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Our 5th issue is here!
In this collection, we meet characters across continents in various stages of becoming. From women who revisit their definitions of love, and young girls at the precipice of finding their place in world and family, to narrators discovering self, and sometimes, sacrifice, we are proud to present fifteen new short stories by Black women writers.
Stephanie Avery | rebekah blake | Danielle Buckingham | Emily Capers |Melie Ekunno | Martins Favour |Wandeka Gayle | Ashanti Hardy | Adrian Joseph | Amani-Nzinga Jabbar | Desi Lenc |Melissa A. Matthews |Adaora Raji |Leslie D. Rose |Theresa Sylvester
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In “The Last Time” by Wandeka Gayle, a Jamaican woman returns home for a visit from graduate school in Louisiana. She has a chance encounter with a recent ex, with whom she has had a decade-long affair.
When Chiwetalu leaves Nigeria to live the American Dream, in “Limbo” by Adaora Raji, he thrusts his wife into uncertainty that stretches the boundaries of her love and loyalty. She embarks on her own journey of self-discovery.
In “The Tractor” by Theresa Sylvester, a single woman discovers a secret involving her pretty, married, younger sister and their vocal mother. Set in Lusaka, the story explores farm life, family bonds, and societal norms.
“Phantom Itch” by Melie Ekunno tells of the sexual struggles of a “Chibok Girl” in America. Given the kidnapping of over two hundred high school girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria in 2014 and the eventual state-sanctioned scholarships to the U.S. granted to the rescued or escaped girls, and the predominance of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the region, the story explores the resulting unique psychological dissonance and trauma.
“The Orphan’s Daughter” by Leslie D. Rose is a retelling of stories told to her by her mother, who was orphaned as a young girl in 1950s Spanish Harlem. Found with her two siblings in a small apartment, the three were taken to an orphanage on Staten Island where life as they knew it would be no more. She now knows her mother’s stories to be PTSD, but the way she reflected upon her life was so majestic, they had to be retold.
Colorism in the Caribbean is examined through the lens and family history of a young Trinidadian woman and her complicated relationship with her grandmother, in “Bittersweet” by Melissa A. Matthews. It explores the nuances by which its legacy is passed down from generation to generation.
In “Things I Can’t Outrun” by Amani-Nzinga Jabbar, Nakisha is a former track star, who stopped running after dropping out of a mostly white college. She tries to return to her passion by registering for a charity race, an experience tainted by microaggressions. She later learns of the shooting death of a young Black jogger and realizes there are some things you just can’t run from, no matter how fast you are.
In “Barricade” by Desi Lenc, Flint, Amara, and their neighbor, Ebony, spend their time with adventure and imagination, as only children can. One day, Ebony and Amara create a new game.
Mel’s therapist seeks to save her from the despair a name brings, in “Mel needs a new name” by Martins Favour.
After Sadie loses her daddy one year, her mama has to go away for a while too, in “Too Much of Anything Can Kill You” by Ashanti Hardy. That year, Sadie learns that too much of anything can kill you.
Middle school is tough. In “Spirit Week” by Emily Capers, follow the narrator through her first taste of middle school Spirit Week, where she learns about spooky school rumors. Her need to know the truth and find her place, puts her in a situation in which, for the first time, it’s brought to her attention that she doesn’t look quite like the rest of her peers.
In “Free Falling” by Adrian Joseph, Nia journeys through the darkness of her psyche as she uses everything she has within to overcome her fears and release her sinister past. Will she make it out alive?
A girl lives with the psychological trauma she received during a religious experience, in “Salvation” by Stephanie Avery.
Lee is thrust into a caregiver role for her two younger sisters following her father’s death, in “Water Bearers” by Danielle Buckingham. As her mother’s grief consumes her, Lee is troubled with strange dreams. “She (A retelling of The Giving Tree)” by rebekah blake is a retelling, but also a story about a Black mother. She gives until she has nothing left.