Preface to Volume 10, Number 3

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out
than it would have been if it had never shone.”

–John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

This issue is dedicated to poet and friend, Susan Elbe.

Over the years, we not only had the privilege of publishing Susan's beautiful poems, we also had the honor of becoming her friend. She was an exceptional poet and person, and though we are profoundly grateful she left an extraordinary body of work behind, we are deeply saddened by the loss.

Because It Was Winter
by Susan Elbe

Because it was winter and I was lonely,
and a fierce wind broke the lacy stencil
of hoarfrost on tavern windows,

because the radiator made it too warm,
though its hissing called to December
snaking in under the door,

because the colored lights blinked off and on
at the laundromat across the street
and out on the lake, a strange

nativity lit by lantern light, cold men
inside wooden shanties, hand-auguring
holes in the ice to jig for hungry fish,

because two guys with no gloves shivered
in the alley and passed a joint, snow
sugaring their too-thin coats,

because there was a war, and every boy knew
his lottery number by heart, held it
under his tongue like a pill,

because the ones who came back stayed quiet
in their knowing while the rest of us
watched others die on nightly news,

because the world keeps repeating itself-
we're always lonely in our being
human and there's always a war—

because, young as I was, already I knew
days dull as iron and days burning
with a fire for what comes next,

because decades later, the frozen lake cracks
like gunshot, my back complains,
and night is again full of white moths.