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Emma Tuftin


Illustrated by Hallye Webb

The only company he kept was his own, and it wasn’t very good company at all. Even if he had friends and there wasn’t a worldwide pandemic going on, the old man doubted anyone would visit him. So he talked to himself.

He found comfort in verbally attacking the only person within earshot — himself. When he tripped over the carpet, when he lost his train of thought, when the newspaper trembled in his weak hands, the old man berated himself, slinging curses around the room like stones. The hateful words started to collect in the dark corners of the…


Photo: Madi Doell via Unsplash

This bed isn’t mine.

With a yawn, I rub my eyes in an attempt to clear the sleep away. Nope, it’s not my bed or even my room. Where am I? Looking around, my half-conscious mind shutters like a camera, taking in my surroundings.

Frame 1: Macro. The linens are a dead giveaway. Crisp, white, and probably a super high thread count that would put my own shabby chic sheets to shame. Everything I touch is marshmallows and feathers.

Frame 2: Wide angle. I’m a tiny black beetle floating on a brick of soap in a sea of rich, glossy…


Photo: Sean Pierce via Unsplash

Flicker in the wind,
sputter against the rain,
the elements may try their best,
but can’t destroy the flame.

It holds true in the sun,
but shines brightest at night,
when we can’t see the way forward,
when we need the most light.

Always constant and steady,
it cuts through time and space,
drawing us closer together,
a bond nothing can replace.


Photo: Lauren McConachie via Unsplash

A line exists between confidence and stupidity. Crossing that invisible threshold can be as simple as sputtering a few prideful idiotic words, as is the case with our unfortunate Jen.

Oh, poor Jen. She was so determined to have a good day too.

Did the insults “chonky” and “blubber butt” hurled at Jen by her sisters keep her from wearing her favorite yellow swimsuit?


Did the slate grey sky and her grandmother’s warning of rain keep her from rushing down the boardwalk to the water?


In fact, she loved that she could be alone with the ocean. It…


Photo: Frame Harirak via Unsplash


A hum across bottles.
A tickle of molecules.


Leaves whisper.
Grass dances.


The wind speaks.


A tribute to my late grandparents and magic of family traditions.

Photo: Zetong Li via Unsplash

Two figures stand on the shore, her hand in his.
They wait for the sea to speak.

There is no sun, but the sky plays with color anyway — dissolving threads of gold into orange and red. The fireflies and stars take turns blinking sweet sentiments to each other. The salt air holds its breath, and everything is still, except the waves.

At first, the rhythm is regular.

Rise, crash.

Inhale, exhale.

But before their eyes, the waves start to change. Each crest rises higher and higher and waits longer and longer before breaking. No consistency. No pattern. …


Justice for George Floyd.

Photo: Joseph Scheller

Get down on your knees,
as you did on his neck.
Beg forgiveness of the lives,
you swore to protect.

Get down on your knees,
feel our hatred for you.
George saw his own death,
you fucking did too.

Get down on your knees,
and confess to the killing.
All you had to do was listen,
but you were unwilling.

Get down on your knees,
for the rest of your days.
Your life is now forfeit,
in so many ways.

Get down on your knees,
and let it sink in.

The police killed again,
and it had everything to do…


Under the surface,
a restless shadow stirs,
sending shivers toward the shore.

It stretches and flexes,
rousing the black waters,
rising to meet the easterly winds.

In the electric air,
it swells and churns,
losing itself in the melee.

It is madness,
unleashed, alive,
shattering peaks bleeding white.

Mountains against mountains.

Photo: Blake Wisz via Unsplash


Photo: cottonbro via Pexels

Once, there was a girl who lost the ground.

To end her yoga practice, she chose mountain pose. Rolling up from a full-fold, her spine aligned click click click as her bones stacked one over the other over the other. Arms at her sides, palms out, shoulders back. A pillar of power and strength.

Grounding through all corners of her feet, she channeled her attention through the mat to the floorboards to the dirt below the house.

She imagined the worms pausing whatever it is worms do to feel the slight tremor of energy that shuttered through their world. …


Photo: Arman Khadangan via Unsplash

It was all right in front of you.
Follow the path. Stay the course.

But instead you sidestep.
Out of line. Out of order.

You catch Fate’s eye, now hold it.
Stand your ground. Stare her down.

Pay the price.
Hold on tight.

You let her light the kindling.

Emma Tuftin

Human stories with a dash of magic. Based in Minneapolis, MN.

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