Essay in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2018;
(cited in BAE 2015, 2016); PUSHCART poetry finalist

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The Advantage of Citizenship

The Advantage of Citizenship

Let me take you on a trip. It’s right about the turn of the century, and I’m a 15-year-old engrossed in everything normal and expected: blink 182, school, friends, and boys. Except there is one aspect that’s not so normal in my suburban upbringing: my father is not a...

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1968 and Now

1968 and Now

My 28-year-old son turns to me, “You failed, you failed.” We are attempting to discuss the morality of the moment. Is violence against police morally defensible? Is there any case that can be made to not vote? I am attempting to pass on lessons from my youth. He is having none of it. “You failed completely,” he hurls at me in bitter condemnation. “Completely.”

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Civilization

Civilization

Like every school boy, I was cultured to dine with fine silver;piercing steak with polished tines and cutting with the right.Because eating bare hands in the manner of my forebearsmirrors the manners of every other primate shooting from treeto tree. I recite the...

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The Rage Will Continue

The Rage Will Continue

A deadly disease infects us all. We acquire it from birth. It threatens lives and incites fear. The disease is racism. Black Americans have been subjected to brutality—physically, spiritually, and economically—since their ancestors were forced into slave ships and...

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Essential But Disposable

Essential But Disposable

Essential: adj. 1: of, relating to or constituting an essence <voting is an ~right of citizenship> <~ oils> 2: of an utmost importance: INDISPENSABLE…Synonyms IMPERATIVE, NECESSARY, NECESSITOUS—essentially adv. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Eleventh...

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“lost promises” and “usually”

“lost promises” and “usually”

lost promises imagine you’re in a class, a class withno instructor, only a syllabus, only oneassignment; describe these troublesometimes, explain our collective cruelty, untangleour web of deception, describe – us – to astranger, a stranger as close as a...

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America’s White Lie

America’s White Lie

Three days after George Floyd’s unjustified murder in Minneapolis, I read a frustrated plea from a fellow teacher at Western High School in Baltimore City where I teach tenth grade English. The email’s subject line, “Trigger warning,” captured the pain and frustration...

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Welcome to the Neighborhood

Welcome to the Neighborhood

They stepped out of front doors, proceeded down spacious brick pathways to the foot of their manicured lawns, and with the precision of a military unit, pivoted to face us. All of them were white—men and women—homeowners in a leafy enclave in Fairfield County...

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“Braids I Never Had” and other Poems

“Braids I Never Had” and other Poems

Braids I Never HadThey tell her, “You always be lyin’, Tisha.”Tisha looks like she knows how to have sex. Her face doesn’tneed any makeup. And I like thatsound the beaded braids make when she shakes her head,‘No’. She doesn’t want the white people music in this...

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Why Should I Be Grateful for Minimum Wage?

Why Should I Be Grateful for Minimum Wage?

When I was sixteen, my mother told me to be grateful for any job that I could get. As a woman of color, I was raised to believe that opportunities were scarce and that I should make the most of any one that I could find. It didn’t matter that my mother spent the...

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No One Would Ever Know

No One Would Ever Know

At seven A.M. on a Saturday, I was making coffee and my doorbell rang. On the other side of it were two police officers. I grew up and have spent most of my life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has the one of the highest violent crime rates in the U.S., and is also...

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Souls of Black Folks

Souls of Black Folks

Pleasure is found on the grounds of a garden estate that I frequently walk and photograph. When the pandemic restrictions began to lift, I received a members only invitation to visit; I immediately made an appointment for the first hour on opening day. It felt strange...

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Food Writing in Quarantine

Food Writing in Quarantine

The pancetta crackles in the pan as I dice shallots. This dish won’t taste nearly as delicious as it would if I enjoyed it alfresco at MIDA, one of my favorite Italian eateries in Boston’s South End. On this night of quarantine, I settle for a homemade version of...

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Coronavirus as Depression

Coronavirus as Depression

An article came out recently exploring the idea that some people, during the coronavirus, especially those consistently and chronically afflicted with anxiety and depression, have had their illness lift during the crisis. The author explored several theories as to...

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Writing as Nourishment

Writing as Nourishment

In the age of the coronavirus, fear, sadness, and suffering prevail. Unemployment, illness, and death are just some of the trials we face in this global pandemic. Amidst these difficult times, flowers bloom and humans find new ways to connect. A great deal of...

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Those Who Can’t Travel, Cook

Those Who Can’t Travel, Cook

When the pandemic erupted like a cursed piece of do-it-yourself Ikea furniture, I was planning to travel to Rome with my mom. The trip was to be her seventieth birthday present. To date, I have done very little to mark her birthdays: no surprise diamonds, no cruises...

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Experiencing Homelessness in a Pandemic

Experiencing Homelessness in a Pandemic

T.M. leads the walk towards his new apartment at the end of the hallway on the first floor of his new home. Fidgeting with the keys, he struggles to fit the key into the lock. He shakes his sweaty head, smiles nervously, and wiggles the key again.  Maybe he is...

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Another Day

Another Day

By Nadia Ghent I’ve always done my work at the kitchen table, an oversized, blonde, oak pedestal table that was one of the first pieces of “grown-up” furniture my husband and I bought for our new house almost thirty years ago. The gouge marks are still there from our...

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Lexicon of a Pandemic: Language as a Virus

Lexicon of a Pandemic: Language as a Virus

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle provided us one of the most important definitions of what it means to be human, namely that we are “zoon politikon” –that we are political animals. Aristotle added some nuance to this definition when, in his Politics, he said...

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pandemic blossoms

pandemic blossoms

I am one of many entrepreneurs who watched an invisible nemesis whisk away current and potential business as the coronavirus moved across the map. Add to that the disappearance of funds from my retirement portfolio. One morning, I woke with tears in my eyes that led...

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Sober and Single in Coronatimes

Sober and Single in Coronatimes

In early January I was struggling to quit drinking again after a relapse. I would go for a week, twelve days, then find myself walking into a liquor store and buying four nips of Absolute vodka. Yes I’m an alcoholic, my purchase affirmed to the clerk. I had given up...

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Something That Must Be Said

Something That Must Be Said

Forty-seven percent (that’s 47%) of Americans do not have $400. in cash available for an unexpected emergency.      This is a statistic that has stuck with me for a very long time, one that reveals most directly a dysfunctional economy, and...

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