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Breathless

Breathless

I was eleven almost twelve but I looked thirteen when I walked across Orlando toward my father’s apartment on Orange Avenue. (I told him telepathically I was on my way. I can’t stand living with her anymore!) I was thinking: French toast, snuggling with the funnies. I tried different ways...
An Address to My Fellow Faculty Who Have Asked Me to Speak About My Work

An Address to My Fellow Faculty Who Have Asked Me to Speak About My Work

My work is to write this sentence and revise it into that sentence. To take this word and replace it with that word. My work is a novel I wrote from five to seven a.m. for more than two years and that will never be published. My work is to...
Ten Years Ago

Ten Years Ago

Senior year. A fundamentalist Baptist high school. One of those times, frequent and interminable, when the teachers ran out of lesson plans and gave us time to talk. I was reading a novel because I’d run out of homework. The classroom chatter softened for a moment, and I heard a...
Gyre

Gyre

When I was a schoolgirl, now and then a delicious state would come over me. It was unpredictable, and there was nothing I could do to bring it on, though it visited me more than once when I was plugging my ears to block out the teacher’s reading to us...
During the Farm Show Parade

During the Farm Show Parade

In the next town over, early in the parade, the recently acquitted drive their red truck slowly, the Ford F-150 as polished as the fire trucks and the horns of the high school band. From both windows they throw Tootsie Rolls and hard candy wrapped in cellophane to scrambling children,...
Girl Fight

Girl Fight

Marty Manzoni’s mother was fat. We all knew it, and we all knew better than to ever mention it, but that day in the school hall before basketball practice we were waiting for Coach to show up, and we got to talking about girls, as boys do, and someone mentioned...
Slapstick

Slapstick

I don’t remember every beating mom gave us. I just remember that we named them after All Star wrestling moves. She had an extensive repertoire of techniques. The Half Suplex. The Full Suplex. The Spine Buster. Also the body part specific moves: the Wrist Lock, Atomic Knee Drop, and Corner...
Shame

Shame

I stole another woman’s boyfriend once. Maybe he was her ex-boyfriend, or she was about to break up with him. I can’t remember now except that he came to the apartment I shared with his girlfriend, and he watched TV with me while she went out and had sex with...
The Saigon Kiss

The Saigon Kiss

Hanoi drivers in their sunglasses and facemasks ignore ambulances and fire trucks—they won’t even move for a man in a faded white tank top, in a wheelchair he ratchets down the turn lane, a boy with shuttered eyes draped across his lap. Kid’s got to be at least nine, nothing...
Seascape with Eagle, Driftwood, Ravens, Seagull, Two Men and Their Phones

Seascape with Eagle, Driftwood, Ravens, Seagull, Two Men and Their Phones

The ravens look miniature compared to the eagle crouched in the crook of driftwood tree, tearing a seagull to shreds. Think beach bone, skeleton perch. Think rock, tide-worn. The man I watch watches the eagle, ignoring the ravens and the breeze at the back of his neck until he can’t,...
Never Seen the Like

Never Seen the Like

My three brothers, two sisters, and I carried our mother’s coffin into the church on a Monday in April and out to the flower-filled hearse on the Tuesday. We carried her on our shoulders, raised her up. People said they’d never seen the like, women carrying a coffin. Dad, he...
Electricity

Electricity

After spending most of the day on a plane, too young to drink miniature bottles of liquor but too old not to resent it, crammed between my amma and a man in baggy churidar, there it was, not quite as I remembered but intimately familiar nonetheless: Mumbai airport. Redolent with...
Valentine

Valentine

It’s the middle of winter, but tonight I am in summer’s warm arms, Boston lettuce torn in half before me for a salad. You’re at the stove, stirring Indonesian sweet potato peanut soup. I’m at the sink, staring down into pale green whorls. “The heart’s the best part,” my mother...
When You Meet My Father

When You Meet My Father

Ask him what growing up on the farm in Two Harbors was like. Ask him about what he learned on the farm, where he milked cows before going to school. Ask him about college in Duluth, that one time he stole a beer truck, the married woman who desired an...
Apocalypse City

Apocalypse City

It’s a friend’s birthday and her house is packed, so I settle into a seat on the porch across from a guy I just met. He’s late-twenties, in a beige button-up, cargo shorts and flip-flops, with a paunch and a grizzly beard. He’s a theoretical physicist finishing a PhD, soon...
Latest Issue
Issue 45: Winter 2014

Issue 45: Winter 2014

Our January 2014 Issue comes roaring out of the Polar Vortex with snow-melting, hand-warming essays from Ayse Papatya Bucak, Sarah Beth Childers, Diane Seuss, Gary Fincke, Joey Franklin, Thaddeus Gunn, Kelly Morse, Amy Monticello, Heather Sellers, Ravi Shankar, Alison Townsend, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, Craig Reinbold, Ethel Rohan, and Jordan Wiklund.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

In our Craft section, essays from Rebecca McClanahan on the challenges of shaping a book of essays and from Douglas Carlson on the importance of a framework—a mental map—in shaping nonfiction into an essay.
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Our Book section three new reviews: M.K. Asante’s Buck: A Memoir; Eileen Cronin’s Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience; and Jessica Handler’s Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss.
On Writer's Terror

On Writer’s Terror

A guest post from Sharon Rawlette:  Everyone who is a writer or knows a writer is aware of how terrifying it can be to sit down in front of a blank page. Why? A carpenter doesn’t look at a bare cinderblock foundation, drop his tool belt, and run away screaming. A chef doesn’t look at an empty frying pan and...