drawing of six silhouettes smoking near a very tall ponderosa

Six Ponderosas by Stacy Szymaszek // cover by Morgan Võ

We’re counting the days ’til we leave Missoula, we’re counting the does on the walk to and from campus, we’re counting the last cigarette. Not a catalogue, but a transmutation: the grace of numerology, the register of pain on a scale from one to ten. Szymaszek prepares us for potential encounters with wild cats, for the invasive friendliness of the local cashier, for the formative process of detailing that turns the merely adequate into something astonishing. We’re after a knowledge that can’t be known before knowing. We’re strength training in a new state.


I can describe it better than the weather in my own


I wonder if my mother wasn’t alive

would my extended family see each other?

sometimes too much internal wind can create

tics like the one I get each December

in my eye

I just put it together the freak horn

blowing yesterday



it’s just as I thought

the loss of 2nd Ave.

has been hard


has been the way

to my heart I am composing

this in my head as we walk

we being you and me

the battalion of crickets at my feet

were they to carry anything other than their own rhythm

would be epidemic

a solo deer

two crows

and a wasp decimating a fly

on my sleeve

responsible for my own walks

and to a lesser extent

my own weather I sweat in my

vest that was perfectly comfortable 100 feet



has happened

too slowly when it’s not happening

so fast

October 7, 2018

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