Scoundrel Time

Facing an Uncertain Future, a DACA Recipient Dreams of the Past

  As an honors student at a prestigious East Coast University, Marisela Vasquez* felt forced to lie about why she did not study abroad. “That was the hardest conversation to have junior year–I would...

Resisting Division: Legislation You Can Support

Maybe you’ve noticed it, how quickly we other those with whom we disagree, dehumanizing them into enemies. During this exhausting year of resistance, it has become easy to adopt an us-versus-them mentality—the...

Where You Belong: Reflections of a Naturalized Citizen, After Charlottesville

  If you were a young woman newly arrived in America from India, you likely had no memory of persecution or war. You did not flee in fear of torture, dictators, or imprisonment. Perhaps you had a fear of...

Factory Men: Migrants in Patras, Greece

  In Patras, Greece, I met Taimor, a 17-year-old Afghan migrant camped out in an abandoned furniture factory. The boy already had the beginnings of a beard and, as the mother of a 17-year-old myself, I...

“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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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...