Written by Kate Barss, Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino

Reading through Camouflages will make you feel as though you are watching a secret slowly unveil itself in the dark. You will want to turn a flashlight towards it, expose what is going on beneath the surface, look deeper. You will want to set it free.

Because: there is something very relatable snaking through this collection of flash fiction.

Woven in between passages about queerness and violence are mystifying descriptions of how animals transform and camouflage in nature. Using the Latin names of amphibians, insects, and other wild things, Kate Barss explores something in these species’ desires to disguise that is also inherent in our selves. Humans, too, will hide as a defense, although the science might be less straightforward. When we go into camouflage, are we aware that we’re doing it? How do we know what parts of ourselves to reveal, when, and to whom? With a gripping, fine-tuned sensitivity, this story asks these questions, and more, demonstrating that transformation — or, growth — requires a level of vulnerability.

Featured story for May 2019

Are animals aware they are camouflaging? One of the most seemingly simple types of crypsis is just to resemble your surroundings. This can be as unassuming as some species of katydid whose bright green bodies often match the leaves they dine on, or the arctic fox blending into the stark white of a snowy desert. After all, if you are born into an environment that looks a certain way, doesn’t it feel safer to blend in, to be a part of the landscape?
— Kate Barss

sophia foster-dimino

Sophia Foster-Dimino is an illustrator and cartoonist living and working in Oakland, CA. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010 with a BFA in illustration. She likes drawing plants, furniture, fashion, structures and shapes, and enjoys cooking, reading and riding her bicycle.


kate barss

Kate Barss is a queer writer of flash fiction living in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Catapult, The Hairpin, The Awl, Taddle Creek and others. Kate has been shortlisted for prizes in Room Magazine and Event Magazine. She is currently the Coordinating Producer of Trampoline Hall and the Trampoline Hall Podcast, and the founder of the former lecture series Girl Crush.