Letter from the Editor
No one’s going to miss 2020. As I write this, COVID-19, known more commonly as the Coronavirus, has claimed an estimated 126,739 lives in the United States alone. The pandemic shows no sign of slowing, and a vaccine is at least a year away. Many of our political leaders have failed us, and will keep failing us, because we live in an era when—to many of our fellow citizens—news is “fake” and public health policy constitutes an assault on freedom. In this same moment, the country has been swept by righteous protests decrying police brutality, motivated by the murder of George Floyd but sustained by the continuing violence of police officers even as the world watches in horror, even as professional athletes across the Atlantic kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a moment of national reckoning, and it is our responsibility to act. We must create anew the America that Langston Hughes wrote “never was America to me.” As a literary journal, we have a small but useful role to play. We have a voice. And with that voice we—I—can also apologize, because although I’ve always welcomed equal representation in our journal, I haven’t always sought it out. This issue is an example of that. I promise to do better. So here is the easy thing to say: Black Lives Matter. The hard work follows.
I chose this issue’s cover by thirtythr33 partially for its text. A woman, seeming to pull a man in for a kiss, says, “Let’s destroy the fucking system, darling!” As if it deserves anything less than a razing. That said, in the midst of so much outward misery this issue’s contributors have reached inside themselves and pulled out something beautiful. In one of her two contributions, Lisa Caloro writes, “Do we have to fall to remember how to live?” before stating an alternative, and of course there are so many ways to be alive, to celebrate the self, to live in the glory of living. Much of the following poetry and prose is lyrical, beautiful, and even, at times, aloof. I hope it provides the temporary respite this letter has failed to afford you, and I hope that, at the very least, this issue is equal to the creatures of Will Vincent’s “Gnomes,” “twitchy and trash-fed—rabid and perfect.”
Editor in Chief