On the American Heritage Trail
Another day at the Mount Vernon Economy House Motel, and a season of optimism has of recent taken root. Carlos and his crew of sheetrockers had more work than they could handle. At six they returned to the motel flush with cash, white dust powdering brown faces and wiry black hair. Several of the boys gather at the desk, miming for Humphrey their desire to purchase the international calling cards that Mr. Patel kept on a console next to the lottery ticket display. Most of that cash they’d wire home, those boys—wherever the hell home was—…
That night my car had a temperamental engine that was threatening to quit, and the rain was a drill as we drove up 101. We were going to the bar so Hailey could tether herself to the bartender, Rebecca, whom she’d met a week before….
Sex Work, 2013
Call in sick to work. (Conjunctivitis is going around.) Use the last of your three personal days, even though it is only October and flu season has just begun. Tell two friends where you are going. Time, location, what time you will text them after…
The girls had two existences, or double identities: one, at school, shared, and another, after school, at their homes and in their bedrooms, or their many outdoor hideaways, just the two of them. No one knew they still played pretend; at school, they were too old for that, too caught up in the halfway posture of their age, which they both did exceptionally well…
…I can totally see how a guy would go through someone’s garbage just to get closer to a girl he’s interested in, just to know more about her. Or even how he could painstakingly collect strand after strand of hair to make one of those hair dolls that people think are so weird…
She Shall Surely Die
The children of St. Mary Magdalen, possessed by the first warm day after Easter, danced dizzying circles on the black top, rutted their heels into the turf of the sports fields, and swung, arm over arm, across the monkey bars. The teachers watched with indifference and apprehension. The bodies of children disquiet the souls of adults…
Gardening for Mothers
…Scatter basil and cilantro in July, when the earth is slick and lax, the groundwater warm enough to soften macaroni. When infant mosquitos burst from jelly eggs. This phenomenon once sickened you and now, you welcome it, feeling a sense of solidarity with all birthing kind, despite the sting…
Meeting Mrs. Dalloway
…she hesitated. Traced the outline of a teaspoon with her finger. The thought evaded her, she had been thinking something about the dresser? The dog? Vanessa? She couldn’t remember, because tea was brought to the table, and the sunshine through the steam bought such a sudden sense of displacement…
Moses and the Patch-Jeans
I am pouring hot gravy down your pants on Sydney’s back porch again and momma is yelling at me for burning you, but mostly for wasting food. We throw your pants to the dogs and they lick them clean but the small brown-yellow teeth tear a big hole, and they make me do the patch job though I only just learned how….
The heart of a shrimp is in its head. They have an open circulatory system with no arteries. Their organs float in blood. My heart is in my throat. I float in the circulatory system of parenthood, semi-transparent and flattened…
The table was set with the good dishes and silver, the settings Nan used for holidays. There were Easter Bunnies embroidered onto the carefully-folded napkins, sliced lemon in the water glasses. Tulips drooped over the sides of a crystal vase. On the tray attached to the baby’s highchair was a basket filled with chocolate eggs and jelly beans…..
The Unbearable Lightness Being
When I was a kid, my spirit animal was part bird, part fish, and about three-percent bullshit. She neither had wings nor could breathe underwater but she frequently switched between pronouns before switching between pronouns was cool. She was useless in so many ways but she was my best friend, my only friend in fact, and I liked to call her the Unbearable Lightness Being…
It was a chance encounter outside Scribbles that knocked me. I can remember getting up at eight and looking forward to my day. I had a slight hangover but not enough to stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do. I remember after breakfast; grabbing my coat from the back of the bedroom door, all very normal…
Why Don’t You…
…I was dressed head-to-toe in a faux pas. A boring oatmeal linen dress, to be specific, at a party with a Wear red! dress code, on an invite for an event honoring the dowager of fashion dictates, Diana Vreeland, at the Costume Institute…
This is a Secret, So Shhhhh
…Bennett is a hill all swaddled in Grandma Holler’s quilt. Patches of gingham and dots. Wedding present she made with her twisty fingers and tiny sight. Family treasure until Bennett drunk-ruined it one too many times. Now, it’s his all alone…