A gorilla’s hand looks almost identical to a human’s. Palm smooth while the back can be hairy. With meaty fingers and strong, opposable thumbs. A gorilla’s hand holds branches and trunks as they scale trees in search of food. Wide enough to cradle a coconut or jack fruit or a baby’s head. Gentle enough to peel and proffer bananas to a sibling, to groom and pick lice from a lover’s fur.Continue reading… "On Hands: A Meditation"
The theme of MOST funerals is something like sadness, or missing Nana, or general mourning. The color scheme is black, and the food selection is bland (because now that the dead can’t taste, why should you enjoy your chicken piccata). Going in cocky and all-knowing can get you into trouble. Knowing the religion of the dead is a good lead, but that only lets you know the flavor of mourning to expect.Continue reading… "On Mourning Properly or the Rules for Grieving and Dealing with Others Grieving at Funerals"
Under the artificial but highly industrialized canopy that was the D-train running directly over our heads, we stood outside for our first heart-to-heart conversation. It was summer in New York City, distinct in humidity and activity from summers anywhere else in the world, and the workshop process for your Black queer theater group with its five playwrights under fellowship had begun. Monumental was the fact that we were BlackContinue reading… "A Love Letter to Andre Lancaster from Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko"
She introduced herself as Wendy, a nurse practitioner. She seemed like a pleasant person, fast smile, blond, athletic, and about ten years my senior. “What brings you here today?” she asked.
“I’m here because I fucked up,” I said. She cocked her head.Continue reading… "Imminent Danger of Sudden Death"
A cadre of ghosts populates my forty-three years of nursing memories and creates an extended family of sorts, a congregation of souls. They appear in images of an intimate moment shared, a last breath fluttering into oblivion, a backrub to withered skin, a final word of good-bye to a family, or just me, alone at the bedside listening to one of them breathe.Continue reading… "It Only Hurts When I Remember"
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.Continue reading… "Iterations of Loss"
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 powerfulContinue reading… "Friends in Name"
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 visaContinue reading… "The Blind Man"
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 aContinue reading… "Alison"
I was lucky. I had enough rags wrapped around my toes that the frost ceased to grasp me with terror. The shed was sixty feet long and eighteen feet wide and its only entry was a door-less seven-foot-wide opening.Continue reading… "The Bench at Birkenau"