The Sound Mirror

by Heidi James

They contained us, we, I, in their bellies, blood, and water; constrained us tight as seeds in the cells and in the breath. Before the splitting, the infinite doubling, and now I hold them all, a rabble of ancestors, pressing up from inside against my skin, and too, I contain the next generation, if I wish.

Happiness is Possible

Do you know there are stories you can tell without making anybody angry? And most of the bones in your body will never need setting. Almost all of them will be okay.

Stoodley Pike

The Stoodley Pike monument has stood on the ridge of the Pennines above the Calder Valley towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge since 1856, a thick finger of gritstone pushed from the moorland into the wind like a finger dipped into a cooling stream.

Stilts

I spend my days on the roof of this fort. Looking for you. It’s how I fill time, in a sagging beach chair so low my backside rubs coarse ground. I did think of leaving, in our boat that I would fix. But I can’t ditch these forts – these stilts – that stand proud in the mist. Jagged metal and bird-waste stain. Weird, like a distant planet. Scarred by wear and wave.

The Cotard Delusion

As 1951 surrenders to the first breath of 1952, Albert Burton sits hunched at his kitchen table, spelling truths for his wife with a near-invisible hand. How he is able to grip the pen, to touch it to the paper, he does not understand ... Because Albert has been dead for exactly seven days.

Home Is Where the Fear Is / Same Shit, Different City

Brexit happened". A text from Ulijona via iMessage. "I hope you changed your pounds to dollars early". I didn't. I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to. I’d hoped it was a bad dream. “omg”, is all I can reply.

When Words Change the Moleular Composition of Water

As she watches her life back, the thing that strikes her most is the number of times she’s been saved. She is on her belly. Watching. One screen. She is in a long, slim pod and it reminds her of the capsule hotel she once slept in in Japan, for a whole week; it was $30 per night and felt like a well-lit coffin. This pod doesn’t feel quite the same.

Longed-For Child

I cast around for literature, words to find myself – ourselves – in. I need to get my head around the weirdness of sharing my body with another and my changing sense of self. Pregnancy books discuss the physical changes, but fall silent on the mental and emotional experience of becoming an ‘us’, no longer a ‘me’.

Old Ginger

Mind Old Ginger the gamekeeper. Myths abound where he’s concerned. Famous through the Borderlands, was Old Ginger; a legend to some, a purpling, heather-lurking menace to many more. Pheasants and pleasant folk stopping in their weekend homes feared him equally, as well they should have. For the wee man wasn’t entirely right.

Flying the W: Returning to Chicago for the World Series

In the spring of 1980, when I was three years old, my father took me to my first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Our family would be moving to Canada later that year, and my dad wanted my first baseball game to be a Cubs game in Chicago at Wrigley, not a Blue Jays game in Toronto at Exhibition Stadium.