Posts tagged "persona"
The Little Girl at the Door

The Little Girl at the Door

The doorbell rings, and I know before I answer it who will be standing on our misnamed welcome mat. It will be the intruder. A threat to my family. A domestic terrorist. An eight-year-old child. Sure enough, it’s the girl from the next street asking if my granddaughter is over. The little shit seems to...

The Back Stroke

I started upright, feet planted in the lake’s silt, bending my knees and inclining forward, but never losing touch with where I stood. Gradually I let go of the bottom and put my head in the water, face down, eyes closed, legs splayed out behind me like a flesh-colored overcoat—like a drowned person whose body...

Flight Status

I like to sit in my car and watch them. Sometimes I don’t even need the binoculars to see their beauty marks: burn scars behind rear-mounted engines or scuffs and dings thoroughly pocking the bottom of fuselages. The one before me is at least twenty-five years old, carries more than 5000 gallons of fuel, and...

On Being a Trucker

All the stuff I don’t have to say. How lucky I am. Like “I drive a truck of cheap perfume.” Of canned tomatoes, of cleaning supplies, I’m not sure it matters, or maybe it does in the trucking world: I drive tires vs. I drive milk. Oil  vs. Seafood. Furniture. Toilets. A truck of cars....

The Moment

No sound from the kids, not for fifteen minutes. I trust they’re asleep. I get my tiger-striped chenille robe off the back of the bathroom door and put it on over my jeans and flannel shirt. I am that cold. Lately I stand sometimes for a whole half-hour over the floor furnace. Other times I...

I can’t stop thinking of that New York skirt, turquoise sequins glued onto sea-colored cotton

I bought it on E. 7th St. in a shop that was only open for one day. Kerouac used to live in that building, but he was dead by then. No zippers or buttons, just strips of fabric to tie on either side of the waist. If I had been one to twirl … but...

Spoiled Love

My hands clenching my abdomen, I emerge from the bathroom and drop to my knees at the crossroads. To the right is my husband; to the left, my mother. Some instinct I thought had left me when I married kicks in and I crawl toward my mother, asleep on the spare twin in my son’s...

Becoming a Sanvicenteña: Five Stages

Stage 1: Fear The old highway to San Vicente is nothing more than a dirt road. At the height of the dry season the landscape is leached of color, the road pale as bone. We bump in and out of potholes, my American advisor filling the Peugeot with 400 years of Costa Rican history: the...

Tuesday Evening at the Rue de Fleurus

Evening drops into the courtyard like a black cat lowering its back.  A muted clink of dinner spoons spills from open windows into the courtyard, where the concierge’s dog yips en francais at a pair of American tourists who have found their way to 27 rue de Fleurus.  I sit and smoke a cigarette between...

Instincts

I’m with my family on an isolated stretch of the Metolius River in Oregon. Lush vegetation clings to the bank, ferns and clover and elephant grass, willow trees and aspens, but the air hangs hot and dry. Insects burr. A woodpecker taps like a slow metronome. This is before my parents’ divorce, so we’re all...

Snakes

It’s 4:40 a.m. in Managua and I’m shivering. I’m waiting in the entryway of the place where I’m staying, waiting for someone to pick me up and take me to interview the country’s young leader, Daniel Ortega. All I’m told is to be ready to run. I’m wearing sneakers, t-shirt and shorts, and I have...

Beyond Chagrin

When I was in the second grade I wet my pants. At a rehearsal of my grade school’s pageant, just before I spoke my lines—well, line, but, according to the director, a fourth grade teacher who’d minored in drama, it was a crucial one. For in this version of “Little Red Riding Hood” the BIG...

Jimi Don’t Play Here No More

After getting booted from high school three times, I joined the military. Three years into my enlistment, the Navy cut me loose. I moved back to Pennsylvania and got married, but then my wife split, taking our baby boy with her. I was a 24-year-old cyclone of poor decisions. In time, I landed in county...

Cathy or Katy

The rain fell through bus headlights, getting us ready for the big lie.  We spent the weekend in New York City, my heart beating up through my neck in the gold glow and enormous doors of the Mayflower Hotel.  Eric and I, when the urge to crawl out of myself toward her became no longer...