Arrangements in Grey and Black, Blue, Green, and Yellow

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It is Linnea’s idea to set up the tent in the yard and Jimmy Jr.’s to play pirates.

“No one taught the boy that pirates sleep on ships?” James asks, dropping beside me on the wooden porch step and filling my sherry glass.

I smile. “He just wants company. You know . . .” I cover one eye with my hand. The doctor gave Jimmy Jr. his patch to correct a lazy eye; I fashioned a matching set for Linnea and her friend Ella.

We watch the kids at the end of the walk, their voices conspiratorial and happy. Across the street, the Smithson men are fixing up their mother’s place. Tomorrow James begins a new job, his first in a year.

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Saudade

Photo by Aaron Mello

“Have you been experiencing any problems?”

The doctor stares at me, fingers poised over his keyboard. The room is the colour of bone.

“What kind of problems?”

“Just general. How’s your sleep? Digestion? Aches and pains?”

I came to the doctor for the first time in five years to tell him about Jer, but he doesn’t fit into any of those categories so I hesitate. I look down at my feet, dangling between the metal stirrups of the examination table. My hands shake.

“Sleep I guess.”

“You’re having problems sleeping?”

“I fall asleep. And then I wake up.”

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Snow White

Photo by Michael Discenza

The gaps between Chloe’s fingers glowed green. Meet you at the bird! The message read.

Chloe didn’t know what the bird was. She was already late and now had to shuttle herself across Olympic Village to look for a bird. She was on the hunt for a hundred species, from pigeon to phoenix. Why couldn’t he just name a place?

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The Greats, Chapter 1

PRUDHOMME_SYLVAIN_THE GREATS - cristian-newman-85385

translated by Jessica Moore

He felt her stretch out near him, smelled the scent of her hair, her shoulders, the oils she slathered on her body, the charms she filled their room with as soon as his back was turned. There were the ones he recognized, kola nut, dried lemons, perfumed shells placed in the open on the window ledge, beside the incense holder. And then there was the multitude whose presence he only guessed at, swelling the lining of a cushion, blocking the crack in a wall. He didn’t look for them, never looked under the bed or behind the furniture.
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The Wheelbarrow Man

Photo by Thomas Picauly

The sink grudgingly supports his weight as he presses his face closer to the mirror to see himself more clearly, though clarity’s not something he really expects anymore, no matter how close he gets to things. Every day the sagging sink’s connection to the wall weakens, but every day his steadily diminishing weight is less of a problem for it. What grows clearer daily is the evidence of his failing: the merging of neck and chin, the slack flesh hanging from cheekbones with an air of boredom, the sagging shadows under his eyes; these bags are partly from the drink, he knows, but they’re also a grim symptom, another tell-tale sign…can’t this thing at least have the decency to keep things between the two of them? Makes him mad. He’s had enough of having enough.

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You Are Bathing in Light

by Nicholas LB

translated by Natalia Hero

And anyway I don’t even have children to serve hot milk and cookies to while I kill myself. Sorry, I’m not Nelly Arcan, I won’t be hanging myself in my Plateau apartment, I actually live with my parents deep in the Angus Shops, where all the houses are the same, red brick and cheap kitchens. And from there, I make the trip to the hospital for my therapy sessions, where a whole bunch of Nellys and Sylvias are crammed together, some blonde like us, but also other girls and boys that aren’t lucky enough to look even a little bit like famous writers who killed themselves.
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Playing Dead

Photo by Artem Kovalev

She shouldn’t have been out. But the air was delicious. Crisp and wet, she could feel the water in the air sharpening as the diplomatic restraint of the afternoon’s humidity released. The air disclosing to the stars it’s opinion of the sun. Her witness to this ritual undoing was made more precious by the knowledge she couldn’t know how soon she’d be walking at night again. Recovery from the procedure varied greatly and she couldn’t expect a quick return to normalcy. Not that she wanted to return to what had been normal ever again. The alarm on her phone whittled off minutes of sleep in her pocket, tracking how long she had before she needed to wake. She really shouldn’t have been out, but she was and it was worth it.

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Bleeding Heart

Photo by Hal Ozart

It was 9:30 on a crisp Saturday morning and the universe was fucking Denise over. She said as much to the woman on the phone. “I don’t know if you know this,” she said, “but I have an open house in half an hour and I have a whole tray of date squares in the car. I don’t have time to argue with you all morning.”

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Mr. Fixit

Photo by Brandon Holmes

The man didn’t mean to walk past the old office, it just happened. He made a right when he didn’t have to, then a left, and there it was. He looked up at the building, counted the windows vertically until he got to six, nodded. It’d been two years since he left that place. He stared at the sixth floor windows until he heard someone call his name. He recognized Joe’s voice.

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The House on Carbonate

Photo by Markus Spiske

My first kiss lived in a house on Carbonate Street with stucco walls and a low iron fence. The place has since burned down, but whenever I walk past the spot where it stood I think of him. I wouldn’t recognize him now, of course, but I remember his name. You should always remember the name of the first and last person you’ve kissed, my mother said.

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