A journal of narrative writing.

Though the wrapping paper, home cooking, and year-in-review lists have again given way to the plodding winter grind, we’re thrilled to welcome you to Conte 7.2, our sixteenth issue. We hope herein you find some poems and stories that warm the chill from your bones, and even help you finish building your imaginary snowmen.

We open this issue’s offering of verse with Nin Andrews’ eerily luminous prose-poem “The Woman with the Halo.” Next, Gary L. McDowell and Mark Cox both explore the ancient ache of fatherhood, while Sarah Carson’s “The Hole” captures the gritty desperation of proletarian toil in the Midwest. Karen J. Weyant follows with a narrative of obliterated innocence before Ken Poyner offers some much-needed levity to the issue with his revolting rabbitry. Sandy Longhorn’s terse foreboding lyric “Prophecy” comes next before we conclude with Tom Daley’s elegiac tour de force “Now Your Mother Is the Lord of Death.”

Our prose selection begins with the electric and vibrant “Bowling Shoe Diaries,” Matt Dube’s arresting tale of reunion with a thumping pulse that demands to be felt (but isn’t, you know, rude about it or anything). No less human, and strikingly humane given the events that transpire, is Sean Jackson’s meditative “Like a Western,” which features no cowboys but plenty of true grit. We’ll have a brief and haunting interlude with Theodore Worozbyt’s “Gloves,” a rare example of flash narrative done to perfection. Rounding out the tail end of our tales this issue is the elegantly crafted “Mr. Monaghan Likes Honest Artists,” wherein the paths of John Ray’s eclectic cast of characters mingle and ignite for our mutual illumination.

The sunlight may be sparse and the wind may tear through your coat, dear reader, but we here at Conte are thrilled to enter our seventh year of publication unfazed by Jack Frost. Here’s hoping we’re still around to see smokestacks tumble from the sky.

Adam, Robert, & Eric