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  • about | ephemeras magazine

    ephemeras is a literary magazine that publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art. We welcome diverse voices, writers seeking a space to create outside of academia and people seeking a home for art that does not fit elsewhere. ephemeras is a space for transient art and perpetual artists. ephemeras publishes online quarterly, and we hope to print in our future.

  • devon neal | ephemeras magazine

    The Kitchen Counter on a Tuesday Night Devon Neal A dark glass of soda, dusted with carbonation, ice cubes melted to ghosts. The tangle of car keys, a catbitten phone charger, glasses folded like a sleeping insect. Several envelopes like ruffled feathers, a few scribbled on, return to sender. Two gray laptops, one plugged in, the pinpoint of orange light on its side. A wrinkled bag of cat food pebbles, a school lunch bag holding smeared snack packages. A green notebook, a tattered file folder, a calculator with worn keys missing its cover. A car tax notice, some W-2 forms, a purple marker and a mechanical pencil A school worksheet scrawled with n’s written backwards, a math exam, 18/20. The heat switches on; just turn off the light— we’ll clean it up tomorrow. Inheritance Devon Neal I wait until you're asleep, then I go into your bedroom with a screwdriver. While you breathe deep, I find the screw teeth behind your ears, under your shoulder blades, the heel of each foot, the roof of your mouth. In the gray of the room I pry the edges apart and set your loose, rattling panel to the side, exposing your circuitry. In the clockwork of your living, the soft clatter of each ticking part, I put my fingers into the edges, looking for a symbol, a logo, a brand name. ​ I inspect your chess-piece molars, their growth pattern, the ball of your shoulders, your ankle pins, the flywheels in your knees, each spinal gear. I fiddle with the marbles of your eyes, the flicker of paint inside— are they clear without lenses? ​ I check all these nervous devices Looking for my name. Are these the narrow heart valves of your great-grandfather, your grandma's weak kidneys, the oven-black lungs of my father? ​ In the rubber tread of your brain, I feel for our family's signature addiction, the sticking throttle of obsession. ​ In the morning, back in one piece, I remind you to eat a few more greens. Devon Neal (he/him) is a Kentucky-based poet whose work has appeared in many publications, including HAD, Livina Press, The Storms, and The Bombay Lit Mag, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. He currently lives in Bardstown, KY with his wife and three children. back to issue no.1

  • taylor memoli | ephemeras magazine

    What Needs to be Said Taylor Memoli I. ​ That first glance. Even when half of your face was covered by a mask, I somehow knew exactly what it looked like underneath. A tunnel of others stood in between us, me being the chosen one among the other brown-eyed brunettes. But you were never mine, rather a gold rush in the California valley of a crowded room. ​ II. ​ I have never looked at another man the same way I have looked at you. Yes, I will lay in bed with them, but I will always catch myself looking up at the ceiling while they talk nonsense. I will think about you when I see the paint-chipped hole right above my pillow, reminding me of that small birthmark on the bottom of your right shoulder, and how it felt under my nimble fingers that late night last December. Your back muscles flexed under the colorful Christmas lights that shone through your bedroom window. You whispered so quietly as so no one could hear your words from outside the bolted-shut wooden door. The banging, the scratching, they were out there. Waiting. ​ III. ​ After the marks you left on my neck began to develop, the ones I tried to leave for you didn’t stick, only temporary while mine were ones I had to carry with me, thinking of you every time I saw myself in the reflection of a mirror. ​ IV. ​ “I should go” “Don’t” “But if I don’t, I never will” “Good.” ​ V. ​ When you would lie, I would prop myself up on my stomach and look at you, your chest rising and falling ever so slightly, much like the needle on the rotating record, one of your favorites. The record constantly spinning, always coming back to the same spot at the end of its rotation. Margo Timmins filling the quiet space with a summary; Soul like a Lucifer, black and cold like a piece of lead/ Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead. Taylor is a writer and student at Monmouth University. Her work has been seen in the Monmouth Review and The Outlook, with selections in the International Screenwriting Competition and the Screen Power Film Festival. Most of her time is spent writing in her University's garden and giving lousy Letterboxd reviews. back to issue no.1

  • robert feder | ephemeras magazine

    A slightly perverted accountant Robert Feder Robert loved the preciseness of numbers; that’s why he became an accountant. 2+2 = 4, not about 4. If you feel that 2+2 should =5, it doesn’t matter- Numbers don’t care how you feel. His specialty was checking tax returns done by other accountants. He checked the numbers, the assumptions, the relevant legal and regulatory opinions, even the calculations. He checked all calculations three times for each return. However, for the last return of the tax year, usually at 11:59 on April 15, he went a little wild. He only checked the calculations twice. He always felt a little crazy after this, wild and full of passion. In fact, he tried not to judge others, but he knew that action, for him, was maybe just a little bit perverted. Robert is delighted to be in the debut issue of Ephermas and is ecstatic to have found other people who share his strange sense of humor. After years of writing financial analyses, he no longer writes about money, loans, and debt levels for a large commercial bank in New York City but now writes about important things like sitting around a sandbox in a park and humanities pending obsolescence. A story Robert wrote entitled “Trial by Influencer “was published in a literary anthology by Free Spirit Publisher (www.freespiritpublisher.com ) that is called “Business Stories.” back to issue no.1

  • stephen mead | ephemeras magazine

    Praying Stephen Mead World fall, world to hold & take my hand , the whispered plea & take my hand , the assurance said. Simple. It is so simple. Find yourself a Banyan by becoming one. Find yourself as limbs outstretched, clasping sky. Also, there's the lying, being the stream beside, being the bank. Also, there's the carving, the flesh itself a porous clay cup, kiln-resilient yet giving heat. Also find yourself perhaps as a sun-umbrella issuing the right shade, the right light. Offer now. Here, take, for what are we but the planet's wafers? And what are we but the future's roots going seed, seed, seed ? So earth greets the universe & faith shapes time. So your fingers are your own & my fingers, the same. Unrequited Stephen Mead Mustn't mention it. There's no mass appeal. Reveal the reviled and the underground turns sour, vomits toadstools, grubs. ​ How humorless are such adornments, dipped pearls for a choker. Wear the sores then, oh leprous one! ​ Cafes close their doors, haven't any vacant tables, (or so swears the maitre de'). Beaches roll up the ocean. Cinemas hang notes, "Sold Out!" Move along you, you, never a critic's darling, never falling out of favor. There's something else ​ choosing you, a scrawl of initials on locker room walls joined only to blank space starting to rust. Other sophomoric graffiti surrounds that, desperate couplets one day ​ painted over as you stand, a birch with bark nearly bare except for the curve of this heart, half-carved. Stephen is a retired Civil Servant, having worked two decades for three state agencies. Before that, his more personally fulfilling career was fifteen years in healthcare. Throughout all these day jobs he was able to find time for writing poetry/essays and creating art. Occasionally he even got paid for this work. Currently, he is a resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, showcasing artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, and organizations/allies predominantly before Stonewall. back to issue no.1

  • zafira demiri | ephemeras magazine

    The Wooden Sword Zafira Demiri “He grabbed my arm, mom! He hurt me!” Half-expecting to be swept into the corner, to be dealt with at a later time, the young girl made a more intense effort at putting her pain on display. She gripped her arm fiercely, digging her nails in, and perhaps hurting herself more than her younger brother had. ​ “Uh-huh.” ​ “Punish him! Momma, hit him!” the little girl shrilled. Her mother’s eyes moved to her at last, sharp and quick like a bullet into her lung, collapsing it. Now that her breath had escaped her, the word punish resounded in her skull. The inside of her head was hollow and dark—the more the word bounced around it the less that it held any connotation with her brother. Now, the word was moments away from being carved into her skin with a black, leather belt. ​ Like most children who speak out of turn, Maude was quickly taught what a slippery tongue could result in: a sleek belt pulled from fraying, denim loops in her mother’s jeans. The belt was nasty and it burned, but it stung less than the TV extension cord or the stick her mother would send her to retrieve from the backyard. Her mother would say something like, “Go out and find a stick with the most thorns,” and Maude would drag her small feet across the grass, wincing as she stepped on small pieces of weather-beaten gravel and wailing an ugly cry the whole way. Picking a stick for her punishment was an integral part of the psychological torture. ​ It was worse, however, when her mother would twist and turn the beating-instrument in her hand. She would gently drag it across her palm, caressing it with her fingertips as if petting the leathery beast. She would roll it up into a tight coil before releasing it so that the end would softly thud against the linoleum of the kitchen floor. ​ This was never done for her brother. The parents had divided up this work of disciplining their children, and so Maude’s father took care of the boy. Her father thought that hands were “man’s best tools,” that’s why he almost never used a fork when eating or why he beat his child with his palms and knuckles. Alas, her father wasn’t home right now, so Maude would be the only one getting punished. ​ In preparation for her beatings, Maude would sink to her knees as if praying. She would grab onto her mother’s chubby ankles, pleading with her for forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t cheap, and because Maude is a nine-year-old child with nothing to her name besides what her mother gives her, she cannot afford forgiveness. She can only accept punishment at no cost, except for blue blemishes on her soft, pale skin. ​ So when Maude’s mother turned to her with frustration behind her eyes and heat in her hands, Maude knew what would come next. She knew, so she did not wait for her mother to say anything. She slowly trudged through the kitchen, out the backdoor beneath the maple tree’s shade, avoiding the larger chunks of gravel that she had mapped out in her mind. She had walked this path many times now, scavenging for a stick that was neither too skinny nor too thick. One that had many thorns and branches, but that would not break within the first few whips. She even cut through the hot, mucky air with it like a sword to hear the sharp whistle. There are no true parameters for testing instruments to beat your children with, so Maude made them up as she went along. She, like her mother, twisted it and dragged it along her palm. ​ She had found the perfect stick: thorny, thin, long, flexible, with an exceptional screech when you beat the wind with it—this stick could bring the wind to her knees. This time, Maude was filled with childish masochism. Her mother merely watched through the backdoor in a kind of awe. Zafira is an English student at Monmouth University studying literature with interests in ecocriticism, feminist theory, and Marxist theory. She is the poetry editor for her school’s magazine, The Monmouth Review, and in her free time largely writes poetry and some fiction. For her, poetry is a way to unveil her deepest thoughts through contemplation and deliberation and fiction is more of a way to address controversy. back to issue no.1

  • terry trowbridge | ephemeras magazine

    Paramecium Terry Trowbridge My living water, here she is, split, all, on the earth! She slips and runs away from me; I thirst and run after her. -Marc di Saverio (2013). Sanitorium Songs, p. 47. ​ Slipper and Cinderella at once, she is cilia-covered celerity streaking through the inchoate microcosms, strong enough to sweep aside distractions and disregard currents. ​ She is iconoclastic. She mouths an oblique groove. She contrasts buccal sliver against bucolic slimes. ​ She is the speeding reproduction. She is Xeno’s paradox in mitosis form. Racing mitosis separates, half-selves make journeys, then bisect, then diverge. She is intentional Xerox. She is plenitude of motions and symmetries. The uncountable because she is the uncatchable. When grabbed by a predator, how many of her are eaten? Count the number of the stars, then subtract her. That is how many of her remain: the infinity of infinity-minus-nth. ​ Even at the moment you see only one, all that she indicates is that there is another, somewhere, because from herself she made a pair. Princess party: bibbity bobbity boo: self-symmetrical shoe. Terry is a researcher and farmer whose poems and literary criticisms are published in a plethora of publications such as the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Carousel, Humanistic Mathematics, British Columbia Review, Erato, and more. Gratefully funded by his first writing grant from the Ontario Arts Council, this poem is part of a series inspired by the visionary poet Emile Nelligan, translated by Marc di Saverio. back to issue no.1

  • james lilliefors | ephemeras magazine

    The Assimilation James Lilliefors Then came the cheapening, when even the air and the oceans seemed to lose value. ​ Or – could it be they simply lost interest, as many of us did? ​ Could it be that the tide, tired of its same-old with the shore, went out one night and chose not to return? ​ And the shore, seeing it had gained ground, sighed a breath of relief and let the tide go. ​ Some were astonished, then, how the wayward tide reappeared, sowing wild oats in faraway ports: There were sightings in the Seychelles. On Bondi Beach. In Maya Bay. Seaside Heights, New Jersey. ​ Odes and anthems were penned, singing the praises of what a tide could do, and be, when free, what unsung power it could command. ​ Only the scientists harbored doubts: If the tide had really broken free, wouldn’t it have been swallowed by the sea? “Assimilated” was the word they preferred. ​ But the public, skeptical by then of any five-syllable word, just scoffed, and waited to welcome the prodigal tide home. ​ Gathering nightly by the sea (even though the sea was within), giving absence a presence, a value it never had before. Waited as if for the flotsam of their own pasts to drift ashore. There Will Be Warnings James Lilliefors There will be warnings, we were told, and there were. But when the first ones came, we thought they might be something else. So we waited. ​ Some warnings rumbled, some warnings roared. Some came stealthily, silent as sea-rise. In the suburbs they sometimes shimmered first, then darkened like locusts, littering lawns with strange detritus that we quickly raked into piles and set on fire. ​ There will be warnings, we told each other. Better ones. And there were, stark as summer snowfall. But even then, we could not agree which were warnings and which were simply changes in the weather. ​ So we argued. And the warnings grew more respectable, acquiring property, planting shade trees, building tents of silence on their lawns. ​ And still we told our children what we’d told each other: there will be warnings. And there were. But by then, having endured decades of them ourselves, we also winked a disclaimer: They are only warnings. James is a poet, journalist, and novelist, originally from the D.C. area. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The Washington Post, Door Is A Jar, The Miami Herald and elsewhere. back to issue no.1

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