28,065 Nights

This story is paired with “The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad” from 1001 Arabian Nights. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

I tell your stories to keep myself alive. I tell you new stories. I speak them aloud to you when no one is around, the way you used to talk to Grandpa in your bedroom after his death. They play on repeat in my head. I write them down. I tell them to Elliott when he asks. A year later, he still remembers you, but I don’t know how long his memories from two will last. To him, you will be more story than person. Are we always more story than person, words thicker than water? I got the wave of your hair and your lack of wisdom teeth. I did not get your metabolism that let you eat six hot dogs at one cookout, but I get to keep that story, more necessary now than blood or breath.


Katie Manning is the editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and author of three poetry chapbooks, including The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman (Point Loma Press, 2013)She has received The Nassau Review Author Award for Poetry, and her poems have been published in Fairy Tale ReviewNew LettersPANKPoet LoreSo to Speak, and many other journals and anthologies.