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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 15: Sept. 2022
Microfiction: 160 words
By Nora Nadjarian

My Perfect Cousin


I had reasons to hate her, and as the list grew I hated myself. She acted very Marilyn Monroe and everyone cheered her on. Blonde-pretending-to-be-dumb, pouty lips, huge breasts, a tinkly laugh, she terrified women. Incited men. She said burgers and fries, like, with a slight lisp. Mr President sent her roses on her birthday. Cuz, you look so purrrrfect together, I wrote under their photo on Instagram. My eyes glistened with greed.

Adolescence is embarrassing.

Time flaked her nail varnish off, just as I wished it would. When she came to me a few months later with an unmade-up face, her hair cut short, T-shirt and jeans hanging loose (I need to tell you the whole dirty truth, cuz), I listened. How the bouquet had been shredded into rose petals and blood, weeks, months. I hugged her and her unborn child with a vehemence that both shocked and assured her.

Nora Nadjarian
Issue 15, September 2022

is a poet and writer from Cyprus, whose poetry has recently been published in Atrium, Raceme, Streetcake, and Poetry International. Her work has been placed or commended in numerous international competitions, including the Plough Poetry Prize and the Live Canon International Poetry Competition. She was a finalist in the Mslexia poetry competition 2021, was nominated for the Forward Prize for best single poem in 2022, and won the Anthropocene Valentine’s Day poetry competition in 2022.

Her short fiction has appeared in Sand Journal, FRiGG, MoonPark Review, and Lunate, among others, and was chosen for Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2022 (selected by Kathy Fish).

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