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I keep a notebook on my desk where I write down quotes on writing that I might want to go back to some day. I flipped through it, thinking it might be nice to kick this year off with a quote, and really there is only one sticking with me at the moment, from one of the pages  labelled Motivation: “Be terrifying.” – Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Five years ago, as of the 29th, we published the first issue of Devilfish Review. That was terrifying. We didn’t know if people were going to like it. We didn’t know if we would last the year. And yet, here we are. We are 18 issues in. We’ve published new voices and established authors. We’ve expanded to include poetry and nonfiction. We finally got up the nerve to run a Kickstarter (70% funded and open until Monday, April 3rd), which is something that has intimidated Sarah and me for far too long.  We’re no longer terrified. It’s our turn to be terrifying. It is our duty as a literary magazine to not only entertain, but to give people something to think about. Terrifying. Terrific.

Once more we have eight new stories, eight new poems, and one piece of new nonfiction for you. From humorous to heartwarming to heartwrenching, we have a bit of everything. in this issue. Our nonfiction piece, A List of Fears, does touch on child abuse, something that I am generally adverse to publishing because it makes me uncomfortable to read about. But this? I read it and couldn’t say no. I hope, if you can, you’ll read it, too.

Welcome to Year Six of Devilfish Review. We’re happy to have you here with us. Let’s be terrifying together.

Fiction

Phase Day: A Log of the Journalistic Career of Amltua Obon by Kara Dennison — Phase Day was a very exciting day for Mommy and me. It was a little scary at first, but Mommy explained how the portal tech worked and that we would all be safe, even though it felt tingly and everything got dark for a little while.

What Happened to Joe by H.L. Fullerton — Joe’s eyes were made of cotton—wads of cloudy goodness like the bird-pecked tips of matching tampons. I kept telling him to upgrade to marbles—buttons, even—but he liked the way his eyes made the world appear a softer place.

Dear Mr. Space Pirate, with Love by James Mapes — It’s been three hours since I last saw you, and my insides are still squirming. I can’t stop thinking about you.

Paper Cuts by Olga Godim — “You’re to take care of the children,” the head librarian said. A group of magic students huddled behind his back. The younger ones looked subdued and scared.

Jedediah, Memaw, the Skeet, and a New Window by Jeff Stehman — Jedediah was strolling down the trail one fine autumn evening, shotgun across his shoulder, when he found the alien.

Second Assistant Night Watchman by Bisha K. Ali — It was my third time on the boat. The first time, I was thrilled. Ecstatic. Father had finally found space for me, now that I could be put to work.

The Defense of Tantilly by Joshua Steely — King Caelune XIV of Dharoch was an ambitious man. Seeking to add the realm of Essyr to his domains, he made suit to marry Psyche, daughter of King Sylvanus.

The Heart by Andrew Kozma – At first I wasn’t sure, but then I leaned down close and decided, yes, it was a heart. It was purplish-red and slick with blood and beating a time so regular I could learn piano by it.

Non-Fiction

A List of Fears by Jennifer Fliss — The meteor landed in the farmer’s yard. Not quite into the corn, but on the grassy patch behind the house that had been rubbed bare in parts by his many animals that he let roam freely.

Poetry

The Haiku by Carol Graser — The Haiku realized/ several syllables later/ that weather patterns had changed/ that she was wearing a bikini/ over goose pimpled skin

Carousel Heart by Rachel Van Sickle — She was born with a carousel for a heart. Fuchsia unicorns/ pumped her blood, rising and falling as they orbited/ the mirrored panels that hid the gears and bearings.

Song for Psyche by Andrea Blythe — if you believe the path of an arrow is straight you’ve never been within/ cupid’s quiver

Mermaid by Rita Feinstein — That anguished winter I became a mermaid,/ Titus Andronicus was so funny/ we laughed until the atrocities/ opened knife wounds in our diaphragms.

Rising to the Bait by Lisa Leprovetsky — He wakes her in the hours before sunlight/ when even breathing seems too noisy,/ and he carries her gear to the car,/ her protests swallowed by tongues of fog.

East of the Caldera by Beth Cato — the little girl has never seen snow/ but she’s old enough to know/ it should bring all the glories of Christmas/ Santa Claus, presents, happy music

Hi-8 by Mack W. Mani — The following video is by all accounts/ original and un-doctored./ The time stamp reads:/ 23:11 | 07/05/1989/ The location, superimposed:/ Somewhere in the Masai Mara.

Beyond the Rings by Mack W. Mani — Out here beyond the rings,/ there is only the soft drone of the oxygen bay/ and the ever present little lights of the console,/ yellow/blue/yellow and back again,/ from here, a light less faint than the sun.