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Red Mountain

The copper mine in Erdenet, Mongolia, provides jobs, income, opportunities. It finances most of the city’s infrastructure. It funds a hospital. People are grateful for the mine, and proud. There’s copper everywhere in Erdenet.

Sisters at the Falls

Sister Angela is wearing the softest robe I have ever touched. Her hearing aids are out and her dentures crunch as they settle. She is beaming at me from the dark, her face soft from sleep, her small body laundry-scented.

A Taxonomy of Mask Cheats

September 8, 2020

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.

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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Narrative Rhythms

Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors are like nonfiction writers: taking in the world and spitting it out in fewer dimensions with more meaning—maybe even some sense.

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 [...]

Photographed by Rachel Cohen

Cohen

March 1, 2018

  1.  “Actors” was painted by Max Beckmann in 1941 and 1942 when he was a refugee from Nazi Germany in Amsterdam. It is the painting I photographed most in the years we were living in Cambridge. I tried repeatedly to write about it, [...]

Photographed by Angie Cruz

The Other Chile (Cecilia & Patricia)

1. I misplace an earring in my hotel room in Santiago, Chile. So I ask the head housekeeper, Patricia, if anyone has found it: a silver lotus leaf, not valuable, but special to me because it’s a good luck charm.  “Nothing can get lost he [...]

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