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This issue has two central threads running through it: cats and . . . sports. When I am working on an issue, I always look for both obvious thematic links—like subject matter, like cats!—and then also something less tangible and easy to describe, something maybe about the energy of the pieces that seems similar, or the style, or simply a subtler theme.

For me, the stories and poems in this issue share a certain light energy and even zaniness, as well as a concern with the animal—whether that takes the shape of an actual animal, like a cat or a dog or a squirrel or a snail, or whether that is about tapping into the animal within each of us. Our raw athletic energy, for instance.

These two themes meet each other particularly well in Leo Roiphe’s story “Squirrel,” where a boy actually turns into an animal, experiencing a few hours in the intensely physical, reactive life of a squirrel. I also love how the animal perspective is depicted in Sevi Stahl’s poem “Roo’s Song,” written from the point of view of a dog, and with a notable lack of punctuation that perfectly captures that breathless canine excitement.

This month, taking inspiration from these pieces, try your hand at channeling some animal energy—and remember, you don’t need to inhabit an animal to channel one!

Enjoy the April showers,