book cover for Areas of Fog by Will Dowd

Finding Beauty in Weather’s Sulks and Tantrums: An Interview with Will Dowd, author of Areas of Fog

The weather—that topic of countless innocuous conversations between strangers, a constant companion in our daily lives, sometimes glorious, like the cool fresh breeze of an autumn day, sometimes oppressive (hazy, hot, and humid—the hat trick of summer discomfort), sometimes so powerful a storm’s name becomes short-hand for destruction (Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, etc.). Yet in the…

photo of mold

to decay by Sam Stebbins

I’ve spent the past few weeks watching mold grow on stewed tomatoes, mourning their sweetness, the possibility of feeling the catch of the teeth of a serrated knife as I slice through them. I’ve been thinking about the serrated knife, a gift from my mother, designed for cutting meat I cannot afford and wouldn’t eat…

photo of ring with topaz crystals

Pawnshop Mama by Laura Hoffman

the bloodshot man at the Value Pawn said it was genuine as he fingered the dainty band of white gold: my old metal cherry its stone: a mystic topaz that winked at me in sparkling Morse code beneath the buzz of lifeless fluorescence it was the ring that the man with the Roman nose forced…

photo of female statue

Underlimbs by Barbara Barrow

We had grown bored with our bodies: those tedious slouching abdomens, those same rubbery slopes of flesh. But then we discovered that there were additional, submerged bodies underneath, or, more precisely, body parts that lived under our other body parts and sometimes floated up, shyly, just beneath the surface. Like the rippling movement of a…

photo of Darwin statue

The Secret by Jack B. Bedell

The Secret —Antieau Gallery, Royal St., NOLA   Her fairy tale of blue sky and quiet bugs presses itself into the bark of a black tree— Grasshoppers and mosquito hawks, damsel flies and beetles live this story stitch by stitch, closer to the skinny robins in this tree than any world would allow. To keep…

photo of cicada

The Last One by Madeline Anthes

I don’t know the rules. All I know is this: I wait until the cicadas start screaming, shedding skins that cling to tree trunks. I wait until the humidity is so thick I can cut it with a butter knife. And then I ride my bike to the old house where I grew up. And…