Black Petals Issue #101 Autumn, 2022

Editor's Page
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
BP Artists and Illustrators
Dig Deep, the Therapist Said: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Dinner Club: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
God of the Winds: Fiction by Scáth Beorh
Head Pot: Fiction by Spencer Harrington
His Deadly Muse: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Patrick Hatrick: Fiction by Bruce Costello
Squawking Chimes: Fiction by Robert Pettus
The Courier: Fiction by Billie Owens
The Midnight Sonata: Fiction by David Hopewell
The Wolves are Coming: Fiction by Mauri Orr Stone
Abduction: Flash Fiction by Laura Nettles
I'm Your Garlic:Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Ho/Ma:i - (Ho-maaa-ee): Flash Fiction by Rani Jayakumar
Mona Wants to Die, but She Lets the Weather Decide:Flash Fiction by Riham Adly
The Cookie Crumbles: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Right Knife: Flash Fiction by David Barber
A Devilish Matter of Disinvitation: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Abhor the Light!: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Shadow House-A Writer's Retreat: Poem by Carl E. Reed
Accursed Personae: Three excerpted Poems by Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler
Remember When We Watched "Kill Bill" Together: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
I Die, You Die: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Northbound Train: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Haunted Liquor Cabinet: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
The Candlelight Killer: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Wooden Soldiers: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Curse of Verse: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
When a Star Dies: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker

Rani Jayakumar: Ho/ma:i

Art by Hillary Lyon © 2022

Ho̐/Ma:i - (Ho-maaa-ee)


rani Jayakumar



On her planet, they call their world the word that translates to “sand,” because that is what the ground is made of. Instead of being rooted, they speak of sinking, of time that flows like the ground, and their comforts are not of solidity, but of movement. Even when she walks, Ho̐/Ma:i has a lighter step, as if she feels a heavier tread would swallow her up, as it might do at home.

For months since she landed she had been listless. Her adoptive parents thought it was the forced relocation, or adjusting at school. But I saw the way she perked up at the beach, and on the farms’ dirt roads. I saw the doodles in her notebooks while Mr. Kennel droned on about irregular verbs.

So that’s how I knew to take her on the long trek to the dunes one night. I should have suspected. Instead, we lolled on each others’ shoulders, hers a rest for my hand, mine for hers to lean on, her rail-thin profile casting almost no shadow when she turned just so.

And then - oh! She transformed when she saw the dunes rising.

It was as if she became a new person, a different creature entirely.

She turned and smiled at me, and winked.

“I wanna show you something,” she said. Her normalish feet flattened out, spreading across the sand like fingers resting lightly in a bowl of rice. Her lithe body seemed to spring, rocking back on her heels, her arms and shoulders arching back, knees bent.

Then she tipped forward…and leapt into the air. My jaw dropped as she flew above me, a graceful arc against the azure sky. She whooped and I cheered as she bounced across the dunes again and again, forward, and then back towards me.

Ho̐/Ma:i fell - no, landed like a feather - drifting down twenty yards ahead. Seeing my stunned face, she threw her head back, and laughed.

I never knew she could be so happy.


Rani Jayakumar lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has written for Honeyguide Magazine, Ab Terra, Vine Leaves Press, and has an upcoming novella with Running Wild Press. Her writing and self-published works can also be seen at

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