This literary journal is dedicated to helping the “15 million children throughout the world that have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.” The proceeds of the sales and submission fees go to various orphanages around the world. To make sure it sells, it uses both “prominent writers and artists with rising stars to produce an eclectic mixture.” How can anyone go wrong with a journal meant for such a worthy cause?
The quality of this journal equals its cause, clinched by using top-notch writers with imaginations that rival their ability to put words together. “Mort’s Café” by Susan Minot is about a café, and a waitress there, who wait exclusively on dead people! Instead of waiting on “the sailor” and “the salesman” she waits on “the electrocuted” and “the suicide.” Though absurd, it is also touching. “One of the girls has hung herself from the chandelier,” begins “Palace Girls” by Lenore Myka. She brings the reader in slowly through the details of disposing of the body, gradually bringing the reader to ask “why?” and finally revealing the whole mesmerizing, awful truth.
The slow disintegration of the senses comes into play in “Bird Church,” by Sara Majka, a Hitchcock-esque, surreal, slow-but-sure study of a woman from which one cannot remain detached. There is a section of whimsical pages of photography and art. The poetry is competent. An outstanding poem, “Wrong Funeral” by Michael Dumanis turns into a story that is much more than that of a burial and funeral.
There is not much in this journal specifically about orphans, instead there is very high quality work that anyone could be happy to pay for to benefit their own mind and library. The other benefit – the business of H.O.W., Inc. is a blessed bonus.