Change is the only constant. We, as living, breathing beings, are in a state of constant evolution. There are things we know, or things we think we know, and things we don’t know at all. Perhaps they are all one in the same.
To speak of discovery then, or more specifically of self-discovery, is to speak of a process. We cannot attempt to define ourselves in concrete terms because we, by our very nature, are in a state of perpetual flux.
This is the machine. We are constantly becoming.
The characters in ISSUE 10 are, like us, in the process of self-discovery. Sarah Den Boer’s poem “Girlhood Love” speaks to us of ghosts and transparency, of the inner quest for strength, which at times feels like a ghost, which we encounter as we discover our individual sense of self. This process of discovery happens many times throughout our lives as we continually shape shift. But the first time it happens we are generally young (although not necessarily in years); perhaps we are girls who are not yet women, kids who have not yet been molded into any designated shape—the potential for freedom is enormous, just as the prospect for pain. Change requires courage. Growing is painful. And of all the forces that shape us, there is one we won’t soon forget.
Love—specifically “Girlhood Love,” is “a fever ready to kill / eager to shape.” And yet even as part of us is killed, we are not surprised, just as the character in Den Boer’s poem is not surprised “when her baby teeth [refuse] to fall out.” Our work then becomes to allow the parts of us that must die to die, and the parts of us that must be born to emerge. Our innocence like our baby teeth are parts we know we cannot cling to forever. And although we may struggle to let go even when we know we must, we are not surprised. We know intuitively that death is not only natural, but essential.
"As long as she carried the cat by its tail she felt safe.”
The girl in Den Boer’s poem is a girl on the edge. Similarly, Letisia Cruz’s illustration depicts a girl straddling light and dark, contemplating their effects, and acquiring a sense of self. There is, or there can be, a certain sense of safety in the dark. It may not be a healthy one, but at times it’s the only one we know. It’s the feeling that, like the girl in Cruz’s illustration, we’re already staring into the abyss, already carrying the black cat on our shoulder, and like the girl in Den Boer’s poem, why shouldn’t we hold him upside down by the tail? What’s the worst thing that can happen?
This middle ground, this place where we come to terms with our own light and dark, and where the path we walk divides two very distinct worlds, is where we find ourselves.
Welcome to ISSUE 10 of Petite Hound Press.
POET Sarah Den Boer grew up in western Canada but spent half her life living in the U.S. Her chapbook Sawdust, Sugarcube was published in 2009 by dancing girl press. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 2010-2012. Currently, she lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband and daughter, and she works at an inner city homeless shelter.
ARTIST Letisia Cruz is the Resident Artist and Co-Editor of Petite Hound Press. She is a Cuban-American writer and illustrator enthralled by nature and the acute connection to form associated with illustration and poetry. Her visual vocabulary emerges through this focus and subsequently explores the connection between man and nature. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University's MFA program and currently lives in Miami, FL.