Your Motherland, Not Your Home

The View From My Window

My grandmother, turned towards the television screen, and my grandfather reading “the yellow press,” as he jokingly called it. I often made them uncomfortable with my “Western” opinions.

I wore slippers indoors in stiflingly hot weather, got traditional songs stuck in my head, dressed fancy to the theatre, and slept below ten Russian Orthodox icons hung on the wall peering at me. Read more →

The Messenger

by Siyan Ren

Sol dries her tears in her sleeves, weeping. Why can’t I be normal like an apple? She asks herself while waiting. Clara, her friend, appears at the door. Rapunzel, two braids on each side of her shoulders, a red and black pyjama, comfortable. By the looks of it she hasn’t been out yet and only heard the sound of the ring because she was feeding the dove in the living room. It’s her new pet. She loves it. I will send a message and wrap rolled paper in its little legs. Did you know they do this? She asks.

Where would you send your message? Sol asks, forgetting her tears for a moment. They can fly 1800 kilometers to deliver them, Clara explains, not really answering it. She moves away and Sol walks in. Incredible, Sol says, momentarily distracted by the white plump, immobile like a stuffed animal. But soon she begins again. I have to talk to you, she says, just as she told him. In the movie, the immigrants were arriving in France but the Nazis didn’t let them stay. It is like the refugee crisis all over, she affirms. Read more →

Breathing Lessons

by Alexander Lam

They turned a corner, and the hospital came into view. Memories of his father’s illness came rushing back. His mother parked the car and Owen stepped out, legs numb. Parker readjusted his grip on his guitar case and nudged him. Owen turned, and shot his friend a reassuring smile, but it didn’t quite reach him.
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The wild strawberry flush across my chest, her cheeks. An illicit kiss in her basement suite.
Five years in, we start counting: two eggs bled away casually every month.
Then, six months of flirting, negotiations. Two hopeful women. A captivated man.
Cosmopolitans. Our red leather couch under mistletoe and holly berries. Jazzberry cartoon hearts radiate around all of us.
“Please don’t break our hearts,” I say.
“I won’t.” His scarlet cape promise. The last time we see him. Read more →

An Education

an education Mike Wilson

The first thing I saw when I woke up was the row of ancient bibles in a corner bookshelf. The flat light of an overcast dawn confused my sense of time, though. Hadn’t my friends and I just gone to bed? Then I saw a short, round-faced man standing over me, wearing a porkpie hat exactly like Gene Hackman would wear in The French Connection a few years later. The man pointed a short-barrelled revolver at the centre of my forehead. I remember noting how perfectly circular the muzzle was and that its bluing was very deep. I saw the soft grey domes of the bullets in the cylinder and noted the thickness of the front site. Then I looked away from the revolver to glance at the film can holding a jumble of foil-wrapped drugs on the floor beside my bed.

“Move,” the little man said, smiling. “I dare you.” Read more →