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A World of Our Own? Yes?

BROTHER X BY STEVEN McBREARTY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

Brother X cranked up a portable record player in our religion class and played A World of Our Own by The Seekers. On the chalkboard he wrote: A World of Our Own? Yes?

The cruise ships take so long to sail over the horizon. 

MI PADRE BY EMMELIE CORA 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

My father, just a boy back then, dozes on the beach under the palm trees on a sunny Sunday afternoon. His sister and brother call for him to play with them in the water. He pulls his hat over his eyes. Coconuts fall near him with soft thuds. Stray dogs sniff his pockets. Sometimes he watches the massive, other-worldly cruise ships pull out of Old San Juan Port miles and miles away. They take so long to sail over the horizon. 

When are you coming home?

AURORA AUSTRALIS BY SAMUEL DAMON 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

“Steven?” she whimpered after an immense pause. “When are you coming home?

She admired every perfect line. 

Every bead of sweat. 

JEWELS BY SHARAI ZAMORA 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

Ollie thought back to the day Julz had stumbled into her ballet class. Mila, their ballet teacher, had given her a stern and precise little smile and had immediately targeted her as the prime example of what not to do. In turn, Julz had worked twice as hard. Ollie couldn’t take her eyes off her. She admired every perfect line. Every bead of sweat.

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34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 100

COVER IMAGE BY ROGER CAMP, BROTHER X BY STEVEN McBREARTY, AURORA AUSTRALIS BY SAMUEL DAMON, MI PADRE BY EMMELIE CORA, JEWELS BY SHARAI ZAMORA.

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Grandma makes egg mcmuffins 

and lets us watch R-rated movies.

SINGLE MOMS HAVE COZY APARTMENTS BY SE DIAMOND 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 99


Since Jennifer’s mom is a biker and goes out a lot, Jennifer usually stays at her grandmother’s house where she can have a more stable childhood. Her grandpa stays in his downstairs bedroom with the door locked. I’ve never seen him.  Everyone smokes, so the couches smell musty and cigarettey. Both bathtubs are stained brown around the drain. But I still love sleeping there because her grandma makes egg mcmuffins and lets us watch R-rated movies. I stay in my pajamas and watch TV for eight or nine hours at a time.  

He’s a beautiful, lovely boy. He’s welcome any time.

CHRISTOPHER FINDS HOME BY KEVIN LAVEY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 99


“That’s a beautiful cat,” she said. “He’s got a lot of personality. He comes and visits me up on my deck.”

“Yeah, he’s a great guy. I rescued him from an alley when we were living in San Francisco.”

“Maybe you can help me haul some boxes from the basement into my car. Jeffrey said he’d do it, but—” She tipped her head. 

“Sure, any time.”

“How about now?”

Y’all ladies cooking crockpot chili with the door locked.

LAW AND LITERACY IN LULANOCCA BY PAMELA SUMNERS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 98


They’ve took prayers out of school and our girls get themselves pregnant and then this ACLU crowd wants us to teach kids how to avoid the consequences with what they call sex ed. 

Didn’t you say there was nothing off limits?

EXTRACT FROM WILD HORSES BY JORDI CUSSÀ 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 98 


“Your father phoned.” “My father…? Let me see, let me see... hang on a sec. No, doesn’t ring any bells, sorry.” “Don’t play dumb with me.” “I’m sorry, Laura, but you’re the one playing dumb. If you want to tell me something, go ahead, nothing’s off limits, but don’t mention the Shadow’s name in front of me! At least not while Franco is still alive.”


Run, I beg the girl in the frame. 

RUN BY TESS LIEGEOIS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 98


Run, I beg the girl in the frame. She’s black and white and squared in silver. The danger is coming—It will be there soon, at your door. 

There seemed no other conclusion.

CONCLUSION BY DESMA CAPUTO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 97



Once she’d spoken the words “I don’t want to be married any more,” there seemed no other conclusion. She couldn’t suck the words back.

Me, I prefer Shakespeare.

ALL OF ME LIES THERE BY DAVID WATERS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 97


Claire Hathaway was not that much older than I was but she taught Shakespeare. 

“Let me get this straight. You need to get an A in my course because you are applying to medical school?”

Pick the ending you want.

DEAD CAT BY MELVIN STERNE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 96


What’s the most likely ending? What’s the worst-case scenario? What’s the best ending? There’s a billion potential endings. Pick one.

I made it through. 

On my own.

MACHINE GIRL BY REBECCA EGAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 96


I want a signal that screams I made it through. On my own. I found a way out. 

She was never the kind of sister their father thought she was.

A GOOD SISTER BY WENDY TATLONGHARI BURG 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 95


“Has she talked to you at all?” Her father often assumed his children were conspiring against him, or protecting each other in some way, which to Nina was absurd. “Why would Pia talk to me about any of it?” she asked, tone dry, expression bored.  “You’re her sister,” he said.

Some days Cole could go for hours forgetting Collette.

NO SMOEKING BY S LEE BENNETT 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 95


She did not exist in his head any more. Nor had she for years. The name did not anger him as it once did, but it still saddened him. And more than anything confused him. Collette was no longer a person he recognized himself to be.

The only person who’s got your back is you.

 

Salem Rose, you can’t trust any motherfucker. You can talk with people, and be cool with them, but people are ruthless and disgusting, and the only person who’s got your back is you. Nobody got you like you got yourself, Salem Rose. You have to take care of yourself and tell everyone to go fuck themselves.  “I know dad,” I would tell him, giggling because I knew he would get mad at me if I swore.

FROM HUMBLE EYES BY SALEM ROSE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 94

One of life’s great mysteries 

had finally been revealed to her.

FIRST FRIDAYS BY ZACH SWISS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 93


More like it had splintered into millions of little mysteries jostling in the darkness.

Whatever happens 

happens for the good.

A SCUT OF EARTH BY ELIZABETH KIRSCHNER 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 93


Bean whispered, you could place your hand in a ripe fruit and withdraw a beautiful afternoon. He said, “Whatever happens happens for the good.”

 You wore my hat and laughed as 

 we walked home hand in hand.

LOVE AND PHILODENDRON BY PATRICK SEAMAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 83




It was a quick walk down to the little creek that ran through your father’s backyard. We would kick off our shoes and ball our socks into our pockets and feel which rocks were the slimiest and search for crayfish with our toes. I remember you wore my hat and laughed as we walked home hand in hand and I told you to keep it and you did.


It only mattered that I was beautiful.

I can’t figure out whether he’s not texting me today because he’s finally gotten tired of me or if he’s just busy. 

POCKETS FULL OF PROMISES BY BLUE KIRKPATRICK 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 90

Listen to the surf. I could lie here, lie here with you forever.

STARTING AGAIN BY LINDSAY SMITH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 89


Do you think we could do things together always? I mean, like we could be these archaeologists sifting the sand for the remains of ancient civilisations, and together all the time, sharing everything.

 Everything, she thought, is 

 an accident of where you are.

STEALING HOME BY KAY BONTEMPO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 78


Two bell peppers, Muenster cheese. Cauliflower, a pack of Newports, Tampax. Martinelli’s apple juice. Paper towels two-ply. English Breakfast tea. Boil-in-a-bag rice, paper clips, ramen noodles. Maybe some ice cream if there was money left over. America’s Choice vanilla, eaten straight from the carton. It wouldn’t be bad. With an uncomfortable pop, he pulled out of her and lay beside her, breathing hard. It was 11.52pm. She wondered if the Shop’n’Save would even be open. 

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