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<I>Having and Being Had</I>. By Eula Biss.  Riverhead, 2020.  336pp. HB, $26.

Self-Portrait of an Artist [private]

  If the case of John Berger’s debut novel, A Painter of Our Time, still enrages sixty-three years after its release in 1958, a writer’s wrath especially might be attended by the smallest, wistful pang. An idea-driven meditation on the rol [...]

Junker

March 2, 2020

That one smelled 
like a Bradford pear 
you said. 

The Shore


In a nondescript hotel in East Texas, I fell
in love with a couple. There in the dim

hallway with rugs that were clean enough
but darkly patterned to hide the stains so who knows,

her back was against the wall, her arms up and around
his neck. He was bent down to kiss her, to press

his body into hers.

My Monster

This hill, even if a small one, this hill with us and the dog the same dog 
forever moving shadow-like down it, to where the hill disappears…For 

Illustration by Melody Newcomb

Annihilation

It was the winter that I had spent bleeding, attuned to no particular rhythm. Sometimes my period would come on twice in one month, or last for four weeks instead of one. Or, in between spells of bleeding, I would find rust-colored specks in my underwear, or else what seemed like rivers of blood, dark and sticky as blackberry jam. Mostly, it hurt only a little, a pain I could store in the back of my mind and ignore. Sometimes when I was on my feet all day I would feel woozy and cold, and when I went home at night I’d lie awake for a long time, wondering as I turned from my back to my stomach whether there was some position that might keep me from waking up with blood staining my sheets, like a marriage bed visited by an incubus. I took iron supplements. Eventually, I went to a doctor.

Illustration by Anders Nilsen

The Boys

It happens. A close relative dies. One who lives elsewhere. And then some time has to be set aside, even if no such thing is possible. Because of work, because of a lack of funds when it comes to traveling.

The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound

His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;
amid danger, there is also beauty. When he whips me with the riding crop
of his tongue, I curl into the earth’s first question: To desire what exactly?
                                                                                                      He has nothing

Dear Eros,

I have found you where I shouldn’t—in the wrong bodies, 
at the wrong time, and once on a subway platform 
with my feet stuck to a pool of dried soda taking gum 
from a near-stranger’s mouth. That night you were spearmint 
and the 6 train. I have been woken by you, put to bed by you. 

Art by Anna Schuleit Haber

Geometry

Although they are now in their forties and no longer live in the same house, Helen and Phoebe are still referred to as “the Campbell sisters.” This makes them feel less like people than a brand.

Illustration by Melody Newcomb

High Pursuit

Blood pulls up in a near-new new Caddy, heaven white, with flesh-colored guts and the white walls on his tires thick as rulers side by side.

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