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“You’re the last person in the world anyone would talk to about a problem. You know that. I know that.” Susie pushed her upper body away from the floor by leaning on her elbows. She picked various pieces of dirt and lint off the floor. “I know.” Susie’s mother harrumphed and slumped down, preparing herself for the inevitable depression that would result from an adult chat with her daughter. Susie’s mother strongly resented the way Susie tried to coach her in parenting. Susie didn’t even have any children! Susie steeled

It was three o’clock in the morning when the phone rang. Sirena sat up in her bed when she heard the second trill break the quiet evening air, and an anxious feeling filled her stomach. There was only one place she hoped that call wouldn’t be coming from: Lebanon, the place her father called “back home.” There was a war over there. Her father had once stood with her and spun their globe. His finger covered the entire country. He pointed it out with the white crescent at the top

1. Once upon a time there was a girl who was growing into a woman, but she wasn’t growing into the right kind of woman. Instead of dressing in loose robes that dusted the ground, she dressed like her brothers, in tunic and trousers. She pulled her hair back away from her face and never wound it in cloth. When possible, she bared her feet and hands and face and smiled in her joy because she was comfortable. This girl, instead of praying as her father prayed, turned her face

We drove out to the dunes in a caravan of rusted trucks and shitty 80s two-door sedans. I was with Rusty and Dusty, not twins, but inseparable since childhood. They sandwiched me between their heavy bodies and lit up a joint, the windows rolled shut despite the high heat of summer and a faulty air conditioner. It took about 40 minutes to reach the dunes, a miniature, unexplained swath of fluid desert where we local kids drank and made out around bonfires. That day, it was a cookout, followed by

Dinner was a shocking success. No tears over spills or claims that you are the worst mom ever because you prepared something nasty. That they would vomit right there if they had to take even one eensy bite. No. They swarmed the table like locusts, eating everything and asking for more. And when it was done, truly done, the serving dishes bare, they sprang from the table and pattered away like a sudden Summer rain. You sit alone. There are only the remnants on plates: small bits of rice and

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