Erinrose Mager

Erinrose Mager was born in South Korea and raised in Pennsylvania. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Passages North, DIAGRAM, The Adroit Journal and elsewhere. She is co-editor of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature (Lit Pub Books) and a doctoral candidate in Creative Writing/Literature at the University of Denver. She earned her MFA and Senior Fiction Fellowship from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

November Fiction: "The Beautiful City" by Erinrose Mager

"I remember leaving the baccarat table for the last time, feeling thirsty."

I spent several years saving up a large sum of money in hopes of traveling to South Korea to find my birth parents and then lost the money playing baccarat unthinkingly over the course of 3 weeks in July. Later, I’d explain it away as not the right time.

That summer, people swam in Lake Michigan despite toxicity reports. They said, “Just don’t open your mouth or eyes underwater.” They posed in their suits and towels next to water quality signs. They showered when they got itchy and moisturized when their skin flaked off. I didn’t blame them.