Dear readers,

We’ve been a little quieter lately, tender to the touch, but never soft enough to bruise; no, we pride ourselves on always, always advocating for our readers, contributors, and the online literary community even if, at times, it feels as if we are being pushed aside. Truthfully, the past few months have been difficult, where it seemed controversy after controversy threatened to tear this community apart, to turn us against one another, to forget what brought us together in the first place: a love of poetry, literature, cultivating new worlds within our own, creating something bigger than ourselves and sharing it with others. Despite the frustration, the pain, and the doubt, we will continue to hold onto the people and journals and spaces that make all of this heartache and triumph worth it. You all make this worth it, and rest assured we will try, to the best of our abilities, to be a part of that beacon for you, to forever provide a voice for new and emerging writers alongside more established voices, to keep true to the values that have driven us since our establishment. We promise to stay tender, but to also render ourselves sharp when we need to be.

We have been quieter, contemplating, thrilled that this little journal of ours is reaching more readers each day, yet worried about how to handle the dozens upon dozens of submissions we now get during every open reading period. Over the next few weeks there will be some structural changes, one of which is reducing the number of issues we release each year from six to four, one for each season. And though we may have been more silent in regard to the curation of this issue, as we made our way through the numerous work we received, making sure to give each piece the care they deserved, we released our first-ever micro-chapbooks, written by the winners and runners-up of our Overture to Memory writing competition, and submissions for micro-chapbook manuscripts will open later next year.

Regardless, we are pleased to release our long-anticipated twelve issue, Lithe. Soft and bursting, light-drunk and falling towards something better, brighter, kinder. A different kind of ache, one you do not try to salve away. A type of healing, redemption, forgiving yourself and what you had to do to survive. A way to ease the pain, to find warmth amongst the cold, peace amidst your fears, a moment of silence, atonement. Close your eyes, let the wind pull you forward, guide you to where you want to be. Now open them, lie amongst the reeds, look up at the endless, endless sky.

For a moment, nothing is breaking.

Featuring eighteen writers and artists, each work is filled with a different kind of grace. We hope you find some warmth in this issue and thank you, above all, for holding on as we navigate these storms towards a kinder shore, for helping us keep our heads above the water.

For staying at our side, no matter the sky.

With gratitude,

Kanika Lawton
L’Éphémère Review