I wish I could tell you exactly when they’ll appear. They used to come with the sunrise every morning, shouting their flourish into the skies, a salute like something you’d hear at an Olympic opening ceremony:
I (my whole body) am stepping out from behind cracked glasses and welcoming the big box of wheels rolling over the road
Mahogany board by swelling board sits still on a hill between yellow birch. The dogs down the road sing to each other, while a dead calf
If I took all of them and placed them in a sifter, and shook, then tapped the sides to separate the smallest sources of pain from the largest, I don’t know what would fall and what would remain.
He flung the hibachi spatula in the air, twirling it, catching it behind his back. Tossed a shrimp tail into my t-shirt pocket. Poor shrimp.
And when I walked by / the chicken coop, reader, / the chickens walked me home. / One got loose with her three chicks
A wineglassful of martyrdom was duty but wandering, wild, and fiery, was nice cold water,
Beneath translucent lids, its eyes were purple hull peas. Directly above, the nearest branches were much too high to reach, so we filled the shoebox with grass and twigs.
And you love the sound / a fresh pad makes when you peel / off the wax paper, unwrap it / like a birthday present, the one / you asked for.
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The fire, then: orange-red, orange-yellow, orange-blue, just blue. Colors like threadbare sheets pinned to a line, and blowing.
She understands now. How appealing it is to blow up your life.
I thought I was born blue / the way my hands looked / pressed against the inside / of a blue-glass jar.
The people that wore the hats didn’t see the birds when they lived. They didn’t know that their bodies never bent that way.
i am lost in the daze of my grandfather’s friday fish and whipped cream on dessert. i’m not sure he recognizes me most days, but still he clutches my hand and tells me he loves me.
She hasn’t kissed anyone for seven years, and though with Diane she doesn’t feel the same electric desire coursing through her body that she had felt for the men she’d been with romantically in years past, she feels something. Something she didn’t know she could feel. Something she still hasn’t named.
A playlist to accompany our winter 2022 Joy issue, crafted and curated by issue contributors and Longleaf Review staff.