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riksha issue V2.2

During uncertain times, stories keep us grounded. Tales from childhood, meaningful exchanges, remembrances of chance encounters. Perspectives take form in palettes and fabrics and moving images capture humor and lightness. There is discomfort sometimes, even rage. This is the space we seek to expand in riksha. We hope you find something that resonates with you among the writers and artists who have graced us with their work. Welcome to riksha V2.2!

Quiet Nights

Fiction
by Sapna Kumar

I wake to the whistling sound of a bus going past my home. My clock says 7:25. When I check, the alarm is set for PM, instead of AM. Now I’ll have to walk in late to school with my brother. He always oversleeps, and I never do.

We don’t have enough money to put the heat on too high, so I sleep under tons of blankets. School’s been canceled a lot this winter. It’s always cold in Cleveland. I wish I could stay in bed forever….

The Story and Sylvia

Fiction
by Rammel Chan

Naturally, when she returned to the United States, Sylvia’s go-to topic of conversation was her two month study-abroad to Cape Town, South Africa. Once inquisitive friends and family would even touch upon the subject, the flood-gates would open and all other topics of conversation would cease to exist. They listened politely, sipping at the ice in empty water glasses in restaurants or living rooms or coffee shops in Oak Park, with nods and forced smiles, to what young Sylvia had done on her study-abroad trip….

My Life of Sin

Nonfiction
by Eduardo Cruz Eusebio

Don’t ask me what the communal outhouses were like. Okay, I have to tell you. Picture a six-foot deep slit trench with a long wooden building pulled over it. In that building hang a dim 20-watt bulb above a long bench with a missing rear board. Where the board is missing, you hang your ass over the fetid darkness, and let it fly into the abyss. Shitting in the darkness, shoulder to shoulder with other soldiers of the Lord, the bench shaking with the exertion of a dozen men and boys, is a dear memory that will never leave me, despite years of hypnosis and therapy….”

Illusions of Next Time

An Essay
by PJ Temple

“Dad, I think it’s a good time for me to start looking for an apartment. I’m almost twenty. I need to be more independent.”

“Oh no. Vy move? You vill stay here until you get married. We don’t believe in moving, boving.”

He’s over-rhyming. The topic must have struck a chord for him. He might as well have said moving out is hocus pocus, a mythical idea reserved for spooky nights around campfires. He made the idea sound outlandish and revolutionary. I suppose it was, in his mind….

Part I. Coral / Part II. The Corral

A Poem by Ryan Nakano

Part I. Coral

Ahh, the coral
beauty sees the boy &
the boy breathes
thru jagged little gills diver boy dives deep into his back pocket
to pull out a piece of porcelain Made in
his memory begins before he was born
back when grandmother was a mermaid and
the reef he remembers belonged to the gill-less
sea
force of a wave
the tide of war once littered the beach & the boy
surfaces
combs the shore for shells
combs the shore for something to remember the kingdom….