Desquamation by Megan Jauregui Eccles

  The lizard suns herself. She looks happier than I ever have. She blinks one eye, then the other. She doesn’t look at me. Does she know that, like me, she once belonged to you? The days wind like hours on a clock. I try spending more time outside. Lying flat on the ground and soaking up the rays of the sun like I’m a plant or a very small lizard. My skin reddens and blisters. I go inside and nurse my wounds with aloe and Tylenol. Later, I see the lizard bite off a piece of her own shedding…

Not a Chance by Brenda Salinas Baker

My calendar’s automated alerts remind me to check up on my enemies. Once, twice, three times a year, depending on the severity of their insults. I occasionally come across a detail that brings me satisfaction, but generally, my enemies seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. Everyone seems more accomplished online. I know that even at knifepoint they couldn’t recall the humiliations seared into my memory. If pressed, they might wave their hands and apologize, saying they were working through their own trauma at the time, trauma a self-help podcast had helped them see. Or worse, they might invert…

EXCERPT: Veronica G. Henry’s debut novel, Bacchanal

The Coachella Review is honored to present an excerpt from Veronica G. Henry’s debut novel, Bacchanal. This novel is a fantasy and historical fiction set in the Depression-era South. Centered on Eliza Meeks, a young Black woman with the power to communicate with animals, the novel takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance as Eliza joins a traveling carnival with a sinister secret. Unbeknownst to Eliza, she is being searched for by an evil spirit, Ahiku, whose goal is to destroy Eliza before she can come into her true power. With a cast of diverse characters, Henry frames…

Interview: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen

By Ioannis Argiris I had the privilege of connecting with Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author Viet Thanh Nguyen to discuss his new literary spy thriller The Committed. In this sequel to The Sympathizer, the unnamed narrator travels to Paris, where he lives with his new handler—his aunt. Once a dedicated communist spy in America, the narrator is introduced to a new world of politicians and the French socialist elite. He integrates into a local mob, selling hashish and getting caught up in the Parisian underbelly’s free market. The narrator continues to struggle with identity as he endures tests from his…

Voices

By Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera Driving east on Interstate 10, I crank up the a/c. The sun peeks up over distant mountains, blinds me despite my designer sunglasses. Damn! It has been years since I trekked across this desert. Swore the last time I’d never do it again.  I don’t remember much about last time. Just knew when I left, there was a lot worth forgetting. Squeezed my eyes tight and wrung out all the water. Haven’t shed a tear since. Haven’t drank a drop neither. Almost ten years sober. And now I gotta cross this barren desert with no one…

Shadows Over My Window

Falling asleep in a room I don’t belong in—in a bed that’s not my own. All the melatonin in the world can’t help me slip into my dreams and away from watching the shadows of tree branches stretch across the room.

Already Dead Things

by Stacy Bierlein Outdoor education was a thing the parents liked. Kids should know how things grow, they said. Children want to take care of things, we agreed, to be individually responsible. If the cabbage actually survived we took it to a local food bank. This time, though, the rabbits got in. Was something wrong with the soil? a little girl wanted to know. No, I said, the rabbits were hungry. I didn’t explain that they probably came down from the cemetery at the top of the hill, displaced by a digging of graves. In our perfectly constructed greenhouse everything…

Book Review: The Girl Beneath the Sea

“Imagine you are swimming in the ocean. Something brushes against your leg while you are treading water. It is most likely a piece of seaweed, but your heart stops because you know it’s a shark and suddenly the shore seems impossibly far away.”

Book Review: Don’t Read the Comments

Don’t Read the Comments is Eric Smith’s fifth young adult novel. Smith heavily integrates popular culture into his fiction, and this novel is no exception. The protagonist, Divya Sharma, is an eighteen-year old celebrity gamer known as “D1V” who supports herself and her mother through corporate sponsorships,

Aperture

By Christina Rauh Fishburne Look at her go. See the ghost of sinew in those triceps and biceps as the creamy brown silk slides up to her shoulder in retreat. This gown was always her favorite. The one destined only for significant cocktail parties and evenings of general greatness. Observe her form. The strain of her graceful neck, the fluid rise of her arms like a worshipper of the sun, and the determined fan of her fingers spreading to embrace. The line of her shoulders as she rears back in Olympic elegance bent on a clean kill. Note the placement…