Issue 17: January 2023

Dear Readers,

In many ways, we’re still emerging from our Covid cocoons, still reeling from the turbulence of these last few years. But now it’s 2023—a year of possibility. In the spirit of healing, reaching, adapting, and moving closer to our highest selves, I chose a painting by New Mexican artist Jodie Herrera (whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Taos last year) called “Crown,” or corona in Spanish, to represent Issue 17. 

When Jodie painted this symbolic artwork, she could only use herself as a model. As she explains, “The name ‘Crown’ is a connection to my personal growth during quarantine, which was through self-work and attempting to engage the crown chakra; this is symbolized within the painting as the snake or kundalini rising. The parts of the body normally covered by protective Covid gear, like a mask and gloves, are exposed. The eye in the palm of my painting hand represents creative awaking and protection, while the left hand holds a cactus blossom resembling a flame; this is to show that the creative fire ignites in the heart and, like the cactus flower, the heart is resilient and grows despite its circumstances. The third eye is activated in sighting a higher focus and purpose, which opens the mind to great things, represented here by the flower halo. And the green upside-down triangle is the presence of the sacred feminine, which is constantly guiding the focus of my creative path.”

The sacred feminine also informs many of the pieces in the issue. A little girl steps into her power at the pool; a stressed mother confronts imposter syndrome as she drives her kids to school; a new teacher inspires revolution at a high school in Wyoming; a cancer survivor reads other cancer memoirs to find peace in her post-chemo body; a rape survivor navigates boyfriends, Good men and Bad men, and the person she wants to be; a wife steals packages from neighbors to assuage her grief; and a different wife worries she’ll never find the nerve to speak in the face of injustice. All of the poets and writers of Issue 17 take risks, express difficult truths, and expose physical and emotional vulnerabilities: vertigo, scoliosis, heartbreak, abuse, regret, panic, and the complexity of being human. Some of them literally play with fire. 

We hold our history in our bodies, which may bend and break against our will. Even still, we can move unafraid toward the landscape’s end: reading the signs, unburying the past, listening to our feelings, and giving ourselves space to honor the people, places, and parts of ourselves we’ve lost along the way. On a personal note, these works have opened up space in me—a kind of cagibi—and I hope they do the same for you.  

Sincerely,  Amy Dupcak 

Issue 17

January 2023


Flash Fiction

Short Stories

Personal Essays

On The Ground

A special feature section of essays and other works in conversation with current issues unfolding in the world around us.

Issue Cover

“Crown” by Jodie Herrera

Issue 17.1

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ISSN 2643-3273. Copyright © Cagibi Literary LLC.

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