Emerging from the grip of winter, when we’ve retreated from the cold, holing up in the warmth of our homes and for a time losing touch with the earth, with one another, sometimes even with ourselves, we long to reestablish ties once the green reveals itself again. The fiction and essays gathered here, in this spring issue, bring us stories of people seeking connection in its various forms. Among the stories, we have Erin Almond’s “The Dying Game,” in which the narrator desires a closer, more loving relationship with her ailing mother, but old grievances stand in the way. A college freshman in the throes of an eating disorder, out of touch with her own body, yearns for connection with someone—anyone—in Leslie Johnson’s “Midterm.” In the aftermath of his parents’ divorce, an eleven-year-old boy reckons with the new relationships the three of them form in Mark Mayer’s “Strongwoman.” And in Brenda Peynado’s “Storage,” a woman unable to confront her husband’s disappearance remains tethered to his memory as she continues to manage the storage complex they’ve owned for thirty years.
In nonfiction, Patricia Foster’s “The Lost Years” revisits a period in her life marked by the isolation of illness and the anonymity of temp work, a time of profound disconnection to health and creative energy. Linda Norton’s “Ash Wednesday” offers a glimpse into the emotionally complex bonds—and boundaries—among her siblings. And finally, in “Shock to the Heart,” Katherine Standefer contemplates the connections between electricity, her heart, and the device that regulates its rhythms, an internal cardiac defibrillator.
Hang up your coat, loosen your scarf, and come join us in this spring issue.
Among the many interviews broadcast surrounding the terrible murders in Paris, there is one I cannot and do not wish to forget. Responding to the question “Do you fear for your life now?” one of the surviving writers for Charlie Hebdo replied: “My fear has nowhere to go. My friends are dead.” It is the awesome privilege of catastrophe to consider the unimaginable afterlife of this very moment. Yet surely, the unimaginable is defiantly, undeniably real, and travels quietly beside each moment of our lives. I am heartened, reading over the poems now gathered in this issue, to see the ways in which this fellow-traveler is loved by poets . . . loved tenderly in Carl Dennis’s “Repetition” as “the same words but spoken with more compassion” . . . or loved ultimately in Roberta Senechal de la Roche’s “Vital Signs” as “the sum of taken breaths.” The unimaginable is the friend we never thought to see, just now coming into view.
Featured in This Issue
Colleen Abel, Erin Almond, Samuel Amadon, Atom Ariola, Kaveh Bassiri, Dario Bellezza, Bruce Bond, Maggie Colvett, Carl Dennis, Sara du Sablon, Patricia Foster, Jean Hollander, Leslie Johnson, Benjamin Jones, Benjamin Landry, Joseph Lease, Charlotte Lieberman, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Nina Lindsay, Mark Mayer, Joshua McKinney, Jennifer Militello, Michelle Mitchell-Foust,, Andrew Nance, Andrew S. Nicholson, Linda Norton, John Palmer, Brenda Peynado, Jack Ridl, Zach Savich, Caitlin Scarano, Roberta Senechal De la Roche, Sohrab Sepehri, Julia Shipley, Katherine Standefer, Kevin Stein, William Stobb, Michael Trocchia, Jean Valentine, meg willing, Candice Lee Wuehle