The Lo-Fed Chronicle.

Table of Contents
Poetry
01. The Land Beneath my Feet ................................................................. 04
02. The Animals of Big Bend Discuss the Wall .........................................04

Fiction
03. The Purser ........................................................................................... 06

On the Podcast
04. God Will Bring the Rain ....................................................................... 13

Author Spotlight
05. Liz Kerr ................................................................................................ 15
06. Notable Pieces .................................................................................... 16

Get Fed
07. Writing Prompts .................................................................................. 17

Flipbook

Flipbook

08. Submission Manager Confessions........ .............................................. 18

2/18

3/18

Poetry
The Land Beneath My Feet
-By Mahrukh Murad

One day my little two-year old legs found out,
That the land beneath them had shifted.
There were green pastures instead of faded wasteland.
The metal of guns no longer visible,
The fear of death no longer physical.
My stubby feet were unsure,
Of whether to roam or stay still.
To claim the land or lay foreign still.
To cry the anthem or slay the hope still.

Who would build a wall along these canyons and cliffs

To be buried in the land or flee the land still.

Asked the skeptical coyote and the ornery javelina
We have been crossing the river and drinking from her
In every season that our ancestors have lived here
For we know no barriers to quench our thirst or hunger
I believe him fluttered the Quino checkerspot butterfly
Whose California cousins were already struggling to survive

The Animals of Big Bend Discuss the Wall
--By Carol Flake Chapman

There are already so few of us she said and we cannot fly high
Enough to cross a wall that would block us from nectar
That tantalizes us but which we cannot reach and so must die

As the prospects of his species surviving on the Texas

That was invisible to the animals but soon

Side of the border kept diminishing day by day

Would split their free-wheeling world in two

As he grew thin and weary and close to giving up the fight

The owl tried to pitch his monotonous whistle to urgency

Surely a wall would not keep us out squeaked the kangaroo rat

As he hooted that all four footed creatures were in danger

As he jumped up and down demonstrating his ability

Along with the winged creatures that couldn’t fly high

To escape any of the predators who were looking hungry

For they would have to choose sides north or south

Despite the agreement to cease hostilities for the day

Of the river that had nourished them for eons

Maybe I can jump the wall or dig under it or wiggle through

The bobcats, the mountain lions and the big horned sheep

Dear Rat you cannot jump high enough said the pygmy owl

Scoffed at the tiny owl who had a credibility problem

Just as I cannot fly high enough nor can the butterfly

As he could hardly manage to fly up to four feet

Find a way to extend her wings to surmount such a barrier

And they roared and pawed the ground in disbelief

And so we must find a way to ask the humans to stop building

At the news that they could no longer roam freely.

A wall that will divide us and deny that we are all one.

Flipbook

To crossing the river stealthily to find food and mates

The bats to spread the message along the border

4/18

I believe him too growled the ocelot who had grown accustomed

Of the wall to the creatures of Big Bend and asked

Flipbook

It was the pygmy owl who-who-who brought word

5/18

A

ll the times in Catholic school

Tess worked the flight back from

tilted the book cover to act as a wall but

they’d prayed a novena for more

Chicago to Philadelphia and, after all

needn’t have bothered, really, because

young men to receive a vocation to the

the passengers had been buh-bye’d,

in between customers the barista kid

priesthood, she was actually praying to

she went to the airport crew lounge,

just looked at his phone.

fly off somewhere like Wendy Darling.

changed out of her uniform and for-



Through the intercession of Mary, her

mulated a plan to vent her anger.

Tess never again told her husband
about passengers who felt the price of
a ticket entitled them to molest the
flight attendants. She learned to fight
back with a combination of ice water
and turbulence and looked after her
co-workers so well she was promoted
to purser and voted in as their union
rep. She tamped down the urge to
punch some passengers in the face by
doing post-flight yoga, wine or a com-

T

he Barnes & Noble was across from
the Willow Grove Mall, built on

what had been, in Tess’s childhood,
the Willow Grove amusement park.
It wasn’t until Tess smelled the coffee
from the in-store Starbucks that she
realized she had been awake for over
20 hours. She ordered one for herself,
a double espresso, and one to use as a
weapon. She scoped out the cafe and
chose a table in the corner, where her
back would be against the wall and
facing front like anyone who grew

bination of the two and for the past 15

across the table to hold her spot then

out.

--by Liz Kerr

knew to do. She tossed her jacket

Until the Access Hollywood tape came

The Purser

up during the South Philly mob wars

years she’d been successful.

headed over to the books.

S

A

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6/18

was sitting up in bed, in the dark. You

sounds at her mother and kept repeat-

need to quit that job, Tess, or I’m go-

ing “hey baby.” Tess didn’t understand

ing to kill someone,” he said and she

why her mother didn’t react to being

believed him and felt bad, guilty even,

called, in her opinion, the worst thing

that the creep was in his head.

you could be called - a baby. She also

Tess remembered the first time the

didn’t understand why her mother had

creep got into her head. It was mid-Au-

said, “we won’t tell Daddy about that

gust, the summer she turned five, and

man,” not until years later.So she lied

her mother had taken her to the dis-

to her husband and said, “If it ever hap-

count store down the avenue to pick out

pens again, I’ll quit.” Tess knew she’d

a dress. She was miserable with poison

never be able to explain to him her ob-

ivy, her arms and legs chalky pink from

session with flying, that it was a result of

dried-up calamine lotion. As her moth-

divine intervention.

er pulled her along the sidewalk shaded
by the elevated train, a man, a stranger,
came up behind them. He made kissing

She wasn’t sure what section to look

on a flight out of Philly Interna-

s soon as the plane landed, Tess
knew she couldn’t go straight
home. If she did, her husband would
know, he could read her like that, and
he’d want to know the guy’s name and
address from the flight manifest and it
would turn into this whole big thing.
She’d made the mistake once, early on in
her career, of telling him about a passenger who, while she was doing beverage
service, had forced his hand up her uniform skirt with such force he’d ripped
her pantyhose and torn her panties. Her
husband’s reaction was visceral - a coiled,
quiet, seething kind of anger she’d never
seen from him. When she woke in the
middle of the night, her body’s internal
clock still somewhere over Europe, he

he first heard it while deadheading

in and didn’t want to ask the clerk,

tional. She should have been resting

because he might be suspicious as to

but couldn’t stop watching it on her

why she wanted to bring every copy the

phone. She was the mother of a twelve
year old girl and this man, this creep,
was the Republican party nominee
for President of the United States of
America.
His voice, his sneering, privileged,
punk-ass, “grab ‘em by the pussy”

store had of The Art of the Deal to her
table in the cafe. The thought of what
section his books should be in made
her laugh out loud. Fantasy? Horror?
Science Fiction? She made her way
to the Business section and pulled her
first batch of the book’s hardcover and
paperback versions. She stacked them
on the seat and lifted each book, one

laughter, was every passenger who’d

at a time, for her liquid inscription.

ever pinched her, squeezed her, poked

She used her straw like a pipette to

her, grabbed her, said “my bad” or

draw up the dark liquid and, with her

“while you’re down there” or “so,

finger covering the top of the coffee-

about that mile high club.”

filled straw, let it drip all over the page,

carried the books back to the shelf
and lined them up neatly. She was
careful not to touch the Ayn Rand
book on Capitalism in the same row,
in case she became infected with a
disregard for the poor. Ten months
later she was working a night flight
out of Washington National Airport
when a group of young men boarded
from a connecting flight out of
Charlottesville. They had the look of
frat boys, which could be dangerous for
her flight attendants, and they seemed
overly excited, like maybe their team
had won something that day. During
beverage service she could see them
passing an iPad with the volume up.
Afraid it might be porn and other
passengers would be offended, she
watched over the back of a seat but
saw nothing more than some sort of
night parade with torches. When she
returned to the galley for clean-up, an
elderly male passenger poked his head
in.
“Miss,” he started to say but couldn’t
continue. He looked pale, his voice
was tremulous and Tess was thinking
about how many steps away the
defibrillator was.
“Are you having any chest pain, sir,”
she asked, ready to start CPR if he
dropped.
“They’re Nazis,” he said.
“Nutsies?” “Are you hungry?” Tess
asked.
Another passenger, a woman, rushed
down the aisle.

enough to make it un-sellable. She
7/18

Flipbook

prayers were answered.

When she’d finished, Tess

she met any interesting passengers.

by members of her local. In June,

Tess didn’t want her daughter to be

eighteen months since he took office,

a naive kid, but she wanted to shield

she started to see reports coming in

her, at least for another day, from the

“I’ll take care of it,” she said “let’s get
this gentleman back to his seat first.”
She handed the elderly man off to
another flight attendant and walked
toward the young men
“Is there a problem here?” Tess asked
and they all shook their heads. “I’ve
had several complaints about noise
so you all need to keep it down.” As
Tess turned to go back to the galley,
the young man on the aisle seat made
a motion with his arm that almost
looked like a Nazi salute. Maybe he
was just stretching, she told herself,
he must have been stretching.
When she got home, her husband
was watching the news. The way he
was sitting, literally on the edge of his
seat, told her it was bad.
“Hear about this?” He pointed to the
screen, to the parade of torches and
Tess recognized the chant. “A girl
got killed.”
“Some of them were on my flight,”
she said, “I need to take a shower. Did
Veronica get the bus on time or did
you drive her?”
Her husband, who worked a Monday

N

othing she said, in her limited

securely zipped in with her make-up,

female passengers en route to Disney

Spanish, could soothe the little

and texted her husband that she needed

World for their weddings.

boy. He sobbed so hard and called out

to make one quick stop before coming



from flight attendants all reporting

so insistently for his mother that most

home.

over her arm until the weight pulled

version of the world she witnessed

similar episodes involving children,

of the flight attendants and many of the



Tess pulled out of the airport

on her neck and shoulder, as many as

35,000 feet above. She grabbed a pair

really young children, pre-schoolers,

passengers were in tears. Tess imagined

employee’s parking lot and headed

she could carry, like someone you’d see

of tweezers from the bathroom
shelf, dropped them in her purse
and went downstairs. “I’m going
to get in a quick yoga class, ok?”
Tess was out the door before he
had a chance to talk her out of it.

The shoe store called
itself a shoe warehouse and it
truly was - aisle after aisle of boxes
stacked by brand name. Tess made
her way to the Ivanka Trump
brand boxes. She reached into her
jacket pocket and wrapped the
sharp, pointy tweezers around her
middle finger, pointy side down,
like a reverse brass knuckles. She
bent over the shoes, as if she were
trying them on, dug the pointy
tips deep into the fake leather and
pulled, leaving a long slit.
aybe because she was so
exhausted, the chant
from the Nazis on her flight kept
playing in her head. She forced
herself to dedicate her practice, as
her yoga instructor always told the
class to do, so she thought about
the tour she took on her first
Amsterdam layover of a tiny attic
where a young girl hid from Nazis.
She dedicated her practice to Anne
Frank and destroyed the rest of the
Ivanka Trump brand shoes.

toddlers.

The narrative section of

the child’s cries of “Mama!” penetrating

north on I-95, toward the Macy’s in the

on the news fleeing a wildfire or some

the reports described traumatized in

the cockpit’s steel door, picked up by air

Willow Grove Mall

other national disaster, and carried

all its synonyms - terrified, in shock,

traffic control and reverberating via

sobbing, hysterical and detailed their

radar across the country, cloud to cloud,

As she rode the escalator down to



concerns of child neglect by the ICE

state by state, carried on a reverse jet

the Women’s Dress department, she

the row, hung the dresses on hooks

agents. Some described toddlers with

stream wind back to a young woman

suspected security might be on to her,

and slid the door latch shut. She was

no clean diapers, children with high

in a detention center cell somewhere in

that at any second she’d be approached

comfortable in the confines of the tight

fevers, children suffering nausea

Arizona.

by a guard or a police officer or, but no

space, used to working around the smell

and vomiting. One reported it as

“Basta!” the ICE agent yelled at the boy.

one stopped her. She scoped out the

of feet and dirty carpet. She set her purse

kidnapping while another called

Tess stepped in between them.

section but there were no sales clerks in

on the small shelf seat and pulled out

it human trafficking. The flight

“Did you just call this child a bastard?”

sight. There were just a few shoppers, all

her tools - the confiscated Swiss army

attendants were refusing to take part

Tess asked the agent.

women, mostly shopping in pairs.

knife, a black Sharpie, dark red lipstick,

in the forceful separation of minors

“No, I didn’t. I said basta - it means



from parents. There was chatter in

enough.”

the front of the Dress section were the

make-up remover wipes.

the union about an organized “sick

“Don’t yell at him again,” Tess said.

classic fashion labels - Calvin Klein and

She applied the foundation with a heavy

out” to protest the treatment of the

Upon landing, the agent made it clear

Ralph Lauren. Tess moved past them

hand and ran the dark, almost crimson

children.

to Tess that the children were in his

to the Ivanka Trump rack, back in the

lipstick shade she’d bought especially

Tess booked on to a flight number

custody and they were to de-plane first.

corner, sort of hidden almost, like the

for the occasion over her lips three

that came up in several of the reports -

She asked him where the children were

porn section in the video store where

times. She glanced in the mirror and

Phoenix to Miami. She was on board

being taken.

she’d worked after high school.

was reminded of the Fun House mirrors

the next day as twelve small children

“That’s confidential,” he said, but Tess



She reached for the first dress,

that used to be here when it was an

and an ICE agent boarded. They were

already knew, the stories were coming

grabbing it more forcefully than she

amusement park. At different angles

dressed alike, gray sweatpants, white

out, that the children were going to

realized and it screeched along the

she could see images of her mother,

t-shirts, and cheap slip-on sneakers

be locked up somewhere, lost to their

metal bar.

her grandmother, her sisters and her

that Philly kids used to call bo bo’s.

parents.

The agent attempted to stop her from

report that cited child abuse and sent it

assisting a small boy of about five

to her superiors.

with his seatbelt and Tess explained,

Tess deadheaded back to Philadelphia

as purser, every passenger was under
her charge.

M

She filled out an incident

She draped dress after dress

them to the dressing room.

Prominently

displayed

in

T

Tess chose the last room in

thick foundation, and a package of

daughter, as if they had all crowded

wo women, a mother and daughter

into the dressing room with her. She

perhaps by their similarities,

removed the first dress from its hanger,

looked over at her and looked at the

turned it inside out and pressed her face

Airport and changed in the airport’s

display sign. The older one pointed at

against it, rubbing her foundation into

flight crew lounge bathroom.

She

the sign and said “Ivanka Trump,” and

the cheap rayon. She pursed her lips and

stripped off the uniform she was

the younger one said, “ew”. Tess wanted

forced the crimson red into the fabric.

beginning to despise and changed into

to tell them what she was there to do,

She held the dress at arm’s length to

jeans. She checked her purse, made sure

that she was their sister in the struggle,

admire her work and couldn’t decide

In her position as union rep for the

the Swiss army knife she had confiscated

but she couldn’t blow her covert

if it was more Shroud of Turin or Pablo

to answer her questions, truthfully,

Association of Flight Attendants, Tess

from a passenger she’d caught bragging

mission, so she formed her features into

Picasso.

about how her flight was and had

was cc’ed on incident reports filed

about getting it through TSA was

the vacuous expression she’d seen on

thru Friday schedule, re-oriented her.
“It’s Sunday, Tess, she’s still sleeping.”
Tess knocked softly on her daughter’s
bedroom door, opened it slowly,
and tiptoed over a minefield of
shoes, clothes, and school books. She
watched her breathing and decided
not to wake her. If she did, she’d have

8/18

9/18

Flipbook

Flipbook

Can you make those guys shut
the fuck up? They keep chanting
something about Jews and highfiving. It’s disgusting.”

I

t took four wipes to clear the

room entrance, the one that held

Spanish?” she asked the clerk.

makeup from her face after

everything that the customers



which she moved on to the

didn’t want.

answered and typed the title into

next dress. She reached for the

When Tess left Macy’s, she

her computer. “Yes, we do. It’s

confiscated knife and opened

knew she needed caffeine to

called ‘Este No Es Mi Monstruo’.”

the blade.

drive home safely.



The dress had a

She went

“Let me see,” the woman

Tess

repeated

the

label Made in Vietnam and she

to Barnes & Noble, purchased

title slowly, “‘Este No Es Mi

thought

children

her usual double espresso, and

Monstruo’. Perfect.”

working in sweatshops, stitching

wandered over to the Children’s



their youth away, with no hope

section.

shipped to your home address?”

of union protection. She slid the

podcast she’d listened to on



blade under the stitching of the

her way back from Miami, a

purse and handed the woman

hem and tore all the way around.

discussion with the head of a

the airline napkin and her credit

It was a quick and easy process

non-profit that sent books to

card. “No. You can ship them to

so she did the same to the next

children in detention centers.

this address.”

four dresses. One dress had

Tess had written the non-profit’s



buttons down the back and she

address on an airline napkin and

clerk asked, “One?”

used the blade to slice them off,

tucked it into her wallet.



one at a time, like a wood carver



whittling thorns off a branch.

the aisles of cleverly displayed

She picked up the last dress

books,

and spread it carefully on the

children on her flight.

floor. She took the lid off the

stopped wandering at a book

black sharpie and wrote in very

titled ‘That’s Not My Monster’.

large letters I REALLY DON’T

She carried the book over to the

CARE DO U?

Customer Service kiosk in the

the

She thought about a

“Would

you

like

it

God will Bring the Rain

--by Valentino Juarez

Tess reached into her

I

10/18

middle of the store.

on the rack at the dressing

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all the dresses and hung them

“Do you have this book in

was going to kill me faster?

so much to help us. We just didn’t

almost immediately. The guard who

The drought, the violence, the

listen.

kept watch of my overcrowded cell

poverty, the hunger, the corruption?

It took me fifteen days to cross the

treated me like I was trash. What’s

I thought it would be one of these,

border, and after that, it only took

worse, he was a paisano, probably

I also thought I would have more

me ten days to die. Well, maybe

even from the same village. Officer

time. Maybe it’s the tumor in my

eleven if I wake up tomorrow. When

Lopez, who even shared my last

brain that made me so naïve, but I

we were five days from the border,

name, saw my bloodied face, my

felt in my heart that I was going to

our coyote came across a firing

chipped teeth, and my bruised eyes.

make it to Miami and make it in

squad. We couldn’t see them hidden

Rather than take me to a doctor, a

Miami.

in the landscape near or far. A bullet

nurse, hell I would’ve even taken a

My parents did their best

zoomed by me, hit the edge of a

curandera that was locked up in the

in trying to stop me from leaving,

boulder, and a jagged rock burst out

Ice Box they threw us all in. Instead,

but they knew there was nothing

and hit me square in the face. Our

he threw me in an overcrowded cell.

there for me. They knew I needed to

coyote managed to get me out of
there. Not because he was my hero,
but because we happened to provide
enough of a shield. A boy who was

broken nose. They walked me to

with us, Ulises, wasn’t so fortunate

an ambulance, full of others with

(or maybe he was depending on how

bloody injuries, and transported us

“God will bring the rain.” One thing

She

along the border and I was caught

and the one I heard the most was,

the

unusual, and God had already done

They all said, “these things happen,”

about

was just the question of: what

leaving because of global warming.

thinking

through

Our coyote threw me out of his truck

Everyone thought I was crazy for

gathered

walked

“No,” Tess said, “45.”

I knew for sure, the drought was

do more than just wait for the rain.

She

She

“How many books,” the

was going to die anyway. It

you see it).

to a hospital



I

t wasn’t until the lawyers arrived
that someone began advocating

Flipbook

about

for us, and for me, the girl with the

11/18

I

Box with a little oxygen tank in

fair share.

violence, the poverty, the

a bag that has tubes attached

I take a deep breath and hope

hunger, or the corruption that

to my nostrils. I left that

that my last moments here

was going to kill me, it was a

oxygen tank at the hospital

will be a lesson for everyone

sinus infection. An untreated

and filled my bag with as many

who’s been involved in how

sinus infection that created a

meds and syringes I could

they treat us. I think of my

disaeas in my brain known as

get my hands on. All of the

parents and how awful it

Pott’s puffy tumor. I imagine

meds, with the exception of

will be for them to find out

they came up with that name

one, are for the other children

about me. How I couldn’t say

to help its victims feel as

in the Ice Box who are sick, I

goodbye. Then I think, I was

though it isn’t a big deal.

hope they use them wisely.

going to die anyway.

Maybe kids are the only ones

But that one is morphine.

who get it, and anything with

And that’s for Officer Lopez.

the word Puffy in it couldn’t be

I heard morphine, when taken

that bad, right? But seriously,

in excess, can do some real

I do know my parents always

call it Potts Painful Pox.

damage. I hope that when he

wanted me to help others.

Because only those who have

comes and takes me back to

I could at least help bring

it can describe how painful

the hospital so they can tell

awareness for those in the Ice

the pox is. How the pain

me there’s nothing they can

Box. I couldn’t help them with

shoots up from the bridge of

do for me; I hope he learns his

the dried maize and beans,

your nose to your forehead

lesson. I hope that he treats

and I couldn’t help with the

and then spreads like a burst

others better. I hope he stops

drought. But maybe a prayer

of shocks throughout your

ignoring what’s happening to

will help. I pray that God will

brain.

us.

bring the rain.



But I left Guatemala

for a reason. I left to help
others, to help my family, and

S

peak of the devil. He
opens the cell, steps

over the hungry, the lost, the
the arm. I hold the syringe full

to help me with that, but I

of morphine tight in my hand

guess the Ice Box will do.

and leave my bag behind. I

What I’m about to do is really

wink at the girl who’s watching

for everyone’s best interest.

me being hauled away. It’s my

At least I hope so.

signal that she can take my

They send me back to the Ice

12/18

wounded, and grabs me by

for the rain. Miami was going

Flipbook

to help those who are waiting

bag and give everyone their

W

ill this help or hurt the
current situation in the

Ice Box? I can’t say for sure.

Author Spotlight
--Liz Kerr

Liz Kerr has had poetry, short stories, and non-fiction published in Philadelphia City Paper,
Philly Fiction, The Galway Review, Sixteen Magazine (Dublin), Jewish Currents Magazine,
Rust Belt Rising, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Irish Central. She is a registered nurse in
heart transplant and oncology at a Philadelphia hospital. She holds an MFA in Creative
Writing and dual Irish and American citizenship.

When or why do you write?

I work full-time in a hospital so it’s difficult to
carve out time to write. I keep post-it notes
in my scrub pockets, in my car, around my
house, so when a line or a word pops into
my head I scribble it down. Then, when I
feel like there’s a complete story there, I
organize all the post-it notes until they click
into place like a Rubik’s cube. It’s kind of
a messy process and it looks completely
disorganized, but it works for me.
I write when I’m so bothered by something
that I can’t stop thinking about it.
Sometimes I’ll write a quick letter to the
editor of a newspaper, and that works as
a sort of relief valve. Other times, when I
really want to weigh in on an issue, I’ll make
up characters and create a story around the
issue I want to confront.

Where did you get the inspiration
for The Purser?
I was troubled by images of children in cages
and that a lot of Americans didn’t seem to care.
When Melania Trump chose to wear that jacket
on a trip to visit caged children, I wrote I Really
Don’t Care, Do U? on a post-it note. Around the
same time, I was planning a retirement party for
my sister, an airline pilot. I decided the main
character of The Purser, Tess, would be a flight
attendant and she would encounter separated
children as well as other issues that have
polarized our country, such as sexual assault.
Flight attendants are sexually assaulted on
the job at a very high percentage rate and the
fact that Donald Trump thinks “grab ‘em by the
pussy” is funny is still infuriating.

Flipbook

t wasn’t the drought, the

13/18

Other than a writer, you are also a nurse. How has that experience been in this
pandemic era?
I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 25 years and this year has been the most challenging. I do chemotherapy
teaching to patients who’ve been newly diagnosed with cancer, so they are especially vulnerable during
the pandemic. It’s difficult to come home from work, turn on the news and see politicians calling it a
hoax, even friends on social media making fun of masks. At the height of the Spring surge, I was pulled
to work on the Palliative Care team, where my assignment was to track down the next of kin of patients
who were on ventilators. It was a very grim, very sad time. I’m scheduled to receive the Covid vaccine
today at 3pm and cannot wait until everyone can be vaccinated.

What else would you like our readers to know? Or what would you like other
writers to know? Any advice?
I would like other writers to know that there are opportunities for publication all around you. I’m by no
means a traditional writer but if you look at sites like Poets & Writers and Submittable, you can find sites
that are looking to publish your work. If writing is something you’ve always wanted to do, I encourage
you to get started. I was 50 when I finished my M.F.A. in Creative Writing and I feel like I have a lot of
stories to tell.

Notable Pieces
An American
Immigrant in
Florida

Writing Prompt
The Ice Colony

Quarantine

Suddenly

As you know we are focused
on telling stories about
marginalized people, the
underdogs, the hungry, the
lo-fed. Here’s a prompt if you
want to submit directly to our
piece:

Being stuck indoors doesn’t
have to be an automatic
Netflix binge. Answer these
questions to get your pen
flowing.

One of my favorite writing
exercises for a writing class
with younger students.

His village has been fighting
a three-year drought. His
wife, son, and daughter,
are suffering these terrible
conditions and are trying to
figure a way out of their home
country. One sleepless night,
he wakes up after hearing
noises outside his bedroom.
He walks out with a bat and
sees…

If you could pick one
restaurant to go to, where
would you go, and who
would go with you?

It was graduation day. We
were taking off our caps,
about to throw them into the
air, when suddenly…

What is the first thing you are
going to do when quarantine
is over? What would happen
if while you are doing this,
an emergency alert blasts
on your phone that you have
to stay where you are until
further notice?

Check out our website for new stories and subscribe to our newsletter:
https://icecolonypodcast.wixsite.com/website

Listen now!

New World

Flipbook

Flipbook

Apple podcast:
hhttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ice-colony/id1475385471
Our website:
https://icecolonypodcast.wixsite.com/website/podcast?utm_source=so
Check out our ongoing call for submissions:
https://theicecolony.submittable.com/submit

14/18

15/18

The Ugly

I

In a general call for submissions, I read, on average, 80 submissions a month. Those are a lot of
submissions, from a lot of writers. With so many interactions, there is the good, the bad, and the
ugly. Submission Manager Confessions is the background interactions I, and many other Submission
Managers, have with writers who submit to calls. It’s here for two specific purposes. I want to help you,
the submitter, not end up on a literary magazine’s blacklist. And I want to vent. Okay, let’s be real, I really just
want to vent. But through my bitching, you’ll probably find a few helpful tools to add to your repertoire of
skills as a writer and submitter. Because, let’s face it, writing is only the beginning. You have to get through
the gatekeeper to let the world see your work.
In these confessions, I will never use anyone’s name, but at times, I may use a variation of it. For this
inaugural issue I couldn’t help but use the interaction I had with someone who we will call Prichard Memes
who felt the need to tell me, the submission manager of a magazine that specifically states our mission is
to tell the stories of marginalized voices, that he identifies as a white man who is a victim of his inherited
privilege. (His words, not mine. He actually wrote that in his cover letter!)

The Good

The Bad

Flipbook

Most writers who wanted to be part of the competition
I created a writer’s invitational. It was
but were skeptical about the agreement, emailed me
an exclusive contest, sent to only a few
asking to clarify. We had wonderful interactions through
people, who had submitted to us in the
email. In comes Prichard Memes. He never wanted
past. Completely free, no cost to enter.
to be part of this, (seeing as the pieces he submitted
A bit of this interaction was definitely
were about privileged families, their unfortunate events
my fault. In the winner column, I wrote
at holiday dinners, and trouble
that we would retain
with the in-laws), he never
all rights. Eager and
“Writing is difficult, and should be wanted to work with prompts
novice writers would
appreciated in all its forms. Give about immigrant journeys and
be happy with this as
yourself the best odds to get through hardships. No, he just wanted
they just want to write,
submit, and wear the
the gatekeeper, and give your readers to be a facetious troll, “Your
badge of honor as a
the satisfaction of reading a good piece, invitation seems to suggest I
will NEVER have the rights to
winner of a contest.
from you, their favorite writer.”
my story EVER revert back to
More seasoned writers
me. Am I reading this correctly?”
were understandably
Knowing he just wanted to
skeptical. I put that in
troll, my response, “Yes, you are correct. This applies
the guidelines as a place holder, because
if the story is the winner.” Prichard, “Thank you for the
I was still doing some research on what
clarification. Please remove me from your email list
an agreement for this contest would look
immediately so that I don’t receive any more of these
like. Again, that was my fault.
‘offers.’”
16/18

The Confession
For those of you siding with Prichard, you have every right
to do so. For everyone else, congratulations, you are on
the right side of history. The prize, during quarantine with
unemployment soaring, was $50. To me, an underdog who
was never properly fed, that’s 100 tacos at Jack in the Box.
That’s a week worth of lunch at McDonald’s or two weeks if I
stick to Dollar Menu. That’s laundry for three months. I really
hope that you already had this in your toolbox, but in case you
didn’t: Do not be an asshole to submission managers. This
is what we call burning bridges. Though the odds are one in
a million, what if I have a staff job at a literary magazine you
dream to publish your work and your work has to go through
me? What if you publish a book and I do my best to critique
it so harshly, no one will remember it for anything other than
my review? Submission managers come from all walks of
life. Some of us are what you picture in your head, and most,
are like me. Real people who won’t take a damn thing from
writers who think their shit doesn’t smell. Prichard, I truly wish
you the best, and I hope you continue to be so successful
that you can wipe your ass with $50. Does this make me
petty? Absolutely. But as Victor Hugo once said, “A writer
is a world trapped in a person,” and my world does not turn
without including some petty characters. Oh, and by the way,
the agreement has been finalized and it’s non-exclusive, first
publishing, so all participants kept rights to their stories.

Have a confession?
Submission managers, tell us the
good, the bad, the ugly. Writers,
you don’t have to be a submission
manager to give us tools for our
writer’s toolbox. Are you a writer who
had an interaction with a literary
magazine that was good, bad, or
ugly? We will keep your name, the
organizations’ name, the submission
manager name, and any other name
private and anonymous. Send us your
confession to icecolonypodcast@
gmail.com, subject: My confession.

Writer, when you submit to a literary magazine, no matter how big or small, keep in mind that
we see hundreds of submissions and will not think twice to put you on a list, both real and
metaphorical, of writers who we will never read, ever again. Do not get on that list! Personally, I
want to get people published. I want to collaborate with writers who put all their heart, soul, and
vulnerabilities on paper, and give our audience a glimpse into your world. As I mentioned above,
writing is difficult, and should be appreciated in all its forms. Give yourself the best odds to get
through the gatekeeper, and give your readers the satisfaction of reading a good piece, from
you, their favorite writer. Your writing deserves to be read.

Flipbook

Submission Manager
Confessions

Oh, hell no. I get it, my agreement was a bit shady, but his goal with this interaction was clear from the start.
When you put words in all caps, you’re trying to be exasperating, or perhaps celebrating good news. And this
was not a celebration. My reply, “I’m not sure what ‘offer’ you think we’re extending, it seems as though you
misunderstood the contest. Nonetheless, it would be our pleasure to remove you from our list.” Prichard’s reply,
“Thank you. Please do. I fully understand your contest invitation and have absolutely no interest in losing all
rights to my own writing for your minor prize. I expect this to be our final ever email exchange.” It wasn’t. *Insert
naughty purple emoji.* I was getting the last word, “We apologize for any inconvenience our small start-up
organization may have caused with the extension of our minor prize. This confirms your request for the end of
our communication.”

-Submission Manager
17/18

Thank you

for reading The Lo-Fed
Chronicle

Table of Contents
Poetry
01. The Land Beneath my Feet ................................................................. 04
02. The Animals of Big Bend Discuss the Wall .........................................04

Fiction
03. The Purser ........................................................................................... 06

On the Podcast
04. God Will Bring the Rain ....................................................................... 13

Author Spotlight
05. Liz Kerr ................................................................................................ 15
06. Notable Pieces .................................................................................... 16

Get Fed
07. Writing Prompts .................................................................................. 17

Flipbook

Flipbook

08. Submission Manager Confessions........ .............................................. 18

2/18

3/18

Poetry
The Land Beneath My Feet
-By Mahrukh Murad

One day my little two-year old legs found out,
That the land beneath them had shifted.
There were green pastures instead of faded wasteland.
The metal of guns no longer visible,
The fear of death no longer physical.
My stubby feet were unsure,
Of whether to roam or stay still.
To claim the land or lay foreign still.
To cry the anthem or slay the hope still.

Who would build a wall along these canyons and cliffs

To be buried in the land or flee the land still.

Asked the skeptical coyote and the ornery javelina
We have been crossing the river and drinking from her
In every season that our ancestors have lived here
For we know no barriers to quench our thirst or hunger
I believe him fluttered the Quino checkerspot butterfly
Whose California cousins were already struggling to survive

The Animals of Big Bend Discuss the Wall
--By Carol Flake Chapman

There are already so few of us she said and we cannot fly high
Enough to cross a wall that would block us from nectar
That tantalizes us but which we cannot reach and so must die

As the prospects of his species surviving on the Texas

That was invisible to the animals but soon

Side of the border kept diminishing day by day

Would split their free-wheeling world in two

As he grew thin and weary and close to giving up the fight

The owl tried to pitch his monotonous whistle to urgency

Surely a wall would not keep us out squeaked the kangaroo rat

As he hooted that all four footed creatures were in danger

As he jumped up and down demonstrating his ability

Along with the winged creatures that couldn’t fly high

To escape any of the predators who were looking hungry

For they would have to choose sides north or south

Despite the agreement to cease hostilities for the day

Of the river that had nourished them for eons

Maybe I can jump the wall or dig under it or wiggle through

The bobcats, the mountain lions and the big horned sheep

Dear Rat you cannot jump high enough said the pygmy owl

Scoffed at the tiny owl who had a credibility problem

Just as I cannot fly high enough nor can the butterfly

As he could hardly manage to fly up to four feet

Find a way to extend her wings to surmount such a barrier

And they roared and pawed the ground in disbelief

And so we must find a way to ask the humans to stop building

At the news that they could no longer roam freely.

A wall that will divide us and deny that we are all one.

Flipbook

To crossing the river stealthily to find food and mates

The bats to spread the message along the border

4/18

I believe him too growled the ocelot who had grown accustomed

Of the wall to the creatures of Big Bend and asked

Flipbook

It was the pygmy owl who-who-who brought word

5/18

A

ll the times in Catholic school

Tess worked the flight back from

tilted the book cover to act as a wall but

they’d prayed a novena for more

Chicago to Philadelphia and, after all

needn’t have bothered, really, because

young men to receive a vocation to the

the passengers had been buh-bye’d,

in between customers the barista kid

priesthood, she was actually praying to

she went to the airport crew lounge,

just looked at his phone.

fly off somewhere like Wendy Darling.

changed out of her uniform and for-



Through the intercession of Mary, her

mulated a plan to vent her anger.

Tess never again told her husband
about passengers who felt the price of
a ticket entitled them to molest the
flight attendants. She learned to fight
back with a combination of ice water
and turbulence and looked after her
co-workers so well she was promoted
to purser and voted in as their union
rep. She tamped down the urge to
punch some passengers in the face by
doing post-flight yoga, wine or a com-

T

he Barnes & Noble was across from
the Willow Grove Mall, built on

what had been, in Tess’s childhood,
the Willow Grove amusement park.
It wasn’t until Tess smelled the coffee
from the in-store Starbucks that she
realized she had been awake for over
20 hours. She ordered one for herself,
a double espresso, and one to use as a
weapon. She scoped out the cafe and
chose a table in the corner, where her
back would be against the wall and
facing front like anyone who grew

bination of the two and for the past 15

across the table to hold her spot then

out.

--by Liz Kerr

knew to do. She tossed her jacket

Until the Access Hollywood tape came

The Purser

up during the South Philly mob wars

years she’d been successful.

headed over to the books.

S

A

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6/18

was sitting up in bed, in the dark. You

sounds at her mother and kept repeat-

need to quit that job, Tess, or I’m go-

ing “hey baby.” Tess didn’t understand

ing to kill someone,” he said and she

why her mother didn’t react to being

believed him and felt bad, guilty even,

called, in her opinion, the worst thing

that the creep was in his head.

you could be called - a baby. She also

Tess remembered the first time the

didn’t understand why her mother had

creep got into her head. It was mid-Au-

said, “we won’t tell Daddy about that

gust, the summer she turned five, and

man,” not until years later.So she lied

her mother had taken her to the dis-

to her husband and said, “If it ever hap-

count store down the avenue to pick out

pens again, I’ll quit.” Tess knew she’d

a dress. She was miserable with poison

never be able to explain to him her ob-

ivy, her arms and legs chalky pink from

session with flying, that it was a result of

dried-up calamine lotion. As her moth-

divine intervention.

er pulled her along the sidewalk shaded
by the elevated train, a man, a stranger,
came up behind them. He made kissing

She wasn’t sure what section to look

on a flight out of Philly Interna-

s soon as the plane landed, Tess
knew she couldn’t go straight
home. If she did, her husband would
know, he could read her like that, and
he’d want to know the guy’s name and
address from the flight manifest and it
would turn into this whole big thing.
She’d made the mistake once, early on in
her career, of telling him about a passenger who, while she was doing beverage
service, had forced his hand up her uniform skirt with such force he’d ripped
her pantyhose and torn her panties. Her
husband’s reaction was visceral - a coiled,
quiet, seething kind of anger she’d never
seen from him. When she woke in the
middle of the night, her body’s internal
clock still somewhere over Europe, he

he first heard it while deadheading

in and didn’t want to ask the clerk,

tional. She should have been resting

because he might be suspicious as to

but couldn’t stop watching it on her

why she wanted to bring every copy the

phone. She was the mother of a twelve
year old girl and this man, this creep,
was the Republican party nominee
for President of the United States of
America.
His voice, his sneering, privileged,
punk-ass, “grab ‘em by the pussy”

store had of The Art of the Deal to her
table in the cafe. The thought of what
section his books should be in made
her laugh out loud. Fantasy? Horror?
Science Fiction? She made her way
to the Business section and pulled her
first batch of the book’s hardcover and
paperback versions. She stacked them
on the seat and lifted each book, one

laughter, was every passenger who’d

at a time, for her liquid inscription.

ever pinched her, squeezed her, poked

She used her straw like a pipette to

her, grabbed her, said “my bad” or

draw up the dark liquid and, with her

“while you’re down there” or “so,

finger covering the top of the coffee-

about that mile high club.”

filled straw, let it drip all over the page,

carried the books back to the shelf
and lined them up neatly. She was
careful not to touch the Ayn Rand
book on Capitalism in the same row,
in case she became infected with a
disregard for the poor. Ten months
later she was working a night flight
out of Washington National Airport
when a group of young men boarded
from a connecting flight out of
Charlottesville. They had the look of
frat boys, which could be dangerous for
her flight attendants, and they seemed
overly excited, like maybe their team
had won something that day. During
beverage service she could see them
passing an iPad with the volume up.
Afraid it might be porn and other
passengers would be offended, she
watched over the back of a seat but
saw nothing more than some sort of
night parade with torches. When she
returned to the galley for clean-up, an
elderly male passenger poked his head
in.
“Miss,” he started to say but couldn’t
continue. He looked pale, his voice
was tremulous and Tess was thinking
about how many steps away the
defibrillator was.
“Are you having any chest pain, sir,”
she asked, ready to start CPR if he
dropped.
“They’re Nazis,” he said.
“Nutsies?” “Are you hungry?” Tess
asked.
Another passenger, a woman, rushed
down the aisle.

enough to make it un-sellable. She
7/18

Flipbook

prayers were answered.

When she’d finished, Tess

she met any interesting passengers.

by members of her local. In June,

Tess didn’t want her daughter to be

eighteen months since he took office,

a naive kid, but she wanted to shield

she started to see reports coming in

her, at least for another day, from the

“I’ll take care of it,” she said “let’s get
this gentleman back to his seat first.”
She handed the elderly man off to
another flight attendant and walked
toward the young men
“Is there a problem here?” Tess asked
and they all shook their heads. “I’ve
had several complaints about noise
so you all need to keep it down.” As
Tess turned to go back to the galley,
the young man on the aisle seat made
a motion with his arm that almost
looked like a Nazi salute. Maybe he
was just stretching, she told herself,
he must have been stretching.
When she got home, her husband
was watching the news. The way he
was sitting, literally on the edge of his
seat, told her it was bad.
“Hear about this?” He pointed to the
screen, to the parade of torches and
Tess recognized the chant. “A girl
got killed.”
“Some of them were on my flight,”
she said, “I need to take a shower. Did
Veronica get the bus on time or did
you drive her?”
Her husband, who worked a Monday

N

othing she said, in her limited

securely zipped in with her make-up,

female passengers en route to Disney

Spanish, could soothe the little

and texted her husband that she needed

World for their weddings.

boy. He sobbed so hard and called out

to make one quick stop before coming



from flight attendants all reporting

so insistently for his mother that most

home.

over her arm until the weight pulled

version of the world she witnessed

similar episodes involving children,

of the flight attendants and many of the



Tess pulled out of the airport

on her neck and shoulder, as many as

35,000 feet above. She grabbed a pair

really young children, pre-schoolers,

passengers were in tears. Tess imagined

employee’s parking lot and headed

she could carry, like someone you’d see

of tweezers from the bathroom
shelf, dropped them in her purse
and went downstairs. “I’m going
to get in a quick yoga class, ok?”
Tess was out the door before he
had a chance to talk her out of it.

The shoe store called
itself a shoe warehouse and it
truly was - aisle after aisle of boxes
stacked by brand name. Tess made
her way to the Ivanka Trump
brand boxes. She reached into her
jacket pocket and wrapped the
sharp, pointy tweezers around her
middle finger, pointy side down,
like a reverse brass knuckles. She
bent over the shoes, as if she were
trying them on, dug the pointy
tips deep into the fake leather and
pulled, leaving a long slit.
aybe because she was so
exhausted, the chant
from the Nazis on her flight kept
playing in her head. She forced
herself to dedicate her practice, as
her yoga instructor always told the
class to do, so she thought about
the tour she took on her first
Amsterdam layover of a tiny attic
where a young girl hid from Nazis.
She dedicated her practice to Anne
Frank and destroyed the rest of the
Ivanka Trump brand shoes.

toddlers.

The narrative section of

the child’s cries of “Mama!” penetrating

north on I-95, toward the Macy’s in the

on the news fleeing a wildfire or some

the reports described traumatized in

the cockpit’s steel door, picked up by air

Willow Grove Mall

other national disaster, and carried

all its synonyms - terrified, in shock,

traffic control and reverberating via

sobbing, hysterical and detailed their

radar across the country, cloud to cloud,

As she rode the escalator down to



concerns of child neglect by the ICE

state by state, carried on a reverse jet

the Women’s Dress department, she

the row, hung the dresses on hooks

agents. Some described toddlers with

stream wind back to a young woman

suspected security might be on to her,

and slid the door latch shut. She was

no clean diapers, children with high

in a detention center cell somewhere in

that at any second she’d be approached

comfortable in the confines of the tight

fevers, children suffering nausea

Arizona.

by a guard or a police officer or, but no

space, used to working around the smell

and vomiting. One reported it as

“Basta!” the ICE agent yelled at the boy.

one stopped her. She scoped out the

of feet and dirty carpet. She set her purse

kidnapping while another called

Tess stepped in between them.

section but there were no sales clerks in

on the small shelf seat and pulled out

it human trafficking. The flight

“Did you just call this child a bastard?”

sight. There were just a few shoppers, all

her tools - the confiscated Swiss army

attendants were refusing to take part

Tess asked the agent.

women, mostly shopping in pairs.

knife, a black Sharpie, dark red lipstick,

in the forceful separation of minors

“No, I didn’t. I said basta - it means



from parents. There was chatter in

enough.”

the front of the Dress section were the

make-up remover wipes.

the union about an organized “sick

“Don’t yell at him again,” Tess said.

classic fashion labels - Calvin Klein and

She applied the foundation with a heavy

out” to protest the treatment of the

Upon landing, the agent made it clear

Ralph Lauren. Tess moved past them

hand and ran the dark, almost crimson

children.

to Tess that the children were in his

to the Ivanka Trump rack, back in the

lipstick shade she’d bought especially

Tess booked on to a flight number

custody and they were to de-plane first.

corner, sort of hidden almost, like the

for the occasion over her lips three

that came up in several of the reports -

She asked him where the children were

porn section in the video store where

times. She glanced in the mirror and

Phoenix to Miami. She was on board

being taken.

she’d worked after high school.

was reminded of the Fun House mirrors

the next day as twelve small children

“That’s confidential,” he said, but Tess



She reached for the first dress,

that used to be here when it was an

and an ICE agent boarded. They were

already knew, the stories were coming

grabbing it more forcefully than she

amusement park. At different angles

dressed alike, gray sweatpants, white

out, that the children were going to

realized and it screeched along the

she could see images of her mother,

t-shirts, and cheap slip-on sneakers

be locked up somewhere, lost to their

metal bar.

her grandmother, her sisters and her

that Philly kids used to call bo bo’s.

parents.

The agent attempted to stop her from

report that cited child abuse and sent it

assisting a small boy of about five

to her superiors.

with his seatbelt and Tess explained,

Tess deadheaded back to Philadelphia

as purser, every passenger was under
her charge.

M

She filled out an incident

She draped dress after dress

them to the dressing room.

Prominently

displayed

in

T

Tess chose the last room in

thick foundation, and a package of

daughter, as if they had all crowded

wo women, a mother and daughter

into the dressing room with her. She

perhaps by their similarities,

removed the first dress from its hanger,

looked over at her and looked at the

turned it inside out and pressed her face

Airport and changed in the airport’s

display sign. The older one pointed at

against it, rubbing her foundation into

flight crew lounge bathroom.

She

the sign and said “Ivanka Trump,” and

the cheap rayon. She pursed her lips and

stripped off the uniform she was

the younger one said, “ew”. Tess wanted

forced the crimson red into the fabric.

beginning to despise and changed into

to tell them what she was there to do,

She held the dress at arm’s length to

jeans. She checked her purse, made sure

that she was their sister in the struggle,

admire her work and couldn’t decide

In her position as union rep for the

the Swiss army knife she had confiscated

but she couldn’t blow her covert

if it was more Shroud of Turin or Pablo

to answer her questions, truthfully,

Association of Flight Attendants, Tess

from a passenger she’d caught bragging

mission, so she formed her features into

Picasso.

about how her flight was and had

was cc’ed on incident reports filed

about getting it through TSA was

the vacuous expression she’d seen on

thru Friday schedule, re-oriented her.
“It’s Sunday, Tess, she’s still sleeping.”
Tess knocked softly on her daughter’s
bedroom door, opened it slowly,
and tiptoed over a minefield of
shoes, clothes, and school books. She
watched her breathing and decided
not to wake her. If she did, she’d have

8/18

9/18

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Flipbook

Can you make those guys shut
the fuck up? They keep chanting
something about Jews and highfiving. It’s disgusting.”

I

t took four wipes to clear the

room entrance, the one that held

Spanish?” she asked the clerk.

makeup from her face after

everything that the customers



which she moved on to the

didn’t want.

answered and typed the title into

next dress. She reached for the

When Tess left Macy’s, she

her computer. “Yes, we do. It’s

confiscated knife and opened

knew she needed caffeine to

called ‘Este No Es Mi Monstruo’.”

the blade.

drive home safely.



The dress had a

She went

“Let me see,” the woman

Tess

repeated

the

label Made in Vietnam and she

to Barnes & Noble, purchased

title slowly, “‘Este No Es Mi

thought

children

her usual double espresso, and

Monstruo’. Perfect.”

working in sweatshops, stitching

wandered over to the Children’s



their youth away, with no hope

section.

shipped to your home address?”

of union protection. She slid the

podcast she’d listened to on



blade under the stitching of the

her way back from Miami, a

purse and handed the woman

hem and tore all the way around.

discussion with the head of a

the airline napkin and her credit

It was a quick and easy process

non-profit that sent books to

card. “No. You can ship them to

so she did the same to the next

children in detention centers.

this address.”

four dresses. One dress had

Tess had written the non-profit’s



buttons down the back and she

address on an airline napkin and

clerk asked, “One?”

used the blade to slice them off,

tucked it into her wallet.



one at a time, like a wood carver



whittling thorns off a branch.

the aisles of cleverly displayed

She picked up the last dress

books,

and spread it carefully on the

children on her flight.

floor. She took the lid off the

stopped wandering at a book

black sharpie and wrote in very

titled ‘That’s Not My Monster’.

large letters I REALLY DON’T

She carried the book over to the

CARE DO U?

Customer Service kiosk in the

the

She thought about a

“Would

you

like

it

God will Bring the Rain

--by Valentino Juarez

Tess reached into her

I

10/18

middle of the store.

on the rack at the dressing

Flipbook

all the dresses and hung them

“Do you have this book in

was going to kill me faster?

so much to help us. We just didn’t

almost immediately. The guard who

The drought, the violence, the

listen.

kept watch of my overcrowded cell

poverty, the hunger, the corruption?

It took me fifteen days to cross the

treated me like I was trash. What’s

I thought it would be one of these,

border, and after that, it only took

worse, he was a paisano, probably

I also thought I would have more

me ten days to die. Well, maybe

even from the same village. Officer

time. Maybe it’s the tumor in my

eleven if I wake up tomorrow. When

Lopez, who even shared my last

brain that made me so naïve, but I

we were five days from the border,

name, saw my bloodied face, my

felt in my heart that I was going to

our coyote came across a firing

chipped teeth, and my bruised eyes.

make it to Miami and make it in

squad. We couldn’t see them hidden

Rather than take me to a doctor, a

Miami.

in the landscape near or far. A bullet

nurse, hell I would’ve even taken a

My parents did their best

zoomed by me, hit the edge of a

curandera that was locked up in the

in trying to stop me from leaving,

boulder, and a jagged rock burst out

Ice Box they threw us all in. Instead,

but they knew there was nothing

and hit me square in the face. Our

he threw me in an overcrowded cell.

there for me. They knew I needed to

coyote managed to get me out of
there. Not because he was my hero,
but because we happened to provide
enough of a shield. A boy who was

broken nose. They walked me to

with us, Ulises, wasn’t so fortunate

an ambulance, full of others with

(or maybe he was depending on how

bloody injuries, and transported us

“God will bring the rain.” One thing

She

along the border and I was caught

and the one I heard the most was,

the

unusual, and God had already done

They all said, “these things happen,”

about

was just the question of: what

leaving because of global warming.

thinking

through

Our coyote threw me out of his truck

Everyone thought I was crazy for

gathered

walked

“No,” Tess said, “45.”

I knew for sure, the drought was

do more than just wait for the rain.

She

She

“How many books,” the

was going to die anyway. It

you see it).

to a hospital



I

t wasn’t until the lawyers arrived
that someone began advocating

Flipbook

about

for us, and for me, the girl with the

11/18

I

Box with a little oxygen tank in

fair share.

violence, the poverty, the

a bag that has tubes attached

I take a deep breath and hope

hunger, or the corruption that

to my nostrils. I left that

that my last moments here

was going to kill me, it was a

oxygen tank at the hospital

will be a lesson for everyone

sinus infection. An untreated

and filled my bag with as many

who’s been involved in how

sinus infection that created a

meds and syringes I could

they treat us. I think of my

disaeas in my brain known as

get my hands on. All of the

parents and how awful it

Pott’s puffy tumor. I imagine

meds, with the exception of

will be for them to find out

they came up with that name

one, are for the other children

about me. How I couldn’t say

to help its victims feel as

in the Ice Box who are sick, I

goodbye. Then I think, I was

though it isn’t a big deal.

hope they use them wisely.

going to die anyway.

Maybe kids are the only ones

But that one is morphine.

who get it, and anything with

And that’s for Officer Lopez.

the word Puffy in it couldn’t be

I heard morphine, when taken

that bad, right? But seriously,

in excess, can do some real

I do know my parents always

call it Potts Painful Pox.

damage. I hope that when he

wanted me to help others.

Because only those who have

comes and takes me back to

I could at least help bring

it can describe how painful

the hospital so they can tell

awareness for those in the Ice

the pox is. How the pain

me there’s nothing they can

Box. I couldn’t help them with

shoots up from the bridge of

do for me; I hope he learns his

the dried maize and beans,

your nose to your forehead

lesson. I hope that he treats

and I couldn’t help with the

and then spreads like a burst

others better. I hope he stops

drought. But maybe a prayer

of shocks throughout your

ignoring what’s happening to

will help. I pray that God will

brain.

us.

bring the rain.



But I left Guatemala

for a reason. I left to help
others, to help my family, and

S

peak of the devil. He
opens the cell, steps

over the hungry, the lost, the
the arm. I hold the syringe full

to help me with that, but I

of morphine tight in my hand

guess the Ice Box will do.

and leave my bag behind. I

What I’m about to do is really

wink at the girl who’s watching

for everyone’s best interest.

me being hauled away. It’s my

At least I hope so.

signal that she can take my

They send me back to the Ice

12/18

wounded, and grabs me by

for the rain. Miami was going

Flipbook

to help those who are waiting

bag and give everyone their

W

ill this help or hurt the
current situation in the

Ice Box? I can’t say for sure.

Author Spotlight
--Liz Kerr

Liz Kerr has had poetry, short stories, and non-fiction published in Philadelphia City Paper,
Philly Fiction, The Galway Review, Sixteen Magazine (Dublin), Jewish Currents Magazine,
Rust Belt Rising, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Irish Central. She is a registered nurse in
heart transplant and oncology at a Philadelphia hospital. She holds an MFA in Creative
Writing and dual Irish and American citizenship.

When or why do you write?

I work full-time in a hospital so it’s difficult to
carve out time to write. I keep post-it notes
in my scrub pockets, in my car, around my
house, so when a line or a word pops into
my head I scribble it down. Then, when I
feel like there’s a complete story there, I
organize all the post-it notes until they click
into place like a Rubik’s cube. It’s kind of
a messy process and it looks completely
disorganized, but it works for me.
I write when I’m so bothered by something
that I can’t stop thinking about it.
Sometimes I’ll write a quick letter to the
editor of a newspaper, and that works as
a sort of relief valve. Other times, when I
really want to weigh in on an issue, I’ll make
up characters and create a story around the
issue I want to confront.

Where did you get the inspiration
for The Purser?
I was troubled by images of children in cages
and that a lot of Americans didn’t seem to care.
When Melania Trump chose to wear that jacket
on a trip to visit caged children, I wrote I Really
Don’t Care, Do U? on a post-it note. Around the
same time, I was planning a retirement party for
my sister, an airline pilot. I decided the main
character of The Purser, Tess, would be a flight
attendant and she would encounter separated
children as well as other issues that have
polarized our country, such as sexual assault.
Flight attendants are sexually assaulted on
the job at a very high percentage rate and the
fact that Donald Trump thinks “grab ‘em by the
pussy” is funny is still infuriating.

Flipbook

t wasn’t the drought, the

13/18

Other than a writer, you are also a nurse. How has that experience been in this
pandemic era?
I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 25 years and this year has been the most challenging. I do chemotherapy
teaching to patients who’ve been newly diagnosed with cancer, so they are especially vulnerable during
the pandemic. It’s difficult to come home from work, turn on the news and see politicians calling it a
hoax, even friends on social media making fun of masks. At the height of the Spring surge, I was pulled
to work on the Palliative Care team, where my assignment was to track down the next of kin of patients
who were on ventilators. It was a very grim, very sad time. I’m scheduled to receive the Covid vaccine
today at 3pm and cannot wait until everyone can be vaccinated.

What else would you like our readers to know? Or what would you like other
writers to know? Any advice?
I would like other writers to know that there are opportunities for publication all around you. I’m by no
means a traditional writer but if you look at sites like Poets & Writers and Submittable, you can find sites
that are looking to publish your work. If writing is something you’ve always wanted to do, I encourage
you to get started. I was 50 when I finished my M.F.A. in Creative Writing and I feel like I have a lot of
stories to tell.

Notable Pieces
An American
Immigrant in
Florida

Writing Prompt
The Ice Colony

Quarantine

Suddenly

As you know we are focused
on telling stories about
marginalized people, the
underdogs, the hungry, the
lo-fed. Here’s a prompt if you
want to submit directly to our
piece:

Being stuck indoors doesn’t
have to be an automatic
Netflix binge. Answer these
questions to get your pen
flowing.

One of my favorite writing
exercises for a writing class
with younger students.

His village has been fighting
a three-year drought. His
wife, son, and daughter,
are suffering these terrible
conditions and are trying to
figure a way out of their home
country. One sleepless night,
he wakes up after hearing
noises outside his bedroom.
He walks out with a bat and
sees…

If you could pick one
restaurant to go to, where
would you go, and who
would go with you?

It was graduation day. We
were taking off our caps,
about to throw them into the
air, when suddenly…

What is the first thing you are
going to do when quarantine
is over? What would happen
if while you are doing this,
an emergency alert blasts
on your phone that you have
to stay where you are until
further notice?

Check out our website for new stories and subscribe to our newsletter:
https://icecolonypodcast.wixsite.com/website

Listen now!

New World

Flipbook

Flipbook

Apple podcast:
hhttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ice-colony/id1475385471
Our website:
https://icecolonypodcast.wixsite.com/website/podcast?utm_source=so
Check out our ongoing call for submissions:
https://theicecolony.submittable.com/submit

14/18

15/18

The Ugly

I

In a general call for submissions, I read, on average, 80 submissions a month. Those are a lot of
submissions, from a lot of writers. With so many interactions, there is the good, the bad, and the
ugly. Submission Manager Confessions is the background interactions I, and many other Submission
Managers, have with writers who submit to calls. It’s here for two specific purposes. I want to help you,
the submitter, not end up on a literary magazine’s blacklist. And I want to vent. Okay, let’s be real, I really just
want to vent. But through my bitching, you’ll probably find a few helpful tools to add to your repertoire of
skills as a writer and submitter. Because, let’s face it, writing is only the beginning. You have to get through
the gatekeeper to let the world see your work.
In these confessions, I will never use anyone’s name, but at times, I may use a variation of it. For this
inaugural issue I couldn’t help but use the interaction I had with someone who we will call Prichard Memes
who felt the need to tell me, the submission manager of a magazine that specifically states our mission is
to tell the stories of marginalized voices, that he identifies as a white man who is a victim of his inherited
privilege. (His words, not mine. He actually wrote that in his cover letter!)

The Good

The Bad

Flipbook

Most writers who wanted to be part of the competition
I created a writer’s invitational. It was
but were skeptical about the agreement, emailed me
an exclusive contest, sent to only a few
asking to clarify. We had wonderful interactions through
people, who had submitted to us in the
email. In comes Prichard Memes. He never wanted
past. Completely free, no cost to enter.
to be part of this, (seeing as the pieces he submitted
A bit of this interaction was definitely
were about privileged families, their unfortunate events
my fault. In the winner column, I wrote
at holiday dinners, and trouble
that we would retain
with the in-laws), he never
all rights. Eager and
“Writing is difficult, and should be wanted to work with prompts
novice writers would
appreciated in all its forms. Give about immigrant journeys and
be happy with this as
yourself the best odds to get through hardships. No, he just wanted
they just want to write,
submit, and wear the
the gatekeeper, and give your readers to be a facetious troll, “Your
badge of honor as a
the satisfaction of reading a good piece, invitation seems to suggest I
will NEVER have the rights to
winner of a contest.
from you, their favorite writer.”
my story EVER revert back to
More seasoned writers
me. Am I reading this correctly?”
were understandably
Knowing he just wanted to
skeptical. I put that in
troll, my response, “Yes, you are correct. This applies
the guidelines as a place holder, because
if the story is the winner.” Prichard, “Thank you for the
I was still doing some research on what
clarification. Please remove me from your email list
an agreement for this contest would look
immediately so that I don’t receive any more of these
like. Again, that was my fault.
‘offers.’”
16/18

The Confession
For those of you siding with Prichard, you have every right
to do so. For everyone else, congratulations, you are on
the right side of history. The prize, during quarantine with
unemployment soaring, was $50. To me, an underdog who
was never properly fed, that’s 100 tacos at Jack in the Box.
That’s a week worth of lunch at McDonald’s or two weeks if I
stick to Dollar Menu. That’s laundry for three months. I really
hope that you already had this in your toolbox, but in case you
didn’t: Do not be an asshole to submission managers. This
is what we call burning bridges. Though the odds are one in
a million, what if I have a staff job at a literary magazine you
dream to publish your work and your work has to go through
me? What if you publish a book and I do my best to critique
it so harshly, no one will remember it for anything other than
my review? Submission managers come from all walks of
life. Some of us are what you picture in your head, and most,
are like me. Real people who won’t take a damn thing from
writers who think their shit doesn’t smell. Prichard, I truly wish
you the best, and I hope you continue to be so successful
that you can wipe your ass with $50. Does this make me
petty? Absolutely. But as Victor Hugo once said, “A writer
is a world trapped in a person,” and my world does not turn
without including some petty characters. Oh, and by the way,
the agreement has been finalized and it’s non-exclusive, first
publishing, so all participants kept rights to their stories.

Have a confession?
Submission managers, tell us the
good, the bad, the ugly. Writers,
you don’t have to be a submission
manager to give us tools for our
writer’s toolbox. Are you a writer who
had an interaction with a literary
magazine that was good, bad, or
ugly? We will keep your name, the
organizations’ name, the submission
manager name, and any other name
private and anonymous. Send us your
confession to icecolonypodcast@
gmail.com, subject: My confession.

Writer, when you submit to a literary magazine, no matter how big or small, keep in mind that
we see hundreds of submissions and will not think twice to put you on a list, both real and
metaphorical, of writers who we will never read, ever again. Do not get on that list! Personally, I
want to get people published. I want to collaborate with writers who put all their heart, soul, and
vulnerabilities on paper, and give our audience a glimpse into your world. As I mentioned above,
writing is difficult, and should be appreciated in all its forms. Give yourself the best odds to get
through the gatekeeper, and give your readers the satisfaction of reading a good piece, from
you, their favorite writer. Your writing deserves to be read.

Flipbook

Submission Manager
Confessions

Oh, hell no. I get it, my agreement was a bit shady, but his goal with this interaction was clear from the start.
When you put words in all caps, you’re trying to be exasperating, or perhaps celebrating good news. And this
was not a celebration. My reply, “I’m not sure what ‘offer’ you think we’re extending, it seems as though you
misunderstood the contest. Nonetheless, it would be our pleasure to remove you from our list.” Prichard’s reply,
“Thank you. Please do. I fully understand your contest invitation and have absolutely no interest in losing all
rights to my own writing for your minor prize. I expect this to be our final ever email exchange.” It wasn’t. *Insert
naughty purple emoji.* I was getting the last word, “We apologize for any inconvenience our small start-up
organization may have caused with the extension of our minor prize. This confirms your request for the end of
our communication.”

-Submission Manager
17/18

Thank you

for reading The Lo-Fed
Chronicle



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