s u m m e r / f a l l 2 0 1 8
Summer Laura Donnelly
Two Poems Matthew Gallivan
Two Poems David Ross Linklater
Can You Take a Moment to Tell Us How We Did? Elizabeth Crowell
Two Poems William Stratton
Two Poems Maya Owen
Once More with No Feeling Carol Westberg
Two Poems C. Henry Smith
Two Poems Lisa Dordal
Two Poems Hannah E. Chapple
Work David Ruekberg
Two Poems John Harn
Portrait of a Lady, 1913 Lori Lamothe
winter house Amy Bilodeau
Two Poems Kelsea Habecker
From the Archives Tom Crawford,
from the ether
It’s Labor Day weekend as I write this, 8pm, dusk deepens, crickets keep time in the dry weeds out back. After a hot day, it’s still 71°, the windows thrown wide. A ceiling fan whirs. Neighbor kids who’ve splashed in their backyard pool all afternoon have quieted. Just an occasional call echoes across the darkening yards. At dinner we enjoyed a friend’s summer garden bounty—sliced blood-red tomatoes, sweet bell pepper simmered with eggplant, onions, and garlic. It’s still summer I tell myself though the calendar says September and I’ve been back teaching for two weeks already, a new school year marking summer’s formal end, at least in terms of routine. Oh, this sweet Sunday evening with an empty Labor Day still to fill tomorrow. It’s the first time in three weeks that I’ve felt a spacious summer day stretch as if it were a steady refrain. Steady as these crickets’ unending song.
Yet it will end, somewhere before dawn, as will summer at some unexpected hour when lost in my lists and lesson plans I’ll realize I’m wearing a sweater. Fall’s official return is the 21st, almost three more weeks away, though I realize by the time anyone else reads this, those days will have dwindled by a week, maybe more, as I wait for our contributors to approve the new issue’s proofs and the editors to tweak the last links and needed corrections. Where I live in California we can expect extended warm weather, even tomatoes into October, though we’ll all hope for rain. Even then, it will still be autumn.
There’s a bit of melancholy in this issue's pages, a bit of lengthening shadows, an awareness of shortening days. It’s always a strange serendipity how the poems come together for each issue, no less for this, our Summer/Fall offering, that thin slice of a slash line like the cusp of a new season, demarcating a fleeting moment barely noticed. Seasons turn. “The earth forgives the previous year every year,” Robert Hass says. Winter will arrive. A brand new year will begin. Here, mid-2018 with a ways yet to go, we might feel there’s already a lot to forgive in this year.
But there is also much to celebrate. It just depends on where you look. If you’ll look further here among our “ether”-eal pages, we hope you’ll discover something affirming too. The poets featured in this issue also celebrate: the pleasures of summer, love, the cosmos, family, memory, a life well-lived, or a single day.
What I celebrate are our contributors, each poet and poem, and the exceptional fabric artist Michelle Kingdom, all of whose artistic endeavors prove what Hass alludes to, that this life, from the planet’s tilt out to galaxies beyond, and everything in between, is a creative enterprise, each season, each word or stitched thread renewing the world in some small way. A season ends and we begin again, shaping our lives and our experiences within frames of pages and years. And the cycle continues.
We’re glad you’re reading with us. We hope you too will find new ways to view the world in the midst of any season, poem by poem.
from the Ether,