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Week 2/15/21

PUBLISHED: February 20, 2021

In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do. 


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Will Bellamy spotted two injured birds along the Texas coast earlier this week, and the self-described animal lover delivered them to conservationists for care. But the conservationists had a message themselves, he said: watch out for distressed sea turtles.

The deadly winter storm that swept across Texas and parts of the South knocked out power and water for millions. It also created a catastrophe for animals statewide — including for sea turtles prone to freezing in frigid waters.

Bellamy, an Army and Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Haiti, saw some turtles Tuesday with his son Jerome. But he needed help. He alerted Capt. Christopher Jason, the commander of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in southeastern Texas, and his wife, Cheryl Jason. The commander grabbed his kayak, paddled into the cold waves and retrieved a lapful of cold-shocked turtles.

But the next day, on Bellamy’s turtle patrol, the situation became far more urgent, he said, and one that would require a lot more hands.

“It was like an apocalypse of turtles littered on the beach,” Bellamy told The Washington Post in a phone interview Thursday.

Business Manager Diane John
Excerpt from “Hundreds of helpless cold-stunned sea turtles rescued by Navy pilots and pickup trucks”, by Alex Horton, in the Washington Post


Girls are coming out of the woods,
wrapped in cloaks and hoods,
carrying iron bars and candles
and a multitude of scars, collected
on acres of premature grass and city
buses, in temples and bars. Girls
are coming out of the woods
with panties tied around their lips,
making such a noise, it’s impossible
to hear. Is the world speaking too?
Is it really asking, What does it mean
to give someone a proper resting? Girls are
coming out of the woods, lifting
their broken legs high, leaking secrets
from unfastened thighs, all the lies
whispered by strangers and swimming
coaches, and uncles, especially uncles,
who said spreading would be light
and easy, who put bullets in their chests
and fed their pretty faces to fire,
who sucked the mud clean
off their ribs, and decorated
their coffins with briar. Girls are coming
out of the woods, clearing the ground
to scatter their stories. Even those girls
found naked in ditches and wells,
those forgotten in neglected attics,
and buried in river beds like sediments
from a different century. They’ve crawled
their way out from behind curtains
of childhood, the silver-pink weight
of their bodies pushing against water,
against the sad, feathered tarnish
of remembrance. Girls are coming out
of the woods the way birds arrive
at morning windows—pecking
and humming, until all you can hear
is the smash of their miniscule hearts
against glass, the bright desperation
of sound—bashing, disappearing.
Girls are coming out of the woods.
They’re coming. They’re coming.

Editorial Intern Ishani Singh
Excerpt from “Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods”, by Tishani Doshi, in Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods


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