The birds are stealing my dreams

Tara Campbell



The birds are stealing my dreams
they whirl above my bed at night
and settle on my headboard
ruffling feathers
twitching wings
cock silent heads
to track my breathing
slowing, deepening
they know to wait until I sink
until my eyelids flicker
until I weave the dreams

The birds hop to my pillow
and tug things from my ears
nightmares — sharp, dry sticks
tinsel-shred adventures
tuft-of-down romance
throughout the night they take it all
my slumber’s residue
they weave their nests
and bear their young
in shiny hope and sticky fear
dust-bound regrets
and shimmering delight

I used to write my dreams
into lined-paper cages
or tell them into amber
now all that’s left is glitter on my pillow
or a thorn
a twitter at the window
the birds wake me with the sun
to sing my dreams back to me.





TARA CAMPBELL [] is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and an assistant fiction editor at Barrelhouse. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Litbreak, Masters Review, Luna Station Quarterly, Quail Bell Magazine, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Her novel, TreeVolution, was released in 2016, and her collection, Circe’s Bicycle, with be published in fall 2017.

Free Association

Alex Ledford



Trees: Good.
God: Damn dog. Mad god.
Hell: All Montagues. Especially that one.
Vindication: Of the rights of whoever wants ‘em.
Vindictive: Everyone.
Strangers: Your personality is showing, mine is not.
Tension headaches: My face hurts from oversmiling.
Eat: Or don’t.
Eye roll. Delicious. Delicacy. Indecent.
Iambic: Inhale slowly, exhale heavy sigh.
Paint: Pointillism.
Rock stars: Always wear capes.
Husband: He’s working, he’ll get here soon.
Solve for X: Can’t be helped.
Chromosomes: Determine fate.
Dress: Flourish of colored perfume.
Boots: Still kick, guard your shins.
South: Compass rose, night blooming jasmine.
Police blotter: Check the airwaves for dead friends.
Free fall: You’re a hypnogogic jerk.
Talking: Nonsense through sleepy teeth.
Mother: I’ll name her Inconsistent. She’ll grow tall as an oak.





ALEX LEDFORD received her MFA from the University of New Hampshire. Since graduating, she’s returned to her native North Carolina to write, teach, and help with Outlook Springs, a fledgling journal. Other work has appeared in Midway (nominated for Best of the Net 2017), So to Speak, Bop Dead City, and elsewhere.

The House by the Banyan Tree

Ahimaz Rajessh



Seven decades ago
(one September)
a storm swept a solitary house
into the dense woods that had roots
deep underneath the red earth
rendering the house a blasted mess
of concrete and wood.

As the family left (having returned and picked
up what was intact), the girl —
having noticed (and having wished) a floating dandelion
settle on the same spot the house once stood —
stopped, so did her brother.

‘Yamma, look,’ she said,
‘the house is growing.’

If the future is made out of the past
and the present, the past cannot ever
not be present, the present is the ever-passing
past (or so the parents thought) then how is one
to have a firm handle on the present?

They did not look back.

When the children called again and looked
back, they were poof — gone.

The parents (it’s said)
were transformed into
the pillars of the house
the dandelion built.

The perplexed children
who ran into the house
were never seen again.

The girl (it’s also said)
climbed the banyan tree
in the vicinity to the very
top of its roots and the boy
who ran through the weeds
into the woods grew up to found
the mobile House of Flux.





AHIMAZ RAJESSH, a Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, has been published in Jellyfish Review, The Airgonaut, Nanoism, Strange Horizons, Pidgeonholes, 7×20, Cuento, 200 CCs, Flapperhouse, Malaigal, Thalam, Manal Veedu and Padhaakai. His writing is forthcoming in Milkfist, Liminality, Surreal Poetics and unFold.