Carve Magazine’s summer issue invites the reader into three delightful and thoughtful short stories with its cover which features a girl with sea-green hair holding a miniature merry-go-round of horses. The cover, by Alessandra Toninello, “ties [the] stories together in a fitting way,” says the editor’s note. “It’s rare that an issue’s stories and photo come together in such a synchronous way. I can’t help but feel a bit of magic pulled this issue together too.”
Adrienne Celt’s “The Eternal Youth of Everyone Else” brings up questions of what “forever” and “love” really mean as it traces the relationship between the narrator and Bendida, a young girl who seemingly never grows old or is able to die. “[Bendida] sheds hours like water droplets. The days roll off her back unnoticed as we cling to the earth to hear its heartbeat.” Even though she is stuck at the age of nine, Bendida seems to have a great wisdom that the others around her—the ones who are able to grow up, move on, and die—don’t have. One thing she doesn’t seem to understand is lost love:
“It’s so . . . rare.” She struggled for her words. “People should want each other. They’re supposed to want each other. I can’t want anything, and then people just throw it away. They want each other more than they’ve ever wanted anything, and then they just stop, like they die.”
This idea of a child’s innocence and view of the world also appears in Scott Atkinson’s “Carnival.” A man, who has recently lost his own child, feels sympathy for a young girl at the carnival who is clearly poor and whose parents are not with her. She tries to use fake money that she has colored, and, when the narrator asks her if creating her money was hard, she says, “No. Mamma said making money’s hard, but it’s easy for me.”
The issue is rounded out with Subhadra Eberly’s “Hurricane Emily” which focuses on the relationship of two young women who spent a lot of time together when younger and went out all the time and had fun. Now the narrator feels a sense of responsibility as the other one struggles with mental illness. While there are only three stories in this issue, it’s inspiring to see that each of the pieces is such a great read.