My first memory is the most beautiful song I ever heard. An act of peace. An intake of breath. A space suffused with hymn.
My first memory isn’t called heaven so much as bouquet of possibility. My first memory knows the notes for anger & ache—it hears a wind that fears its own quiet, hears the voices outside clamouring for mercy. My first memory has survived that song before but still it sways, stands, proud & seen & the furthest thing from barren.
Half Mystic Journal’s Issue VII: Aubade is a first memory & a thousandth, a lovesong to the living, a light honeyed & survived, straining & joyful still. We stand inchoate & forgiving in this wide-eyed dawn. Our bodies are no longer sieves: the sun catches in our cheeks, the folds of our clothes, & stays.
There are many pieces in Issue VII about home, & what it means to leave it, to come back to it, to remind yourself it exists still through all the burning. My first memory, I’ve learned in the curation of this issue, is its own homeland, strange & touched with warmth, lithe & falling always into tenderness. My first memory knows drought but at the same time knows each of the flowers by their names. I think the truest homes can say the same.
Issue VII: Aubade is a renewal, a becoming. It’s a first memory spelled in the shape of song, wild & joyful & true. This time is short but never silent.
When the aubade issue speaks of hope, it does so with every knowledge of death as an old friend. When it speaks of hope it means baptism, reawakening, beginning. It means something sober yet mellifluous still, with a steady faith in how sunrise inevitably proves despair wrong. Issue VII knows it is impossible to sing and be afraid at the same time—& it knows too that the devil cannot stand mockery.
Issue VII of Half Mystic Journal, the literary journal I founded & where I now serve as editor-in-chief, is out now. It showcases the theme of aubade: the dawn-dizzy dance—the first chords of warmth—the sun forgiving everything it touches, & features the voices of Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Paola Bennet, Em Bartholet, Maureen Evans, Mia and Jonah, Dina Hardy, Courtney Felle, Tyler Summers, Quinn Lui, Elizabeth Spencer Spragins, Hana Widerman, Meriwether Clarke, myself, Cate McGowan, S.K. Grout, Mina Yu, Daniel Gallie, Rex Ybanez, Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, Sandra Chen, & Lynn Werner.