Getting Perspective: Katey Schultz,

Drowned Trying: Janée Baugher,

Blink / Sustenance: Peggy Shumaker,

Ruth / shrapnel shards on blue water: lê thi diem thúy,

Cover: “Four for a Birth” by Lisa Teas,

“Along the little stream that runs through the woods outside the Island Institute office, bright yellow hooded skunk cabbage flowers have emerged from the ground, adding their unmistakable musky fragrance to the slowly warming spring air. This sign of renewal is among the first in this northern temperate rain forest, and is as welcome as the returning light. A sense of refreshed energy seems to permeate the brightening days. Neighbors are out in their gardens, putting new shingles on their roof, sharing the first king salmon of the season. Its oily sweetness melting in your mouth is a reminder of generosity, of bounty, of privilege, of resurgence. after winter’s darkness and cold, spring’s prospects offer vital perspective.

“Getting Perspective” is the title of the story by Katey Schultz that opens this spring issue of Connotations. The perspective that Lillis Young, her protagonist, is looking for, however, is of a different character than that offered by our promising change of seasons. Lillis is seeking perspective on loss…

In a comment to us, [lê thi diem] thúy recalled John Berger’s observation—-that absence can be as keen as presence. Focusing ourselves on those absences can be useful, can keep us honest. It is important, for example, to acknowledge that loss and absence on a significant scale are always given costs of war, whatever it’s ostensible purpose. But even in peacetime, focusing on absence reminds us of what once belonged, what once had a critical part, what once provided wisdom. Absence need not mean something or someone is gone forever. Instead, living mindfully with absence can help to keep us whole.”