Irreconcilable Differences

The night before first snow in Zutphen the bathroom glass

is piebald with frostbreath and djinns and this month you don’t trust

electricity so I kneel in the tub to dredge the blood from between

my thighs until my knuckles no longer trail burnt cherries and

bicycle rust down the shower curtain I asked your mother not to buy.

Supper is bread and cheese and you saying nothing about When

you’ve been today but the maggots dotting the French press

tell me southern hemisphere and the star anise clouding your bitten nails

tells me Rajasthan. Every day you leave I think about leaving you

and Chaya from Marketing says Marie why don’t you bring your man 

to the borrels anymore and Chaya’s sisters are shifters and I could

tear the plowed fields apart with them for miles after work and dark

and you’d never notice and the ryegrass grows higher and brighter

under our house and sometimes I think about hiring the Glastras

from down the lane to stake their Deluxe Fairy Ring in the space

and how would you like it then, to steer for known earth and instead

find the flux, but then I remember the haunch of your devil’s

food birthday cake packed in the freezer, half of which I ate fresh-baked

in the driveway because you’d taken the house to Reykjavik, and I clip

the Glastras coupon to my wallet and eat cake reading about Eurovision

while you chart portals across the dining table amidst the ruins of suppers

long forgotten, staring at a postcard of Strombolian lava formations

for incalculable minutes before asking years too late if I’m ovulating.


(Editors’ Note: “Irreconcilable Differences” is read by Matt Peters on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 45A.)


Lalini Shanela Ranaraja

Lalini Shanela Ranaraja is a multi-genre creative from Kandy, Sri Lanka. She holds a BA in anthropology and creative writing from Augustana College in Illinois, USA. Her writing appears in Entropy, Off Assignment, Random Sample, Sky Island Journal, Transition, and elsewhere. Discover more of her work at

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