Scoundrel Time

The Blanket Room

—After Italo Calvino and Dorianne Laux When I’m inconsolable, I like to go to The Blanket Room™. A new one just opened at the Maple Heights Mall. They wrap you in a blanket and turn out the lights. Then...

Into that Dark Room Where the Fiction Gets Made: An Interview with Novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jean Hanff Korelitz is the author of six novels including a personal favorite of mine, The White Rose, a contemporary take on the opera Der Rosenkavalier. Jean’s latest novel, The Devil and Webster, follows...

Incident at the Western Border

She vanished before they could shoot her: left only an atmosphere of mist, brume of body which blew inland in a myriad of droplets, a haze of nard and cinnamon touched softly with myrrh and cassia, floating...

Because They Could: How We Are Not Russia

  On February 27, 2015, a stone’s throw away from the ominous fishbone of the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower, they killed the charismatic and universally beloved leader of the Russian political opposition, the...

“In the increasingly convincing darkness / The words become palpable…" —John Ashbery

“Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley

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Report a Problem With This Poem

—as noted on the Poetry Foundation website This poem isn’t meant for you or for anyone, really— hairpin scratches in wet clay, hardly cuneiform, whatever came to mind then left as quickly. Resistant, like a child whose fist clamps around a...

My Sister and I Are Having the Same Dream

Long after nights of arm-tickling across the chasm between our twin beds, after all the shared illnesses of childhood—spiking fevers doused in crystalline alcohol, such pungent, icy baptisms, after the honeyed scabs of measles and of falls, years of...

Flyover

My Midwest is two old women: The first, a neighbor, who watched the delivery man lug the huge spring water jug, slung on his back like firewood, to my door. Bulbous glass, as slippery as our icy back steps, but foreign, exotic to her, with a name...

Life Is So Good Here

Barbecue smell drifts over from the river. Too much lighter fluid splashed in the pouring. Flares of sudden fire. Parkland. Given: a family, Dad home on leave. The kids lead him by the hand, showing him off, he’s theirs. And Mom fully reclined on...

A Word From Our Sponsor

“The bay is blowing gray beneath the sky. The trash fish are fingered From the net and go missing with a flick of the blade. Pity the newborn’s cry into the cold of the clinic. Fear the man whistling along the road beneath a dying sky. Know the last...

Macro

The lizard was green against the wooden reaper. It has come close to this happening many times, but this time The red heart is beating on a stick. You were eyeing the furs in the windows midtown. Teeth get lost in the dark. Your tongue is winding...

Suggested Improvements

The red flyer was posted by the elevator On the ground floor by the mailboxes. Management Has enlisted the utility company To come install new more efficient shower heads, Low-flow kitchen faucet aerators and other Improvements that will save money...

Two Cheers for the Middle Class (Mojave Song)

“Reality,” said my friend Fortunato, a neuroscientist, “is a controlled hallucination.” Just so, the unnamable swims into focus, all teeth and sharp corners.                         A guy at my daughter’s fancy school complains about belt-tightening...

Sleeplessness: Eulene-Style

                                        “Knowing I couldn’t sleep made it harder to try.”                                                                   –Marvin Bell Eulene tries anyway, even though insomnia gallops like...

After the Election, in a Semi-Barbaric Land

After the election, I stare at a door. What’s behind it? Scylla? Charybdis? Maybe a tiger. Or else, a tiger. After the election, witch hazel, stubborn, electric, bursts yellow over Wolf Creek. I’m too sad to get drunk. Gold needles tumble all day...

Any Humans Here?

Earlier, in a bar on La Brea, some kid had stared him down. Six-thirty on a Wednesday, not quite (not yet) the dinner hour, and rain flecked the small square windows of the place in dots of light. He’d been with an old friend, small mercy of the...