Cover Photo: A dirty truck window is in focus in this photo of a farmer at work with lush green hill country in the background. The farmer is walking toward an open gate.
Photograph by Nareeta Martin/Unsplash

Opening the Gate to the Stranger and Strange Thought

Toni Mirosevich explains the writing process behind one of her Catapult essays and explores one of her craft theories, which she calls “opening the gate”

I notice her right off, the only woman in a sea of men who gather every morning at the parking lot near the pier, a lot that serves as our town’s wrecking yard, our Motel 666. She’s hanging there with the rest of the drifters, the sniffers, the cast-offs, cast-outs, leaning up against a busted-up truck painted a dull, dark, burnt orange, burnt something, as if someone slapped a bucketful of Rustoleum all over that thing . . .

The woman catches my eye, sees that I’m staring, stares back. Gives me a little smile.

I turn away, keep walking.

The Year of Mercy: Too Far Gone on the California Coast


conflating the distance

who he used to be.

the final draft


Toni Mirosevich's new book of stories, Spell Heaven, is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press in Spring 2022. The linked stories--about an overlooked community in a crumbling coastal town in the Bay Area--have previously appeared in Catapult, North American Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Toni is the author of six books of poetry and prose and lives with her wife in Pacifica, CA. Learn more on her website,