i was one of three juniors in the senior AP Euro class. he was the captain of the swim team and sat right in front of me (when we weren’t fucking in random acquaintances’ accommodations). he brought me lunch to our exam and i paid him back with a blowjob in the testing facility parking lot—right behind a church. afterwards, i mouthwashed and we split a blunt. now he’s an angel, making up for missed matches by sending me baggies of weed i randomly find on the street.


we were seventeen and used to chain smoking. Sav bought her first bowl, Grace was a novice, and i brought the bud. Sav and i joked about this being the place we met five years prior—a memory i don’t carry with me but know it’s true because she described me as “the loud kid” in youth group. we hacked through Scooby snacks, played it off with the lie that coughing gets you higher, and we all chuckled.


i was still seventeen and she was twenty-one. she lapped at me and i laughed. a Muslim girl and a Christian nonbinary person have sex in the backseat of a Honda Fit, under the shadow of a steeple, and then spark a spliff. they lounge in each other’s laps, unable to see the world beyond their suns, the fog and the film on the windows too thick. what beautiful blasphemy.


i was a freshman and my pastor knew there was nowhere for me to smoke. she subliminally signaled that i should blaze in the back corner of the parking lot by the trailer. i spent almost every night with six people piled in my Mini, passing a bubbler back and forth.


when the cops were loitering in the church lot, we would hop to a different spot. another holy house. we’d sesh by the soccer nets, behind the community garden, almost a vacation from our normal lives. it’s been six years since i toked at a temple, and lately God has been begging me for an offering. who knew they were such a stoner?

Maggie Bowyer

Maggie Bowyer (they/he) is a poet, cat parent, and the author of various poetry collections including Allergies (2023) and When I Bleed (2021). They are a co-host of the podcast Baked and Bookish. They have been featured in The Abbey Review, Chapter House Journal, The Elevation Review, The South Dakota Review, Wishbone Words, and more. They were the Editor-in-Chief of The Lariat Newspaper, a quarter-finalist in Brave New Voices 2016, and a Marilyn Miller Poet Laureate. You can find their work on Instagram and TikTok @maggie.writes.

Hailey Renee Brown

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.