F O UN DAT ION 2bLetter from Executive Director Katherine Acey
3Astraea hosts New York debut of Radical Harmonies
4Meet our latest International Grantees
5Astraea Member Dorothy Abbott, In Her Own Words
6Fire & Ink Conference held in Chicago
What’s Insidecontinued on page 5One Small StepShe dons rubber gloves andcotton mitts, surgeonic sweatcoats her brow, dots her lips.I reach up fora kiss.We stole the pink plastic cup from the kiddie korner at the clinic, handmade iithe tube from an enemabottle, bought at a99-cent store.Sometimes we like it fresh.sometimes frozen.Her brother, only 19, has much to give, needsno great notice.She reminds meshe’s loved me for almosta decade, will love me forcenturies more – I alwaysget nervous at this moment.I want to moan, raise my hips to meet her hand, reach intothe forest of her hair,whisper things.I want to run to the backof the wardrobe we share,cower behind denims and silks.She reaches up fora kiss,returns her focus to our task.We complete the operation,and wait.
Samiya BashirBreathing Underwater
Mama didn’t move. I struggled to keep afloat
, beat the water with my hands. She was going to let me drown and was weighing her gains against her losses.
Watching me, eyes flat as pennies. I was Not the Right Kind of Girl. Never had been. Panicked, I went under again, holding my breath, my chest about to burst. I sank even though I kicked hard against the water.
Then there was an explosion, a blur of bubbles.
Mama jumped into the canal next tome and sank beneath the surface
, facing me, her eyes wide open.
Her skin was waxy-looking underwater, like the worm on Maisey’s hook. She held her hands out tome, scissored her legs. Her red hair floated above her head like silky grass. Silver bubbles leaked out of her mouth and nose. She clutched my hands and we sank deeper, where there was no sound. The water grew dark green in my mouth
, the color of trees when night is falling. Her face was a question mark. That was the last I saw of her before everything went black. I floated backward through space,
twitching like Maisey’s worm, sinking, a voice whirling through my head, wish I’d never had you.