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Swan in pond

Swan Garden

There are six swans in the backyard. They stay so close to the house that I can make out the jagged parts of their beaks when they aim for insects in the shallow, man-made pond. I can make out the unfeathered patch of skin between eyes and bill. They wear their faces like they aren’t […]

Honeycomb

The sun dawdled on the yellow windowsill. The house was quiet. Noisy youths played ball in the street, but all was silent inside. I was as quiet as an owl in a barn, too quiet for my neighbour, Victoria, queen of the fifth floor who said I was melancholic, and that word soup was more preferable than my quietude. I was […]

Down by the River

There was a small house on the bank of the Suwannee that slanted down towards the root-beer-colored water. The house was one room, the side wall a sliding glass door overlooking the sturgeons that belly-flopped downstream. The carpet was tattered and torn; the pullout couch was moldy and musty. The Frigidaire dripped because the mice […]

End of the Line

Allison was going to get married in Ronkonkoma, so I was waiting for the train. Summer heat shimmered over the Jamaica Station tracks. There had been a run on air conditioners; newly-installed models tilted at perilous angles out of New York’s windows. My traveling outfit—a gray tee and homemade cut-offs that dangled sloppy fringe—was drenched […]

Anatomy of a Rejection

You stand on the corner of 50th Street and 2nd Avenue on a Friday night waiting for the traffic light to change and trying to decide what you’re going to do tonight: Read The Anatomy of Melancholy or fill-out financial aid forms for graduate school? You think that there must be something that you would […]

Fear North

Eight years ago, before Boko-Haram were nothing but tales that echoed out of the distance; before the word Sambisa rang ominous, bearing the mark where the rest of the north would erupt into a convulsing volcano; before the streets became littered with the dead: of ill-equipped soldiers, children, and their hapless, crying mothers, mowed down […]

Les Lucioles, The Fireflies, by Henri-Camille Danger, France, 1896

Convertible

Angela comes awake in the night. A commotion outside. She paws Tomas’ side of the bed for an elbow, a fingertip, a soft curl. There is only the pressed sheet. In those first moments torn from sleep—before the soul has a chance to seat—she swims in fear. Then she remembers: Tomas is away. He is […]

Detail from Downy Woodpecker by John James Audobon

Dear John James Audubon

I hung suet early this year, not because I was particularly organized but because I was eager for the companionship of birds.

Dragon Dreams

A tiny baby dragon would have served us well, I think.