The Invisible Man

And never forget that being invisible kept my abuelo, your great grandfather, from being deported during the Depression. They were grabbing people off the sidewalks of Los Angeles to send back to Mexico. They didn’t care if you were a citizen or not. If they saw a brown person, they put them on a train and sent them south.” As always when she talked about the dead, she crossed herself. “We have long survived by being invisible.”

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Where All Your Travels End

These visions do not torment you forever, as ever more immediate threats emerge to the tidy reality you made your home, where the river that appealed and beckoned to you had a discrete character and could never, to use a maladroit phrase, overstep its bounds. It is a river and it does what rivers do. The river has summoned you to come to it and if you lived a million years you might not, without the clarity of this dream, envision a scenario where the river comes to you. Now things are more fluid and the water knows no bounds at all . . .

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A Change in Rhythm

He lingered by the curtains. A flicker in his pupils told of firelight and sadness. The dark-haired woman shivered. The room, the night, despair: a drink that’s served straight up. She tendered a quivering finger at Johnny in the mirror. His reflection hovered, higher, lower. “It’s one way to escape.”

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Parker’s caked himself in applesauce again.

Jamie had asked her mother to stop giving him the stupid squeeze packets each time they visited, now that he’s started refusing to eat applesauce from a spoon—only from the packets, even if they cost more at the grocery store. But today, again, as she was buckling her one-year-old son back into his car seat, her mother had come rambling down the front porch steps and shoved another into his grubby hands.

“Just one for the road,” she’d insisted, a semi-innocent smile on her face. “He didn’t eat much dinner.”

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The Littoral Zone

When Angie awoke that first morning at Lazlo’s, she left him sleeping and went for a walk on the beach. Sensations bombarded her as she walked barefoot over the damp sand, breathed the dank ocean, felt the vibration of waves crashing in from the other side of the world.

A father and son played paddleball in the mist, their happiness fluttering birdlike in the air. Gray-haired men sat on benches drinking coffee, and another stood motionless as a rock, staring out to sea, ankles buffeted by sea froth.

Angie had the strong sense they were waiting to die, like the beach was some ante room filled with mortal pleasures to keep them occupied while they waited.

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Pink Night Sky

Fights in multiples a month, the consistency of the painful words almost felt like a friend — a relief when the flood finally occurred.

Anger grows when fed, so I sat in silence. You’re so manipulative. I’m not falling for this act. The words flowed over me, but I thought, we can still salvage the evening.

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The Heart of the Mountain

The hike up the mountain had been steep, and arduous, and screed. Fine scree underfoot on the lone flat saddle and more gradual slopes created gardens of wildflowers: gardens of lupine and verbena and paintbrush and heather and aster and penstemon and anemone. But scree of any grain size on the steeps left nothing to hold onto besides the assurance that nothing is secure, that it is best to learn to move with the pulse of the mountain, to understand that one step forward could mean nothing and everything at once, that one step contained the entirety of a world and all its possibilities.

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Heavy as a Butterfly Ball

Ryan looked out the window. The tall pines swayed in the strong breeze. Their bristles had started to turn from green to brown. The winds blustered violently. He glanced at the uprooted tree, sorry for the thick mesh of roots that had been torn and uncovered by the storm.

The night before, Ryan had been awake in bed answering an email from his boss, his fiancée Sarah asleep by his side. He’d seen the flash, then the tear in the sky, and seconds later heard a creaking groan

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