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Issue 114

The cover of issue 114 features art by Askia Bilal, who began a series of “non-portraits” on Black experience the summer of George Floyd’s death. Also inside: An interview with Shahed Saleem, who curated an exhibition on makeshift mosques in modern Britain for the Victoria and Albert Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Philip Metres on immanence and transcendence in new poetry by Yusef Komunyakaa and Victoria Chang. Mike Cosper interviews Bill Mallonee of Vigilantes of Love on failure, resurrection, and starting over. Jessica Jacobs on climate refugees and the Bible. India Johnson on the life, death, and resurrection of a queer library in Iowa City. New fiction in translation by Russian expatriate Anzhelina Polonskaya. Michael Wright on galleries and museums discovering the supernatural—and whether they can do it justice. Prose sonnets by John Matthias, plus poems by Rae Armantrout, Victoria Chang, Sydney Lea, and many more. Get Image delivered:


There’s always
the possibility of never coming back


My wife
Is reading D.H. Lawrence and says she wants to get a tattoo. She says that I’m not “deep,”
And maybe she’s right.

The Aesthete and the Monk: Against Moralism

Can the aesthetic life lead us to God?


Later, looking at his partially closed eyes, she suddenly remembered a creole word from the country where she had spent her childhood. Sodade. A mixture of nostalgia, tenderness, and yearning, a sense of the fragility of happiness.

Field Work

From the night woods, wild things come to possess
The fields they’ve lost to human violence
And savvy, as the dark itself returns to bless
The troubled mind with sleep.


My wife
Is reading D.H. Lawrence and says she wants to get a tattoo. She says that I’m not “deep,”
And maybe she’s right.

God Wink

On her last visit to the hospice, my niece
watched a flock of red-winged blackbirds
settle in the tree outside the window,
as if waiting for my mother to join them.
My brother, the pastor, calls this a God wink.

Signs and Symbols

It had been four months since we’d run out of money. Somehow, we were still afloat.

Unmerited Favor

You flinched a moment ago when you thought
you heard unseasonable thunder.
Like a judgment.


of God yes by the but
not there but for the

act of yes acts of but
not a given state of

Dispatch: Unknown Festival, Galicia, April

Faith’s a dissonance, a forgetfulness.


Eileen felt that she should deliver the news of her brother’s death in person. She knew she would provide no solace when the time came, that her presence would only heighten the reality of Brandon’s absence; yet her mother was nearing seventy.

In the Studio

After the George Floyd murder and protests, painter Askia Bilal began a series called Non-Portraits, exploring his experience of Blackness.


Push on it again,
that point of light.
What do you think
light is?


There’s always
the possibility of never coming back

Beyond the Veil: Art and the Spirit World

Spirituality often emerges from religious sources that don’t always fit within curatorial frameworks, and these traditions have their own distinct influences on the meaning and practice of artmaking today.

Dark Paths to Resurrection: A Conversation with Bill Mallonee

I don’t think God wastes anything, our victories or our failures.

From the Étienne-Hillish-Hejinian Sonnets in Prose

John Matthias explores the outer limits of the sonnet form.

That We May Live and Not Die: A Deep-Time Report on Climate Refugees

Over their caravan, a banner emblazoned with the words of their father: That we may live and not die.

Fear Not

On caring for an aging parent

The Wings

On prayer, air travel, and finding place.


I was trying to pray. How I yearned to pray! But I was both fascinated and repelled by this man’s presence.

Comedies of Seeking: New Fiction at the Borderlands of Belief

Where else but in fiction—both reading and writing it—can one try on so many different kinds of salvation?

Great House

I watched through the window
sunlight performing nothing in particular while the radio announced
if someone were to die, we could not hold a funeral.

Farm Mother

You said they loved you
because you fed them

Curator’s Corner

“Minority faiths in Britain have always started their architectural journey by adapting existing buildings and creating their religious spaces in improvised and ad hoc ways.

Blithe Congregation

A cloud is suspended in the west
and squalls assail us from the south,
but no one can fathom what is now.

Nonliteral Illustration

Robert Katz assembles found materials into tableaux inspired by stories from the Torah.

Body of Books: The Resurrection of a Library

India Johnson on artist books, activism, and a queer library collective in Iowa.

From Jonah

Is perfection aligned with intransigence? …what relation does perfection have to prophecy?

Torschlusspanik, with Stage Directions from The Tempest

In this time of uncertainty
your father’s building
a small wooden boat

The Islands, 1961

A poem for Agnes Martin.

Homage to Life, 2003

The grids are finally gone. Even while at the facility, Agnes drove to her art studio each day to work. I think about the people who bathed her, who cut up her food into trapezoids.

The Other World, and This One: Immanent and Transcendent Tendencies in Contemporary Poetry

I look to poets not to confirm my ideas of the world and of God but to be shaken awake by their vision.


I had always wanted to grow children here
in the cornfields, where it would be easy
to teach them about God

An Affordable Place

I didn’t like that place we lived in
before you died

A Superior Mirage Is a Particular Refraction of Light

When my children ask questions,
I try to answer them truthfully, which means
admitting to failure.

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