That this year was everybody's annus horribilis goes without saying. At Narrow Road, we still managed to get two issues (April & August) out in time, but issue 12, which marks the fourth year of operations, has run into hot water. Nevertheless, with a December 31 publication date, we can at the least, satisfy our consciences that we kept our word, even if we are 30 days too late (for which no apologies suffice). The darker side dealt with, this has nevertheless been a year of poetry and forbearance. It is this editor's sincere belief that poetry is a catharsis, and in this year's melee of QAnon conspiracies, erosion of public freedoms, the spread of fake news alongside and about the virus, the tireless sacrifice of frontline health workers, contested elections, and the nattering nabobs of negativity who fill media pages with sulphurous bile, we all need a good story, or a good poem or the quiet reflection of a good haibun to get us through. This pandemic has been oblivious to address or status, and has affected president and peasant equally. In these times, we are a forced brotherhood, with the same shared address - Earth. To mark this circumstance, and as a reminder of our unity as one species, we have decided to omit place names in this issues. Yet as each name carries an indelible voice, we have retained that. We have in this volume too, a fantastic selection of fiction, poetry and haibun, the latter curated by the eminent Kala Ramesh, which we hope, will keep us going until Issue 13, which we hope will not be plagued by the bad luck that plagued this one.
Raamesh Gowri Raghavan