Front Matter


Issue 48.2: WINTER 2019

We Pass a Billboard for the San Diego Gun Show on Our Way to Buy a Christmas Tree

& i think of the eleven year old boy

i knew back in philly

he was shot riding his bike

home from school        a random drive-by

a gaping hole                              ripped in the fabric

of the universe his mother had sewn him

             a universe that said i am here for you

to tell you something you already know:

the morning announcements were bloated

with thoughts&prayersthoughts&prayers

& all that thinking & all that praying

couldn’t wouldn’t save him                  for months i dreamt

that he showed up to school wailing,

covered in silvery blood           his eyes like black holes

we all but fell into

when his mother dropped off his little sister

for the first time since his death

she looked the way a star must look

when it expires            so heavy that it collapses

in on itself        tell me             what do you do with all that


i doubt anyone noticed but in her free hand

she clutched a small piece of crimson silk

it was all that was leftover

from the universe

               that couldn’t wouldn’t protect him


—Marisa Crane