We are always both the people we once were and the people we ought to become whenever we take up space in the West. For decades, we’ve called upon the land to deliver us something better–always instead finding strangeness and vast skies that swallow every word from every mouth. The West is a land of language and language loss. It is both something that hasn’t happened yet but has happened for decades now. We come to find that the West is actually a mirror and the longer we gaze at a sunset or sunrise, we see a more defined reflection of ourselves–but it’s not always better. Sometimes, we might see a monsoon storm carrying rain through mountains, through deserts. Sometimes, we catch a glimpse of cattle outside Amarillo or unfinished highways that stretch across our memories mapped on broken billboards, fences, or bull snakes fat with record-setting heat. Other times, we might hear birds in panic or song along train tracks where freight is something that is both material and something beyond. We drive through mountain ranges or long swaths of desert only to find ourselves in a constant state of arriving and returning. There are no borders in the West–only the ones we imagine. Horses know this, javelina do too. Sand dunes, deer, dust storms, the thinning rivers carrying us on their back. They know of better things than border. They know of time and its immensity, they know of land and its beauty, they know of language and its silence. The writers in this section know of this too. They know there is something beyond in the West, not necessarily something better. And again we’re back at the mirror, staring at a reflection crystallize. And we see ways to find rain, we see migration, we see a country but this country is full of distances. And in the silence of that distance is the threshold we have come to cross.

For the land,