Features

Translating the Word for Home

 

A small city disappears in

the near-sighted dusk of a coastal winter.

Someone is walking home as I once did.

Someone is thinking as I did once

this is their neighborhood, their consolation.

Once I thought words could describe this. . . .

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Callie Barr’s Black Bottom

 

In memory of Callie Barr, known in historical record 

as caretaker of William Faulkner’s family

 

 

You may find her behind

          Rowan Oak, a shadow

               of fortress where then now

          you find no real entry place. . . .

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The Name Means Thunder

I am no longer blind, but there was a time many years ago when I lost my vision. Next week I’ll see the eye doctor for my cataracts, and he’ll ask if my eyes were ever damaged. I don’t know how these things work, but should I go in for surgery—should it come to that—I feel that withholding any medical information, . . .

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My Father, the Atomic Bomb

I would not be who I am today were it not for the Bomb. 

Had there not been a bomb, my biological father—a Manhattan Project physicist—would not have died in 1951 from radiation-induced cancer a month before my fourth birthday, and I would not have grown up fatherless.  . . .

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The Longing of Men (fiction)

In the water, the rocks were a dozen colors, ochre to a bruised orange, purple to brick, dusky green to leaden blue, moss-tinged yellows—and all these eclipsed with flashes of sky ricocheting off the surface. These boulders and stones were mostly oval, curved like parts of the body: hands clasped, . . .

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Jerry’s Dirt (essay)

I began to see, however dimly, that one of my ambitions, perhaps my governing ambition, was to belong fully to this place, to belong as the thrushes and the herons and the muskrats belonged, to be altogether at home here. 

                                                                        —Wendell Berry

 

I. . . .

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Nighttime Ride

The dad had a sweet tooth; it was something fierce. When it got ahold of him, no matter where he was—clearing invasives on the job, taking the kids for a weekend, eating his one-pan dinner—he had to satisfy it, like if he didn’t it would consume him inside out. 

This happened one time when the kids were with him. . . .

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Benessere

 Nico drove with one hand caressing the steering wheel, the very picture of the bella figura so fundamental to Italian manhood. His other arm lay along the seatback, his hand cupping my shoulder. It was a sparkling, chilly November morning. Leaving Genoa’s shabby grandeur behind, the westbound A-10 began to pour under the old Karmann Ghia’s wheels; . . .

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