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Bloody Knuckles

The waiting room was small, not much more than a large cubicle with a coffee machine, a couple of televisions, and maybe twenty other parents, all of us equally nervous and trying not to show it. A better artist than me might’ve been able to capture it with his brush, the anxiety like a physical object that each one of us carried. I had been there nearly an hour when Karen called. I walked toward one of the room’s corners, as much privacy as I could find, and whispered hello.

Everything Splashes and Sinks

He lost his religion in church. Twelve years old and Nimi knew there was no God. His mother had left them by then, just like his father, though she had left for a better reason.

Muster’s Puppets Presents

Claire was coming over with her boyfriend—her partner—and Joan was baking mince pies in preparation, though she couldn’t remember whether Claire liked mince pies. It was difficult to keep everything straight with four children who changed their [...]

Night City

What happened to the city that made us 
promises, promises we had the luxury 
to believe or not?
Night caved its streets, 

When He Was Small

When he was small,
I rented a little studio 
in a building on Ninety-Fifth Street so I could have a room 
of my own to write. The studio was the size of a bathroom.

Solidarity in Story

As I write this, on a Saturday in May, the Class of 2020 has begun, through virtual ceremonies across the country, their transition into an adulthood they couldn’t have imagined six months ago. The encouragement being given to them resonates, eeril [...]

Illustration by Landis Blair

The Year 2003 Minus 20

Reney’s bones can feel a fight long before the rest of her wakes to the rising voices and clattering bottles. She is eight, almost nine. Granny and Lula live in a new rent house across the tracks and down a long hill, not so very far. Over there—standing on a chair rolling up balls of dough as Granny’s hearing aids whistle, or lying curled into Granny’s great body napping—is Reney’s best place. But Reney knows that her place is with her mom.

<i>Mullus Surmuletus, The Striped Surmulet</i>. (Courtesy Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library, Digital Collections.)

The Grand Temptation

Maybe Cape Cod is fertile ground for existential transformation. Something about the metals in its sandy soil catalyzing metaphysical shifts—I don’t know. All I know is I had my entire worldview rearranged when I was visiting its shores.

Tonsure

Forever you find

              your father
in other faces—

a balding head
              or beard enough
to send you following

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