Flash Fiction

Fortnightly on Fridays, the Margins publishes flash fiction by emerging and established Asian, Asian American, and Asian diasporic writers.

Some of the most fascinating, and perhaps strangest and most experimental writing exists in short, finished pieces that were never meant to be novels or full-length stories. Our hope is for the flash fiction we publish to be shared, perhaps read aloud, where flickers of campfire match the ferocity of the page.

Our flash fiction series is edited by Swati Khurana and Yi Wei.

She remembers the rituals she had imbued with her own significance: how her ex used to bring her a single flower after every exam, and how she’d watch it wilt on her desk as she studied for the next.

I should have studied their faces as they said goodbye, the way they smelled, the lines on their hands.

I turned around to check whether the llama was still there. There he was, as fluffy and clueless as before, lashes waving as he sat on a tattered red mat thrown on the aisle.

When she opened her door the lived-in smell burst out like gases from a can: fish sauce and charred meat, mildew and a stronger concentration of the musk he had noticed when he got close enough to her body.

Without my hands, I have no soul.

When they talk, the five sisters, their words strangle each other, pulling and plucking at the threads of truth.

Astrological insights from our twelve flash stories

I feel satisfied, triumphant, knowing I have loved the original donut well, though maybe it was only its glaze that I recognized.

I don’t know what to tell you except that children are cruel and her emails were hilarious.

She selected a single star on which to direct her attention. We are one light, she told herself.

I never understood the concept of wearing an outfit only once, by which I mean I’ve never thought about my own wedding.

In Chinese, filial piety is a homophone for peel.

That sweet aroma—one so acquainted with Jabril—was hanging brightly like a piece of the moon within this incantation.

We learned about our Other Brother on a summer afternoon.

In that moment who was to say what belonged to me—Munir’s mouth, my luminous skin color, a setting sun, the shady place we were in, I could never tell anyone.

Your mother always told you stories as she oiled your hair: of her youth, legends and fables, immigration, your father’s business ventures.

Like if we shared any of the same interests I could tell him how I recently learned that Kubrick in his younger days used to wander around New York City and play chess in parks

“Scared, Starlight?” my big brother said smiling at me as we’d strapped our harnesses into place. “Don’t be.”

It is 10:40 a.m., I stare up at the ceiling, a collection of imprints. I am trying to count how many animals I can see sheeted above my head in all four corners.

Astrological insights from our inaugural twelve flash stories

Hot outside, cold inside. Hopeful on the outside, forlorn on the inside. Or was it the other way around?

One day the woman wakes up and she can’t say exactly what it is that’s changed, only that she knows it all has.

They thought me the oddity, though they were the ones depriving themselves of air. I watched them with the same curiosity that they watched me. How? And why?

These days I’ve grown tired of my heart, how much feeling it has required, and would much prefer to laugh.

In the shelter of our happiness, his shell shone brighter and brighter until one day, it split open and crumbled into dust to reveal a baby, golden skinned and blinking up at me.

Sometimes she grew so nervous that she had to sit in her room for hours until her hands stopped trembling. She wondered if her daughters ever thought about her.

That spring my wife covered the walls of our living room in newsprint.

She should moisturize more often, drink at least three liters of hot water with lemon each day, and wear silicon sheet masks to bed to hide the stigmata of a woman who was everything.

And though I knew it was someone’s son, I unburied the rooster in the dark and kick-started a fire and roasted it on a spit, my fingers lamping with grease.

The sunflowers fall, right along with their mason jar, in the middle of the night. Their heads too gloriously full of early July. How they seem to know everything, except the virus.

He collected the past in amber, often describing war memorials as beautiful. He called himself a gardener.

Five American Fables

As we kick off a new fortnightly series on The Margins, what experiments with the Instant Pot teach us about the art of flash fiction

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