by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
The American buffalo is not a mammal but an island. The world is a cruel place, but
on these islands, there is paradise. They are wandering islands, self-sufficient, and not
bound to the troubles and upheavals of the sea.
On their shaggy shoulders, which are mountains, little shepherds take care of their flocks with the aid of
such small dogs it is all quite dear. In the sweat of these islands are colorful fish. In the fleshy folds
are villages protected from the elements by the valley ledges.
The people get around by means of jinrikisha. As there are no slaves in this paradise, the people take turns
riding and pulling.
The forests are a bit plain, it is true. But the worst monster in the forests is apt to be merely a tick or a
louse. It doesn't take much for a hunter to kill one of these monsters, as they bury their heads and aren't the
least clever. Whole villages can feast upon just one kill.
When in the old days islands died or were killed by Indians, the populace transferred to other, healthier
islands by means of wishful thinking. Today, however, a wish cannot take them far enough. Zoos are spread too
thin. Sometimes the people of paradise find they must live on the arid hillsides of camels instead. It is terrible.
These people have a saying: "What good is a world where wishing is no use?"
It is sad indeed about the islands.
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Jessica Amanda Salmonson
is a writer of breathtaking power and imaginative scope, and an editor of
wide-ranging taste. She lives in Bremerton, Washington, where she tends her
garden and presides over the amazing online antiquarian bookstore,