2022 Short Story Competition

Pistachio Meditation


i found god in lonesomeness

glory in solitude

i go hours without speaking and

equally as many without shutting up

i pray into my kitchen cabinets

as i make myself lunch at four thirty

i tell them about my imaginings

and have conversations with nobody

i dip my hands in flat diet coke and

cross myself

i allow myself to give in to the dizziness and

listen to the hymn that my blood pumps through my brain.

—– Red

There was a red car. Parked. Red like those cinnamon hearts my grandma used to let me try, the ones that made my tongue burn. I always spat them out. The driver of the red car was happy, usually. She made smoothies for a living and stopped at Triple O’s on the way home. I wished I was that happy. The car started to move, crawling towards me. The passenger seat was empty. She ate the warm pickles in front of the TV at 10pm. The headlights are cracked. The spoiler was broken and taped together, red tape. There was nothing tape couldn’t fix, remember, red, red like hearts. I always spat them out. I always put them in my mouth. I always spat them out. There was nothing tape couldn’t fix, not yet. Spoilers and smoothies, pickles and the passenger seat. Cinnamon hearts on the floor, in my mouth. The car started going faster.

It should have missed me.

It didn’t.

—– left

i make myself smile when i see a blue sky

a sunbeam

stringing string

of lights

leftly living

i am living my life but slightly to the left

there is a heartbeat just behind my own

heavy haunting

holding me here pulsing pulsing

on the couch where i sit

feeling nothing nothing



ask me how i’m doing

i am left

—– ink

a palm-sized notebook, baby’s breath on the front.

my breath inside. a fountain pen’s worth

of ink scrawling, noting the weather and

bus seat ramblings, realizations.

everything is more authentic written down,

it reads. i remember when authenticity

was my favourite concept.

i’ve learned it’s not normal to have a favourite concept.

a heart shaped sticky note begging

for an ending, a drawing of a

quebecois coffeepot that became a spaceship.

after a while the lines are filled with

nouns. incoherent.

the first riff of this town by oar.

pen ink on wrists.

my notes cramped all onto one

page so i didn’t lose my train of thought,

like i have to clamp both hands

around anything that made me feel.

there’s nothing sadder than an abandoned playground.

cage that thought, capture

it, between the faint lines of my book, the

creases on my wrists,

let those things live there,

arrest their authenticity.

little green bugs on shiny black tables.

i will lose time and wake

up with hands covered in ink and

my rememberings

will be the same.

This poetry collection by MacKenzie Sewell is posted in submission for the ESA’s 2022 Short Story Competition.

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