We all deserve beauty / in the end, and between.
—Alessandra Naccarato, “Our Lady of the Crisis”
In the aftermath of trauma or crisis, we are often prone to seek certainty, to search for the clearest path forward. The task of editing this issue came to me after a series of trials—health struggles, the loss of a dear family member—left me in a state of perplexed stasis, wondering what shape my life might take now that I’d happened upon a wellspring of resilience I’d never known was within me.
Working on this issue helped me make my way through this inertia. Finding beauty and possibility in the in-between, in uncertainty and flux, the pieces in this issue are an antidote to stagnant thought. They unsettle easy distinctions between timeworn dichotomies: life and death, self and other, art and nature, wildness and domesticity, loss and recovery. In one story, a consummate finder of lost objects discovers that “finding yourself” is not nearly as simple as finding what’s missing. In another, a newlywed’s burgeoning “feral” nature reveals the crueller truth of the quiet brutality of many a modern partnership.
The two winners of our 2018 fiction contest, Paola Ferrante’s “When Foxes Die Electric” and Tanya R. Ward’s “Retrospective,” prompt us to consider the complex ways in which creations—a sentient robot in the former story, an art exhibit in the latter—reflect or resist the intentions and desires of their creators. In jiaqing wilson-yang’s commissioned piece, “The Weight of the Light,” a woman navigates a ghostly borderland between life and death—surrounded by a community finding their way through their own scientific borderland.
In her feature interview with assistant editor Ezi Odozor, poet Canisia Lubrin revises Audre Lorde’s well-known dictum that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” reminding us of the profound power of language to transform the world. My hope for you, reader, is that this issue will inspire similar revisions in you—whatever shape those may take.