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family

Family Matters [private]

On Mother’s Day 2019, I take Mama to the home of her best childhood friend for dinner. Her friend’s family includes a sister, a brother, her friend’s father (still grinning in his midnineties), and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Over a dozen people all told. They’re an outgoing, good-looking bunch.


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Franz Kafka, a drawing from Diaries, 1910–1923, 1948.

The Missing Person

In July 1908, a twenty-five-year-old Franz Kafka quit his post at the Assicurazioni Generali with a medical note claiming he was suffering from “nervousness” and something potentially complicated having to do with his heart.

Illustration by Lizzy Stewart

Filling Station

There’s a filling station down the road, a lone storefront off the old highway. Its sign dangles from rusted chains, ready to fall at the slightest touch. I went there last week when the new Shell was overcrowded only to be reminded of why I’ve taken my business elsewhere. My mistake was in forgetting: Every time I go to Johnson’s, I swear it will be the last time.

Story and illustration by Øyvind Torseter

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I was visiting my grandparents in the old house...
"We should have some cake after dinner."
"You need to think about your heart."

Photograph by Sara Fox

The North Woods

 1I used to dream about the dark. I was usually in the woods in the dream. There was an animal nearby, the dim reflection of lake water pushing through the branches.This night was similar: dark sky, blackened pines, pinprick stars. The only ligh [...]

Parasites


Para Mamita Juana, Papita Pablo, y Padrino Reden

Alma lost an eye when her house collapsed under ash. 
Milo severed his thumb por una bomba
Juana married John in Las Vegas.
Ernesto washed dishes in Hollywood until his skin cracked 
while impaled children lined El Mozote. 
I eat pan con café de palo for breakfast while David Bowie sings labyrinths 
to the tune of leather.

Illustration by Ryan Floyd Johnson

Tiger Ghost

Bridget is on her way to Mong Kok to buy a goldfish. She’s been told that they bring good luck.

Illustration by Ryan Floyd Johnson

Stray Fragments

Think about losing things when you are a child, and how losing things thrusts you into a state of absolute despair, even if what you lost is relatively unimportant: toothbrush, sweater, homework folder.

Adults. We are like balloons inflated to their largest capacity and then thrown into the air, unknotted: darting, hissing, flying, farting through the room to the delight of children who will step on them when they finally fall—deflated, useless.

If time in our lives could be shuffled—if it were sectioned into discrete events and recombined—would the story add up? Or does there need to be some kind of order, even if it’s not chronological, for the pieces to form a narrative?

Nuestros hijos llevan todo el día rascándose tan fervorosamente la cabeza que uno de ellos se había sacado ya sangre y ahora daba alaridos de pavor al ver que en su dedo índice titilaba una gotita rosa.

Nos sentamos en una banca y me dispuse a espulgarle la cabellera. Me entretuve aniquilando colonias enteras de piojos y liendres.

 

The light of the desert, where we are headed—I imagine it very different from this one. I imagine it a brutal, empty, future light.

Where is the heart of the United States?

It’s somewhere in the border.

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