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quarantine

Second Wave

This past February, I hired a cab for a pandemic-fatigued trip with a friend to the Himalayan hills in Himachal Pradesh, down the Old Manali road. It was a drowsy afternoon, the summer heat landing thick on the windows. My friend and I drifted in and out of sleep as our driver wound along circuitous roads. Listening to old Hindi songs, I started counting the Semal trees on the roadside, perched on the hills. Also called silk cotton trees, they blossom at the end of winter: leafless trees holding vibrant clutches of big red flowers.

The Work of Hands

 1.We’ve been here twenty-six days, seven of us and the dog, and everyone needs a haircut. When we left New York for my in-laws’ farm in early March, we imagined we might be gone a week or two, and that at least in a rural area we could main [...]

Fort Reno Park, Chesapeake St. NW. Photo by María Luz Bravo.

Literary Life in a Plague Year

It is rare to walk through empty streets in downtown Washington, DC, in broad daylight. Yet this past spring, when it seemed as if every living thing had leapt into a void, I learned that what you see and how you see it changes in a relatively unpeop [...]

Postcards

 1.My wife said she would buy the flowers herself (the Dalloway meme come nearly full circle), walking out with a mask and gloves from the kitchen drawer. She returned with a bunch of tulips of an unusual shade of pink and orange.We live in a sm [...]

Photograph by Anna Surinyach

Cuarentena

 1.Had anyone heard from Ana? She always answered her phone, but today wasn’t answering for me.She’s fine, her friends said when I called one after another. Like nearly everyone else in Barcelona, Ana didn’t leave the apartment often. But [...]