.・✭・issue 20: editor’s note・✫・。
“be grateful, she says, for the soft scenic route,” reads a poem by yasmine bolden. i’ve always found fall to be the most beautiful season, and the harvest to be a worthy representation of this time of year.
the ebony tomatoes group chat decided on a “harvest” theme for this issue as fall settled over new york. this is an especially mild autumn, which is at once a warning and a gift. the season of autumn and the colors it produces bring to mind the ritual of harvesting, which is inherently communal and relationship-driven. our relationship to the land, what our bodies of capable of, and what we owe to others have been unearthed via harvesting for centuries. all people must harvest. all people must take, give, and return—it is perhaps a necessary condition of being human.
we open the issue with “i remember my grandmother on a random october night” by yasmine bolden. this is a poem bringing to mind golden sunlight and tree-lined drives.
“the phone works both ways, alexis rileigh” by lex owens is a reflection on communication and reciprocity—you must give in order to get, and you must listen in order to speak where others can hear you. this poem, like the mild autumn, is a warning and a gift.
“swamp tears” by talia diane n’sele represents a vengeful winter and the injustice of the difficult seasons. this poem is sharp and unflinching, revealing the vulnerability we are forced to reveal to the world as we struggle through the cold.
we end with “sour apples, sweet return” by rachel goulston, a wistful, loving memo of the love that is on its way, the warmth that is always to come. this issue is illustrated with pieces from “reap what you sow” by raven tucker. with loose brushstrokes and warm, vivid color, tucker’s paintings remind me of the heartiness of autumn, weaving these four written narratives into a lovely and cohesive bush of berries.
this is a hopeful, raw, and sweet issue that took its time to ripen. enjoy the harvest.