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)
A LIST OF NOISY THINGS: lizards, dogs, donkeys, hyenas, chickens and guinea fowl, birds in general, flies and mosquitoes, geckos mating, frogs, Wofa Sarpong during the day, Wofa Sarpong talking to his wives, Wofa Sarpong fighting with his wives, Wofa Sarpong’s wives fighting with each other, Wofa Sarpong’s wives pounding dried leaves or fufu, Hassana having her hair braided (by me), heavy rain patter on our thatch roof, the bracelets clinking up and down Wofa Sarpong’s first wife’s arms, Wofa Sarpong’s second wife’s singing, Wofa Sarpong’s third wife’s children yowling... (read more)
YOU NEVER BOTHERED TO STEER your way through love or the weather, just twisted down to Texas, storm speed clearing a path. On first sight, I loved how I had no choice, how your whirling force pulled me into the tangle of the funnel cloud. Even now, you persist in seeing every sky gone green, your rusted tongue hinged on danger’s copper twang as you wait for twisters to rip you off course, set you down on new ground, everything open again. ... (read more)
SHE WHO WRAPPED WHAT LITTLE she had in a worn scarf
walked for two days and two nights
under the glare of the sun
the skull of the moon
she who loved the city with its red spirals... (read more)
LATE AFTERNOON, ALMOST EVENING,
and the sun’s descending
on empire. This time the weight
has been sinking in, pitching
shadows in lengthening dark
pools that gradually overflow... (read more)
LATA VAIDYANATH, AGE EIGHTEEN, sister of Meena, stands willowy, unseen by passersby, behind a tree outside of the American College on a July day in 1988. The place has a golden sepia tint, is a Victorian painting come to life, and, like any other place back in the late nineteenth-century, Lata has no hope... (read more)
FIRST THING SHE STARTS IN ABOUT after the two of them break away from the others—her calling out his name, telling him good morning and how happy she is to see him again and then rubbing the soft slopes of his neck and leaning over his right ear, whispering, her voice’s volume rising when she’s close, falling when she pulls away and has to acknowledge the others circling in front of them, hanging out by the fence, and looking over at the two of them... (read more)
NINE-YEAR OLD OCTAVIAN didn’t know how to take care of a dying woman, but he learned.
“Breast cancer,” his father Cyrus said.
She’s only thirty-four, thought Octavian. Is that even possible?
Cyrus had asked the doctor the same question and was answered only with a soft nod. There were more words later like “fast-moving,” “clusters,” “irrevocable,” and “succumbed.” Words that Cordelia would hold onto... (read more)
DO YOU REMEMBER our last garden?
All greens and gold, the spears of lavender,
strawberries pale before the frost?
And the dragonflies when a mist settled
on their wings! Sometimes you’d brush
your hand through the apple-mint... (read more)
IT STARTS LIKE ANY TUESDAY: Dr. Emmanuel Lapado arrives at 6:30 in the morning, stabs the illuminated numbers of the alarm code to disarm the building, and hustles through the foyer in semi-darkness. He does not get coffee or reset any chairs left askew by the cleaning crew. He doesn’t put his lunch in the break room fridge or adjust the arctic cold of the overnight air conditioning. Puffing for breath, he works himself up to a trot wending through the labyrinthine... (read more)
ADI GOODRICH IS A LOS ANGELES-BASED artist and designer best known for her colorful, graphic set designs. Goodrich's work is consistently inspired by the history of art, color theory & architecture, and asks the viewer to look beyond the commercial imagery and into the craftsmanship and historical references of each project... (read more)