Birds in the sky against the background of a dark sky. An orb of light can be seen in the background


Country Fiction

BY Maija Mäkinen

I had immersed myself into America so fully, succumbing to its soft, rolling English with such abandon, that encountering someone from my country of origin felt like a kind of violation. I hadn’t been to Finland in eight years, almost never spoke the language in New York, and considered myself fully integrated. I had long since stopped checking American tree trunks for authenticity, scratching with my nail to see whether it left a mark, as I had done during my first year. I had seen the leaves of the trees grow and fall and grow again, had missed their green shadows in the desolation of winter. I was here. This was real. Finland was a souvenir.

Visual art of white capillaries floating in a blue substance


The Thing in the Garden

BY Celia Bell

Jodie’s body is a garden. After the cancer came they took off her breasts, and over the thick belt of scar, she tattooed Eden. Those gnarled green branches, that tongue-pink tropical flower, peaches so ripe and round you’d think you could squeeze them still. I held her hand in the tattoo shop, while the girl she’d worked with on the design bent over her body, holding the tattoo gun. She was a skinny girl, her head half shaved in the way the young kids are wearing it now.

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