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Essays

Recent Issue

Two Ambulances

In July 2021, five weeks after my mother died, my husband dropped me off at the emergency room of the small hospital in the Massachusetts town where my father now lived alone.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

At Alice and Henry’s farm, it is time to mate the sows. Henry even bought a home pregnancy test for them—it is inserted into the vagina and simply beeps, with maddeningly little explanation, if it judges them to have conceived.

Illustration by Nazila Jamalifard

COVID Dreams

I used to have these dreams all the time when I was a kid about my teeth falling out. Or I would reach into my mouth and pull them out. But I hadn’t had them for a decade or two, until last week, when I woke up to get ready for my shift as a COVID resuscitation nurse and realized that I had dreamed about my teeth.

VQR Online

On Faith and Hope

December 3, 2020

“Hope is the thing with feathers,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “that perches in the soul.” The avian image is both lovely and apposite, for as a bird goes winging off at the first loud noise or sight of a predator, so hope—an aspect of desire, a wish that something, and usually something good, will happen—typically flies out the window as often as it lands on one’s shoulder. If something isn’t outright impossible, it’s possible to hope for it, though the likelihood of its happening lessens the closer to impossible it comes: living to one hundred, let’s say, following a life of three packs of smokes and a porterhouse every day.

Frantumaglia

December 3, 2020

Elena Ferrante’s Blurred Lines