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The House That Built Me

The house my mother grew up in burnt down in ’85. I hope y’all never experience something like that—losing everything, Mom told my brothers and me when we were too young to understand.

Photograph by Tom Haines

Dry Days

Great Plains. One man grabs a calf’s hind leg and lifts. Another seizes a front leg and heaves, flipping as easily as possible the two-hundred-pound animal. Then each man pulls hard to keep it still.

Second Wave

This past February, I hired a cab for a pandemic-fatigued trip with a friend to the Himalayan hills in Himachal Pradesh, down the Old Manali road. It was a drowsy afternoon, the summer heat landing thick on the windows. My friend and I drifted in and out of sleep as our driver wound along circuitous roads. Listening to old Hindi songs, I started counting the Semal trees on the roadside, perched on the hills. Also called silk cotton trees, they blossom at the end of winter: leafless trees holding vibrant clutches of big red flowers.

Narrative Rhythms

Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors are like nonfiction writers: taking in the world and spitting it out in fewer dimensions with more meaning—maybe even some sense.

Photograph by Elizabeth Felicella

Omnipresence

Tiffany—“like Tiffany & Co.”—has lived here her whole life. Her hair is woven into a neat French twist. “Cops come and sit in here,” she says, waving her hand at the shadows on the small plaza around us. A white plastic bag rustles in a spring tree. Tufts of white flowers cover the branches like a sweater, against the chill of early evening. We raise our voices over the noise of a generator, one of a score of rumbling machines across the city that has flooded housing projects with chemical light, noise, and the guise of safety for five years.

Tiffany needs to fix dinner; her kids are hungry. Her forty-first birthday is coming up. Tomorrow she’s going to a pole-dancing class with friends. “You look good,” I say. She tosses a hello to a passing neighbor who’s pushing an overflowing grocery cart. Her gold hoop earrings sparkle.

Photo by Julie Dermansky

Take ‘Em Down

1. Without their torches and semiautomatics, the alt-righters appeared aesthetically adrift. They had their gloves and flak jackets but, lacking the accessories wielded in Charlottesville, their domineering image suffered. Perhaps this is why they [...]