Dear fellow citizens of something, our lungs are composed of 83% water, yet the skies are blue with the absence of cloud. The dullest of prophets would be able to hone these lines. Long-range forecasts call for fire. Children emerge from the snowy rubble of a bombed Mariupol theater. The more we demand an account, the more the words sit in our mouths like slow pickled mice. The closest I’ve come to a homily is Low’s “Days Like These,” which has kept me going, in the sense that cease still lies before me. If so. If so. Tell us, we asked, what are these days?

And lo, these sixteen writers have told.

***

David Angelo: “Passing a Hardware Store in West Kensington, London”

Petra F. Bagnardi: “The Garden”

Andrew Beckner: “Indiana Education,” “Neighbor,” and “Birdwatching”

Joe Benevento: “Catholic School Stories You Maybe Haven’t Heard” and “Three-Inch Heels”

John Brantingham: “Joan Miro’s Constellations in Love,” “Joan Miro’s World Trade Center Tapestry,” and “Joan Miro’s “Harlequin’s Carnival”

Brian Builta: “Metalwork,” “5:55 A.M.,” and “Sunday Afternoon, Kroger, Aisle 8”

Michael Czyzniejewski: “My Safe Word Is Porcupine”

Lillie Franks: “Light is light” and “Lightning falls”

Kelly Gray: “Dog Face Love Poem He Calls Me Mama Blue”

Jennifer Ruth Jackson: “You on the Palate,” “Meddlesome,” and “Target Audience”

Tim Kahl: “The Taxonomy of Echoes” and “Temperament”

Samuel Pihan: “Seisin”

Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera: “Flaming Dreams”

Elli Samuels: “The Time We Killed a Rabbit” and “Someone to Share the Burden”

Gina Stratos: “In the Careful Hour”

Joshua Zelesnick: “Twenty-three Hours in Solitary”