“I’d lost the skill. I’d lost the touch,” laments Sid, the narrator of Amy Silverberg’s “Poker Night.” Still reeling from the fallout of an ill-advised relationship, Sid has lost so much more: her career, her reputation, and her confidence, not to mention a fifty-dollar hand. This issue’s stories and essays are rife with loss. In Erika Krouse’s “Jude,” a young woman discovers her Holocaust-surviving grandmother’s lost name, retrieved after decades from “the land of the missing.” An eleven-year-old girl is at risk of losing her childhood innocence when a restless newcomer develops an obsession with her in Amanda Rea’s “Among Men.” On a trip with his girlfriend to a foreign country, a man has an unnerving experience in which he loses his sense of direction, his way, his grip—his sense of himself—in Afsheen Farhadi’s “Omar in the Fog.” In her essay “We Are Here Now,” Elizabeth Kadetsky begins: “Long ago, my mother lost her French, and with it all memory of her upbringing in Franco-American Lewiston, Maine.” She writes of a memory-recovering road trip she takes with her mother, during which Kadetsky attempts to excavate and clarify haunting memories of her own. Lilly U. Nguyen considers the throughlines between art, chronic pain, and the legacies of war—among them, a lost uncle, a lost homeland—in “The Possibilities of a Line.” And in “Even the Hairs on Your Head,” Jean McDonough offers a moving meditation on memory, perception of time, her father’s death, and the power of art to help us process loss.

So much loss, yes, in this issue. Yet there is much to be gained in the exploration of what we no longer have. Of her pain, Nguyen writes: “I had become so accustomed to it over the years that its absence was remarkable. . . . With this came new knowledge.” And an absence, suggests McDonough, can hold great value: “I remember this—the nothingness—and it will not be taken from me.”

While summer is not the season we generally associate with loss, it does offer pause: time to reflect on what has been taken from us, what we might let go of, what we hope to hold on to, what we may yet reap. Welcome to the summer issue.

Stephanie G’Schwind, Editor-in-Chief


“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language,” said Lucille Clifton. The poems in this issue contain life. In containing life, they also contain death. They contain memory and hope. They contain real and imagined flowers. They contain pimples and panic and C-section scars. They move from birth to last breath, and they illuminate what it means to live in-between.

There are Crisis Prevention Meetings in these poems. There are skylarks and black dogs. There is a planetarium and a picnic. There are several rivers and creeks—some polluted, some pristine. There are cicada songs and photographs from long-gone good, good summers. There is an attempt at a love song to a country, America, that’s too good at killing bees and breaking Black bodies for any kind of uncomplicated love. There are oh so many guns.

These poems are angry and they are sad. “They drive past grief,” to borrow a line from one of Lisa Compo’s poems in this issue, and in grief’s place (or joy’s) they seek something like awe. To follow an idea from a poem by Caroline O’Connor Thomas, these poems may be “fun at parties,” but they won’t be facile.

If “poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language,” life shows up also in these poems’ dynamism on the page. There are diary entries and letters. There are prose blocks. There are numbered lists. There’s a villanelle. Many of these poems are not beholden to the left margin. One is forced to hang on the margin so forcefully it hurts. There are elegies and eulogies. There are footnotes. There are expansions well beyond what one might easily see on a canvas or a page.

These poems vibrate. They are sensitive. They are afraid but still insistent. Alert but also calming. They move from harrowing to hopeful, and they show what it means to live in-between.

Camille T. Dungy, Poetry Editor

Featured in This Issue:

O-Jeremiah Agbaakin, Nasser Alsinan, Janée J. Baugher, Xochiquetzal Candelaria, Lisa Compo, Jehanne Dubrow, Chinụa Ezenwa-Ọhaeto, Afsheen Farhadi, Raphael Jenkins, Elizabeth Kadetsky, Mickie Kennedy, Alyse Knorr, Erika Krouse, Jean McDonough, Lilly U. Nguyen, Carolyn Orosz, Isa Pickett, Amanda Rea, Nicole Santalucia, Max Seifert, Amy Silverberg, Caroline O’Connor Thomas, and Nora Rose Tomas