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Issue 1

Sonja Johanson

Spell for Smoking the Bees

Use any fuel – punky floorboards, green pine needles, rags soaked in skunky beer – anything to smoulder. State by state we’ll vote it in, faster than assisted suicide. Thuribles in church, referenda passed, censer filled with frankincense and myrrh. The living blood of Christ, of trees, sap, resin, amber, insects trapped inside forever. Smoke to mask alarm, make us forget, to make us hungry, we gorge on honey never noticing the hive. The deal between insect and flower, the way plants bypass it, choose to grow in sealed houses, choose to clone instead of mixing genes. We’ll leave behind the battles, beatings, pheromones tell us warning, warning, bear claws rend us open, aliens lift our roofs to steal our children. We’ll take in the sweet scent, the wax warming, we’ll move our eyes beneath our lids to see the danger for the dream it really is.


Sonja Johanson writes in a sunny room overlooking the hills of Boston; she is overseen by two ginger and one piebald writing supervisors, all of whom think her time would be better spent preparing herring. They have recently taken on, as intern, a small black demon whose help in crafting hexes has been invaluable.

Emily Corwin