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Issue 1.1 

Summer 2021

Paula Cisewski


This poem is one result of a project I took on in 2017-2019 as a coping mechanism after the 2016 election. I would give a tarot reading to a person I admire, take a week or so to process and take notes, then share with them a first draft of a poem inspired by the cards, our conversation, and whatever of the world had leaked in during that time. It made space for meaningful, unmediated communication about both fear and hope—more hope, in fact, than I had expected. (If someone is still deeply engaged with a question, they still have hope.) The resulting poems pleased by further muddying the lyric “I.” In a time when intellect was/is failing on a global scale to solve problems, this has been one way to listen, to trust and honor additional ways of knowing: personal, intuitive, collaborative, mythic, mystic.

Notes toward my
Future Nostalgia

Consider that if the old heartbreaks 

demand to stay, at least their decay 

feeds the root systems of us. Consider 

the vacated husks of whatever

water bug a dragonfly was 

until recently, ghost-clasped 

to the cabin front like wee 

nymph monuments.  

The lapping waves disco-glint 

sunshine: another way nature packages 

light, that private thing we have 

inside us even when.  Even when you retreat

to your cave, so to speak, which you must

luckily do, consider smallest generosities: stones 

everywhere nursing the lichens and the mosses, 

the eternity underfoot. Then 

consider those chartreuse dragonflies 

above the water like wheeeeeeee!

There is no most convenient time to erupt 

from the in-between, newly winged.  

Except for now, I mean.

Paula Cisewski's poetry collection, ​Quitter, won the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened EverythingGhost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing privately and academically, makes things, and collaborates with fellow artists and activists.

Paula's Book Recommendations

Counter-Desecrations: A Glossary for Writing within the Anthropocene Linda Russo and Marthe Reed, editors (Wesleyan University Press, 2018)


White Blight, Athena Farrokhzad (Argos Books, 2015) 


Dangerous Goods, Sean Hill (Milkweed, 2014)


Safe Houses I Have Known, Steve Healey (Coffee House Press, 2019)


Pilot, Danika Stegeman LeMay (Spork Press, 2020)

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