In the preface to his latest book, Census, Jesse Ball tells readers the book is not about what it is about. He wanted to write a book about the loss of his brother who lived with Down syndrome; in the end, he wrote a book about a traveling, dying man who must perform a census of an unknown, magical nature.
The word you hear in this land
is bless—short and sharp
and significant, a sword blade
reflecting the sun.
A long time ago, my Persian mother became a prophet, like Tiresias, and she told me I would die. But what does she know? She was cursed for interrupting love, for not allowing it.
Sometimes, when I’m stuck in traffic or lying in bed, scenes from Mad Men’s fifty-sixth episode, “Mystery Date,” play in my head like a home movie on mute.
Meet the poets, essayists, translators, and fiction writers of MQR 57:2.