Introduction

This issue’s nonfiction selections take on the big topics—the body in illness, the surprising companions found through loss, or reflections on witnessing the moment of a societal sea change, as in Ginny McReynolds’ essay, “From This Side.” In Fred Arroyo’s, “Blood Work,” we travel through memory and inherited disease: “We each carry words, fragments of sentences, images, bits and pieces and even the whole cloth of stories within our blood. No doctor can identify this quantum of blood coursing through our beings.” Similarly, Eva Saulitis asks us into the world of varied thrush, sandhill cranes, raven, and chickadee, as she navigates the days before her 49th birthday with cancer. An excerpt from Saulitis’ essay, “49: The Last Five Days” was selected as our choice for the Quion Collective letterpress broadside for this issue. Lyrical, meditative and heart wrenching, this essay took us deeper with each reading, asking the crucial questions of loss and what it means to truly live.