rickety wooden dock. The boatman wordlessly accepted the cans of food I gave him in payment and began to row back across the oily lake.
Hyena Girl by M. Brett Gaffney — At thirteen, some girls grow fur, begin to hunt in packs, nubby tails wagging at the expectation of a kill. Backs hunched, heads pressed together over a dead thing.
Mom Kills Our Sunday Dinner with a Hatchet by Janice D. Soderling — The memory most trenchant from that time, played and replayed in solemn pantomime of death, or life, I can’t determine which, is how the headless chickens with a twitch would stubbornly stand up and rush around in widening circles, but without a sound
Asterius by Brit Graham — Stark sheets glare against smoke trails curling along your forearm, traverse the knob of elbow and gnaws along your bicep. The image, she curls up your wrist, engulfing your arm in contrast and light, ripping herself along your flesh, peeling back the grime of hard-won expectations.
A Thing That Melts by LeAnn Bjerken — As a child I stubbornly believed in magic and kept my snowman in the freezer cryogenically preserved Like Frankenstein I’d wanted to remake him fill out his melting insides with next year’s snow
Harvester by Cesar De Leon — How serene the harvest moon on the charming edge of a polished knife. How familial the flutter of black-witch moths around the buttery porch light.
Unicorns for Dummies by Minal Hajratwala — But no one is stupid in unicorn country. Each genius shimmies forth: the girl who sorts candies by color, only at Easter, murmuring mmm, the boy who still believes in communism.
Teething by M. Brett Gaffney — Sonny’s in her bare feet on the kitchen counter trying to fit a bowl into her mouth. There’s no food in it but still she swirls her tongue around the bottom like she’s mixing batter.
One Day Her Prince Will Come by William Nixon — she has lived in a cave, she has lived in a cottage she could be your twin