The face always gives it away
When the pupil in her right eye shakes subtly and the skin beneath her eyes turns red, she’s hurting. When she catches herself mid-smile, she’s happy but afraid of weakness. An abstract movement, an uneven blink, or a sharp smile always gives it away. She trapped me in lies that I unknowingly took onto myself. People take attention. Attention that I failed to acknowledge before I found fear in the way my hands clung to one another, or the way I bit my lip on the right side. I learned to read feeble movements because they are fragments of forgotten stories.
— Rachel Heyman (Pacific Palisades, California)
* * *
Still Moving Forward
At first I think outside is empty. It’s hard not to as I walk along that barren sidewalk. I see rows of houses with flickering TVs inside big windows. Outside is empty and we’re all trapped inside like zoo animals, cages so close together but lives separated.
A bird flew and rested close to me. I almost held my breath as I watched it, free and unaware. In the silence of my birdwatching, I heard it. The wind blew through the trees in an ancient melody as birds sang along. Outside isn’t empty. It’s alive, moving forward, with or without us.
— Noa Hickerson (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
* * *
Where is my spring?
Ever since I was forced to return home from college in the United States, my life has been moving very quickly. Everything has changed and the life I knew has suddenly disappeared. I was anxious about the situation and very scared to go home on an airplane. But honestly, I was missing home and looking forward to graduating as soon as possible.
There was one thing I missed from campus: spring at Gustavus. I see beautiful cherry blossoms here at home, but they make me sad all the same.
Where are my lovely flowers?
— Yumiko Yoshioka (Japan)
* * *
Home to Roost
Gold and green, with an iridescent blue head, nowadays a wild peacock shows up, infatuating me with full plume, feathers down, then helicopter leaps onto the rooftop, resting beside the front door, eating the proper birdseed – banana when I have it. He doesn’t care for apples. Absolute supermodel material.
In an organizational fete both cultural and digital, I discover photographs of his visit last autumn. Could explain why housecats yowling is reserved for raccoons on the deck.
The unnamed peacock’s telling begins: Strawberry blonde, midlife, nowadays a friendly human shows up, seems she was a workaholic, now birdfeeder slash photographer.
— Eileen E. Schmitz (Sequim, Washington)
This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.