A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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Martín Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, essayist, and translator. He is the editor of the poetry collection What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump and a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His poem in this issue will appear in his forthcoming collection, Floaters.
Brionne Janae lives in New York City and teaches poetry at Barnard College and Grubstreet.
Mark Leviton was raised in the blue-collar, multiethnic Los Angeles suburb of Pacoima, California. He didn’t know until recently how institutional racist policies prevented Mexican American and Black families from moving into his all-white neighborhood. He now lives in Nevada City, California.
Robert Lopez lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of two story collections and three novels. His newest book, A Better Class of People, is forthcoming in 2021. He teaches too much at too many places and plays more tennis than his middle-aged body can handle. His piece in this issue is excerpted from a longer essay.
Alison Luterman’s latest poetry collection is In the Time of Great Fires. She teaches at the Writing Salon and lives in Oakland, California, with her musician husband and their spoiled cat.
Vincent Mowrey takes long trips in his beloved van, Ol’ Betsy, between Ojai, California, where he lives, and Columbus, Ohio, where he was born.
Tanya Rey is a Cuban American writer from Miami, Florida. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Granta, and Catapult. She lives in Oakland, California.
Ruddy Roye is a documentary photographer who was born in Jamaica and recently moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Cleveland, Ohio. His photos have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Ebony, and The New Yorker’s Instagram account, where he shared his images of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. The man pictured on this month’s cover is a Brooklyn resident. Roye photographed him on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Joe Wilkins is the author of the novel Fall Back Down When I Die, the memoir The Mountain and the Fathers, and four collections of poetry, most recently Thieve. More and more, he thinks really listening might be the best gift we can give one another. He lives with his family in western Oregon.
Kerann Christopherson’s poetry, fiction, and song lyrics have appeared in Acorn and American Songwriter. Her hobbies include sculpting ceramic polar bears, losing lens caps, and eating chocolate for breakfast. She lives in Morgan Hill, California.
Anna Disegna was born in Italy and currently lives in Perth, Australia.
Rachel J. Elliott is the editorial associate and photo editor of The Sun. She lives in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Sara Feld lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and follows a multifaceted spiritual practice that involves meditation, dance, bodywork, and photography. You can follow her on Instagram: @sara.feld.
Rohanna Mertens lives in New York City. She has photographed the work of such international nonprofit organizations as Operation Smile, Accion International, Technoserve, and Save the Children in more than twenty countries.
Kai Parcher-Charles is a photographer who lives in East Hampton, New York.
Joseph Rodríguez teaches photography at New York University and has taught in Mexico and Europe. In the 1990s he photographed gang members with their families in East Los Angeles, California. He is working on his forthcoming book, LAPD 1994.
Lisa Wiltse lives in New South Wales, Australia.
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