In this moment of tense politics, constant social injustice, and a shifting reality that often leaves us weary and more uncertain than ever before, it might be easy to lose track of the issues plaguing our physical world. Yemassee Online’s October Spotlight features a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that reminds us to consider the environmental world around us–its majestic beauty and the threats that face it. These works also skillfully examine the way all of these issues overlap. We are delighted to share these powerful works with our readers.
Poetry: “EC(H)O-TERRORIST (2)” by Derek Graf
Zoning tape and timber ruins in a landscape: how pretty goes the night, how pretty go the stars like a thousand cigarettes thrown from the hand of a diesel truck driver speeding down one of America’s gutted highways.
Poetry: “EC(H)O-TERRORIST (3)” by Derek Graf
O father, O hunter, bury me in the casket of your eye. Tonight I sleep against a pile of survey stakes in the glad tomb of a friend’s garage.
Poetry: “EC(H)O-TERRORIST (4)” by Derek Graf
In the dream I bury my father in the swamps of Florida, that empire of shithead tourists. In the dream he follows me to Kansas City, where we watch the rats gather at the river.
Poetry: “EC(H)O-TERRORIST (5)” by Derek Graf
O sleepless wives of Mount Sinai, do you fear your dangerous proximity to the sun? The last strip mall in Kansas closes down with little fanfare, and this October night’s unseasonal heat touches me deeply.
Fiction: “Clinton Lake” by Chloe Chun Seim
Every time they got together, it was like this. The sister would go and visit the brother in their hometown, or the brother would come and see the sister in her college town. Almost always, it was the sister driving to meet the brother, because the former had more money and freedom than the latter, who was still in high school, still in community college, still in this dead-end central Kansas town instead of the sister’s less-of-a-dead-end eastern Kansas town.
Non-Fiction: “Self Preservation” by Jamie Lyn Smith
I moved back to my hometown in rural Ohio in the dead of winter, intent upon making the best of things at a time when only the worst things seemed to be happening. It was a dreadful February of oxygen tanks, life-thieving coughing fits, bedside vigils, and late-night weeping in the darkened room where my grandfather lay dying.