No. 21

“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.

Print $20
Sold Out
Print + Digital $26
Sold Out


The Woman in Green

No. 21 Marie NDiaye

Against 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.

Infinite Happiness

No. 21 Jamel Brinkley

Uncle 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.

Animals at Uneasy Rest

No. 21 Jensen Beach

It 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.

Noble Things

No. 21 Roxane Gay

It 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.

Memorial Hill: An Illustrated History

No. 21 Rachel Farbiarz

What does it mean to recognize a person? To know a person? To understand and tell what has happened?
Public Access

Two Poems

No. 21 Marina Tsvetaeva

My humble roof! Smoke from a beggar’s fire! / So different from what I was born into!

Two Poems

No. 21 Camille Rankine

I want to give you everything. / This is called a sickness.

Apprehension of Thursday

No. 21 Craig Morgan Teicher

1 / You can’t prove it but / 2 / this is reality.

Telegraph Flowers

No. 21 Matthew Zapruder

I stood a while / before the flowers


No. 21 Rusty Morrison

A 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.

The Easement

No. 21 Joshua Marie Wilkinson

One moth flies above many hands / & I don’t want the words for desire / to fuse to a life of what presents a weed

See a Furious Waterfall Without Water

No. 21 Patricia Lockwood

Never 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?

Two Poems

No. 21 Li Shangyin

An idle wife in the home / Lying down early, getting up late

Everyone’s Dead, the Rest are Gone

No. 21 Anna Piwkowska

Everyone’s dead, the rest are gone. / What remains are deciduous words tasting of seaweed, / toothbrushes, hairbrushes, shoe brushes.


No. 21 Irving Feldman

Suborned to bear false witness, he said to himself, If I don’t, someone else will. Whereupon he was someone else.

Ceiling and Time

No. 21 Jeffrey Yang

8 / The stars inside preside / over time, for a century

The Lucky Couple

No. 21 Charles Simic

This warm spring weather made us lazy / Sitting side by side on a park bench

A Stormy Evening at the Buck Snort Restaurant

No. 21 J. Robert Lennon

She 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.


No. 21 Elizabeth Gaffney

She 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!

Seeing and Being Seen

No. 21 Edward Carey

A dark fairy tale about our faces, our transience, and why we take down life and try to preserve it.

War, Blossoms

No. 21 S. J. Naudé

The recently dispersed with their encumbering passports. To them everything is new; everything has to be discovered and experienced and lost from scratch.
Order A Public Space

Get A Public Space as you like it: the print magazine, the digital version, or a print and digital bundle. The best value? Subscribe to A Public Space and receive three new issues of the magazine as well as exclusive access to the online archive.

Print $20
Sold Out
Print + Digital $26
Sold Out

A Public Space
149 E 23rd St #B
New York, NY 10010

Privacy Policy

General Information
Subscription Help