Issue Twenty-Eight: Spring 2023

I spent part of the last week on the west coast, where my morning runs would start along the shoreline at Rockaway Beach and then follow the trail by Calera Creek, with the hills that make up Mori Point between me and the Pacific. California was experiencing an atmospheric river during my visit, so these morning runs–like almost everything during my time there–took place in the rain, and the rain gave the hills an uncharacteristic greenness that seemed much more like Appalachia than the California I’d seen on previous visits. Tuesday morning, there were fifty-mile-per-hour gusts that could turn the light rain that morning into a stinging mist, but as I ran into a headwind, I watched as two finches seemed to skate, suspended airborne only a few inches above the ground, from one side of the trail to the other, their bodies perfectly still until landing perfectly on the branch of a bush.

The spring issue opens and closes with a warning and celebration of the poetic act. In the issue’s closing piece, the speaker of Andrew Cleary’s “Quiet Bird Death” asserts what ought to be obvious but is made less clear by metaphor: “A nest is a nest.” And in the issue’s opening poem, Lily Beaumont’s “How To Eulogize Oxygen Without Lungs,” the speaker acknowledges the ways that figurative language causes her to “feel gross(er) if you make me spell it out” but also reminds us to “remember it,” pointing back to the poem’s earlier, double-edged use of the phrase “Poetic justice.” This sense of recognizing the limits of things, of seeing their faults, while simultaneously celebrating (I almost wrote adoring) them is present in much of the work that appears in this season’s issue. In Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes’s poem “The Field Rises, the Field Falls,” for instance, the speaker recalls buying land while acknowledging that the Menominee who have historically lived there “knew / land can never be bought or sold.” Even though this land has been made “barren of its humus / and topsoil” by a previous owner motivated by profit, the speaker and her companion still “scatter native seed” each winter, motivated instead by hope and by a trust that the land will somehow continue to support life, and to live.

Issue Twenty-Eight includes poetry and prose by Stephen Barile, Lily Beaumont, Becky Boling, Ed Brickell, Heather Candels, Andrew Cleary, Steve McCown, K.E. McCoy, Beth McDonough, Brandon Earl McLeod, Sarah Orman, David M. Perkins, Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes, Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, Eugene Stevenson, Shi-Min Sun, Hannah Jane Weber, Alexander Lazarus Wolff, and Kenton K. Yee. This issue’s cover is an image by the writer, artist, and microbiologist Daphne Fauber.

Digital and print versions of our winter issue are available through Mag Cloud. Digital versions of the issue are free, and perfect-bound copies of the issue will cost twelve dollars. You can order print copies and read the issue online at this link.

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