Some years ago I found myself in a shop in Colombia, Sri Lanka, where the proprietor produced a leather pouch, loosened the drawstring, and emeralds, rubies and pearls poured out and onto the counter. From among them I was to choose stones to be set into earrings and a necklace for my wife. I have come to liken Free State Review to that pouch containing any number of gems. This edition is no exception.

The contents herein include a few lustrous jewels that reveal the time-honored fascinatiton among more than a few writers with birds, both metaphorically and realistically. Our aviary of prose and poetry ranges from Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois’ reflection, “Chickadee,” to an ornithologist’s obsession with a rare pigeon in Brandon Patterson’s “The Measures of Science,” to a caregiver’s relationship with her client, “a lifelong member of the Audobon Society (who) knows everything about birds,” in Robert Kostuck’s “Blossom.”

We take further pride in presenting Saraiye Ruano’s “Awakening,” an intriguing tale of two young Navajo brothers, one in a coma, the other reflecting on their lives, as well as encore appearances by Niki Leopold, Marcia Southwick, Diane Baier Stein and Ace Boggess.

While it is always difficult to be limited by space restrictions to mentioning but a few of the many sparkling gems within these pages, I challenge our readers to discover their own favorites. I can almost gurantee you will thereafter have a greater appreciation for my dilemma, one I always look forward to with excitement and enthusiasm.

H.N. Burdett
Editor in Chief