86 lede

Sirens by Carla Marquez 

I OPEN my curtains having accepted that sleep is no longer available to me. Pulling back the blinds and revealing a half-opaque glass pane that extends from one end of the wall to the other. Foggy from the early morning frost. Standing in front of it, exposed, the waist up, I look out expecting the macabre scene I've conjured up in my half sleep. But am met with an empty lot.
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In the winter you woke early to watch the walkers in the snow slow and sombre past your window     as they walked to work or wherever it was that they were going that they could bring themselves to go because their world had not yet or had long ago suppressed itself to the stage in which you are now     in which you do not wash or weep but wait to wake one day in a new place without actually having moved a single muscle. —Celia MacDougall

Delicacies by Meredith Turits

1. I watched a man with no teeth choke on a bagel on the subway. I sat across from him as the dough slipped through the gap in his mouth and down his throat. He tried to chew with his gums, but it was too late. People around him watched as he convulsed, gestured at his sternum, and fell off the seat onto the floor.

2. I watched a young girl eat a beignet while standing up holding the pole in the center of the car. The cream squirted out onto her nose, where she first left it. She steadied herself, removed her grip, and tucked the excess cream back into the pastry. Her mother grabbed her hand.

3. I watched a teenager dig into a half-watermelon with a plastic spoon while splayed out across an entire train’s bench. She misted the person next to her with pink juice and laughed with her friend.

4. I watched a couple leave behind Starbucks cups in the space between the wall and the seat. The next person to sit down did not notice.

Buddy Would Have Been the One by Renee-Louise Carafice

Nothing could be more absolute than the city that surrounded her at night when she slept in her empty home. The phone book had a picture of the city loudly emblazoned on it, and she almost had to be sick every time she passed it. Here she was, and she didn’t know if she could handle it here. An immigrant: and it brought to mind images of women with shawls covering their heads and shoulders, carrying baskets and wandering snowy streets of their new country; she wore combat boots.