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A Taxonomy of Mask Cheats

The face mask, that simple piece of cloth, has become fraught territory. Over the summer, Americans began reading the use or absence of a mask as a political statement, a commentary on individual freedom, an invitation to a fight. Our president and his cadre were agonizingly slow to wear them, often casting the mask as a sign of weakness. Their bare faces have come to symbolize the administration’s negligence and denial.

Building Fences

June 21, 2020

 1.A windswept Italian mountaintop and a home beneath swaying electrical cables, hidden by tall brush and trees. Natural light in the house from midmorning to late afternoon, year round. The trees rustle and the owls watch the land and the occas [...]

Hunger

June 21, 2020

 1.I deliver food on my bike. I’m dispatched from Center City, Philadelphia, into outlying neighborhoods—as far north as Fishtown, deep into South, and across the bridge into West Philly. Work like this is strange; the phone is your boss. Wh [...]

The High Window

The first address is of the house we rented twenty years ago, when our kids were young. Ten minutes on foot—half a mile—from the place where we now live. In reality, however, there is no address, not any longer.


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Photograph by Sara Fox

The North Woods

 1I used to dream about the dark. I was usually in the woods in the dream. There was an animal nearby, the dim reflection of lake water pushing through the branches.This night was similar: dark sky, blackened pines, pinprick stars. The only ligh [...]

This Land Is Our Land


This time, it begins after dark. There’s a solemnity that was absent from the previous day’s rituals, which I had witnessed when the sky was still light. “This time, we have to be serious. We can’t be jokey-jokey,” says Syafiq Dendi Abdullah, a twenty-six-year-old shaman and an activist- leader of Malaysia’s indigenous Temiar community.

Photograph by David Ulin

Dancing Days

It’s Sunday morning in September and I’m walking Eighth Street when I see it: spray of words in green and pink, framed in the middle of the pavement as if an illustration of some kind. In the middle of the pavement?

Unmanned

  1. Serrekunda’s beach, the Gambia’s biggest tourist draw, empty again. Two years ago it was fear of Ebola. Now, political crisis, checkpoints, soldiers with AK-47s, bazookas. Alex Sesouy, a tourist guide, had time to talk. Still, he hesi [...]

Photo by Karen Ryan

Walking Away

  1. How about it? one of the men said to Karen on that first humid night in Tahiti, March 1970. The Endeavour II’s crew still numbered a few short. Her decision was immediate. She sent a letter to her supervisor at the airline she worked [...]

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