Maybe the parallels–we see here work about thresholds and borders, absence and change–maybe these emerged because we’re selecting fiction for a magazine named after a bridge. After all, what’s more liminal than a bridge (and we know all about bridges in Pittsburgh)? The structure facilitates change, from one piece of land to another, between neighborhoods, mindsets, moments in time, circumstances and opportunities. Along those lines, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award winner, talks to us about borders, their allure and complexity, their changing nature, between geographies, cultures and means of expression. Bridges try to stand in for what is absent, to create that firm footing we so often desire. Our fiction selections explore absences and what we try to put in their place. In Adrian Alvarez’s “Church Avenue,” a couple assigns narratives to the block of houses across the way, where symptoms of life are few. In “Post-Mortem Photography,” by David Patterson, photos arrive from a friend who is supposed to be dead. And, a spelling bee for adults is the lure away from the absence that death has left in Christine Pivovar’s “A Thousand Words.” These stories are studies of the uneasy terrain of absence and the efforts we make to fill it. Our authors string their words together like bridges over gaps and gullies–they explore our attempts to shore up meaning from detatchment. We hope you’ll enjoy.