John Gallaher and Kristina Marie Darling were born in Portland and Tulsa. Their collaborations
appear in OmniVerse, Requited, diode, and elsewhere. They currently live and write in rural
Missouri while also taking frequent trips on the bullet train from Paris to Agen.

The Minor Risks That People Worry Too Much About

It's the kind of thought you have when you're out shopping with a friend at the mall, and you realize that the natural, chemical-free food and clothes are more expensive than the unnatural, chemical-laden ones, and sure, you realize, of course, it's always like that. The food court's full. We're talking about yardwork. Think of the yard like the brain of a teenager. You can say the mismatch in the maturation of annuals and perennials leaves the yard open to risky behavior but also allows for leaps in ground cover and adaptability. We agree that's kind of funny, but we'll need to work on it a bit before we try it out on anyone. We're grilling later. Cool. And how do you like your steak?

Telescope, Solar Flare & Now the Saddest Film

All the movies that year had what seemed like the same plot. The cavernous house, its endless corridors, & a perfectly manicured lawn. Always a low sky murmuring just above them, those little flashes in the distance. Soon we wonder why we're both thinking about astronomy, & at exactly the same time.

Most nights we watch the constellations flicker across a porous screen. I want to tell you that a film is not a backlit doorway or a burst of light. It's a kind of shared consciousness, traveling like the strands of a spider's web. If one of us thinks of winter, it's not long before the trees grow heavy with ice.

Silence, a long shot of the house. Somehow they have forgotten most of the rooms. I can no longer picture the foyer, smoke rising from beneath its locked door, or the enormous ghost that once had lived there.

At Least I'm Not as Sad as I Used to Be

The television set blinked off & at first, neither of us quite knew what to do. We swept away the bits of glass, untangled each of the wires. Still there was no voiceover, no narrator to describe the various features of the garden, so all I could do was stare. Out the window, a broken lawn mower, a field of dead lilies, the same inhospitable landscape.

Even then, you insisted oblivion is a kind of sainthood. I found myself laughing, but couldn't remember what had happened just before. Now everyone else seems to have married well & had pleasant children.

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