Cover Photo: This photograph shows a blood moon rising above highways, a bridge, and some telephone wires. The trees and grass are green, the sky is a deep purple, and the moon is bright red,
Photograph by Robert Wiedeman/Unsplash

Excerpt from “Imperfect Orbit”

This excerpted essay was written by Caroline Shannon Karasik in Chloe Caldwell’s 12-Month Essay Collection Generator

just a little bit longer.

It’s stubbornUnwilling to move.

they all said the same thing: “If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, it’s important to seek help.”

Please let me live long enough that she remembers me.Please let me live long enough that she feels my nudges, my guidance throughout her life.


Eighteen years.What if I wasn’t here to see her do it? What if there were abnormal cells eating away at healthy ones and silently forming a mass somewhere, anywhere in my body? My brain, my bowels, my legs playing hostess to a disease that would keep me from her. What if she needed her mom and her mom was dead?

Caroline Shannon Karasik’s work has appeared in The Cut, Tonic, Narratively, and other publications. She is currently an instructor at Catapult and an MFA candidate in Antioch University’s creative writing program. Caroline lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, daughter, and five adopted cats. You can find her on Instagram @carolineshannonkarasik and Twitter @CSKarasik. Her website is