“Something had changed,” writes Marilyn Abildskov in her essay “Scotty’s: A Brief History of Expatriate Time,” a memoir of her time teaching English in Japan. “Something inside me had changed—some boundary had been crossed or become irrevocably blurred, and I couldn’t put the old order back in place.” We often can’t resist trying to pinpoint the exact moment when everything pivoted: it might have been after a hurricane, a kiss, an accident, a poetry reading, an inexplicable act on the playground, a death, a birth. The boundaries seem to rise in sharp relief: before and after. This issue’s stories and essays have in common these moments, pivots, and boundaries. In Caitlin Fitzpatrick’s “The Laws of Motion,” a young woman moves back in with her parents to care for her mother and take a breather from the chaos of her own life. In “Category Five,” Timothy Hedges’s haunting reimagining of The Tempest, a girl yearns to escape the control of her magician father and help his captive assistant, eventually making a choice that will offer a kind of freedom for all three. Against the backdrop of a disastrous campus poetry reading one autumn afternoon, a community college advisor sees her relationship with her husband—both of them grieving a late miscarriage, he additionally reeling from his role in a terrible accident—with new clarity in Hester Kaplan’s “Daylight Saving.” And a woman, forever changed by a childhood kiss with her cousin, struggles with her unrequited love as she mourns the disintegration of her family in Jaeden Langlois’s “An Offering to the Mother Goddess Danu.” In her essay “An Infestation,” Sarah Beth Childers explores the mysterious border between dreaming and waking, where her hypnopompic hallucinations of vermin reside, and considers the connections between these dreams, geographic displacement, and grief. And in “A History of Nomadism,” Megan Harlan contemplates the effects of the seventeen international moves she and her family made as she grew up, the boundaries of home, country, landscape, and culture constantly shifting.
As always, we’re so pleased to invite you to this new issue. Step over the threshold and come on in.
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In recent months, I have become ever more devoted to the Impossible: the winter branch bursting into color; the broken child rising from her bed and speeding into a shaft of sunlight; justice taken up into the arms of mercy and made real. Thank heaven, my devotion is amply and more ably shared by poets here assembled. I am lifted by Emma Bolden’s “gorgeous terror”; I am counseled by Dennis Finnell’s “golden frailty”; and, thanks to Anne Marie Rooney, I am “kept going by the hellbegetting bright.” Be of good courage, friends. The Impossible is our second nature.
Featured in This Issue
Marilyn Abildskov, Derek Annis, Shannon Austin, Sherah Bloor, Emma Bolden, Christopher Bolin, Greta Byrum, Sarah Beth Childers, Ansley Clark, Cassandra Cleghorn, Dana Curtis, Dennis Finnell, Caitlin Fitzpatrick, Louisa Flynn-Goodlett, Stephanie Ford, Noriko Gamblin, Kim Garcia, Kathryne David Gargano, Noah Eli Gordon, Karin Gottshall, Josh Gregory, Megan Harlan, Timothy Hedges, Alyssa Jewell, Hester Kaplan, Jaeden Langlois, Jeanne Larsen, Nathan Lipps, Kristen Renee Miller, Isaac Ginsberg Miller, Sara Mumolo, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Ethel Rckin, Jack Ridl, Caitlin Roach, Anne Marie Rooney, Dan Rosenberg, Walter Smelt III, Jake Syersak, Craig Morgan Teicher, Shin Watanabe, Katie Willingham