Time For Reaping

by Tianna G. Hansen

You spend time planting each seed delicately. Cup the earth around each pearl so it flourishes. Nourish and take care until you feel them blossom and burst forth blooms of brilliant color. Saplings respond to the way the moon moves, just as your body sways with tides of dappled waves. Stars drip from the sky like icicles. You are not destroyed; it is time to harvest. Reap what you have taken time to sow. Healing is a solo act. No one can witness the seed spread beneath the ground, only the moment it presses its softness through the surface toward the sun.

Open your mouth wide, consume rays which reach down to touch; feel the curl of grasping fingers. Roots have grown deep in the pit of your belly. Feel them sink deeper, embrace your bones. Climb through your ribcage like ivy in a warm, constricting hug. When it comes time, devour your harvest whole. Weep the juices, flush your system, and cleanse your body’s deepest grottos. Daybreak radiates each eclipse, soil moist and ready for the next planting — your newest cultivation.


Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life. Her fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction have found homes in numerous mags, and she releasing her debut poetry collection ‘undone, still whole’ with APEP Publications this Beltane. She founded and is Editor-in-Chief of Rhythm & Bones Press/Lit Mag. Follow her work on Twitter @tiannag92 / IG @tgghansen24 / FB @tiannaghansen. More at CreativeTianna.com.

The Racist New Year’s Bang!

by River Rivers
(edited by Rachel Macklin)

Sometimes all it takes to drown out ignorance and hate is a loud bang–preferably the pyrotechnic kind. And this New Year’s Eve, I’d had a lot of that shit tossed my way thanks to social media. Some days it’s hard being Native, and this was one of them.

Moments ago, I’d muted my Twitter notifications and turned off my phone because earlier today, Elizabeth “I’m 1/1-billionth Native American” Warren decided to throw her hat in the ring for President. Naturally, it brought the trolls out of the woodwork, but these weren’t your run-of-the mill mudslingers. They used Native slurs and offensive jokes to attack her, without thinking of the damage it did to our community. In some twisted part of their hater brains, they thought ‘Injun’ and ‘Chief’ jokes were supporting us. I didn’t like her false claim of heritage, but the backlash from colonizers was a thousand times worse.

Fuck that, and fuck their Fauxahontas bullshit. I had to walk away and find peace or I’d explode.

I stared in silence at the darkened sky as fog rolled over the mountains’ silhouette beyond. A flashlight and lighter rested in my hands while the clock ticked toward midnight. In front of me sat a pyro’s dream of assorted fireworks–all illegal and therefore perfect for the task at hand. When the earth officially completed its lap around the sun, I’d light the fuckers up. Only a dazzling chemical combustion could cleanse me from life and the evening’s chaos.

I tried not to think about how much the trolls really got to me. They’re trolls: spewing hate is what they do and I shouldn’t pay any attention. But I’m Native, so I’m part of a long line of people who spent their lives putting up with ignorance. After centuries of this crap, your bullshit meter wears down until it’s impossible not to take things personally.

One troll showed his true colors with a burst of racist rants against Natives after I asked another colonizer not to say Injun. He tried to wriggle off the hook by white-splaining that his jokes were a jab at ignorant white people and stereotypes. “Of course I didn’t mean any offense to the Indigenous.” This from a guy whose bio read like bumper-sticker bingo for God and country. What a load of garbage. He was a man pretending to stand for something and was really sitting down for nothing. His hypocrisy stunk worse than the scent of sulfur coming from my fireworks display.

Other Natives tried to step in and educate him, but he didn’t care. He kept on white-splaining his excuses to us in the typical manner of someone doubling down on bad behavior. He even wrote a numbered list of Why He Was Right and We Were Wrong, which went something like this:

I don’t give a crap. (Obviously)
You don’t speak for all Native Americans. (No, but I am an actual Native telling you I’m offended)
Injun isn’t inherently offensive. (It’s an anglicized bastardization of Indian used to dehumanize Natives during colonization and enforce lazy white speak, so you tell me)
I didn’t tell anyone how to feel. (No, you threw out hate vomit and got pissed people called you on it)
I hope you feel stupid for posting a stupid comment. (…?)

I wanted to go off on him. I wanted to say he was promoting Pan-Indianism, ignoring tribal distinctions, and tokenizing the Natives who might agree with him. He was a classic example of the white Christian proverb: “How is that racist?”

But like many of my people who have come before me, I was too drained to keep up the fight. I didn’t choose to be the intolerance police and if I’m honest, there’s times when I resent the role. Let someone else educate the ignorant bastard.

So I stepped back and let other voices take the lead, and I wasn’t disappointed. They tore into his false claims with surgical precision, sharing personal experience and historical resources. Suddenly, the troll’s entitlement was on full display in a public forum, and time would make him irrelevant. In that moment, I saw hope. I saw the reflection of years to come and realized our voices would only grow louder, while those like his would fade into silence.

I also realized it was time to unplug and shift to positive things. I had a girl I liked coming over and a boatload of illegal fireworks that required my attention.

I flicked the lighter with my thumb and flame sparked in the night. I bent over and set fire to the first wick–a fine box of gunpowder aptly named Infinite Storm.

As I watched the wick burn, a sense of pride for my people rose inside me. The sky was the limit from here on out. We’re resilient and our souls know no boundary. In 2019, I would devote myself to writing my personal Indigenous experiences. That was my resolution.

With a massive crackle, the firework ignited in a cascade of glittering light and a shiver of excitement crept up my spine. My white friend’s family whooped and shouted as we rang in the new year, and I finally accepted I was exactly where I was meant to be.

When the initial white-hot lights disappeared, I lit another blast to keep them going, then another, until all twelve boxes were nothing but burned-out shells. And somewhere between the reverberating booms and radiant, color-soaked sky, I forgot about the trolls, the hate, and the constant white noise of intolerance. I focused on all the love I had to give the world.

This year was for me. Not for him.


River Rivers, is an emerging writer from Southern Oregon. He is a Modoc and Klamath American Indian. His most recent stories are currently featured in Literally Stories, TallTaleTv, Snow Leopard Publishing, the Drabble Dark Anthology, Paper Trains Literary Journal and Daedalus Magazine.

You can follow River Rivers on Twitter @Catch22Fiction and on instagram @riverrivers921.

The Monsters That Broke Me

by Linda M. Crate

i think i left
bits and pieces
of myself
behind
so i could restring
myself together
with new burning stars
of the galaxy,
stars that don’t know the sting
of your name or the limitations
you would put upon me;
which is for the better because my
temper is like a wild fire
burning down forests and out of control
once a grudge is felt
so consider yourself lucky
i promised myself never to become
the monsters that broke me.


Linda M. Crate’s poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), and one micro-chapbook Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).

Captive Of Circumstances

by Mileva Anastasiadou

He lost his job the day Athens became the world book capital. That was a sign. He spent that day wisely, filled it like the empty pages of a book he would one day write. He crossed the streets that led to the Lycabettus hill and then climbed as high as his feet and breath allowed him to climb, searching for a place to sit and rest. He opened the book to a page at random, choosing a random paragraph and started the repair, the difficult task of putting himself together.

He then looked up to the sky, choosing the pieces carefully. He started by grabbing a piece of the Attic sky, smoky with exhaust fumes or even tear gas, then caught some city buzz, a honk or even a bird tweet, a few voices or even screams, drops of philosophical discussions that echoed through centuries, and went on grasping pieces of a glorious past. He collected a few sips of ouzo or even of that bitter poison that Socrates once drank, took hold of a couple of contaminated particles of past and future ideologies floating like invisible islands in the air and mixed them with the smell of defeat from the present and a trace of hope from the future.

He mixed the ingredients, improvised, until he achieved what he longed for, until he formed yet another piece which would someday complete the puzzle of his fragmented self, of his broken life, of his lost sense of freedom. And he felt as if he stood firmly on the ground, yet he was flying, beyond the clouds, high in the sky, taking deep breaths, to fill his lungs with oxygen and the book he was still holding in his hands served as a balloon which took him to other places, brighter, less dark than his own gloomy reality. Once he watched the sun set, when it was getting dark, he took the scissors and used it to cut off all the yarns that had kept him high, trying to land as gently as possible.

Once again, he had mistaken lightness for freedom.

He then touched the ground and scattered all the pieces he had collected during the day back in the air, still as confused as before he had started collecting them, unable to find the perfect recipe for his salvation. He remained a captive of circumstances. He walked down the hill, storming into the open stores to consume, to buy all the liberty he could still afford, as long as he could afford it. It was air that he needed, hoping to fill the empty spaces of his lungs, or of the puzzle he hadn’t managed to complete. He went back home exhausted, holding the book tight, as if every hope to find the missing pieces was hidden inside its pages, in the book that had opened another window to the future.

He then closed it firmly and fell to sleep.


Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, living and working in Athens, Greece. Her work can be found in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Maudlin house, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry fiction, the Sunlight Press and others. She’s the founding editor of Storyland Literary Review. You can find out more about her and her work on Facebook

The Story of The Creator

by Mackenzie Belcastro

Once upon a time there lived a boy named Jean-Paul. He was a rather short, squat boy. That is, compared to all the others he went to school with in his homeland of Alefia, otherwise known as the land of the fair. His parents never understood why he looked the way he did. And, out of love, they did their best to fix him.

His mother was an especially sweet woman, but she was also living proof that sweetness is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to proper child rearing. One day, she went to the best herbalists in the land and asked if they could please provide her with some potions that would rosy up Jean-Paul’s bleak cheeks, clear his spotted skin, and grow his slits-of-eyes so they could be round and lovely. The herbalists greatly respected Jean Paul’s mother, for she was one of the fairest of the Alefians—and also, notably, married to the most powerful Alefian of all.

She said her thanks and left, returning home to surprise her son. She was very excited, and so was Jean-Paul, at first. He took the potions from his mother and ran to his bathroom. The burbling red was most intriguing and so he opened it first, dabbing it delicately onto his cheeks. It would remain for a full twenty four hours, so said the crystal bottle it came in. The other two bottles promised the same. The peach coloured liquid cleared his skin, and the green one, which had to be applied with a dropper straight into his eyeballs, did, indeed, grow them to be round and lovely.

He looked in the mirror and said, “Now Jean-Paul, they will love you.”

Well, he went to school the next day, and they did not.

“You’re still fat. Even with that stupid makeup on your face,” one said.

“And you’re still short,” another said, looking down at him from great height.

So the next day, Jean-Paul’s mother returned to the herbalists and asked if she could please be provided with two more potions for her son. One that would make him lean, and another that would grow him to great heights, such that he could be even taller than the rest of the rude boys and girls in his grade. Once again, the herbalists obliged, for they wanted to impress the beautiful woman and her powerful husband.

The potions were black and red. The black was to make him lean when poured into a bath and bathed in. The red was to make him tall, when drunk straight from the bottle.

“Tend to these both,” his mother said, “And you still have your potions I gave you the day before, right?”

Jean-Paul nodded and she smiled, pleased.

“Good. Tend to all five.”

So, he went to his bathroom, took a bath in the black potion, drank the red potion, and repeated the process from the previous night with regards to the other three.

Once again, he looked in the mirror and said, “Now Jean-Paul, they will love you.” Only this time he added, “They didn’t today, because you forgot to tend to everything. But now you have. So you are fixed.”

Well, he went to school the next day and still they did not.

“You may be tall, thin, clear-skinned, rosy-cheeked, and doe-eyed now,” one said, “but you still dress like a short, fat boy.”

His clothes, it was true, did not fit him.

So he went home, resolved to get the right clothes to make them love him.

“Oh my, Jean-Paul,” his mother had said when he pointed out he would, indeed, need finely sewn garments in order to be lovable, “I can’t believe I forgot that! Of course. Let me get them for you.”

His sweet mother went to the finest tailors in the land with her son’s new measurements in hand and asked for them to please create him something extra special and luxurious, something that would wow the kids in his class and make them love him. The tailors, like the herbalists, obliged for she herself was so lovely. And they created them extra quickly, too. In a matter of minutes, in fact—so that she could bring them home to Jean-Paul and he may have them for tomorrow.

“Now you shall be perfect,” his mother said to him when she presented him with his new clothes. “But you must make sure you don’t forget: take all the potions and wear these clothes. That’s what you need to do.”

Jean-Paul was very tired now of taking all these potions, and so he told his mother he would do it all in the morning. She nodded, pleased, and kissed him goodnight.

Well, the next morning Jean-Paul was still very tired. He looked at all the potions lined up on his bathroom counter, and then he looked at the many outfits hanging up beautifully now in his armoire—each with at least four pieces to them. He pulled one outfit off the hanger and brought it to his bathroom and then looked at it all again, then back in the mirror.

He didn’t want to do any of it.

So, he yawned and went back to bed for an hour. When he woke up, just in time to go to school, he went to his bathroom quickly, looked in the mirror at his real self and said, “They will have to love me. For this is just how I am.”

Well, when he went to school, they did not.

And so he decided that instead of trying to impress his schoolmates he would move to a place where people accepted him. This he told to a fairy in the garden after school that day.

“That place,” she said, “doesn’t exist.”

“Well then,” he said, “I guess I will have to make it.”

And so began the planning for Adalira.


Mackenzie Belcastro is a writer from Toronto. Her work spans from short fairy tales, to fantasy fiction, to non-fiction memoirs and profiles on contemporary artists. She’s inspired profoundly by Lewis Carroll and Angela Carter. Presently, she’s working on her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @mack_belcastro