what you love about new york

what you love about new york

city, which you never appreciated when you lived here, is how the city requires you to develop muscle memory: your elbows know to circle around the lady who is taking too long to reach the corner, and your big toes stop a second before the jogger dashes in front of you, and so you never...
After the Appointment

After the Appointment

  I’ve dumped nearly everything from my car’s glove box—registration, flashlight, crusty hair ties—while I paw around for a tool to open a bottle of wine. This bottle of wine, the first screwtop I spotted in 7-11 and purchased in a rush. My hands aren’t strong enough for the feeble job of unscrewing (as if...
Walking with the Widows

Walking with the Widows

There is a bluebird on the limb of a tree in a yard near a house that is painted fairy-tale yellow. Like a piece of the sky with a rise of dawn on its chest and a fiesta necklace. I’ve walked these streets for twenty-seven years, and I’ve never seen a bluebird. Not here. Then...
Bone & Skin

Bone & Skin

1. I tell you I’m getting a tattoo to cover my scars. Some kind of tree, perhaps, the branches reaching across one scar, the roots wrapped around another. A living thing. An ancient bristlecone, a saguaro, a juniper, purple with berries. “You’re allergic to juniper,” you say, and I nod. I do not ask, “But...
Me vs. Slugs: Pandemic Edition

Me vs. Slugs: Pandemic Edition

When the terrible virus was unleashed and our lives screeched to a halt, I planted a garden. My first. I tended it zealously, with the darting eyes of a suicide bomber. This was March, April, May, the world hijacked by hysteria. I could have watered my garden with tears after returning from the store rumored...
The Boy Who Drew Cats

The Boy Who Drew Cats

Outside there is a pandemic and I am in lockdown in Montevideo, Uruguay, far from my daughter and son also locked down, but in Kanazawa, in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, and I am inside drawing, drawing, drawing, filling sheets of paper, pages drifting to the floor, as if I were the boy in the Japanese fable...
Narrative

Narrative

In October 2013 I flew out of Heathrow while sitting next to a friendly British man. It was in that liminal space between the UK and the US that I traveled, as Sontag described it, to the land of the sick; four hours from landing, I began to drip sweaty rivulets in the air-conditioned plane. I...
Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Did you know that the common housefly, like the one circling the room now in a wide, counter-clockwise circuit, hums in the key of F? It’s true. They come in different sizes, of course, but their bodies scale so that the vibrations of their wings correlate to the pitch intervals in F major: F, G,...
Ghost Story

Ghost Story

One fall I was a ghost in my own house. That time, when divorce was imminent but my husband and I were still living together, only the children could see or hear me. The laundry floated downstairs to the basement, then floated back up to the second floor, washed and folded. The dishes floated from the...
Snowbound

Snowbound

1. You are sitting on the couch that doubles as your bed when your mami hands you the envelope marked THIS IS THE BIG ONE. You’re eighteen, and here is the college acceptance letter you’ve been waiting for, the one from your dream school in Chicago. Over 1,300 miles south—to Hialeah, Florida—this letter traveled to...
Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

I’m on the elevator alone for one floor before the man gets on.  He stands in one corner, staring at his phone. I drink my coffee. At the next floor, two more men get on. They flank me, laughing and talking about some game somewhere. I pull my arms in at my sides, try to...
String, Too Short

String, Too Short

We are a house of notes. My husband, a night-owl artist, writes to me in the dark of the quiet house as I fall into dreams. I awake to fluorescent sticky squares, legal pads, and junk mail envelopes on which he has jotted doodles and reminders, jokes and nicknames, references to art and news, proclamations...
My Bodhisattva

My Bodhisattva

I was doing my daily meditation but also aware I was hungry and craving a hamburger and thinking about getting takeout from the bar down the street with its gruff bartender who always writes up the order, which last time and the time before and, yes, the time before that wasn’t ready by the promised...
Solving for X

Solving for X

She’s never been good at word problems. She remembers hours of agony at the kitchen table, her father trying to help her wrench the variables of time, speed, and distance into manageable equations. “A freight train left San Diego and traveled east at an average speed of 28 mph. A diesel train left one hour...
Forgetting

Forgetting

You know how you find yourself in the kitchen and you can’t remember what you’re doing there so maybe you put your hands on the cold sink and look out the window but it doesn’t help? What works is to go back to the living room, sit down again on the chair you got up...