Posts tagged "voice"

This Is Not To Say

So many feelings fit between two heartbeats So many objects can be held in our two hands Don’t be surprised we can’t describe the world And just address things tenderly by name. -Zbigniew Herbert This was supposed to be about the dirt that flies up in puffs between bare feet when the bees are buzzing...

Pheasant

As I heard the story she liked him but she wasn’t sure, so Gideon-like she asked “Lord, give me a sign,” and just to make sure the deity was authentically involved she said “make it a sign with a pheasant.” The next time Mr. X showed up he opened with “I almost hit a pheasant...

A Bear in Tel Aviv

I saw the bear on a spring night in 2004 while walking with some students in Tel Aviv. We were on our way to a restaurant to meet the group that had accompanied the American writer who that afternoon had talked endlessly about basketball to the seminar. I didn’t know this part of the city...

Studies for a Drawing in Red

I. A six year old helps his mother hang a hummingbird feeder in the front yard. “Why is it red?” he asks. “Hummingbirds like red,” his mother says. Hours later she finds him on the front porch, sitting as still as a six year old can. He has put on an old sweatshirt—red—pulled the hood...

The Crab in the Stars

I am home alone—sort of.  I am almost twelve, and I am unsupervised.  My parents have gone shopping.  My brother is at a friend’s.  It’s just me and my grandparents, who live in an apartment attached to our house. My grandfather is sick.  He has been for a year.  For a few weeks now he...

You Like It Don’t You, You Like It Hard and Cold

and sweet with surprises inside well let me introduce you to the state line dairy where the cherries in the sherbet are harvested from virgins and the girls filling the cones all have boyfriends in vietnam and the thing in the jar on the counter is a pickled pig’s foot let me introduce you to...

Innocence & Experience: Voice in Creative Nonfiction

When I was studying fiction for my MFA degree, one of my teachers told me that “voice is everything.” As true as this is in fiction, it’s equally true in nonfiction. For even though I’m telling my own personal story, the voice I use isn’t my everyday speaking voice. In fact, my observation, both from...
Thumb-Sucking Girl

Thumb-Sucking Girl

Look at me. At me, over here. Look and shake your head all you want. At my uneven bangs, these broken-down shoes, my momma, all us kids, and all our belongings shoved into just one car. Whisper and sigh all you want because I have something better than good clothes and a permanent address. I’ve...

Dumber Than

A box of rocks. That boy—oh, you know the one. Dropped his cat from that second-story sleeping porch just to see if it was true, what they said about cats always landing on their feet. Bawled when that tabby hit and bounced, lay dead on the cement walk. Dumber than dirt. One day in school,...
Ed

Ed

Summer reminds me, God knows why, of my friend Ed, who is a whole species of man unto himself, the only one of his kind, the very archetype and all possible subsequent permutations of Edness in his own singular person. He is sensible, brilliant, unusually accomplished – he’s a neurosurgeon of great skill, a self-taught...
Pop Art

Pop Art

In nine years I have been graced with three children and here is what I have learned about them. They are engines of incalculable joy and agonizing despair. They are comedy machines. Their language is their own and the order of their new halting words has never been heard before in the whole history of...

Planet Unflinching

It used to be an axiom that an object cannot occupy two positions at the same time, but now, of course, one may argue that in cyberspace it is possible to do just that. Perhaps someday it will also be possible to occupy the same position at two different times. At the dinner table, there...

The Boat People

The women here put on their makeup like rust-proofing.  Preschoolers toddle through the trailer park mud puddles, splashing and pimp-cussing.  Teenage girls in sweat pants and ratty NASCAR t-shirts smoke over parked strollers, hips set at a permanent baby-propping cant.  The afternoons oxidize like trailer tin.  Still, there are boyfriends, and emotions worth screaming over,...
Her Numbers

Her Numbers

First there is the number I found affixed to the sole of her foot one summer night, as she slept, her hair cascading, her face calm in repose, the faraway hollow ringing of a bay buoy in the night air: 75365, printed on a tiny slip of paper. After a moment I realized that it...