Editor's Note


Rebecca Aronson
Drew Blanchard
Myron Ernst
Adam Ferrari
Carrie Green
Angie Macri
Christiaan Sabatelli
Sarah J. Sloat
Lindsay Marianna Walker
Mark Wisniewski


Daniel Browne
Michael Gavaghen
Matthew Hobson
Shelagh Shapiro


Bill Capossere


Henry Rollins
Alison Smith

Art & Photography

Gary Lanier
Jarod Rosselo
Heather Whitman

Book Reviews

Atmospheric Disturbances
Our Keen Blue House

Contributor's Notes


From the Field Guides of Fanny Burlingame, DeLand, Florida, 1887

—with botanical descriptions from her uncle John Darby’s Botany of the Southern States, 1857

Carrie Green

Gelsemium sempervirens (Yellow Jessamine)

Gelsemium is a very powerful drug whose therapeutic limitations are not, as yet, accurately defined. In toxic doses—and, unfortunately, these have been only too frequently administered—it produces paralysis of both motion and sensation, without, however, greatly affecting the mind, except in rare instances.

—Laurence Johnson, A Manual of the Medical Botany of North America, 1884

i. “Stem twining, smooth, glabrous.” Hard to see amid the tangle of flowers, leaves, and pine. Impossible to unknot from needles, to trace the climb into upper tree limbs. Note the hint of red, how the vine maps the branches like veins. ii. “Leaves opposite, lanceolate, entire, perennial, shining on the upper surface, paler beneath.” From underneath: silver twins, mirrored blades. Pulled close, the dark green tops dull the sharp tips. Some pairs slope down like a gentleman’s moustache. Others flicker like wings. iii. “Flowers in axillary clusters, on short peduncles, which are covered with small scales. Leaves of the calyx equal, glabrous.” A sweet scent stronger than pine. Yellow petals on the forest floor like bread crumbs to lead the eye up. Bright trumpets of spring. You were blind to winter’s bare branches and brown grasses until now. iv. “Capsule oblong, furrowed, terminated by the style.” The bee feeds on early nectar, unaware of the stillness that waits for the brood. Dropped blossoms expose the pollinated pistils, and fruit grows to release flat seeds. A mystery if tincture of root will ease your breath or if you’ll witness your own heart stop.

Chamaerops serrulata/Serenoa repens (Sabal serrulata/Saw palmetto)

i. “Stem creeping.” The subterranean stem should not surprise— in summer’s heat you too would long to burrow below the cool sand. Keep watch to complete your notes: A few older specimens may reveal short trunks cloaked in stiff scales. ii. “Leaves flabelliform, with the stipes sharply serrate.” For field work in heavy growth, wear your gloves and thickest sleeves to thwart the fierce teeth. No need to drag leaves larger than brooms behind you. Nights, their dry rustle infests your dreams with the rattle of snakes that slink beneath them, the whirl of leaves before storms. iii. “Scape terminated by a panicle.” As in the tulip. Hard to believe. iv. “Flowers small. Fruit nearly black, 1-seeded” Such sparse notation, such paucity of words disappoints one who has seen neither fruit nor flowers. Should you linger in late summer, take care to observe these common blooms.