Against Queer Presentism | How the Book World Neglects the Archive

Colton Valentine

History is a nightmare from which the queers have awoken. Or so it would seem in Elif Batuman’s Either/Or (2022). It’s sophomore year at Harvard, and protagonist Selin is debating the merits of living either aesthetically or ethically. As in The Idiot (2017), she takes classes and reads; unlike in The Idiot, she drinks and has sex. Everywhere, queerness simmers. Selin’s university syllabi are populated by fictional male seducers, her...

Editors’ Note | Hindsight Is 2020

The Editors

“The pandemic is over,” Joe Biden declared in September on 60 Minutes, in a farcical reprise of George W. Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” photo op. The long-running T.V. program was an ideally irrelevant venue for such an irrelevant statement, in a moment that encapsulates the broader aura of irrelevance that has surrounded the Biden presidency. At least until the August passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it looked as though Biden's...

Coin | Poetry

Fatima Jafar

To speak of this would be to try and say something of a cave, a letterless mouth. The moon floats like a coin in black water. The candle on the table is dead. A mouth hangs forlorn like a well. A year hangs forlorn like a well. Still, a glint in the dark — a fish’s tail. Silver whisper, silver whisper. God is closer to me than my jugular vein....

Iphigenia in Aulis as Crystallography | Poetry

Angelo Mao

The war process is commonly thought of in terms of warming. As in the conflict heating up, there are hot spots in the region. But it does not feel hot to be in the milieu of incipient conflict. It feels cold. Supersaturation. They swear an oath. Warmer temperatures keep solutes in solution free from binding to each other. Before Helen’s husband is picked, the suitors are bound with an oath....

Explicit, 1976 | Poetry

Paula Bohince

Oculus giving up Andromeda, pulse of variegated phlox, fog-drenched, a virginal shepherd on lamb watch, terrine of fowl and gilled chanterelles, cold enmeshment of mare and filly, ecocide laws, unforgiving blistered forests of a once- divided country, impasse o’er a holiday, Isle of Man  or the Canaries, ah from Freud’s Viennese clinic, opening  seam of teenaged wallpaper, ultra-ambient tiger prawns, a third martini, Tiger Lily jealous in first edition luster.

The North | Poetry

Tomaž Šalamun

The North, which faces north, is stern and blunt like a flash. Seemingly harsh, silent and swift, aggressive and white, seemingly full of magnesium, a waterfall in a vacuum, I say. It weaves and weaves, I give. In the middle of the process my thoughts wander to cigarettes, which I forgot break the membrane and hurt concentration. They push off their backs on their own, push off my shoulders on...

Four Stories | Fiction

Garielle Lutz

It wasn’t early retirement, it was a layoff late in life, and now that jobs were about to open up somewhere else, in some other division, the man kept being told not to make himself a stranger. Some days he could make himself feel just a stone’s throw from his old life. On other days he became known as the perfect guest. One host was a woman whose face kept...

Very Polite | Fiction

Percival Everett

I drove onto the road from the Goodwill parking lot without a mishap. I wondered whether that was the same as driving out with a hap. I could see that my route was exceedingly simple, one road, Interstate 95 all the way to Washington. I was not driving south because I had been instructed to drive south, though I had been, but because I, contrary to my nature, was concerned...

War Kink | Fiction

Bobuq Sayed

The war in Afghanistan was ruining my sex life.  All month, I’d been trying to avoid that annoying question from Martin. “But, wait, where is your family from?” he asked over the shower steam the second time we had sex.  I laughed and tweaked the ends of his sensitive little nipples with suds.  A week later, he tried again. “Sorry, I didn’t catch it the first time, I know you...

Arrangements | Fiction

Vivian Hu

When I felt particularly bad about the night before, I chugged a glass of saltwater, to flush out the toxins. If I timed it right, I could dial in to our Monday call and say hello before situating myself over the toilet, my insides liquefying into painful sludge as my coworkers said their good mornings and asked about the weather in Seattle or Houston or Tampa or wherever it was...