Introduction

Questions of transformation and origin play heavily in the lines of this issue’s poetry selections, as in Kari Hawkey’s “Los Angeles” where she writes, “you become a cathedral/ a tabernacle the one-handed misdirection/ another tent under the bridge” or Meriwether Clarke’s poem “Women as Cows” in which a woman slowly transforms into something bovine, “a pile of bones stuffed into/ the shape of a cow,/ no longer uncertain/ of my purpose.” These conversions often moved us toward darkness, as in Christopher Cokinos’ poem “You searched for : aubade” beginning, “The jets sound beautiful this morning./ The waters of a globe matte-black” or Marie Pavlicek-Wehrli’s “First Lesson from Grace: At Twelve” as the speaker bears witness to the story of the “Sister of the locked bedroom door.” Yet, there is playfulness, too, in these poems. For example, take Muir Hughes’ poem “Mork,” in which she writes, "I was alien too/ I listened to the language of crickets/ and mosquitoes, those elementals of god-speak.” Our editors invite you into the lines and stanzas that drew us in, held us under, and asked us to dive deep into the world these poets conjure, only coming up for air long enough to ask for more.