As writers and artists, it is our job to bear witness in order to impart the deeper truth. In this issue of Grain, my last as editor, I wanted to speak of hope, not just strife. As in previous issues, the work examines and exemplifies the myriad of emotions and realities we all experience, particularly now. As editor, I have striven to represent diversity in both visual and literary art.

I want to thank all contributors for trusting us to do justice to your writing, and Joan Butterfield for her exceptional artwork. I would also like to thank Grain readers for keeping the magazine alive. Now, as outgoing editor, I can look back and reflect on the challenges and accomplishments and say, with gratitude, that it has been a great opportunity. 

Thank you all!

My Prayer, 2018, Photo Artistry 40” x 30”



Ada, 2020, Photo Artistry 30” x 40”

Temporarily Venus     |     Antony Di Nardo


I see her winter mornings with her cane


Beauty is a factor in the distribution of light and shadow


If I wore a painter’s smock I’d paint her figure blurred and blue,

an ageless blue that borders on the gray of constellations


She carries herself with the grace of fall-ripened fruit


I peer into the orchard of her ascent across the bridge

and see the coming spring about to burst its banks


When summer’s here she’ll rest her cane across my lap







African Bird, 2018. Photo artistry, 30"x 20"


THE TRILLER [Excerpt]   |     Ben Lof

Davis stood in Pigeon Lake surrounded by blooms of algae, the surface like a flattened globe, bright land on soupy water. Gods with rolling pins had been here. The lake was the only place you could forget about the bugs crashing into every surface at Hanna’s family cabin. Weekly plagues of mayflies, midges, horseflies, houseflies, mosquitoes, blue bottles, moths, spiders, daddy long legs. In your hair, your ears, down your shirt, in your books, on your food, webs and smears on every armrest, umbrella, cushion. Sometimes you’d open your mouth to eat or speak and in they went, caught by tongue or breathed in toward lungs. 






Elephant, 2022, Photo Artistry 24” x 40”


TRYING TO GET HOME  [Excerpt]   |     Robert Currie 

It’s the dream I have again and again, the boy

I once was heading for South Hill, needing 

to get home, right now, it’s important. I take  

the subway under the tracks, follow First Avenue  

up the hill, the sidewalk awkward and sluggish. 

Every step feels as if I’m pulling my feet

from concrete that isn’t quite set, I’m out

of breath, but I keep going, don’t want 

to be caught here, held like a statue

with gulls wheeling off the river and pigeons

ready to crap on my head. 












Head Wrap, 2019. Photo Artistry 30” x 40”



WANE  [Excerpt]   |     August Reynolds 


He has been here many times before, only he doesn’t remember. The bus takes him from the Palmdale Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center at 11:00 a.m. and follows State Route fourteen deep into the Mojave Desert twice weekly. Usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was a Saturday. He seemed to think it was a fine bus. It ran. He seemed to be alone on this front, too. “Doll, my sweet doll,” he said. “Where are we going?” 

The caregiver to his right ensnared his hand. Gently, though, as if picking up a baby bird, careful to intertwine the fingers in the right order, and lifted the jumbled mess onto his lap, palm up, and said, “To see Cheryl, Dr. Caldwell, she promised to cook you that pasta dish you like.” 

There is a warmth to her that he couldn’t quite place, like he was a bee drawn to a pot of honey left out in the July sun. She sat nearest to the aisle and their arms pressed into one another whenever the bus hit a dip in the road. 








CHOIR TOUR [Excerpt]    |     Catherine St. Denis 

Zebra, 2017. Photo Artistry, 40” x 30”


We exited the airport flanked by soldiers

cradling machine guns. The air was wound 

tight as floss around a finger. Artifacts

of grief punctuated the causeway—wilting

flowers still in cellophane, hollow stumps of wax, 

teddy bears blanching in the sun. All day, 

heat rose from the streets, spilled sideways 

towards the beach where we winced 

as jagged pebbles betrayed our soft feet.