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"Like Evolution" by A.J. Ortega

For I.V.


It was the future

But I remember

It was that time we held hands

Fingers interlocked like a zipper

or the mouth of a flytrap

I once folded a map

at an awkward angle

I punched a hole that went straight through our towns.

I crawled through my end of the hole.

You crawled through yours.

This was the first time I saw you.


He met her in adulthood

But she met him in a dream

They were young

No older than fourteen.

And he walked her to the nurse

Eyes kind,



The brown kind.

Retinas could reflect the image of rotating ceiling fans

if they were only brave enough to look.


---the woman said, “I don’t believe in miles. I believe in smiles.”

---He laughed. “How’s that?”

---“As long as we smile at the same time, we are in the same place.”


Four is the most structurally sound number.

A square has four sides

Cars have four wheels.

They drove four times across an unsteady bridge.

A.J. Ortega is a writer from Texas. His writing has appeared in Rat's Ass Review, Poetry Quarterly, Rio Grande Review, Door is a Jar Magazine, American Book Review, Dreich Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, and others. He is an active member of the Popular Culture Association, where his presentations focus on combat sports and Mexican American identity. A.J. produces and hosts Writers and Fighters: A Podcast.

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