Iterations of Loss

I can almost feel the give of the wall, how with enough pressure it will flex, snap, crumble. How a sledgehammer might feel in the hand, the swing of it, the heft, heaving in an arc to lodge in the wall with a satisfying smack. The pile of rubble at my feet. Destroying a thing to remake it. Not quite a Phoenix. No fire. Just cold, a hard edge into something you love. The necessary repair. The field that flowers around the debris.

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Friends in Name

I didn’t attend your memorial service. I was sick. I wouldn’t have gone anyway. I did watch it online though. The last image of you in the photo gallery still haunts me. I want to turn away. Instead, I return to it over and over, searching for you. Against the glare of a late afternoon sky, you stand in front of the sports arena, in the shadow of the massive bronze statue of Magic Johnson. The hoopster’s jersey and shorts ripple under his powerful

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The Blind Man

The daily demonstrations (one day for, the next day against President Salvador Allende) were ranging through the streets, and Santiago’s entire downtown area, including the access road to the airport, was barricaded off. But before I could make my way to the airport for the afternoon flight, I had to collect my departure documents from the airline office downtown. The salvoconducto, the all-important safe-conduct pass and exit visa

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Corpus Two: Ether Matter

Suddenly birds. Doves. They chant through all the lonely holes in the universe. Before going out, I stop by the kitchen window and see a small fox crossing the driveway from trees to trees. And later, at dusk, five white tailed deer nose around and disappear into the newly leafing foliage. I imagine them there at night, even the fisher cat I saw the other day crossing the road, hidden, tucked into the trees, but still there, hearts

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Alison

Alison revealed her past to me one April morning in 2015, as we ate a late breakfast in the elegant Georgian Room of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I had accompanied my husband to Seattle, where he was to receive an award at a professional convention. Except for the awards ceremony, my days were free. Alison had come to meet me in Seattle from her home in a small town in the middle of the state of Washington where she had established a

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Consider the Kangaroo

To Australians, kangaroos are ordinary. To me, kangaroos are exotic. I am a tourist from the United States and like most tourists, I hope to see kangaroos. Watch them bound 25 feet in a single hop, jump six-feet high, zoom by at 40 miles per hour powered by their muscular hind legs and propelled by their powerful tails which provide both balance and force. And since my partner Arnie and I are spending three months in the country where kangaroos are native, where they travel in groups called mobs, I expect to see a lot of them.

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Sturdy

There are a few kinds of places on this planet that cause my deepest, deepest self to shriek you could die here. Among them are the tops of cliffs and ski lifts. But mostly, I think of Deception Pass, where a bridge skips its way between three rocky spurs of land a stone’s throw from Washington’s border with Canada. There, cars can zoom over the strait and tourists can meander down a pedestrian walkway, snap photos, and admire the rugged cliffs of

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What Are We Doing Here Anyway?

When I was little my dad kidnapped me all the time. It was criminal in my mind. The work of a real sadist. All he had to do was lure me with the promise of a toy and I’d fall for it. Candy from a stranger. Except he wasn’t really a stranger, he was my dad. I got into his work van, it smelled of oil and cigarettes, and before I knew it we were halfway across town on some country road, the tools in the back rattling like an ominous soundtrack.

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What We Wear

I didn’t recognize the blouse that she wore in her casket, but I immediately knew I hated it. Everything about it. It was peachy-pink with lots of ruffles. She never would’ve owned a shirt like that. My mother was a classic beauty and always dressed in classic styles; straight lines, pencil skirts. Unadorned high heels and V-neck or scoop neck shirts and blouses with collars were in her closet, but never something this frilly.

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