Issue 23

Emerge Literary Journal: 2022

Editor’s Note

I’m always amazed at how quickly the time passes between issues. It’s a marvel to me that we are publishing yet another one. As our editors curated this issue independently of one another, it would seem each of them were working toward no overriding themes. Yet, after reading the complete issue, it was clear to me the pieces spoke to one another through many underlying themes and overt connections, an ongoing dialogue, if you will, in which various forms of every piece were reflecting and responding to one another throughout the entire issue. Consciousness, and its seasons, kept unfolding while simultaneously keeping things in focus.

Many of us haven’t been in touch with ourselves for so long that we can no longer remember what being ourselves feels or looks like. We do, however, sense the incongruence between who we intuitively know ourselves to be and who we are currently being. It can show up as anxiety, high blood pressure, tension headaches, back pain, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and the feeling that we are lost and disconnected, unable to protect and guard our boundaries, unsure of what to do next.

Self-care is a phrase we throw about a lot these days, but if you were to ask a hundred people their definition of self-care, you’d get a hundred different responses. When I think of self-care, I think of returning to myself and living in a way that feels truest to me—of being, in a world where it’s all too easy to lose oneself. When I’m living in this awareness of self, I find that it’s easier to eat well, play well, mourn well, fight well, live well, and rest when I need to.

There are times when we find ourselves shrinking from life, from beauty, from the truth. From the story of love unfolding all around us, and within ourselves. It often happens in the moments where we allow the mind to transport us; when we allow the material world and language to determine the limits of our understanding and experience. This issue is the place where people continue to do great things, amazing things, things that make the world better, more interesting, more accessible while deeply connected to themselves. And that’s what this literary journal is about. Sharing stories that inspire us to get in touch with ourselves, to be that little bit braver and better ourselves, and to share that experience with others.

I hope the words and images of this issue bring you into yourself and inspire you half as much as they’ve inspired me. Maybe they’ll light a spark in your belly, get your mouth dry, set your hands tingling, so you stop doing what you’re told when it really doesn’t sit right, maybe you’ll stop doing what you know is not helping you and start following your heart and your head to taking care of you, toward being a better you.

Thank you for believing in our little journal, in our contributors, and most of all, in the power of literature. You make this all possible. Thank you. And a special thanks goes, as always, to Diane Gottlieb and Alisha Escobedo, our faithful editors. Without them there is no journal, and we are lucky to have them.

Be Well. Write Well. Read Well.



A Question of Geography || Eric Abalajon

I Try to Hold the Sun & Moon | Gutting the Fish || Emily Lowe

The Hideaway || Mary Kate Cranston

I Put the Wolf’s Emptiness Into Me | Abandon Hierarchies || Cassandra Whitaker

in the kitchen i tell my mother of my desire to make her happy | If Every Poem is a Love Poem, Then I’m Still Mistaken || Kiyanna Hill

An Abecedarian of Loss || Sherry Shahan

It’s the Wrong End of the Telescope, Dummy || Chakrika Pandey

things i want to ask you | i saw the rapture and was disappointed || Kyrah Gomes

Distinction Without Difference || Bob King

Uncoiled | Flying in Dreamland | Interloper || Charles K. Carter

Esperanza Corner

Maybe That’s How It Was? || Kathy Hoyle

Which is Better || J Saler Drees

ELJ believes that #mentalillnessawareness and #endingthestigma are of paramount importance. We believe in the necessity of sharing our mental illness and trauma stories to facilitate writing through illness and create broader awareness. We’ve created this corner to allow writers to not only share their stories but to be home to those who share in their experiences.

Creative Non-Fiction

Let Me Finish || Wendy Newbury

Gestures || Laura Halferty

SMOK! || Lina Lau

Monster || Tessa Vanderkop


A Heart Thing || Pat Foran

Hairdressing for the stars || Meg Pokrass and Rosie Garland

Big Cat || Dan Crawley

1000 Points || Dave Gregory

Joyous Pizza || William Musgrove

Vin du Pays || Catherine Parnell

Clippings || Jay Merill

Ritual Family || Cynthia Wold


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