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trauma

Haibun: Spring

Spring turns to summer, hopes fly high. A golden romance—in my bloody fists I smell osmanthus flowers. Under the pulped sun, lovers grow young and younger.

The Right to Work

Across the US, the decriminalization of sex work has become increasingly popular, provoking intense debates within communities. But what role, if any, will the police play?

Basic Needs

December 3, 2020

Looking back on 2020 feels a lot like looking back on two years at once. Or maybe it’s two countries—or, more precisely, dissonant ideas of a country I thought I knew well enough, even with a healthy skepticism, but whose transformation and revelations have made even that skepticism seem naïve. Against the backdrop of a malignant presidency, the year began with familiar emergencies, from environmental (wildfires) to humanitarian (immigration) to diplomatic (Iran). Cut to spring and a national reckoning with the brutal realities of Black life in America, coupled with the existential threat of a virus that by Thanksgiving, in this country alone, had infected almost thirteen million people and killed more than a quarter million. 

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.

Illustration by Jen Renninger

No End in Sight

March 2, 2020

What happens when immigrant-rights advocates reach a breaking point?