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 July 2024

Image by Joel Neff

Photo Source: Unsplash. Photo by Joel Neff

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Nonfiction
Elegy for Two Sakura
by Samantha Sapp
 

     Our sides brushed against the polyester of our too-small tent as tanuki mated outside. Americans like to call them raccoon dogs—strange creatures occupying some liminal space we can’t quite understand—and the tanuki’s place in Japanese mythology is similar. They are tricksters, both real and unreal, shapeshifters who traverse the boundary between both the wildand human worlds. 

   They prowled the edges of our campground, a small clearing surrounded by worn stone bluffs and aching pine trees. The moon was full, and against the walls of our tent they cast something between shadows and not shadows—the faintest trace of being without being. We were in Plato’s cave, forced to bear witness to a reality woven parallel to ours. And when tanuki mate, they mate like something between humans and beasts—they chatter in guttural growls and screams, an unceasing cacophony of death-wails and arousal. We laid next to each other, petrified and enraptured, completely unable to sleep.     

     So, naturally, being teenage boys we talked about sex. 

     I was mortified, while you were giddy with your teasing. That whole night, curled up in our sleeping bags and our own little world, we danced on the edge of something more—some confession, some admission. Both stupid-young, both a little strange for our world, both whispering thoughts teetering between hope and despair. Now, ten years later you wouldn’t recognize me—I’m a woman, happily married.     

     And you, you’re dead.

(Continued)

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00:00 / 08:21

Samantha Sapp reads from "Elegy for Two Sakura"

Recent nonfiction

by Kate Blakinger

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by Travis Flatt

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