The Cafe Irreal: International Imagination 

Issue Sixteen

Long November by Michael Farrell
Houses in Their Backs by Sean Ferrell
Warnings Accompanying Your Inflatable Universe by Justin Kahn
They Are Translucifying by Susan Lantz
Carolina in the Morning by M.E. McMullen
Broomsticks by Mari Ness
The Girl with Glass Skin & Combustion by Michael Obilade
At the Cafe by rovesciato
Cellular by Girija Tropp
Rose Red by Andrew Wille


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Rose Red
by Andrew Wille


She steps through the gap in the privet hedge, into the rose garden, into the fresh smell left behind after the rainstorm. Once upon a time she knew the names of all their varieties, but, hard as she tries, none of them comes to mind now. She approaches the overgrowing bushes, their rambling stems, allows herself the pleasure of gently fingering their thorns as she stops first at a white one, then a pink one. Now a red one; she pushes her mouth into its head, breathing deeply, sweetly. Three of its outer petals fall to the sodden earth.

The Kingdom of the 33rd Stamen of the 945th Red Rose of the 51st Latitude and the 72nd Parallel shudders from side to side. Is this the coming to pass of the predictions of the Floribunda Seers: the apocalypse, the end of the world, the end of their rose-defined and rose-contained and rose-within universe? Serfs and citizens alike uproot themselves from daily duties: feeding the mantis-buffaloes in their paddy-trees, shelving the codices in the Great Ruby Library, walking their gods, buying scarlet indigo in the Crimson Bazaar. They wait for news from the astronomers in the Observatory of Blood in the 82nd Stamen, but meanwhile they take themselves to temple, to church, to the Chapel of Forgiveness, and seek to atone their sins before the last big bang.

Seconds pass here, months there. Word comes, at last. The many kingdoms of the 945th Red Rose of the 51st Latitude and the 72nd Parallel are spared. She has moved on, has picked another rose to take indoors, and the 140 Kingdoms of the 946th Red Rose of the 51st Latitude and the 72nd Parallel have met their end.




Andrew Wille is originally from the Midlands of England. He has worked as an editor in book publishing in London, and currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he teaches creative writing, literature and seminars on publishing at Naropa University's Jack Keroauc School of Disembodied Poetics.


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