There are two questions at the heart of this issue of Plough: What are families, and what are they for? In choosing the cover artwork, Shell Spiral by Yulia Brodskaya, we picked up on the image of the nautilus shell, its natural spiraling form bringing to mind the centered family with ever-expanding circles that reach out and encompass others who would otherwise be isolated – the single, the older generations, the lonely neighbor. Looked at another way, the offshoots suggest the budding next generation as new families are formed, and the spiral toward the center of origin points us to our ancestors.

Find more of Yulia’s art, and watch her paper quilling technique, here:

Carolyn Olson’s piece, CNA Essential Worker Portrait #26, 2020, graces the back cover.

Used with permission

There’s no vocabulary
For love within a family, love that’s lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent.

T. S. Eliot, The Elder Statesman, 1958