be willing to blink into the black smoke of burning lamb. slip soundless and tongue-tied into a corner of basement she calls the canning room. growl greetings to old ghosts who still guard the summer tomatoes. uncork a forgotten watermelon wine and hope seeds take hold in your belly. come to dinner still hungry for charades—nay, a masquerade. watch her pretend she isn’t serving strangers. fold those knuckles primly. cross weak aquarian ankles beneath the chair. drag your cheeks into a grin so they can see your crowded teeth. tell them all you made it as an author—but don't chew on the word smut. spit that ruin under the table for the dog. ask your sister about her 9 to 5 and watch your father’s approving nod. pick up your knife—now try to carve a warm place out of your cold ration.
Ashly Kim (she/her) is an over-caffeinated Philadelphian and weekend fishmonger. When not adventuring with her two kids, she enjoys eating sushi and hoarding books like a literary dragon. Her recent writing is forthcoming in Hungry Ghost Magazine and Wyrd & Wyse. Find Ashly online @ashlykimchi.