Camas Winter 2019 Release

Decay. De-cay. /dəˈkā/

Verb: rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi.

Noun: the state or process of rotting or decomposition.

The theme “Decay” may sound grim, but unsurprisingly, the talented writers and artists

Cover photo by Anthony Pavkovich

in this edition of Camas Magazine have teased glimmers of hope and beauty into their work. Throughout the pages of the winter issue, the magazine presents varied and very human responses to one of the things that is most terrifying—and in some ways, comforting—about life on earth.


Decay evokes startling imagery—the writers, photographers and artists didn’t shy away from the occasional grotesque images. “Skulls and Moths” by Kathy Bruce illustrates two animal skulls in the process of being treated in a water-bleach solution. Moths and leaves on the surface of the water add an accidental artistry to the image of the waterlogged skin peeling away from bone. The artist described this process by saying, “the effect is often mysterious and ethereal.”

Chris La Tray, our featured writer for this issue, invites readers into a midnight rumination on both the seriousness and lightheartedness of death in his essay, “Back to the Mud: or, Melodramatic Thoughts on Death and Decay.”

La Tray is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. His book “One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large” (Riverfeet Press) won the 2018 Montana Book Award and a 2019 High Plains Book Award. His next book will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring 2021. La Tray can also be found at Missoula’s favorite community bookstore Fact & Fiction.

Kitty Galloway’s nonfiction essay “Crossings” examines the effects—physical and psychological—of the roadways that cut across our landscapes. Her essay is paired with “Iguanot” by Chris Daley, an image of a lizard that has been flattened on the roadway.

One fiction piece “Volumes” by Natalie Storey is set in modern rural Montana, and uses gritty realism in combination with artistic fantasy. In contrast, “On Speaking Terms” by B.A. Van Sise is set amid the backdrop of high-society, mid-century New York City. Both pieces are compelling in communicating the theme of decay in ways that makes them feel like natural companions despite the difference in time and setting.

Poetry in this issue ranges from verses honoring the dead body of a raven in “Awaiting Burial” by Kersten Christianson to a microscopic look at dead skin cells in “Marauders All” by Jan Harris.

Join us for the magazine release this Friday, December 6th from 6-8 p.m. at Imagination Brewery. Copies of the magazine are available for $8.50 for purchase.