Marlin M. Jenkins

Photo of Marlin M. Jenkins

True: despair has been my sail for twenty-two years, give or take. I tell myself the blood must be taken for the test, the hero still a hero with or without a tragic backstory. The origin of this grief is a constellation wherein I’m more interested in the burning than the shape the stars make. Let the plasma swim around itself. I let the despair…

—they do assemble

Roger Desy

Photo of Roger Desy

in moon on snow shown showing more of them gathering   —do they emerge from woods a broken line and one by one —same stand of spruce same grotto—or do they arrive in the field unknown unnoticed detached paths opening on the perimeter a given time some inconspicuous agreement   firm loosely planned—letting them assemble as a herd?   is it permanent—more or less a…

The Quiet Current

Eve Gleichman

Photo of Eve Gleichman

Nights after class on the B44 Select Bus, I kept my phone in my pocket, praying for a vibration. Great comment on Franzen tonight, you might say, or I really like your hair. But you didn’t text me. My super did, though. Need access to your kitchen sink. Won’t take as long this time. Leak downstairs.   My father had been gone six months. It was an…

“My Own Hand-Made Instrument that is a Microscope on One End and a Telescope on the Other”: Victoria Chang On Grief, Poetry, And The Imagination

G. C. Waldrep

Photo of a hat with glasses on it

Victoria Chang in conversation with G.C. Waldrep G.C. Waldrep: You’ve already spoken at some length in other interviews about OBIT’s distinctive form, adapted from the newspaper obituary. Stepping back from that, what distinguishes your work across your career has been your ambitious approach to lyric form: each of your books represents a radically different formal approach compared to what came before. Could you speak a…

Love Poem to the Son My Father Wished For

Jayme Ringleb

Photo of Jayme Ringleb

If I pause some nights when the sky seems particularly simple, the air barely carrying wafts of the neighbor’s constant bonfires, the stars rubbed clean of their dull texture, if I pause to name the stars, as if by naming them I could love them more, I feel closer to you— even if it’s too easy to love the stars, the way telling me what…

To Misunderstanding

Rick Hilles

Photo of Rick Hilles

          On the radio today, a neurologist identified                     the most important capacity                                         of the human brain                     as being its capacity to contemplate a self beyond itself. Even the interviewer was not so sure                     he understood what his guest just said           when he asked the specialist to explain it all again.           I was not sure how the man would make his point again                     so with thousands, possibly…

One More Night Behind the Walls

Peter Mountford

On the afternoon of the 1983 New Year’s Eve party, my father pulled me aside and told me to make sure my mother didn’t leave alone. If she seemed like she might go, I was to delay her and come find him, or one of Diego’s parents, or the Voniekels, or Yuki’s mom. “Any of us,” he said. “Find someone.” I nodded. My mother was…

On Erasure

Cecily Parks

Photo of Cecily Parks

In 1909, Elinore Pruitt answered a newspaper ad for a housekeeper. Elinore was a single mother living in Denver; her prospective employer was a Scottish bachelor living on a ranch in Burnt Fork, Wyoming, near the Utah border. After she was hired, Elinore and her young daughter moved to Wyoming, where Elinore would eventually marry her employer—a choice, I thought, made when no other choices…

Three Poems

Nate Marshall

Photo of Nate Marshall

telling stories a few times each year i am convinced of the end of singleness, the beginning of a singularity, i become convinced of the infinite curve of love. my grandma, like all Black grandmothers perhaps, told me do not tell stories, by which she meant do not lie except we couldn’t say “lie,” which was a curse word in her house. my grandma, like…

By the River Cibuco

Lyn Di Iorio

Photo of Lyn Di Iorio

It was ten days after Hurricane Irma, and the halls of the rundown school smelled like fungus and air freshener. Tree branches were scattered all over the grounds, sticking up like claws. Classes had ended early. Students stood in groups, waiting for their parents to pick them up, eating pastelitos and drinking Malta Indias. A couple of middle-aged male teachers in jeans and guayaberas watched…

The Day That William Bonner Cried

Cidinha da Silva

Cidinha da Silva

Translated from Portuguese by Daniel Persia and Ana Luiza de Oliveira e Silva Jornal Nacional was nearing its end, which meant it was time for one last segment to close out the spectacularization of news during television’s most-watched hour. The anchor—quite the silver fox with his alluring voice, impeccable suit, and charming gray hair—announces a shocking case in the sertão, in the hinterlands of Brazil.…