Writing a note from the editors is like a tarot reading. We get dealt a pack of cards and have to gauge their collective spirit. And this time we turned over our cards and found bees, swarms, scorpions, wings, webs, and rage. Hence our theme: Buggin’!
How do we process experience? Do we fully embrace and even lean into the detritus of our troubled pasts, as in Marin Sardy’s “Attachment”? Do we play it to the hilt, let what fractured us point us toward our own futilely heroic destinies, like the Jesuit novice-turned-teacher Mark in Sean Towey’s “Without Wind Resistance”? Do we transcend our present, like the winged protagonist in Emily Koon’s “Magdalene,” bottling our own light, a contrast to the wings of disassociation in Erica Bodwell’s “The Girl in the Bed”? Do we distract ourselves, swapping dirty jokes and sexual partners like the barflies in Patrick Kelling’s “Destruction Bay”? Alter our vision, as with Amanda McGlynn’s photograph “Master of the Unseen,” peering through a web of light?
Or do we negotiate our own terms simply by naming, by giving shape to our own perceptions, like the speaker of Alejandro Escudé’s “Cold Breath”—“The worst parts of me/ Are contained in little pockets of envy”; “You’re lost the minute you start counting carbs/ like seventeenth century iambs.”
A hive of bees hovers over Colleen Coyne’s ominous “How I Crossed,” but J.R. Toriseva’s “Swarm” celebrates bees, ending, “The bee bore the book,// pocked the font, punctured the page according to the inclinations/ of the silver minnows and the rain. The law according to hive.” In a spirit of celebration and crossing, we’d like to thank all our contributors, editors, readers, advisors, and support staff upon our departure from the Hot Metal swarm.
April Flynn and Lauren Russell