My kid reads me the gate code: 9636-hashtag. I punch it in, resist the urge to tell her irrelevant bits from back in my day, & wonder if I’ll ever shift from pound in my own lexicon, having just turned 44. Last birthday for 2 years—I’m skipping 45, the age at which my father died. I’m like a toddler pretending, twirling into a disappearing act with my next grand entrance all planned. Cute analogy, sure, but it’s not rhetorical, either, & is not the internal sense, that steady metronome, the most trustworthy logic of all? My daughter retrieves her friend, they slide in & slam the car doors. I’m striving to be unlike my own parents so I stifle the reprimand of not so hard. My kid’s eyes gleam when I let her pick the music, those mono-fold almonds shaped like my father’s. Hers hazel, his were dark as espresso beans, & I wonder what he’d think of the hashtags & names, or the way we live since Sept of oh-one. Slowly, the exit gate deigns to open, we turn onto the main road, & some narrative dalliances, I know, are better left undeveloped. Some curiosities can’t be fed. The kids bounce as I sing along to their nouveau pop songs, & though so often I’ve got something to say, I quiet my inner hum, let this present moment thrum, & tell my passengers: Turn it up. Little faces, how they beam. The highway sprawls ahead. It’s easy, today, to leave the rest unsaid.
Sarah E. Azizi (aka Sera Miles) is a queer Iranian-American writer, educator, and activist. Previous and forthcoming publications include: $pread Magazine, 34th Parallel, Blue Mesa Review, Fahmidan Journal, Clean Sheets, red, The Tide Rises, HELD, Wrongdoing Magazine, the winnow, Superpresent, Nine Mile, and Free State Review. She lives in Albuquerque.
Guest Editor, Morgan O.H. McCune is a native Kansan and now lives in Topeka. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University (2002). She was a Cataloging Librarian/Professor at Pittsburg State University for 15 years before retiring in 2022.