We found these poems to have a startling directness. Jane Huffman begins “The Pearl” by focusing in on the reader (“What of its dissolving? / What of that illusion? What of you?”), but once the reader is realized, the speaker begins dissecting the reader. “I saw from my window your pluck, / your prune,” the speaker says, unimpressed, “that hearty discernment // between stem and stalk.” M. Mack’s poems have a similar directness, beginning, “if you don’t sleep, / you will age.” The language in the poems in this issue continually does extra work. The lines are understated but sinister. Mack tells us “if you want to get that // stacked look, all you need / is the right tools,” as if to reassure us, but the reassurance is always a guise, a seduction. In Margaux Griffith’s “Elf House,” the speaker turns up the volume of the television to mute “the whisper, the bewitching/ purr that swept through the walls / and into our beds.” What it is that haunts these poems is that consistent whisper, trying to lull you into some sense of calm and security. We hope you find them as entrancing as we did.