Introduction

Layered, intimate and expansive, this issue’s fiction is full of memorable characters and places. Meet Della Stokes, “skinny and mean, with a long veil of hair the color of bacon grease and a fringe of uneven bangs,” the bully and central focus of Christie Hinrich’s “What Harold Saw.” And Jon, who wanders through Kenneth Kelly’s epistolary fiction, “Cogs,” as he invites the reader into a quiet, transitional cityscape. The mother in MaryRose Lovegren’s “Glass-bottomed Boat” observes: “The sound of the ocean is still there, and she thinks it is a strange thing, that it is still rushing in and out, as if someone forgot to turn it off for the night.” A world away geographically, we find Selim, the protagonist of Marissa Mazek’s story, “Caves,” who seeks a safe place for his family to thrive. We loved this issue’s cast of characters and know you will too.