Right now the Air Quality Index map of my county looks like an image of Grimace from the McDonald's gang being dipped upside down into a pit of hell. In other words, healthy air ranges from 0 to 50, and ours is currently rated 500. As I write this, I'm wearing a mask at my kitchen table with an air filter hushing by my side. My body feels the way it felt the first three months of pregnancy, nauseous and headachy, which I suppose makes me pregnant with smoke from a very near fire. I've tried to convince my family to skip town with me, but they are determined to stay, you know, in case we're forced to evacuate.
And I am reminded again that it is a privilege to be able to drive away from this disaster, from any disaster, even temporarily, and that while breath should be a human right, so many people are fighting every day for the right to breathe.
By the way, if you haven't yet read, or marveled at, Jason Reynold's and Jason Griffin's commentary on the smash up of civil rights, climate change, and global pandemic inAin't Burned All the Bright, get yourself a copy. Share it.
It is our breath that allows us to speak, both physically and metaphorically. Living allows us a voice through our words on paper and screens—to speak of pain, joy, imagination, of fairytales, apocalypse, and secret attraction, of the self as survivor, as yearning mother, as witch. Well, this is a smidge of what you'll find in this issue anyway. We hope you'll read it from cover to virtual cover. We are so very grateful to our contributors: Rachel Alarcio, Jessica Barksdale, Mary Lou Buschi, Jiwon Choi, Monica Colón, Jennifer Freed, Angela Gaito-Lagnese, Judy Kaber, Candice Kelsey, Luisa Caycedo-Kimura, Iris A. Law, April Lim, Jennifer Manthey, Alison Prine, Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez, Jyotsna Suresh, Nova Wang, and spore print artist Madge Evers.
If you are also grateful for these writers and artists, give them a holler on social media, or even in real life, so that the air is filled with more love, more appreciation, so much connection that we can all take deep gulping breathfuls of it.