A campground in Mississippi, a cold December dawn: I climbed from a sleeping bag, befuddled by the clarity of morning. Blinking into sun-glare off the steady surfaces of ponds. Stumbling across frozen, heaved ground that had been mud the night before. Coffee could have helped, but I didn’t have any. . . .Read more
The Santa Lucia station swarmed with security guards, choking off all water traffic. And Carlo sat sulking in his gondola, an American couple in his charge, their faces burning a bright shrimp pink as they strained to get a look at the pop star.
In a reproduction of Cleopatra’s gilded barge, . . .Read more
Because, while a war blooms at the margins
of the other country that claims me, still
I am here with my ordinary grief and its language.
Because every time I open my mouth
I am an Arab opening my mouth
. . .
I was cleaning the garage and then
the garage was clean. The voice
from the radio sounded shocked
by another mass shooting
but went on about the government
officials and their take on the violence,
which had nothing to do with pain
but was instead about elections. . . .
Because I was taught all my life to blend in, I want
my fingernails to blend out: like preschoolers
who stomp their rain boots in a parking lot, like coins
who wink at you from the scatter-bottom of a fountain, . . .
The end of the world
is not what’s wrong with me.
Old age, illness, and death
are not wrong. They just are.
A stone says, Wake up,
exactly this is all there is! . . .
Go West, young man: the first commandment of American dogma, and the last. Lewis and Clark heeded it in 1804, Kerouac and Cassidy in 1947. On foot or horse or motorcycle, in steamboat or convertible, we the people, as a people, chase the setting sun. Though the West has long been won (its native inhabitants slaughtered, . . .Read more
I will miss Anne, with the well-placed e and easy shape. Steep climb, perfect point, and the slide into the runout of three short, round letters. The way the letters smooth across the page in a tiny creek of repeat, nn, and slip into silence. . . .Read more
Robert Louis Stevenson’s sentences first came to me through the air, in my sister’s voice, when I was small and sleepy, and she was reading A Child’s Garden of Verses to me and my smaller brothers—curled in our beds upstairs in the old house, our sister singing the lucid chants of the poems gently, . . .Read more
This is so true I involuntarily doodle hearts everywhere I go. I sign my letters compulsively with hearts,
dream of disobedient hearts, work with hearts. I eat them. I boil sauces and the tomatoes on my cutting board form a daisy chain heart. My foot is a pretty ballet slipper, . . .Read more