Special Issue: Triptych
How the Boss Died: A Triptych by Meg Pokrass

In the mirror, your face stares back at you, under-slept and hungry. Far as you know, the boss died happily paragliding between your fine, fine breasts, and when the paramedics got there, he was absolutely dead. By then your clothes were on.

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Dwellings: A Triptych by Michelle Ross

Godzilla is the pet name he gives her not long after they start sleeping together. She’s restless, especially at night. And she doesn’t yet know her way around his apartment in the dark. Topples the footstool, the laundry hamper. Creaks the wooden floors.

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Jessie’s Life in Three Surnames: A Triptych by Kathryn Kulpa

Jessie wakes to the smell of manure being spread. Every day. Or maybe only growing season, but it feels like every day. When her father and brothers come in from the fields and Ma has one of her sick headaches, it’s Jessie who washes their clothes, pounding dirt and dung out of stiff, worn denim, watching her hands grow cracked and red, and thinking about death.

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Three Strands: A Triptych: Jude Higgins

This morning when I walked Jimmy to school, I ruffled his hair and told him he’d end up with a bald head like me. All the men in our family go the same way. He’s got a lovely cheeky face, my boy, and I said even if someday he didn’t have hair, the girls would love him. But they’d hurt him too. Girls always do. The bakery is stifling – I’m cutting three strands of dough to make up the milk loaves and wondering what it would be like to have a daughter with long hair to plait.

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A Triptych by Riham Adly

Everything is folded up and airy when I’m in love the first time. You walked into my shop with that lonely immigrant look on your face following the elusive chocolaty scents of brewing coffee soon to be served in my Arabian Nights demitasse. You stare ominously at the folding chairs and tables, at the wisps of Arabic among the paraphernalia of blonde heads and dark beards.

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A Triptych by Stephanie Hutton

Before I married, I was a plume of gas. His hands grasped through me. Slowly, slowly, I set into that which can be held. Or be hurt. My cracked lips taste of summer on the turn. I press on raised veins on the backs of my hands, trace a map of mortality along my skin. Never to return to a noble gas, perhaps I can cling to another to become a compound.

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Diner Tales: A Triptych by Paul Beckman

Everyone’s Hon to May. Even strangers. Especially strangers whom you want to feel at home like their regular diner. The regulars are all Hons, only the teens are not Hons, they are Hey Guys or You Guys or Hey Gals or You Gals.

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A Triptych by Tania Hershman

It matters who says it first is first and I love you for it sometimes I love you and sometimes you’re first but there are days oh my those days when I

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Language Shift: A Triptych by Christina Dalcher

He stumbles through sentences, forgetting whether verbs come last or second or first. He confuses the order of pronouns, putting ‘I’ before ‘you,’ and ‘me’ before ‘her.’ He is failing a simple test, running interference between the Germanic and the Romantic, thinking of the ends and beginnings of his story.

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Fulfilling by Fiona McKay

Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.

Get Your Authentic Stardust Here by JP Relph

The night the sky cracked, I was sprawled on the hood of my car beside that good-for-nothing boy, naming constellations, ignoring his fingers on my neck.

Morse Code by Elizabeth Cabrera

The old man fell asleep in his car, his nostrils pressed softly against the steering wheel, but the car kept going, because the old man’s foot was not asleep, was still pressing down hard, and later they would say, it’s not really his fault, he’s such an old man.

Electric Storm by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

It’s been twenty minutes since the first bolt of lightning ripped a scar through the purple night sky. Since my mother said to swim in the rain ― it’s fun. Since her boyfriend Colin said he’d join us― to check we’re ok.

The Storyteller of Aleppo by Donna Obeid

In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.