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By Alva Huang

  1. Glow Ochre
    Glow Ochre
    By Avery Wecksler
Their names became trophies posed alongside photographs.
Eden. Farei. Loyle.
Their mother became the last to surpass them.
She cracked a strip of bark between her fingers, bending it like bread, crushing with it her shaking desire for something to quench the blood in her throat—all for the prospect of feeling again.
Kindling fell into the splits of her palms.
She scraped a finger over the lighter she’d hidden from the nightwatch, and her eyes reveled in the glow, its blackened core turning the sight to dust.
So she turned it upon her skin. Watched it blaze. Watched it burn.
Her screams mixed with the halo of smoke around her head.
One for Eden, for the golden boy, the one with the sweet touch in his gaze.
One for Farei. Her patterns. Her scars.
One for Loyle, a destroyer, a girl who fought down to her very last breath.
The mother had pulled them by the collars, away from colors and plastics and parchment flags; she’d let them go, toward fresh skies and shriveled marigolds and the stones of their father’s potent soul.
That night, the war found her alight.
That night, the war found her dead at last.