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The Sweetest Man Who Ever Lived

My grandmother told me this story the summer after my junior year of college. I was getting over a break-up and deciding about the rest of my life, in particular whether to apply to law school. I was helping her go through boxes, because she had already made her...

Museum of Hard Times

UNCLE Jack opened the house to twenty-five-cent tours a month after the awful thing had happened. He enlisted my help in preparing for our first day in the rubbernecking business. I scrubbed the walls and the floors, but the beds had already been stripped by the folks...

Trailblazing

The first thing the man did after his wife of fifty-six years died, or the first big thing, was sell their French bulldogs, the pups, the dams, and the sires (the mating pairs to a rival breeder down in Bangor). Because breeding French bulldogs was something that he...

45 Million Ghosts

March 1st Mom, I couldn’t help but anxiously tap my foot, and it didn’t help that there was a haunting photo across from me. The grainy picture showed a man at the top of a mountain, the size of a two-story building, made of stacked bison skulls. Another man was on...

(1949) Bali Ha’i

i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . . — Bob I never liked Vern and Ruth. He was a pathetic sniveling loser. She was an irritable premenopausal hag. Still, when I first moved in with them, I decided not to hold their weaknesses against them. At...

My Father’s Home

Managua, Nicaragua en los años 1979-1984 My papa said “the air lost its aroma of children playing and eating fresh soil in front yards. The smell strong and moist from summer rain. Mangos drop on top of zinc and clay ceilings waking up guard dogs and slender...

Suburban Sonnet

August night lay prone against the horizon, smothering the last dregs of sunlight from the skyline, which was full of squat, blue-black blocks that stuck up sparsely, like a monster’s teeth. A match hissed to life in the silence, illuminating Rachel Donning’s face in...

Revelation 051

In thigh-high vinyl, a platform above you, stomping smoke into halos, palpitations ripple into the small, into the crumbling sheetrock, into the sticker-plastered, into the horse throat, into the water-scared cornea. My wig sweats the nape, creasing the paint at the...

Can You Make It Spin?

Demonstrators occupied the sidewalk outside of Sam Choy’s apartment building, many of them holding signs with direct slogans like: “Do Not Evict Our Elderly!” or “Stop Gentrification!” while others had catchier phrases like: “Sojourners, no! We won’t go!” or “Yellow...