Tag: Women

Lake by Phoebe T

Over on the other side of the lake there was a huge family celebrating. They had big rose-gold balloons saying 40!, and disposable barbecues. Their smoke floated over to us on the hot breeze. 

Rose led me and Hazel down towards the lake. Around us, children rushed around with an orange frisbee. Kids vaped in the shade and couples drank prosecco. Dragonflies were hooking up, green with blue, in the shallows. Ducks were leading their ducklings across the water.

The Spiteful Witch Fairies of Bayonne, New Jersey by Audacia Ray

What’s that saying? Hell hath no fury like a doña de fuera whose Tumblr has been deleted?

Feral is pissed off. She slouches morosely in the shade of a poorly maintained boxwood shrub. She absentmindedly stretches and contracts her claws in the dirt while she scrolls on her phone, pressing and double-tapping on the touch screen so hard that her pointer finger drums a soft, angry rhythm on the glass. She’d been preparing for this moment since Tumblr announced two weeks ago that they were banning sexual content starting December 17. There was some cruel commentary embedded in that message: dear sex workers and NSFW weirdos, on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, you will cease to exist on our platform. So long, and thanks for all the clicks.  

Nice Girls Cry by Samantha Seiple

I cried the hardest at Amber’s funeral. Not that it’s a competition, or anything. All I’m saying is my tears were real. Wet and itchy, dripping down my face.

To be honest, I wasn’t crying because I was Amber’s best friend. I admit I wasn’t. That honor went to Jenna, who I was standing next to in the cemetery, under the shadow of a stone angel with a cracked wing.

But I was grieving too. For what could have been. What should have been. For Amber, for me, and for a friendship cut short.

Lone Bird by Beth Kanter

Her feet always showed her age more than the rest of her body. Dried blister atop dried blister, flaking skin; a bone spur adding dimension to her little toe. I cradle her foot in my hands and began to massage it starting with the toes and working my way down to the heel. Slowly and evenly I make circular motions with my thumbs, kneading the cold flesh of the woman who raised me. Everyone needs a little pampering. What you don’t get in life, you should get in death.

Scrubland by Leela Raj-Sankar

After the funeral, Andy took me on a drive into the desert, past where the roads turned to dirt and the cookie-cutter suburban houses turned to scraggly, thorn-filled bushes. Predictably, he didn’t say anything for the whole hour, just tapped his fingers against the steering wheel rhythmlessly. Andy never talked much, even when we were kids; it’s why I liked him. But now, suffocating under the bone-dry August heat, I wished he would offer me something to hold on to, even if it was one of the meaningless platitudes I’d spent the entire afternoon fielding.

The day of Kaya’s death marked the end of an extremely anticlimactic monsoon season. Arizona had been drought-prone since before I could remember, but this summer is a different beast, Kaya had told me. I remembered, with sudden, terrible clarity, the redness on her cheekbones that never had time to turn to a full-blown sunburn. This summer is a different beast. She had been warning me the whole time. Why hadn’t I listened?