Inside a bold V shape, an inverted reflection appears in a rippling puddle with fresh green grass sprouting along one edge. Outside the V, the image is in black and white, the water still, the grass dry.

Editor’s Note

It may be spring in the Midwest—a time of reemergence, of a world expanded beyond four walls and biting cold—but this issue was conceived in the interiority of winter. 

Walking the wider world, stepping over mud and snowmelt puddles, we can’t help but look down and catch reflections of ourselves. No matter how wide the world grows, we are still our bodies—bedraggled things that struggled through snow and wind and darkness. Still, we muddled through.

The work collected here reminds us that there’s no way to outrun the body, even when it feels like a song on loop. They remind us to make time for it, to tangle in our own limbs and leave space to grow: child to adult, lost to found, dreamless to dreaming.

In short, these pieces remind us that the body is imperfect, but it is enough. So, take your body and descend into the Vast Chasm.

Table of Contents

Make-Believe ClearingsPoetryKatie Holtmeyer
Self-Portrait at 21Flash CNF Mason Stubbs
White NoisePoetryAnimashaun Ameen
At My Grandmother’s Funeral, Mine is the Only Head Not Bowed in PrayerPoetryKimberly Wolf
I’ll Sell You a DreamFlash FictionAbigail Kemske
Ten Things That Will Happen in CollegeFlash CNFChristy Tending
Word SearchInteractiveVast Editors

23Q2 Cover Image Photographer

Linds Sanders

Linds Sanders (she/her) is a Montana-raised multidisciplinary artist in graduate school learning the intersections of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and art. Her artwork darts in and out of galleries, fetches an occasional Best of the Net Finalist endorsement, and stretches onto the covers of national and international publications. At the end of the day all her work comes home to rest at LindsSanders.com and IG @resounding_bell. When she’s not chasing her artwork around or studying, she finds her own rest in landscapes that take time and effort to visit.

23Q2 Cover Image Digital Artist

Jordan Keller-Wilson

Jordan Keller-Wilson (she/her) is the Digital Artist for Vast Literary Press and Managing Editor for ICM Photography Magazine. She received her MBA from the University of Iowa and spends her days on grant accounting. When she’s not immersed in spreadsheets, she scratches her creative itch with photography and graphic design, and entertains herself with all things cats. You can find more of her work at jordankellerwilson.com.