Culture & Literature
Popshot Magazine

Popshot Magazine

Issue 28

Popshot is an illustrated literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry from the literary new blood.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
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4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

We had no idea when we asked you to write about Earth in late January 2020 quite how different the world would be by the time this issue of Popshot Quarterly arrived in it. At the time, the Australian bushfires were burning out of control; pollution in major cities worldwide was choking residents; politicians were claiming they couldn’t reduce emissions because of the economy. And we had only just heard the first whispers of a strange new coronavirus. As I write this letter (from home, in my attic) I can hear birds singing, the usual roar of traffic is missing and outside the sun is shining proudly through burgeoning green leaves. There is not a single plane in the sky. Elsewhere, wild goats have been escaping from mountains to frolic and…

1 min.
the cartographer

Before I started my map I had thought that I knew this place by heart. I could name every street that had cobblestones, I had walked the forest in leafy summer and empty winter, I knew where the cat lady lived and had returned a hundred and forty-five books to the library. But still I had to compile the unknown: I measured the scale between neighbour and fiend and noted the blurry lines between last year’s field and this year’s crop. Writing reality made me uneasy as all I saw was the past that had turned into fiction. To put everything where it belonged I had to exaggerate and diminish and leave blank and displace and navigate so that nothing would overlap on my map. The lines I drew looked…

2 min.

Soil is an absolute marvel. I plunge my shovel into the forest floor, the smell of rot climbing up to me. Soil is nature’s magic. Nature’s recycling bin. Nature’s way of living a waste-free life, something we could all learn from in this day and age. I dig deeper, through the thick layer of leaves of years past, not yet decayed but well on their way, till I hit the harder ground. All that comes from the earth will eventually return to it. Worms eat dead plant matter and digest it back into soil, from which new life can sprout, and so on. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Rinse and repeat. The shovel dives in and reemerges from the ground in a steady rhythm, the pile of earth next…

1 min.

A place of ice over ice, of white over whiteand beauty in absences. There was a time when the only soundwas the wind calling its ghosts, when the skyline was set clean as a scar on glass, when your heartbeat slowedwith the cold, when your dreams brought in a white birdon a white sky and music that could only be heard from time to time on the other side of night.Now the horizon’s a smudge; now there’s a terrible weightin the air and a stain cut hard and deep in the permafrost. Breakage and slippage; the rumble of some vastmachine cranking its pistons, of everything on the slide;and the water rising fast, and the music lost.…

13 min.
the family plot

After the doctor left, and the sedative finally wrestled my wife into a shallow, restless sleep, I sat down on the edge of my daughter’s hospital bed to tell her about the family plot. I took Daisy’s hand and shook her gently awake. Her eyes opened and closed in time with each step of the lazy line stumbling across her heart rate monitor. “Dais?” The bed creaked. My wife stirred but didn’t wake. “Can you hear me?” Daisy forced open her heavy eyelids, smiling despite the pain. My mother appeared in the corner, flickering like a bad lightbulb. Our eyes met and I motioned toward the door. This was something I needed to do alone. Mum blew me a kiss and passed through the wall, into the hall. I pictured her gliding…

1 min.
the acorn standing

The acorn Standing in the middle, In the middle of mytwenties, Everything I know, gliding in and out of my orbit.My futures come close enough,that I could reach out and touch them, if I wanted. If onlyI knew which ones I wanted, if only I could decide. Whatcould have, should have, might have been Falls into thebottomless pit And I’ll never know What happened in theend. But here I am, Here Ihave always been Standing in the middle Feet planted,rooted in earth, getting stronger Standing tall, branchesstretching upwards, always Unshakable, that’s me.…