“She regrets not what was, but what should have been, could have been.” —Marie NDiaye's self-portrait in green; Roxane Gay at war; Edward Carey on seeing and being seen; Rachel Farbiarz and Stefania Heim on Memorial Hill; new fiction by Jensen Beach, Elizabeth Gaffney, and J. Robert Lennon; poems by Camille Rankine, Craig Morgan Teicher, Marina Tsvetaeva, and others; and introducing Jamel Brinkley.
Issue 21 • Marie NDiayeAgainst melancholy, against regret, common sense and cynicism can do nothing. She regrets not what was, but what should have been, could have been, had she only made some other choice way back then.
Issue 21 • Jamel BrinkleyUncle Max made an ambiguous face and told me, not for the first time, that black men used to be kings. Then he shifted his Good Humor bar to his left hand, and slapped me. Sometimes I still feel the pop of his ring on my mouth.
Issue 21 • Jensen BeachIt bothered him she didn’t try to hide it. He would have tried to hide something like this. When he thought this, he understood that his wife was a better person than he was and this bothered him too.
Issue 21 • Roxane GayIt all happened so fast; it hardly seemed real until the war began and it was too real and then the war ended and nothing had been saved, which was always the case when foolish men made prideful decisions.
Issue 21 • Rachel FarbiarzWhat does it mean to recognize a person? To know a person? To understand and tell what has happened?
Issue 21 • Marina TsvetaevaMy humble roof! Smoke from a beggar’s fire! / So different from what I was born into!
Issue 21 • Camille RankineI want to give you everything. / This is called a sickness.
Issue 21 • Craig Morgan Teicher1 / You can’t prove it but / 2 / this is reality.
Issue 21 • Matthew ZapruderI stood a while / before the flowers
Issue 21 • Rusty MorrisonA thin glaze left on her palm from a thing held too long / or is it her own thingness / that rose from her hand to meet the bowl or apple or face in a dream, or is it / only memory / leaking from her / almost too slowly to notice.
Issue 21 • Joshua Marie WilkinsonOne moth flies above many hands / & I don’t want the words for desire / to fuse to a life of what presents a weed
Issue 21 • Patricia LockwoodNever has an empty hand been made / into more of a fist, and Waterfall Without / it swings so hard it swings out / of existence. How will anyone get married / now, with no wall of water behind them?
Issue 21 • Li ShangyinAn idle wife in the home / Lying down early, getting up late
Issue 21 • Anna PiwkowskaEveryone’s dead, the rest are gone. / What remains are deciduous words tasting of seaweed, / toothbrushes, hairbrushes, shoe brushes.
Issue 21 • Jeffrey Yang8 / The stars inside preside / over time, for a century
Issue 21 • Charles SimicThis warm spring weather made us lazy / Sitting side by side on a park bench
Issue 21 • J. Robert LennonShe has a memory of the world outside this place. There was a time when she thought she might be able to outrun whatever it was that has made her this way.
Issue 21 • Elizabeth GaffneyShe felt the sort of panic that sometimes seized her when she stood by herself on a subway platform, alone: She had lost her baby, forgotten her on the train!
Issue 21 • Edward CareyA dark fairy tale about our faces, our transience, and why we take down life and try to preserve it.
Issue 21 • S. J. NaudéThe recently dispersed with their encumbering passports. To them everything is new; everything has to be discovered and experienced and lost from scratch.
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