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fear

The Snake [private]

I found a black snake on the porch, its body so 
still I didn’t dare breathe. Lungs arrested, I might 
have left my body then. It was long, a rope I could 
Double Dutch, a tilde underneath every word I try 
to love differently.

Phantom Heart

December 3, 2020

This is the sound love makes—
tolling of a tongueless bell, its wagging
and wagging despite; its whole head
teeming with wind. The sound

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 [...]

Suffer Me to Pass

It was only a beer bottle I found in the middle of the trail, but it pinged an impulse in me to go. Get back to the car, give up our Saturday hike. I didn’t tell Cheryl, who stood by while I picked up the bottle and knocked off the dust. She’s known me for thirty years, since our kids were babies, and mostly she endures my jumpy nervousness. But a single empty beer bottle in the big, wide open of Oregon on a sunny June day—it was silly, even for me, to get worked up over such a thing.

Arch of Hysteria

I want my web to hold. I want to repair
what I have made. I was not given the gold hive.
In me seethes the silk of invisible worlds. Spinning
my body inside of hairline emptiness, I project

Photo by Jeff Sharlet

Telemetry

For two years I’ve been walking into the tall grass to take snapshots of this field at the top of the “crooked mile,” a winding hill that leads into the shallow valley of swamp and stream in which my house stands, just past the sign that reads pavement ends. I use my phone. I want the rough eye. The note. The diary. The record. The document. This time, this moment, unplanned.

Illustration by Jun Cen

Fear Factors

When I moved to China nearly two years ago, one of the first things I bought was a bicycle. I live on a university campus, where everyone rides, and the bike was cheap: $17 for an ancient Five Rams cruiser, with a lively color scheme of teal and rust. I used to cycle to work when I lived in New York, dodging tourists and threading in between delivery trucks. But the moment I pulled out onto a street in China, it became clear that this was going to be a different experience.

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