As I write this, wars are raging around the world. Although a wonderful story or poem can often be a welcome escape, it is also the role of literature to tell the stories that are difficult to tell. In this issue, we open with Part I of a story that explores the terrifying lead-up to the ongoing war in Ukraine through the eyes of a Russian boy growing up there. We’ll be publishing Alice Pak’s novella War and Pieces in three parts over three issues. It is a realistic, moving story, but it’s the note of hope it ends on that touches me the most.
When we accepted Palestinian poet Hana Shqairat’s poem “Spring Will Revive,” the last piece in this issue, little did we know how violently the Israeli- Palestinian conflict would soon reignite. The striving for peace and the thirst for renewal that Hana so poignantly expresses has taken on new meaning now.
We can’t know how these conflicts will play out, but we can look forward to the first buds of spring, and we can hope.