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May 25, 2022
Your sister is losing her voice. It feels like it happened overnight, her lips turning into rubber, but it’s been almost four months, and your sister, who would have suffocated you for calling her doll-like, spends her days sitting by the window, looking at everything and nothing, all at once. For what it’s worth, you try to remind her of her human self. You clamp down on the flap of fat on her arms but not a pipe. A deep paper cut exacts only a hiss of air. She has long, dark Rapunzel hair that thins into her calves, and with a pair of garden scissors, you give her the first haircut she has had in sixteen years. All her history is in her hair, and that’s the problem, you think, the weight of it.
May 18, 2022
Still Life With Flying Sombreros

Three sombreros hung on pegs in a cantina, where their owners stood at a bar, soaking in the tequila. The sombreros got to talking and soon discovered they all despised their owners. “My man,” a sombrero said, “came home drunk every night and beat his wife and children with a hard stick he kept just for that purpose.” Another sombrero confessed that his owner sat on a porch and shot cats that had strayed into his garden. He skinned the cats and displayed their pelts over the fireplace.
May 11, 2022
                                  1.

Someone nodding, and the light pressing down
as though it had weight.
And right in the middle of what I want to say
there’s a long row of chairs. There are green,
red, yellow arches that gradually contract
and close, like doors.
Like a disease whose threshold no one can cross,
she says.
May 4, 2022
Once upon a time, there was only Olga and me, as well as our old dog, Boji, in a big house we inherited from our parents, whose food we had slowly been poisoning in a span of at least a year. Our parents blamed their “chronic illness” on inclement weather, on the “heathens” who played rock music next door, sometimes on “cursed” and “possessed” appliances and furniture.
April 27, 2022
birds, vital furniture for our eyes. The floor refoliates
a dozenfold. Months
these days waltz
triple-time
within us. Echoes of fundamental shapes. Great-

grandfather, Harry Houdini’s accountant.
Isaac, our cousin the Don, muscled his way into King’s spitting distance.
All told, say
the performance outlived the performer?
O
April 20, 2022
She used the word alabaster too often. And breath, as if her body always knew what lay ahead,
the repetition of need. Even absence became a title. Even then long shadows danced in the room,
wind slithering under the door. There was a hint of that tricky left eye, still squinting, an itch to
become worse. Fire had its annual appearance, though not at first, and always confused with a
sense of death or doom. Throughout there was a certain rage, a questioning, “how can this be?”
Rage might be a response to events, or it might have always simmered, a disorder from birth.
April 13, 2022
       Holly gives Katja another look, but doesn’t say anything. They are walking beside a long snow-covered lake. High overhead, a red-tail hawk makes its frayed, lonesome kreee. At the end of the lake, they turn and tramp atop their own tracks, hurrying to make it home before the hospice aides leave. A gun shot loud enough to thump their chests sounds in the woods straight ahead. Then another. And another. The shots continue at varying intervals, growing ever louder. Eventually, Katja and Holly come to a clearing where a young man stands just behind a young woman, his arms reaching around her so that his left hand supports hers beneath the rifle stock, and his right hand envelops hers on the trigger. The man and woman are motionless. His shoulders tremble. A gunshot echoes off of hundreds of trees. A piece of paper snaps off a target pinned to a tree and flutters to the ground.
 
April 6, 2022
When you pull me from the water
Tell me I fell. Say you saw it all. How I tripped at the edge.

When you pull me from the water
Hold my face in your hands. Make my hair stand like a mountain. Turn off the bath faucet.

When you pull me from the water
Ask about my blood sugar. Worry over grapes I ate as lunch. Laugh at how I nearly slip back in.

When you pull me from the water
Wipe chiggers from my ankles. Press my skin with your x’s. Numb all the ways they bite me.
March 30, 2022
She decided on a five-mile loop, walking a corridor of ashen and gray-brown tree trunks. Thistle sprouted spiky at the path’s edge, as did milkweed, their pods gray husks bent at the stems. Something in her quieted. When she got back, she’d try again with the pastels. She’d take a more delicate approach, not let herself overwork anything nor destroy her efforts even if bad.
 
March 23, 2022
You fell upwards into primacy,
A response of bells and cold
Arias, clashes of mettle on metal.

Then you fell downwards
Outside of history’s grasp
Under cold covers.

You felt the weight of days.
The rolltop desk hid secrets
Of your progress.
March 16, 2022
SAVED

Fear is an attentional function.
Wishes depotentize over time.


Human nature is a child
soldier. A walk on the beach


is a cold chapel where I played
cello before a panel of wooden


chairs. Religion and war are peasant
stunners, knee-high flags


on the village green.
March 11, 2022
This morning, Bard College released the following statement about its earlier decision to cease publication of Conjunctions at the end of this year. While negotiations toward continuing the journal under Bard’s aegis haven’t yet begun, we trust that they will be held in good faith. 
 
I am beyond grateful to all of you for making your thoughts known, loud and clear, across various platforms. There is nothing little about “little magazines” and nothing small about “small presses.” These are the fertile proving grounds where so many writers can freely share their innovative voices and visions.

–Bradford Morrow, founder and editor of Conjunctions

Bard College Statement on Its Relationship with Conjunctions

Bard College announced this week that the fall 2022 issue of Conjunctions would be the journal’s last under the Bard imprint. Having heard the immediate, widespread, and heartfelt reaction from readers, writers, and editors alike, the College is revisiting its decision with the intention of continuing its support for the journal.

Bard sincerely regrets both the decision and process that led to it, and extends its apologies to our colleague Bradford Morrow, as well as the journal’s staff and writers, for the disruption it has caused. The College is proud of the role we have played for 30 years in supporting Conjunctions and is working directly with the journal in the hope of repairing our relationship and charting a possible path forward together.
March 9, 2022
In 2021, Conjunctions marked its fortieth anniversary, a milestone celebrated by the publication of a special anniversary issue and a series of online readings, defying the pandemic in order to bring some of our contributors live before a worldwide audience.
 
What cannot be defied, as it happens, is the economic pressure the pandemic has created in both education and publishing. For the last thirty of its forty years, Conjunctions has been published by Bard College. Sadly, I’ve been informed that the cost of continuing to publish the journal has become unsustainable for the college, which has made the decision to cease publication at the end of this calendar year. As a result, our fall 2022 issue, Conjunctions:79, Onword, will be the final issue published under the Bard imprint. 

“Bard College is proud to have played a role in the extraordinary body of work created during the journal’s tenure here, enabling some of the most daring and distinguished literary voices of our time to find a home in print,” said Bard College spokesman Mark Primoff.
 
Editing and publishing a literary journal has historically never been for the faint of heart. I am deeply saddened by this turn of events, but I appreciate Bard's having been a steadfast supporter of the journal for these past three decades.

In the meantime, we will publish our spring issue as scheduled. Conjunctions:78, Fear Itself, will feature works by Coral Bracho, Stephen Graham Jones, Brandon Hobson, Shane McCrae, Bronka Nowicka, Monica Datta, Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Julia Elliott, Kristine Ong Muslim, Jeffrey Ford, Quintan Ana Wikswo, as well as two former Bard Fiction Prize winners, Bennett Sims and Akil Kumarasamy, along with many others.
 
And Conjunctions:79, Onword, will feature some of the great pioneering writers of innovative poetry and prose whose work we have championed since their debuts or earliest publications, together with those whose voices are now just emerging. Our weekly online publication—widely read by an international audience—will also continue through the end of the year, offering exciting new writing and selections from the journal's vast archives. We intend to preserve the Conjunctions website as a legacy archive for everyone to access.
 
We hope that you, our cherished, far-flung family of readers and writers, will enjoy these forthcoming issues and join us in celebrating the living notebook that has always been Conjunctions.

—Bradford Morrow, founder and editor of Conjunctions
March 2, 2022
I was indoctrinated early in the limits of good intentions.
How could I love and still have done the cruelest thing I said I didn’t?
Now I wait for my brother to call, though he hasn’t for years,

                                                                                                 because
that is how I’ll know that what I feared since childhood
is real.
February 23, 2022
She started to tell me a story about a friend of a friend, that she heard relayed online. The dog sprinted ahead to retrieve a ball that I pelted as far as I could. The dog brought the ball back to me, dropped it at my feet. I picked it up and flung it again, and off the dog sprinted, again. We interrupted her, mid-sentence: the dog with its return of the ball and my need to take a couple of steps to build up momentum for my pitch of the ball as far as my tiring, left arm allowed. How hard for her to tell her story in these conditions. I did this several times before she asked me, irritably, if I wanted to hear the story or not.
February 16, 2022
I took an empty vinegar bottle

filled it with tap water

and slowly emptied it

searching for an allegory

I settled for a purge
February 9, 2022
      While strangers come and go at the estate sale a town of sparrows overtakes a fallen limb twittering their news pecking for position dominating and submitting. The birds stay like a restlessness can stay until the light leaps from the house tears over the trees and the hills. I walk as a ghost in the yellow house touch the china on their table stand beside the bed they sailed in buy one of their many books on theosophy. I fall in love with the lovers and their old-fashioned names take up my place on their bench watching their house for its story.

          The Buddha watches emptiness. He is unemployed a beggar possibly crazy. He lives outside the law on public land against the principle that state and church are separate. No wonder he keeps getting arrested and removed.
February 2, 2022
November 7, 2019


          At midday it’s still warm enough to swim. They take a long hot shower afterwards. By the evening it’s cool, and swimming seems audacious. Helen heats up soup and toasts day-old bread, which is enough for dinner. They have clementines for dessert, peeling them without speaking. Her hair has dried before she’s combed out her cowlick.

          Nabil has taught her it’s okay not to talk, to just hang on and trust that someone will stay close. When they were first together, she still talked so much, which was how she had always been: pressing, driving, insisting on understanding, revealing. But there is so much neither will ever know about the other. They have lived so much life prior to meeting.
January 26, 2022
It is a hot day out there and here inside the raw cool moronic hum of the conveyer you’re soothed by the song of that flat black path transporting items at a safe, considered pace to the terminus of this shopping haul, the ambulatory beeps from the cashier's key-padding or her face or the crown of her head or wherever the fuck it’s leaking out, this woman’s disinterest, her analog margin of error tempered through skilled human agency, foolproof PLUs, printed receipt. Love this grocery. You can’t go wrong here.
January 19, 2022
Now that the little lies
            accrue into the vast
incredulity, fear on fear
            swells: a wave.

Slipping down the dune or
            climbing? Who can tell?
The small cries, growing smaller,
            fly past and vanish.
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