Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

When the Waters Came

by Tommy Dean

We didn’t move from our living rooms, we didn’t turn the channel to the news, we didn’t check our phones for the latest warnings, we didn’t pack our more precious belongings, we didn’t cuss, or rant or rave, we didn’t look for boats or floatation devices, we didn’t flinch as the electricity surged and boiled around us, we didn’t find the flashlights or the baby’s pacifiers. We cuddled on the couch, hands and feet intertwined; father, mother, brother, and sister, staring at the screen until the movie blinked off, our own reflections cast back toward us like looking at a self-portrait in a museum focused on the end of the world. We refused to believe that this was the end, our fingers greasy with movie theater butter popcorn, not even saying the I love yous that were caught in the back of our throats, afraid to tempt the disasters that hunted outside our front porch door, but there was something to this inaction, this disbelief, this un-fucking-willingness to name our stalking demise, we huddled in the breath of our willful ignorance, waiting for mom or dad to give us the sign, but they didn’t move as we wriggled up their bodies, perched atop their shoulders, their heads as rigid as statues, while we plotted our own escapes, our imaginations stilted by the chill of the swelling water.

Tommy Dean lives in Indiana with his wife and two children. He is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. He has been previously published in BULL MagazineThe MacGuffin, The Lascaux Review, Split Lip Magazine, Spartan, Pithead Chapel, and New Flash Fiction Review. He is currently the Flash fiction section editor for Craft Literary. Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter. His interviews with flash fiction writers can be found at

for the spring semester & for hannah rego

Void Poses