From the Director: Consider

Consider the doughnut glistening before you. Rumpled imperfect circle, glazed old-fashioned, sugary moist soft doughy porkpie. 

The eyes and nostrils bristle, thrilled. The tongue lights up. The gullet is poised.

Consider the doughnut glistening before you, but don’t consider it long. You know that the doughnut will hurt. It will hurt quickly and it will hurt long. First the dull ache of the right-after. Then the accretion. The fats and the consequences. The belly, the Achilles, the stillness of the blood.

So consider it quick, this doughnut glistening before you. Consider it and then give in. Feel its sticky warmth on your fingertips as you bring it to your mouth. Gouge it in unrepentant bites. Gobble it, savor it, make it disappear. Feel the bliss you know it holds. Fill your body full of it. Bask in the doughnut within you. Clasp your hands before you and bow: Namaste, doughnut. I salute the god within you, the god within me. I have eaten the circle and the circle is unbroken and the universe is one and I am one with it.


Is this too much? Do I exaggerate? Switch it out, let’s see: A crescent of ripe cantaloupe. The first warm breeze of summer. Your hand on my neck. The trombone, the piano, the brushes on the drum. The laughter of the kids on the grassy hill. The cedar by the river, the river by the cedar. Waking up slowly, yawning, stretching, turning the head toward the early windowed sun. Drifting back, slowly, to sleep. 

Do I exaggerate? Is this too much?


The milk curdles, the kids quarrel, the dog dies. The back seizes up. We lose. 

Is this too much?


I remember an afternoon when I was young and riding in the passenger seat of a truck on a deserted back road, my right arm out the window, a calm sweet buzz throughout. As we sped to the top of a rise in the road, a pickup like ours but silver where ours was tan suddenly appeared on the other side of the same rise. It was directly in front of us and headed straight into us. We were the same—the two of us and the two of them, surprise and fear in all of our wide-open eyes—and I understood that we were about to die. I felt it through my body: a shock, a lack, a hurt—but somehow we didn’t. My coworker swerved, and so did the driver of the oncoming pickup, and they happened to swerve in different directions, and instead of smashing into our likenesses and speeding metal and a very different future or no future, my coworker and I rode on in absolute silence. Then, at precisely the same moment, we burst into deep, loud, full-body laughter. We laughed like this for several miles. We laughed and we loved it and we laughed and we loved it, whatever it was.


Consider the doughnut glistening before you. French cruller, airy, eggy, sweet. There to tear with the teeth. But not for long.


Death and Dying, Food


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Also in this Issue

From the Director: Consider

Editor's Note: Joy and Pain

Angier, NC

We Will Be Here

The Nature of the Beast

Rustication and Return

Creation Stories

Minor Malady

The Wisdom That Finds Us


People, Places, Things

Discussion Questions and Further Reading: Joy and Pain