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Illustration by George Butler

War Stories

The laws of war make for a brittle pact at best, and can seem like a tragic fallacy up against an army’s nihilistic impulses. Russia’s tactics in Ukraine prove as much: atrocities in Bucha; the bombing of a maternity hospital in Kharkiv; imprisoning and terrorizing children in Yahidne; the shelling of civilian evacuees fleeing Irpin.

Birds of Paradise

There is no work for Logan, not today, not in this L.A. neighborhood where he’s been wandering for hours. Since the riots began he’s steered clear of the Boulevard, wary of the Guardsmen stationed outside CVS, of the rivers of broken glass and blocks of boarded-up storefronts splashed with angry graffiti.

Push Factors

By the time we finalized the layout for Ara Oshagan’s photo essay about the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon, his decade-long project comprising memoir and documentary, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was underway, with horrific consequences.

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.

Photograph by Louie Palu

Stories from the Forever War

The last US service member to leave Afghanistan’s soil after nearly twenty years of war did so just a minute shy of the midnight deadline on August 30. The gruesome chaos that unfolded in the days leading up to that departure, after the hasty withdrawal of US and NATO troops unleashed a rapid sweep of Taliban forces that recaptured the country in less than ten days, left many of us wondering what all the sacrifices of a twenty-year war had been for.

Photo by Dan Schwartz

Ill Nature

March 2, 2020

When the glacier finally melted, the last of the green turned yellow and brown and the dry season came like an omen. Its white-blue ice had given water to all thirteen communities of Quispillaccta in Peru and, to women and men wise enough to receive them, messages: Plant here; plant that.

<em>Transcription</em>. By Kate Atkinson. Little, Brown, 2018. 352p. HB, $28</p>

War and Peace and Nostalgia

Historical fiction—our most inclusive of literary genres—is, by definition, fiction set in the past, typically a bygone era with which we and the writer likely have no lived familiarity. Fascinating period details abound and sometimes notable f [...]

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