A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Kathryn J. Stevens
Cary, North Carolina, USA


As the school bus bumps along, my sister leans toward me and half covers my ear with her hand. Even though we're all alone, she whispers.

"Mrs. Stewart moved our desks again. Sandra, Renee and me were the first ones back from lunch and guess what? She put that Jeannette Brown's desk with ours. So we pushed it way over to the windows where no one else is. I mean Jeanette's so gross. She wears the ugliest dresses. And she always wants to do whatever Sandra, Renee and me are doing."

let's pretend
she's a soap bottle
let's rip off her label
and squeeze her
till nothing's left

I know Jeanette by sight—skinny, frizzy dark hair, big glasses. Doesn't seem any weirder than a lot of other kids in my sister's class. I should feel bad for her because what my sister did was mean. It's the sort of stuff kids used to do to me.

Inside a snaky smile uncurls.