The Passport

Jennifer Allsop

I watched Rosalyn slide her thumb between the binding and the back page. She split it open as if returning to a passage in a book. It was a familiar blue. How small a document, I thought, and in this post-corona world of Zoom and Skype and WhatsApp, what a very tangible thing. On her hands, Rosalyn wore the rings of her daughter. At seventy-two, she was the eldest of the nine women in the Lake Atitlan writing group.

Because of the virus, many had chosen not to travel. Their absence had made it an intimate affair. Continue reading “The Passport”

Phantom Limb

Kait Heacock

I recently read statistics that startled me: “One in 90 live births result in twins (fraternal and identical), but one in eight begin as twins…[A]dvances in technology mean that fetuses can be tracked earlier and earlier, and it’s now clear that many humans born alone may once have had a sibling in the womb.” Many of us are born with loss sewn into our bodies. I will never know if I had a phantom sibling once, but I do know what it feels like to lose the real one I did have. Continue reading “Phantom Limb”

Wood Houses

Themba Lewis

Scholars and policymakers rarely examine the liminal spaces at the fringes of the refugee discourse, or those ill-defined transitional zones between the three ‘stages’ of displacement, linearly defined for institutional convenience as flight, exile, and ‘durable solution’. Those researchers that do find their task challenging and their audience limited. Very little data exists on ‘failed’ asylum seekers after deportation for example, or self-settled refugees that forgo affiliation with humanitarian assistance organizations, or refugees that survive on border crossings, often and ‘irregularly’ passing back and forth as a survival strategy to avoid dangers that do not so clearly adhere to geopolitical boundaries.

What about those refugees that voluntarily eschew the confines of camps, the depravity of their dignity, and the worthlessness that comes with unending structural dependence, and instead go underground or return ‘home’, prepared instead to face the consequences or die? Very little is written of them, or life in a twenty-year-long resettlement queue. Continue reading “Wood Houses”

The Green Bean

Themba Lewis

In 1982 I was a diplomat’s kid in Kathmandu, Nepal. I lived in Kalimati, opposite Lincoln School and down from the Rana Palace that now housed the Nepal office of USAID, hundreds of murmuring pigeons, and the occasional predatory owl (and requisite rodent prey). I lived in Takura House, an awkwardly architectured concrete and brick block, painted yellow, with a flat roof perfect for kite-flying and housing our rabbits, Lopsy, the tough one, and Funnybunny, docile and lacking in personality, but easier to catch and pet. Continue reading “The Green Bean”

A list of creatures I have hurt (in no particular date order)

Clare Bakhtiar

I swatted two flies in my bedroom.

I once hit a cat on the top of the head with a piece of kindling – it wasn’t hard, but enough to make it scarper.

I swatted loads of flies on a rocking horse ride in Tenerife and enjoyed it because it was satisfying, until my aunty stopped me. I then knew it had been wrong to do and and was worried that I enjoyed it. Continue reading “A list of creatures I have hurt (in no particular date order)”


Grace Campbell

The day after I get kicked out, Camille and I go back to test the legitimacy meter since our mom comes through on threats like cheesecloth holds water. Through the glass of the side door my mother agitates the thin curtain until her face appears along the edge of the frame. Get off my property. You girls don’t live here any more. She says this with a glazed-eye rage that tips the meter toward Not Looking Promising. Continue reading “Home”

Suitor Saturday to Tinder Tuesdays


We met at Nightjar, a speakeasy on Old Street. It was late August. The bar was dimly lit and Randall Monroe, an acoustic jazz duo, was playing. All I knew about him besides his first name was that he was 5 foot 9; a professor of economics at one of London’s top universities; educated at an Ivy League school; 34; and Turkish. I’d ambitiously assumed, based on these facts, that this would be one of my more promising Tinder Tuesdays. Continue reading “Suitor Saturday to Tinder Tuesdays”

Summer morning

Themba Lewis

Today I woke up in Maastricht, on the floor in Ayla’s living room, as she held a telephone meeting in her bedroom with a student she is trying to send to me as an intern. The walls were covered, but tastefully, with framed photographs, maps, and paintings. Some charted the direction of Mecca through longitudinal lines over unidentifiable landmasses. Others were bold coloured abstract paintings. Continue reading “Summer morning”