The Christian War

I really need to learn to stop telling people that I’m Palestinian. It invariably creates questions and conversations at times when I’d much rather just be reading while waiting for the bus or train. Do real Jewish people get asked by strangers with unsettling regularity for confirmation of their stereotypical genetic markers? I have never had someone react quite the way a woman at my morning bus stop did last Monday, however. Here, let me set it up: Every workday I walk from home in the old residential area of…

Date

They’d only just ordered drinks and already Birch was swearing she’d never go on a blind date again.  Dammit, she really should have known better. Aster was always trying to set her up with minor heroes so the dryad would leave her six brothers alone.  Birch sighed, thinking about the youngest, the one who still had that swan’s wing.  How great would that be in bed, those soft feathers trailing up— “Tough choices, huh?”  The melodic voice broke into Birch’s daydream.  Right.  She still had to get through this date. …

5 Cities: Johnnie

Johnnie stood in his garden and tried to see the hills. The fog was up, making the western boundary a towering dark smear in a light grey wall. Between him and the hills were a hell of a lot of other buildings, but his family’s place was taller than most and the hulking view from the rooftop garden was good—in better weather. Ignoring the misting damp, Johnnie sat, straddling a bench. Though the garden was food-producing enough to justify their solar voucher, it was mostly ornamental. Greenery swarmed in arbours…

5 Cities: The Thousand Gardens

There were more than a thousand gardens, of course.  The place that became the Five Cities was built on the skeleton of a forest and haunted by its fecund past.  It was lush with a flamboyant excess of greenspace, laid out and continually added to in an attempt to appease the leafy fates.  But such stately verdance was proved a pale shade once dame nature had room to stretch. The Five Cities gave her that, tearing up asphalt to get to the dirt, handing out flyers about rooftop gardens, letting…