Another surly October morning on Rathdangan Farm, the name of our rocky little homestead in the foothills of the Sugarloaf Range, and Mother Nature was in a nasty mood. Her swirling wind bossed the sycamore leaves around the farmyard, and wisps of her clammy fog still clung to the steep mountain peak in the distance. My mother—we called her Mammy— was a whirlwind of work, as usual: milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, washing clothes, holding it all together.
My wife and I are into season 3 of Victoria, the Masterpiece Theatre series that seems as long as the queen’s monarchial reign. It’s a slow-moving narrative in which a tea cup is picked up, put down. Then, for dramatic tension, the camera pans to a terrier that, on cue, lifts a hind leg to squirt on the carpet—a barbarous display in the palace household.
Winnie’s 350-square foot studio that she called home resembled a submarine, she liked to say to strangers, to offer them a quick image of what it was like to live in small spaces. A submarine was dark and hollow, challenged by gravity. Her apartment was on the top floor of a walk-up tenement building in downtown Manhattan, and got afternoon light. But at night she could squint and conjure the resemblance. Not that she’d ever set foot inside of a submarine.
The image evoked by the title, The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent Press, 2018) is both micro (a match flame inching towards your fingers), and macro (a forest fire jumping the fireline). It also summons the spark that lights up when we are about to fall in love. You know you can’t stop it; you know it will damage you; and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Like folks who rebuild on fire-prone land, this is not the first time you have been burnt and won’t be the last. So why? Perhaps it is so we can make art of it.
J.G. MCCLURE is an MFA candidate at the University of California – Irvine, where he teaches writing and works on Faultline. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gettysburg Review, Fourteen Hills, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. His essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Green Mountains Review, Colorado Review, Cleaver, and Rain Taxi. He is the Craft Essay Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor of Cleaver, and is at work on his first collection.
CYNTHIA ATKINS’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Letters & Commentary, BigCityLit, BOMB, Caketrain,,Clementine, Del Sol Review, Denver Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Inertia, The Journal, North American Review, Sou’wester, Tampa Review, Valparaiso Review, and Verse Daily among others. Her second collection, “In The Event of Full Disclosure” was recently featured on the Huffington Post and the Bill and Dave Cocktail Hour, and reviewed in [PANK] and the North American Review. She earned her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and holds residencies from the VCCA and Breadloaf Writer’s Conference and currently is currently the new associate poetry editor of MadHat Lit, and an assistant professor of English at Virginia Western Community College. She lives in Rockbridge County, VA on the Maury River with her family.
When the shooter climbs the emergency exit stairway to your floor, when he pushes the door open into the office hallway, when he turns to face you with his gun, you must scream.
EMILIA PHILLIPS is the author of two poetry collections Signaletics (2013) and Groundspeed (forthcoming) from the University of Akron Press. Her poetry appears in Agni, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Poetry, West Branch Wired, and elsewhere.
MATT BIALER is the author of eight books of poetry including Radius (Les Editions du Zaporogue), Already Here, Ark, Black Powder (Black Coffee Press), Bridge (Leaky Boot Press) Tell Them What I Saw (PS Publishing, UK) and Ascent.
There once was a man who fell in love with the sea. When he woke in bed at night, he did not look at his wife.
DIDI JACKSON’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Passages North, Sierra Nevada Review, and Poetry South. Her chapbook, Slag & Fortune, was published in 2013 by Floating Wolf Quarterly. She divides her time between Vermont and Florida, and currently teaches humanities at the University of Central Florida.
Here comes the new issue (Vol. 27, No. 2), featuring work by Heather Altfeld, Nancy Dwyer, Meg Kearney, Emilia Phillips, Sean Prentiss, and many others!