Editors' Note: Issue 9
Jacqueline: You know what? Let's do something different. I love you, and I'm happy you're here. If you're reading this, it means that the version of you who survived the last twelve months is one who still loves art, or hopes to find their way back to it someday.
It's a new season of Lammergeier, and it's coming about right as we (in America at least) are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past twelve months, the editorial staff here has done our best to be both present in our grief and offer a source of hope in the incredible work our contributors continue to put forth. And while there's still unfathomable grief and trauma with which we as a species need to (will need to, have needed to) reckon with, we can also begin to look beyond the immediacy of survival and decide what we want to bring with us into whatever "after" is meant to look like.
For season three, we're choosing to follow the life cycle of Attacus atlas, the Atlas moth. In the time it takes us to cycle between quarterly issues, a generation of Atlas moths will be born, live, and die. Things begin; they grow; they change; they end. What a wonder it is, to know that the great-great-grandchildren of issue 9's moths will be with us for issue 12. What a miracle it is to know that, despite everything, life goes on.
The poetry in this issue is so full of life, so full of growth and transformation, of death. I'm so grateful to these eight poets for being here with us as we step into what comes next. I'm so grateful to you, reader, for bearing witness to their art.
Ashely: "I can't wait for things to go back to normal" is something we've all undoubtedly heard at this point. But, let's be honest, "normal" was also unfair and awful. The hybrid and nonfiction pieces of this issue push against this idea that the cruelty we see around us is some recent invention. I know this probably strikes some as grim, but I personally find solace to know we are the next step of struggle and resistance, that we are not entering some unfathomable new chapter of life in which we can learn nothing from our history.
Thank you as always for giving our little operation your time. We hope that you will also resist a return to old oppressions and carve a new normal of compassion and care for those most in need. Ethan: Well said, Jacque and Ashely. You both situate our new issue well enough that there's not much I can add, but I'd still like to address the two stories we've published this time around. On the surface, they have little in common — one is hard realism, while the other embraces the sort of fabulism Lammergeier has championed from its first issue — but dig a little deeper, and you realize they're touching on the same thing. Whether it's in the form of a married couple speaking past each other or text messages from a disembodied sibling, both of these stories are concerned with the ways trauma can cause even the tightest of bonds to break down. These authors explore how communication in the most intimate relationships can degrade into something strange and perilous when needs go unmet and heartache remains unspoken.
Neither story offers an easy path to healing. However, as we round a year that has been particularly difficult for relationships of all kinds, and in every part of the world, these pieces do offer moments of insight and empathy that we can all use. I'm so glad we have the privilege of publishing the work of these writers — fiction and otherwise.