by Avital Gad-Cykman


We buzz in the room like dragonflies, cell phone flashlights shining, much as our parents held aloft lit candles when Leonard Cohen sang their favorite songs.

A different poet sings to us, but even while we applaud, his name loses letters like a broken neon sign.

The next singer-poet already rises to fame.

Time lasted longer in the 20th Century. These days, our present kicks the future’s ankles. The 21st Century leaps forward like a frog, the desperate and given to wrongs Frog in Hot Water.

A child, our child, plays the God of small animals with frogs. He speaks softly while placing one carefully somewhere far from the pond, and then pays no attention to its despair. He may go to politics as a grownup.

Our last attempt to show our son that such supremacy is transient consists of words and music. A triplet of singing poets (because a holder of a world, a poet like Leonard, is rare) may still turn his attention to whales longing for each other, crying dolphins or burned out land.

Lenny was ready to die, so he wrote and sang. We aren’t. We don’t live in grace while falling away from the planet. But our son on his flight from fire might avoid the undercurrents and conquer oceans with a kayak.


Avital Gad-Cykman, the author of Life In, Life Out (Matter Press), and the upcoming Light Reflection Over Blues (Ravenna Press) has published stories in Iron Horse, Prairie Schooner, Ambit, Calyx Journal and McSweeney’s Quarterly among others. Her work has been anthologized in W.W. Norton’s International Flash Fiction, Best Small Fictions 2020 and elsewhere. She grew up in Israel and lives in Brazil.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Grace”?

Leonard Cohen has been a lot on my mind, since I followed his steps in the pre-covid Montreal, and watched (right there) the documentary about him and Maryanne. When I felt suffocated by the pandemic and worried about current politics, I imagined candles, lights, dragonflies and Cohen’s words. I started typing, and felt how the idea of his spirit helped the flow of words of worry and hope from beginning to end.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


05/27 • Claudio Perinot
06/03 • Amanda Chiado
06/10 • John Davies
06/17 • Lynne Jensen Lampe
06/24 • Valerie Valdez
07/01 • Carlin Katz
07/08 • Meg Eden
07/15 • Tim Raymond
07/22 • Mike Itaya
07/29 • TBD
08/05 • TBD
08/12 • TBD
08/19 • TBD
08/26 • TBD
09/02 • TBD
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09/30 • TBD