It’s easy to get a little lazy during the summer, settling deeply into that poolside chaise longue, umbrella drink within easy reach, scent of coconut in the air. And why shouldn’t you? You’ve earned it, this “weekend” of the year: June, July, and August standing in for an extended Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But don’t get too comfortable just yet; the stories and essays in this issue promise to keep you on the edge of your beach towel.
Striking the first note of disequilibrium in this issue’s fiction, Brad Felver’s “Dogs of Detroit” presents a city in which “the natural order of things has been upended”: feral dogs roam the city, buildings are abandoned and left to decay, and a boy’s mother goes missing—leaving him and his father to work out their grief through art and violence. Amid an out-of-season twister, Kate Folk’s “Tornado Season” finds a teenage girl and her single mother harboring a fugitive whose attention they both desire. Goldberry Long gives us a nun painfully out of sync with her parish, unable to reconcile her true heart with her faith, in “How Sister Concepción Burned Down Nuestra Señora de Los Luceros through No Fault of Her Own, Which Everyone Agrees.” And in Elizabeth Poliner’s “Sometime, Springtime,” a woman works to regain her balance after her lover unexpectedly dumps her, navigating a world that now seems “a kind of foreign universe . . . a place where she felt alien, displaced.”
Carrying this discordant tune through the nonfiction, Daniel Sherrell’s “Big Pin” pulls back the curtain to reveal the culture of high school wrestling—a limbo world that is neither school nor life, but “somehow takes the place of both”—in which boys starve themselves down to unnatural weights, strive to knock one another off balance, and subject themselves to abuse and humiliaton for a dubious return on their investment. In “Tenebrae,” a meditative essay on art and religion, Jan Shoemaker reflects on the destabilizing experience of tending to her dementia-stricken mother, the roles of caregiving inverted. Liza Cochran, though, examining addiction and depression, writes about righting oneself again, finding a spiritual compass—a higher power, perhaps—amid the wilderness in her moving essay “Natural Forces.”
So if your chaise has a seatbelt, you may want to fasten it: it’s going to be a bumpy read.
As I write this introductory statement, I am at the Denver International Airport. I have been here for several hours, and I am told I will be here for several more. This space, to borrow some words from Gertrude Stein, “is a space of time that is filled always filled with moving.” It is a space constructed by, and always aware of, passing hours. The good news: for company, I have the poetry for the summer issue of Colorado Review.
These poems, oddly hourly, are full of waiting. Laura Wetherington’s Pierre Rivière “was known to sit for hours, watching birds and frogs he’d nailed to trees.” Lee Ann Brown tells us in her elegy for Amiri Baraka that, despite his being two hours late for a reading, “everybody Stayed.” Some poetry is not only worth waiting for, but it transforms the very makeup of an hour. In the presence of these poems I find that I no longer dread the hours ahead of me; I eagerly await them because “already the hour / is less than an hour” (Carolina Ebeid). I anticipate that you, too, will spend many happy hours in and among these beautiful poems.
Featured in This Issue
Susan Briante, Lee Ann Brown, Liza Cochran, Sophia Dahlin, Jeanine Deibel, Carolina Ebeid, Brad Felver, Kate Folk, John Fry, Sarah Janczak, L. S. Klatt, Aaron Kunin, Elizabeth Langemak, Goldberry Long, Nancy Meyer, Rosalie Moffett, Oscar Oswald, Kate Partridge, Jeffrey Pethybridge, Elizabeth Poliner, Maya Catherine Popa, Bret Shepard, Daniel Sherrell, Jan Shoemaker, Mathias Svalina, Laura Wetherington, James White, Corrie Williamson