Monday, Jul 26th
The park naturalist sips on his diet coke and sinks his rather prominent teeth into a jelly doughnut. A strawberry glob falls out of the tail end of the pastry and plops onto his belly that, like overly leavened bread, spills over his belt...
Monday, Jul 19th
In Our Woods
I know before I pull the trigger.
This will be a hard kill...
Monday, Jul 12th
The Conch Shell Roars
The Cessna Grand Caravan 12-seat seaplane circles a tiny speck in the Andaman Sea on approach. Henrick watches the sky flare into magenta, scarlet, and saffron as dusk closes in...
Monday, Jul 5th
Holding My Breath
I’ve often wondered how long I could hold my breath if a life depended on it...
Monday, Jun 28th
Photo Essay: Old Havana
For seven days I walked the streets of Old Havana always in the late afternoon. My goal was to find the light Cuba eradicated, I found it and I loved it...
Monday, Jun 21st
Carlotta with Leaves in Her Hair
Buster’s got the post-homicide jitters. The steering wheel feels like a jackhammer in his shaking hands...
Monday, Jun 14th
In the woods behind her house, Sarah ties a pair of pantyhose stuffed with dog hair to a laurel bush...
Monday, Jun 7th
Far Away Summer
When we were growing up, we dug and filled a pond in the woods behind our house, and in the summertime, after lunch on those hot, sticky Southern days, we would pull on our bathing suits and run barefooted through clumps of poison ivy and moss and ferns and touch-me-nots until we threw ourselves off the dry bank into the brown water of the pond...
Monday, May 31st
Take a Photograph
The first time they let my dad out of jail for a day, we went to look at the National Geographic Wildlife Photo exhibition. It was 2006 and I was ten. Dad was much older...
Monday, May 24th
The first time he sees her she is plummeting to the ground, a stream of chiffon and Chantilly lace. His heart leaps into his throat as he jumps from his seat gasping, arms outstretched, ready to catch her fall...
Monday, May 17th
Pop was everything I thought was great about the world: funny stories and being able to whistle any tune you wanted...
Monday, May 10th
The Unsevered Tongue
When my daughter raised her hand to slap my face, I had raised mine first, that is true...
Monday, May 3rd
A Different Digital
I love reading with my fingers. I’m not blind, but I am, weirdly, an avid Braille reader. I learned it years ago, when I had a blind roommate. Actually, I learned it visually first, because the dots cast these tiny shadows that make it possible to see them in the light...
Monday, Apr 19th
Some days I feel well. Some days I feel like I’m doing so well I should celebrate. I want to rally people and go drink Long Island iced teas. Then I don’t feel well anymore, because I realize that that’s still my go to...
Monday, Apr 12th
Photo essay: 54 days after
54 days after is the story of one of the hardest lockdowns in the world. Spain has been the second country with more people infected with COVID. Due to the numbers, our Government decided to confine us for two months. This is an intimate photo essay of how we passed it.
Friday, Apr 9th
With Karli's savings (evaporating like water on hot concrete), we're renting an empty lot jammed between a barbecue place and a mechanic's yard on a hardscrabble block of West Oakland...
Wednesday, Apr 7th
Our Sky, the Ocean
We were waiting for rain the day my sister stopped talking...
Monday, Apr 5th
It was easier to get from one side of the day to the other, Erin had decided, if you gave it a colon, or specifically, something after the colon...
Friday, Apr 2nd
Leda and Other Birds
There are many things I do like. The way the light passes through our blinds in the summer in perfect slits. The way the light, like today, in the winter, pours through the folds of our heavy drapes...
Wednesday, Mar 31st
The headache never faded. First dip to the knee and a hammer struck anvil behind my eyes...
Monday, Mar 29th
The Center Won't Hold
Their hair was smoking. That's what the kid said. Our eager faces crowded around him, marijuana hovered just above the bleachers...
Friday, Mar 26th
A Case for Muriel
The farmhouse at the corner of our country road burned, but not down. You’d never guess how badly if someone who knew hadn’t told you. He still lives there, alone now, no woman...
Wednesday, Mar 24th
1. My father’s dying.
2. I haven’t seen him in five years.
3. I hate him (maybe that should be number 1)
4. My mother made me to promise to go home for his birthday.
5. His birthday is in less than a month.
Monday, Mar 22nd
Autobiography of a Book
I stand, mostly. I stand and wait. I stand among my brothers, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip. Among my sisters, cheek by jowl. Each to each pressed...
Friday, Mar 19th
You had to do it. Well, that’s what he’d said, anyway. It was just one of those things you just had to do—the stuff of legends...
Wednesday, Mar 17th
An Ex-Actor Performs in Soon We Will Deal with Loneliness
This is Caleb's third bar of the evening; it’s his birthday and he might as well enjoy it for all it’s worth...
Monday, Mar 15th
After the Gold Rush
I am sitting on the floor by the record player, trying to select a track from an LP. Minutes have elapsed as I’ve tried to tee up the stylus to land exactly on the quiet part of the record between the ending of one track and the beginning of the next...
Friday, Mar 12th
“But who would stab a music critic?” I whispered to David as we huddled with our briefcases in a corner of Bernard Landau’s massive music room...
Wednesday, Mar 10th
Ninth and Fremont
She had gone through so many different stage names in the course of her long, unremarkable career that Buffy St. Clair had a difficult time remembering who she really was...
Monday, Mar 8th
The Spring Rain
The sun is out. It’s a beautiful spring morning for many, but for me it’s the start of another day to fill with busyness...
Friday, Mar 5th
A Foreign Country
It was past midnight and Ally had gone to bed. In the living room, Robert sat on the sofa. He leaned forward in the blue light of the television screen, concentrating, tired but not relaxed...
Wednesday, Mar 3rd
The War at Sea
It was the end of the world, and everyone was invited. Mother Earth, the battered woman, had returned to us time and time again, and we always promised that we would do better. But now she’d had enough...
Monday, Mar 1st
Los Angeles is a city of barbarians waiting at windows, breath held for the crunch of glass on metal. The logic of collision. Silence and appetite...
Friday, Feb 26th
The Girls Who Saw The Whole Thing
The day was sunny and birds were chirping happily the moment Hannah was struck in the eye with an arrow at Graymoore Girls’ Camp...
Wednesday, Feb 24th
The town was built in a hollow. A dip in the road held the shops and a fast food restaurant, an Italian restaurant and the pubs with their closed doors. The betting shop was on the upward incline...
Monday, Feb 22nd
We Are the Waiting
I’m on break when I get the call from Gram. I listen and nod along, pretending my heart isn’t seizing in my chest. “Keep me posted,” I tell her, and she sighs in exasperation...
Friday, Feb 19th
The Glassblower's Daughter
The word fed me, and I was made strong...
Wednesday, Feb 17th
The Right Side of the Tracks
Sex had improved since they moved to the new place. They hadn’t expected that. It just happened....
Monday, Feb 15th
A How-To for Desperate Times
When your previously gregarious boy with the infectious smile—the one who at six knew all the big kids in town, who even at fourteen, was adored by adults, who was always ready to take on the world—when that young man begins his long, slow decline, you pray...
Friday, Feb 12th
The dark hours shift was the only one Stephen had liked, and tonight was his last. The beat patrols were already out around town and the division’s two patrol cars were miles away...
Wednesday, Feb 10th
We call it the Spirit Hole, this three-inch gap in the floorboards of our bedroom that jealously watches us live while it only gets to be a hole...
Monday, Feb 8th
Jocelyn’s burgundy manicure obscures the screen of her new iPhone—she has a hummingbird’s touch. She scans an incoming text, mascara’d eyelashes flickering. “Marlena is a treasure,” she says...
Friday, Feb 5th
No Longer Burning
Soon after the bells repeated, announcing eleven o'clock, the last group of visitors appeared: a male adult and child and a female adult and child. They smelled like a family and chattered as much as a flock of currawongs...
Wednesday, Feb 3rd
Everything Comes Together
It’s a Monday night in October, and the snow has already started again. You slip in your flat-soled boots up the icy dirt road toward the trailer...
Monday, Feb 1st
Cain vs. Cain
Of course, he remembers the goddamn sandwich board...
Friday, Jan 29th
A Possession of Magpies
Catherine Linton has lived above the cemetery on Drakes Bay Lane for as long as anyone, even she, can remember...
Wednesday, Jan 27th
Nonfiction: The Land of No Hay
Advice is like bitter medicine. Even if it’s good for us, we don’t want to receive it. In all likelihood, if advice were a medicine, it would be a suppository...
Monday, Jan 25th
My Wife is an Animal
For Mitzi, my first wife, it started with a fox mask; the kind made for children that attach with a string of elastic behind the head; pointy ears and snout, holes cut for eyes...
Friday, Jan 22nd
Dawn in Dusttown
It ate part of the town yesterday, and when Mom and Dad caught me listening to them whisper about it late at night, Dad sat me down and told me that, “I was not—under any circumstances—going to go back there, do you understand, young lady? Because it’s big and dangerous and scary and even the adults don’t know what it is...
Wednesday, Jan 20th
The Owl People
From a distance, the first thing I noticed about Claudette and her husband Ezra is they both radiated a strange, beautiful weightlessness...
Monday, Jan 18th
King said nothing should have that look of sadness in its eyes, not a person nor an animal nor even knots in a pine board, but Billgo had it...
Friday, Jan 15th
An Inquiry into the Nature of Happiness
Deep in the stacks, sitting in an empty carrel that wasn't hers, Eleanor spotted a golden ring. It was in the corner under the desktop shelf, nearly obscured by shadow...
Wednesday, Jan 13th
Nonfiction: Second Puberty
The night you called me, I was sitting in my car in Chicago at a light on the corner where Western and Diversey and Elston meet, a six-way intersection with so many confusing directions as three roads cross...
Monday, Jan 11th
The Yucca Moth
He was thirty-nine years old, un bandido, standing by the gallows. Pronto was his last word...
Friday, Jan 8th
Mise en Abyme: III
Wendy was looking at me from across the table, eyes wide and glasses falling off her nose. It was only our third date...
Wednesday, Jan 6th
Mise en Abyme: Part II
It was the first time the traveling magician had planned ahead for a show. He would go from town to town alone, doing tricks in the parks and empty, rural lots for children passing by.
Monday, Jan 4th
Mise en Abyme: Part I
It was probably past time to get a professional opinion, but I never liked to be told bad news...
Friday, Dec 25th
I wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for being a fresh.ink reader...
Wednesday, Dec 23rd
The Dead of Winter
Quiet steps on the carpet of diamonds. First we drape the paper on snow...
Monday, Dec 21st
Eating the Leaves
She starts training for everything at once: motherhood, the apocalypse, a 5K...
Friday, Dec 18th
The Whole Foods Effect
I went to the grand opening of Whole Foods with my friend Denise, and Shannon, of course—I can’t get away from the kid long enough to pee...
Wednesday, Dec 16th
Here we are. You told your ma you were at Sandy’s house and she believed you again...
Monday, Dec 14th
I Try to Imagine You
I tried to imagine you at thirty. Curled up in a fetal position in bed, closing my eyes in the fog between wakefulness and sleep, working to conjure an image of a more mature you...
Friday, Dec 11th
Corinne, in Floodtime
Corinne struggled for breath as if under water, so tangled in the bedclothes that she was unable to kick her way to the surface. She gasped and opened her eyes and then lay still, afraid she’d disturbed Bobby’s sleep.
Wednesday, Dec 9th
When Lehumo asked you to meet his father, you were startled but flattered: no man had ever introduced you to anyone.
Monday, Dec 7th
The Snow Catches Up
So, do you remember how it felt like the snow was going to catch up with us?...
Friday, Dec 4th
The Heartbreak of Long Division
I was born in Southern Africa, in a small town near Kimberley, but when I was fourteen, we left that continent on a lavender-hulled steamship called the Stirling Castle and sailed for two weeks over the Atlantic to England...
Wednesday, Dec 2nd
We are able to return to the lake house in Michigan in late summer after my colostomy bag is removed. I am grateful for life and having been made whole without restriction.
Monday, Nov 30th
Ink clings to the bristles of Mihiro's brush, hovering over the parchment on top of her varnished heartwood desk. The kanji blossom like flowers in a midnight garden...
Friday, Nov 27th
It’s strange to think these endless plains formed me. Or at least the oldest, tiniest version of me...
Wednesday, Nov 25th
I stood beside Mom in a dried-up sandstone basin in Black Mesa State Park and waited for her to tell me the bad news...
Monday, Nov 23rd
Shelter Within the Peanut Shells
A snooze gently passes through his veins. His mind slips out of the steering...
Friday, Nov 20th
There was hard drifted snow in the risers of the steps, and black ice on the treads, so that she held my hand for safety as we went down and then kept on holding it as we stepped out, on to the river...
Wednesday, Nov 18th
Hugo and Me on the Moon
I was on the moon all alone. Looking out the window the weather was always the same—moony. The terrain, too, was all moony. It could have been lovely but for the utter mooniness of it all...
Monday, Nov 16th
If I Were Van Gogh's Girlfriend He'd Still Have Both His Ears
We drove through Tucumcari just after dawn. “Welcome to New Mexico, Sweetheart.” I snapped my gum and nibbled Eddie’s ear, bit too hard when the bus hit a bump and woke him up...
Friday, Nov 13th
Three nights ago.
He sighs and throws two pills of Ibuprofen tablets into his mouth with a gulp of water...
Wednesday, Nov 11th
They Dance and Beckon
Tanya is walking to school with her friends when she sees a pair of hands on a windowsill. Their elegance contrasts against the run-down building, chunks of rotting wood hanging off the window's frame...
Monday, Nov 9th
I carry extra weight and acne like battle scars and badges. I read this thing online the other night, something that Updike said after Kurt Cobain killed himself...
Friday, Nov 6th
My cousins’ farm stretched out behind us, my grandmother’s summer cottage was tucked under a stand of trees that erupted beside a tidal drainage ditch, a ditch that emptied into our broad Creek, then into the Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Wednesday, Nov 4th
Nonfiction: The Day We Buried My Father
On the day of my father’s funeral, I wake up in a twin bed at his house. Liz is still asleep in the identical twin bed across the room.
Monday, Nov 2nd
Skyping With Oprah
The biggest scientific advancement of the twenty-first century was not the complicated medical procedure that rendered Oprah immortal, but rather the development of the technology that allowed Oprah to be split infinitely into multiple copies of herself...
Friday, Oct 30th
Take Another Little Piece of My Heart, Baby
A seasonal adventure of hope and love.
Wednesday, Oct 28th
Charred timbers and a pair of native stone chimneys marked the site of what I took to be the original farmhouse. The current owner, Eugene McNab, resided in a mobile home up by the road...
Monday, Oct 26th
The Sea of Grass
She peered through the long blades of grass, pushing herself upright. The sharp tips swayed back and forth, carving drunken calligraphy into the empty blue ocean of a sky...
Friday, Oct 23rd
Your Vermont home is cold, airy. Outside, the mountains that surround your house are dim shadows, silhouetted against the embers of the setting sun...
Wednesday, Oct 21st
Road to Haines
A cold mist blows over the tips of the pine trees. It coats Eddie’s anorak and soaks his boots. He stands shaking for an hour. A Winnebago passes. It pulls over and stops on the shoulder.
Monday, Oct 19th
The day closes in on itself, snapping shut like a purse. I’ve been playing in a dusty clearing between our home and the tall pine trees that guard the perimeter of our farm, but now it’s time to hurry back to the house.
Friday, Oct 16th
Nonfiction: A Face in the Window
A dog is a social animal with a face that asks for your attention, your acknowledgment, your love...
Wednesday, Oct 14th
We Can Be Friends
There was a cluster of coats and hats careening over the railing, and when I got closer, I could see what they were looking at. The basin, which had been full of water the last time I’d passed, was drained to the dregs and men in coveralls and tall rubber boots were crawling around in the sludge...
Monday, Oct 12th
We didn't know how to talk to Troy's new girl. Then again, we didn't know how to talk to the last one, either...
Friday, Oct 9th
The Viet Kieu Casanova
This Viet Kieu comes into my shop usually three, four times a week. He’s in his thirties I think, and each time, he brings with him a new girl, buys her a gift, and they leave together arm in arm...
Wednesday, Oct 7th
Nothing Earth Shattering
She thought about him at the oddest times; the thoughts vaguely embarrassing, as if revealing her to be a fraud—something other than a good wife and mother...
Monday, Oct 5th
Nonfiction: Books Can Only Take You So Far
My mother was raking leaves in the front yard one late December afternoon, just after a light, sneeze-like rain had fallen over Los Angeles...
Friday, Oct 2nd
Endangered Species: Case 47401
All black women got this thrumming thing inside us but don’t nobody notice. Which is understandable if you know the history of the world, but that thrum just sits in our bellies and then one day it comes on so strong that we can’t stop it even if we want to...
Wednesday, Sep 30th
Hours before the first light cracks the night and peels back the sky from the earth, from within the darkness of the house I hear the muffled, stirring sounds of a winter morning ritual...
Monday, Sep 28th
Nonfiction: The Soapboard
My father was a collector of sorts. Not the kind of man that accumulated cars or coins or anything most people would perceive to be of value...
Friday, Sep 25th
I’m in this story, though only because I have to be, and I’ve taken liberties to keep my appearance to the barest minimum. The truly important people are Tony and Phil. You’ll need to excuse them both, especially Phil...
Wednesday, Sep 23rd
Papa's Bastard Son
Sometimes you look at the world and you can’t understand it for all you try. They tell you the trick is to adapt, to get used to it, to conform. I know that much already...
Monday, Sep 21st
There were many confounding aspects to Sloane’s suicide that the Drew Mill family could not quite comprehend...
Friday, Sep 18th
Nonfiction: The Suitor
I arrived in Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport in June of 2001. It was my first time returning to Iran since my family’s escape...
Wednesday, Sep 16th
Scrunched one June night between Helen Clark’s screened window and the Clarks’ hydrangeas, their deep blue blossoms the size of his buzzed head, fourteen-year-old Wendell Stone watches Helen’s nightgown drop...
Monday, Sep 14th
Nonfiction: If I Were You Honey, I'd Run Not Walk
My father’s stock response to every ill was, “If I were you, honey, I’d run, not walk.” The destination was understood: to the nearest psychiatrist...
Friday, Sep 11th
A friend once confided to me that her difficult and complex relationship with her mother was a product of their long, shared history...
Wednesday, Sep 9th
“C’mon Girl, we’ll be late!”
Shawn, my housemate, holds the front door for me. We always seem to leave for work at the same time
Monday, Sep 7th
Moments from the Alice Files
Alice is 307 years old. Of course this includes the past lives before she was a cat, but mostly, she has lounged on four paws for the better half of her life.
Friday, Sep 4th
Charlie Fuller eased his rig off of the interstate to a rendezvous with a dead friend. The sun was westering over the Colombia River, but still high above the rim of the Cascades...
Wednesday, Sep 2nd
Harass the Florist
We’re in the local grocery store, a chain, and I want flowers. I always want flowers but I don’t know how to love them in a way that keeps them alive so I generally admire them before buying boxed wine and mac and cheese...
Monday, Aug 31st
The Ghosts of the Composers
After the wedding, Leif could not bring himself to sit down to the piano as he used to do every day. It would be devastating if Rebecca saw what happened to him when he played.
Friday, Aug 28th
Sanus dreamt a bomb exploded just outside his apartment building. He heard the detonation, then saw the window shatter, the ceiling crumble, and debris scatter across the floor...
Wednesday, Aug 26th
A man of six-foot-four needs a sturdier railing to climb the seven stairs from John Hawk’s pub by the river. Even with the cane Ev makes him carry...
Monday, Aug 24th
My high beams hit the front porch like spotlights on a stage. The cop squints my way. Aunt Martha waves. She’s wearing a puffy down vest over pajamas tucked into winter boots two sizes too big...
Friday, Aug 21st
I lost my wedding ring. We fought a few nights ago, and he thinks I’m not wearing it because I’m mad at him...
Wednesday, Aug 19th
Lucky Black Boy
Shrieking wails, carried by the churning wind above, deafens me as the darkness steals my sight...
Monday, Aug 17th
Nobody wanted to admit the ship was sinking. The walls were all streaked, and about half the ceiling had long since fallen. In mid-September, when the heavy rains came, we found ourselves outnumbered by the leaks...
Friday, Aug 14th
The Origin of Nightmares
The dead talk. No one listens, but we talk. We do. Silence is a curse no man, or ghost, can bear...
Wednesday, Aug 12th
At 5:25 Saturday morning, Cheryl jumps out of the maintenance man’s pickup in the parking lot across the street from McDonald’s. She walks through the empty lot and around the restaurant, opens the back door with her key and turns off the alarm...
Monday, Aug 10th
There are 527 steps from our door to your grave...
Friday, Aug 7th
After the break-in, the front door was open and that’s how we knew, as dark in there as it was on the street and as cold...
Wednesday, Aug 5th
It was the day of my annual check-up, and I was confident the doctor would confirm what I already suspected: I was becoming invisible...
Monday, Aug 3rd
The Hunting of the Famous People
Out the house and barefoot now the famous people pop, ping-ping out the door and into the fat of the day. The bricks putty up to meet them, these famous people, bubble up all bready and plush...
Friday, Jul 31st
Nonfiction: On Sharks and Suicide
He died after just three days. The eleven-and-a-half-foot great white shark was caught off the coast of Japan and taken to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium on January 5, 2016. During his captivity, he refused to eat and smashed his body against the walls...
Thursday, Jul 30th
Hot and Heavy
She was mesmerized by the ring, the way it pinched in so tightly, creating an hourglass from the CFO’s bloated sausage finger...
Wednesday, Jul 29th
The chosen movie to begin Janine Acorn's annual slumber party for her senior Flower Patch scout troop was Glengarry Glen Ross, a pick from Janine herself, thought to be motivational required viewing for any young Flower Patchian...
Tuesday, Jul 28th
Irving Rosen was a sniveling, wiry haired whiner, unpopular with the other high school students, and you really could not blame them. He invited that kind of irritation...
Monday, Jul 27th
I remember when we sat on your tire swing and watched as the fluffy white clouds swam across the sky.
Friday, Jul 24th
The Fox Trap
While searching the barn for the ax, I discovered a wire mesh fox trap under an old tarp. I wiped away the dust and set it up by the barn, hidden beneath a row of shrubs...
Thursday, Jul 23rd
The Red Ribbon Tide
On the harbinger nights we collide together around our bar table like it’s driftwood, and it may as well be for how it floats under the surface of wet condensations casing dewy tumblers of drink.
Wednesday, Jul 22nd
Art of the Jelly Belly
Today was one of those days where the summer wind bakes your scalp while it hikes your skirt up...
Tuesday, Jul 21st
The Way We Live Now
We thought Kendra was playing about him being shot in the first place when we heard the news a few days before he died...
Monday, Jul 20th
Sister Robert Rita holds the flower between her thumb and index finger. We, she believes, are just as lovely...
Friday, Jul 17th
The boy whips a green hickory nut across the shaded yard, and Dog—a hundred and ten pounds of furred muscle—launches after it. His little sister laughs at the rooster tail of sand thrown by the dog’s hind feet...
Thursday, Jul 16th
You Are My Beacon
Alice parked in the steep driveway of her parents’ house, the house she’d grown up in but not returned to in years...
Wednesday, Jul 15th
Songs We Play When We Pretend We're Ourselves
There’s a piano player in the restaurant on the night Zoe tells you she’s pregnant...
Tuesday, Jul 14th
“I met him in Puerto Rico,” I began, as I plunged my hands into the sink full of hot soapy water and pulled up a dish...
Monday, Jul 13th
The Black Hole of Shady Acres
Divining a visitor’s identity by sound is a point of personal pride with me. I don’t brag on it. I just like a chance to be right about something without their knowing if I happen to be wrong. Costs nothing. Hurts nobody.,,
Friday, Jul 10th
“What are you writing?” Carl asked. “Having a wonderful time? Wish you were
Thursday, Jul 9th
Lluvia sin Agua
“It doesn’t matter that it rains,” a man on the radio says, “if it’s not raining in the right place.” ...
Wednesday, Jul 8th
God he was an asshole in the morning. Still in her towel, Gina stamped back to the bathroom. This was not what she’d imagined...
Tuesday, Jul 7th
Ambulance of Love
I had been sweating for years. Leaking vital fluid. It wasn’t lack of sex. But something was missing...
Monday, Jul 6th
Maddie wandered through the house, pausing intermittently to give high scrutiny to some benign object, as she would in a museum. Well, it was a museum…now...
Friday, Jul 3rd
Ten feet of child-powered machine stalls on the sidewalk. Helmets click.
We’ve pillaged the garage for things with wheels, mounts, and ramps. Brother rigs the machines while Sister and I discuss rules.
Thursday, Jul 2nd
Coral Mines was a small farming town in Oregon. Population: 904, at least before Mary-Beth Coolidge had twins, and Wharton Burroughs died of a heart attack after blowing out the candles on his 74th birthday cake.
Wednesday, Jul 1st
Nonfiction: Love in the Archives
She painted with tempera on the kitchen floor, an old roll-up window shade soaking up the excess. Painted with confidence and abandon. Here a dragon, there a mermaid, recognizable to her alone...
Tuesday, Jun 30th
A Tug or Two
I’m pouring syrup on my pecan waffle when I feel someone pull my hair. This little baby girl, in a child seat behind me at the restaurant, is drawing my strands to her mouth...
Monday, Jun 29th
And Then a Wind
Just before the train emerges from the tunnel comes a breeze that swells into a gust and then a wind. Some mornings it’s hot, others cool...
Friday, Jun 26th
That Whooshing Noise Before the End
The same Saturday I packed up and moved out, I invited my wife to this French film about divorce...
Thursday, Jun 25th
The underground tattoo parlors are strange places at night, caught in limbo. The prismatic neon halo scratches my corneas as I sit in the waiting area, itching all over at the prospect of the next design I’m going to have etched on my skin...
Wednesday, Jun 24th
My mother saw the raccoon first. She was chopping veggies in front of an open window, hoping for a breeze because it was August, already hot and sticky before ten in the morning.
Tuesday, Jun 23rd
Jane Believes in Magic
Jane placed a dog treat on her windowsill and sat back as a raven emerged, grabbing the treat with its talons and flying out of sight...
Monday, Jun 22nd
I awoke in écarté. My left arm curved around the pillow and up to the headboard and my right foot arched toward tightly pointed toes...
Friday, Jun 19th
Varya's Black Suede Shoes
It was the first hot week of the summer, but the sunlight falling through the balcony door, filtered through the net curtains and the big green leaves of the chestnut trees outside, lay softly on the parquet floor...
Thursday, Jun 18th
Crying in Public
I cry in public parks a lot. We’re in the middle of a five-year drought and I want to do my part. It helps, in small amounts, the equivalent of planting herbs in pots on the kitchen counter or making a vertical garden...
Wednesday, Jun 17th
Crazy Gus Meyerson and his now famous foot fetish...
Tuesday, Jun 16th
Herr Köhler is a handsome man, all jaw, rigorous cloud-gray eyes that darken and mist as he speaks of his wife. Frau Köhler—the object of his sorrow—lies in an elegant, parable-caliber state of repose on the stretcher beside him...
Monday, Jun 15th
Nonfiction: A Brief Electronic Affair
He friended me just after Thanksgiving, Week 13 of regular-season football this year. He wanted to know if I was the same Lisa who studied marine science at a certain East Coast college for a summer semester back in the early ’80s. I was. I am...
Friday, Jun 12th
Tell a Stranger What You Do
“…to ask about the syllabus later. This morning, we’ll get to know each other.” The professor interlaced his long white fingers and cinched them tight across his chest. “First, I want to know why you signed up for our program.” ...
Thursday, Jun 11th
Some people I have known left things behind out of pure haste and some simply because they forgot where they’d put them all. And then, there were others—like Faisal Hussein—who left things behind on purpose just to ask for them back later...
Wednesday, Jun 10th
I was riding Bay Lady through La Belle, New Mexico—the town in the TV series, Godless, when my headboard smacked my head and woke me up...
Tuesday, Jun 9th
We Are All Stories
The bus stinks of sweat and sunscreen. The shaft of sun through the window burns the color out of the seats and I grip the handle thinking about art...
Monday, Jun 8th
She expected their date to be magical, which she thought was reasonable, considering he was a magician...
Friday, Jun 5th
Scarier Than a Shower
“Liz is gone. Ain’t nothin’ I can do about that.” It’s the only thought that don’t slip out of my head before I finished thinking it...
Thursday, Jun 4th
The Pastor's Wife
Bertha was in a contemplative mood this morning, the first of another new year and the day her husband had proposed to her so many years back. She stirred her granola again, put the spoon down and looked at her hands...
Wednesday, Jun 3rd
A Scent Like Daphne
She calls him “Daddy” as he dresses, and this, for him, is the worst kind of truth she has ever uttered. The word is a stray bullet, piercing his starched white shirt and red silk tie, the armor he carries like a shell...
Tuesday, Jun 2nd
Nonfiction: My Father's Backpack
The sky was Dad’s roof. He was homeless. I had often wondered where he’d go when it rained. What was it like outside the day he died?
Monday, Jun 1st
April in June
His rib twinged on inhale. Street lamps lit the night waxy and the air smelled of damp asphalt—it must have rained that evening. It was quiet on the roof...
Friday, May 29th
Where Missing Girls Go
Blankness is a language I’ve been writing in for years. Where I come from, girls are only called girls because they weren’t born boys...
Thursday, May 28th
Galactic gray whales’ migratory patterns and simple, loud vocalizations make them perfect subjects for study when mapping the universe...
Wednesday, May 27th
The Royal Experience Cast Member Handbook and Procedure Guide recommends that if there is a natural catastrophe of any kind (e.g. hurricanes, tidal waves, icebergs) that cast members of Royal Experience Cruises are to remain as calm as possible in order to prevent possible hysterics or rioting among the passengers...
Tuesday, May 26th
Henry Trumble carried around a little void. He kept it in his pocket with his keys and spare change, and almost never took it out until the day his mother died...
Monday, May 25th
Dewberry Vine Scars
The only women I knew growing up who never married and never had children were nuns. That a woman would choose a single life was strange to me, akin to something like a black walnut tree...
Friday, May 22nd
A Visit from Elyria
Tonight, I cried and cried and cried. I haven’t cried like that in years. Not like that. Not since Petey… well, the funeral...
Thursday, May 21st
Faced with the overwhelming concept of “having it all,” our mothers bucked at the idea and clamped back down on the vision of young weddings, fresh babies, and the expensive photos of us in our white gowns feeding cake to our blue-eyed husbands, who faked crying when they saw us appear at the head of the aisle, bedecked in veil and tulle...
Wednesday, May 20th
An Eid Outfit for My Brother
On the Muslim festival of Eid, a sister misses her brother and a mother remembers her son who's went missing five years ago.
Tuesday, May 19th
While perusing a book of Robert Browning poetry, I spotted out of the corner of my eye, movement on the opposite page...
Monday, May 18th
Unlike most of their kind, the six, mirrored elevators in this skyscraper didn’t drop the internet connection once he was locked inside.
Friday, May 15th
Nonfiction: Shooting Men
Notes on seeing men, the eros of presence, and the perils of being the perfect stranger...
Thursday, May 14th
How to Catch the Ball
All your life you have dreamed of catching the ball and now, at last, it is time to begin...
Wednesday, May 13th
A Few Billion Leaves
“Is it worth your lives?” his father had asked him, repeatedly. “Your lives? A bullet for a few billion leaves?”
Tuesday, May 12th
We'll Still Have the Party
My mother has just left the dressing room—breathless after a string of instructions about greetings, pacing and organ cues. But there is no escape for me...
Monday, May 11th
Back before I gave up leather stitching for flesh or knew the nature of regret—fragile like the curve of skin between the thumb and pointer finger, a web so thin, it can rip open under the weight of paper—I was a scarecrow...
Friday, May 8th
People of the World of Dust
I have a house. I have a home, I live somewhere, but whenever I visit my parents, I say I’m going home...
Thursday, May 7th
The house smelled as it burned. It was a sickly smell, sweet in an unsatisfying way...
Wednesday, May 6th
Wake up hungover, either alone living in a motel as a result of an impending divorce/trial separation (she kept the house), or next to a half-naked woman you’ve met/picked up/had sex with in the previous six hours...
Tuesday, May 5th
Maddie darted across the bedroom carpet in her baby doll PJs, jumped up onto the chair and threw her stuffed pony into Carlotta’s face. “I won’t, Mommy. I don’t want to get into the box.” ...
Monday, May 4th
Nonfiction: No One Is Watching
I should have shoplifted more while I was pregnant...
Friday, May 1st
Sunrise pain. The sore place on her back where Angelique rubs her fingers, pressing the butt of her hand and kneading, hurts too deep for the warmth of blood to heal...
Monday, Apr 26th
I’m a good dad. I’ve played cricket and football and Frisbee with my boys. We’ve done crazy golf on the most ill-conceived and decrepit course in the known universe. Paddle boats and kayaks...
Thursday, Apr 30th
Becky’s voice had the nasal rasp of someone who’d been crying. “He’s at the cottage now, Fred, but he’ll be going into the hospital next week.” ...
Wednesday, Apr 29th
I saw another Einstein today. Just peddling down Sycamore Avenue on a bicycle. As if we didn’t have enough, and here was another one, large as life...
Tuesday, Apr 28th
Darkness Brighter Than the Sun
“The coffin, the casket, whatever. We need a bigger one, right?” The words disappear down the crackling phone line...
Monday, Apr 27th
Nonfiction: Worst-Case Scenario
It was late July, the hottest part of a dry California summer, and there was a piranha in the lake. I was ten...
Friday, Apr 24th
There's Someone at the Door
Barbara is reading a novel. It's Sunday, just after nine p.m. Her husband enters the living room, drying his hands on a dishcloth. He says: "There's someone at the door."...
Thursday, Apr 23rd
Bear Country Blues
At first the bears were standoffish, not rude exactly, but distant, reserved, protective of their privacy. Ray had been warned about feeding them, but that was far from his mind anyway...
Wednesday, Apr 22nd
When I was a child, my friends always told me that Tony Putnam was a real loon, a really out-there space case...
Tuesday, Apr 21st
Susan Wolfenbarger’s hand had recently begun behaving badly. Of its own volition, it jumped and danced, especially at critical moments...
Monday, Apr 20th
Elderly Man Kills Wife, Self
Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey stains his white shirt, the paisley print tie, a present from his granddaughter Michelle last birthday. Or was it Father's Day? No matter. He is drunk; his plans have gone awry and the hour has grown very late...
Friday, Apr 17th
The Muse's Tomb
Diego used oils to make a woman he'd never seen. Nevertheless, it was a woman he loved...
Thursday, Apr 16th
Year of the Snake
Chùsi is ten today, double digits, an achievement marked by the coming-of-age sacrament of frybread with sprinkles and icing for breakfast. Cupcakes are scheduled for three o’clock, but Chùsi got what she came for...
Wednesday, Apr 15th
Some Still Sleep, Unaware
At June's daycare, which ran for twenty-one years without a license, she had up to eighteen kids in and out of her Cape Cod each day...
Tuesday, Apr 14th
The Road to Carville
The back of his shirt was sticking to the car seat, and it wasn’t noon yet. When the road plowed through forest, Garlan Hamilton slowed during the stretches of shade...
Monday, Apr 13th
It's not like I'm Catholic, or even religious. But this time I'm awake when the Madonna appears, so I know it's not a dream...
Friday, Apr 10th
Road out of Damascus
The problem with telling entrepreneurs that anything is possible is that they conclude that their mobile app for tracking cat moods could land them on the Athens Stock Exchange...
Thursday, Apr 9th
She is clothed and he is naked. He keeps squeezing her shoulders as the showerhead soaks her hair only. He is dry. He looks at her. Then he becomes a shark, balancing upright on his tail...
Wednesday, Apr 8th
Historically, there is wind, a hand for a weapon, floods and sacrifice, a woman carried off against her will...
Tuesday, Apr 7th
Painting on copper plate was tricky, thought Peter. Though, as promised, it produced a smoldering, luminous under-glow, imbuing subtle, shimmering warmth to the face in his portrait...
Monday, Apr 6th
With Their Kids, Their Cameras
Day after Thanksgiving. Airport in my hometown. The fluorescent lights make it feel like we're in a boring imagination. My daughter Celia is asleep in my lap and we're surrounded by people in a hurry to leave family they didn't want to see for more than twenty-four hours. People firing their past lives...
Sunday, Apr 5th
I know that they will appreciate seeing the hydrangeas in the window before they step through the door. I trim their stems over the kitchen sink and fluff their leaves out of the top of the vase...
Saturday, Apr 4th
August and miserably hot. Unbearable, sweltering heat. The air's too thick to breathe, never mind prance around in a ratty wig and face paint...
Friday, Apr 3rd
Dear Mrs. Nair
Old Mr. M. M. Nair anticipated his death for quite long—every breath was his last, every sunshine a new beginning—and so he lived, alone in Delhi with the lizard who wasn't his, surrounded by a billion people that he had learned to call his own...
Thursday, Apr 2nd
Too Big to Hold in Your Heart
The kangaroo paws reach into the spring sky, grasping and murderous red. The white concrete brings out the greens of the native plants, standing at attention in rows outside the aged care home...
Wednesday, Apr 1st
Sun and Sediment
During the summer holidays when I was twelve, my neighbor shot his three sons...
Tuesday, Mar 31st
The Big Pond
“I promise I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I’m really just that stupid,” I told my mom...
Monday, Mar 30th
marriage not worth price of admission
When we first meet the two protagonists in the appropriately titled The Marriage of the Theatre Critic to his Wife, they are grunting through an orgasm in a dreary studio apartment...
Sunday, Mar 29th
It's late, and we still have to make it through one more night together...
Saturday, Mar 28th
The first stick grew from my belly after my third husband died. Not all my husbands died. Just the third one...
Friday, Mar 27th
We're standing on the sidewalk outside Shirley's apartment. Jimmy says it'll be the usual. Five minutes in-n-out...
Thursday, Mar 26th
The day that Elmo came to visit the Pentagon was the same day that the women from the Office of Human Capital Initiatives put on a fashion show, which also ended up being the day I had an anxiety attack and wore my government-issued gas mask for the first time...
Wednesday, Mar 25th
I won my almost-husband in a game of poker...
Tuesday, Mar 24th
We had just gone on first break when Gerald asked me if I thought you should take it seriously if someone you knew said she was going to kill herself...
Monday, Mar 23rd
She couldn't choose between one balloon planet or two. Saturn with its lush rings beckoned to her like a siren in the sea, but she pitied Uranus a bit because it wasn't much to look at and had an unfortunate name...
Sunday, Mar 22nd
Fighting with Fire
My father was an east coast Jew who headed west out of desperation and a romantic notion of finding himself by wandering amongst ranchers and riflemen...
Saturday, Mar 21st
Again the game is Run from Rebecca. It's where they chase her around the playground and scream out her name, and run away as soon as she turns on them. Run from Rebecca, they run and they scream...
Friday, Mar 20th
The Gallery Attendant
Sometimes, I visit my wife's gallery showing just to listen to her pre-recorded mission statement...
Thursday, Mar 19th
They were not who Milwaukee's meat-lovers expected to find behind the counter of the new butcher shop...
Wednesday, Mar 18th
All of Us
I heard wearing black to weddings was inauspicious, so that must have been why I was vomiting into the hotel's hydrangea bush while my brother kissed his bride five stories above...
Tuesday, Mar 17th
Soon I will be left behind.
This I know.
This I see.
Monday, Mar 16th
The tree was the only thing Salvador could see before the horizon. It was a relief to the eye in the desert pitted with craters and rocks...
Sunday, Mar 15th
We Could Learn A Lot
Aimee knew that being the executor of her mother's will was a bad idea from the get-go...
Saturday, Mar 14th
Waiting for You in Paris
I'm waiting for you in Paris. Waiting in the Champ de Mars, the park next to the Eiffel Tower. Standing on a patch of grass, wearing a tuxedo, and holding flowers...
Friday, Mar 13th
Your Pal, Carol
I sent a check to St. Cecilia's yesterday. I thought you should know. I don't have your email or anything, so I hope you and your lawyer husband still live in that same McMansion where you had the reception for the reunion.
Thursday, Mar 12th
There are no practice rooms in the old band building, so they use Mr. Hammond's office for private lessons, the walls cushioned with foam to dampen the noise...
Wednesday, Mar 11th
Sangre por Sangre
There is nothing like the smell of Santeria. It is a distinct smell that jolts me into my body the second I find myself enveloped in it: one that suggests cleanliness—in every respect—but with a little magic mixed in...
Tuesday, Mar 10th
I need a creature in my life, so today I went to the pet store. There were puppies (too jumpy) and cats (too aloof) and guinea pigs (too smelly). There was a red-tailed boa, and she was it...
Monday, Mar 9th
They were on a dirt road travelling south. Rick was driving fast, and the RV kicked up whole atmospheres of dust behind them...
Sunday, Mar 8th
I'm remembering this: grownups do not like Dear Boy...
Saturday, Mar 7th
"King," my son calls out to me. We are on an old Greyhound bus that rocks back and forth through America like an unsteady amusement park ride...
Friday, Mar 6th
Speaking of the Weather
At this point it was very hot. On the way out the stretcher popped one of the balloons. If it hadn't been startling no one would have noticed. Under the circumstances no one cared...
Thursday, Mar 5th
Dreaming of the Netherlands
I noticed her heel-click-hip-twist hourglass silhouette as we walked toward bright light at the end of a long corridor between Terminal B and Terminal C...
Tuesday, Mar 3rd
The film was about making a drama, which was about making a thriller, which was about making a comedy about the making of a horror flick...
Monday, Mar 2nd
Catch the Tiger
You tear away your human suit. To free the animal. So it will breathe, and breed...
Friday, Feb 28th
Two-year-old Lulu tottered on the end of the diving board, her red tutu quivering as she backed away from the brown and gold rattlesnake...
Thursday, Feb 27th
The artist living in Valerie's ribcage would like to know if she could please try to tone it down with the rough sex...
Tuesday, Feb 25th
Without a Big One
You've thought about jumping...
Monday, Feb 24th
The Sackman Street Boys
I got into the Sackman Street Boys gang by a fluke, thanks to Deanna Miller, who found a rusty razor blade in the courtyard of our building and tested it out on the fleshy part of my arm...
Sunday, Feb 23rd
A Murder of Crows
I was in the backyard filling one of the bird feeders with my daughter when our new neighbor knocked on our fence...
Saturday, Feb 22nd
When I found out I was sick I was happy. I mean, I was depressed for a couple of weeks, but then I started to look on the bright side...
Friday, Feb 21st
I Am a Conservationist
Georgie is twelve and doesn't give a...
Thursday, Feb 20th
This is a work of fiction. This is not a work of fiction...
Wednesday, Feb 19th
At the airport I have to make a phone call for someone to pick me up because my mother is at the hospital with my father, who has had a stroke...
Tuesday, Feb 18th
When I told Daniel the lime margarita tasted like a menthol cigarette, he asked me what that even meant.
"Astringent. Sharp. Antiseptic." ...
Monday, Feb 17th
In a split second they become so obvious, the two things that I realize. The first is that I'm pregnant, the second is that I don't know how it happened...
Friday, Feb 14th
People Are Just Dying to Meet You
Marty Kepler sat hunched over the table all afternoon. Like the rest of the furniture in his temporary home, the table was cheap, its chairs mismatched. He wondered what Fritjof would have made of it all, of him, working on one of his "sad little stories" in the dining room of the famous writer's childhood home...
Thursday, Feb 13th
A Girl Cooks
I wanted to cook something simple and not necessarily typical of Colombian cuisine for the occasion: maybe pasta pomodoro or beef with asparagus. As soon as I heard my dad was being released from prison, I bought a ticket to Colombia and rented an apartment so we could spend some time together...
Wednesday, Feb 12th
"It wasn't the mall," I hear Jessica say. "He left her at a Safeway. Tied up in the trunk of her car." ...
Tuesday, Feb 11th
The Chinese General
The first couple of days back on land after a voyage were always difficult for Viktor Krysanov. He had never suffered from seasickness, even when he was a student at the Marine Academy...
Monday, Feb 10th
No City for Young Bloods
Brown. Everything brown. Brown is the weight and hue of this city...
Friday, Feb 7th
A Stick and a Stone
When I saw him standing six-foot-six in the sun-light glare of the Texarkana Greyhound station, I thought, That must be how other people see me, so tall...
Wednesday, Feb 5th
Why We're Swimming with the Fishes
Because you've made me watch The Godfather eighteen times but won't watch Gone with the Wind with me...
Tuesday, Feb 4th
Lola, I called her. Her skin milky blue, her tiny fist curled around my hands. They let me hold her for a minute, let me bury my head into her yeasty body, still warm...
Some Objects May Appear Larger
As boys, Charlie Coughlin and Mike Benton knelt beside parked cars on the neighborhood's street curbs to twist small caps, no bigger than a pinky finger, off of tire valves and pocket them...
His sister traced the first words of the Quran with her soft fingertip. The boy held the book while she held Manel, rocking the infant in her small arms...
The Return of the Wolves
Winter came late to Deep Meadow Bog the year Mr. Barnes took sick. December never really happened...
Dogs, Stick People, Deer
It began snowing in the night. By morning twenty-eight inches had fallen, and it still snowed...
Morse Code for Romantics
We were dressed to match the décor, pink peonies floating in glass bowls of water and gold glitter...
Stiff As Boards
The line of wash crackles in the freezing salt wind. "Stiff as boards," Ma says as she unpins the ice-encrusted flannel shirts, letting them fall like planks of cedar into the old tin bath she uses as a laundry basket...
And So The Stairs Went Up
I had to walk away. The stairs would only ever go up and up and up...
Roots probes a husband's jealousy.
Dear Robert James Waller
I loved your book, so romantic and tender. Bittersweet, I think that's the right word. It's plain as day you know desire...
Kidnapping the old woman taught me far more than the respectable methods of Maximilian Delphinius Berlitz ever could. Kidnapping her goat was a boon I couldn't have foreseen...
He Cannot Hear Green
His decline is gradual, but a mother knows. Giant teddy bear hugs become limp, and the child turns his head, leaving a parent's kiss floundering fishlike in the air...