Helena Wurzel



AS I WAS THINKING ABOUT what I should say to introduce this issue, the lines of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” kept coming back to me:

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

It seems to me that loss is the first birthright of all humans. And, of course, the whole point of Bishop’s poem is that our inability to hold onto what we love in this vast, beautiful, brutal world is very much a disaster.

If you like where this is headed so far, you’re going to love this issue.

Each piece speaks in some measure—directly, metaphorically, or existentially—to “the art of losing”...  (read more)

WHITING by Deesha Philyaw

WHITING HAS BEEN CALLED the “hot dog of the sea” because it’s so cheap. But fishermen love this tasty sport fish because it grabs the lure hard and puts up a good fight.

My father said, “Every Sunday morning while your mother lies across town dying, I will make you fried whiting, grits, and cat’s head biscuits to make up for telling a judge that you weren’t mine. Something to fill your thirty-three-year-old belly for that time I tried to pass you off as my little sister to my new girlfriend, when you were three...  (read more)

THE PREACHER by Mac McCaskill

Helena Wurzel

“I’LL TELL YOU,” HE SAID. “If you promise not to follow him.”

I nodded, knowing I’d break the promise. Anyway, he couldn’t do anything about it.

The overhead fluorescent lights reflected off the yellow jumpsuit he wore and made his brown skin gleam. Brown, like the desert. Brown, like mine… (read more)

TWO POEMS by Dani Janae

a tulip of fear.

dark hue of bruise; skin
like a plum, so sweet the world
surrenders it’s jaw to the flesh.
i see hung ghosts in the spit...  (read more)

ARENA by Brian Broome

THE ONLY TWO THINGS in life that can show you who you really are—what you’re really made of—are war and public sex.  I know nothing of war but the images I’ve seen of desperate men locked in combat or wandering around the battlefield, exposed and vulnerable. I know perhaps too much about public sex.

When I say “public,” I am not referring to that vanilla, elevator sex that men and women have in psychological thriller movies. The sexy anti-hero with perfect hair who grabs hungrily at some seductive ingenue’s panties....  (read more)

Helena Wurzel

WHAT GOES IN by Iris Anixter

IT’S A SUNNY TUESDAY morning, and my husband and I are in Nurse Nancy’s clinic looking at pictures of human feces.

“Like pudding?” asks Nancy from behind her wrap-around desk. Her face is creased with wrinkles, and her red-blond tinted hair is permed into an ‘80’s style bob shot through with grey. Behind her is a bookcase filled with medical texts and academic tomes … (read more)

THE BONES by Corey Farrenkopf

WE FOLLOWED THE SAME PATH as always, the bare earth worn raw by coyote paw and deer hoof. Spearmint and holly sprigs pushed through layers of moldering leaves, lending their scent to the decay of late fall. Did either of us think these walks would save our relationship? Silence in nature was basically the same as silence on the living room couch. Jill didn’t talk as she bent down to take a picture of a ravaged rabbit carcass… (read more)


Helena Wurzel

over blackened rivers in the
seamless tile floor; the
sand-hewn edges
where the last ice-crumpled
water darkened air, though... (read more)

CALENDAR by David Ruekberg

ONCE, BEFORE THERE was counting—
but there was always counting

if not the divide of six days
and a Sabbath, then the idle

and desperate annular scrawling
on cave walls… (read more)

WHITE MAN IN ASIA by Tristan Durst

THERE IS A CERTAIN KIND of expat that my friends and I liked to call “White Man in Asia.” We wrote his theme song, to be caroled loudly on the journey between the foreigner-friendly bars that served as his hunting grounds: White man in Ayyy-sia! Can put his dick in anything he wants to! There’s no shortage of women, foreign or Korean, trying to date White Man in Asia. He’s not buying any cows, because everyone’s giving him milk for free… (read more)


HELENA WURZEL MAKES PAINTINGS of women in singular moments of self-reflection and celebration. She hopes to unlock something extraordinary in everyday scenes -- an idealized version of real life. Her work is tied to the reality and imagination inherent in the feminine realm...  (read more)