We are humbled to share our fourth issue, Pericardium. In the face of so much harm, the work in this issue embodies the "love with accountability" that Aishah Shahidah Simmons examines in our spotlight feature. Pericardium weaves multi-layered stories of care, community, survival, and protection. It dismantles our defenses and fortifies them in the space of a single line. Each piece bridges the distance between the want in every one of us and the heart of the communities we support. This issue does not turn its back on pain but opens to it instead as part of this process of holding the tender world close. - Brighde Moffat, Jennifer Patterson, Jody Chan, & Cosi NayovitzThe pericardium is a first line of defense, though like all our parts, and their sum, not invulnerable. It is the slow way in for both poison and medicine. Too much of anything can kill you, even if you need it to survive.
Patched heart. Porous heart. Our hands either strangle the flow, or feed it. Our hands, an entrance wound.
What is justice when violence is the rule, not the exception. When every system built is on unsteady ground, has broken down, is breaking down. Desirer of justice, the pericardium says a heart must stay enclosed to be safe.
Sometimes there is no far enough away from loss. This half moon of chest is a bursting seam. Pulse coughed up from a hole in the walls of the heart.
Sometimes we need these walls between, and sometimes a wall is just another barrier, and sometimes the needle splits the fabric in two, even as it stitches it back together. Living in the interplay, lubrication for the interaction between love and pain. The way hope and hopelessness sit alongside each other, turn into each other.
A heart alone doesn’t need words. It only needs pumping. To fill and then let go. But a pericardium needs a heart, needs something to hold, even if it’s an unsteady anchor. What are you holding onto? What is holding you here?