out of context ad

Written by Michelle Rochniak

for sale: phone charger

  • no longer in its original packaging
  • orange, but not the kind you’re thinking—a little bit darker.
  • comes with one free dongle
    • i want whoever came up with that word to get fired
  • has a smooth texture to it, almost rubbery, like what petting a seal feels like
  • you imagine a lot of things, don’t you?
  • do you ever think about the electrical currents moving through wires? every single time you plug in the cord, something is shifting. reactions happen just so you can check snapchat. take photos. watch netflix. all for you.
  • you know what? take the charger. it’s yours. make sure you call someone after you use it

Many Legs

Written by Michelle Rochniak
Art by Joshimer Biñas

Your pinky would not fit between the spaces in the floorboards, but I slide through with ease. A buffet of succulent exoskeletons sits at the end of the tunnel. You think you’re hearing a mouse scrounging around for some warmth in the insulation, but no, I’m just an abnormally loud centipede. I don’t think you’d like all my legs. They carry me closer to my feast. And even if you could get down here, you’d never see their crackling bodies clambering down my digestive track.

chanterelles against the loveless world

Written by Michelle Rochniak
Art by Michael Reichelt

you will be plucked from the forest one day: arid wind
slicing your stem.
you will bleed water;
the greedy air will swipe this, too.
you will gasp from the grass, waiting for a warm hand
or even fire,
but no one comes.
it’s just you and the air,
destined to create a stiff, stale stem.
what’s an abandoned fungus to do?
your limbless siblings are five feet away.

what if we had branches, you muse—
distracting yourself from the thrashing breeze.
I wonder if the trees would talk to us more.
maybe we would know more of their words;
maybe they would love us.
what do you think?
you call out to the sky.
no one answers.


Written by Michelle Rochniak
Art by StockSnap

You stand in the mirror, supermodel posing, as I watch from the bed. That dress with pockets, those princess sleeves, that pouty face. Your hands wrap around your body, line your chin, drape over your head. Your legs cross, crouch down, shift weight. Swishing fabric. Swooping hair. Just like the photographer on TikTok showed you. You never let it come naturally. You always needed someone else to tell you how to move. And it’s my fault. I never brought you roses after recitals. I never squeezed you tight after a long night of crying in your bed. I never told you how proud I was of you for snagging the perfect internship. So, the next time you find the courage to smile at yourself in the mirror, I promise I’ll smile back.