Autumnal Equinox 2022 Collection

The Fall Equinox is a time of transition; it is an acknowledgment that all things change. The vibrancy of life inevitably cycles through age, death, decomposition, feeding and inspiring the life and energy that inevitably comes next. This realization of mortality, this honoring of our transient nature, is difficult for many of us. As we see the world change around us—aftermath of a global pandemic; ongoing fights for equality and justice; war and climate disasters—it is difficult not to feel afraid, infuriated, and alone. Yet, with these existential struggles, we also have the gifts and the hope of imagination and creativity, of learning, self-reflection, and choosing how we want to grow, transform, and walk our path in this world. Human existence is terribly complex and profoundly beautiful. The stories in this collection grapple with change, with identity, belonging, isolation, fear, and loss. Yet, in their own unique ways, they offer a sense of hope—hope as a discipline, as Mariame Kaba would say—reminding us of our resilience, of our strength through adversity, our ability and responsibility to keep one foot in front of the other. Reminding us not only that we must embrace change, for it is inescapable, but that we can embrace it, and find our way, our sense of self and belonging in this messy life we are given. It is our privilege and honor to share these very real, very human stories with you.

With gratitude,
The COALESCE Community Team

Cover Design by Kate Sowinski
Cover Photo by Erich Keyser

Creative Nonfiction

From Home by Jaclyn Reed

My husband and I decide we can’t afford kids in this economy and buy a new couch to make our home-office-gym-bar-restaurant-prison more comfortable.

Art: Kate Sowinski

Saltwater by Kamm Prongay

Day leaves quickly in December, and I stand in his dark house, looking east, toward Seattle, Rainier, and the North Cascades. My heart lacks the capacity to process all of this: my father as he is now, my memories of who he was.

Art: Kate Sowinski

Ghost Baby by Misty Yarnall

I think that’s the thing people don’t understand about terminating a pregnancy. Nobody wants to do it. And anyone who does never wants to do it again.

Art: Kate Sowinski

Lost Magic by Madison Block

Beginning to understand a new language feels like magic. What once sounded foreign now sounds familiar. What used to look like an unintelligible mishmash of bold letters is now a headline on a newspaper you can actually read and understand.

Art: Kate Sowinski

Shifting Sheets by Regina Landor

I pressed the phone to my ear, sitting up alone in bed late one night and absorbed her words. “As a couple,” she said, “you can do whatever you need to do to keep your marriage contract alive.” Then she asked me to consider this: “Do you want to guide your life by what society tells you marriage is supposed to look like, or what works for your marriage?”

Art: Kate Sowinski


Black by Grace Lu

the stereotypical 80’s era first-gen Chinese-Americans 
who cut off one arm to live in “paradise”
and the other arm to birth a child who grows up there and never has to leave
so how can I live with myself for having less than them in 
income – the good capitalist’s measure of success

Art: Kate Sowinski

yo entiendo by Christopher Valenzuela

spanish reminds me of the moment
people saw me differently
when they realized that my father
was from mexico suddenly 
it wasn’t that we
were americans who happened to be
mexican. we were Mexicans
who stole the name American.

Art: Kate Sowinski

Talk is Cheap by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

I could have been any type of bird, doing a number of things 
But I chose to be a poet
Being a Zimbabwean poet is being misunderstood 
By your own mother, not wanted by your own father, 
And pushed away by both. 

Art: Kate Sowinski

Kindness by Sarah Karowski

The internet tried to warn me. Dwarf hamsters 
don’t make good pets. Human interactions cause 
stress, but that’s why I liked Ms. Knubbles.

Art: Kate Sowinski

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